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The Project Runway Blog
Category: "episode 3"
Everything old is new again, time is a flat circle, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, and the clothes we're wearing now are gonna look awful in 10 years but will probably inspire popular fashion in 20 years. That's life! And that's this week's episode of "Project Runway."
The designers meet Tim and Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider on the runway, which is flanked by enormous copies of early Marie Claire covers. The magazine is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and in honor of that we get to see some hashtag-throwback-Thursday shots of our judges (none of whom have aged a day, obnoxiously) from 1994. Ann confesses that she was into grunge in the '90s, to which Tim yelps, "NO!" Anyway, this all sets up this week's challenge.
Challenge: Using inspiration from their lives in 1994, the designers must create a look for 20 years in the future (2034).
Parameters: One day to work, PLUS the season's first Mood shopping trip!
The designers run around Mood, save for Amanda, who sort of glides through it with the expertise afforded to her as a previous "Runway" contestant. Back in the workroom, we're treated to throwback photos of the rest of the gang, and it's adorable: Lots of flashbulb-lighted photos featuring questionable haircuts, weird glasses, and ill-fitting clothes. The early '90s were wild.
Nothing too out of the ordinary goes down in the workroom this week, so let's proceed right to the runway, with guest judge Amanda de Cadenet:TOP THREE
Sandhya - I really dig Sandhya's explanation that in her idea of the future, women's fashion won't need to crib from menswear to be seen as strong. Nina loves it because it's editorial (obviously). Amanda thinks it's bold: "This dress would take an empowered woman to wear it." Heidi thinks it's too comical BUT she admits that of the whole show, this is the most memorable look. The consensus: It's a weird, innovative risk, and it paid off. Sandhya gets the win -- her second of the season.
Kristine - This is the one Nina wants to wear. (She nitpicks the styling, though: "Less is more.") Zac isn't fully impressed by Kristine's brand of '90s grunge references -- he wants to see something more from her at this point in the competition -- but the rest of the panel is very into the chic editorial quality of this look. (For what it's worth, I would wear the hell out of that neoprene jacket. Gimme!)
Emily - Heidi is uber-complimentary; she likes the back and the length of the pant and the belt. She and Ann and Amanda all want to wear this jumpsuit. Nina, not so much, but she likes that the model looks powerful. Zac praises the garment's fabrication. There's a little bit of a negative association with Emily's use of the term "Ewok" to describe the hood, but it still gets raves.
Sean - Zac is the only one even vaguely charmed by this look. From hat to hemline, the panel eviserates it. Shoddy construction and a "Prada Mary Poppins" vibe seem to be the primary concerns.
Alexander - The biggest cons here are the fabric choices (complete with wonky grain line) and the dismal dishwater colors. Best quotes: "It's like a full-on horse blanket," "The biggest problem I have with this is that it's so sad," and Nina screeching, "SHE LOOKS LIKE SHE'S COMING FROM 'PLANET OF THE APES!' AND SHE'S ONE OF THE APES!" I admit: Bad outfits bring out the best in our judges.
Angela - This look is supposedly inspired by Angela's time in the world of finance, but Zac thinks it looks like "a stewardess from the future. And I'd be afraid to get on her plane." The panel likes the idea of updating a suit but no one thinks this works: It looks unfinished, the pale pink is boring, and the draping details on the side of the skirt are unflattering. "[Angela]'s getting more and more sad-looking, and so are her clothes," Heidi says when the judges get the chance to see the garment up close. Ouch.
Had this challenge happened last week, I think Alexander would've gotten the boot, but as it stands Angela has been in the bottom for three weeks straight and clearly does not seem to be taking well to the pressures of the reality competition show environment. She's auf'd in what felt to me like a merciful move by the judges. Do you think it was her time to go? Were you as put off by Alexander's look as the judges were? How cringe-worthy was your sense of style in 1994? Let me know in the comments!
Tireless Heidi Klum wakes the designers up at the crack of dawn to send them off on a jaunt to Coney Island. It's a rainy day, which is no fun, but the challenge parameters are pretty interesting: The designers will hand out samples of Yoplait Frozen Yogurt to people on the boardwalk, then ask them to describe the experience of eating it. The designers will then choose three of those words to inform and inspire their looks. As for the materials? The group will have to play boardwalk games to win their fabric in the form of giant stuffed animals, inflatable toys, and other Coney Island ephemera. Another unconventional materials challenge, yay!
But then Tim announces that it's also a team challenge, which bums everyone out, especially Kate, who's probably still stinging from a whole season's worth of team shenanigans. The pairs are decided by button bag: Alexander and Justin, Alexandria and Dom, Bradon and Karen, Helen and Kate, Jeremy and Ken, Miranda and Timothy, Sandro and Sue.
The workroom is evenly divided between teams working well together and teams embroiled in conflict. Sandro and Sue are a mess from the start; he's argumentative and controlling, and she doesn't feel like battling his ego, so she ends up working as his assistant, essentially, in the interest of completing their garment on time. Meanwhile, Miranda has little patience for Timothy, both as a designer and a person. When he overhears her unkind complaint session in the sewing room, he runs away to cry with his stuffed unicorn in a closet (literally). There's a lot of conflict and a lot of tears, and sometimes it's funny (like when Timothy dramatically sobs "If you know me so well, HOW DARE YOU?") but other times it's just sad (like Miranda crying over the conflict she instigated). Fortunately, the other pairs have a much more nuanced understanding of how to communicate effectively in a team setting.
Our guest judge for the week is Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne. To the runway!
Kate/Helen - A sculptural red mid-thigh strapless dress accented with rosette details, made out of sombreros, a kite, and stuffed animals. It's "sombrero Saturn chic," according to Zac. Kelly says she can imagine young starlets fighting to wear this on the red carpet. Kate graciously says that Helen should get the win, and the judges agree.
Alexandria/Dom - A sort of monster costume inspired by Japanese street style. It's youthful, casual look reminiscent of a sweatshirt dress, made out of stuffed animals. The front pocket looks like a monster's mouth and the crooked shoulder wrap has eyes sewn on. The judging panel praises the fun vibe this gives off. Nina calls it "an Instagram moment" and Zac likes that it's inventive. Alexandria and Dom are safe.
Alexander/Justin - Made almost entirely of balloons, this look is an utterly bizarre mix of styles that I don't even know how to describe. Zac immediately complains about how much is going on in the garment: "There's kelp on the bottom, she has dorsal fins from her hips...she has seaweed on her bum. It just looks like a hot mess." Heidi wants them to edit; the panel agrees the look is much more palatable sans vest and weird peplum bumpers at the waist. But Alexander and Justin are safe for now.
Miranda/Timothy - A blue racer-back dress with a high-low skirt and a woven yellow vest. The judges don't respond to this one at all. Nina compares it to a bio-hazard warning and the consensus seems to be that the look, while technically complete and wearable, is boring. (The palpable crankiness between Miranda and Timothy during their judges' critique certainly doesn't help to sell the garment, either.) His vest is lackluster and this is his third time in the bottom, so Timothy is auf.
Which look was your favorite this week? Do you think Miranda and Timothy shared equal blame for their losing look? Are you sad or relieved to see Timothy go? Let me know in the comments.
Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!
The episode kicked off with the designers chitchatting back at the Atlas probably no more than a few hours after the most recent elimination, where they said goodbye to James. What started off as a simple "Team Keeping It Real is kicking @$$" conversation, quickly turned into a roast of the "weakest" designers, most notably, Kate. But Kate proclaimed that she isn't going to play Miss Nice Girl anymore:
As the designers make their way into the workroom at 1407, they are greeted not only by Tim, but by baskets filled with items like rose petals, pink peppercorns, mandarin oranges and jasmine leaves. Tim then tells them that for this challenge, they'll be creating something for a "very important client." (VIC? Let's go with that.). And in walks none other than Heidi. IT'S THE HEIDI KLUM CHALLENGE. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.
Heidi goes on to tell the designers that as a team, they'll be designing garments for the launch of her "very feminine and sensual" scent, "Surprise." Each team will be responsible for designing four garments for her "Surprise" TV and print ad, and two looks for a press event. After all a woman needs options, right? Or to put it in Heidi terms:
It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight.
If that was only true about this episode! Just when the remaining designers thought they were out of the clear after finishing the dreaded unconventional challenge last week, Tim Gunn dropped another bomb of (almost) equal magnitude on them this week, they'd be working in pairs. ::Grunts all around::
For whatever reason, and I know the selections were completely random, but I really pleased at the pairings. Except a Gunnar/Christopher partnership would have made Cunnar (?), Gunstopher (?) fans like myself do a little happy dance. Can you imagine the dra-ma?! Nonetheless, I thought the pairs would make (hopefully) good designs and (more importantly), good television. I was half right...
Before I get into the nitty gritty of the episode, I have to give it up to my girls Laura Bennett and Mila Hermanovski. Both ladies are official "Project Runway" bloggers (Read Laura's thoughts on the episode here and Mila's here!) and neither spilled the beans to me that they'd be in the episode along with Anya Ayoung-Chee, Kenley Collins, April Johnson, Irina Shabayeva and Valerie Mayen. I love a good surprise, so thanks.
For the most part, I felt like the designers started the day on a high note. Each pair seemed to find a happy medium between their individual aesthetic and were able to divy up the work accordingly. But that didn't last for long. Let's fast forward to when Tim Gunn and the all star designers sashayed into the workroom. For some pairs like Melissa and Dmitry and Ven and Fabio, it was smooth sailing. But for the other pairs, it was anything but. Between Andrea and Raul choosing the wrong fabric for a dress to wear to the Emmys (I emailed Mila and told her I was impressed how well she kept her cool!) or Elena storming out of the workroom because Buffi was taking too long with the pleats, it got ugly.
Oh, a personal catfight highlight of mine, you ask? Christopher's "laxidasical" impersonation of Andrea laugh and all. Spot on. Another one? Irina's bitch fit on Gunnar and Kooan. Girl knows what she likes. I can appreciate that.
And now the dresses. I have to be honest. I wasn't blown away by any of them. My personal fave was Sonjia and Nathan's gold dress for Valerie. I thought it was very Emmy-appropriate. Why they weren't in the top two and Gunnar and Kooan were, blows my mind. It's not that I didn't like Ven and Fabio's dress, it's just that I think for something as special as a major award show, it would have fell flat on the carpet. No one would be talking about the dress the next day, as Michael said. (I would also like to point out that guest judge Krysten Ritter had the same sentiment as me. Another reason why I'm convinced we should be BFFs. Love "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.")
As for the bottom two, I don't disagree that Alicia and Raul's look was the worst. And I do agree that Raul should have been the one to go home. I also think if Christopher and Andrea were able to get it together as a team, their dress could have been something special. And obviously Christopher realized that. Tug at my heartstrings with those tears, why don't cha?!
My final thoughts on the episode:
-Ven, show some excitement! You just won two weeks in a row! You sound so serious! Talk with exclamation points!
-Did you catch Raul say, "Bye Brittany!"? Who's Brittany and Tiffany?!
-Holy cliffhanger, Batman! I can't wait to see what's in store next week! (Okay I may know what happens, but trust me when I say that Andrea's not the only designer making her mark on the competition next week!)
Who do you think should have gone home? Raul or Alicia? Or both?
The first team challenge on this season of “Runway” allowed us all to see how well the designers can compromise to reach a common goal: dressing a 700-foot-tall woman. Given the literal enormity of this challenge, the teams needed to be mindful of not making a giant costume (this is a model wearing stilts, after all), but to treat this as if they were dressing a tremendously tall person and make everything proportionate to that. And it seemed like that was the key to succeeding in this challenge. Those who made something costume-y ended up in the bottom, and those who made a ready-to-wear look were rewarded.
The walk is always critical to any great model, but the fact that some of these stilt walkers were walking like a tall, drunk John Wayne in a swimming pool wasn’t doing anyone any favors here.
As for the team pairings, you could tell which unions were doomed from the start (Bert and Viktor) and which would be complementary (Anthony Ryan and Laura Kathleen a.k.a. Team Two First Names). Even though Josh M. (sorry, THE Josh) and Julie ended up in the bottom on this challenge, I’ve decided that they need their own show ASAP. I would watch those two in the workroom together any day making crazy romantic Mexican-hat-dance Liberace matador outfits. Please give us more!
After a 4:30 am
breakfast midnight snack and Red Bull chug, the designers were off to the show’s first outdoor runway presentation.
This episode reminded us of the great divide between the self-taught designers and those who went to school for formal training. Team Bryce and Fallene (who behaved almost like they were a brother-and-sister team) should have done a better job of sizing up their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, Fallene doesn’t know how to cut on the grain. We get it. This was made abundantly clear. But if Bryce was the master of all things grain, whole wheat and otherwise, wouldn’t it have behooved them to transition her to the skirt to get the final look they wanted? Instead, we ended up with more soundbites from Bryce and a really tall bad dancer’s warm-up getup. (All that was missing was the leg warmers, some bandaged-up feet and the neck cut out of an oversized T-shirt. What a feelin’!)
How do you solve a problem like slightly lobster-color Bert? Not with those correctly-identified-as-”Sound of Music”-curtains fabric. I’m not sure what was worse: that tapestryesque fabric on the top, or the material on the skirt? In the words of fellow blogger Laura Bennett, SERIOUS UGLY. I’m sure Bert is wise and learned and well-read, but he missed the book that taught him that their garment was heinous. And I say “their” because it was a collective effort. Just like Team Two First Names should have JOINTLY won for their success, Bert and Viktor should have been jointly accountable for their failure. They both had a hand in that garment.
In the end, it’s time for Fallene to head back to hairdressing, and Viktor is spared. His Week 2 Wee Wee Pad dress that slipped under the radar last week may have saved him.