First let me give a huge thanks to MFWalkoff who graciously agreed to recap last week’s episode and totally rocked the runway. Last Wednesday I was on the road, driving to NYC with my sister can she have her car for the spring semester. I got to spend two days in the city before having to fly back home on Sunday. During that time, I totally had a PR-spaz moment. There we were, killing time before going to Sweeny Todd at a movie theater in Time Square (which I will not be doing again on a Friday night…or ever) and it was decided we were going to go to Midtown Comics. Well, I hadn’t any idea where it was so I was just meandering along behind the sister and her boyfriend when there, just across the street from the comic book shop was…Parsons! All lit up in the dark! Just like on tv! Maybe those people in the glowing box really are real! Alas, there were no Tim Gunn sightings and the store didn’t have the third Scott Pilgrim book I need, but it was a bit of geeky fun nevertheless.
So that brings us to tonight’s fresh episode of Project Runway, which offers everyone a trip down memory lane to their prom nights. Maybe it was just last year or maybe it was decades ago, but most everyone has a memory—good or bad—of that night, whether you went or not. I went to my senior prom with a gay guy who was into fashion design; it was fun but no teen comedy. In retrospect, I should have made him sew a dress for me.
On the morning after Elisa’s departure, the guys are getting ready to head to Parsons and meet their new challenge. Ricky is brushing his teeth, Christian is blow-drying that mess of hair, and Rami is shirtless. Rami needs to be shirtless more often. Victorya is surprised to actually misses Elisa as her roommate and now has to move in the apartment with the other three remaining female designers. Bravo must need to reduce overhead.
The designers get to Parsons and Heidi meets them on the runway. She says the next challenge involves the most important day in a girl’s life, and everyone looks a bit nervous. The models line up behind the screen and it is apparent that these girls aren’t the lithe, tall models that the contestants are accustomed to. Kevin wonders if they are midgets or Oompa-Loompas; Kevin isn’t terribly PC, is he? Out comes nine high school girls in uniforms. Heidi explains that these girls are students at a Catholic high school in New Jersey and they are there to get prom dresses designed for them. The girls have reviewed the designers’ portfolios and have chosen their designer based upon the portfolios.
The designers look nervously excited but Christian is notably put out, commenting that proms are horrible, tacky and gross. Chris thinks it is hilarious that the girls based their choices on the portfolios because his mostly consists of him in large drag costumes with crazy wigs. The girls pick their designers and it is off to the workroom where Tim will spell out the particulars.
In the workroom, Tim explains the designers will have thirty minutes to meet with their clients and then it will be off to Mood, where they will have a $250 budget. The designers will have the rest of the day to work and the entire next day to finish their prom dresses. He also warns that these clients will have strong ideas about what they want in their dresses but he wants the designers to assert themselves in the design.
Chris is a bit worried; he knew there would be an evening wear challenge but didn’t expect the evening wear to be for teenagers. Kit meets her client who says she picked Kit for the edginess of Kit’s portfolio. Kevin laughs that the girls are from New Jersey; he grew up there and knows the whole scene is about tanning and stealing booze from parents’ liquor cabinets. He pledges to put a chastity belt in his dress if his client’s mother wants it. Rami asks his girl if she wants a fitted dress or a draped dress and she can go either way, so his design includes a bit of both. Victorya asks her client why she chose Victorya, and the girl says because she was the last to choose. Oooh, burn! Sweet P’s client wants a plunging neckline and a plunging back to accent her butt. And then there’s Christian’s client, Maddie; this girl has a lot of opinions and says she’s been doing fashion design for two years. She wants a lot of stuff—lace, beads, brown and gold fabric—and Christian thinks it is going to be a mess. Christian isn’t thrilled, but it’s really just karma. You know he’d be the same way, were the tables turned.
The clients leave and it’s off to Mood. Kevin picks a red fabric that will “glow” on the runway. Sweet P’s client wanted black, red, or white fabric and she’s not having any of it. She picks a champagne charmeuse and hopes for the best. In the check out line, Chris freaks Tim out by saying he’s going to make a Christmas-themed dress with a large poinsettia, but he’s just kidding…we hope.
Crying Ricky, snarky Christian, and the other usual trappings of stressed out dress construction.
Back in the workroom, Christian announces to everyone that he was voted “best-dressed” at his high school prom but it’s not looking like the other designers believe him. He laments that his client has a lot of very specific requests and the stress is making him feel less than “fierce”. Jillian is more worried about how large her hair has become than her dress. Although she’s never made a prom dress before, she has made a bunch of dresses and already has a solid plan to make a blue dress with jewel-toned inserts on the top to make it look like the inside of a jewelry box. Kit then shares that she wasn’t a prom queen but she was a prom princess and her date was a prom prince. Apparently this is “very OC”, which is probably true given what happens with those Real Housewives.
And then there’s Ricky. He again shares tales of his hardscrabble upbringing and his self-taught seamstress mother, who lovingly sewed all of his sisters’ prom dresses. In his interview, he talks about how much winning will mean to him because creativity was stifled in his youth because it wouldn’t pay the rent. Then, of course, he cries. Someone get the guy some Xanax, please! Ricky then takes a break from sewing to call home to his momma who encourages him to keep working. It’s all very touching, so it seriously makes me wonder if he’s going to get the boot tonight.
With only three and a half hours remaining on the first day, Sweet P is worried about how deep her client wants the back and the front of her dress to plunge. She is not going to go to the extreme the client wants because she doesn’t want to be kicked out based on advice from a teenager. All of the designers work hard on their designs, including Christian who is struggling with his lace and chocolate satiny fabric. He hates his dress and thinks it is a mess of tacky and frets over how to make it more his point of view. Even though there are fifteen more minutes on the day, the designers are too tired to keep going and they pack it in and head home.
The second day brings more mad sewing. Sweet P knows she has to kick into gear to get her dress done. Christian focuses on the bead work and lace for his dress. Victorya reviews what she did the day before and deems it something an Italian older divorcee would wear and decides to make radical changes to the design, all the while hoping her client will still like it.
Tim arrives in the morning with the clients for a preliminary fitting. The girls come in with their mothers this time and Ricky worries about pleasing both the girls and their moms. Kevin’s red dress has a lot of gathering in the front and his client’s mother laughs at it, saying it makes her daughter look pregnant. Victorya’s client ends up liking the dress and the changes she made that morning. Chris meets with his client and her mother and asks them what about his portfolio made them pick him. The ladies didn’t realize that each picture in the portfolio was of him in various costumes and ten-foot wigs. But his client likes the dress so far and all is well.
Sweet P again says she didn’t go as low in the front or the back as the client wanted, and the mother is pleased. Christian’s client absolutely hates the back of her dress because it is too short. Oddly enough, the back of the skirt goes up noticeably higher than the front, even though the skirt is pretty short to start with. Rami comments that Christian should have taken the lead more with his client, but Jillian is sympathetic to Christian’s plight of having a difficult client. The girls leave and it is back to work for the designers.
In the sewing room, Sweet P says she’s tired of always being in the bottom and really wants to do well. Chris laughs her off and reminds her that he was voted off so he knows a thing or two about having something to prove. As the designers work, Tim arrives to check on the progress. He first checks in on Kevin, who is busy reworking the drape of the skirt after the mother commented on how bunchy it looked at the waist. Tim asks Kevin how he is going to finish the hem and Kevin says he is not. Tim warns him that that is one of the thinks the judges, especially Nina, always will notice. The bad hem thing annoys me; I’ve got a seamstress who can put a fabulous hem in a dress in a day for about $10. Kevin has no excuse, which Tim makes clear.
Tim next visits with Rami and says the chartreuse dress in the typical Rami toga style yet with a fitted middle looks like it is something the client’s mother would wear. Rami justifies his design choices by saying he has immunity and that will allow him to take some chances. If taking some chances means making a dress very similar to the one in the first episode—save for the fitted butt portion—then that’s one hell of a risk.
Finally, Tim talks to Christian who is down in the dumps. Tim encourages him to not give up and put more of his style in the dress. Tim then leaves the designers with a little less than two hours to “make it work”. Everyone drink! Time runs out and they all head back to the apartments where Christian loses it a little, parading around the apartment with a big towel wrapped around his head.
What the kids are wearing.
The morning of the runway show reveals Rami and Chris discussing what kind of prom dress Heidi would design; they settle on a lederhosen style, which will probably turn up in the next season. After their little morning respite, the designers are back at Parsons to put the finishing touches on their creations. Christian is resolved to work out the problems he has but before he can finish that task, Tim sends in the clients. There will be one hour to fit the dresses before the girls head to hair and makeup. Ricky is fairly confident about his dress. He reflects on his prom experience; he had a girlfriend back then and made her dress, which, he says, should have been a clue about his orientation. Damn, I wish Ricky had been my gay prom date; I could have gotten that custom dress. He thinks his dress looks pretty on his client and she is happy.
The girls are running around the workroom really vamping it up as they practice their model walks. Sweet P relays a cautionary tale that Catholic school girls are a wild bunch, proven by the fact that her tattooed self is a product of a Catholic education. She says she misbehaved in high school and had a “good time” at prom with her long-haired surfer dude date, but will divulge no more than that. Chris, on the other hand, didn’t go to his prom but stayed home watching old movies and drinking—which is apparently what he did throughout high school.
Kevin has still refused to put a proper hem in his dress, which Chris constantly reminds him is a bad idea. Christian puts the final touches on his client’s dress but she’s loud and fidgety during the process; Christian is constantly annoyed by her, but it’s more like pot, meet kettle.
Soon enough it is time for the runway show. Heidi introduces the judges after, as usual, loudly recapping what the challenge is. Of course there’s Michael Kors and Nina Garcia; for the guest judge spot tonight we have Gilles Mendel. I’m going to confess I’ve never heard of him, but he is put together and well-spoken and not Zac Posen or Rachel Zoe, so I’m content. The show starts and we see:
Nicole wearing Sweet P’s long, champagne colored halter dress. It drapes beautifully and captures the Grecian and old Hollywood style Sweet P was going for.
Jessica wearing Victorya’ short, blue babydoll dress with a bubble skirt and a bejeweled halter top. The jewels on the top look cheap like dark-colored chicklets to me.
Krista wearing Chris’ chartreuse dress with a long, flowing skirt that is open to mid-thigh on one side. It fits beautifully and is not costume-y at all.
Tizi wearing Kevin’s bright red halter dress with an empire waist accented by a band of beads. It is a short dress and the hem is noticeably bad.
Erika wearing Jillian’s light teal dress with spaghetti straps and darker teal accents on the chest. The long skirt moves beautifully.
Maddie wearing Christian’s shiny dark brown lace and beaded mess. It’s got all kinds of details on the bodice, the back of the short skirt is entirely too short, and the black lace netting hangs out beyond the brown material of the skirt. It is, in short, a hot mess.
Brie wearing Kit’s blue halter dress that has a long hanging tie at the back of her neck. The center of the bodice is comprised of jeweled toned fabrics.
Katie wearing Ricky’s short bubble skirted empire waist dress in a pale champagne color. It is dull as dishwater.
Bianca wearing Rami’s dark chartreuse oddly fitted toga dress that comes to just below her knee. There’s too much going on with this dress and it’s distracting.
Learning the difference between prom girls and ladies who lunch can be hard.
With the runway show over, the designers take their places on the runway. Right away Heidi dismisses Kit, Jillian and Chris as the have played it safely up the middle. The judges then turn their critical eyes on the six contestants remaining before them. Sweet P faces them first and explains that her client wanted something old Hollywood and Grecian; Nicole says it is exactly what she wanted. Giles liked the dress, while Nina found it to be a little too sophisticated for high school. Michael and Heidi both liked it as well.
Kevin defends his red fabric choice by saying that it was to compliment his client’s complexion. Nina says the color is old; Michael goes further and says that cut is old and matronly and the horrible hem distracted him. Heidi levels the worst criticism of all: she says it looks cheap. Cheap is worse than “sad” and “mother of the bride” on the scale of PR criticism. Kevin should be worried.
Victorya is next up in the spotlight; she says her dress is exactly what her model wanted. Michael thinks it is chic and young and Nina loves the color. Gilles is similarly enchanted with the dress.
It’s Christian’s turn to face the music and right away he says his client was difficult to work with because she was so opinionated. Heidi likes the dress but Gilles says the dress does not work with the client. Nina chastises Christian for blaming his problems on his client and suggests that he learn some finesse to deal with clients.
Ricky of the Crying Hats is the next target. The judges ask the client if she likes the dress; Katie says she does, but she doesn’t quite convince me. Ricky says it is the dress he would wear to the prom, to which Michael inquires if he’d also wear his hats. I think he would. Gilles has issues with the finishing of the dress; Heidi says it is pretty but the color washes Katie out. Michael suggests that Ricky turn up the volume and make the dress pop.
Finally, Rami’s dress is criticized. He says he complied with his client’s wishes to make something different and comfortable. Heidi says it looks like something ladies who lunch would wear and Nina thinks it is too sophisticated. Rami counters that he designs for a sophisticated 30-something set. Michael then says that the dress is something a 35 year old New York woman would wear to dinner and curiously adds that it is “old fashioned”. Apparently things become “old fashioned” quickly, as this dress isn’t all that different from the one he won with in the first episode.
With the questioning portion of the show over, the designers exit for the judges’ deliberation. As it turns out, they really only liked Sweet P’s and Victorya’s dresses. Sweet P’s dress was finished meticulously while Victorya chose a gutsy color and offered the “whole package” for an age-appropriate prom dress. The other four dresses were problematic. Rami chose an old color and made excuses for not being able to design for the young. Nina did not appreciate Christian laying the blame for his dress on his client. Ricky’s dress was a non-event and washed out his client. Finally, Kevin’s dress looked cheap and made his client look old.
The designers are called back on to the runway; Heidi informs them that they only liked two of the dresses—Sweet P’s and Victorya’s—and announces Victorya as the winner. She and Sweet P exit the runway; Victorya is thrilled to get immunity for the next challenge. Heidi then announces Ricky is in and Rami is in too, since he has immunity. The final two, Kevin and Christian, stand awaiting the final judgment. Heidi says that Kevin’s dress was head to toe cheap and unflattering and Christian blaming his client for his failures was inexcusable. After the requisite pause, Kevin is eliminated and Christian survives to see another challenge. As he departs the runway, Kevin pledges that the judges will see him show a collection. In his exit interview, Kevin takes one last chance to remind us that he’s straight by commenting that being eliminated isn’t that bad since it scored him a hug from Heidi. I will not miss his goofy facial hair or his constant declaration of sexual orientation, but it is still perplexing how Ricky of the Crying Hats has survived yet another challenge.