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Season 13, Episode 4: Burger Couture

By laurareineke Fri., Aug. 15, 2014 ,4:34 am EDT

Are you hungry for high fashion? Well then this episode -- and challenge -- is for you. For Season 13 of “Project Runway” the main sponsor is Red Robin, home of “gourmet burgers." What do delicious hamburgers have to do with high fashion? This week’s episode was going to do its darnedest to somehow answer that -— or at least make sure you get hungry while watching and want to run out to your nearest Red Robin to get one of their burgers. Let's discuss the Gourmet-Burger Couture.

The beginning of this fourth episode has the remaining 13 designers thrown in vans and transported to what looks like Staten Island or New Jersey, where they arrive at a Red Robin restaurant. Kini is famished from the long ride and excited at the prospect of possibly having a breakfast burger (if there is such a thing!). No time for eating just yet, Kini: Tim Gunn is waiting, along with Jason Rusk, VP of Brand Transformation. You gotta love a good corporate title!

Jason and Tim inform the designers that Red Robin is a burger joint that "likes to look at things with a fresh perspective." Out walk 13 male models decked out in 13 different suits, from 70's leisure polyester and corduroy ensembles to "Disco Danny" looks, Prom Boy tacky tuxedos to 80's "Miami Vice" neon, and everything in between. I was thinking "Are these vintage Red Robin uniforms? What's the tie-in?" Nope, they were not. Red Robin Jason and double breasted Tim announce that the challenge is to transform these "classic suits" into high fashion, using the fabrics of these suits as a prominent part of the final runway look. Wait, no burger influence?! No Red Robin uniform re-do!? I'm confused. Moving on...

Of all the designers, Miss Unpopular and two-time-winner Sandhya gets to choose which tacky -- I mean “classic” -- suit is her inspiration first, and then pick suits for the rest of the 12 designers. Some are okay with what they were given and lots of them are not. Amanda, Hernan and Mitchell are complaining; they're not happy suit campers. Hernan especially thinks Sandhya gave him his tacky suit as "payback" for being mean to her during the team challenge and begins to use the B-word over and over and over again when talking about her. The women in his life watching this should be proud. Not.

Post Mood-shopping, the designers are in their workroom as Tim does his check-in. Kini is almost done. He is clearly the new Oscar from “Under The Gunn." Seriously. Mean Girl Korina and Kristine are both doing motorcycle jackets and Korina is NOT HAPPY (naturally). Alexander is worried that he's trying too hard and New Zealand Sean is deconstructing his '70s camel-colored corduroy suit and making what looks like more of a deconstructed mess. Sandhya chose the "Miami Vice" look and of course, she's doing a "Sandhya" and creating a colorful original-looking design. She mentions to Tim that she's inspired by a poster at the Red Robin restaurant with a tagline "Is there ketchup in my moustache?" She's stenciling mustaches into her design. While part of me thinks it's a bit cartoony, I'm also thinking "Just let her do what she does!" Finally, Hernan seems to be on a downward spiral, having major issues creating his look and still blaming Sandhya for all of them (and yes, more nasty uses of the B-word). To cap his horrible workroom day, during the model fittings Hernan doesn't even have anything for his model to try on. Ayy, dios mio!

The Runway:
It's Runway Day and issue-riddled Hernan decides to cut his hem and leave it raw and tack-i-licious. And speaking of raw...Sean's deconstructed look is getting a new top that he thinks will improve his not-so-cute look. Kini is still more than done (he was done the day before). Hopefully he’s enjoying a Red Robin burger with egg at the catering table. Judges Zac, Nina, Heidi as well as "YouTube Sensation" Bethany Mota are there. P.S.: I am really, really old when I don't understand that being a "YouTube Sensation" is a major plus in someone's Curriculum Vitae and worthy of a guest judge position on "Project Runway." welcome to the new world of Social Media Famous. Onto the designs.

I like Korina's red moto-jacket chic suit look; it's better than Kristine's. I also like Sandhya's mustache-stenciled colorful ensemble. It's original and very consistent with her design aesthetic. Kini's is PERFECTION: That structured shouldered pin-stripe dress is EVERYTHING. The way he transformed that boxy menswear suit into a high fashion design, the mitered stripes -- the entire look screams "Winner!" Now, let’s discuss Amanda: I wasn't a fan. I get the whole "transformative" boho-hippy/dippy vibe but her dress was not my taste and seemed more Stevie Nicks-meets-Janis Joplin than high fashion. With that said, the minute it walked down the runway, it screamed "Heidi Klum will love it!" And she did. If you are a true fan of “Project Runway” and have watched all 13 seasons, you know that if Heidi wants it...done and done! I would have chosen Kini but hey, that's just me.

The Bottom: Sean's deconstructed look was not inspiring, transformational or high fashion. I get the whole raw-edge shredded thing but it’s neither new nor original. Been there done that. In addition, Nina was correct when she said that it looked very "orthopedic" and that the top seemed like a post-breast surgery bandage. His design was BAD, but not as bad as Hernan's. Hernan's design looked tortured, amateur and almost vulgar; the gigantic "V" placed below the waist torso did scream "Super V-Jay-Jay." It was tacky, had fit issues and was obviously the worst. I wanted to send him home just for treating Sandhya with such disrespect. He was already eliminated but still had to get in one more jab, not at Sandhya but this time to the judges. Que classy? Not! Now, is it FINALLY time to get a Red Robin BURGER? I’m stylishly famished!