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Season 13, Episode 2: Lights! Camera! Fashion!

Posted By laurareineke 4:09am GMT

Lights! Camera! Fashion! Time for the first (I assume there will be more) unconventional challenge of Season 13. And this one involves both film and fashion. So, kids, it's time to microwave some popcorn, sit back and let the DRAMA -- and fun creations -- unfold!

The episode begins with the 15 remaining designers waking up in their Gotham West pied-à-terre, finding a tub of popcorn, 3D glasses, plus an invitation to a private screening at a Manhattan movie theater. The designers then head to the Village East Cinema, where they sit down to watch a supposed fashion movie trailer...until it is quickly interrupted by Tim Gunn. Tim announces that instead of a fun Movie Day, it’s time for the unconventional challenge: to create a look incorporating their “Movie Experience” by using materials found in a movie theater, from camera and lighting supplies, art department props, costume and wardrobe, to even the concession items. The designers seem pretty excited until Tim tells them that they are to work in teams: Silver Team (Korina, Kristine, Amanda), Purple Team (Char, Kini, Mitchell), Green Team (Emily, Alexander, Samantha), Red Team (Hernan, Carrie, Sandhya), and Blue Team (Angela, Fade, Sean). Each team is to create a cohesive mini collection.

Any time there is a challenge involving teams there is bound to be harmonious teams and one or two discordant ones. Most of the groups are getting along and working together for a cohesive end goal, save for two. First, always-mousy, continually-depressed Angela is making her Blue Team members worry over her lack of team spirit and her disinterest in going the same inspiration route as them. I’m concerned for her, too: it’s only the second challenge -- and probably only the third day into filming in “real time” -- and Angela seems ready to snap if anyone yells “Boo!” Why do these types of people go on this kind of show? Moving on.

The second unharmonious team involves last week's winner (and this season’s Miss Unpopular) Sandhya. We know this: None of the designers think highly of her, and most believe she shouldn’t even be there. Naturally, there was going to be trouble within the team she was on. In the workroom, team members Carrie and Hernan belittle Sandyha’s creation, causing her grief. She summons Tim Gunn for a “Tim Therapy” session. When Sandhya tells Tim how she is being treated by her team members, his first response of “Oh Dear!” says it all (“Oh Dear” as in “Oh Dear! Here we go again!”). However, after some positive words from Tim, Sandhya gets the impetus to join her team and do whatever Bossy Hernan and Bossy Jr. Carrie want, so they can at least stop berating her.

Clever editing (kudos!) during the workroom scenes in the lead-up to the runway show leads me to believe that the Silver Team (Korina, Kristine and Amanda) will be in the bottom (seriously, what the heck is Amanda making!!??) and that Sandhya’s team finally gets their act together and they’re going to be all good. If I was a gambler, I would have bet money.

The Runway
Nina, Heidi, Zac, Tim, and French fashion blogger/photographer/illustrator Garance Doré are on hand to judge away. One team would be on top and one on the bottom, with one designer from each getting the Best or Worst honors respectively. The designs come out and all in all, it’s a pretty fabulous display of creativity, innovative designs, and original use of unconventional materials. Highlights: I LOVE Sean’s coat made out of drinking straws; it certainly is one of the best. Unfortunately because of mousy-and-depressed Angela’s uncreative design, Sean will have to wait for another challenge to get any top honors. I also liked the Galactic-Barbie-at-a-Katy Perry-Concert dresses from the Purple Team (Char, Kini and Mitchell). They were fun and really made me smile (if that’s worth anything!). Green Team’s designs were quite good, I thought, particularly Samantha’s CD top and film skirt. Neither of these teams made the top. Surprisingly, it was the Silver Team of Korina, Kristine and Amanda that got the top spot (I just lost some money!). Heidi praised their designs for being original, cohesive, and “really, really special." I agree on looking cohesive (the base color of neon green helped) but design and construction-wise, they looked like craft projects. I just didn’t get it. And then Amanda won? Now I am really scratching my head because I thought hers was one of the worst (along with Angela's).

The bottom was the Red Team. Poor Sandhya -- she is not gaining any additional friends in the workroom after this one. Her design was deemed the worst, but since she won last week, she is safe, therefore it's either Hernan or Carrie to be auf’ed. Now, I must confess something: I liked their designs. I liked how they used the film and made the fabric look as if it was sequined paillettes. I agree that the dresses looked alike (because of the fabrication) but I honestly felt the judges were exaggerating in saying that they ALL looked the same. There were 3 different shapes, necklines, lengths. Hernan did basically run the team's show and made his other team members design for his mini-collection. But to me, they were nice and cohesive. I kind of understand how both Hernan and Carrie were up on the runway scratching their heads. But what I didn’t understand was that they actually verbalized it to the judges. The judges didn’t like that AT ALL. Neither Heidi, Zac, Nina nor Miss French Blogger was in any mood to hear it -- and especially from Carrie. Therefore it was “The End” for Carrie’s brief fashion and film career.


Diamonds, Divas and Dumpster Diving

Posted By kim_messina 4:59am GMT

Allow me to get something off my semi-hairy chest: it's only the second week of Season 12 and I'm already ANNOYED by some of the designers and my patience is wearing VERY thin on several others. First off, I am SO OVER Timothy and his sustainable shenanigans. Freddie Mercury-lookalike Sandro, and his diva-like drama is making all REAL divas look bad. And then there's tattooed Helen: her crying and, "I've never made bust cups!" but somehow admits to having interned with various bridal design companies is confusing at best. And to cap it off, we've got dreadlock-haired Sue and her, "Can someone thread a bobbin for me?" nonsense. Unless these people prove themselves to be something other than drama-loving nincompoops, it's auf time for them in my eyes. With that off my chest, allow me to discuss this second diamond-loving episode.

Diamond District?
Armored cars pull up at Parsons and big-and-bulky security guards frame the runway stage inside as the designers await what will be the next challenge. Out comes Heidi—with the dreaded Button Bag—followed by the models accessorized in $30 million worth of jewels provided by the Diamond District. Side bar question: is this an area of Manhattan that somehow I missed going to? I know Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, the Upper East Side, Soho, Meat Packing, but the Diamond District? Note to self: must check it out on my next NYC trip!

SOOO Over Diamonds and Money
Heidi announces that for their second challenge, the designers must create a look "glamorous enough" to walk the runway with the jewels the models are wearing. It's not really a "red carpet" challenge but more of "design a look worthy of being accessorized with these multimillion dollar jewels on a runway stage." The button bag is there so the designers chose their models—and jewels—with last week's winner, Bradon, going first. The only highlight of this is how EVERYONE is beyond-excited to be designing for these glorious jewels, except un-sustainable Sustainable Timothy. Naturally, he is not amused by the whole working-with-diamonds challenge; Timothy says that he is not inspired by diamonds or money, for that matter. Wait 'til he has to figure out a way of paying rent.

Mood Dumpster Diving
After getting back to their workrooms, Tim announces to the designers that this is a one-day challenge and they have some sketching time before they head to their first Mood trip of the season—with their GoBank debit card. They have $4,000 for the entire season but a "suggested budget" of $300 for this one challenge. At Mood, Timothy continues his "I want more airtime," I mean, sustainable shtick, and goes through the Mood garbage bins for fabric remnants.

Workroom Walk-Thru
Back at the workroom, Tim does his walk-through. He likes Kate's design even though I kind of agree with one of the other designers who says it's very Vivienne Westwood. Tim tells Tattooed Helen that she's being a bit ambitious in regards to what she's trying to do (an omen to the runway); he feels Timothy's design is looking like "one hot mess" (It is!) and helps Kahindo come to terms on her bad choice of fabric.

"Project Runway" Is Not A Time To Learn Bobbin Threading
This montage—and the pre-runway one—enlightens the viewer (ME!) on how some of these designers maybe shouldn't be there. First off: what is it with contestants who go on "Project Runway" not knowing their stuff. I just do not get it. Exhibit A: Kahindo. She's never worked with silk charmeuse (PS: one of the most difficult fabrics to sew) and yet she goes ahead and picks that. WHY? And then, there's Dreadlock Sue. Last week, she admitted that she never used an industrial-type sewing machine and this week, we find out that she can't even thread a bobbin. Who. Are. You? The designers have about a month between their last audition/interview and the time they arrive on-set. Tim even tells them to "use that time thoughtfully." Wouldn't you figure out how to use a sewing machine in that time period?!? Oh and then there's Helen, who is all stressed out because she's never made bust cups before. But somehow she's interned and worked at bridal design firms. I just don't understand what surreal world these people are living in. One comes to "Project Runway" NOT to learn but do what you know what to do. You can "step outside your comfort zone" design-wise, but this is not the time to learn how to thread a bobbin or make bust cups! Oh, and I'm not even going to start on Sandro and how he can't turn on a steamer and yells for a "manager" to help him do it. File under: Bless His Heart.

Million Dollar Runway
Let's just get to the runway. Heidi, Nina, Zac, and yes, Tim are there (He's sitting in on every runway show to see if a designer who is on the bottom needs his "save"). "The Carrie Diaries" and "Gossip Girl" Costume Designer Eric Daman is the guest judge. In my dreams, I would've wished Dame Shirley Bassey to be the guest judge but oh well. The top designs are Kate, Dom and Sandro. There were some designs from the "safe" designers that I thought should have been up there as well: Ken's emerald green strapless peplum gown was great, for example. But I have seen it before so I understand how the judges may have thought the same. Sandro's peek-a-boo lace with solid fabric two-piece ensemble is chic and yes, two minutes from being trashy. But he (somehow) held back enough for the judges. Dom's printed look was "fresh" but, along with Heidi, I did have a problem with that headband. Her dress was looking a bit like something the mistress of an Eastern European weapons dealer would have worn at a Cannes yacht party. Kate won for her draped taffeta gown with well-constructed bustier. Her creation was well done and highlighted the multimillion dollar jewels, but it still seemed so Vivienne Westwood.

Charmeuse Bye
The Bottom were Timothy, Kahindo and Helen. Let's start with Miss Helen. She stopped the runway show as she cried when her design came out. Subsequently, she vented to the judges (and Tim) about how she was embarrassed of her construction (she should be) and how she wants to learn how to do couture. PS: why do you have to learn on "Project Runway's" dime? Just sayin'. Like I said before, this is NOT the time to learn. Timothy did a "racer-front" gown that did not highlight his models beautiful necklace. The dress was okay and a bit of a 1920/1930s throwback but it wasn't right for this particular challenge. I want Miss Timothy auf'ed but let's agree: he did better than Kahindo. So, yes, it was Kahindo who ended up being eliminated. Her design was deemed "off-the-rack" and as Zac Posen said, it looked like a dress on sale. Her creation lacked any new creative design quality and certainly, did not have a "runway punch." Therefore, it was her time to go. So let me ask these questions:

Do you think that Timothy should have gone instead? And what do you think Sandro's diva, "Can you turn the steamer on for me," behavior says about him? And Sue not knowing how to A) use an industrial machine and B) not knowing how to thread a bobbin—is this acceptable? Let me know in your comments below. PLEASE! I can't wait to read what you guys think! Until then, there's always next week!


A Runway SPiN-Off

Posted By kim_messina 4:21am GMT

Dream Team vs. Team Keeping It Real: this is the premise of Season 11 "Project Runway." Sixteen designers split up into two teams and every challenge this season is promised to be a Team Challenge-with one winner and one loser. Team Keeping It Real had the highest scores last week with "Mustache Daniel" coming out on top and Dream Team at the bottom losing sewing-deficient "Hot Glue-Loving Emily." Nina described her outfit as the worst made garment in "Project Runway" history. PS: I wonder if Emily is adding that accomplishment to her bio or Wiki page?

Oh Cindy...
Now that the "Team Twist" novelty has worn off and the "Oh No, Not Teams!" shrieks have subsided, reality is setting in. One of the designers who was at the bottom last week—"Funeral Director Cindy"—feels like her team may see her as the weakest link, even though you could tell she doesn’t quite understand why. PS: did she see what she created? It always strikes me as both naïve and unrealistic when I hear some of these designers and their self-assessment of where they think they are on the "Project Runway" contestant totem pole within a season.

Ball Happy Heidi
Back at Parsons, Heidi greets the teams, congratulating them for "making it." All I want a say is, "GURL, they’ve only had ONE CHALLENGE; simmer down on the effusive words; let them get through FIVE more without beating each other up and then we’ll talk." Heidi tells them they are to meet Tim at 23rd and Park Avenue.

Ping Pong Couture
The designers arrive at SPiN NYC, a Ping Pong Social Club owned by actress Susan Sarandon. A) I had no idea there was such a thing; I am so LATE on what's HOT in the NYC night scene. B) I had no idea Susan Sarandon loved ping pong. Tim gives them their Challenge: to create five uniforms for the club—three female server outfits and one for a "ball boy"—the boy who gathers the ping pong balls from the floor. That may not be quite how my friends would define the term "ball boy" in my inner circle, thank you very much, but I digress. The uniforms must be fashionable and exude the fun and upbeat environment of the club. Finally, they must utilize the tagline "Balls Are My Business" somewhere in the garments. How cheeky.

Working Girls and Ball Boys
The teams are then put to work as servers and "ball boys." At first I thought, "This is a little humiliating," but then realized what a great idea it was that the designers could get a feel of working at the club to help in their design process. After picking up all the broken beer bottles7#151;and balls—from the floor, Dream Team and Team Keeping It Real assemble separately to decide who is doing what.

Platinum Micro Manager
In both teams, some of the designers (Daniel and Layana, Richard and Joe, Kate and Patricia) couple together while others do a complete look on their own (James, Stanley). They're off to Mood and then, to their 507 Broadway workrooms. Benjamin—of Dream Team—takes a team leader role, much to Cindy's chagrin. Their drama continues in the workroom as Cindy feels like she’s being micro-managed by the platinum-blond Aussie. My guess is that he’s worried she’ll make another printed "Going to Aruba on a Carnival Cruise" look like last week. Team Keeping It Real's Daniel is schooling his young partner Layana in making a shorts/skirt/apron combo while Patricia is having "I'm just making leggins’ and nothing else" issues. A screen printer is brought in to aid the designers in the "Balls Are My Business" logo making, which is a nice addition.

Kilts, Wack-a-Doodle and Emily 2.0
Tim visits and besides having to clock Patricia for sensing too much self-ego within the team, he thinks Team Keeping it Real is in good shape. However, it’s the Dream Team he’s worried about. Matthew is making jeans and Tim asks why. Michelle uses her "loud voice" and brings up the subject of a kilt, which Tim thinks is "quite interesting." Stop it Tim, use YOUR quiet voice! He also thinks Samantha’s jacket and Tu’s dress don't belong together and deems Benjamin and Cindy's creations "wack-a-doodle." In addition, James—who is "Emily 2.0"—is obviously in over his head. It's only the second challenge and we can ALL tell this boy's construction, as well as his design skills are lacking. Tim calls the shirt he is making, a "construction disaster." Tim thinks the entire team is in trouble. They sure look it.

It's a Runway Spin-Off
Day of the SPiN NYC runway show and guess who is the special guest judge? Yep, Miss Susan Sarandon, looking quite good in a printed wrap dress (DVF, I presume?). Both teams show their SPiN NYC uniforms and the results are in: the winning team is Team Keeping It Real (again!) and Dream Team is at the bottom. Not a surprise. Even the editors of the show couldn't hide what would eventually happen during the runway show day.

It's a SKORT Susan
Let's discuss the Good: Stanley's sweatshirt top and drop-crotch pants for his "ball boy" looked great. There was style and functionality. Joe and Richard made a super-tight t-shirt with logo-printed pants and (the piece de resistance), a harness to hold the ping-pong ball picker-upper. So cool. But it was Daniel and Layana's vest, long sleeve top and skort (a skirt/shorts combo) that won the judges and especially the SPiN NYC CEO, Susan Sarandon. Sarandon somehow has been living under a "fashion rock" and didn't know what a skort was. Bless her heart. In the end, Layana got the top individual win—for that skort...that Daniel actually helped her make. PS: Layana, I hope you sent Daniel a BIG expensive bouquet of flowers.

Oh, Cabo
Yes, Dream Team wasn't a dream—yet again. Two for two. To start, the Kilt Boy was cool and appropriate if SPiN NYC opened a club in Hell's Kitchen or South of Folsom in San Francisco; but for this location, not so much. Those straight "ball boys" would not be having any of that kilt and the placement of the "Balls Are Our Business." Next, I figured Micro Manager Benjamin and his horrid shorts look, would be at the bottom. But somehow, Aussie Benjamin walked away unscathed; it was Cindy, once again in the bottom two. Joining Matthew and Cindy was James and his tank top and board shorts atrocity. James' look was better suited for a beach bar in Cabo and as Heidi correctly said, no one wants a server bringing them their drinks—or tapas—with their armpits showing, in Manhattan at 11:30 pm. Ultimately—and without surprise, it was James who got the "Auf." As I said, I knew James was in over his head, and the judges told him so. But on a good note: maybe Señor Frog’s will call James to design their uniforms in Cabo. That should be fun.


Sweet Tooth Couture

Posted By kim_messina 5:07am GMT

Last week, Season 10 of "Project Runway" premiered with the "Biggest Fashion Show" in "Runway" history. This week, our little ol’ show loses not an ounce of couture steam and keeps the strong momentum going with one of the most iconic — and beloved by fans — "Project Runway" challenges, the "Make a dress out of crap you would NEVER use to make a garment challenge" … in other words, yes kids, it’s the Unconventional Challenge. I’ve always said that this is a fun challenge to watch by the fans and TV viewers alike, but in terms of it being a guide rule in finding the "Next Best American Fashion Designer"… not so much.

Candy Re-Run

As "Plaid Heidi" saunters onto the runway congratulating last week’s winner — cutie Christopher — she tells the designers that this is "no time for child’s play." Instantly I think, "Oh Dear, they’re making clothes for bratty Upper East Side kids!" But oh no, I was wrong. Soon, the designers meet with Monsieur Gunn in front of Dylan’s Candy Store where he is flanked by it’s owner and CEO, Dylan Lauren (Yes, of Ralph Lauren fashion blue blood), announcing that their second challenge will be to create a look out of candy using materials bought from Dylan’s Candy Store naturally. Now, I remember back in Season 4, the challenge was done at the Hershey’s Times Square store (Rami won it), so it seemed like a slight re-run challenge idea to me, but one figures that it’s difficult to come up with new "Unconventional Challenges" year after year.

Gunnar and Christopher: Please Get a Room

After a mad "Candy Dash," the designers get their sugar tooth couture fix, buy out half the store and then head to Parsons to #makeitwork! The workroom quickly begins to resemble a 5-year-old’s birthday party after a piñata has exploded. Several designers are spending their early hours doing muslin dresses to build the foundation for their candy creations. Others are crushing candy, gluing candy … or just eating it! And then there’s Gunnar Siriano 2.0 and cutie Christopher who spend a lot of their time being Bitchy Queens (more so Gunnar than Christopher) talking smack and "throwing shade." It’s only the second week (In real time, it’s only been like TWO DAYS since they’ve met each other!), but there’s already this weird tension between them. I have a feeling that either A) Gunnar feels threatened because he thought he was going to be the only "twinky gay" or B) They just need to GET A ROOM! But I digress, let’s move on…

Coochie Shorts + Glue Gun = Disaster

Tim visits the workroom — in his very expensive custom plaid suit, tie and pocket hankie (Things have a come a long way since his "Banana Republic" days) and sees the designers' progress, or lack of. He likes Sonjia’s shark gunmmies and what she’s doing with them and sees the potential of where Ven’s look could end at. On the other hand, Tim is very concerned and disappointed at Andrea BA MA and MFA’s "I just got some candy-in-a-wrapper-and-called-it day" look. Elena is hot gluing Piña Colada twizzlers, while wearing hoochie-coochie hot shorts and little else. Naturally, the glue falls onto her arm, then leg, burning her, thereby needing emergency medical attention. As Christopher rightly noted, who uses a HOT GLUE GUN wearing hoochie shorts??!! Amen Sistah!

Cotton Candy Puke-a-Licious and Lantie’s Delusions of Grandeur

Next day, the designers return to the workroom and some designers (Buffi and JapaFro Kooan) find out that using cotton candy might not have been a good idea since it deflated creating something that looked like a 7-year-old got sick after a raucous birthday party! Lantie started fresh making some concoction out of umbrella fabric and little candy. She proudly states, "I’ve never seen anything like it!" Lantie, let me inform you: there’s good reason why you’ve never seen anything like it — it’s NOT CUTE! Poor thang is having delusions of Candy Grandeur. We can guess where she’s going to end up on the runway.

Twizzler Road Kill

Runway time and "Snakeskin Jumpsuit Heidi," Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are there, along with Guest Judge Dylan Lauren of course. The show begins and the designs are a combination of fun quirky creations fit for a candy store window and some "What the Heck is That?" messes. I was perplexed by all the tacky 1998-esque midriff-showing looks. I could just see Nina’s face wince a thousand times while several tasteless midriff-baring tops kept walking down the runway. And poor Elena and her dress: by the time the runway show had ended, half her Piña Colada Twizzlers had fallen off and ended up as candy road kill.

Runway Eye Candy

But in terms of good, there was GREAT! Sonjia and Ven’s were standouts. Using jelly beans, white chocolate-covered almonds and shark gummies, Sonjia created an outstanding dress. I loved how the shark gummies seem to be swimming in the neckline creating what looked like a blue bejeweled neck piece on the dress. But then, there was Ven. His strapless dress was something out of an Atelier Versace or George Hobeika Haute Couture Collection. Nina said it was "sublime." As I predicted in the "Road to Runway Casting Special," Ven gave Nina a Colombian fashion orgasm! He wins this challenge easily, getting immunity. I loved how respectful and thankful he was to the judges. Class.

Toddlers & Tiaras Puke-a-Licious

At the bottom were Buffi and Lantie. Buffi wove chewy candy to create a top section but then got what looked like a tablecloth and slapped it together to make a skirt. It was too much pink, too much tackiness, too much of everything. She looked like Paris Hilton’s really, really, REALLY tacky 5 year old daughter! As Kors said, "It was 'Toddlers & Tiaras' Gone Bizarre'" But worse was Lantie. She literally got some umbrella fabric, then slapped some candy flowers on the skirt and declared herself done. Her failure in transforming the fabric is what caused her loss. And the nail in her coffin was when she used the "I didn’t have enough time" excuse. Oh huneeeyyyyy!!!! I was about to SCHOOL her via my yelling at the TV, but luckily my Colombian sister from another mother did it perfectly. Adios Lantie and take your time management excuses — and candied umbrella — with you. I hear it’s raining in NYC right about now and well, you might need it for cover.