Season Premiere July 24 at 9/8c
Nick Verreos Blog
Category: "episode 8"
I have Four Words: Tim. Gunn. In. Shorts. I thought I would never see the day. Thank you "Project Runway."
This week's episode began with our dear style mentor waking the remaining designers up at their Refinery Hotel digs, in full referee Uniform ensemble, including the black-and-white shirt, shorts (Oh Dear!) and even sneakers. Yes, Tim Gunn in shorts AND sneakers! Heaven. When he was waking the designers up--going from room to room--I also had another thought as the camera cut to Karen: I forgot she was still on the show! (Is that bad of me?) After the designers changed into athletic/workout outfits from Heidi Klum's New Balance line, they all re-connected with Referee Tim--as well as Heidi--for a little Field Day. Tim and Heidi explained that there were five identical obstacle courses with four stations (a three-legged race, tire run, wheel barrel and flag grab) which the designers had to take part in. The designers would be put into five teams of two for this mini Project Runway Boot Camp.
What's The Point?
As soon as I wondered out loud at the point of all this (except to see Tim in shorts and sneakers!) Heidi announced the challenge: To create a fashionable activewear look for her New Balance collection. She also informs the designers that they have one day to complete their looks and that the winning look will be manufactured and sold as part of her collection at selected New Balance stores and NewBalance.com. She forgot to add, "But the winning designer ain't making any money from the sales, thank you very much!"
Bye Shorts: Dapper Tim Is Back
Justin and Dom win this little field day test. As the winners, they get first choice of fabrics as well as an extra hour of work time back at Parsons. Somehow, next to the obstacle course, a makeshift fabric station had been set up where the designers got to choose the fabrics (from Heidi's line). After changing into more appropriate workroom attire, the designers and Tim all head back to Parsons. Part of me wished Tim would have stayed in his referee "costume" but nope, he was back in his "Dapper Tim" gingham shirt, jacket-and-tie ensemble we've come to expect from him.
Now, it wouldn't be Season 12 without a bit of extra DRAMA, so let's get to it. In the workroom there are examples of Heidi's line (tops and workout pants) on the dress forms to be used as guides. Helen pulls Tim aside, quietly asking him if she can use one of the pants for spec purposes. He says "yes". Immediately, Bitchy McBitch Ken questions Helen on what she had asked. She was a bit elusive about it. This set him off.
Wash Your Mouth With Soap Young Man
What follows is a torrential downpour of expletives and horrible language from Ken's mouth. I thought Sandro was bad but wowsa, that Ken is just plain UGLY. I kept thinking (as I always do when I watch someone be rotten on reality TV), "Boy, your momma can NOT be proud of you right now". And before I could finish my thought, there was Ken on the phone with (ironically) his "Spiritual Mother," asking for advice on dealing with all the stress. Well, wait until she sees him on TV using all that horrible language and treating a human being--a woman, no less--with such discontent; that should make for an interesting day at Church.
Soon Therapist Tim comes to the rescue, has a talk with both Helen and Ken, and then it's all Rainbows and Unicorns. Even though they seemed to be fine with it all, I still had a bad taste in mouth from how nasty Ken verbally abused Helen. After putting away his therapist hat, Tim arrives for his critiques, joined by Miss Heidi. The highlight here is the Karen visit. Heidi sees a neon sports bra on the form plus her sketch and tells Karen that it looks a bit like a green martian. That's not good. This is the cue for Karen to start all over again, with unfortunately four hours left in the workday.
Day of the runway and poor Karen is no better off than she was after Heidi's "Green Martian" critique yesterday. She's freaking out, quickly sewing, has no top made and all the while her model--the ever-so-fabulous Roberta--is sitting around thinking "GURL! I can't believe I'm going home for this crappy outfit that you haven't even made yet!" Cut to the runway where Very Special Guest Judge Michael Kors is BAAACK(!). His comedy writers have probably prepared some really good zingers for this very special judging. As I was watching from the comfort of my home, with my "Nick Judging Note Cards," I thought that most of the designers did a really good job. Here's what I wrote: "Good look!" (Bradon), "Love the pops of red!" (Kate), "Athletic chic!" (Helen), "Great jacket, cool top" (Dom), "Fun asymmetrical jacket" (Justin), and "Really well made!" (Alexander). Out of all of them the best looks were from Kate and Helen. I might have picked Kate but the minute Nina put in an order for Helen's handkerchief-hemmed hooded work-out jacket, it was "done and done" and she was the winner for a second consecutive time. On another note, I am very suspicious of Nina and her supposed "work out." I cannot see La Garcia in a gym unless there's Champagne and Caviar there, but I'll suspend disbelief just this once.
Pooping Pants and Buffet Hour
I thought that Jeremy's outfit used way too much purple. Ken's was not bad but I could buy it at Target TODAY, and it reminded me of all the mothers I saw on my Kauai vacation; it lacked a "fashion" element. The worst were Alexandria and Karen. I agreed completely with EVERY judge--except Heidi--with their comments about Alexandria's look. When Michael Kors called out Alexandria's "Pooping Pants" and "Pleasure Me Pockets," I couldn't hold back my glee in thinking "Awww, I missed you Michael!" That look was so off the mark, but she was lucky that Karen's was worse: it had NO fashion, no style, and completely hid the body. Poor Roberta (the model) did look like a woman at a cruise ship buffet table. All that she was missing was a pink fanny pack. So, yes kids, remember in the beginning when I thought to myself "Is Karen still here?" Well, I only had to wait 90 minutes for my wishful thinking to come true.
Wowsa. That's all I can say. This was an eye-opening episode for sure, for several reasons, not the least being the fact that there were hot, semi-naked MENSESSS showing their six-pack abs. But even with all that distraction, there was nothing to hide just how BAAAD those clothes were. The outfits they ALL made were a mess. Plain and simple. But as they say, "The show must go on," so let’s get started.
First, let's get all the important nitty-gritty parts of the challenge out of the way. This week, the designerswho were coupled in teams of two as of last weekwere put into two teams of four, per the judges' requests. Patricia, Daniel, Michelle and Stanley were part of Team Shades of Grey and Richard, Layana, Samantha and Amanda titled themselves Team Slick and Hip. They were given their challenge: to create looks for the famous Thunder From Down Under male performers/strippers. They were given $750 to create three looks per team (that's $250 per look!) and one day to do it. So there you go. This should be fun right? Not.
Season 11 Faux-Kumbaya
First, let’s talk about how mean some of these designers are getting in their confessionals. I found this very interesting. Why? When I went to NYC to attend the "Project Runway" Season 11 Finale Runway Show at NY Fashion Week last month and consequently, attended a "Project Runway" reunion party where they were all there, all the Season 11 designers were very, "I LOVE EVERYONE!" When I asked them, they all individually said to merepeatedlyhow much they all got along and because of the teams aspect of the seasonthey were all "lifelong friends." But here's the thing: last monthwhen this reunion party occurredwe were only on the third episode, and NONE of them had seen all this behind-the-scenes dissing. I would LOVE to talk to them now and see how they feel about all the supposed Season 11 Kumbaya.
Moving on...I noticed right away that these season's designers were making mistakes. I guess it's the teacher in me, but it was obvious just how off track they were. First off, they all took each of the dancers/performers measurements and they were SUPERhuman. I noticed the male forms used to drape in the workroom were size 38/40. These men were NOT that size. But that's OK. If you are a trained designer, you know what to do: get the measurements and then pad your form to get it the size of your client. They did not do that, especially when it came to the jacket and pant making (Hello Layana and Amanda!). Speaking of Layana, the minute I saw her semi-finished jacket on the forwithout sleeveseven I knew that it would not fi. Those armholes were WAY too inset from where they should beit's amateur hour at 1407 Broadway. And yes, soon on the runway, it would all reveal itself. Literally!
Let's discuss the Runway Day. Along with the usual suspects of Heidi, Nina and Zac, the guest judge was actress/singer Emmy Rossum. Now, the first thing that came to mind was, "Where's Fabio?" or at least actor Channing Tatum from "Magic Mike." But that's neither here nor there. Ialong with Heidiwas very excited to see these hunka-hunka men in their fabulous looks. Even with the craziness in the workroom, I was hopeful that the dancers might be able to hide the flaws. The designs came out and both Team Slick and Hip and Team Shades of Grey did bad. Really Bad. When I saw the looks come down the runway I murmured to myself, "Ummm, NO ONE should win!” Well, I think Heidi heard me because...for the first time in "Project Runway's" eleven seasons, there wasn't an actual winning designer and look.
Out of the two teams, the judges had to pick a good one by default, and that dishonor went to: Team Shades of Grey (Patricia, Daniel, Michelle and Stanley). They were not as bad as the other team, but still pretty bad. Daniel's trench coat was boring and very boxy. The pants, overall, were also bad: too long and too loose. Michelle's plaid cropped vest was the only thing that seemed anything close to "creative" but even then, it looked like something from an "International Male" catalog circa 1994, and Patricia's "arts-and-craft" basket weave shirt got lost in the bad-mix. No one was good and therefore the judges made the right decision of not choosing a top winner from this top team. They all crawled back with their not-so-much-of-a-"Project Runway"-Diva-tail between their legs.
Not Slick, Not Hip.
Team Slick and Hip (Richard, Amanda, Samantha, Layana) were deemed the worst of the two. The shirts were too long (Richard), a tie was too short and a jacket was way too feminine (even more than the suit I made for Daniel Vosovic in Season 2, thank you very much!) On the subject of the shirts, I agree with judge Zac Posen: you are taught in fashion school to make a dress shirtcollars, plackets, cuffs, band...it's Fashion School 101. Even if it is a women's shirt, it basically means you can also make a proper men's shirt as well. So...the excuse of, "I just can't do menswear," I am not buying. Amandabless her untrained heartmade some pants that were ripping right in front of the judges. As my drag queen friends would say: TRAGIQUE. When they were each asked who was the weakest link, I wanted to SCREAM and say, "All y'al!” But as it turns out, it was Amanda's time to say bye bye and I am more than happy to bid adieu to this whole mess of a menswear challenge. It had the makings of something fun and exciting, but these designers #failed.
Last week, there were NINE designers, and this week ... there are STILL Nine Designers. If you have been keeping score, NO ONE was out in last week's DRAMA-filled "Lord & Taylor Challenge" episode. The designers were asked to create a dress for the iconic department store and the winner was Christopher, who made a blush/nude and black gown which won praise from all the judges. On the bottom vote wise were Alicia and Gunnar, yet Miss Heidi K. said that because there were no real "train-wrecks" and, according to her, they all did a good job, EVERYONE stayed. We all realize it was because of the two designers who quit early in the season, but let’s just all play along, shall we?!Auf This and Auf That
In the beginning of the episode, the winner, Christopher, was riding high on his winning horse and declared that someone should have gone home. Gunnar was his target, and we all know, it wasn’t because of his design, but mainly because he is Christopher’s Gay Arch Nemesis! I also agree that someone should have been eliminated but I felt that it should have been Alicia. I feel that the sooner the show can rid itself of the not-so-talented designers, the quicker the TRUE designers can really make this a competition. I know it sounds mean and heartless but I'd rather see a bunch of FAB competing against other FAB. But I digress...Team Kumbaya: NOT
Now, with this good news that NO ONE was out, one would hope that there would be a communal Kumbaya atmosphere prevailing through the walls of Parsons and less melodramatic fits of negativity. Well, kids, not so fast ... After getting their "Hellooo!" from Heidi, they're off to meet Tim. He's in the Parsons Workroom, which has turned into Michael's Arts & Crafts depot with a bunch of glitter, glue, and paint. Gunn tells the designers that as of now, they have NO BUDGET to shop at Mood so ... they must create merchandise to sell on the streets of Manhattan to raise the money for their as-yet-to-be-mentioned challenge. That's the first bad news, here comes the second: this will be a Team Challenge and they will have to sell in teams of 3. The teams are named: Team 1 is Christopher, Sonjia and Gunnar; Team 2 is Dmitry, Elena and Alicia and Team 3 is Ven, Melissa and Fabio.Arts & Crafts Parsons
The designers get to work on their Art Doodle projects, making t-shirts, necklaces, etc. Team 1's stuff is looking cute croquis, fashion illustrations and well-sketched faces on T-shirts. On the other end, however, Team 2's creations are looking like something a First Grader made after drinking too much "Honey Boo Boo Go Go Juice." Soon, time's up and they take their merchandise and go try and sell their "whickety wack" to the unsuspecting hipster Meatpacking/Chelsea/East Village public. After much haggling and pleading to people that "You Really Need A 90s, shredded, Puffy-Painted T-shirt,” the teams return to Parsons to let Tim know how much money they made: Team 1 made $648; Team 2 $500; and Team 3, a whopping $800.48. So now, the teams have their Mood shopping money, but what about the actual challenge? Mr. Gunn??Next on Ukrainian and Belarus TV ... The Elena and Dmitry Show
Tim finally announces that each team must create 2 cohesive looks for Fall. They go to Mood, spend their "Sell It Girl!" money, and then return to Parsons to work, or as Elena likes to call it: My Time to Bitch. Elena (Team 2) is doing her usual "Negative Ninny" shtick, mainly focused on her Eastern European Nemesis, Dmitry. These two are SO Boris and Natasha it's actually quite amusing. Back when I did the "Road To Runway Casting Special," I KNEW that it was going to be a War of the Eastern European Divas. At one point, Elena tries to make fun of his accent, which makes no sense since, NEWSFLASH: SHE HAS (almost) THE SAME ACCENT!Don't Mess With Dmitry
Dmitry doesn't just sit there and take Elena's nastiness; he's throwing it back at her word for word. Note to Elena: don't mess with a former competitive ballroom dancer. But her hate-talk isn't just limited to her own team as she also drops "Negative Nuggets" on Christopher's "ugly ass Snuggie" camel coat. Poor Alicia who's quickly looking like Dmitry and Elena's "Bullwinkle" is getting caught in the middle of these two SUPER A-type personalities. Pobrecita, as my grandma would say.The Exquisite Roll of The Sleeve...
Day of the runway show and fashion designer Anna Sui is on hand as the Guest Judge. The designs from all 3 teams hit the runway and Christopher, Sonjia and Gunnar from Team 1 are the clear winners. They worked seamlessly together and it showed. The fact that Christopher and Gunnar could put aside their queeny antics for one team challenge and "make it work" shows maturity. They did a good job on their respective coat and dresses, but it was Sonjia's jacket that brought the most verbal applause. The judges used effusive language such as "exquisite," "expensive" and "sharp" to describe it. It's not easy to make a well-made tailored jacket in such a short amount of time. It's the details and fit that matter with a jacket and I especially LOVED the roll of the sleeves at the cap and the fit was sublime. The entire jacket was very Armani Prive. In the end, she received a well-deserved win.Sad Coat, Camel-toe Pants and a Dowdy Dirndl...
Team 3 (Ven, Melissa, Fabio) had the most money, but their designs looked cheap. While the judges praised Melissa’s cropped white jacket (it was very contemporary), they slammed the camel-toe pants she made. What was that bulge in the crotch? Women's pants should not have that. Fabio's sad coat also didn't get any love as well. And Ven? After he nixed his folded pleat skirt idea for a dowdy dirndl skirt, Nina, Michael and Heidi wondered where his "voice" was in any of this team. If there was EVER a moment where we needed one of those "Ven pleated-and-folded rose" details, it was NOW!Unharmonious Coffin Coat
But it was the most quarrelsome of the teams Team Boris and Natasha (and Alicia Bullwinkle) which ended up at the very bottom. Dmitry and Elena's squabbles caused unharmonious looks on the runway. Natasha I mean Elena felt that Dmitry took over the challenge, while Boris I mean Dmitry accused Elena of always making "coffins" (alluding to her very structured coats). The judges chastise them and their poor "sidekick" Alicia for not working as a team (true) and do not take prisoners when it comes to discussing Elena's coat. Even though Elena is a self-described Coat Queen, the judges said it looked angry, tortured and "like a coat sewn with her feet" (Ouch!). As it has become tradition now for these Season 10 designers, Elena blamed her ill-looking coat on "not having enough time."Alicia Bullwinkle: You're OUT!
And then, there was Alicia. Alicia's contribution to the team was a major yawn. Why didn't she create something cool and fun like her own little jumpsuit that she was wearing on the runway? Oh and take a guess what Alicia's complaint was? Yep: "I was having time issues." OMG! Cry me a Parsons Workroom River. Have these kids EVER watched this show? How many times can they keep using this excuse? (don't answer that!). Well, it might have taken an extra week, but finally Alicia was "Aufed" just as she should have been last week. Hopefully she was able to get a good night’s sleep in her sequestered hotel room and not have nightmares of Boris and Natasha screaming at each other all night long!
Last night was the 8th episode of "Project Runway" Season 9. And Bryce was OUT …Yes, I just told you how it ends. Why? Because the editors ruined it for me too: The episode was barely 30 seconds in when Bryce laments that he’s never won a challenge and in fact, has been at the bottom several times and is wondering if he's the “Weakest Link.” Um, Ya Think So??? I immediately exclaimed (in my loud voice), “He's GONE!!” (Thanks, Editors). Oh, and did I mention Joshua won? Yep. Sorry to ruin that for you, but right as the nails were being pounded into Bryce’s "Project Runway" coffin, “Orange-ua Joshua” was stating how he was in a “Much better place today” ... Seriously, RIGHT AFTER Bryce. Thanks, Editors, Part Deux.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of the episode. The nine remaining designers (can we just get to the Top 5 PLEASE???) are sitting there as Miss Heidi Klum brings in what they think involves their next Challenge: nine men. Immediately, the Gay Claws start coming out as several of the designers don't want to pick “the Fatties” (Yes, I am talking to you, Madonna British Accent Olivier!). Jeeeesus! Now even the men have to deal with what women have been dealing with for AGES from these “kooky” Fashion Designers; it’s a syndrome I call BPB, short for Body Prejudicial Behavior, and this group has it in spades!
It’s the Women, Silly Kids
Soon enough after several ignorant “I'm so pissed to be left with the FAT one!” comments, the designers find out that they will actually be designing for THEIR WIVES and/or GIRLFRIENDS, whom they haven't met yet. The designers meet with the men and discuss their thoughts on what would be nice and cute for their respective female partners. Frankly, I wish they had taken this to a whole other level and decided to make this a Gay & Lesbian Partners Challenge, in honor of the NYC Freedom to Marry Act. Now, that would have been a good one! Just sayin’.
Anyhow, the designers go shopping, and the highlight here is that Madonna I mean Olivier doesn't know what “Double D” means (supposedly that is his client’s bra size). Oh Olivier, I am about to slap you UPSIDE the head! First he does not like so-called “Fat Men”; now it’s the “Big Boobs.” That boy has some major issues. Wait until his metabolism hits. Or better yet, wait until he wants to design for the rest of America. Oh, and I do not believe for a HOT MINUTE that Olivier didn't know what a Double D was. Olivier looks like he is two free drink tickets away from doing Drag at Barracuda NYC. I think he would make a great Imelda Marcos, don't you?
Amateur Hour: The Private Client Edition
Back at Parsons, the designers are working on their creations under the watchful eye of their clients as Tim walks in after some lunch at Le Cirque (I’m just assuming!). He deems Viktor’s “Just perfect” (it was!). Bryce is contemplating his use of Pepto-Bismol pink in his dress creation (it looks really badly made!), but Tim assures him that his client looks good in that color. He questions Anya’s kimono sleeve addition a bit (I would too!). He calls Olivier’s design “crayon-y” and clocks him on having “time management issues.” At the same time, Olivier is having some problems connecting and interpreting his client’s desires quelle surprise. It’s “Amateur Hour” up in here when it comes to little Olivier and working with nonsize 0 people.
The Dress I Made in 1998
It’s the Day of the Runway and the judges are ready. Actress and one of the models in my First Ever NIKOLAKI Los Angeles Fashion Week Show back in 2003! Malin Akerman, was on hand as the Guest Judge. The results are in. The Top were Anya, Joshua and Viktor. Viktor created a perfect ensemble that looked chic and modern. I almost fell off my couch when they said Anya’s was one of the best. I think I designed and made that dress back in 1998. How was a one-shoulder, asymmetrical and high-low printed dress with a kimono sleeve relevant in 2011? And judge Michael Kors went on and on about how it was THE PERFECT Gallery Opening Dress. Maybe for South Beach in 1998. I actually liked Joshua’s creation. Yes, he’s a bully, and a whole lot of other things, but he was able to rein in the crazy and make a cute dress that, as I stated at the beginning of the post, won the challenge. Viktor’s was actually my favorite this week, and again, I couldn't understand why the judges did not choose him.
The bottom 3 were Anthony Ryan, ol’ man Bert and Bryce. Bert’s plunging-neckline sheath dress was well made but yes, it’s already in EVERY STORE across America. Anthony Ryan’s creation was very “Retro-Vintage” but not in a good way and, as Kors said, reminded him of a “Super Hero Ice Skater” (love him!). So in the end it was Bryce’s time to go. The judges liked the pink, but the dress itself was badly made, fit poorly and had way too many details that didn’t work together. His departure was something so obvious to everyone involved that even the editors couldn’t wait until the end of the episode to let everyone know!