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Nick Verreos Blog
Category: "Nicolas Putvinski"
It is getting down to the “Project Runway” wire. Out of 16 designers, only seven remain. There are some who are talented and, arguably, some who are not so talented. There are definitely a few in the bunch who probably shouldn’t have made it through so far. After the last “Sequin and Feathers” Christina Aguilera/Bob Mackie Challenge, it was probably time to bring it down one or two sequin notches, or so they thought. With that in mind, Heidi Klum tells the remaining designers they are to take a little trip to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, where Tim Gunn would await them.
Shakopee Trading Post to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Shakopee, Minnesota native and token “Podunk-er of Season 6” Christopher got excited at the prospect of going to Rodeo Drive, admitting that “there are no Guccis or Yves Saint Laurents in my mall …” That might be his problem. Maybe it’s time to get on a United Airlines flight and get thee to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or find a cheap flight to Paris to see that there are other designers and stores besides the Shakopee Trading Post. But I digress. With this challenge, the producers of “Project Runway” are doing their part in exposing little ol’ Christopher to a brand new world of fashion, and at least it’s a start.
Paris Hilton in Mykonos
The designers arrive at the Rodeo Drive West Coast Flagship of Michael Kors. Surprisingly, Kors was actually there: For a second I thought he might be at the store via SKYPE! He explains how many of his collections are inspired by his travels around the globe, to places such as Santa Fe, St. Tropez, Palm Beach and Greece. It is fitting, then, when he introduces the next challenge for episode ten: to create a look inspired by a fabulous locale. As a designer myself, I am always influenced by international locations, whether or not I have been there. But the whole point is that it provides me with a point of design inspiration. Sometimes too much so, as witnessed back in my season, when I kept referring to the outfits I created each week as “Paris Hilton in Mykonos” or “Diva in Capri.” Curiously enough, Michael Kors chastised me for doing that, which seems odd since that’s what he is all about.
Put Down the Necklace and Make a Dress
With that, the designers get their locales and are back at the FIDM workroom, post Mood shopping, to see who was actually paying attention in their geography classes back in high school — and who may need a new Eurail Pass. Tim makes his visit and first checks in on Gordana, who picked Park Avenue/Manhattan. She’s used up all her time making a beaded necklace (see photo), and Tim says he’s nervous to leave her without seeing an actual dress. Irina, who chose Aspen, looks as if she’s almost done. That girl is OUT OF CONTROL; she is Bitchy McBitch and Speedy Gonzalez all rolled up into one!
Carole Cook Palm Beach Caftan Fantasy
Althea’s inspiration is St. Tropez, and she is doing separates for a girl heading out to brunch on the French Riviera. Mall rat Christopher is working on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, look, which immediately makes me squirm. However, Tim is somewhat liking the Navajo-looking leather belt. Carol Hannah is going to Palm Beach, but stressed she may not have enough of her leaf-printed fabric. At one point, her drape was looking like a Carole Cook (look her up, kiddies!) caftan, and I was LOVING IT! Nicolas, who got my favorite locale, Greece, is inexplicably doing something that doesn’t look very Greece-inspired. He boasts about never having been to Greece, and Tim looks a bit worried. Soon he’s in the confessional saying that he doesn’t want to go home or be in the bottom three. That’s the moment I say, “Oh, Nicolas is SO GONE!”
Ukrainian Arms Dealer Trophy Wife Goes to Aspen
It’s Runway Day and, as usual, the kids are in a panic. Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge model/actress/designer Milla Jovovich are all on hand to see the “Project Runway” World Inspiration Tour. Carol Hannah’s sundress looks fabulous (I still secretly wish she would have done a caftan!), and she is praised for it by Jovovich, who says she would “live in that dress.” Gordana did get to make something to attach to her beaded necklace, and the judges liked it. It looked very uptown and classic, but I was yawning over her repeated use of gray. Irina Shabayeva’s après-ski look ended up being the winner. It looked luxe, and at least the girl had a vision — from head to toe! It was very “trophy wife of a Ukrainian mafia arms dealer.”
New Mexico Circa 1983
The bottom group was a Testosterone Fest: Logan, Christopher and Nicolas. Logan created a cute yet uninspired ensemble for his Hollywood locale. (See photo.) Logan frustrates me. Why he didn’t just go ahead and make a rockin’ hipster female version of himself is beyond me. Logan is more stylish than his own designs! Christopher’s Santa Fe creation was the opposite of Irina’s: It lacked vision. Heidi even said it was “sad and ugly.” But Milla liked the belt, saying it was very 1983. That would have been a compliment, if only the ENTIRE OUTFIT wasn’t so 1983! His look was something a (58-year-old) proprietor of a New Mexico turquoise shop would wear.
But it was Nicolas Putvinski who really “missed the ferry” from downtown L.A. to Patras, Greece, during this Fabulous Locale Challenge. His look had nothing reminding anyone of the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea and blue-capped buildings of the Greek isles. Sad, ill-fitting gray pants and a white cotton surplice-wrap top? Nicolas: It’s Greece, not AFGHANISTAN! With that, Heidi waved goodbye and gave him a gift certificate to the nearest gyro restaurant. Yassou, Nicolas!
Famous costume designers, from Adrian to Edith Head, once ruled the style and look of Hollywood. They dictated the hemlines and silhouettes of their era and, at one point, influenced fashion more than the Paris couturiers. However, a costume designer does not always make a good fashion designer, and vice versa. With that backdrop, we are on to the next challenge!
Costume Designers of Downtown L.A.
The remaining contestants were transported from their downtown L.A. FIDM “set” to a real Hollywood soundstage where Tim Gunn and L’Oreal Paris Consultant Collier Strong were waiting. For their next challenge, they were to create a look inspired by a movie genre and to invent a character that lives there. With only ONE DAY to do it, each designer chose their genre, save for we-never-hear-a-peep-out-of-you Epperson, who ended up being given his. The genres were Action Adventure (Logan, Carol Hannah), Film Noir (Irina, Louise, Althea), Science Fiction (Nicolas, Ra’mon), Period Piece (Christopher, Gordana) and Western (Shirin, Epperson).
Trick or Treat?
Once the designers returned to their workrooms, they were off and running. No time to waste — and NO Johnny or Mitchell to assist in wasting it! Tim enters the FIDM workroom to see if their costumes are worthy of an Oscar or should be relegated to the Halloween sale rack. Christopher decides to do an 1800s Period Piece, designing a bustle skirt-gown with a sleeveless blouse. Tim quickly notes that sleeveless doesn’t sound so Victorian. The resident “go-to boy” for bitchy commentary, Nicolas, creates a Cosmic Queen character who likes white stretchy gowns with lots of feather appliqué. Tim tells him to “queen out” his Ice Queen even more! Uh-oh, this might look like a Eurovision Contest Part Deux!
Ra’mon is making a green outfit with ill-placed crocodile-skin leather patches. Tim rightly says it might end up looking like a ‘big hot mess.” With only two hours before the workroom doors close, he decides to scrap his Kermit the Frog jumpsuit and start anew. Not a good idea, Ra’mon! (See photo.)
Meet the Woman Who Makes Madonna Look FIERCE!
It’s Runway Show Day, and the sewing and pattern workrooms are swathed with lots of nervous tension and last-minute madness. Time’s up, and they are off to meet their fate — and see if Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are back. They’re not. In their absence, we have Zoe Glassner from Marie Claire (she’s an old pro at this now), menswear designer John Varvatos and Academy Award–nominated costume designer (“Walk the Line”) Arianne Phillips. In case you didn’t know, Arianne is also Madonna’s one and only stylist, and has styled some of the FIERCEST Vogue Italia photo shoots known to gay men. In other words: She’s a “Fashion God.”
Uncle Nick Is Confused
The designs come down the runway, and I’m confused: confused by some of the designs as well as the judges’ observations. I disliked most of what the judges LOVED and liked several of the ones they didn’t. Were the contestants asked to make costumes — or contemporary fashion with a “costume” subtext? The challenge was to “create a character and a look inspired by a movie.” OK, I get that. And even Tim, back in the workroom, told the designers that normally he tries to have the contestants move away from looking “too costumey,” but for this challenge THAT was the point. So was there a miscommunication? Were the judges told something different? Throughout time many people have confused the job of fashion designers and costume designers. They are two very different jobs. In very simplistic terms, a fashion designer creates contemporary clothing to be worn and purchased. A costume designer creates clothing to aid in the development and enhancement of a character. What role were these contestants asked to play?
Charles Worth Is Turning in His Grave
First, I really thought Christopher’s was a mess. It was neither a costume nor fashionable (sorry Christopher, I still love you!). I thought he was going for 1800s Victoriana, but he missed it. A white 1990s-looking halter top? And the skirt was not any better. I realize you can’t really make an 1800s bustled petticoat in addition to an entire gown in such a short time, but that skirt was more 1980s Versace than a vision from 1850s couturier Charles Worth. And the judges just LOVED it! I was confused. I agree that Gordana’s 1920s-style flapper dress was a tad unimaginative in terms of design, but there was no denying who the character was and from what genre. I could totally see her doing the Charleston! Epperson’s look — and the subsequent positive judges’ critique — also left me dumbfounded. It looked Western, but I actually thought Shirin’s Saloon Girl was much better.
Ice Ice Baby
But where I did concur with the judges was in their assessment of Nicolas Putvinski’s white feathered Ice Queen. It was entrance-making and had all the drama of a costume. Her makeup and hair were fabulous. Nicolas knows how to do costumes. After all, he’s been making the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show designs for years. Also, his story was by far the most creative. No surprise, then, when he was given the “Project Runway” Best Costume Design Award.
Cougar Godzilla for Halloween?
Like the judges, I was disappointed with Louise and how boring her Film Noir girl was. I echoed Zoe Glassner’s assessment: It was truly a snoozefest. If I was a client and wanted to make an impression, I probably would not go to “Louise’s Boutique of Snoozeland.” The dress Louise was wearing was better than the one she designed. Not a good sign. I couldn’t believe that finally, after six challenges, Louise gets to stay on the runway stage, but for being in the bottom! Fortunately for her, dear Ra’mon and his reptilian nightmare were more of a mess. Her hair and makeup were very Miss Estonia Universe, and the dress looked like it came from the porn version of a bad Godzilla movie. His “cougar” Godzilla movie unfortunately had a sad ending, and Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman was sent home. And where do you suppose his design will end up? Check the costume sale rack this Halloween!
Last night was all about fairy tales: fairy tales involving steaming, newspapers and origami. It was also about how fairy tales can catch up to you — on national TV! With that, we begin our “Project Runway” tale on a runway stage, somewhere in Los Angeles, as our storyteller, Heidi “I’m a German Sailor Boy” Klum, greets the remaining designers.
Don’t Read the Newspaper, Make a Dress From It!
Like Little Red Riding Hood on her way to Grandma’s house, Tim Gunn and the designers begin their fairy tale journey through the resort-like, palm tree–lined FIDM surroundings and head off to the gritty Los Angeles Times headquarters. There, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic Booth Moore awaits them, announcing that for their next challenge they are to create a design using newspapers as fabric. And this, my children, is where, for some, the fairy tale begins to turn into a nightmare.
Origami Flu Disease
Dragging their newspaper-filled Hefty bags, the designers make their way back to the workroom. Tim tells them that they will have the aid of dyes, brushes, markers and muslin. As the designers begin working, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot have caught the “Origami Bug.” Here’s a brief lesson from Instructor Nick: Origami (Oru meaning folding, gami meaning paper) is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, and these kids went right to it!
Woeful Origami Bleeding Birds
Tim returns — after his lunch break at the local downtown L.A. Ralph’s Supermarket salad bar — and surveys the room to see how much the origami flu has infected them, or not. He praises Gordana for not using muslin to create her shape and then warns Nicolas not to get too “costumey” with his punk design. Irina nixes her original idea and instead goes right into making a shawl-collared coat. Johnny’s origami-inspired dress is quickly looking like a Hitchcock Movie Gone Wrong, faux birds and faux blood included. Thesaurus King Gunn is “woeful” about his design. Johnny quickly balls up his bad preschool craft project and starts all over again … kind of.
The Spewing Steamer
As the models file in for their fittings, Johnny is seen relaxing during one of his many breaks in the modern FIDM lounge. There he begins his convoluted story about how he had to start from scratch because the iron-steamer spewed water on his original dress (say what?). Back in the apartment, Johnny continues his “Project Runway” Fairy Tale Tour as he tries to make his roommates Logan (no shirtless shot this time, sorry!) and Ra’mon believe his spattering-water tale.
Gaga for Eva
The following morning (runway day), the models can barely get their dresses on because of how stiff they are. I keep thinking: Oh dear, this is not going to turn out good! I’m having bad memories of my stiff flower dress from Season 2 but know that in the end they will “make it work,” as I did. Heidi introduces the judges, and it’s obvious now that the producers have sent Nina Garcia on a search in the Caribbean to look for Michael Kors.
In their place are Marie Claire Senior Editor Zoe Glassner and designer Tommy Hilfiger. The kids go gaga with thunderous applause when “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria Parker is introduced as the special guest judge. Let’s see how they feel after she tears them a new side seam!
A Headline-Making Trench Coat
On the runway, most of the creations are outstanding. Althea’s strapless architectural dress looks sexy and well-done, and makes the model’s bum look good! Sexy bum=success! Ra’mon’s origami (yeah, he caught the “bug”) techniques pay off with an interesting folded design. Carol Hannah’s rust-colored gown doesn’t even look like it’s made of newspaper, but more like a Carolina Herrera gown. Louise’s cone-shape skirt is playful and original, and I loved the “jeweled” neckline. But of course, the winner is Irina Shabayeva with her ingenious though simple trench coat. (See photo.) The crushed-newspaper collar and sleeve cuffs were flawless. Those pockets won it for me.
Nicolas and Johnny’s designs were a mess, especially when placed next to the other designers’ creations. It’s no surprise that these central characters of the episode ended up in the bottom. Johnny’s dress looked as if he made it in five minutes, and his “Steam Fairy Tale” was believed by no one. You got to give the kid points for having the chutzpah to call his original design “Dior-like.” I’ve read every Dior retrospective book and know almost every design of the master, and I have NEVER seen the Dior origami bird-and-blood dress, not even from John Galliano. Nicolas calls him on it, in front of the judges, reminding him of what Tim Gunn had said in the workroom. Oh Snap! If you’re keeping score: It’s 10 points for Nicolas, two for Johnny.
The Last Word, According to Tim
Nicolas’ “insect” design wasn’t any better. It was more cockroach than punk club kid. The way the episode was going, I was positive he was going home. I figured they would keep Johnny since he might be “better TV”; however, Johnny-the-Liar Sakalis was sent packing. But kids, it didn’t end there: For the first time in “Project Runway” history (or as far back as I can remember), Tim Gunn did not give a designer the requisite goodbye hug, but rather looked at him with disdain and contempt. Not wanting to end this episode (and challenge) with the world believing Johnny’s lies, Tim finished with words that will most likely go down in “Project Runway” history: “I am incredulous at the utterly preposterous spewing of fiction Johnny did on the runway.”
Enough said. End of Johnny’s fairy tale.