Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway 9/24 Recap: Musically Challenged
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It was a very busy day here in PhoneGrrrl-land, so I didn’t get to watch PR unspool live, aside from the very end. Upon rewinding the tape and watching the “previews” for the runway show from the tail end of last week’s episode, I noticed that the shots of the judges were, in fact, from tonight’s show. However, the reaction shots from the designers were from prior shows—I suppose so as not to give away the challenge—but once again, those Magical Elves fooled me. And all this time I thought reality t.v. was real!
A little bit country…you know the rest.
On the morning after Joe’s departure, Leanne and Korto aren’t really that surprised Joe finally got the boot. Them and the rest of the viewing public, I’d suppose. The other one hanging on by a stray thread is Suede, who has been in the bottom for the last three challenges; he realizes that he needs to step it and wow the judges. Leanne thinks it would be great if there were all girls in the finale, but she realizes Jerell is talented; if he’s in the final three, she’ll just make a dress for him to wear. Somehow, I think he’d be game for that.
At the Parsons runway, Heidi brings out the models for the choosing ceremony. There are eight models because of the double elimination and the no models from the last week. Jerell stays with his model, Kenely takes Joe’s model, but then a mini-drama ensues when Leanne snags Suede’s model. Suede and Korto pick and three more models are eliminated. But, alas, no walkoff.
After that tiny bit of drama, the designers meet up with Tim in the workroom. He says that they will be designing for each other and they will model the looks on the runway. Tim pairs the designers up via the velvet bag of doom. Suede will design for Jerell; Kenley for Leanne; Korto for Suede; Jerell for Kenley; and that leaves Leanne designing for Korto. Each much create a look inspired by a specific musical genre: Kenley’s look will be pop; Suede’s will be punk; Korto draws the short stick and gets country which elicits a bitter laugh from her; Leanne’s outfit will be hip-hop; and Jerell’s will be rock & roll.
Tim gives the designers an hour to meet; they will then have $100 to spend at Mood and until 1 a.m. to complete the looks. While meeting, Korto warns Suede not to hide any dissatisfaction with the outfit until Tim comes around, or she’ll hurt him. Kenley doesn’t want to go “gangsta” for Leanne, but then Leanne busts out a rap so bad that I have Top Chef flashbacks. Kenley says she won’t make Leanne look a fool, yet she is going to make high-waisted jeans. Jerell suggests a cape for his rock & roll look, but Suede thinks the judges will say, like last challenge, it was dated. Jerell wants to get Kenley in a sexy outfit, not 1954. Leanne and Korto work on the country look but are interrupted by Kenley’s insistence that Leanne try on shoes. Korto threatens to go all hip-hop on her ass, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.
While out at Mood, Jerell gets some fish netting, Kenley buys a print that leaves Tim perplexed, and Korto searches for stretch denim. As usual, it goes pretty fast and there’s no sight of Mood’s cute dog.
These designers all feel a bit punk’d.
Back at Parsons, there are 12 hours on the clock until the end of the day. Korto is not feeling the love for a country look; Leanne hopes to make it somewhat elegant yet still have a country vibe come through. Kenley says she’s nervous about making the jeans for Leanne because she doesn’t really do pants. Meanwhile, Jerell and Korto think Kenley’s allegedly “graffiti” print for the tank top is anything but hip-hop, though they do not tell her anything.
Time passes, and 5 hours remain until end of day. Jerell really wants to be the first designer to win three challenges in a row. He’s making a fishnet mini-dress with diamond cups for an in-dress bra effect. Kenley is a bit nervous about being “sexed up” by Jerell. I just want to see what she looks like in clothes other than her constant vintage look. Suede is not exactly a punk, he tells us; he was a classically trained cellist and pianist for fourteen years. As for making his outfit for Jerell, he is using his “dressing pop stars” experience to translate into rock; he concludes tight pants will be the key. In one of the funnier moments of the night, Korto puts on her western boots and starts doing a country and western-ish song and dance. It was like the boots possessed her!
Tim arrives to check out the progress (or lack thereof) with four hours on the clock. Tim thinks Jerell’s dress for Kenley has a beautiful silhouette. Jerell is thinking of adding something more, but Tim cautions it should be the “right” more. Jerell has some blue fake fur that reminds me of Grover, and it worries Tim. Checking out Leanne’s country look for Korto, Tim wonders if it is too subtle, but gets Leanne’s concerns about going too costume-y. Tim thinks Korto’s two-piece look—basically a decorated tee-shirt and jeans—is looking very basic. Similarly, Tim doesn’t think that Suede’s rock look is ramped up enough, since a designer can get away with pretty much anything and call it rock & roll, as exemplified by Jeffrey Sebelia’s career. Finally, Tim stops in to check on Kenley. Oh, Kenley, Kenley, Kenley…your manner of speaking is a defensive whine from the get-go and you really ought to look into doing something about it. Tim asks her to explain what her take on hip-hop is and she does not articulate her perspective clearly. Tim asks her if hip-hop is about oversized clothes and she says no, that was in the 80s but fails to state really what she is going for. Tim cautions her to remove the sarcasm and facetiousness because he’s not being snarky. He says that he’s just trying to understand her thinking and then she led him off a precipice. She stands there, mouth agape, looking for all the world like she doesn’t know what “precipice” means and remains speechless. After Tim leaves, she disregards his opinion because he doesn’t know anything about hip-hop anyway.
There is only one hour left on the day and the furious sewing ensues. Kenley concludes that she doesn’t understand Tim and he doesn’t understand her. She has the jeans made and tries them on Leanne, and the crotch is too low and doesn’t fit right. Kenley totally thinks that the look is very Alicia Keys; of course, the problem is, as Korto and Jerell note laughing, Alicia Keys is R&B not hip-hop. Leanne says that she is not going to go to bat defending Kenley over the ill-fitting outfit, especially given Kenley’s personality. Meanwhile, Korto decides to apply bleach to the sneakers and jeans of the punk outfit for Suede. The smell overwhelms the sewing room and Leanne thinks Korto is trying to sabotage the rest of the designers. But before too long, it’s time to pack it in for the night.
Someone’s goin’ back to somewhere…
On the morning of the runway show, Jerell contemplates sabotaging Suede, Kenley remains defensive about the hip-hoppiness of her look, a bobble head Tim shares one of the guy’s beds with another toy called Joe and the pair is instructed not to make a mess while the guys are out. Ahh, silliness, how I’ve missed thee this season!
At Parsons, there’s the last minute fittings, the hair, the makeup, and the “deer in headlights” looks we’ve come to expect. Jerell is impressed with Leanne’s well-fitted skirt for Korto. Suede is convinced his look is awesome and will win. I do have some sympathy for him, because the hair and make up people have made him look like a punk by way of a bad encounter at the MAC counter. He’s got a rainbow of extensions on the front of his hair, swept to one side, and eye make-up that is less Poly Styrene and more Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Kenley’s jeans for Leanne still look wonky in the crotch but Kenley doesn’t think the judges will notice. She then fits Leanne into what Jerell calls a “child sized” jacket and top. He’s not telling her she is far from hip-hop.
The designers get their acts together finally and head to the runway. Out on the catwalk, Heidi greets the judges—Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and guest judge LL Cool J—and clues them in that the designers will be the models. We then get to see the finalized looks of the five remaining designers:
Leanne’s country look for Korto consists of a long black skirt that is highly fitted from the waist to just above the knees where the big pleats at the bottom form a perfect western silhouette. The top is a sleeveless shirt of purple fabric with gold accenting on the western style pockets. She’s also wearing a big, wide, gold belt.
Jerell’s pop look for Kenley is the black mini-dress. Its skirt is solid black but the back and sides of the front are made of black fishnet, almost completely see-through so the diamond-sparkly bra cups can show through. Kenley also is wearing a very short vest made of the blue furry fabric, but it doesn’t look weird. They keep saying she looks like a brunette Britney, but, in truth, she screams Kelly Clarkson.
Kenely’s hip-hop look for Leanne is made of the high-waisted jeans accented with brass buttons and poorly fitted crotch, the ugly print tank top, and a short, three-quarter sleeve black leather jacket.
Korto’s punk look for Suede is comprised of well-fitted dark denim jeans distressed with bleach, a sleeveless tee-shirt accented with strips of suede, and chains attached to the shirt and jeans. To his credit, Suede totally sells the look coming down the runway.
Suede’s rock & roll look for Jerell is last. He’s made really skinny black pants that sit low on Jerell’s hips, and have an exposed shiny zipper. There is also a black leather vest accented with some kind of furry or deep-pile suede pieces on it worn over a deep V tank top that looks like it came from Jerell’s closet.
After the show, all the designers are called out to defend their designs. Korto explains that Suede’s genre was punk. LL thinks the design has a lot of energy and is right on the money. Nina thinks the whole look is a bit Marilyn Manson but likes the fit of the pants and the bleach treatment. Michael says that, even apart from the punk look, the silhouette is great for Suede.
Suede explains that Jerell’s rock & roll look was designed for comfort on stage and off. Jerell says he’s happy with the color choices and really likes the vest. Michael agrees the vest is great, but the pants don’t really stand out. LL says it’d be great for a photo shoot but not for performance because, from a distance, the details of the texture of the pants is not visible. Nina thinks the outfit lacks drama and Heidi thinks it just looks like Jerell’s regular look.
Jerell says the point of his look is to make Kenley look like a sexy pop princess. Nina loves it because it exposes some skin but is not too naked and likes the silver bra cups. LL, however, wants more skin showing but then sees that the back of the dress is all netting. Michael notes that it is sexy but not vulgar.
Kenley is up next; she says she wanted to make a hip-hop outfit that would be appeal to a hip-hop woman of today and to be classy. Heidi asks what happened to the screwed up pants, but Kenley doesn’t really have an answer. LL says the look is not hip-hop at all. Kenley counters that she didn’t want to make some oversized, backward thing and call it hip-hop. LL says that wouldn’t be hip-hop either and Nina thinks that Kenley just missed the point. Michael says there’s no luxury in the look, and Kenley says she needs more than one day for luxury. Nina reminds her that everyone only had one day to complete the challenge.
Finally, Leanne says that she was going for a vintage, Dolly Parton-like look with a bit of a modern flare and the gold touches were to add a nice, subtle shimmer. Korto agrees that she wanted to do something old school country with elegance. Nina thinks the choice of color is great but it needs more glamour. Heidi likes the fit of the skirt but LL isn’t sure the outfit really reads country if the western boots were taken away. Michael agrees that he country-ness could have been amped up a bit.
The deliberations fly by in a flash: Jerell totally transformed Kenley and made her look sexy and not trashy; Korto made some well-fitting jeans with a great bleach technique; Suede made a “rock & roll” goes to the grocery store look, though it was well made; Kenley’s outfit looks like something she could have picked up at the mall in the mom jeans department; and Leanne started out in the right direction but needed glamour.
The decision is made and the designers are called back out. Korto is named the winner and Jerell is in too because he did good work. Leanne is also in, so it comes down to Suede and Kenley. Heidi says Suede played it safe, and rock & roll isn’t safe, so he should have turned up the volume. She also says Kenley and no glamour or bravado in her outfit and missed the attitude of hip-hop completely. Inexplicably, Kenley is then allowed to stay in and Suede is out. Apparently the criteria for moving on has shifted to “missing the point of the genre and poor sewing skills” is acceptable and “well-made but not ‘loud’ enough” is boot-quality. Something is rotten in the state of Parsons.
As he packs up and leaves, Suede says he’s proud of himself for making it to the top five can’t be disappointed when gave it his all. He finds inspiration in Madonna (circa 1984) and decides to get up again, over and over, so he can dress Madonna up in Suede. Someone needs to give listening to Like a Virgin a rest or he’s going to look like a Pretender, you know, the fish that got away, and no one will ask him to Stay, darlin’.
Tune in next week when everyone cries. Call Andre, he may have some competition!
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