Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway 7/23 Recap: In the Green Zone
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Despite Bravo’s lackluster promotion of PR5, I am enjoying this season so far. I love that there are no clear-cut front runners, plenty of potentially interesting personalities (interesting does not necessarily equate likable), and great reaction shots from Tim Gunn. The only thing that’s driving me nuts is the one-hour-earlier time slot. It took me until 11 p.m. to actually watch this episode, what with all the phone calls and crap I had to deal with after an exceptionally long day at work. Maybe you missed it and will have to wait until one of the 57 re-airings later this week. In the mean time, here’s the recap:
Earth fabrics are easy. Or maybe not.
The morning after Jerry got axed (and the appropriateness of the Patrick Bateman get-up was realized), the designers awake to face a brand new day of challenges. For Suede, reality of the competition has set in, but he says any decision not to send Suede home is a good decision. And I say any decision not to talk in the third person is a good decision. Over in one of the ladies’ apartments, Stella mixes some sort of wheat grass-looking concoction and says with amazement, “Oh ma gawd, I’m still hee-ahh!” Gah! My eee-ahhs! Kelli is a bit full of her self after the first win; she says she totally expected it because of how super-cool creative she is. Doesn’t she know that showing cockiness early on is never a good sign? I’m now worried for the gal.
There’s no time to worry, though, because the designers are quickly transported to the runway room and their very first model-choosing ceremony with Heidi. She arrives with the velvet bag full of buttons and calls out the models. Heidi reminds the models that they are in competition for a fashion spread in Elle. She doesn’t note, though she should, that they should all get down and kiss her feet for never once admonishing them to smile with their eyes or shaving their heads.
Kelli, as last challenge’s winner, gets to pick first and keeps her original model, Germaine. The rest of the choices go like this: Joe picks Topacio; Blayne picks Polina; Emily stays with Leslie; Keith stays with Runa; Jennifer snags Alex away from Jarell; Wesley takes Alyssa; Suede takes Tia; Jarell goes with Nicole; Kenley picks Shannone; Stella chooses Kendall; Korto picks Katarina; Terri picks Xaviera; Daniel gets Elena; and Leanne stays with Karalyn. That leaves Belle(?) out of the competition and the majority of the models with really weird (or weirdly spelled) names.
Heidi then brings the models out again and tells the designers that the models will be their clients for the new challenge. The group then heads to the workroom to meet with Tim who tells them that the designers will be making young, glamorous cocktail dresses for the models. The fabrics will be “green”—environmentally friendly—and chosen by the models themselves. Off the models go with Tim to Mood. They have $75 each and 30 minutes to shop. The designers await the models’ return with nervous anticipation. Generally, the models have no idea what they are doing and most of them get the same kinds of fabrics. Some get detailing, like Runa who picks up peacock feathers for Keith to work with. The designers only can hope that the models will remember to pick up the proper notions.
The models return to the workroom and Tim gives them all 30 minutes to “caucus” about the design. The designers will then have until midnight to finish the dress. Kenley is freaked out by the fabrics that her model picked: hot pink jersey and black satiny-looking fabric; she doesn’t think she can use the jersey at all. Keith’s model came back with champagne and peach fabrics (along with the peacock feathers) and he has no idea what to do with the mis-matched fabrics. Similarly, Wesley’s model brought back green and brown silks that do not go together. Unfortunately, Alyssa only got a yard of each fabric, which isn’t enough for Wesley. Suede’s model also came back with jersey and silk, but he comes up with the idea to weave them together; he knows enough about PR to say that he has to listen to his client and make what she wants. Stella, ever the whiner, says that Kendall is an “earthy” person who likes flowing designs but that isn’t her style at all, which renders her confused. Again.
The oddest bit of foreshadowing ever comes out in this sewing session.
Time marches on the clock shows ten hours left in the day. Emily likes the idea of a green challenge because rivers have gotten “pretty gnarly” with all the dyes that go into them from fabric makers. Emily has clearly read the Clean Water Act and knows all the current terminology. Blayne works with panels of fabric to make a “girly” dress for his model. Blayne then curiously refers to Heidi as “Darth Vader” then as “Darthlicious.” Someone slap Blayne; I’m sick of the “-licious” he affixes to every damn word. When pressed for an explanation, Blayne says Heidi is like Vader because she’s shiny on the outside and crazy on the inside. Blayne then rises up off the ground, as if pulled by invisible wires, grabs his throat and begins to gasp for air. After a few moments of struggling, he drops to the floor and pleads for mercy. Blayne lives to tan another day.
Wesley is nervous about working with the satin because it shows every little mistake and he’s making a very tailored dress. Kenley has black and champagne organic silks to work with but sees someone else using the black and opts to just use the champagne. Korto says her model is shapely, so she is going to design a dress that will accent her hips and bust. Despite Stella’s model wanting something flowing and easy, Stella isn’t going to do anything like that. She’s going to stick with her “slick” style. How can she be only 42, when her vocabulary is something my 67-year-old godfather uses?
Eight hours remain and Suede is cutting out bias strips out of his fabric. He then sews them together in a woven pattern, all the while talking about himself in the third person, much to the annoyance of Leanne. Speaking of Leanne, she’s noticed that she, Wesley and Joe all have the same fabric. To make her design stand out, she is going to cut out loops and attach them all over her dress. Kenley comments that Leanne’s circle shapes are a bit too much and hang all over the dress. Korto then goes nuts and thinks Wesley has copied her design. Stella tells her the two dresses look nothing alike and she’s being paranoid. Stella then invokes the cardinal Ann Landers rule: everyone should just MYOB.
With three hours on the clock, Tim comes in for a visit. He’s not worried about Kenley’s design and thinks Korto’s is going to be pretty. He’s under the impression that the garment on Korto’s dress form is inside out, and the many darts will be inside the dress. She then reveals that the darts go on the outside, which elicits a hilarious “Oh!” from Tim. He recovers from his shock and advises her to make sure the darts are perfect or it will be a hot mess. Tim then offers the same advise to Wesley when he shows his fitted cocktail dress. Tim then checks in on Suede and likes the pieced together strips of fabric. Finally, he checks in on Leanne’s brown satin dress with all the loops; he advises that she should bring an editing eye to her dress. Anyone who has seen this show should be able to translate that to, “OMG! Your dress has loads of crap on it! Tone it down!” Apparently Leanne hasn’t seen this show before because she professes she loves the dress and will add more loops. Before Tim leaves, he says that the winner of the challenge won’t get immunity, but the winning design will be manufactured and sold on Bluefly. He also says there will be a surprise young Hollywood judge. Just as long as it’s not someone from “The Hills” all will be right with the world.
The day is nearly over and only 45 minutes remain. Pretty much everyone is freaking out, especially Daniel and Emily. Joe still has to work on the hem and Wesley is just not happy with his fabrics. Korto is on the verge of tears. Stella then starts calling out that it is 12 to 12 and yammering on about her love of leather. Blayne, who really will look like leather if he keeps that tanning up, has a laugh about Stella’s leather obsession: she’s got a leather cat, a leather tv, a leather husband, and leather kids. Stella lets that roll off her back, noting “He’s 12 years old. What does he know?” and they hug. Stella plans on making a pair of assless chaps with grommets out of Blayne’s skin after a few more tanning bed sessions.
Mrs. Vader is in the house.
After a few hours of sleep, the designers awake to face the runway show. Keith helps out Daniel by making his bed for him while Daniel tells Suede that he needs to finish his dress. The designers all get back to work on their garments when they return to Parsons. Everyone has lots of work to do, but Korto is somewhat comforted by the fact most everyone is freaking out. Leanne, however, is confident in her dress.
Tim comes in, sees how unfinished the garments are, and admonishes everyone that they are making him a nervous wreck. He sends in the models and the fitting commences. Kenley is happy with hers and Stella’s model likes the “sharp” look that was created in lieu of the floaty dress. Then makeup and hair happen in rapid succession, and it seems that not all the models are thrilled—at least not from their looks in the makeup chairs. Back in the workroom, the designers scurry to get the looks sewn on the models; Tim has to come in and give Daniel a 5 minute warning. Keith notes that Wesley’s dress doesn’t fit his model and Jarell doesn’t like any of the “ugly brown fabric” dresses. Suede exudes confidence and Stella scalds her model with a steamer. No time for the burn unit—the runway beckons!
Out on the runway, Heidi recaps the challenge while wearing a bustier topped short black dress. Hmmm, she could be a girl Vader. Or maybe a dark Wonder Woman, with those black band bracelets she’s wearing. She then introduces Michael, Nina, and brings out the guest judge from backstage. It is none other than vegan shoe designer, Natalie Portman. Leanne clearly is a fangirl and nearly pees herself in excitement. Or so she says—it’s not like I can check or anything. The show starts and these designs fly down the runway:
Keith sends Runa out in a halter top dress made of champagne satin with short skirt that looks like drapery.
Terri has Xaviera in a slim-fitted navy(?) dress with a ruffled V-neck collar and black waist detail.
Wesley dresses Alyssa in a short, shiny, fitted brown satin dress. The seams and hems are visible from a galaxy far, far away.
Jarell sends Nicole out in a dress made principally of lighter blue/teal jersey, with a halter neckline that is open in the middle of her chest. There are darker blue accents and feather details at the hem.
Jennifer created a orange and brown jersey dress for Alex. It’s a touch below knee-length, sleeveless and kind of Kara Janx-like.
Daniel has Elena in a black satin dress with a short, floaty skirt with pockets and a top with a low, rounded collar and cap sleeves. The skirt is shorter in the front than the back, but for some reason, it’s my favorite.
Joe sends Topacio down in a slim brown satin dress with spaghetti straps and an “O” cut out beneath the breast line. The opening and straps are decorated in what appear to be rhinestones. It’s fairly simple and easily the best one of the ugly brown fabric brigade.
Suede dresses Tia in a long, fitted bodice (to the top of the hip bones) made of the woven strips of red jersey and champagne satin. The full champagne skirt is over what looks to be Carry Bradshaw’s tutu.
Kenely puts Shannone in a simple champagne silk sheath dress but tops it off with a high ruffled collar made of the same material. It has a black belt detail in the middle that breaks up the monotony of the champagne silk.
Kelli sends Germaine out in a short, fitted skirt of the champagne silk, a bodice of a pale teal jersey fabric and collar and sleeves of the same silk. The back has a bunch of bricabrac on it.
Leanne kept the crazy loops on Karalyn’s dress of brown satin. The skirt is short and has pockets in the front and is very busy for a one-color dress.
Stella has Kendall in a short, champagne satin dress with one long sleeve and one sleeveless side. It has lace-up detail on the sides of the skirt and on the sleeve. It kind of looks like something straight out of the sale pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalog to me.
Blayne dresses Polina in a pink off-the-shoulder jersey dress with one side detailed in a black satin section.
Emily has Leslie in a dress with a black floaty skirt, open back, and white bustier top.
Korto puts Katarina in a yellow silk dress fitted, but with darts on the outside. The darts stick out all down the front of the dress and look fairly ridiculous.
So much for those Wikipedia spoilers.
With the runway show over, Heidi calls out the nine who are safe; this leaves Kenley, Leanne, Suede, Korto, Wesley, and Stella on the runway. Their models come out to join them on the runway and to face the judges.
The questioning starts with Kenely; she says she wanted to keep the dress simple clean, and classical. Shannone likes the dress, as does Nina who appreciates the streamlined silhouette. Natalie thinks the dress is gorgeous, elegant, and adult. Michael likes sharpness of black at waist and deems it “chic.” Wesley doesn’t fare so well; he bemoans the limited amount of fabric he had and says he wanted to make the dress more voluminous. Natalie says she likes the bowtie detail at the neckline but that’s about it. Heidi says she gave it the worst score and did not like the seaming. Michael says it is “crazy short” and looks like it was man-handled. Nina delivers the final blow: shiny, tight, and short is the quickest way to get to “cheap.”
Stella is up next; she says she was going for a simple look, made modern with the one sleeve but fun and flirty with the lacing detail. Michael likes the dress and thinks it is great that Stella worked her own style into the dress. Nina says the look is much-improved over the last challenge and Natalie says it is nicely done but just not her style. Korto faces the judges after Stella and says she was happy with her fabrics and to accentuate Katarina’s curves. Natalie thinks the dress looks inside out, Nina says the bottom is off balance and looks like Katarina has wings coming out of her thighs, and Michael concludes that curvy girls don’t want wings coming out of their butts. Korto is very upset and begins to cry.
Suede then gets a chance to explain his fabric weaving process. Natalie says she would totally wear the dress because it is unique. Nina likes it and appreciates Suede’s creativeness. Michael enjoys the fact that Suede manipulated the two fabrics to essentially create a new one; Suede has created the right dress for the right girl. Tia professes love for the dress and Heidi says she’d wear it if she were ten years younger. Finally, the judges focus on Leanne, who says she wanted to make an elegant and sophisticated dress. Karalyn admits that the dress is not what she pictured. Natalie thinks the color looks like Peter Pan, Michael says there’s too much going on, and Nina thinks the look is “all over the place.” This proves once again that Tim’s warning should be heeded.
As per usual, the designers and models are sent away while the deliberations go on. They first discuss the good: Stella’s dress fit well, was well made, and did biker chick chic well; Suede put a lot of work in to the garment and it looks great because of his effort; and Kenley was the only one who used her fabric in the right way and produced an elegant garment. On the bad side, Wesley’s dress was too tight, short, and overwrought, Korto’s was a big disappointment to Nina and looked like it had fins, and Leanne’s was all over the place showing she needs to learn to edit.
The designers are back on the runway; Heidi declares Stella in and then Suede the winner. He’s thrilled and thinks his mom will be proud of him. Kenley is, of course, in as is Korto, who cries some more when she gets backstage. It comes down to Wesley and Leanne. Wesley’s dress is unflattering and poorly fitted. Leanne had to many ideas and looked like a school project, not fashion. Leanne is then safe and Wesley is out. Wesley and his shorts suit go back stage, pack up, and go, but not before professing that he will one day make it to Bryant Park.
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