Nick Verreos Blog
Category: "Christopher Straub"
Previously on “Project Runway” … The remaining designers were asked to make a companion piece for one of their previous winning looks. I was a guest-judge, along with actress Kerry Washington. We concluded that it was Logan who missed the mark. I deemed it a bit “Judy Jetson” and Miss Heidi said it was “too tricked out.” I also got slammed for my “She looks like an office worker from Poland” and now have half of that nation against me. Oh, and there were accusations of copycatters. Yes, more DRAMA on Season 6!
This Is It!
But it’s a new week with episode 12: This Is It! No, not the Michael Jackson concert documentary, it’s the final challenge. Only five remain to duke it out for Bryant Park. Heidi tells the designers they are to join Tim Gunn in a location that will be rich in culture and have priceless views. Are they going to Heidi Klum’s Malibu estate? Nope, they end up at the J. Paul Getty Center and Museum, where Tim is joined by the Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of L.A. I have met Mayor Villaraigosa several times, and he’s a big champion of Los Angeles fashion.
Use the 405 Freeway as Your Inspiration?
They announce that for this very important last challenge, the designers are to create a design using the Getty Center as inspiration. Yes, yet another “inspiration challenge.” Tim points out the “galleries filled with riches,” the “staggering architecture” and the “lush garden landscape.” Somehow he missed adding “and the PAIN-INDUCING 405 Freeway (the most congested freeway in the nation) traffic down below!” A gown made out of little toy cars, inspired by that freeway, would be HOT!
Don’t Let Christopher Near THAT Bed!
As the designers are joined by their “Models of the Runway” muses, they tour the museum for inspiration. Althea goes right for the architecture, since that’s “her thing.” Gordana gets emotional at a very gray Monet painting (quelle surprise). Irina also chooses a painting, Godward’s “Mischief and Repose.” Carol Hannah loves this immense Baroque bed and its drapery, and Christopher (I’m surprised he didn’t go straight for THAT bed!) decides on the Center’s “rock fountain.
Mood Roadkill and Stalactite Fantasies
After their last Mood L.A. trip (bye, Mood, we’ll miss you!), the designers return to their FIDM workroom to create what should be their most “wow” piece of the entire season. Or so you would think. There is lots of tension in the room, of course (“Mean Girls” are at it again!). Tim makes his workroom visit to see who was paying attention to the museum tour and who was stuck in the back of the line. Self-described “odd duck” Christopher is making a gray dress (THE color of the season!). Tim is quixotic about some stalactite shapes Christopher is creating and advises him to “keep an editing eye.” Carol Hannah is told not to lose the sophistication, and Irina is warned that the rabbit fur she bought (to go along with her chiffons) is looking like roadkill (attagirl, Tim!). Althea’s architecture-inspired skirt (see photo) is looking like a building that is about to be demolished. There is unsightly puckering, making Tim want to recheck his eyeglass prescription. Finally, Gordana seems to be doing the best of all of them, making a garment which even at this stage resembles her inspirational painting.
Where Are Zoe and Zanna?
It is the final Runway Day and the last time the designers can enjoy their fabulous FIDM digs. Thank goodness for those colorful interiors — as it turned out, they were THE ONLY COLOR we would see this season! As the designers are leaving for the runway, Tim Gunn warns that they better knock the stilettos off of Nina’s feet. We’ll be the judge of that. Speaking of judges, since this was the last challenge, I was expecting an all-star panel of Nina and Michael replacements, especially the Marie Claire “Z Girls”: Zoe Glassner and Zanna Roberts. But no, it was designer Cynthia Rowley and the “OMG-she-looks-AMAZING” Cindy Crawford. Heidi then announces (surprise!) that TWO designers will be out. The looks come down the runway, and Nina Garcia’s stilettos are still on her feet, unfortunately. It’s all rather “middle of the road,” and you can tell by the judges’ comments.
Good … But Not Great
Althea’s look was confusing. The skirt looked sloppy and was still puckering. I felt bad for her, because she’s better than that. I loved Carol Hannah’s for her simplicity and quiet elegance, but that look did not belong in THAT ornate, over-the-top bed. On the other hand, the diaphanous shape of Irina’s dress looked like one of the nymphs in her painting, but I agreed with Nina and Cindy: The length was dowdy, and it suffered from over-styling. Maybe she was the drag queen missing from the painting!
“Miss World” Meets Rock Fountain Prom
I actually really liked Gordana’s strapless organza gown. After this is all said and done, she needs to contact a textile manufacturer who will produce Gordana Fabrics, recreating her amazing pleating and pin-tucking — but not in GRAY! Her model, Matar, looked like (wait for it) a GORGEOUS Miss World from Eastern Europe. Now, on to Christopher: Cynthia Rowley liked the top (a shirred halter top is not the sign of the new Marc Jacobs, however), but all the judges agreed that the skirt and the waist-cinching corset were too heavy and dated. So who would go?
Girls’ Night In
Irina is In. So is Carol Hannah. Christopher Straub is Out, and it’s down to Althea and Gordana. Even though her architectural look was deemed a “mess” by Heidi, I believe the judges rewarded Althea for having a consistent vision and saw potential for growth. She was In. Gordana Gehlhausen was, shockingly, Out. It is a bit perplexing, since her gown was great and so closely resembled the Monet painting, but Nina felt Gordana’s biggest flaw was that she didn’t know who she was as a designer. It’s an All-Girl Final Three: Irina, Althea and Carol Hannah. Bryant Park will resemble a set of “Charlie’s Angels,” but with Tim as Bosley! [Editor's Note: Funny that both Andrae Gonzalo and Nick called the final three "Charlie's Angels" in their blogs!] Let’s hope there is more Girl Power and less “Mean Girls.”
"Project Runway" Glows with L.A. Sunshine
"Project Runway" fans, rejoice! Our little show is BACK! And it looks EXACTLY the same as when we last left it, albeit with a few “cosmetic” liftings. Goodbye, New York, hello, Los Angeles! This is a brighter, shinier, more glowing "Project Runway."
Fourth Time Is the Charm
When we first meet the designers, they are arriving at their new digs, the Title Guarantee Building Lofts in downtown L.A. The 16 designers are a diverse group, hailing from all parts of the U.S. Age-wise, some are mature, but most are quite young. After the fourth 24-year-old was introduced, I almost felt like collecting my Social Security and retiring to Palm Springs. There were also several with intriguing Eastern European "Boris and Natasha" accents. Several tell us how "this is the fourth time that I've tried out for the show," and I make a mental note how I would NEVER go back for abuse a second, third or fourth time! Talk about perseverance.
Who Are You Wearing?
Tim Gunn and the designers eventually gather at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, the home of the Grammys, Emmys and other award shows. Before you could say “Joan and Melissa,” you knew this was going to be a Red Carpet Challenge. Indeed, the first challenge was to create a red-carpet look that represents the designers’ point of view and shows true innovation. Next stop: their new L.A. workroom at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising/FIDM, the premier fashion design institution on the West Coast. Now, since I am an instructor at FIDM, I may be a bit biased, but their new design studios are FABULOUS! What a change from gray Parsons to the colorful, bright FIDM. It’s like Parsons with a moisturizing chemical peel!
A Brief Lesson in Fashion 101, Kids
We soon get a taste of who are this week’s "featured characters" when Missouri native Ari Fish declares that she does not know how to sketch. Tim Gunn just gives her the "Are you kidding me?" look. Young designer Christopher Straub then explains that he doesn’t know what smocking or a godet is. Maybe it’s time to give these kids a brief “refresher” course in fashion terminology BEFORE they apply to “Project Runway”? In the workroom, we find one designer, FIDM alum Johnny Sakalis, having a major breakdown as he second-guesses himself and then tells all of America that he was a crystal meth addict (TMI, by the way). If he’s “emotionally obliterated” now, honey, how is he going to handle the rest of the challenges? Of course, he eventually snaps out of it and goes on to make a very pretty design. (I knew he would, you gotta love those editors!).
Tired Excuse # 101: My Model Is Too Fat
The models arrive for their fittings. One designer, Mitchell, wants to create a Victorian-inspired gown but encounters a snafu: His dress doesn’t fit his model, Yozusi. He blames it on her, saying the measurements on the card didn’t match her real measurements. Lesson #101: Every designer knows that the measurements on those model cards rarely match the models’ actual measurements. Agencies make those cards up and say ALL their models are 34"- 24"-34", when in fact, most are 33"- 26"-37". Obviously, Mitchell didn’t get that memo, so now he has to remake his entire gown. And the result isn’t pretty.
Paparazzi Alert: It’s Lindsay Lohan!
As the runway show is about to begin, Heidi introduces the one and only Lindsay Lohan as this season’s first Guest Judge. Miss Lindsay almost trips off the stage as she realizes that her on-again, off-again paramour, Samantha Ronson, ISN’T really sitting among the designers; it’s just her doppelganger, Ari. Judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are back, looking "refreshed" (those St. Barths vacations do them good!). As the creations come down the runway, I am instantly drawn to Ra’mon’s design. It was the closest to a real red-carpet stunner. Even though I was afraid at first when Christopher was creating his design in the workroom (Hefty Bag alert!), he actually pulled it off. It was very Leighton Meester at the Teen Choice Awards. As a result, he wins and gets immunity.
Bai Ling Would Love It!
Now on to the messes: Qristyl’s design was something straight out of the BET Awards, and that’s not a good thing. My-Model-Is-Too-Fat Mitchell ended up creating a sheer caftan/nightgown, TAPED onto the model. I love me some caftans (they’re all the rage for Resort 2010), but this was tragic. Finally, Ari created a space-age silver padded garment reminiscent of a “Disco Soccer Ball.” Only someone like Worst Dressed Hall of Famer Bai Ling would wear such a thing. Ari said she was creating something for the 2080 Video Music Awards. But I have a feeling that even in the 2080 VMAs, her outfit would have ended up on the Worst Dressed List. With that, Ari went into the Wikipedia record books as getting the first “auf Wiedersehen” of Season 6. Bye, Ari, see you at Lindsay’s house — or maybe at a Bai Ling red-carpet event — in 2080.