Episode Five: The Fairy Tale Of The Spewing Steamer
Last night was all about fairy tales: fairy tales involving steaming, newspapers and origami. It was also about how fairy tales can catch up to you — on national TV! With that, we begin our “Project Runway” tale on a runway stage, somewhere in Los Angeles, as our storyteller, Heidi “I’m a German Sailor Boy” Klum, greets the remaining designers.
Don’t Read the Newspaper, Make a Dress From It!
Like Little Red Riding Hood on her way to Grandma’s house, Tim Gunn and the designers begin their fairy tale journey through the resort-like, palm tree–lined FIDM surroundings and head off to the gritty Los Angeles Times headquarters. There, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic Booth Moore awaits them, announcing that for their next challenge they are to create a design using newspapers as fabric. And this, my children, is where, for some, the fairy tale begins to turn into a nightmare.
Origami Flu Disease
Dragging their newspaper-filled Hefty bags, the designers make their way back to the workroom. Tim tells them that they will have the aid of dyes, brushes, markers and muslin. As the designers begin working, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot have caught the “Origami Bug.” Here’s a brief lesson from Instructor Nick: Origami (Oru meaning folding, gami meaning paper) is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, and these kids went right to it!
Woeful Origami Bleeding Birds
Tim returns — after his lunch break at the local downtown L.A. Ralph’s Supermarket salad bar — and surveys the room to see how much the origami flu has infected them, or not. He praises Gordana for not using muslin to create her shape and then warns Nicolas not to get too “costumey” with his punk design. Irina nixes her original idea and instead goes right into making a shawl-collared coat. Johnny’s origami-inspired dress is quickly looking like a Hitchcock Movie Gone Wrong, faux birds and faux blood included. Thesaurus King Gunn is “woeful” about his design. Johnny quickly balls up his bad preschool craft project and starts all over again … kind of.
The Spewing Steamer
As the models file in for their fittings, Johnny is seen relaxing during one of his many breaks in the modern FIDM lounge. There he begins his convoluted story about how he had to start from scratch because the iron-steamer spewed water on his original dress (say what?). Back in the apartment, Johnny continues his “Project Runway” Fairy Tale Tour as he tries to make his roommates Logan (no shirtless shot this time, sorry!) and Ra’mon believe his spattering-water tale.
Gaga for Eva
The following morning (runway day), the models can barely get their dresses on because of how stiff they are. I keep thinking: Oh dear, this is not going to turn out good! I’m having bad memories of my stiff flower dress from Season 2 but know that in the end they will “make it work,” as I did. Heidi introduces the judges, and it’s obvious now that the producers have sent Nina Garcia on a search in the Caribbean to look for Michael Kors.
In their place are Marie Claire Senior Editor Zoe Glassner and designer Tommy Hilfiger. The kids go gaga with thunderous applause when “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria Parker is introduced as the special guest judge. Let’s see how they feel after she tears them a new side seam!
A Headline-Making Trench Coat
On the runway, most of the creations are outstanding. Althea’s strapless architectural dress looks sexy and well-done, and makes the model’s bum look good! Sexy bum=success! Ra’mon’s origami (yeah, he caught the “bug”) techniques pay off with an interesting folded design. Carol Hannah’s rust-colored gown doesn’t even look like it’s made of newspaper, but more like a Carolina Herrera gown. Louise’s cone-shape skirt is playful and original, and I loved the “jeweled” neckline. But of course, the winner is Irina Shabayeva with her ingenious though simple trench coat. (See photo.) The crushed-newspaper collar and sleeve cuffs were flawless. Those pockets won it for me.
Nicolas and Johnny’s designs were a mess, especially when placed next to the other designers’ creations. It’s no surprise that these central characters of the episode ended up in the bottom. Johnny’s dress looked as if he made it in five minutes, and his “Steam Fairy Tale” was believed by no one. You got to give the kid points for having the chutzpah to call his original design “Dior-like.” I’ve read every Dior retrospective book and know almost every design of the master, and I have NEVER seen the Dior origami bird-and-blood dress, not even from John Galliano. Nicolas calls him on it, in front of the judges, reminding him of what Tim Gunn had said in the workroom. Oh Snap! If you’re keeping score: It’s 10 points for Nicolas, two for Johnny.
The Last Word, According to Tim
Nicolas’ “insect” design wasn’t any better. It was more cockroach than punk club kid. The way the episode was going, I was positive he was going home. I figured they would keep Johnny since he might be “better TV”; however, Johnny-the-Liar Sakalis was sent packing. But kids, it didn’t end there: For the first time in “Project Runway” history (or as far back as I can remember), Tim Gunn did not give a designer the requisite goodbye hug, but rather looked at him with disdain and contempt. Not wanting to end this episode (and challenge) with the world believing Johnny’s lies, Tim finished with words that will most likely go down in “Project Runway” history: “I am incredulous at the utterly preposterous spewing of fiction Johnny did on the runway.”
Enough said. End of Johnny’s fairy tale.