Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway 8/27 Recap: Pregnancy Risks
So here we are in Week Two of the season, and even without the two-hour lead in of the All-Stars Challenge, I’m still giddy like it’s Christmas Eve. Will this heady buzz continue throughout the season? Hard to say, but my Magic Eight Ball says signs point to yes. I can’t help it; my name is PhoneGrrrl, and I’m a Project Runway addict.
The mother-to-be of all challenges.
Morning dawns on a new challenge and we find the designers reflecting on Ari’s departure. Well, mainly they’re all pretty glad it wasn’t them to get the boot first. Mitchell still is stinging from sending a nearly nude model down the runway; he doesn’t want to be known for the naked lady dress and pledges to rekindle his fashion dream. He better light that fire with a blowtorch, and fast.
In short order, the designers meet with Heidi on the runway to learn of their next challenge. She informs them that they will be designing for an actual celebrity—a supermodel who has acted on television and in film. The suspense is palpable, as some designers speculate that it just may be Heidi that they design for, given her cinematic turn in “Blow Dry.” But no, it’s not Heidi, but Rebecca Romijn and the twist is this: Rebecca is seriously pregnant with twins. Out comes Rebecca who schools the designers that fashionable maternity wear is hard to find; she wants something chic to wear out anywhere—lunch, a business meeting, a party. It doesn’t matter; the lady wants to get out of the house not wearing a sack.
Tim gives a few more specifics when the designers get to the workroom. Not only does Rebecca want the looks to be fashionable, she wants them to be form fitting. The designers are provided pregnancy bellies to attach to their mannequins to help with the fit. They will have $100 to shop with at Mood and a half-hour to sketch before the traditional fabric grab. Logan laments that pregnant women aren’t really his deal and babies kind of scare him; hmmm, Logan and I just may be soul mates, despite his resemblance to Chris Klein. Malvin professes to now know what the judges want: fashion-forward, wearable clothes that combine concept with construction. Ra’mon says his place in the top three last week has taught him to push his concepts further and not do the expected. And as any avid PR watcher knows, somewhere in these statements lies the work of the foreshadowing gnomes, who have happily migrated from the east coast to the west. At least there, they can work on their tans.
Off to Mood LA the designers go, for the usual montage of fabric grabbing. All we learn here is Shirin is going to make a dress and a coat and Qristyl is a torqued-up mess, so much so that Tim has to break into Lamaze breathing techniques with her. Well, at least Tim is consistent with the theme of the episode.
Eggs, giant shorts, and bowing ball bags…nah, this isn’t heavy-handed foreshadowing at all!
With the Mood field trip under their collective belt, the designers return to the workroom to complete their looks before the next night ends. Irina doesn’t think that there should be a huge gap between what regular people wear and what pregnant women wear. Ra’mon wants to keep his design tailored and refined, rather than pea-in-the-pod schlock. Althea wants to create a ribbon bodice but have the bottom made of jersey material to be comfortable. Qristyl, who admonished Johnny last week for changing his plans, shifts gears on her design once she starts draping.
Louise stays true to her aesthetic and hand-dyes lace for a 20’s inspired negligee cocktail dress. Malvin goes with “The Mother Hen” look that takes literally the idea of a giant egg for the pregnancy belly, complete with feathers. Ra’mon is haunted by Nina’s words from the last challenge and doesn’t want to play it safe. Someone cue Ari’s departing words regarding “safe risks,” please!
Shirin works on some latticework sewing, Louise applies her hand-dyed lace to her dress, and Althea thinks Malvin’s egg design is cool. Mitchell confesses that he’s playing it safe—he’s got some kind of shear sweater material but is also doing a t-shirt to make certain his model is not naked. He’s also doing some “cute little” shorts that turn out to be so big when un-gathered at the waist that two people can fit into them. Everyone laughs at him as the day winds down.
The second sewing day arrives and it’s back to FIDM for more work. Mitchell tries to sew with no thread in the machine, but Gordana finds her design falling into place. And then Tim arrives. Ah, Tim Gunn…as an aside, my future brother-in-law recently met Tim, and I am seriously jealous. If he wants me to say good things about him in my wedding toast, he’ll get me an autographed copy of the first issue of Models, Inc.
First of all, Tim sounds congested, and this worries me. Tim Gunn cannot be sick! Maybe it’s just his New York essence rejecting everything that is LA. He first visits with Althea, who wants her dark gown with ribbon accents at the bust line to be something that is not evening wear. Tim tells her straight-up that the dress is clearly not a day dress and she needs to re-work her story. Tim then takes a gander and Louise’s short dress and increases her worry that it is a bit too lingerie. Next, Tim checks in on Mitchell’s shorts, t-shirt and sweater combo; he asks Mitchell why he’s doing a t-shirt and Mitchell explains that he doesn’t want to send another naked model down the runway. Tim approves of this goal. Shirin’s dress with the criss-cross stitching is a hit with Tim; she explains she’s also going to do a jacket, which he thinks will give her an edge as long as it is the right kind of jacket.
Poor congested Tim then stops by to check on Malvin. He’s got this big sling of ivory fabric wrapped around the pregnancy belly with the top of a black tank peaking out of the top of the design. He explains this is a hen and egg theme, and that there will be jodhpurs to make the model look like she has chicken thighs. Tim’s “Oh, Melvin!” says it all: no woman wants to look like her thighs are bigger than they are. Tim admonishes him not to go into costume land. Finally, Tim takes a look at Ra’mon’s color-blocked cocktail dress. Tim thinks the color blocks accentuate the pregnancy belly, but if that’s what he’s celebrating, it may work.
After Tim leaves, Louise adds to her design to make it look less like lingerie. Malvin is okay with his fashion risks and keeps adding feathers to the black tank portion of his top. Mitchell tells Ra’mon that his dress looks like a bowling ball bag, and Ra’mon has to leave the room. He’s laughing but you know he wants to cry. Mitchell tries to soft-pedal his remark, but that bell can’t be un-rung.
The models then arrive and get knocked up. Carol is encouraged that her model, who actually has been pregnant, likes the dress. Johnny gives a runway walking lesson to his model, and Ra’mon misses the call that fitting is over so Tim has to chase the model out. Meanwhile, Qristyl has a laugh at the floral jacket Johnny has made to go with his dress, saying it is so outdated that her grandmother wouldn’t wear it. Even he admits it is a bit Easter Sunday. And with that, the second day is over.
Dressing for two doesn’t necessarily mean doubly good designs.
Runway show day has arrived and it brings the usual mad dash of last minute sewing and preparation. Ra’mon has a lot of work left to do to finish his dress—fitting, binding, zipper, and the like. It kind of made me wonder what he did in the previous twelve hours. Malvin thinks his concept is too abstract and needs to make his outfit a more literal hen and egg outfit. Did he forget his client is a former supermodel and has now come to believe it is the Chicken Lady? She may love life, but even she isn’t going to love that outfit.
In the workroom, Nicholas finds that his zipper broke and he’ll end up stitching the dress on the model. Mitchell still hasn’t finished his shorts and is having trouble with them; he realizes they are messy but seems at a loss as how to fix them. Ra’mon says half the room is filled with draped garments and the other half is full of structured and tailored looks, but the majority of them are hot messes. He wonders if he is indeed the front-runner because he took a risk. Gah! There’s the “risk” theme again! But in a nice little call-back to last season, he wonders if Logan has transformed into Stella, as Logan is banging grommets into leather. Nice to see Ra’mon studied up on last season.
Tim arrives and starts the two-hour clock on getting the models ready for the runway. Shirin is happy with the fit, but Althea is having trouble fitting the cups of her bra-like top of the dress on her model. Somehow they magically shrunk overnight. On the flip side, Mitchell’s shorts are a bit too big and sloppy looking; he’s inserted a pregnancy band in the shorts and it just is too loose. Louise finishes handwork, Qristyl fights with a sewing machine, and Malvin is excited to see his design on the runway because he is convinced his outfit is awesome and the other designers just haven’t “cracked the egg” of what they want to say. Self-delusion is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
Time runs out and it’s off to the runway. The judges’ panel is a bit different tonight; of course there’s Heidi, Nina, and Rebecca, but filling in for Michael Kors is fashion designer Monique Lhuillier. Heidi informs the designers that all of the judges have had children, so they know what they’re looking for. The show starts and the following garments are shown:
Logan’s white tunic tank with a copper leather accent on the neck, over knee-length black leggings;
Shirin’s draped maroon dress with latticework detailing below the bust line, topped with a three-quarters length wool coat lined in with a pretty floral pattern;
Nicholas’ sleek cocktail dress consisting of a black fitted skirt and a gunmetal grey V-necked sleeveless top;
Christopher’s jewel-tone purple short dress with black accents at the neckline and empire waist, over black leggings;
Mitchell’s tank-style white top over too large beige shorts, topped with a sloppy long cardigan;
Qristyl’s burnt orange halter dress that flows like jersey, with a darker underskirt;
Epperson’s white jumpsuit topped with a giant white jacket, belted just above the belly that somehow calls to mind a table cloth;
Louise’s red/dark pink cocktail dress that does indeed look like lingerie, but with some fancy hand-dyed lace detail;
Gordana’s simple shiny black long top/very short dress paired with black leggings and a grey cardigan;
Johnny’s long black tank dress with a white piping detail on the side seams (sans the Easter Sunday jacket);
Malvin’s ivory sling across the model’s torso, with black feathers at the top and straps of the simple tank underneath the sling, all atop black leggings;
Ra’mon’s color-blocked purple and grey cocktail dress;
Carol’s teal cocktail dress that kind of does the same sling thing as Malvin’s top, but in a marginally better way, topped with a little grey jacket of ruffles;
Althea’s long gown with ribbon detail on the deep back and on the cups of the bra-like top; and
Irina’s simple blue-on-blue cocktail dress that has a floral design under the bust line.
Whoa, that’s a lot of leggings. Too much Lindsay Lohan influence? And maybe it’s just me, but most pregnant ladies also are ample on the top as well, so most of the models looked a bit off-balance with their faux pregnancy silhouettes. To check out the pictures of the looks, refer to the photo thread here.
After the show is over, Heidi calls out Mitchell, Althea, Malvin, Shirin, and Ra’mon and dismisses the remainder of the designers as safe from elimination. Amongst this group of six we have our winner and our loser. From the start of the judges’ questions, it is apparent this challenge is falling on gender lines.
Ra’mon faces the panel’s questions first; he says he thought of a cocktail dress that Rebecca would wear normally and reinterpreted it as maternity wear. Monique finds the dress busy and sloppy, while Nina thinks the side panels of the light grey just point to the stomach and scream, “There’s a baby in here!” Clearly this is not what Nina wants the garment to say. Moving on to Louise, she explains the pleating at the bust and the tiers at the bottom adjust to accommodate different stages of pregnancy. Rebecca thinks it looks bit like lingerie, but would wear it on a date with her husband. Monique is impressed with the detail and Nina likes the tiers of the skirt.
The focus turns to Althea, who explains that her evening dress is mostly made of jersey material to provide comfort. Rebecca loves the low back with the ribbon detail accentuating the part of her body she can keep the slimmest. Monique loves the color but would add a bit more room in the bust. Nina appreciates the amount of coverage the dress offers while remaining elegant. The judges then shift their attention to Malvin, who says his inspiration was a mother hen and her egg; he wanted to show the nest of the egg in a casual day look with a touch of sophistication. Nina loves the black detailing at the top, and had it been mostly that, she’d have liked the design but she finds the whole sling thing rather disturbing. Heidi does not think any woman would want to look like a chicken and Malvin acknowledges he may have been a tad too attached to his concept.
Mitchell explains that his look is of a lady going out shopping or meeting friends for lunch. Heidi wonders how hard it is to make shorts while Nina calls the whole look a mess, from the too tight shirt to the too large shorts. Rebecca says he failed on executing the design. Finally, Shirin says her dress and coat were made with a focus on comfort. Rebecca loves the latticework waist stitching, while Monique really likes the draping both in front and back. Nina finds the dress and coat versatile with nicely executed details.
The designers are sent away for the judges’ deliberations. Starting with the disliked designs, Rebecca calls Ra’mon’s like Mitchell saw it: it looks like a bowling ball bag. They conclude that had the dress been all one color, it might have worked. Monique says she knows the girl who would wear the casual look Mitchell created, but the consensus is that his garments were poorly executed. Heidi goes so far as to say she could have made those shorts, and she can’t sew. Hell, I struggle with threading the damn sewing machine and could have at least pulled off those shorts. Finally, Malvin’s design is found to be bizarre and they conclude no one wants to look like a chicken and egg.
Turning to the favored designs, the judges opine that Shirin’s dress and coat was beautiful and the most wearable. Althea’s design was elegant, had a lovely back, and was in the perfect color. Rebecca fights the most for Louise’s design, as she loves the lingerie look, noting that lingerie is why one would be pregnant in the first place, despite Nina’s apparent objection to the look. The judges agree that the eye for detail Louise brought was well done.
And with that, the judges agree on a decision and bring out the designers. Louise is safe, and off she goes. Rebecca then names Shirin the winner for making an elegant, well-executed dress that anyone would wear. Shirin now has elimination immunity for the next challenge. Althea is in next, as is Ra’mon. The death-match then comes down to Mitchell, with his decent concept but sloppy and inexcusable execution and Malvin, with his bizarre and unflattering chicken and egg combo. After a pregnant pause (hardy-har-har), Heidi gives Malvin the boot and Mitchell a stern warning to step up his game.
Malvin packs his sewing kit and heads out, but not before deciding that he is just simply too conceptual for America and he will continue to be a strong designer, philosopher and person. As his actual voice drifts into quiet tones, he declares he has something to say and his voice will get stronger.
Ahh, the drama continues next week when the designers are paired off for the challenge. What that means for the model competition is anyone’s guess.
Re: Project Runway 8/27 Recap: Pregnancy Risks
Wonderful recap PhoneGrrrl!! I got to laugh all over again about Malvin and his chicken/egg design!!
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