Nick Verreos Blog

Glamp It Up

By kim_messina 08/23/2013 04:46AM GMT

Tim in a Camouflage suit? Heidi in a khaki ensemble? Is this THE "Kandahar Province Challenge"? Is the U.S. Army a new sponsor? No kids, relax, "Project Runway" is going Camping—as in tents, marshmallows and getting closer to nature...

Camping Convert
First things first, I'd like to take this time to discuss my abhorrence to camping. It may come to everyone reading this as a surprise, but once—very long ago—I was a Cub Scout. I HATED IT. In addition, the one time my dad tried to take me on a father-son camping trip, I cried the entire time. Suffice it to say, I don't do camping. So when Tim and Heidi announced that the designers were going on a camping trip,besides thinking bug bites, peeing in a river and snakes in my tent, I thought, "Thank goodness I wasn't there!" This all changed, however, the minute Camo-Tim mentioned that this would be more of "luxury camping"— a GLAMPING trip. I think my fuchsia-colored Prada Dopp Kit could definitely get with the GLAMPING program. I also realized that this "get out of the workroom" trip would have been a nice respite from the pressure cooker environment of the competition.

Time To Glamp It Up
I was ready to give Tim Gunn credit for coining a new word into the lexicon of hip 21st Century lingo...until I Googled "Glamping" and 1,330,000 results came back. Oh well Tim, not this time. The designers packed, got in their separate boy-girl vans, drove for hours and finally got to their Glamping site. Tim was waiting there, along with Seona Skwara, who has what could be the MOST OBSCURE TITLE in a Company EVER: she is the Head of Activation with Resource Natural Spring Water. One question: does she "activate" the Resource Natural Spring Water Spout? Inquiring minds want to know.

Nature Inspired
Along with Tim, Seona announces that "nature helps us discover our best," (Umm, I disagree, I think Paris Haute Couture does, but go on...) and that this is the Resource Water Challenge: to create a high-end fashion look inspired by nature. Tim reiterates that this must be a HIGH-END look and NOT something one would actually wear while camping. After some paddling, zip lining and sign-language teaching, the designers begin getting inspired by their surroundings. The following day, their 24 hour Glamping trip is over and it's back to the concrete jungle of the workroom.

Tents, Glue Guns, Bias Calligraphy and Kindergarten Thread Painting
Tim checks in. Karen is inspired by the tents and is making A TENT DRESS. Uh oh. Jeremy wrote a love poem to his husband and children, and is now transferring it onto a bias-cut gown he's making (a possible "wow"). Justin is using the glue from the glue gun to create a lace appliqué on his look. Uh oh part deux. Alexandria is being a loner7#151;and besides trying to avoid "Mean Girl Ken," she is concentrating on a drop-crotch and denim sporty look. Bradon is "thread painting" and Tim is questionable of the technique. He says it's coming off a bit "clunky" and childlike, but against his wishes, Bradon continues on with it. He struggles, however throughout the day not really even having anything to fit on his model.

"Project Runway" Sidebar: How Much Time To Finish?
It's Runway Day and Bradon begins the day with no dress. He goes into "Make It Work" mode, creating his look entirely in the pre-Runway time. Sidebar: one of the most asked questions from "Project Runway" fans is, "How much time do you really have the day of Runway to finish your garment?" It depends but usually we would arrive at the workroom around 8-9 am and would be told to stop around noon. There would be a "lunch break" and then it was Runway time. So, basically we had about 3 hours to either finish or—as in Bradon's case—make an entire dress.

The Safe
Guest Judge is HBO's "Girls" actress Allison Williams. The designs come out. Helen 's strapless gown with raw-edged treatment looks almost unfinished. Maybe that's the point. Bradon's just-made dress is questionable and certainly not up to the level of what we have seen from him. I liked Miranda's gown; it was very Flamenco Moderno, but also a tad obvious with the leaf detail. Dom re-worked her "Bow Tie Challenge" neckline for her dress and Kate's reminded me of something I'd seen before from Alexander McQueen; it was referential and the fit was odd, but also quite "Fairy Princess" cute.

The Top
Alexander's tree-inspired gown was a triumph of fit. The black leather hem did look a bit "oil slicky" but it added some edginess to the gown. I have to be honest that I thought Alexandria's drop-crotch and denim jacket look would land her in the bottom but boy was I surprised when she won. I understood the look, but to me it just didn't really scream high-end enough. The model is very HIGH FASHION, but her look wasn't. I thought that Jeremy's ivory bias-cut "love poem" gown should have won; this was ethereal, gorgeous, inspiring and high fashion. There's always (at least) one instance in every "Project Runway" season where the judges go for the unexpected as their favorite and this was that selection. Also, I've always said that the judges, especially Nina (and Michael Kors when he was a judge), do not really like gowns and here was a perfect example of that.

You're Out
It was down to Ken , Karen and Justin. Zac Posen called Ken's dress a "Frog Queen." I actually didn't think that was fair. I thought his dress looked very "Madame" and although very heavy up top, was an interesting dress that could have worked with a little tweaking. I also didn't think it was fair for Heidi to be complaining about all the front detail when she was featuring a very front-heavy (and feathered!) concoction herself. Karen made an ombré-dyed maxi dress inspired by the camping tents. It was a TENT DRESS(!) and the styling was so off: Cowboy booties, beach-y hair...what is happening here? But it was Justin's glue gun "appliqué" dress that, rightly so, was at the very bottom. Nina said that his model had a "foaming vagina" (Ayyy Dios Mio!). His technique backfired completely and the look was amateur at best. He was out.

...But Not For Long
As we know Tim gets to save ONE designer in the season. As Justin is saying his goodbyes to his teary fellow designers (I was kinda choking up as well), Tim walks in and announces that indeed he is saving Justin (after wiping his own tears). While this was very nice of Tim, I wondered if this was the right time to use his all-important "Tim Save." Did Tim use his "aww shucks" emotional voice as opposed to his rational-thinking voice? Should Justin have been out and stayed out. What if a (arguably) more talented designer like Bradon, Kate or Alexandria get the unfortunate "Auf"? What then? No saves for them. What do you guys think of all this? Lots to discuss and I can't wait to read your thoughts. Until next week....as Heidi says, "BYYYYEEEE!"