Project Runway 2-9 Recap: Drama Trumps Talent
Hello all. I am spegs (long time Project Runway viewer, first time Project Runway recapper) and I will be stepping into the uber-fashionable stiletto heels of your regular recapper, Hepcat, for one week. *struts down runway Austin Scarlet-style* How do they look on me? Hmmm…maybe with a few feathers…
Tonight’s appetizer will be…cheese
We begin with the final four designers reacting to the concept of starting their last challenge. They are all rejoicing to have made it this far, especially because they have a seventy-five percent chance at this point to go to fashion week. Or rather a sixty-six percent chance, since it is universally accepted that Kara Saun is in.
We spend a few brief moments mourning the loss of Robert, or reveling in it, depending on your personal preference. He leaves a note for Jay and Austin, urging them to “make your straight pal proud.” Ah, still defending his heterosexuality, even in absentia.
Wendy prints off some digital pictures taken earlier in the competition, and has fond memories of the “simpler days,” the days when she had friends instead of competitors, the days before she had morphed into the poisonously evil, cackling Queen of Malice. Good times.
The designers convene beside the runway, and Heidi greets them with her usual icy, mechanical perfection. She announces that their next competition will be creating a dress for the red carpet of the Grammy’s. The designers all seem pleased. Because who doesn’t like an evening gown competition? They will have two days to complete their dresses.
The five surviving models are brought out, and Julia is sweating bullets after her no show last week. I’m thinking Olga ought to look more worried, since only Robert’s hormones have been keeping her in this contest to this point. Kara Saun gets first pick, and she surprises no one by keeping Jenny. Austin goes with Martinique again. Jay goes next, and Austin begs to be chosen, but Jay gives Julia a second chance. He cites loyalty and friendship in his decision. Wendy gets last pick, and she takes Melissa—an obvious choice as Melissa has defended her frumpy designs to the judges twice. Olga is out, Heidi announces, her eyes glittering in an almost metallic way…
Some call me…Tim
We skip on over to Parson’s, where Tim Gunn is waiting to pronounce this week’s obligatory “surprise.” He introduces Nancy O’Dell, host of Access Hollywood, and reveals that the designers will be making Ms. O’Dell’s Grammy dress. I’m thinking this will take a lot of faith on Ms. O’Dell’s part, but more about that later. Kara is excited because she watches Access Hollywood everyday. Wendy is not excited. She watches neither Access Hollywood OR the Grammy’s.
Tim gives the designers a chance to ask Nancy what she wants, and Wendy jumps right in to ask… “What do you want?” Nancy likes bright, deep colors, except for hot pink. Nancy likes two pieces, leather, and tummy camouflage. Tim kisses her butt, and sends her on her way.
Tim has yet another surprise. Knowing how difficult this task will be with the time constraints, he is bringing in some technical support. Jay is excited, thinking it will be “some Korean woman with eighteen fingers to sew for us.” The thrill quickly disappears as goof-off Robert, “The Monkey,” is brought in. Robert thinks his friends are ecstatic at the thought of his help. Actually, those are expressions of horror, each designer thinking to him/herself, “No way in hell is Robert touching my dress.” One has to wonder why Project Runway bothered with this. Maybe it means that Robert’s charm, like the cockroach, really cannot be killed. But, man, I’d love to try.
Please, help yourself!
It’s off to go shopping now. The designers are given forty-five minutes and three hundred dollars. Austin gloats about the challenge, feeling that it is his “spe-shee-ality.” Knowing the rules of reality TV as I do, I immediately begin to fear for waify young Austin. Pride always makes the editing cut before the fall.
I neglected to mention that Nancy O’Dell was wearing a bright orange shirt when she met with the designers. Because I really didn’t care, and neither did you (admit it). But now we must care, because both Kara Saun and Wendy have latched on to this color preference for their design. It appears, through the editing, that Kara Saun had the idea first, but who knows for sure. What we do know for sure is that Kara Saun picked out a bolt of sequined orange material and laid it out with her other choices. We also know that Wendy took it upon herself to remove that bolt of fabric and place it with her own choices. In the end, Kara ends up using the fabric and Wendy (as far as I could see) did not. But hard feelings are born. Kara notes that Wendy is working with exactly the same color palette, and is not flattered by this form of imitation.
Wendy buys a whole bunch of feathers. Feathers: they always give you the edge. I’m wearing a big purple boa right now.
It’s throw down time in the design room. The designers get to work with a heaping dose of smack talk. Jay calls Austin costumy, behind his back. Kara Saun makes barely veiled comments about people who have to sabotage other people because they have no talent, to Wendy’s face. Wendy is quite pissed that Kara Saun has the audacity to accuse her of copying. After all, Nancy wore the orange shirt in full view of them both. She could have had the same idea all by herself. (Coulda, but probably didn’t.) I can only imagine Wendy’s histrionics if Kara Saun had touched Wendy’s bolt of fabric—I think we’re all glad we didn’t have to witness that.
Jay makes some comments about the unstoppable Kara Saun and her inevitable win. Wendy is pissed again—that he didn’t say it about her. We all roll our eyes in unison. Wendy complains that the other three are ganged up against her. That would really be a problem, too. If this was Survivor.
Austin starts draping blue and purple chiffon around his mannequin, and it’s clear that this dress will not be a departure for him. Wendy is excited to be doing her first short dress. Because that will show the judges how very versatile she can be. A short skirt? How ingenious and original, Wendy. Jay is working with a variety of fabrics that are dangerously close to hot pink. Didn’t Nancy O’Dell say something about hot pink? What was it again…?
Robert sleeps and drinks beer.
People with ridiculous deadlines love nothing better than a pointless field trip
Tom pops in with the exciting news that the designers are all invited to Michael Kors studio! (Except for Robert the Monkey. No Kors for you!) The designers are all thrilled to lose hours of their precious preparation time. Ooooh, goody!
Their path coincidentally takes them past the fashion show tents being set up. All are motivated by the view. Kara Saun remembers an impromptu fashion show she put on with some of her model friends, right here outside the tents, in 1994. It made it into some papers, and it was an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing, Kara Saun.
The Michael Kors studio is huge and intimidating. The designers all dream of the day when they might possibly make it this big. Michael Kors himself shows up and rubs it in their faces that he is this big. They look at some red carpet dresses, worn by such illustrious figures as J-Lo (gasp!!). MK pats himself on the back a bit more, and then the anxious designers are finally released to get back to work.
Hubris of the damned
Wendy is very pleased with her feathery concoction. Like every week, she just loves her work. Austin is even more confident. Kara Saun is so very confident, that she feels she can take a break from working to tutor her less talented brother in couture.
Kara Saun approaches Jay at his work station, and proceeds to give him a critique about what is “Jay” and what isn’t “Jay.” She picks one of his fabrics and suggests that he cover the bodice he’s made with it. Jay takes this quite a bit nicer than I would, but he does seem to idolize Kara Saun. He sees this critique as evidence of requited love—Kara Saun wants him in the final three. After all, she’s not giving any advice to Wendy.
Tim wanders through, pausing to slobber kisses all over Kara Saun’s butt before he gets down to shredding the others. He tells Wendy that she has too much going on and it’s not working. He calls her dress “deluded,” or maybe he was talking about Wendy herself. In any case, Wendy has added another utility belt to her lacey, feathery, gold-accented skirt. Did I miss someone praise the utility belt that fell apart during the Sci-Fi show? Tim is lukewarm on Jay, but fairly complimentary to Austin.
The final count down
It’s the morning of the runway show. Feeling like they’ve come a long way, all the designers put their hands in together for a moment of mutual encouragement. Except Wendy, who stalks off down the hall. Robert takes her place eagerly, wondering if there’s some way to parlay this into another chance in the competition. Austin tells them, “We’re all fabulous!”
The artists muse on why they are here. Kara Saun says something about the amazing experience. Jay thought he was here to add personality to the show, but now he feels like he really has a chance. Austin feels his purpose in life is to give beauty back to the world. Wendy just wants to grind her boot heels into Kara Saun’s face. Wow.
Tim reminds them that none of their previous work counts, and not to rest on their laurels. Then he makes his rounds, though there’s really not much time to do anything about his observations at this point. He tells Jay that his bodice (already reworked once per Kara Saun’s instructions) is matronly. Jay gets back to work. Tim shocks Kara Saun by suggesting that she forget the pants part of her ensemble. Kara Saun decides to disregard his advice. Tim warns Austin not to let his dress look over-worked. And then he tells Wendy that her dress is…adorable. What? Where did that come from? Wendy has shortened her skirt so it’s just a ruffle of feathers under the top, and this pleases Tim. Note to self: feathers please Tim. Too. Tim is proud of Wendy.
The models get pretty-fied by Loreal artists, and then are fitted into the dresses. “Did you eat?” Jay rails at Julia. Time is up, and it’s on to the show.
By their fruits ye shall know them
Heidi greets the designers in her mechanized, toneless voice, reminds them that they are about to find out who goes to fashion week, and tells them they will be judged on how well their designs please the client and reflect Grammy fashion. The judges are regulars Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. Joining them tonight is Nancy O’Dell who will pick which dress she will wear. Sort of. More to come on that.
Melissa comes out first in Wendy’s design. From the bust up, she looks pretty good. (I’m thinking it’s mostly due to Melissa’s bust that this part looks good.) The fabric of the orange top floats out from her waist, which would conceal whatever it is trim little Nancy is so desperate to conceal. But the hemline is (as often is the case in Wendy’s designs) unfinished, uneven and ragged. The skirt is just that few inches of feathers that Tim liked. Wendy is quite happy with it.
Jenny looks gorgeous in Kara Saun’s creation, but Tim was right here. The beaded leather pants are too loose and long—they ruin the line and the look of the elegant top dress. Kara Saun thinks she put her own twist on it.
Martinique flows down the runway in a billowing of blue and lavender chiffon. The dress is all glamour, all Austin Scarlet, and not much to do with either Nancy or the Grammy’s. Austin thinks it is beautiful and pure, and as such, does not need to be trendy.
Julia, as usual, seems perfect for Jay’s work. She gives an edge to the rose red bodice over the shredded but fitted layered skirt that drifts from red at the top to black at the bottom in coordinating fabrics. Jay is not thrilled with the bodice, but he likes it better than his original.
Putting the “catty” back in catwalk
And now comes the portion of the show dedicated to humiliation. The models join the designers on the runway, and the grilling begins.
Nancy is nice enough. She asks Wendy if she considered any other option besides feathers. Translation: the feathers suck. Wendy doesn’t hear that part, and rejoices in her love of all things feathery. Nancy thinks Austin’s dress is too glamorous, and Austin’s answer is not conciliatory. He thinks you can never have too much glamour. Nancy questions the hot pink-ness of Jay’s creation, and calls the bodice dated, but she really likes the skirt. Nancy is also not too keen on Kara Saun’s pants.
Nina is quick to end the niceness. “What happened here?” she asks in horror. Michael Kors agrees that he is “underwhelmed.” He thinks all these dresses have potential to make the “What was she thinking” list in the tabloids.
They think Wendy’s has too much going on, is too “matchy”/“Geranimals,” and Michael Kors insults every woman who has ever had shoes dyed to match her dress. (Just for the record, I am not one of those women).
Nina rips into Austin, pretty pointedly accusing him of plagiarizing his design from others. Michael Kors thinks the dress belongs in a student fashion show, and doesn’t belong at the Grammy’s.
Nina says Jay missed on the colors. Michael Kors: Skirt good. Top bad.
Nina hates the disproportionate look of Kara Saun’s pants ensemble. Again, MK agrees.
With an almost human smirk, Heidi announces that the judges obviously have a lot to discuss, and sends the designers backstage.
Where’s Dorothy with a pail of water when you really need her?
The designers are all shell-shocked. The sit on the couch backstage and stare blankly into space. All except Wendy, who merrily enjoys watching them squirm. She just “eats up” their suffering, and finds it delicious. Somebody get this woman a pitch fork or a broom or something.
Back at the runway, Nancy says she would wear Wendy’s bodice, but she can’t stand the feathers. (I kick my boa under the desk.) This turns into a discussion of which designs could be worn “with tweaking.” Apparently Nancy wasn’t stupid enough to agree to actually wear one of the dresses—only some little piece to placate Bravo in exchange for bringing all her fame to their little show.
Everyone praises Jay’s skirt (I think I even spy a covetous light in MK’s eye) and shakes their head at his bodice. Michael Kors disapproves of Wendy’s lack of consistency. But he disapproves more of Austin, who never listens. Austin needs to “think outside the box.” (Michael Kors needs to give up the corporate babble.)
The fall of the ax
The designers return to face the judges. Heidi wastes no time telling Kara Saun that she did not win, but is still in. She’s going to fashion week. Kara Saun cries, thanks the judges, and gets a hug from a genuinely pleased Jay.
Jay also did not win, but he, too, is in. Jay is thrilled, honored and floored. He makes little squealing noises as he skips off the runway.
Heidi tells Austin and Wendy that one of them is the winner, and one of them is out. The designer of that dress that Nancy O’Dell chose to wear to the Grammy’s (in some altered form) is automatically the winner.
Wendy is called forward, and told she is the winner. Yeah, I saw it coming, but it still bites. Austin has a shocked smile frozen on his face. He turns to give Wendy a hug. She clings. He eventually must push her off. She runs backstage where Kara Saun’s and Jay’s expressions are easy to read. Jay says seeing Wendy’s winning face grossed him out. “I hate Wendy! I’m sorry.” Nobody blames you, Jay.
Back to Austin, who is gracious in defeat. He destroys all my expectations by not crying. He thanks the judges for the opportunity, and tells them they haven’t seen the last of Austin Scarlet. Michael Kors says they will be on the look out for him. Nancy O’Dell asks Austin to make her dress for the Oscars. If she is toying with that poor, heartbroken waif I will never watch Access Hollywood again (tee hee—not a hard threat to keep). I’ll be watching out for you at the Oscars, missy!
Austin heartily congratulates the designers backstage. He is optimistic as he later cleans up his workspace (wearing a fabulous, multi-strand pearl necklace). He tells all of us to be true to ourselves, no matter what. *chokes back sob* Sorry, everybody. I need a minute…
Goodbye, Austin. You fell victim to the producer’s need for evil drama. Like Michael Kors, we’ll be looking out for you.
IfWhen I go to the Oscars, I’ll give you a call.
Next Week on Project Runway:
It’s The Women Tell All—Project Runway style. Yes, look forward to rehash, accusations and tears; it’s that filler show we’ve all grown to love. (How I adore those extra scenes that were too boring to make the cut!) And don’t forget to look for Nancy at the Grammy’s this Sunday, to see which miniscule piece of Wendy’s dress she will “tweak” into her outfit.