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Fit to be Bow Tied
Chaotic and wonderful. Two words to describe last night’s rollercoaster of an episode. One minute I wanted to throw something at the TV and the next, I was crying with tears of joy. Let’s begin with the "how timely" factor. As you may know, lately there has been some rampant homophobia and anti-gay legislation that has been passed by the Russian Government (Sandro’s homeland coincidentally enough). Mark that with the contrast of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA and require the Federal Government to recognize same-sex marriage. This episode aired at a fitting time indeed and a coup for "Project Runway" injecting itself into current events. Now, let me get to the recap before the Supreme Court changes its mind…
The episode began with a POW! Tattooed Helen and Anger Management Issues Sandro were arguing and shouting; Sandro subsequently storms out of Parsons, punches a cameraman (or the camera to be more precise)...and scene. Cut to 36 hours earlier: the designers awake at their Refinery Hotel, get ready and head to Parsons to await their next challenge. In the workroom, they are greeted by hundreds of colorful bow ties. The minute the designers see all the bow ties, there is an, "Oh no, Are we doing menswear?" gasp. But, alas, their frowns transition into smiles as they quickly learn that it is not. Tim Gunin a bow tieof course, introduces "Modern Family" actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Jesse is the co-creator and designer of Tie the Knot, a tie company created to support marriage equality.
Bradon vs. Sandro: The Two Story Arcs
The challenge is to design a look using at least one bow tie in a non-traditional way. After Mood shopping, the designers head back to the workroom. Two separate stories begin to form within this episode. The first centering on Bradon and his partner Josh; we learn that they have been together for 18 yearslonger than many straight marriages, thank you very much! How "un-traditional" indeed. The second storyline is focused on Sandro. As the intro tease shows us, something will go down, but first we need to learn about the beginning and middle, since we already learned the end. As the episode moves on, Sandro is venting to his fellow designers (and Tim Gunn) about how annoyed he is at the judges’ critiques telling him how his designs are a bit "too much." He lives in Sandro World where more is more and is not realizing that while many of his designs might work in Moscow Fashion Week, they will not pass the grade in New York City. He also confides in Tim his disdain for judge&3151;and very established and successful fashion designerZac Posen. "Top Gunn" Tim advises Sandro to just be himself (Oh Dear!).
Over-The-Top Sandro = Not Finalist Material for "PR"
Two observations on Sandro: First, I can (kind of) understand Sandro’s frustration on the judges’ comments to him. But at the same time it’s painfully obvious what they are saying is true; his designs are too over-the-top and need some serious editing. In Sandro’s delusional mind, he thinks the fact that he was picked for the show is enough of a trophy to say that he is a "Fashion Design Diva" and qualified enough to be the next "Project Runway" winner. However, here is the harsh truth: he was probably chosen more for his "Diva Drama Queen" character and less for his fashion design aesthetic. We all know his type of cray cray/over-the-top pseudo Lacroix-meets-Galliano design taste does not make you a Top Three contender on the show, nor worthy of a New York Fashion Week Runway Show.
Make It Down the "Project Runway" Aisle
Let’s just cut to the day of the Sandro Meltdown, I mean, the runway show. Jesse Tyler Ferguson is the Guest Judge ready to see which designer "tied the 'Project Runway' Fashion knot." I LOVED Dom’s dress, Kate’s outfit and of course, Bradon’s design. Kate has come a long way from her "I-just-came-out-of-design school" ingénue aesthetic of last season. Something occurred between then and now to actually make her a possible Top 3 contender this season. Dom’s sexy fitted striped dress was exquisitely made; the mitering of the stripes and pattern work, along with the superb sewing made her design a frontrunner. The use of ties as a neck accent and detail was, as the judges cooed "a celebration." But clearly Bradon’s was the best. The tie top could have gone a bit predictable and very "happy-hands-at-home," but it was EXQUISITE. It is not easy to fit a top made completely of straps: he had to make every strap extra-long and then, custom adjust it on the model, plus that fabulous faggotting technique. Tim and I were very impressed with Bradon during the LA casting when he showed us the same exceptional, labor intensive technique on one of his garments. How apropos that he got to use this faggotting technique during the "Marriage Equality Challenge." It’s like a Fashion Middle Finger to anyone who has ever used that derogatory word toward usThe Gays. And for that, I give him an "Atta Girl Bradon"!
To put the icing on top of the marriage equality cake, after winning the challenge, Bradon proposed to his partner Josh right then and there to the judges and Timas well as all of America! Both my partner and I were doing the hyperventilating type of crying, for sure. It was a truly beautiful moment. Note to the producers: use this episode for next year's Emmy Awards consideration nomination…just sayin’.
This is NOT "Project Runway": The Student Edition
And now for the bottom: Helen was very lucky, as Heidi noted, that she had immunity and could not be eliminated. Her design was one of the worst, by far. Sue’s black tank dress with "dripping ties" was, as Jesse Tyler Ferguson pointed out, a "failure." Karen’s bad fitting "Depends" pants were a D-, if I were to grade her for a patternmaking class. And then there was Sandro. His pink "Russian Marie Antoinette" design with bow tie suspender-like straps was dated and two seconds shy of 80s tacky. Sandro, however, wasn’t even in the bottom, yet he went ahead and confronted the judges wanting some direction on what design path to take since he sensed (once again) that the judges weren’t loving him. Zac Posen tells him to focus on his taste (Hello!). Sandro’s response of, "I’m a student…I’m learning," is what set Posen off and rightly so. Posen, without missing a beat, put him in his place and shut him up by replying, "This is not 'Project Runway': The Student Edition!" Ouch!
Back in the holding room, Sandro is exploding and screaming at Helen and this is where we come full circle to the beginning of the episode. After ranting and raving, he finally storms out of Parsons and onto 7th Ave and punches the camera. We soon find out from Heidi that it was an Auf for Sandro after he left the building. Therefore, no other designer will be eliminated this week. So with that we say, "God riddance," to Sandro and I say to him: please go ahead and take your angry, misogynistic attitude and no-taste dresses with you and don’t look back. Let’s just hope that the drama, drama, drama has not only left the building but the entire season as well. Let’s return to what "Project Runway" is really about: the fab fashion!