Project Runway 2/18 Recap: Small Fashion, Big Ugly
Once again, we rejoin our PR7 cast on a sleepy morning in the Atlas apartments. Anthony, despite not getting immunity, is still on a natural high from winning the last challenge. Janeane looks like the world has beaten her into a pulp and then drained to nothingness. Emilio thinks he’s going to keep playing things safe, while Jesse says he is now going to take risks. Hmm, one of those two is bound to be at risk by the time the runway rolls around.
The kids are alright.
On the runway at Parsons, Heidi informs the designers they will have new models with no experience, but they are “an attractive little group.” Out march 11 little girls ranging in age from approximately 5 to 8 years old. Heidi says the designers have to create a kid’s look that is fashionable and age-appropriate. The designers are paired at random with the kids; that averts any inappropriate child-body critiquing by the designers. The challenge brings out a mixed bag of reactions: Jonathan is scared of children because they are very small; Seth Aaron is happy because, being a father of a little girl, he knows what kids like; and Amy just loves mini-clothes.
The designers head to the workroom to find Tim and eleven tiny dress forms. They have 30 minutes to sketch, $50 to spend at Mood, and one day to complete the challenge. Jonathan decides to overcome his fear of small people and go wild on the design. Anthony is a bit out of his realm, as these new clients don’t have booty or boobs. Jesse finds inspiration in Madeline and the French schoolgirl look, while Emilio just throws up his hands and decides to make a classic little girl dress devoid of any of his own style.
The Mood trip brings nothing new, aside from Seth Aaron nearly missing the deadline because he couldn’t find the fabric he wanted and the reappearance of the Mood dog. Or wait…was it a cat before? Or was that LA? I’ve been watching this show too long.
The rest of the day is spent in the workroom. Jay knows, probably from his time working for Gap Kids, that girls want to be fashion forward. Seth Aaron also knows kids want fun clothes, but Emilio can’t be bothered to make anything beyond a sweet little pink Easter dress. Mila—to the shock of no one—works on a color-blocked dress for her girl; she is under the impression she is getting along better with the other designers. Perhaps the big chip that was knocked off her shoulder last week helped that. Janeane waxes poetic about a dress her sister had as a kid that she was so, so jealous of; that’s what she is making for her girl. Jonathan tries his hand at a snarky Kors impression of him saying “it’s as if Memoirs of a Geisha met Barney.” Jonathan is no Santino Rice in the impression department. The day ends with everyone pretty much done with their garments, leading some to suspect a twist.
Is there really ever a “nice” surprise on PR?
The next morning should bring the children’s runway show. Emilio is worried that he went with something too simple. Janeane is even more worried than before and calls her husband for moral support. The phone call home means either she’s going to make a Hail Mary pass and win the challenge, or she’s out. It’s never anything other than those two options.
Tim enters the workroom and says he has a “nice surprise.” The runway show will be pushed back to the next day so that the designers can spend the day making a corresponding look for their usual models. Tim cautions this is not a maxi-me/mini-me deal so they can’t just super-size their original kids’ looks. Emilio regrets having gone with the pink Easter dress because that is not something that will translate to high fashion without some doing. Janeane sees the second look as a way to jazz up her simple kids’ look. Jonathan will do something sexy and high fashion and likely won’t be scared of his regular model, as she is not a tiny person, but rather tall. Seth Aaron knows the translation to the adult look is simple—so simple he doesn’t even bother to sketch before shopping.
After another quick trip to Mood, this time with $100, it’s back to Parsons for a 13-hour work session. Amy made a peach petal design skirt for her kid look; she’s taking the same petal shapes, cut of brown, teal, and orange fabrics, and layering them atop each other to make many multicolored petals. She’s going to sew them all together to make clown pants. Meanwhile, it’s Anthony’s turn not to shut the hell up this week. Last week it was Seth Aaron, but now Anthony can’t shut his pie-hole for a minute. The other designers challenge him and he ties some fabric around his mouth. They tease him, draw lips on the fabric, and he finally breaks after 14:56 of not talking. In that near-15 minutes, the most work of the day gets done.
Tim arrives for his survey of the work. He likes Jonathan’s kid’s look and the promised adult look of organza ovals creating a dress will be an “attention grabber,” though what kind of attention is debatable. Tim thinks Janeane’s looks are totally Halloween, which is unfortunate for her because she hates Halloween. What kind of person hates Halloween? I’d bot her just for that. Tim cautions Amy that her pants may come out as clown clothes but loves that she’s taking a risk. He just loves both of Seth Aaron’s looks and is generally “profoundly wowed” by everyone’s work.
The models come in for their fitting, although Amy isn’t close to being done with her pants. Emilio worries about running out of fabric for the adult look and Janeane thinks she’ll be safe if she can finish. Amy realizes she could go home for the pants, but she intended to stand out. Anyone wearing those pants would stand out, even at a clown convention.
Where clowns and toilet paper collide.
The next morning brings the actual runway show and a workroom full of kids and models. Anthony looks for the off switch on a gaggle of little girls who congregate around his sewing machine. Amy’s little kid client is clearly in the know because she asks the adult model if she’s ready for the circus when the pants are finally done. As the whole lot depart for the runway, Emilio says he isn’t as confident as usual, but the room is so full of other loud crap, he’s not that worried.
The judges for this challenge are Heidi, Michael, Nina and Tory Burch, who apparently also designs for kids. I know nothing of kid clothing; hell, I had to Google Garanimals a few years back when Kors threw out that reference. The looks we see are:
Anthony’s little girl dress with a patterned, ribboned top and pink skirt and companion piece of a hot pink deep-V sleeveless top and skirt.
Amy’s little girl look of an orange petal skirt over white leggings, a top, and a teal wrap sweater and companion piece of the hideous multicolored petals pants and a teal tank top.
Ben’s lavender little girl dress and adult look of a grey skirt and a deeper purple top. Both have a tiny wing detail on the cap sleeves.
Seth Aaron’s little girl look of a grommeted black skirt, a black and white hound’s-tooth sleeveless hoodie and a pink shirt and adult look of a black and white structured jacket and slim-fitting black pants with grommets down the front and back of one leg.
Jesse’s grey schoolgirl dress with a red collar and tailored red coat and the adult look of a slim-tailored grey dress with black side panels and red button detail down the front. He nailed the Madeline look, but in different colors.
Jonathan’s yellow dress with white organza detail for the little girl and a big mess of white organza circles structured into a cocktail dress for the adult look.
Maya’s yellow jacket, orange top and black leggings for the girl and green slim-fit pants with a lime jacket for the older look.
Mila’s pink and green color block dress over black and white leggings for the girl and a color blocked white and black coat over short black pant for the adult look.
Emilio’s pink Easter dress for the little girl and a well-tailored, different shade of pink, Easter dress for the adult look.
Janeane’s red trapeze dress over black and white leggings for the child look and black pants, a shapeless black and white top, and a rather loose-fitting and unstructured red jacket for the adult look.
Jay’s plum sleeveless dress with pockets over grey pants for the girl and plum and black tank over black pants for the adult look.
After the show, Jay, Amy, Jonathan, Seth Aaron, Jesse, and Janeane are called forward. The other designers are all safe. Heidi informs Jonathan, Janeane and Amy that they have the lowest scores and need to go wait in the back while the judges talk to the high scorers.
Jesse said he came up with the coat idea first and then went from there. Heidi’s only complaint about the girl’s dress is she would have preferred the skirt to be straight. Michael loves the red and grey color combination and is wowed by the tailoring on the coat. Nina thinks the child’s look is adorable. Seth Aaron went for a look of comfort but with flair. His kid model loves it, especially the purse; his daughter’s love for purses really helped him out. He needs to get her a few more. Michael is also impressed by Seth Aaron’s adult look jacket, calling it the best tailored piece of the season. Nina sees his style in the garments, but translated into something kids will love. As for Jay’s outfits, Heidi sees he put a lot of thought into the design. Michael finds both looks really chic, though both age appropriate. Nina calls his designs modern, urban, and cool.
The top three are dismissed and the bottom three and models return to the runway. Janeane says she was going for a comfortable, active look. Nina thinks it is plain and lacking whimsy, while Heidi calls it a cheap mall look. Michael takes the adult look’s coat to task, saying it is terrible, which it is. Jonathan’s little girl model is asked if the bolero on the dress is comfortable, but she (probably unwittingly) tosses him in front of an MTA large vehicle by saying it cuts into her arms. Nina thinks he took too much of a risk while Michael says the dress made of oval organza cuttings looks like a tornado of toilet paper. Despite Amy’s own excitement about her creations, Michael thinks the girl’s outfit looks like she left the house with all of the clothes she owns on and the adult pants’o’many colors are a train wreck. Nina is just seeing a weird circus and Heidi finds the looks bizarre. When asked if she liked the look, Amy’s child client says she loves the sweater and trusts Amy’s fashion sense. Nah, that wasn’t rehearsed one little bit.
The judges have a quick exchange of thoughts on the top and bottom three. Jesse put out a traditional design but had a sense of humor and the coat was impressive. Seth Aaron created a sophisticated adult look and kept whimsy in the kid look. Jay’s looks were both sophisticated, youthful, and were styled well. On the other side of the coin, Amy’s outfits were so weird, they would have never guessed she did them and the colors did not work. Janeane’s child look was bargain-basement and the adult jacket was horrible. Jonathan was overly ambitious and put out ugly dresses.
A decision is reached and the designers are called back to the runway. Jesse is in first, then Seth Aaron is named the winner. He better buy his daughter a boat-load of purses for the inspiration. Jay is in, as is Jonathan. It comes down to crazy clown pants versus bargain basement wares. Finally, Amy is in, leaving Janeane out. She promises not to stop designing and promises to be international (though not huge) in the next two years. That may happen, but not in children’s wear.