Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway Recap Episode 311 9/27: Free Dress Day
It’s been two weeks since we had a new episode of Project Runway and it’s high time for a new episode. I’m not too keen on these penultimate episodes, but it gets me one step closer to the bitchfest that I hope the reunion episode will bring, so I’m happy.
What the hell kind of cookbook was Jeffrey’s mom using?!?!
We start out with a trip down memory lane, and see clips of our final four as they arrived at Project Runway and the outfits that brought their wins. Then we get to see each contestant as he or she awakens on the day after the previous challenge. You know, this is one of the top three things that would keep me off of any reality television show. I don’t let people talk to me for an hour after I wake up, let alone film me.
Uli says that there are four strong designers and have all done well to make it this far, and she really wants to show at Fashion Week. Next we are “treated” to a shirtless Jeffrey (I blame Trump for starting this trend) as he tries to wake up a very sleepy Michael. Jeffrey agrees with Uli that each designer has a distinct point of view: if you want peasant blouses and flow-y, you go to Uli; if you want run of the mill friendly fashion, you go to Michael; and if you want mothballs and chicken soup, you go to Laura. As snarky as Jeffrey is, he is kind of right.
Laura is amazed at her ride from being very down and out after the couture challenge then going to the high of winning in the black and white challenge; she now has the boost she needs to push through to the final three. Michael says he is meant to be there and show at Fashion Week, since he’s wanted to be a fashion designer since he was nine years old.
Thankfully, less drama that the Nick/Zulema thing.
Back at Parsons, Heidi kinda/sorta announces the next challenge—really only saying that Nina will give them details later. Her quest right now is to shrink the pool of models down to four from the seven. Laura is up first, since she won the last challenge, and sticks with Camilla. Uli’s name is drawn next and –horrors!- snags Nazri away from Michael, who is none to pleased. Uli says she needs to grab whatever she can to win. Michael then goes with Clarissa, who had been modeling for Angela. Finally, Jeffrey sticks with Marilinda. Lindsay (Uli’s model), Amanda an Javi are all out. Heidi leaves them with the sage advice to wow the judges.
When, if ever, were bedazzled tank tops “in”?
The designers visit with Nina Garcia at Elle to get their next challenge. She’s in an office wearing what appears to be an over-bedazzled tank top and either culottes or a skirt, but the angle obstructs the view. I find this outfit suspect; she must have lost a bet with Kors. Nina is on about the importance of an editorial spread in a magazine, and talks up Elle’s First Look page, saying it is the first thing that Elle readers see and the idea is to make that look something all the readers want. This selling of Elle’s fashion sense will all make sense later, but at this point in the show it seems more like shameless self-promotion. I’d expect self-promotion, but it’s shameless on account of that ghastly tank top.
Finally Nina tells the designers that their challenge is to create an outfit that coveys each of their own point of view as a designer; there is no other restriction. They are each given a one-sheet, which looks to be a 8X11 foam board, and they will have to come up with three words that describe their point of view as a designer and be able to explain how their design relates to those three words.
Tim brings in the real design parameters.
Once the designers leave Nina and return to the workroom, Tim comes in and gives them the details. He says that the one-sheet will have to be done before the runway show, but not right away. They will have thirty minutes for sketching, then they’ll get $250 each to go fabric shopping. They have two days for the challenge, and he again admonishes the designers to wow the judges.
We get some footage of the designers sketching, and it looks like they are up to their usual tricks. Uli is going to do something flowy and let the fabrics speak to her at Mood. Laura is going to do what she usually does, but do it better than ever. Jeffrey wants to shock the judges by doing something unexpected, so he’s planning a soft red, white, and blue dress. Michael is stumped and has yet to come up with his design. They go off to buy fabrics and there’s nothing new there. Uli buys a blue print, we don’t really see what Laura and Jeffrey buy in any great detail, and Michael buys some purple fabric. By the time they get back to Parsons after buying the fabric, Michael is still without a concrete design plan.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s SuperJeff!
Uli is in trouble. She’s got this huge tie-dyed looking blue fabric and she’s draped it into a typical Uli dress. She says it looks like a kitchen dress, but Laura says it just looks like every other dress Uli has made. Uli wants someone to put on her dress, which isn’t sewn up in the front, to see how it looks and maybe get some perspective. Laura says she’s too busy, and Michael is still struggling, and at first Jeffrey demurs, jokingly saying it’ll make him look fat. After some persuasion, he puts on the dress and runs around, making the dress flow out, cape-like from behind him. He’s wearing turquoise shoes that oddly compliment the dress. If Uli’s model doesn’t show, Jeffrey will be a viable candidate. Everyone but Michael is amused by this sight, which really does cast Jeffrey in a non-asshat light; Michael is too worried about the clock ticking down and not having anything yet.
Has anyone ever really cried at how beautiful a dress is?
Tim comes in and sees how our final four are doing. He finds Jeffrey’s dress—a white skirt, red cummerbund and pale blue halter top—unexpected. Jeffrey says that he’s hand-sewn a dress before and it was so beautiful, people cried. Tim tells him to go for it and make the dress great.
Tim next visits with Laura who tells him that she wants to stay out of the trap of being the same; Tim reminds her that she stayed out of that trap last week and she can do it again. After viewing the start of Michael’s dress, he cautions him that it can’t be just a pretty dress.
Finally, Tim visits with Uli, who says she is not feeling like she’s got a good design. Tim admonishes that the judges can pretty much spot-on predict what it is she is going to make, and warns her not to bore Nina. After Tim leaves and she considers the design further, she decides, with one hour left to work in the day, to rip the seams out and take the dress apart. She’s going to sleep on it and, with luck, come back with a design.
More Elle promotion is not going to get me to stop buying Vogue.
The next day at Parsons, Michael is nervous and Uli is trying to figure out what she’s doing. Tim comes in, and tells them to grab their one-sheets and gather round. He says that the winning design will be photographed by famous fashion photographer (and Elle’s US publication director) Gilles Bensimon and appear in Elle’s First Look page. The big catch is that the models are coming in at 5 (merely five hours from now) and they will have to get in their outfits and the designers will have to take pictures of their models and put them on the one-sheets with their three theme words. This leaves Uli with five hours to figure out and make a dress and the same amount of time for Michael to execute what he came up with late in the previous day.
Why such the push to soften Jeffrey’s image?
Yeah, I like to make fun of Jeffrey. He’s an easy target with some of the crazy things he’s done, and it makes the recap go by faster, but I don’t think he’s evil, just a bit of a nut. But suddenly, in this episode, do we not only see him acting silly/fun with the flying cape episode, but we also see him get a call from his girlfriend and video footage of his son on Father’s Day. It’s clearly staged by the production, but Jeffrey seems to truly enjoy seeing his kid. He says he’s in fashion as a way of supporting his girlfriend and his son, so he really wants to get to Fashion Week.
Meanwhile, Uli is thriving under the tight deadline and Laura is tired of doing the fine beading work on the skirt of her dress.
More Olympus promotion is not going to get me to buy one of their cameras.
It’s five o’clock and the models arrive. Nazri has always had big hair, but it’s gotten so out of control, for a minute, I think Sideshow Bob has come to life and entered the modeling profession. In a voiceover, Michael tries to convince us that he’s OK with Uli now having Nazri, but I don’t believe him. He’s also working on doing the woven fabric strips for the top of his gown, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to have time.
About six o’clock, the designers and models head out into the city to snap the pictures they’ll be using on the one-sheets. Michael wants a beautiful, lounge-y look, so they go to the lobby of Atlas. He shoots some pictures that look like Clarissa is in some kind of club or bar. Jeffrey takes Marilinda to Central Park to get pictures that are pretty, involve nature, and are romantic. Jeffrey is hard-selling us on the idea that he’s a romantic. Maybe he’s more a Romantic, like Mary Shelley.
Laura takes Camilla to Atlas as well, and wants to capture her in the elevator, on her way to something. Neither the elevator nor Camilla really get the idea and cooperate, so Laura is stuck taking pictures of Camilla in action catching a cab.
Finally, Uli takes Nazri on a bit of a walk and they encounter a street band, and she plays along with them and Uli takes some great pictures. If Nazri doesn’t come out of this with a huge modeling career, there is something really wrong with the industry.
Back at Parsons, the designers print out their shots taken on Olympus cameras with Olympus photo printers. They each pick their favorite shot and affix them to the one-sheet. Laura chooses “Glamour, Confidence, and Elegance” as her buzz words. Jeffrey picks “Provocative, Irreverent, and Romantic”; Uli goes with “Fun, Life, Adventure”; and Michael goes with “Sexiness, Sultry, and Sensuality.”
Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound.
It’s the morning of the runway show and everyone just wants to make it through to show at Bryant Park. They don’t really care about much else. Tim comes in to the workroom and tells them that he is very proud of them all. He also warns them that they are about to face the toughest scruitny yet on the runway, because the judges will be looking at the design as a window into what they will produce for Fashion Week.
There are just two hours for the designers to tweek the outfits and get the models through hair and makeup. Jeffrey is happy with his look because he wants to show the judges his romanitc side, because he thinks they believe he’s all gloom. Jeffrey realizes he’s about 80/20 gloom/romantic, but he wants to show that romantic side. Uli makes some last minute adjustments so that the outfit will photograph well. Michael says his insides are like porridge worrying about the show.
Final Four: Fashion Forward or Fashion Fumble?
At long last, and after what seems like a lot of filler in this episode, we get to the runway show. Heidi comes out, and like Dana Scully at the seventeen minute mark, recaps what we know about the challenge of the night. She also introduces Michael “Black Tee-Shirt” Kors, Nina “Bedazzled” Garcia, and Teri Agins, the lead fashion writer from the Wall Street Journal.
First up is Jeffrey’s red, white, and blue dress. Don’t get the idea that this is some kind of iconic Uncle Sam outfit; it is not. The top is a powder blue V-neck halter, with some white detailing around the edge of the dress. The red comes in at the waist-line, in a cummerbund. The white is in the skirt, which looks to be an overlay of sheer white fabric, with dragonfly and bees embroidered in white on the fabric, over a denser, non-see-through fabric. The skirt is gathered at the waist and at the bottom of the skirt, giving a pantaloon-like effect. Actually, the skirt looks like some granny’s curtains.
Laura’s dress is no different than most of the ones we’ve seen from her, albeit a more fitted, body-conscious cut. The dress a pale pink, with a deep V scalloped neckline, and has beading and fringe strategically placed on it. It is pretty and expertly made, but it isn’t exactly a new look.
Uli sends out a dress made of the crazy blue print, but it is a far cry from the thing that Jeffrey was flying around the workroom in. It is a short dress, strapless, with a choker collar and a creative use of beading. It opens down the middle, but only gives a peep of skin. The use of the pattered material in a symmetrical fashion is very nicely done.
Finally, Michael’s purple gown comes out. It is a floor-length gown, with a basket weave design at the waist made of the same fabric. The neckline wrapped around Clairssa’s neck, but opened in a wide keyhole manner across her chest. Michael comments that his dress even made a white girl look like she had an ass; unfortunately, it also made it look like she had a puffy abdomen.
Milkmaids don’t bring the boys to the yard.
Since there are only four designers left, they are all critiqued on the runway. Laura says she intended her design to show confidence and sophistication. Nina says the work is beautiful, but she expected more. Kors says the dress had a great make and fit, and was chic, but he wants her to broaden her design or figure out how to make her “cocktail” look innovative. Teri says the design would sell and be very commercial, but the design has been seen before.
Michael says he wanted his garment to be seen and noticed. Kors says it is just a gown and it has no “look” to it. Heidi doesn’t find the fit flattering or well-executed. Teri says the dress looks like Michael went too far in trying to make the dress look sexy, and Nina expected more.
Uli explains she wanted to show Nazri being adventurous having fun. Heidi liked it because it was a new shape. Nina agreed, saying she was glad it wasn’t a long dress.
Jeffrey then says his idea was to make a romantic, heirloom dress. Teri found it dowdy. Kors said it was “too pretty” and Nina said she was confused, because she thought his style was different. Heidi said the outfit would have worked had he shown the model milking cows, but since this wasn’t a milkmaid outfit, and it had no edge, it didn’t work.
The designers then leave the stage, and the judges deliberate. In regard to Michael, Nina says she was surprised Michael didn’t know what his strengths were, and went for the gown. Kors says that Michael shows great promise as a sportswear designer, and he’d really like to see Michael’s collection for sportswear.
Considering Jeffrey, Nina says that it is clear that he knows they perceive him as LA/punk-rock, and he wanted to go in the other direction. Kors says that he didn’t see anything provocative in this outfit, but he usually shows good designs.
Heidi comments that she’d wear everything Laura has made this season, but asks if they’d really want to see 12 plunging V neck dresses. However, if she’s gotten this out of her system, she could be destined for great things.
The judges universally agree that they loved Uli’s look, and now that she’s out of the one-dress monotony, Kors is interested in seeing what else she’ll come up with.
The designers return to the stage and Heidi tells them that it seemed most of them had a problem with the challenge. However, as conflicted as the judges seem about who to boot off the show, they are equally as certain who is the winner. Heidi beamingly announces that Uli has won the challenge and her dress will be gracing Elle’s First Look page. Heidi then addresses the remaining three; she tells Laura that she has a strong point of view, but the judges are afraid she is one-note. Heidi says Jeffrey surprised the judges, but not in a good way; they know he has sophisticated taste but they just didn’t see it. Finally, she tells Michael that he confused the judges, because they love his sportswear but he took a gamble and presented a gown, and that gamble did not pay off.
Without any further discussion, Heidi tells Laura she is in, and she leaves the runway to join Uli. Michael and Jeffrey are left on the stage looking as nervous as turkeys the night before Thanksgiving. A few beats later, Heidi tells them they are both in, and they the will all go to Fashion Week. Michael and Jeffrey leave the stage, and Michael jumps up and clicks his heals as he passes the behind the Project Runway banner. Hmmm….Jay did that on Season 1 when he won. Maybe it’s a clue!
Backstage, all four seem genuinely happy and happy for each other that they are all going to Fashion Week. There don’t seem to be any hard feelings that the group wasn’t narrowed down to three finalists, which undoubtedly means that the producers will work overtime to make up conflict for the big finale. But before we get to that, tune in next week for the reunion special. That cheater guy is back! It’s been so long since he was on, I’ve forgotten his name.
Last edited by PhoneGrrrl; 09-28-2006 at 04:02 AM.
Nazri has always had big hair, but it’s gotten so out of control, for a minute, I think Sideshow Bob has come to life and entered the modeling profession.
Great recap! on that last bit.
Milkmaids don’t bring the boys to the yard.
Great recap, PhoneGirl! Thank you!
Originally Posted by PhoneGrrrl
Could does not mean should
A pirate's life for me
she must have lost a bet with Kors
More Elle promotion is not going to get me to stop buying Vogue.
Maybe he’s more a Romantic, like Mary Shelley.
Always looking for cat treats! Breathe out, so I can breathe you in...
E is for Ernest
Wonderful recap, PhoneGirl.
I especially liked this line:
"Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound."
Simon LeBon would be proud! hehe
A fantabulous recap all round, PhoneGrrrl, but this line?
I laughed so hard I choked. Great job!
Originally Posted by PhoneGrrrl
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