Last week saw Vincent depart to claim his title of Lord of Crazytown and Jeffrey pulled out a Project Runway first by winning a challenge whilst already having immunity. With only two more challenges until the final three are selected, the tension is building.
In fact, back at Atlas, the remaining guys are quite pleased Vincent is gone. Kayne opines that it has finally gotten down to the five with the most talent. In the women’s apartment, Laura confesses to Uli that she is feeling down after the last runway when the judges gave her couture dress a scathing review. She’s determined, however, to plow through.
It’s never a %$#&@ing party.
Heidi gathers all the designers at the side of the runway, presumably to tell them what their next challenge is. She, however, refuses to tell them and instead says that they are all to come to a party hosted by L’Oreal Paris. They will get their challenge at the party, where they will be joined by some very “special” guests. Heidi said “special” with some thought and hesitation, and there was no telling what exactly she meant. After so many weeks of duplicitous “parties” the designers are on to this game, and Jeffrey is especially leery of the whole proceeding, saying the party is sure to be a trap.
So, the designers go to The Pink Elephant, which appears to be the same over-lit bar that is used every season. It’s just the five of them, and a couple of bottles of champagne are opened. Since Jeffrey is clearly drinking water and whatever is in Laura’s glass isn’t bubbling, the other three are undoubtedly going to have a grand time of things. Then in walks Heidi Klum. *dum dum dum dum*
Heidi says it is time to bring out the two guests. In staggers Vincent, who has a clear “what the hell is going on?” look on his face, as does everyone else in the room. Then the second guest comes in, and it’s Angela, similarly befuddled. Both Vincent and Angela look as though they had no earthly idea where they were being taken to by the producers. I imagine them both in the back of a van, hooded and their hands tied behind them with rope. Then they are pushed out of the still moving van and shoved into the bar. Their binding and hoods are only removed before they are thrust into the barroom to find the rest of the PR crew. But then, I realize this isn’t 24. (Although how cool would that cross-over be? “There’s no time!!!! Someone took my chiffon, and you’re going to tell me who, or face this serger in places neither God nor man ever intended!!!!”)
What the hell is going on after all, Heidi? Well, it turns out that the benefit attached to winning a challenge is that anyone who had won but got booted would have a chance to come back at this point. This would have also held true had Michael, Kayne, Jeffrey, or Uli had been booted previously. It is then I realize that Laura has never won a challenge, which is just weird, since Angela and Vincent did. The catch is that for Vincent or Angela to advance, they have to out-right win this challenge, otherwise they’re heading home (again).
Exactly what is this challenge, you may be wondering. It’s quite simple actually: the designers need to make a black and white cocktail dress. They will all use the models they had before, and the models will come into the bar to party with the designers. The challenge sounds easy enough, but the non-loser designers are bummed out that they’ve got these two to deal with again, and the party mood is killed.
There apparently is an “I” in “Team”
The morning after the cocktail party, the designers are getting ready to head to Parsons. In the women’s apartment, Angela says she is pumped to win again. Laura tells her straight-out that she doesn’t think it’s fair that Angela is back, since Angela’s only win was a team challenge. Angela says some moronic thing that in fashion, it’s the design that counts, not the construction, and she was the designer. Laura tells the interview camera that it is clear who carried the weight in the team challenge, and it wasn’t Angela. Bravo helps out and shows us clips of Laura and Michael saving Angela from her own design.
Of course there’s another catch.
At Parsons, Tim says that in order for the judges to be certain that the right three are sent to Fashion Week, the designers have to prove they are capable and worthy of going on. Since the color scheme is limited, the real challenge is in designing a creative silhouette and in use of hair and make-up designs. At Angela’s query, Tim says that the designers have to use black and white: conjunctive, not disjunctive.
They have fifteen minutes to sketch, then off to Mood, where they can spend $100 on fabrics. Kayne designs what he calls a “very edited” cocktail dress with a wild, open back. Laura comes up with a baby doll shape, with a wide square collar, but she is worried about the design.
Tim gives one final word of instruction before they head out to shop: every scrap of fabric must be used in the design. As Vincent says, the designers must be very smart with the design and not over-buy fabric. Good luck with all that.
At Mood, the scene is much the same as every week. Uli is buying prints. Kayne and Jeffrey buy shiny fabrics. Michael buys fabric that he will be able to work with and drape nicely. Angela wants to make a leather shrug with an Edwardian collar lined with off-white charmeuse. She thinks she is taking an admirable risk while retaining her fingerprint. “Admirable risk”, “guano insane”, your pick.
Wait, you’re not talking about Melanie Griffith, are you?
Jeffrey bought some polka-dotted fabric to make a minidress, and, at 8.5 hours to go, he starts yammering that Angela is the last person he never ever (X6) wanted to see again. Vincent comments that he’s not thrilled with the way some people’s true colors are coming through, but it is a mystery why Vincent would be shocked that Jeffrey isn’t an Angela fan.
Kayne has concocted a long-sleeved dress that comes very high across the neck, drapes nicely across the bustline, and has a very short skirt. The back is pretty much wide open. Kayne has also affixed a black and white shiny plastic belt across the waist. Michael diplomatically and indirectly tells Kayne, who plans to show the dress with high shiny boots, that the outfit is something that a working girl might wear. Kayne wisely looses the belt and the boots, which makes the dress’s line much cleaner.
‘Pimping L’Oreal Paris more than usual’ time.
Tim enters the workroom and announces that he’s sending in the models for a preliminary fitting. Also, Collier Strong, the L’Oreal Paris makeup dude has come in to do individual consultations in advance of the runway show. For all the screen time L’Oreal gets this episode, there ought to be fewer commercials. Each model and designer visit with Collier for a little while and come up with different variations of the “smoky eye” and the “shiny lips.” It’s yet another montage, really, and I now have the South Park “Montage” song stuck in my head. Thanks, Collier…thanks a lot.
Bankin’ on Jesus
Tim makes his rounds with the designers. He loves Uli’s frog closure on the neck line of her dress. He asks what she is doing with her left-over fabric, and she says she is going to make a necklace out of it.
Tim finds that Vincent has a lot of fabric left over, so he suggests a shawl or similar to use up the fabric. Vincent is not happy but resigned to doing something, since he has so much more fabric than he needs, possibly due to a measuring error by the guy at Mood.
Jeffrey’s dress has only taken part of its form, but he’s working on making some stretch pleather leggings. Tim worries that this is going to dress down the outfit.
Visiting with Kayne, Tim has issues with the dress, as there is no white in it at all. Kayne then shows Tim a bit of white ribbon, to which Tim viscerally reacts by saying, “Oh, Jesus!” Invoke all the higher powers you want, Tim, but not even Tom Cruise or Oprah could save this mistake of not using white at all.
Tim reviews Michael’s dress and comments that the white dress is nearly transparent and the black belt/cummerbund’s edges look unfinished. Next, Angela tells Tim that she is going to be doing some hand rouching. OK, time for a rule. We all know the number one rule is to always listen to Tim Gunn. The number two rule should be to stay away from rouching if at all possible unless you really know what you are doing. Tim wisely tells her to do what she absolutely has to first, as time’s ticking down.
Finally, Tim visits with Laura. She says she can’t exhaust herself by designing for some really young fashionista, and she’s just going to have to be happy with what she makes. In the one-camera interview, she is a bit teary, saying she really wanted a career change and the judges got her down in the last challenge. Tim tells her that she will figure out her design.
Run, run, run, run, runway.
On the morning of the runway show, Laura gets a video message from her husband and one of her brood and her spirit is instantly buoyed. Uli is excited, since it is going to be a crazy day, with three people going home. Vincent is preparing by undertaking some kind of meditation on the guys’ balcony. And Kayne is trying to convince himself everything will be great by again professing he loves his design.
At Parsons, Tim informs the designers that they have the usual two hours to get their models ready. He also tells Vincent that Jia had an accident on the way over. She’ll eventually be O.K., but they’ve gotten Javi to model for him today. (A title card at the end of the show tells us that Jia made a full recovery and is modeling again.) Vincent is also worried that the dress won’t fit Javi, and he’s got absolutely no seam allowances.
The usual preparatory activity takes place. Kayne tells us he thinks Jeffrey’s polka-dotted dress and pleather leggings look cheap and costumey. Laura tells us she designed for someone else, not her, but she likes the dress. Vincent provides us with the knowledge that Javi is somewhat bigger than Jia and the zipper on the dress broke. He commences sewing her into the dress. At least he didn’t say she was zaftig.
Finally it is time for the runway show; the judges are the usual suspects plus Zac Posen. What is it with these guest judges and apparent fear of shampoo? At least Zac looks more put together than Richard Tyler, but his hair is way too oily and is distracting.
Angela uses her second chance to send down a dress that reminds me of some kind of Jurassic Park dinosaur. The dress is basically an open-backed sheath dress made of shiny black fabric. The hem of the skirt and the outline of the back are finished with a tiny ruffle/flounce edge. The dress is accompanied by a fake black leather shrug that just runs across the top of the model’s shoulders in the back. It has the Edwardian collar that stands up and is lined with the white charmeuse.
Kayne’s dress is nearly all black. It has a very high neckline, coming straight across the model’s body from shoulder to shoulder. The material looks like a matte jersey and it drapes nicely across the chest, and comes down to a short skirt. The back is wide open and has a white ribbon strung around the opening.
Laura made a narrow baby doll dress (i.e., with less swing to it than some baby doll dresses) out of white material she overlaid with black lace. Sequins or sparkles, in a restrained number, were strategically placed toward the bottom of the skirt, not too unlike what she and Michael did in the Miss USA challenge. She also affixed black ribbon to the bottom of the skirt, giving it a bit of fringe movement. Laura said it reminded her of Josephine Baker.
Michael heeded Tim’s advice and lined the white matte jersey dress he made so it was no longer transparent. It has an asymmetric neckline and the waist is cinched in by the wide belt/cummerbund made of shiny black material with cut-out black flowers on it. Michael has done something to the belt because it looks more professionally made than it did in the workroom.
Jeffrey has made a dress out of a couple of types of black and white polka-dotted fabric. The skirt, a standard mini, is a larger dot, and it looks more like a geometric print. The central part of the top is made of a smaller dot fabric. The part of the top that goes across the arms and the chest is white, as are the straps that hold up the top. Jeffery has also made footless thigh-high stockings out of stretch fake leather.
Uli has made a short swingy dress out of what she called hippy prints, also in a kind of a baby doll shape. It comes straight across the bust line, and the sleeves are stand-alone pieces that hang on the arm at the same level as the dress comes across the bust line. The sleeves are long and voluminous and hang past the model’s fingertips. The “necklace” made of left-over material hangs nearly to the end of the dress in a giant stuffed loop.
Vincent made a simple dress with a shiny finish white cotton on top and a black eyelet on the bottom. The dress is very fitted to the model, and has a slightly gathered appearance. He’s made a very stiff wrap with the leftover fabric, which looks far more formal than the dress.
At least no one was “boring.”
All of the designers get questioned on the runway. By and large, they either made a handbag out of their excess material or used their excess material to stuff bags they used from the accessory wall. Michael is up first; he says he chose the white dress because it was simple, edgy, sexy, and sensual. Zac loved it and Nina again said that Michael brought the whole look home, from the dress, to the shoes, to the bag (which he seems to have made), to the earrings.
The judges did not like Vincent’s dress; they thought it was too short, and he clearly had the fabric to make it longer. They didn’t think the wrap went with the dress.
Zac liked Uli’s dress, but Nina thought the sleeves were too long and brought the dress down. The judges decided that the sleeves should have been shorter so that the model looked more “delicate” and “fragile.” They did not, however, like the fabric necklace and made the model take it off.
Nina thought that Angela’s dress was not realistic. The judges also questioned her choice of a red leatherette handbag from the Macy’s accessory wall and the stuffing of the bag with the extra fabric since it was a frame bag in the first place. The judges also agreed the dress was costumey.
Jeffrey said he tried to capture the look of cocktail parties in LA. Michael Kors said the dress wasn’t edgy, Zac thought it needed more elegance, and Nina wanted to see something from Jeffrey that wasn’t “LA” for a change.
Laura said she wanted to make a dress that was fun but youthful. She practically shouted the word “youthful” to get the point across. Laura also made a clutch out of the left-over material. Michael Kors said that it was chic, perfectly made, and young. Zac said it’d sell in stores in a second. Heidi thought the sparkles were good—not too much, just enough. Nina loved the dress as well.
Finally, the judges reviewed Kayne’s outfit. He said he wanted to prove he can edit his design. Zac didn’t like the white ribbon in the back, as it was not sophisticated. Nina wasn’t crazy about the dress either, since it didn’t really follow the instructions and used a bare minimum of white.
Michael Kors insults Gwen Stefani.
Deliberation ensues. Michael Kors does not like Angela’s “vampire ruffle” shrug. Heidi points out that boleros are in, but only when made by people who know what they are doing. Nina loves Michael’s ability to create a head-to-toe look. The judges think Vincent has absolutely no sense of proportion. Jeffrey lacks an element of luxury, and Michael Kors is tired of seeing Gwen Stefani every week. That look was more “Jenna Jameson wannabe goes to the Strip,” and I expect a flock of Harajuku Girls to beat down on him sometime soon.
Zac likes Uli’s dress, but Nina and Michael Kors find that this is the same old thing she’s done before. Nina says Kayne shows he listened and he tried to get away from his usual creations, and Michael is glad it isn’t an Elvis cocktail dress, but they still think his level of taste is lacking. Finally, they all love Laura’s design, as she maintained her perspective but finally designed for someone other than herself.
Somehow, most of this seems very familiar, like we just saw it over the past couple of weeks.
The judges have made their decision and the designers are brought back on the runway. Heidi announces the winner first, and it’s Laura. She’s ecstatic and Michael seems genuinely happy for her.
Heidi then tells Angela and Vincent that they are out, which is pretty obvious since they had to win to stay in it. Then she tells Michael and Uli that they are both in. It is down to Kayne and Jeffrey.
Heidi says Kayne only gave half to the black and white challenge, and while he stretched himself somewhat, they still have serious questions about his taste level. She then tells Jeffrey that his outfit looked cheap and that week after week they see the same thing from him: all edge, and no elegance.
Kayne is out. He goes back to the work room to clean up his space. He says that he one day would like to be more than a seamstress and have his own line of evening and cocktail dresses. Everyone is sad to see him go, and even Jeffrey—as far as I can tell, non-sarcastically—says it was an honor to work with him.
Postscript: I want to thank the Bravo editors and/or Vincent himself for refraining from using the phrase “get me off” or any other version thereof in this entire episode thereby saving my foot from crashing into the television screen.
Drop me a PM if you want to hear the rest of my plot outline for Season 1 of “24: Project Runway.”