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The Project Runway Blog
Category: "episode 10"
We're inching ever closer to Fashion Week, and the designers are hyperaware of it. They're starting to feel the pressure that comes from knowing that they really might be the next one auf'd. They file into the workroom, where Mary Kay Global Makeup Artist Luis Casco and Tim are waiting to outline the next challenge.
Challenge: Inspired by Mary Kay's campaign, "Discover what you love," the designers must make over a randomly selected muse.
Parameters: 30 minutes to find a model in Washington Square Park, another 30 minutes to talk and sketch with them. $200 budget to work with and -- gasp! -- two days to work. Their muses will also model the looks. The winner and his or her muse will be featured in a Mary Kay ad in Marie Claire.
I was a little peeved to see the designers find only young, relatively thin women to model for them, especially given the diversity that can usually be found in Washington Square Park. But they're in a competition and the closer they can stick to traditional model measurements, the better off they think they'll be. We'll see about that!
This week's design crises fall in the laps of Kini, who just seems to be in a rut, and Alexander, who...well. Tim comes around for critiques and seems frozen in place while assessing Alexander's dress, a high-waisted skirt and crop top combo made from amoeba-like shapes of black-and-gold honeycomb fabric placed on top of a hunter green and black plaid. "This is one of the most hideous garments I have ever seen in my entire existence," Tim says, mincing no words. "It is hideous. You've GOT to change this. You've got to." The rest of the designers sit in stunned silence while Alexander starts to panic. He decides to take Tim's advice and starts over on a new look.
Now that we've narrowed down the field, it's natural for everyone to get a little more shark-like about what they perceive their competitors' flaws to be, but Korina's the one getting the Cutthroat Mean Girl edit this season, so we're treated to a a nice supercut of her talkin' smack about her fellow designers. Add that to the ego boost she got (but didn't need) after winning a challenge and it's getting a little hard to root for her. Likability isn't the end-all on "Project Runway," but it IS important. Just ask Gretchen.
Anyway, right before the runway show, Char has a huge problem: The zipper on her look has totally fallen off, leaving her model's side exposed from armpit to hemline. Tim says that if it were a normal week with normal models, he would tell Char "It is what it is," but that it doesn't seem right or reasonable to ask an off-the-street muse to walk a runway half naked. So he takes the dilemma to the other designers: Would they object to Char receiving ten extra minutes of work time to add a new zipper?
The designers are taken aback enough that none of them argue and Char is able to make a quick fix. Afterward, they express their understandable annoyance. "We basically let another Tim Gunn Save happen for Char," Alexander says. Korina shrugs because she doesn't think Char's gonna win anyway.
Heidi and the judges are kept waiting while Char gets extra time, but Tim refuses to fill them in on the details before the runway show. Speaking of! Our guest judges for the week are actress Michelle Monaghan and model/TV host Asha Leo.
Korina The tweed-and-leather jacket earns raves, and the judges like that the skirt plays into her muse's dance background. Heidi at first thinks it looks a little too "'80s mall" but she comes around, and then there's nothing but love for this look, and Korina gets the win.
Kini - Zac, who saw Kini's denim work in his audition, praises him for bringing those skills back at this point of the competition. This look was Heidi's favorite because it looks like something a real woman would wear. As usual, his construction is impeccable, and the muse herself is very happy with the outcome. Kini is safe.
Emily - Emily's muse explains to the judges that she would wear this outfit to fit in at an art gallery opening, "or maybe be the highlight of the opening." I think this story helps edge Emily into the top, because while the judges are torn on the overall look -- it garners comparisons to an origami flamenco -- but they agree that it suits the client's wishes and needs. Nina also says it's the best technical work Emily's done so far. She's safe.
Amanda - Nina says that the general idea for her look was fine, but the execution was totally off. Asha describes it as "More clothes, less fashion." The length of the dress and the vest both come under fire. Amanda doesn't disagree with any of their criticisms. What goes unsaid: Amanda had two days to complete a look, and this is the best she could do? She's safe.
Char - The judges aren't into this. The only thing Heidi likes is the color. Zac calls it a tap dance costume. Nina criticizes the whole concept of putting a gradeschool teacher in an outfit like this one. The judges debate penalizing Char for the zipper fiasco, but in the end, she's safe.
Alexander - A real disaster. Even knowing that Alexander scrapped his original look doesn't compensate for the judges' picking up on his shoddy construction and tame, seen-it-before silhouette. Michelle notes that this muse had particularly interesting personal taste that Alexander could have done a lot with, but instead he played it very safe. Nina also takes issue with the summery silhouette clashing with the wintery fabric. The combination of bad fabric choice, bad construction, and bad concept seal Alexander's fate: He's out.
We're down to the Top 6, folks. How are you feeling? Do you think Char should've been allowed to fix her zipper? Do you think Tim would have allowed it if her model wasn't a "Real Woman"? Was Alexander's second look better or worse than his first? And who do you think is gonna win this thing? Seriously. I know you've got a frontrunner picked out. Let me know what you're thinking in the comments.
We open this week with Tim. He tells us that eight "Project Runway" super-fans have been flown in to have "the ultimate 'Project Runway' experience," which includes a tour of NYC and participation in this season's Real Women makeover challenge. We see Tim lead the women on a tour of the "Runway" facilities before introducing them to (and pairing them off with) our designers, who dive right in on creating makeover looks for their new clients.
Parameters: 2 full days to work! Hallelujah! Plus 30 minutes to sketch and a suggested budget in the $200-$400 range.
The women are so thrilled! They're thrilled to meet Tim, to work with the designers, to go to Mood. They're excited and eager and clearly loving every second, and their joy is contagious: The designers are dedicated to nailing the challenge and doing right by their fans. As a bonus for viewers, this is the first Real Women challenge I can recall that doesn't involve a designer passive-aggressively complaining about having to work with a woman larger than the usual size-0 models. High-fives for everyone.
But it's not all fun. Last week we heard Ken's mom ask him, "Has that 'other side' come out yet?" and this week we get another look at the dual personalities she was talking about.
Because of Jeremy's elimination, Alexander and Bradon pack up to move into Justin and Ken's room. But Ken, who clearly isn't hot on the idea of new roommates, blocks their entrance to the door, blithely taking his sweet time to iron a shirt. Alexander and Bradon ask nicely to be let in. Ken ignores them. Finally Alexander squeezes past, knocking the iron off the ironing board as he does: "I can throw drama, too, honey."
This sets Ken off on a rampage mightier and scarier than we've seen from him yet this season (and we've seen a few). Face slathered in a mud mask, he screams at the top of lungs to the crew about the inconvenience of changing his living arrangements. It's...uncomfortable. The next morning Tim mediates an apology session between Ken, Alexander, and the rest of the designers, but the alarming unpredictability of Ken's temper tantrums hangs over the rest of the episode.
Back in good-time land, the clients are getting buffed and polished, with brand new hairstyles and makeup courtesy of L'Oreal. Let's fast-forward to the runway, where our guest judges are designer Erin Fetherston and Marie Claire Senior Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts Rassi. (Nina's out this week.)
Helen - A wallflower with wholly outdated style, Helen's client, Jamie, wanted an Oscars red carpet dress to match her drastic makeover. Helen made a silky navy blue dress with a sweetheart neckline, corset bodice, and gathered back. The sleek look earns raves. Helen wins for the...I've actually lost count how many times she's won now.
Bradon - His client, Jennifer, wanted to look "intimidating, powerful, and classy, with a major edge," so Bradon made a black sleevless v-neck dress with shiny details and a leather vest with an embellished shoulder. Zanna and Zac think the shimmery pieces on the dress might've looked better (read: more expensive) in leather, but that's the only criticism.
Justin - Justin's model had quite a list of requirements for her garment. It had to be modest, to respect her Mormon faith; fitted to flatter her figure, which has undergone fairly extreme weight loss; something personal, to reflect the uniqueness of her experience on the show. Justin rose to the occasion with a knee-length black dress featuring his model's signature sewn on the front, fitted underneath with a custom corset. The judges are impressed by the personal touch of the signature, and they love that he was able to incorporate all the model's requests in a good-looking garment.
Alexandria - Super-fan Stephanie is a 20-year-old art history student who wants something to interview for jobs and internships in. Alexandria created a grey jacket and a printed skirt. The judges are bored and don't think the garment suits the model's age or interests at all. "It doesn't look hip or modern," says Heidi. "Maternity librarian," says Zac. "There's no visual impact," says Erin.
Alexander - For his client Alexander made a straight-up awful tan skirt-suit with black organza contrast details on the top. Zac dislikes the graphic breakup of the organza, Zanna thinks it's boring, and everyone comments on the horrible construction, which Alexander admits suffered because he didn't have enough time to finish properly.
Ken - To jazz up his stay-at-home-mom client, Ken put her in a green dress with leather accents. Heidi dislikes the placement of said accents and Zanna points out that it's not particularly well crafted. Heidi: "There's not much fashion here."
Annnnnd Ken is out. Alexander lets out a "Wow." when they tell him he's safe, and it's hard to blame him for being surprised. It is a bit bizarre that an unfinished garment sent down the runway this late in the season wouldn't get its designer sent home. That said, I'm sure the other designers breathed a great big sigh of relief at the news of Ken's auf-ing, too. The person who really needed a makeover this episode was cranky Ken.
What do you think? Should Alexander have been sent packing for his unfinished suit? Should Ken have been disqualified for his temper tantrum? Which client do you think received the best makeover? And as we near Fashion Week, which designers do you think will make it all the way? Chime in below!
Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!
This blog is brought to you by Stanley's "WOWWEEE" reaction to the finished product of his print design. I don't think I've seen him that excited all season.
The designers meet Tim Gunn at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, where they're paired off in new teams (Stanley and Michelle, Patricia and Richard, Layana and Daniel). Their objective to design a fabric inspired by the art of the Guggenheim that will be utilized in two looks: One must be "a work of wearable art" while the other should be a more commercial, ready-to-wear piece. The HP + Intel fabric challenge has been a highlight of the past few "Runway" seasons, and incorporating that with inspiration from fine art is intriguing. I'm so bummed Samantha was eliminated last week! I think she would've done something awesome here.
Our top six wander the museum taking pictures and sketching. Aside from immediately agreeing that Richard should work on the commercial look, he and Patricia don't seem to be able (or willing) to communicate their inspiration or ideas to each other at all. Their struggle continues throughout the episode and it's sort of painful to watch. Forget that they're not on the same wavelengthit's like they're not even speaking the same language. Tim accuses Richard of trying to pawn off responsibility for their designs on Patricia should things go wrong. Patricia keeps calling Richard "Daniel." Richard spends tons of time fiddling with a bracelet instead of designing something real. No one comes off well.
Across the workroom, Stanley and Michelle make a great pair. I've been thinking for a few weeks now that their work habits and visual styles are complementary, so it's nice to see them have some genuine excitement for their groupwork. Layana and Daniel, meanwhile, struggle with Layana's creative block. Daniel makes some wan attempts to pump up her ego, which is certainly generous since that Layana can't be bothered to set aside more than a yard of their fabric for his commercial look.
Rachel Roy fills in again for Mr. Posen this week, and our guest judge is designer Tracy Reese (of whom I'm a huge fanher work with patterns is awesome). Let's talk about the runway show!
Daniel - Sleek, sexy, modern, but a bit yawn-worthy coming from Daniel at this point in the season, no? I'm surprised that the judges are so taken with the look. We've seen him build great jackets with tailored shoulders throughout the competition. This didn't strike me as being new or fresh.
Layana - A bit flowery and overwrought. Nina compares it to a period piece; Rachel Roy says it's a "mix of Scarlett O'Hara and a Barbie doll." Layana doesn't exactly jump to defend her dress, either, so it's kind of a wash.
Michelle - I think Michelle's overcoat is great, especially with the painting detail on the train. I also love the styling. Stanley was right to edit out Michelle's crazy hat in favor of the less literal headpiece. The judges are really into this look.
Stanley - I adore the print, and Stanley's choice of silhouette is perfectly executed. The judges give Stanley the win (and the $10,000 prize).
Patricia - Her elaborate handmade textile work is again a thing to be admired, but I don't have any real response to this piece. The judges admire her effort, though Nina (predictably) takes issue with the veil.
Richard - Just a hot mess, and nowhere near the level of work one expects from a designer in the top six. Richard rolled over and died in this challenge, and the judges are quick to send him auf.
I definitely think it was Richard's time to go. Whose look was your favorite? Which pair of garments do you think best met the challenge requirements? Was Stanley more deserving of the win than Michelle? Let me know in the comments.
Next week: A celebrity editorial look, and the return of Tu!
By Indiana Adams, adoredaustin.com
Nothings says New York City like the Radio City Rockettes and nothing says "good tv" like seven crazy good designers on very little sleep manipulating (and in some cases torturing) $350 worth of sparkle and shine.
Out of all the "Project Runway" Season 10 episodes thus far, the premise of this challenge had me the most excited. The last seven designers had two days to make a modern, dazzling performance dress for the most iconic group of dancers in the world: The Radio City Rockettes. The winner's design would be reproduced and worn by all 36 dancers in their upcoming season. In behind the scenes footage online, Rockettes choreographer and director Linda Haberman taught the final seven some Rockette kicks and poses so that each designer would know exactly how their garment needed to move and behave. That meant lots of stretch, lots of bling, and lots of leg! Oh, and also, the dress had to look good from the front row all the way up to the nosebleed section, had to work for both stage performances and television appearances, and needed to be appropriate for any season. And it had to be made out of candy. Oh, wait. Never mind. That was episode two.
Tim took the designers straight to Mood where Sonjia, Ven, and Elena wandered around like Swatch's lost puppies. As the designers made their final purchases, all we can see is sequins and rhinestones and glitter galore. It's like the dustpan from Liberache's dressing room had come to life!
Still buzzing about last night's episode? Share these gifs with your friends to relive your fave Episode 10 moments!
WHEN I SAW HEIDI DANCE WITH THE ROCKETTES
WHEN MICHAEL CALLED "ORIGAMI ROSE" A DRAG QUEEN NAME
For realz, I could have used a pair of sunglasses while watching this episode. Holy blinding sparkles, Batman!
The designers' faces lit up like kids on Christmas morning the moment they saw the Radio City Rockettes take the stage. (And it's also worth noting that Heidi has one heck of a high kick!) This challenge was so freaking cool. The Rockettes are legend-wait for it-dary. (Please click here if you did not get that reference.) As a girl who grew up New Jersey and being fortunate enough to have seen the Rockettes perform more than a dozen times, I aspired to be a famous toy soldier during the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. But at 5'3" and having little to no coordination, my big Radio City dreams have been shelved. So although I may not be a designer, a little part of me lived vicariously through the remaining seven this episode.
I found the way each designer approached this challenge to be very interesting. Initially I thought Dmitry had this one in the bag because of his dance history, but then Melissa had me intrigued with her design based on the architecture of Radio City. (It really is a stunning building if you ever get a chance to go inside.) However, the second Christopher said he was going to do a costume with a bedazzled NYC skyline, I was like, "Done, done and done." And I'm pretty sure the other designers felt the same way.
I feel like this is the point in the competition where viewers really get to see a clear divide as to which designers are made for this competition and which ones don't have the stamina to make it all the way. Case in point? Elena. For nine episodes we have seen her command the workroom, barely cracking a smile. This episode? It's like she took the crazy train to gigglesville and isn't turning back! Seriously?! I've never seen anyone do a complete 180 like that. She even chose a fabric that "old Elena" wouldn't be caught dead using. I can only assume that there must have been something in the water.
Or maybe there was something in the wine the designers had at their la de da dinner? Cause I swear it was bizzaro world in the workroom! My head started to spin just thinking about the 18 pieces that Melissa had to sew together, my nose began to itch just looking at Sonjia's Purple People Eater feathers and my eyes popped out of their sockets when Ven didn't do an origami rose. Final answer: it was definitely the wine because if it wasn't, why would any designer in their right mind say no to a second trip to Mood? A SECOND TRIP TO MOOD AND MORE MONEY! Has that ever happened?! Even Christopher, who essentially won the competition when he put muslin on his form, went to Mood to buy more rhinestones.
Now on to the Gay Pride Parade ... er... I mean runway. I don't even need to get into Christopher's design. It was flawless. I can't wait to see it this Christmas season. The end. I do think that Dmitry's was a strong second place. I agree with the judges that it was a little too sexy, but it was chic, had great movement and had Christopher's costume not been so amaze, Dmitry's would have given him stiff competition. The color was great, too.
But besides Christopher and Dmitry's costumes, everything else was just a big ol pile of bedazzled fabric to me. I totally get what Melissa was trying to pull off, but she was over ambitious and knew it. I do think that had it been executed correctly (aka without the big number one), it would have brought just the right amount of edge to give the Rockettes a modern look without being too over the top. Like I said before, Sonjia's purple costume looked like an homage to the Big Bird and Abba. I didn't mind Fabio's, but as shiny as it was, it looked very matte and lackluster to me.
I was completely torn as to whether it was time for Elena or Ven to go home. I agree with Elena that her costume was marching band-chic, but I also think she understood the challenge better than Ven. It's not that his design was terrible, it was just that he didn't see the full scope of the challenge. Remember, Heidi said in the beginning that the people in the last row should see the same costume as the people in the front row.
Ven is no doubt a talented designer, but after a few tumultuous weeks, it was his time to be aufed.
As I was born in the early 1980s, my sensibility for what makes or breaks a great 1970s outfit is not the best, but I can tell you when a heinous garment walks down a runway, so I can still write this post with some qualifications. When this challenge was first issued to the designers, I wanted to throw down the yellow flag. Did you not see last week's episode, people?! This is not the reference or decade ... again! But, given this was back to designing for women, I figured we could all give them the benefit of the doubt. For now.
The words "SOPHISTICATED" and "MODERN" were reassuring to me, and I was instilled with hope that Pocahontas would be gone. For now.
CUE THE DISCO MUZAK, and we're off to Mood!
In a true "Project Runway" first, Anya not only loses her entire shopping budget, she's also forced to either beg her fellow designers for the nickels and dimes left in their pockets or create a look with the wonders of muslin. I don't know what's worse, really.
However, this is an interesting time if you're into personalities and what really makes a person tick on this show. This is the time when we see whose mantra is "But this is a competition!" versus "We don't want you to go out like this" when someone's down on their luck.
Little did you know, but Anthony Ryan actually left behind buttons and other notions with Anya in mind before he hit the register so that she would have some money to buy something with his balance. Let's hear it for Southern gentlemen! Some (I'm passive-aggressively referring to you, Viktor!) were not so thoughtful.
Bert was like a whole new man in this episode. The guy we met at the beginning of the season wouldn't even hang out with the Studio 54, velvet-rope guy from Episode 10. He was also a wealth of information for his fellow designers to use both for the history of the time period and for unbelievable disco stories from back in the day. (Did anyone else catch that "balcony third row" comment? Bert! You saucy minx!)
Speaking of which, the other interesting part of this challenge is what I like to call the History Channel Showdown. Bert, without question, knows the aesthetic of the '70s. Carry on. Laura asserts herself as being very familiar with the time period because she's "wearing vintage clothing right now" (clearly), and claims that Kimberly is off the mark on the reference and is designing "JC Penney's" pants. (Incidentally, JC Penney's was established in 1902, so it's totally possible.) Meanwhile, Josh claims that since he was born in the '80s, he couldn't possibly be familiar with the decade, which offends, curiously, Viktor.
Viktor, if you recall, was the one who got schooled on references by (then mean) Bert during the stilt walker challenge. Yes, the same man who was confusing Elizabethan with Victorian and and nearly caused Bert's head to explode in a fit of fashion history rage. Did he do some Wiki cram-studying since Episode 3? Check that browser history!
Although it didn't make it into the episode in full (that's what we're here for!), Joshua actually goes on to nearly break down on the specific reasons as to why he was robbed of the experience of knowing fashion references. (Watch this exclusive video blog to see the whole slightly awkward scene unfold. Yow.)
History duels aside, when it came to the second look, you can see who it served well (Laura Kathleen, Bert, Anya) and who it did a disservice to (Anthony Ryan, Joshua). Laura Kathleen's first look had such clashing patterns on the top and bottom, they almost looked like a marriage of two completely different looks sewn together and hidden with a belt. Her second look may not have photographed well, as Nina pointed out, but was much more refined.
Bert's second look (the skimp) grew on me throughout the judging. It really has an effortless ease and simplicity that a lot of women would love. Although his first look was kind of bananas, it was fun and seriously inspired by the time. Perhaps a bit too vintage-looking, but it had a certain joy in it that was missing from the previous week overall. Anya's wheelhouse certainly seems to be creating resort wear with a relaxed vibe. Both winning looks could be in the same woman's suitcase.
If we've learned anything in this episode, it's never to stuff your money envelope in your bra. I don't care how much underwire you're rocking, your money for your reality-competition TV show will fall out. We also learned that you can make fashion with $11 and that even though the nice guy went home, he's still a class act.
Bert and Anya’s winning looks have sold out on Piperlime.com, but Olivia Palermo, our judge on last Thursday’s episode, has a bunch of great new picks at Piperlime.com! Click here to see her faves, and don’t forget you can shop the "Project Runway" Accessories Wall, too.
P.S. The winning looks' biggest fan? Heidi Klum herself! Check her out in Anya's winning Piperlime jumpsuit: