FYI, I’m excited about Project Runway, as I have just expressed in my own, subtle way. Tim Gunn is back! Actual-Heidi is back! And without starting the episode yet I can tell you that grandiose, overblown self-assessments by questionable talents are back! But hopefully, we’ll see a bit of honest-to-dog actual good designing, too. That’s what we’re all here for, yes? Well, that and the Tim Gunn faces.
There are a lot of designers, so I recommend, if you didn’t watch the episode, moseying on over to Lifetime.com to check them all out. Also check out Actual-Heidi on the PR page, who appears to be having some sort of scissor/underpants accident. Get well soon, A-H!
Our drama begins amid the glittering tourists of Times Square (in gen-u-ine New York City), where a live runway show is about to take place. Who should we spy amongst the cameras but Michael Kors and Nina Garcia! Hail, hail, the gang’s all back. I can’t even remember the old gang, the one from All Stars, and nor do I want to. Except for Mondo, who I wish was in every show ever. Even, like, Parks and Recreation. Can you imagine an Donna/Mondo subplot?
Kors said, “We’ve had more seasons than I Love Lucy.” Grandiose statement #1, ladies and gents.
Flashback to Parsons!
Our first contestant is Buffi, who is half-Indian, half-Australian and grew up in Dubai. Let’s see, that means… carry the one… she’s got a cool accent and more auto-cred than the boring old Americans. Is “Australian” an ethnicity? If so, I’m half-New Hampshirite and half-West Virginian, which means absolutely nothing. The photos of her clothes revealed a love of neon. And animal prints. Together. [INSERT TIM GUNN CONCERNED FACE.] Buffi is the self-declared comedian of the group, which annoyed, er, amused the shit out of…
Dmitry, who looks very serious and has serious accent and is not smile for you and is serious. He is from Belarus and used to be a professional ballroom dancer. That is awesome. But serious. Although we did get a small smile when he said, “I have passion for fashion.”
Next up is Gunnar, who auditioned for the show before but womp womp, failed to make it on. He says he didn’t used to know who he was as a designer. He knows who he is, now, which I’m sure is helpful when he has to go to the DMV.
Lantie introduced herself as being thirty-eight-years old. But WHOOPS she’s really forty-eight. Someone needs to work their overblown bullshit muscle. She can probably get some one-on-one mentoring with Michael “My Skin Color Really IS Orange!” Kors.
We met Fabio, or as I shall call him Beardy McHairface, since there is only one Fabio in my life and he graces romance novels. Beardy is a freegan, which means he is better than you, you corrupt tool of the consumerist corporate system. He dumpster dives for his food, which is unusual as a choice (as opposed to a necessity) but I say more power to him. Who am I to really judge when I consider Pizza Rolls to be the highest form of culinary excellence?
Elena designs for the “edgy girl,” which is really refreshing. Usually designers are only interested in staid, boring women who enjoy wearing potato sacks, so thank goodness Elena is here to change it up. Based on her all-black designs, I’m guessing Elena hails from the Matrix.
Kooan makes clothing because of love. “I like making a lot of love!” he says while wearing a happy face sticker on his star shirt. I likes it. He’s got a big ol’ mass of curly hair and some really fun, out-of-the-box clothes. He’s the first one I got excited about by looking at his past designs, so I hope he can deliver the goods on the runway.
Melissa likes the color black. …That’s all I got.
As the other designers oooohed and aaaahed over his white pantsuit, Ven declared that he knew everyone would be intimidated by him. He says it’s not about designing for the future, but for the now because you have to sell. Ruthless!
And there were a bunch of others who perhaps aren’t important. Or something. But on to the challenge!
The designers were given homework this time: arrive with a completed garment which shows their aesthetic as a designer. The challenge was to make a companion piece for the outfit they’d already made.
Christoper dropped out of college, but can sew like a &*^%^$. (They beeped him, so I don’t know what he can sew like, but I’m glad for it, because as you may remember, I LOVE the designers who can really, really sew. It’s kinda the bread-and-butter of making clothes, ya know?)
Beatrice can’t sew. [INSERT TIM GUNN CONCERNED FACE.] She says the dress she brought with her took four days to sew. It was a shift dress thing that would take me about an hour to sew, so I’m already giving her stink face.
Dreadlocks makes clothes for tomboys. Her name is Alicia. I’m probably never going to call her that. She enjoys menswear and well as womenswear and often combines the two. I’m hopeful, because I adore a kick-ass pants maker.
Raul is another menswear designer, but the dresses he showed were cute as hell. I do, however, question his hair. He’s got this point thing in the center of his forehead. When you’re taking your fashion cues from Eddie Munster, you might want to reevaluate your choices. At Mood, he purchased this nylon-looking pink ruffled fabric that wouldn’t gather on the sewing machine for shit. It was just wrong for what he was trying to do. [INSERT TIM GUNN CONCERNED FACE.] And it’s see-through. [INSERT TIM GUNN FURTHER CONCERNED FACE.]
Andrea is fifty-eight years old, and got her age right the first time, so she’s got a leg up, brains-wise. She teaches fashion and has a million degrees in art. I’ve got a soft spot for the middle-aged ladies, since I will be one. Not soon. Nope.
Christopher and Gunnar had a tiff straight away. Christopher said “This isn’t Project Obnoxious.” Has he been watching the same show we have? Of course it is! A mamby-pamby attitude like that will not help you, friend. Or should I say ENEMY? You’re on reality tee-vee now! Christopher and Gunnar look really similar, but I can tell you that Gunnar is the one with the Cruella De Vil hair. Christopher said that Gunnar belongs on Toddlers and Tiaras instead of Project Runway. All together now: OOOOH, BURN. He’s a quick learner. Color me Team Christopher. What think you, Persephoneers? C or G?
Sonjia thinks she’s got ADD. She’s got blue hair and says everyone should love everyone. Sigh. This is not America’s Next Top Best Friend. Why don’t these nice assholes get it?
Anon, Tim arrived in the work room for a first glance at the horrors therein. Buffi was working on hot-pink-trimmed cut-outs on only one leg of her leather pants, which she said was less trashy than both legs. Dmitry called her aesthetic “diarrhea.” I like his accent even more than hers, so I have to agree with him.
Lantie was pinning a bunch of tulle and snakeskin on her dress form. Um… I… hmmmmm.
Beatrice, who can’t sew, works only in knits, which are the hardest to sew. It’s a great choice. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t drag your ass down to the Y and take a sewing class. At least do it after you’ve gotten cast! [INSERT NINA GARCIA WTF FACE.]
The models came in to the work room for their fittings. I was so pleasantly surprised to see a vast array of heights and sizes on the models this season, reflecting the diversity of women’s bodies the world over.
Hahahahahaaa! No, of course not, you rotund rubes! Moddles is moddles. At least they weren’t all White.
And so our group arrived at Times Square, their half-finished abominations in tow. Our glamorous judges were Michael, Heidi, Nina, actress Lauren Graham, and costume designer Patricia Field.
What happened next? Why, the designs, of course! Hooray!
Ven’s white pantsuit was stunning. Just… damn. The pink rose bustier is not my particular thing, but it was made like the angels sing, and I do love that. The pants were pleated at the outside and bellbottom — they flowed beautifully. His second look, made at Parsons, was a hot pink sheath dress that was a little too sorority dance for me, although the pleating on the skirt was lovely. His whole vibe is more country club than I enjoy, but I had to admire the craftmanship and proportions. The judges were wowed by his technique and thought everything looked expensive. That suit was crepe and wow. Just wow.
Beatrice’s four day dress was a grey affair that looked like the old stretched-out nightgown I wear to bed topped with a knit, fur-trimmed, shapeless poncho. It would have been fine if this were the Forever 21 Fashion Hour. Close-up it was slightly better. Her second look was just sloppy straight lines with a belt to try and give it shape with fabrics too disparate to work. Just… no. Actual-Heidi called it sad. Patricia said none of it caught her eye in a special way.
Lantie’s from-home dress was a re-purposed ’60s dress. I hated the choker tulle thing strangling that poor model, and I really wonder what this dress started out to be and how much it actually changed. Frankly, there was no wow here. She said of her second look, “It wasn’t as horrifying as I saw in the work room.” I beg to differ, Lantie. It looked like a gussied-up lamp shade from a whore house. And I don’t mean that in the good way. Kors called it “muddy mosquito netting.” Nina said the first dress was trying too hard and the second, horrifying. Patricia called her a stylist — not a designer. Ouch.
Andrea’s first dress had the lines of a Poiret from the teens, and I really dug that. Put Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey in this! Together with the black-and-white panels, I enjoyed this dress, although it’s a difficult length. Her second look was almost there. It, unfortunately, got caught up awkwardly in front at the skirt when the model walked and reminded one of a maternity dress, but I could see the direction she was trying to steer toward. I think another layer of boning at the bottom would have saved it.
Christoper’s first cocktail dress fit his model badly — bunching and creasing at the waist and with a heinous warp at the zipper. Apparently, his model was two inches smaller than the dress form, and yes, that will super mess you up when the dress is basically already done. Too bad, but the dress itself was nothing to write home about, even if well-fitted. A black strapless dress. His insults directed at Gunnar were more interesting than this. His second gown ruffled its way into my heart, however. Gorgeous. J’adore the geometric shapes in the bodice. And when she walked, the skirt flapped like a gossamer superhero cape, or something more romantic-sounding. Heidi loved the gown. Kors said the fabric manipulation was really, really well done. See what happens when you know how to sew on a sewing show?
Dreadlocks (Alicia, fine) started off with a hooded jumper that was not my style, but was actually cute as hell. I feel like I should hate it, but I don’t. It’s fun and easy and makes me want to wear it on a field trip involving booze. The little-red-riding-hood color was very welcome amongst all this gray and black. In her second look, again, I felt like I ought to hate the drop-crotch pants with asymmetrical buttons, but I just couldn’t. They were a Frankenstein of riding pants and grunge, and I dug it.
Elena’s heart-boob dress reminded me of a skeleton costume. Or a bat. Something Halloween-ey. It needed a movie to go with it. Her second dress, the one she brought with her, was even better — an ah-mazing quilted coat-looking dress that I need on my body immediately please. I love the sharp angle she gave to the waist and hips. For my next book I want to create a badass heroine who wears this. She’d definitely be some sort of vampire slayer or alien siren, luring unsuspecting men to their demise while they smile about it.
Buffi’s first dress looked like a trash bag with a pink collar. The second, a hot pink off-the-shoulder trash bag with those aforementioned leather pants. If there was artistry in the construction, it kinda got lost in the shiny flowy.
Dmitry’s evening gown looked like a cross between a disco ball and an ’80s dominatrix. LOVE. His second didn’t tie to the first so much in my mind, but the one-shoulder design and cutout at the waist were just lovely. Serious clothes are serious and I like them.
Kooan’s vibe is just fun. Street fashion fun. I’m not going to say I liked his overalls (first outfit), but I enjoyed the polka dots and the youthful joie de vivre. I do question his styling — she was plain plain, I guess to let the clothes sing, but she didn’t look like she belonged in them. Upon closer inspection, she had gold dots on her face, but they were too small to be anything really. His second look’s styling was MUCH better, and I loved the shape of this dress, as well as the shiny, Judy Jetson fabric. And I have a positive weakness for sailor collars. To my mind, THIS is how you do shiny and loud. The judges were intrigued, natch. Kors called it “borderline Teletubby.” He didn’t want to see a joke coming from Kooan. On the whole, they wondered if he had more sophistication in him, while staying true to his style.
Gunnar’s first dress hit me like meh. The color wasn’t bangin’, the cut was average, and something about the neck bugged me. His second dress, the one he came with, had a lot more oomph. I enjoyed the mix of print and solid, and I liked the cape. Again, though: sorority girl.
Nathan, who we literally did not hear from at all the entire show up to now, showed up with a gorgeous dress. The flow was spot-on, the draping lovely, the one-cap-sleeve inventive. Where the hell was he all episode, editors?! And he’s hella cute! His coral gown was another wow garment. I need a villa and a pool boy, please, to complete my new life in this dress, thanks.
Sonjia came out fierce as fuck with a leather jacket over nothing. Love the bow, love the nothing: Love. It. It’s the Rocketeer’s hot girlfriend. The saggy crotch (uh, oh — is this gonna be a thing?!) wrap pants somehow went with the jacket. I don’t know where the hell this lady is going, but stay out of her way. Her dress looked like a shift, a vest, and a scarf all artfully thrown together by a person much cooler than me.
Melissa’s (black, natch) dress made me sit up and say, “Shit, bitch,” when I saw it. Paging Rooney Mara — your Oscar gown has arrived. Her (black, natch) leather vest and (black, natch) maxi dress weren’t groundbreaking, but they were cool. The judges enjoyed her work, but Kors said he hoped there was more than black in her future.
Ooooooh. Raul’s suit was so cool. The black patches at the shoulder said country and western, but the pink blouse and attitude said, “I will end you with my Stepford robot skillz.” (Notice he did the models’ hair like his own.) I have to give it to him — he made that pink mess frilly fabric work in the second dress. With help from his model. The dress was a bit too “wedding cake,” really, but it had just enough rocker in it to not be a disaster.
Beardy McHairface’s first look made me exclaim “Derelicte!” It was more upscale than that, but she does look as if she’s spent some time in an oil patch. It’s nice, though, just nothing I felt like I haven’t seen before. His second, all-black dress looked like two dresses cobbled together. The fit was too loose for it to work for me.
Whew! After all those clothes, who sank and who swam to victory in Michael Kors’ champagne swimming pool?
The winner was Christopher for the work in that fabulous ruffled dress, and well-deserved, too. Take that Gunnar. Team C!
The loser? Beatrice. She just couldn’t make clothing — not at this level. It kinda pisses me off, actually. I bet there was an amazing designer who could have performed beautifully in her place but didn’t get the chance. Blerg.
What think you? Tell me how full of crap I am in the comments! And come back next week for another exciting episode of Project Artsy People Bluster and Sometimes Make Amazing Clothes!