Project Runway 10/22 Recap: Destination Inspiration
We are now down to a mere seven designers, with the judges having arguably cut both some wheat and some chaff from the original sixteen contestants. Chatty Shirin was the last casualty, and her departure has Carol Hannah sad and spotting the wolves circling around the weaker designers. Gordana feels she has to stay, Nicolas decides to make the rest of the challenges all about him, and Christopher sees himself as the underdog and is kind of surprised to still be in the game.
It’s all about location, location, location.
On the runway at FIDM, Heidi dispatches the designers to take a trip with Tim to Rodeo Drive, home of all manner of luxury stores, to meet a designer. The designers wonder who it will be they’re meeting, but since Lifetime has been promoting the return of Michael Kors non-stop, it’s pretty obvious to even the casual viewer it’s going to be a stop at Kors’ shop. They all meet up at his west coast flagship store where Michael tells the designers that he is often inspired by the places he visits in his fabulous jet-set life. This inspiration serves as the basis for the challenge.
After the little trip to Kors’ shop, the designers are asked to choose one of Michael’s seven top design inspiration locales. Carol Hannah, as last week’s winner, chooses first and takes Palm Beach. Tim brings out the velvet bag of choosing, and the parings shake out thusly: Nicolas takes Greece, because New York would be too easy for him; Althea picks St. Tropez; Gordana takes New York, Irina picks Aspen, Christopher takes Santa Fe, and Logan gets stuck with Hollywood. Tim then gives them thirty minutes to sketch before it is off to Mood to spend $150. They only have one day for this challenge, so they better get to work.
Carol Hannah decides that her Palm Beach look should be relaxed but still look put-together. Althea wants to incorporate the old fishing town aspect of St. Tropez into its known beach and party scene. Gordana sees her New York woman as a rich, sophisticated, independent person; to wit, while at Mood, she buys a ton of jewels and only a small bit of grey fabric with her money. Irina likes the idea of Aspen because she does a lot of fur and outerwear things; she has a hard time at Mood on the constrained budget.
After the shopping, the construction begins. Logan is after a young Hollywood look with a comfortable, bohemian top and tight skinny jeans. Irina’s Aspen look is going to be made of some pants, a cowl neck sweater and a faux fur vest. Carol Hannah knows she’s going to make a dress with her green print fabric, but doesn’t know exactly how and wishes she had more fabric than she does. Under the stress of the situation, the designers have a bit of a giddy, silly moment, which prompts Irina in confessional to bitch about the chit-chat. This heavy-handed “Irina is a bitch” edit has me now convinced she wins the whole thing, but not before some redemptive crying in the second-to-last episode.
After a while, Tim comes by for a visit. He checks in on Gordana first, because she’s right by the door. Gordana has only made this intricate bejeweled necklace to go with her planned simple dress at this point. While Tim has no problem with the necklace, he does worry about the lack of a garment and tells her to get cracking on the dress. Tim finds Althea’s look is cute in the muslin mock-ups she’s made and she expresses concern about the tailoring. Tim says tailoring is important, but to make sure it doesn’t get too menswear. Christopher then explains to Tim that he is making a flowy little dress out of the pale turquoise top material and brown on the bottom, and he’s going to jazz it all up with a fun belt. Tim cautions it is not all about the belt because if the rest sucks, having a great belt isn’t going to matter. Carol Hannah also tells Tim she’s making a flowy dress, but this one is long and out of print. Tim says little other than to warn her against going cliché and saying she has a lot of work to do. Tim does little more than offer generic terms on fit and proportion to Logan and Irina, and then sends the models in for fitting.
Gordana’s model tries on the necklace and Gordana scrambles to make a dress to do a fitting. Logan cut his jeans too small, so he’s going to have to figure out how to add some fabric. Nicolas still doesn’t have the top done, so he can only fit the grey pants. At this point, the editors drop another “Irina is a bitch” cut in; this time she says that pretty much everyone else doesn’t make clothes well, and who doesn’t want well made clothes? Carol Hannah’s interview about Irina having made it clear she didn’t come on PR to make friends and that set a lot of people off is juxtaposed against Irina’s interview footage. Irina trash-talked Carol Hannah last week. Are they telegraphing the last two now? Anyway, back in the work-room, Nicolas struggles with the top, having all kinds of issues with sewing jersey, and Christopher realized that the long skirt and top were totally “Little House on the Prairie” so he lopped 20 inches or so of fabric off the skirt.
It’s midnight and back to the apartments they go, lest they turn into pumpkins. They all gather in one apartment and munch on some chocolate which, in my reality-overloaded mind, seems to be producer-induced to get them all in one room. No fights ensue, but there did seem to be some awkward silences.
The next day brings the runway show. Carol Hannah, because she realized what she wanted to do so late in the game, and Nicolas, because he has no idea what to do with jersey, both have a lot of work to get done. Althea is chilled out, and Logan makes some adjustments to the pants. Pretty much everyone keeps to himself or herself until the models come in for fittings, hair, and makeup. The last couple hours hold some revelations: Christopher likes his shorter skirt design; Gordana really is confident in her dress but wonders if it will convey the right New York vibe; Nicolas realizes there’s no “Greece” at all in his design; and Althea is in love with the look she’s created. With last minute steaming, seaming, and putting on details, Tim forces out the designers for the runway show with his “Congratulations to everyone!” call as they march to meet their fates.
Sometimes clothes really are just clothes.
The runway show starts, and the PR Holy Trinity is back in tact: Heidi, Nina, and Michael are all there, and they are joined by Milla Jovovich, who, as you all know, got her start as a model and actually does have some fashion experience. I really can’t tell you why I confuse her with Liv Tyler almost always, but that’s neither here nor there, so let’s start the show.
The designers’ location-inspired designs are:
Logan’s Hollywood-inspired look of skinny white jeans, a teal tank, suspenders and a sleeveless cardigan.
Althea’s St. Tropez-inspired white tank under a sheer ivory long-sleeved open shirt, and copper/shiny camel colored shorts.
Nicolas’ allegedly Greece-inspired skinny grey trousers, a white wrap jersey shirt, and some kind of chain pocket detail.
Carol Hannah’s Palm Beach-inspired long green print dress with a plunging neck line and twisted fabric detail on the straps and the back. It’s pretty, but it screams Uli to me.
Christopher’s Santa Fe-inspired dress of a short copper/brown skirt, a pale turquoise top with short flutter sleeves over a white tank and with a wide brown on black belt. As it turns out, it really is all about the belt.
Irina’s Aspen-inspired look of skinny brown ski-like pants, a brown knit sweater with a huge cowl and open back detail, with a faux fur vest atop it.
Gordana’s New York-inspired sleek grey dress made as a halter with the fabulously jeweled and detailed necklace/collar.
After the show, Althea is called forward and is safe. The rest face the judges’ questions. Irina is up first. She says the girl has ski-like pants but probably would be sipping champagne by the fire. Milla thinks it’s cool, Michael finds some surprise and sex in the open back sweater. He thinks it’s a literal 80s Aspen look. Heidi loves the pants. Christopher is questioned next; he sees sand, sky and rocky bluffs. Nina wanted more vivid colors; Michael thinks it’s great he didn’t turn it into a costume but doesn’t see Santa Fe. Milla does love the belt, but Heidi thinks it’s the only interesting thing about the garment.
Carol Hannah says she was going about a relaxed but dressed up look. Nina loves the print and the twist details. Milla loves it and would live in the dress. Everyone loves the fabric and Michael sees that it could be both casual and dressy. Nicolas wanted to do an edgy and interesting look. Michael thinks it is “Grease” not Greece. Nina wouldn’t spend money on the dress, and Heidi thinks the tight top with the loose sleeves is weird. Milla likes the top but wishes he’d have taken the top and made it a dress.
Gordana says she was imagining the NYC socialite going to gallery openings but starts blathering weakly about the color choice. Milla loves the necklace, and would have made the dress a tad more simple, without the piping detail on the hips. Gordana saw it as too dowdy, that’s why she put the piping details on. Michael thinks the dress is sexy, sophisticated and urban. Finally, Logan says his inspiration was young Hollywood out shopping. Nina doesn’t see the young Hollywood styling—it is just basic clothes. Michael wanted to see the jean shape blown out. Milla harps on that as well; everyone is doing crazy stuff with jeans and he really should have gone for it on making the jeans push the envelope.
During deliberations, they find Irina did a lot of work for $150 but a bit too much one color. They loved Gordana’s necklace and the dress fit the inspiration, but they were disheartened that Gordana put down her own dress. Carol Hannah made a great fabric choice and her detailing was fabulous. On the bottom, Christopher had a problem with the proportions and Heidi found it un-wearable. Milla called everything but the belt sad. Christopher did not go to Greece and bought grey menswear fabric not anything Greek. Heidi didn’t mind Logan’s, but as Milla says, if he were called “Project I didn’t mind it” he’d win. A teeshirt and pants doesn’t cut it.
The designers are called back on the runway. Carol Hannah is safe, and Irina can barely hold her teeth in her mouth expecting to win. And she does for making a luxe look on a tight budget. Gordana is, obviously, in and so is Logan because they didn’t mind his look, after all. The choice comes down to Christopher and Nicolas. Nicolas missed the mark and the outfit had nothing to do with Greece. Christopher’s look was wishy-washy and didn’t give a sense of place. And, despite Christopher being in the bottom for weeks now, he’s in and Nicolas is out. He leaves the runway, and the stress of judging has taken its toll on Milla and she tears up a bit.
Nicolas says he’ll take a break but I doubt this is the last anyone will hear from the Feather King of New York.