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The Project Runway Blog
Category: "episode 6"
The designers are wrangled to Webster Hall in Manhattan, which is set up for what appears to be a low-key wedding. Tim walks down the makeshift aisle with famed burlesque performer, lingerie designer, and next-level class act Dita Von Teese to introduce the designers' next task.
Challenge: Create an alternative wedding dress and a corresponding dress for the reception.
Parameters: The designers will work in pairs determined by the button bag (throw air quotes around that because at least one of these pairings seems deliberately arranged for maximum drama): Kini and Sean, Fade and Emily, Char and Sandhya, and Korina and Amanda (ahem). Budget of $400, one day to work. Sean has immunity.
Feels appropriate to make designers pair up for a wedding-related challenge, no? All that wedding talk about patience and compromise applies here, too. At Mood, some questionable choices are made: Samantha and Alexander grab oxblood lace and creamy-colored appliqué, while Sandhya pushes Char toward a highlighter-bright citron chartreuse-y shade. Tim's critiques are...not thrilling, but not utterly disastrous, either. Unlike last week, the designers are sticking to the plans they've made. Sean and Korina struggle to complete parts of their looks, but Amanda and Kini step in to shoulder the burden. Sandhya's dress looks like an actual half-eaten ear of corn but Char keeps her head down and focuses on her own look.
Amanda seems to be getting some hate from her fellow designers for winning so many challenges and absorbing the judges' attention and other nitpicky things, and the "seems to be" is key here because we don't actually see these confrontations (with Char and Korina, apparently), but rather Amanda's reaction to them. I am bored by all of it, so let's move on to the runway, where our guest judges are Ms. Von Teese and Italian style blogger Chiara Ferragni. (I'm still trying to figure out if the very particular "uh" sound she makes at the end of words is affectation or not. I can't lie to you, I found it kind of delightful.) Korina and Amanda are safe, which is surprising given how hard the editors were pushing their struggle on us this week, but not so surprising given their perfectly adequate final product. Sigh of relief for them!
Kini and Sean - Zac calls them the Dream Team. Nina likes the play on masculine and feminine that the looks offer. She thinks the skirt of Kini's garment is slightly too flamenco, and heavy-looking at that. Heidi and Zac don't see any problem with it. Dita says she'd wear both outfits. There's no question that Kini and Sean are the top team but there's some back-and-forth regarding which of the them deserves the win more. Sean gets it. Which is fine? I guess? Even though it seemed like Kini handled more of the work and is also overdue for a win? I'm not sure I really understand where that decision came from. Kini doesn't either: "I was robbed," he shrugs.
Emily and Fade - Emily describes their bride as an "introverted, artistic type" who gets married in Japan. Dita, who herself had a gothic wedding, finds Emily's hooded look cliche and over-the-top. Heidi likes the draping at the back, and the fabrication of Fade's dress gets compliments, too, but Chiara and Dita don't see any cohesion between the two looks. "I don't even think these girls would be hanging out together," Dita says. The designers aren't on the bottom, technically, but their critique wasn't great, so we're just gonna settle for them being safe.
Alexander and Samantha - Nina says the only thing missing from these messy looks is rhinestones, since Alexander and Samantha threw basically everything else on them anyway. The panel doesn't like how cheap both look, nor how '80s they are, nor the bizarre red-wine-stain ombre on the party dress. Zac's one compliment: The looks do seem like they come from the same world and belong to the same girl. (Though since that was the minimum requirement for the challenge, it's really not much of a compliment at all. Way to barely make it work, guys.) They're safe.
Sandhya and Char - Heidi calls it an epic fail. Zac says his takeaway is "Big Bird and Tweety bird." Dita thinks the girl looks like "a lemon heiress," which is maybe my favorite descriptor ever used on the show. Nina thinks working with the color in a more simplified form would have been better. Heidi agrees and goes on to call out the haphazard way the skirts on both looks were constructed. Char and Sandhya aren't in defense mode at all -- they know they messed this one up -- and actually sound grateful for the criticism. The judges put them in the bottom, and it's no surprise they choose Char for elimination. Sandhya's too much of a rising star to let go at this point in the season.
Tim says that if we were a bit later in the season, he would have used his Tim Gunn Save on Char. I admit that I forgot the Tim Gunn Save was a thing, and am now even more curious as to who Tim might have in mind to use it on should the need arise. (Fade, maybe? He's done consistently interesting work to little or no fanfare from the judges. I could see him landing on the chopping block by virtue of being a little too subdued, then Tim swooping in to make sure he gets another shot.) How do you feel about Char getting auf'd? Did you think her design was worse than Sandhya's? Do you think Kini deserved the win over Sean? (I do!) As we inch closer to the finale, are you getting any vibes about who you think might land at the top? Lemme know in the comments.
It says a lot about our designers' states of mind this week that upon hearing that they'll be treated to an overnight camping trip, they immediately start to brainstorm what sort of bizarre challenge will be thrown their way. "Worse case scenario: We can use our own blood to dye things," Kate says, and I don't doubt for a second she'd do just that.
Tim meets them at a remote, forest-y locale, where sponsor Resource Natural Spring Water has set up a first-class campsite. This not just a camping trip! It's a glamping trip, which is apparently a more glamorous version of camping complete with tents on risers, hammocks, lantern lighting, and a sit-down dinner at a real table.
Access to fresh air and fun activities seems to chill the whole group out considerably. They go rafting, take turns ziplining through the woods, and roast marshmallows over a crackling fire. As it turns out, outside the workroom they're an amiable, funny bunch of people. It's a relief to see them enjoy each other's company after five episodes of exhausting drama.
After last week's hodgepodge of requirements and inspirations, this challenge is blessedly straightforward: Design a high-end look inspired by the glamping trip. They get one day to work and a suggested budget of $300. The workroom is relatively subdued this week as Tim counsels the designers on fabric choice and color. Let's jump right to the runway (featuring guest judge Allison Williams):
Alexandria - Modern basics: A long-sleeved zip-up chambray denim jacket with an upper back cutout and draping along the spine, paired with white drop-crotch knee-length pants. Alexandria gets unanimous approval for going out of the box with her design, and she takes the win.
Jeremy - Jeremy transcribed the text of a love letter he wrote to his family in script across the bodice of bias-cut white gown with white button details along the side. The panel is captivated by the romance of it, and Jeremy wins praise for the gown's easy elegance.
Alexander - A deep blue sleeveless floor-length gown with a leather train and handpainted details intended to resemble trees at midnight. Nina likes the drama of it, and Alexander gets kudos for impeccable construction. Zac doesn't seem all that excited, citing the gown's mid-thigh seam as a negative.
Ken - A moss green wool knee-length dress with structured layering at the chest. Nina points out that seen in profile, the padded chest thing overpowers the rest of the dress; Allison and Heidi think the technique used to construct it might have been better utilized elsewhere. Zac calls it "a squished frog." Further thumbs down are given for the too-'80s styling.
Karen - A billowy yellow ombre dress cinched in just above the bust, accented with a brown belted strap, this one makes the judges frown. They toss around words like "trashy," "muumuu," and "runny eggs," and they call out the dissonance between the look's cowboy vibe and its alleged African safari inspiration.
Justin - In a move better suited for an unconventional materials challenge, Justin accented an airy gray gown with boatloads of dried hot glue. The effect is akin to "a foaming vagina," Nina says. The judges acknowledge that Justin was good to push himself to try something new, but as Heidi says, "At what point are you gonna say, 'I wanted to try something different but it actually looks really ugly, so I'm gonna stop myself'?" Justin is auf'd.
OR IS HE?! Many tears are shed by the rest of the designers, who clearly have a lot of affection for Justin. But then Tim Gunn pops in to announce that he will be using his Tim Gunn Save to keep Justin around for a little while longer. Problem solved!
What do you think? Should Tim Gunn have saved his save for someone else? Was Justin's garment bad enough to warrant his elimination? How do you feel about drop-crotch pants and Alexandria's execution of same? Bonus points if you have any fun camping stories to share. Let me hear 'em in the comments.
Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think were the Top and Bottom looks each week!
This blog is brought to you by my new mantra: "You've got great legs, so show them, b*tch! Don't be a fool." Thanks for the motivation, Joan Rivers.
I don't envy Michelle at this point in the competition, as literally everything she's done has been overshadowed by the lower scores and eliminations of her teammates. But she doesn't help her case by declaring early on in this week's episode that she doesn't want to work with Patricia (as if we haven't heard her say it a million times before). Hasn't she heard of foreshadowing? Of tempting fate? Heidi brings out the button bag, which decides that Michelle will join Patricia and Layana's team. "Wow, what a surprise!" says no one.
The designers head to Midtown Loft, where a group of lively older women are rocking out with a dance instructor. Tim tells the group that their challenge is to design a fashionable look for one of these mature women. There's no need for cohesion between teammates and no other constraints, and best of all, the ladies are fun, funny and game for anything. There are no twists and turns this week. It's all about design and execution.
I want to jump straight to the runway looks because I think there's a lot to discuss. Michelle and Layana are apparently given high scores for their work, but Patricia's low score lands them squarely in the Safe Zone. Here's the thing: I like Patricia. I like her perspective and I like a lot of her techniques, but I'm increasingly beffudled by her design choices. The thick-looking fabrics, the color blocking, and the neckline of her look combine into an unflattering and frankly amateur-looking mess. I imagine she was super thankful for the teams conceit this week, because it absolutely saved her from elimination.
Daniel/Samantha - I assumed these looks would land the team in the Safe Zone, so I was surprised to see them on top. The judges love the thoughtful details in Daniel's black pantsuit, and they like the thought behindif not the execution ofSamantha's sassy leopard-print look. (Different sleeves and a minimization of the bow at the waist would have improved the latter a lot, I think.)
Richard/Stanley - Stanley's purple suit looks expensive and it flatters his client, but working with a woman in possession of such a model-esque figure was an advantage I was surprised the judges didn't acknowledge. I agree with Nina that the silhouette of Richard's jersey dress drowns the client just a tad, but the judges like that the look is youthful and simple.
Benjamin/Amanda - The judges are not at all fond of Amanda's hankerchief-hemmed dress, and I don't blame them; there's something very off about it, including but not limited to the messy tailoring at the back of the skirt. Melissa Rivers says, "You've tried to make a cake with whatever was in the kitchen," and that hits the nail on the head, really. Ben is justifiably called out for the constricted fit and misguided style of his garment.
Kate/Tu - Tu admits that he a) failed at properly sewing his garment, and b) let down his client. The entire judging panel is sort of horrified by the fact that the belt is the only thing really holding his dress together. Kate, on the other hand, knocks it out of the park this week. The subtle ribbing and detailing in the sweater is great, and combined with the strong print of the skirt offers a very classy, timeless look for her client. (Shorten the sleeves and the skirt just a tad and I'd wear that look, too.)
So whose look is the worst? The tightness of Benjamin's top is problematic, but certainly no more so than Tu's basically unfinished dress or Patricia's ill-proportioned mess. And compared with Amanda, at least Ben put together a garment that looked polished, and one that the client truly liked. This challenge wasn't Ben's finest hour, and I'm not his biggest fan by any means, but I'm not sold on his auf-ing.
What do you think? Was Patricia's look as terrible as I thought it was? If this challenge had taken place in a team-less season, who do you think would have been eliminated? Which look was your favorite? And if you were a designer, how terrified would you be to have your look judged by the ruthless Joan and Melissa Rivers? Chime in below.
Next week: Prom! Duct tape! ACTUAL DUCKS! Sign me up.
By Becky Broderick, Starpulse.com
Hello, "Project Runway" fans! With a new week comes a new challenge, but a very old problem for many of the contestants: designing garments for women with gasp! normal bodies. Every season has its designers who just recoil at the thought of working with "real world" clients. It drives me crazy every time. Seriously, how many of these people really think they’re going to be designing exclusively for models, actresses and circus freaks with no ribcages? Certainly if any of the designers want to have their lines picked up by retailers, they’ll need to know how to make clothes that fit a range of body types. Sure, they could keep churning out the size 2s, as long as they don’t mind their garments dying alone on the store racks.
The designers met up with Tim Gunn and L’Oreal Paris stylist Johnny Lavoy, who explained that this week’s challenge was to give some regular gals fabulous style makeovers. The clients were all nominated for these makeovers by friends, who also went along for the ride.
Most of the other designers seemed happy with their clients, most of whom were considered too boyish, too casual, or just not too fashion savvy. Even though the clients were all different sizes and were assigned to the designers randomly, Ven vented about how oh-so unfair it was that he got the “plus-size” girl when others had thin clients. (Meanwhile, his client looked like a size 14, tops.)
Before this episode, I was pretty vocal about my dislike for Gunnar. Thankfully, it looks like he’s finally toned down the "flamboyant villain" character he was committed to playing earlier in the season. In contrast to Ven’s constant griping and sniping, Gunnar totally embraced the idea of dressing a “real woman,” and made a connection with his client, Kim, an aspiring actress who wanted her clothes to reflect her fun, bubbly personality. It was actually pretty touching to see Gunnar treat this woman with such care. He really went all out to make sure she felt comfortable, special and happy.
After the trip to Mood (yet another week with no Swatch sighting *sigh*), the gang headed back to the workroom to get to work on this one-day challenge. When Tim stopped by for his usual rounds, there was a lot of good dialogue flying around … until he pulled up to Ven’s station. The conversation quickly devolved into something out of “Mean Girls,” with Ven giving Tim a brutal assessment of his client Terri, spewing out insults like "she doesn’t have a shape," "she has no sense of style," and "the before picture is a nightmare." Wow. I could say something about how Ven sort of looks like a Buddha statue, therefore, he probably shouldn’t talk about anyone else, but that would be mean, right? And I don’t want to be mean. Oh wait, I already said it. Oops.
It was also revealed that Terri is a size 14. Called it!
I'm getting straight to the point this episode and I'm sure my fellow bloggers will agree with me: Ven, wake up! Not everyone woman is a stick-thin, size 0, emaciated model. Real women come in different shapes and sizes. Real women deserve to dress like a superstar and feel good about themselves. And more importantly, real women deserve to be treated with respect.
I was totally disgusted at the way Ven blatantly and continuously had no regard for his client, Terri's, feelings and style. In the beginning, Ven almost had me fooled he said that right to her face that he was going to create something that would be "comfortable" and "fashionable," and that he would "take the next step forward" with her fashion. Mind you in his confessional he said that he was "in shock" and "disappointed" when he saw her for the first time. Shame on you. (And really?! Like you're one to talk.) For what it's worth, his final look didn't look comfortable and fashionable at all. But more on that later.
As I continued to watch the episode, I realized that I wasn't the only one drinking the Ven haterade. The look on all the designers' faces when Ven was fitting Terri was priceless. They should have a muzzle in the workroom for moments of verbal diarrhea like this. Gunnar said it best when said that Ven was "dogging" his girl. (Oh, and BTW how great was Gunnar with his client, Kim? I know the guy gets a bad rep for being a diva, but he was so sincere and genuine while working with her. I think these are the moments that typically end up on the cutting room floor the ones that show that the designers are actual caring human beings.)
So one day and 10 great hair makeovers laters, the "real women" were ready to strut their new looks down the runway. (And boy, did Gunnar's client strut!) I know it's not easy to design out of your comfort zone, but at the end of the day when "Project Runway" is over, there is a high possibility that the designers will be creating pieces for the average woman, so consider this a glimpse of the future. The standouts for me were Alicia (Because she took at risk, listened to her client and totally stepped out the box), Christopher, Dmitry (I think he should have won) and Melissa (Just like Heidi said, I wish I could have seen more of her dress). I think it's great that Fabio finally felt comfortable enough to finally express himself as a designer, so on that merit alone, I think he did deserve to win. (And his client looked elated with her new look, to boot!)
Based on design alone, it's a toss up for with the bottom three whole should have sent home. Ven, Nathan and Sonjia's designs all had their share of flaws the zipper on Ven's skirt was inappropriate, Nathan's client looked like a $2 hooker and Sonjia's dress was too short, to name a few. I wish the judges got to see more of how Ven treated his client and voted him off because if I were them and he was to win the whole competition, I wouldn't want someone with such a bad attitude to represet the name "Project Runway." But alas, Ven was saved and Nathan was aufed.
On a final note, please read the last paragraph of Nick Verreos' blog. I can't say it any better than he did.
Tell me your thoughts on Ven. Do you think he should have went home?
Based on the Harlem School of the Arts painting session pairings, I was totally taken back to Season 4's prom dress challenge. Would Viktor's student Skyy become akin to Christian Siriano's prom tweenmate? For his sanity's sake, I hope not!
While receiving Dalai Lamaesque life lessons and avoiding House of Deréon inspiration, the designers all did their best to wrap their heads around the definition of "avant-garde." So that we're all on the same page, here it is:
avant-garde |?avänt ?gärd; ?avä n |
noun (usu. the avant-garde) new and unusual or experimental ideas, esp. in the arts.
I watched this episode three times in the hopes that something "new" and "unusual" would slap me across the face that I didn't notice the first two times. And finally, during the third replay, it did: EVERYONE IS NICE TO EACH OTHER NOW!
What a relief! Perhaps now that everyone is humming "Kumbaya" in 11-part harmony, we'll see some truly inspired avant-garde fashion:
Olivier, as much as we want to protect him like a tiny kitten, needs to ROAR already. His winning pet-challenge look was far and away more avant-garde than this look. This one was too safe. And just because he had some chiffon available (presumably because Danielle is no longer hoarding it and calling it her "Precious" in a corner somewhere), does not an avant-garde look make.
Bert, although half-harlequin and half-whatever crazy geometric thing Katy Perry wore to the VMAs, got the "unusual" part right, but it was too unflattering a fit to be a legitimate contender. Litmus test: If you make a model look like she has a saggy butt and the world's shortest torso, you're in trouble for the rest of us.
Josh C. spent so much time toying around with that ghastly red faux fur and his throwback to the sassy X-rated version of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" that he just couldn't get past the fact that it wasn't good. Painting or no painting! What's sadder still is that he had one of the cooler paintings to work with. His tweenmate who, incidentally, could have passed as his kid sister should have let him know.
Laura Kathleen's hard-meets-soft rose concoction had potential, but the combination of the green boning and the yellow organza just bothered me. I couldn't see past it. And apparently, neither could the judges for as much as they liked it. (Watch it again and take note of the number of times they applaud her for hard and soft ... and not much else.)
Joshua M. did a nice job of giving his skirt some texture with his paint application, but remove that belt in your mind and ponder how the top transitioned to the bottom. That wasn't using an accessory to accessorize; that was a foot of mystery in the middle. (Prove me wrong by removing the belt and I'll rescind my comment!)
Anya, for as much flak as she gets, really put together a great look this week. I'm surprised it didn't resonate with the judges more than just being safe. The shape she achieved in that skirt really set her apart from the rest of the pack. She, as always, seemed to be spot-on with the styling. Her model's hair? Genius.
Bryce's look had lot of potential too, but the fit was way off. Gaga would be all over that thing if it was done right. And she'd wear the sleeves tied behind her on the red carpet and have her minions speak for her using only index cards transcribed in German.
Anthony Ryan's look, I really loved it, but it was love I already had for his second challenge dress ... because that's what it was. Same neckline. Same silhouette, just longer and not covered in birdseed. Maybe it was a blessing that Nina wasn't there to remind Michael and Heidi of this?
If it sounds like I'm being harsh on the designers in this episode, I am. We're down to 11 designers. I want to see something spectacular. Spectacular Spectacular! I didn't expect them to, you know, throw Swatch the Mood mascot dog on someone's head as a hat and label it "avant-garde," but it certainly would have piqued my interest.
Tweet along with @projectrunway and Episode 6 guest judge Kenneth Cole (@kennethcole), plus Marie Claire's Zanna Roberts Rassi (@zrobertsrassi) on Thursday night at 9 et/8c. Use #projectrunway in your tweets to follow the conversation!