This episode surprised me. Why? 'Cause following instructions is important. It's what keeps people who defuse bombs for a living from cutting the red wire instead of the black one and saving the day. It's also what will get your garment worn by a world-renowned supermodel on the cover of a major publication if you listen to the editor-in-chief's rules to successful covers.
The rules: Fashion-forward design. Use of color. Something Heidi Klum (a.k.a. the world-renowned supermodel on the cover, who is also your judge) would want to wear.
If you can follow this trinity of predetermined rules, you are a mere challenge away from scoring a major coup in your fashion career. Or, you know, totally ignoring all of these helpful hints and going rogue.
Designs that surprised me in a good way:
JESSE: Even though he decided to not subscribe to the color-palette note, Jesse did make a short and sexy dress with a beautiful crisscross design on the bodice. It may have been lost a bit on the runway, but you can zoom in and see his detailing up close in Rate the Runway. Really nice touch.
JAY: I thought he was taking his concept in the wrong direction initially it felt kind of wood nymphesque to me at first glance but the movement was so eye-catching, and Monique knew how to show that effect off on the catwalk. Sure, unless there was also a giant wind machine on set, it may have been lost editorially, but it was memorable.
BEN: When Tim was providing him with some guidance, the best thing Ben ever did was listen to that man. That shiny silver metallic belt he was going for would have taken Lorena from so-called "Madame Butterfly on Acid" to the best Jem and the Holograms Halloween costume. Ever. See? The power of listening to directions!
Deigns that surprised me in a bad way:
SETH AARON: Anyone else notice in the workroom (and in his original sketch) that Seth Aaron had a red polka-dot top incorporated into his design, and then it vanished into the vortex of the power suit that Valeria RAN down the runway in with such fervor that I thought my DVD was stuck scrubbing on fast forward? (Watch her in hyper-speed again in Rate the Walk if you missed it.) Surprisingly, it was safe. I wasn't that pleased by the fit and I thought it would ultimately be overlooked on the newsstand, but it was the only suit.
JANEANE: Oh, Janeane. I feel like she worked on her own separate challenge where she could solely work with bad '80s taffeta prom-dress fabric and was forced to create a dress out of it. A dress inspired by the Swiss Miss Girl. Even the hair was hot-chocolate mountain lady inspired. Heidi's from Germany, not Switzerland. Hello!
Design that surprised me because I was so hypnotized by her sheer level of self-professed confidence, I forgot what I was looking at:
MILA: I was so transfixed by Mila's "I know I am the best" monologue, I became a convert and ignored the fact that Mila also got all mavericky and abandoned the trinity of rules. It was only when guest judge Joanna Coles broke out the verbal whoop-ass that I snapped out of it. (Note to self: If you ever need to pen a brutally honest greeting card, hire her!) Color was off target, big-time, and I think that was made clear. Very, very, British-accent-will-not-soften-this-blow clear.
By the way, The Talent Competition T Lo Award is screaming for Emilio with the scissors for the win this week. Michael Kors, next time you need an egg poached or one of those annoyingly small Phillips-head screwdrivers for sunglasses on the runway, Emilio is your man!
Although I thought Mila’s red-dress contribution looked like a life-sized Rainbow Brite costume and that is being delicate compared with what Sir Gunn had to say about some of his least favorite looks in his blog this week (he is taking off the sports jacket and getting saucy, people!) there’s a much more important and serious takeaway from this week’s episode, and that is the importance of Campbell's AdDRESS Your Heart program.
Campbell Soup, sponsor of "Project Runway" Episode 4 (“Design Your Heart Out”), is committed to fighting heart disease. You can get involved and win some swag and cash! by checking out our Heart Health microsite.
Start by designing your very own dream dress, which will make you eligible to win a prize of $2,000, a Michael Kors bag and accessories. Then play our Red Dress Challenge dress-up game, featuring the designs from Episode 4, plus learn some healthful recipes and tips for staying heart-healthy.
Amy’s winning look will walk the red carpet at the Red Dress Awards on February 10, during New York Fashion Week. So, did you think her design deserved the win, or was someone else overlooked by the judges? Let us know.
New York City, February 1, 2010 – Ellen Archer, President and Publisher of Hyperion, today announced plans to publish a new fashion guide by Nina Garcia, fashion director of Marie Claire and star judge of the hit Lifetime reality series "Project Runway". Titled "NINA GARCIA’S LOOK BOOK: What to Wear for Every Occasion," and featuring original four-color artwork by acclaimed artist Ruben Toledo, this illustrated guide is scheduled for publication in August 2010 under Hyperion’s Voice imprint.
In the book, fashion expert Nina Garcia will answer the universal question all women at one point ask themselves when attending some of life’s most important events: "What should I wear?" In her most practical—yet stylish as ever—project to date, Nina focuses her attention on what every woman needs to know when choosing what to wear to any life event—whether it be a job interview, a first date, or even a parent/teacher conference. From a glamorous, ultra-formal night out to an everyday gathering that calls for casual chic, "NINA GARCIA’S LOOK BOOK" will offer easy-to-read, expert guidance for building that perfect look, every time.
Remember that scene in "Clue" where Tim Curry ties up the loose plot ends* of the movie, running around the mansion explaining all the stuff you just didn’t understand without keeping a running journal of events the entire time? This was that episode. There’s just no accompanying board game. (But there will be one on Nintendo Wii soon!)
First, Tim (Gunn now) assigns the team leaders and their partners. I always like a team challenge. It demonstrates a mastery of sewing and who will most likely make it all the way to Fashion Week. Why? Because your teammate will either be embarrassed that you can sew kick pleats around them and their giant lie of only learning how to sew last year when that B.A. in English didn’t work out so well … or vice versa.
Take, for example, the pairing of Emilio and Anna. Anna fully admits that she could learn a thing or two from her more experienced teammate, and they manage to work harmoniously together. Conversely, Jesse is ready to throw himself out a window when Ping’s free-as-a-bird design technique is too much to handle.
With $500 in their pockets (a record amount for a "Project Runway" challenge), together they plan their pacing, workload and overall collaborative groove … until Tim comes back to let them know that not only do they have to design a second look (on a shoestring budget of a measly 50 bucks from their original loot), but that it needs to be inspired by another team’s look … which is still mid-construction. Fantastic!
Now, Tim (still Gunn) assigns the inspirational teams. I suddenly have a billion scribblings and arrows all over my notebook, attempting to figure out who’s a team leader, whose team is inspiring which design, which one is the expensive look and which one is this new look-for-less and who’s whose model. Gah!
Overall impressions? I would probably get frustrated in a situation like this. But, for all of the shenanigans Jesse was forced to endure, he could have thrown Ping under the bus a lot less gingerly than he did. Plus, when your model is your blame-game Greek chorus, who can go wrong?
Also, in the matter of Anthony’s yellow dress versus Jonathan’s yellow dress, isn’t this really “the chicken and the egg”? They were both bad. Bad was inspired by bad, but it was the only real use of color on the runway. So did Jonathan remain unscathed only because his teammate won? My head hurts too much to tell.
* The “denouement,” for all you folks putting that B.A. in English to infrequent use.
If you're new to "Project Runway," you'll think that this is just another guy with a pseudo-Adam Lambert haircut, but if you've been watching since the beginning, you'll have a special place in your heart for Season 1 and 2 veteran Daniel Franco. He looms large in the legend of "Runway," having the distinct honor of being the first "Auf'd" contestant in the history of the show, as well as the only contestant to appear in two seasons!
Seemingly he "followed his bliss" all the way to the Los Angeles auditions, where Simon, Randy, Kara and guest judge Avril Lavigne have apparently never hummed "Daniel Franco, Where Did You Go?" to themselves. (He's the one claiming to be the offspring of Lambert and UK sensation Susan Boyle.)