We who read the spoilers knew this was coming—the much dreaded (by me at least) wrestling episode. While I thought my love for Project Runway was eternal, they really are testing my limits tonight. Just to get this out there at start: I hate the WWE (and its various incarnations), or anything that advocates too much makeup, spandex, and steroids. Of those, I’m not sure which is worse; actually after tonight, I’m leaning towards spandex.
Six more divas: Can the Project Runway ecosystem tolerate this supersaturation?
It’s been two weeks (our time) since Victorya was dismissed under a cloud of dingy denim, but it’s only been a day for our remaining six designers. Jillian is bummed out that there are only two women remaining while there are four guys still around, and she doesn’t want Fashion Week to be “all boys.” She wants to be in the top three while Sweet P just wants to hang on through this challenge. Over in the guys’ apartment, Christian, Chris, and Rami yuk it up at Ricky’s expense: Christian laughs about Ricky’s little flouncy denim skirt that won him the challenge. Christian, probably fearing for his safety, doesn’t point out that Rami’s skirt wasn’t a hell of a lot different, saving that battle for another day.
The designers then meet Heidi on the runway for yet another anticlimactic model choosing ceremony, wherein Ricky keeps his model and Victorya’s is booted. I kind of wish they’d just go ahead and have a freakin’ walkoff and jazz this segment up. Heidi, however, does not announce the next challenge; she says that Tim will meet them in the morning and will reveal the challenge then. This leads to a night of speculation; I’d like to think it was a night of drunken speculation, but the possibilities tossed out aren’t all that wild. Sweet P thinks it may be a cocktail dress (taking Heidi’s gold short dress she wore at the model choosing as a clue) or a swimsuit for Sports Illustrated, a suggestion that causes Rami to shriek in horror. Chris hopes it will be drag queens, but Chris always hopes it will be drag queens.
Morning arrives soon enough, and the designers assemble in the workroom. Tim leads them from the room to the elevator, where Jillian comments that she hopes they don’t have to run again because she’s wearing four-inch heels. I don’t want to see these folks run again either, but I kind of wonder why the hell anyone would wear four inch heels to stand around all day and sew. Those are called limo shoes for a reason. The elevator doors open, and Tim leads them down the hall to the “destination” which is just the runway auditorium. Something is definitely up in the room, because all sorts of loud grunts and shouts emanate from behind the doors. Sweet P and Jillian think the sounds are scary and bellicose, while Christian thinks they sound like sexy moans. Unfortunately, this reveals too much for me to stand about all of their respective sex lives and I have to pause the tape to wash my brain out with bleach.
After giving the designers a few moments to squirm uncomfortably, Tim opens the doors to reveal a WWE wrestling ring with six scantily clad women throwing each other about. Theoretically, this may be intended to be all sexy, but since our remaining contestants are two straight women and four gay guys, I think either the elevator didn’t go all the way to the top floor when picking this challenge or the NBC Universal overlords were particularly forceful in their cross-network promotion plans. Chris later echoes my thoughts by commenting how much better it would have been for everyone had the wrestlers been men.
At any rate, the challenge for the designers is to design outfits for the WWE divas to wear in the ring. Tim climbs into the ring (I hope he is well compensated and wouldn’t be surprised if this had been a sticking point in negotiations for returning this season) and says the divas are all, to borrow Christian’s term, “fierce.” The then divas introduce themselves and describe their kicky little stage personalities: Maria has a rock-glam style; Torrie is the epitome of the all-American good girl; Kristal loves leather and lace; Michelle is the girl-next-door who loves sports; Layla is very funky and is a professional dancer (and proves it by doing a high kick a la “fifty and lovin’ it” Molly Shannon); and Candice Michelle is the WWE current women’s champion and is also known as the “sex kitten” and likes to rip off a robe and reveal her skimpy outfit. Klassy ladiez, one and all.
For the most part, the designers aren’t really embracing this challenge with joyous anticipation. Chris is the only one who is okay with it, probably because the WWE chicks aren’t all that far off drag queens, save for being more tacky. The choosing begins with Ricky, who picks Layla. Jillian picks Michelle, Chris chooses Maria, Christian takes Kristal, Sweet P picks Candice Michelle, and Rami is left with Torrie. It’s off to the workroom for thirty minutes of confab-ing before the designers take their $100 and head to Spandex House for fabrics. I wish that was a joke…but no, it’s really called Spandex House.
The designer and diva meetings go pretty well. Chris’s client loves leopard print, which could not be more in line with Chris’ style. Rami wants to preserve Torrie’s “innocence” look in his design, and Sweet P gets freaked out with her client’s love for the really sparkly. Christian has loads of fun with his client, who is game for a pair of chaps. Ricky wants to go with a lot of gold for his client and is optimistic that this challenge can produce fashion. He may be the only one, ‘cause I sure ain’t.
Sewing While Bedazzled: The designers exceed the legal limit of spandex and rhinestones.
After running the halls of Spandex House collecting the sparkly, the printed, and the shiny, the designers return to the workroom to begin their creations. Before she gets to work, Jillian reviews a DVD of the women’s WWE performances, helpfully left behind by a certain DVD rental concern that isn’t paying me to write this recap so it isn’t getting a mention. Rami begins to—surprise, surprise—drape a bra top and a skirt in the most hideous shade of pink I’ve seen this side of a dancing bottle of Pepto. Does he drape because he can’t make a pattern worth a damn, I wonder. Christian gets busy making chaps for Kristal out of stretchy pleather while Sweet P worries that her outfit—made out of various white, sparkly spandex—is looking like the ugliest tranny outfit ever. She says she doesn’t want this “kooky” (understatement of the episode) challenge to bring her down, as she fiddles with adding some white feather boa material to the ensemble before dismissing it as too “casino”. The first day ends with outfits incomplete, but there is still another whole day of sewing awaiting our final six.
The next morning, Chris is still excited about the project, though he knows the others are not. Sweet P begins to struggle with the long robe part of her client’s dress. See, Candice Michelle has this shtick of wearing long robes and ripping them open to reveal the over-the-top outfit beneath. Sweet P needs to come up with the robe and the underneath outfit, and the robe is giving her fits. She wants to go with a more pin-up girl look than the cheesy stripper look Candice Michelle favors. Meanwhile, Jillian is busy making her bra top with very short shorts out of a shiny blue spandex. She seems to have it together, and hopefully she isn’t still wearing those four-inch heels. Chris is making a bra with leopard print cups and black strips of fabric to form, in a criss-cross pattern, the straps of the top. Chris says this is so Maria will look like a “caged animal”; it’s okay, but it looks like many a bikini top seen before.
To break up the monotony of sewing, Sweet P and Christian decide to arm wrestle. In what has to be The. Most. Shocking. Project. Runway. Event. Ever., Christian manages to beat Sweet P. I’m still wondering if she didn’t let him win so she didn’t have to hear him whining all day.
Tim then arrives for his first visit of the episode; he’s brought along the divas for their first fitting. Chris’ client already loves it, given all the green leopard print. Sweet P’s client isn’t so happy with the short robe, and Tim declares it looks like a WWE hospital gown. Candice Michelle whines for more rhinestones, cascading down off the shoulders, and more sparkle all-around. Sweet P is clearly having a tough time, which is even recognized by the usually self-obsessed Rami. Perhaps he took a break from draping the hideous pinkness to observe his surroundings and avoid retina burn.
Ricky has Layla in an orange one-piece bathing suit that has Tim worried. He thinks the color is off, the outfit is too simple, and something more needs to be done. Ricky says he’s going to get it done and make it work, and all that, but I just don’t believe him. He’s wearing his unlucky mesh hat, as opposed to the luckier fabric ones. Irrespective of the level of luckiness, they are all still awful. At the other end of the spectrum, Christian has Kristal in the chaps and she loves it, as does Tim. Christian says Kristal is the fiercest bitch ever, and that’s a compliment. Christian needs to seriously quit using the word “fierce” before I sic a dolphin-chased Tyra on his scrawny ass.
Tim and the divas leave and there are only nine hours left on the day. Sweet P continues to fret over her design; she doesn’t like fussy decorations, but her client wants everything and then some. Rami tells her to just do what she wants, but I don’t think Sweet P knows what even she wants, other than to have an entirely different challenge. Ricky busily works on his swimsuit, while Christian finishes up his client’s jacket. Ricky asks Christian for some spare snaps, which Christian lets him have. He says he doesn’t want to, but Ricky’s outfit is so bad, a few snaps won’t mater. Christian says he isn’t going to bother pointing out that Ricky has made a derivative swimsuit, because, after all, that’s how the unworthy get weeded out.
Sweet P, Chris, and Christian get to sewing and discuss what their WWE names would be. Sweet P would be Spread Eagle, with a 70s movie persona; Chris would be Wonder Woman and smother other women with large breasts, and Christian would be Ferocia Coutura, who would take out his opponents with a liberal application of hair spray. You’ve just got to conclude that Christian has been kicking around that name a lot longer than this WWE challenge has been going on.
With a paltry 45 minutes left on the day, Tim arrives to check the designers’ progress. Ricky has his swimsuit done and is making a black mesh cover with gold lame’ strips. Tim wonders what is up with the cover and the gold fabric, and worries about Ricky’s progress. Rami’s outfit doesn’t inspire much more confidence in Tim; he is put off by the brightness of the pink fabrics. Tim does approve of Jillian’s shiny blue boxing shorts and bra top and thinks Christian’s outfit is fierce. Gah! Christian has Tim saying the dreaded f-word. Moving on to Sweet P, Tim thinks the robe is way too Eva Gabor on Green Ares and suggests mitigating the old-lady vibe with some feathers. Sweet P thinks she’s in an impossible position, caught between what her client wants and what the judges will think. Before he departs, Tim warns the designers that they will have very little time to get ready for the next day’s runway show. The day then runs out, and it’s back to the apartment for some rest.
Time for the smack-down.
The groggy guys sit around the apartment on the morning of the runway show sipping coffee. Chris wonders what the judges are going to think with all of the sparkle and spandex that is going to be heading down the runway. Jillian is amazed that the guys have all seemed to get the challenge right, while she and especially Sweet P have had trouble. Sweet P is nervous about seeing her client again and getting booted because of Candice Michelle’s tacky taste. When they get to the workroom, she continues to futz with the robe and tries to decide whether the Big Bird white feathers are the way to go.
Tim arrives with the divas for their final fitting, hair and makeup. They only have an hour and a half to get ready for the show, and you just know that most of that time is going to be spent shellacking on the usual amount of makeup these women wear. Sure enough, the divas are done up and coiffure’d to a point beyond fashionable and return to have their spandex outfits spray-painted on their bodies. Christian’s client loves all the black pleather and particularly takes a liking to the silver rivet detail he put on the jacket. Sweet P’s client demanded more rhinestones on the back of the robe, which had been remade from earlier to be longer. Ricky’s client is not that thrilled with the orange bathing suit and Ricky realizes he kind of screwed up in this challenge. Jillian’s client is happy with the sporty blue spandex creation, but it takes Jillian until the last possible second to sew the final bits together.
Before they head out to face the judges, Chris comments that while Rami’s client loves the pink creation from hell, it truly is awful. Christian also notes that Sweet P’s outfit started out looking like a craft project he could have done in the first grade, but does concede that Sweet P pulled it together in the end. With Jillian’s final stitches complete and a mad grab for some shoes for her client, everyone is out the door and headed to the runway.
On the runway, Heidi introduces the judges; in addition to the usual Kors and Garcia duo, we have another duo in the pair of guys who are Heatherette: Richie Rich and Travis Rains. I’m glad she ID’d them as designers, lest I think they were part of some Emo boy band. The show starts and the following outfits are sent down the runway:
Christian has Kristal in pleather chaps over lace stockings, topped with pleather short jacket bearing a furry/feathery collar over a midriff bearing lace top with a pleather halter collar.
Jillian shows Michelle in royal blue spandex ultra-short boxing shorts that are connected to the royal blue bra top via criss-crossing straps made out of the same material.
Ricky dresses Layla in his orange one-piece bathing suit covered by a shapeless gold lame’ smock. The suit is really a bikini top and bottom connected by a narrow piece of fabric down the center of her torso.
Chris shows Maria in a leopard print hoodie which is removed to reveal the leopard print bra top with the black criss-crosses and sparkly black short-shorts. She also has lace elbow-length gloves and appears to love the outfit more than life itself.
Sweet P has Candice Michelle in a somewhat plain, sleeveless, long white robe made of sparkly fabric and tied in front under the sparkly white bra top; it has some white feathery detail at the hem. Candice Michelle’s outfit is completed with sparkly white short shorts.
Rami dresses Torrie in a bright pink flouncy skirt, a matching bra top, and matching lacey gloves that go half-way up her upper arm. The top has some kind of flounce too. Imagine Barbie on crack at a wrestling match and you’ve got it.
The pope walks into a sex club, or the first challenge that makes Michael Kors blush a bit.
The judges decide to talk to all of the designers before making any decision and start with Jillian. Michelle loves the girl-next-door sporty look, and Michael thinks Jillian captured making a classic have sex appeal. Rami’s look, also ostensibly for a flirty girl-next-door, draws much more criticism. Michael thinks Torrie’s blonde looks are more All-American Girl, and he wanted to see more Americana in the look. Nina flat-out hates the color, and Rami agrees that the color was controversial. Let me just pause for a moment and ask about this “girl-next-door” thing…does anyone have girls living next to them that look like either of these women? I sure don’t—I’ve got a biker dude who thinks he’s a rock star on one side and three grad students on the other. The rest of the street is comprised of yuppies and old people. There is nary a hottie in my ‘hood (save for myself, naturally <---a big fat lie).
Christian faces the judges next and explains that Kristal loves leather and lace, so he took that and went crazy. Richie says she looks like the kind of woman to get the job done and pick up guys along the way, which is exactly what Kristal does, or so she says. Heidi agrees that the outfit is well done. Sweet P tells the judges that Candice Michelle’s trademark is the “robe and reveal” and she wanted to make the outfit look a little more retro/pin-up girl. Richie thinks it doesn’t look finished and Travis worries that Candice Michelle’s breasts will fall out of the top; she is sure they won’t, and jiggles around a little to prove the point. Michael wonders why Sweet P didn’t take the robe further and add a bunch of feathers and crap, since that’s what the client wanted. Rock, hard place, here’s your new friend Sweet P.
Chris is next and explains that Maria’s look always involves a hoodie and she loves leopard, so the outfit is just what she wanted. The judges ask Maria to take the hoodie off and they notice that it is lined with the same sparkly black fabric that the short-shorts are made of. Nina loves the look and Michael proclaims it “expensive.” Y’all know what that means, doncha? These judges are so predictable. Finally, Ricky tells the judges that Layla is spunky and he showed that off through his outfit. Nina flatly says that it looks like a bathing suit, not a wrestling costume, and the gold lame’ cover is not flattering. Travis comments that Ricky should have taken the outfit to “superhero” but fell woefully short.
The designers are dismissed while the judges pick the winner and loser for the challenge. Starting with their favorites, Travis loved Christian’s jacket and Nina liked the whole outfit. Richie thought Chris’ outfit completely fit Maria’s personality and Nina again mentions that it looked expensive. Michael noted how much Maria loved the way she looked in the outfit. Nina then says that Jillian’s was her favorite and Michael said the look summed up how to show powerful and sexy.
Discussing the not-so-favorite category, Michael noted that Ricky’s gold cover-up looked like a disco haircutting smock and Nina concluded that the swimsuit and the cover-up were not cohesive. Richie concluded that Rami’s outfit looked like Paris Hilton trying to be a WWE diva, while Heidi noted that Torrie got what she wanted, but not in a good way. Finally, Michael thought Sweet P’s idea of a Vargas girl was good, but it ended up Vargas-girl-goes-disco, which was not so good.
He had it comin’, he had it comin’, he only had himself to blame.
The judges have made their decisions and the designers are called back in to see who’s in, who’s out, and who won the weekly betting pool. Heidi calls Jillian in first and then announces Chris as the winner. Not only will he win, but also Maria will wear the outfit at a WWE event. Woo-hoo! I’ll be sure to catch that…not. Chris walks off the runway, and Christian can’t suppress as pissy look. Christian is in too, with Heidi adding that he did a good job. Rami is then allowed to drape another week and it’s down to Sweet P and Ricky. Heidi admonishes Ricky that the challenge was to design for the wrestling ring and the bathing suit just didn’t meet the challenge. Showing no love for Sweet P’s outfit, Heidi says that the silhouette didn’t match Candice Michelle’s image and the robe had no dramatic impact. After the obligatory 10 second pause, Sweet P is in and Ricky is out! Thank goodness immunity ended last week, because if mesh hat head had skated this week, I don’t think I could have handled it.
Ricky goes back to the waiting area to say his good-byes; he packs up his things and says that he is going to take away a stronger sense of self and not have fear about his career. In the second strange event of the night, there were no waterworks at all. Maybe a bit misty, but the studio didn’t flood in a wash of salty hat tears. Life boats, stand down.