Have you ever gone through your closet or looked at old pictures and thought, “What the heck was I thinking?” about your fashion choices. If you’re reading this and follow Project Runway, it’s likely you have. Tonight’s episode is all about revisiting fashion horrors of the past and bringing them current, rather than just leaving them in the bin where they ought to be. If you hoped never to see neon other than on a sign or zoot suits outside of a gangster film, it’s best to turn away now. However, if you’re up to reliving the nightmares of yore, step aboard this train to the past.
Both good and bad things always come in threes.
When we last saw our designers, Carmen was dismissed for failing to convince Tiki Barber that shirtless was the new shirt. As she’s packed up and left, Sweet P comments that, while it is sad Carmen left, three in the apartment is better than four. Over in his apartment, Chris comments that Project Runway should market a perfume smelling of tears, sweat, and Chinese food. I worry that it is way too close to Britney’s latest scent of tears, sweat and Cheetos.
The group then meets up with Heidi at the runway for the requisite model choosing portion of the show. She brings out Jack’s model and both Carmen’s and Marion’s, since they used the male models last week. Jack can continue with his model or pick a new one from the whole group of girls. He decides to change so all of the girls come out on the runway. Jack takes Ricky’s model from him, which leaves Ricky with Jack’s model and Carmen’s and Marion’s models are out. Once again, we have no mother *shutyourmouth* walkoff tonight. Heidi then sends the designers to the workroom to meet up with Tim and a special guest.
With no more information than that, Sweet P is convinced that they will be designing clothes for senior citizens. I don’t know if that’s a slam against Tim’s age or she’s just wildly speculative, but I kind of like the idea of this group having to put up with some curmudgeonly old women with fashion sense—you know, the Park Avenue charity maven set. That would be a riot. As it turns out, Tim is in the workroom with Nina Garcia and she’s brought twelve pictures of fashion trends of the past, which Chris rightly describes as “hideous.” Nina says Elle has been photographing the evolution of fashion trends for years and some are in and some are out. The trends represented in the pictures are decidedly out. For their challenge, they will have to pick a trend to recreate and make modern.
Each designer’s name is randomly called, save for Jack who gets to go first since he won last time. Jack picks pleather, Victorya takes underwear as outer wear, Christian chooses the zoot suit, Rami takes poodle skirts, Kit picks fringe, and Elisa takes cut outs. Since Jillian is actually wearing overalls, she takes overalls for her outdated trend. Ricky grabs neon, Kevin chooses 70’s flare, Chris takes shoulder pads, Steven picks dance wear, and last as usual, Sweet P gets the baggy sweater look. Nina then informs them that they’ll have to work in teams of three to create a collection of three pieces that incorporate the three trends, are cohesive, and are relevant for today. Tim then tells them that they have to pick their own teams.
For the most part, the designers group together by trying to figure out what trends will work with others the best. The teams shake out to be Chris, Steven, and Sweet P; Rami and Jillian, who worked together before, add Kevin to their group; Victorya grabs Elisa and Ricky based on their trends alone; and Jack, Christian and Kit work together because Kit thinks they’ll have the most fun. Tim informs the teams they’ll have $225 for materials and two days to make the outfits. They’ll have one hour to sketch and, while sketching, the teams will have to pick a leader.
Chris is selected as the leader of his group; Steven informs us that they are each making one look for each of the trends and plan on making the collection uniform with color and fabric choices. Ricky is picked as the leader for his team but it is quite obvious from the get-go that Victorya is bossy and domineering the group. Christian and Jillian are appointed leaders of their respective groups and, independently, both groups plan on incorporating all three trends in each piece of the collection. Off they go a-shopping, where it’s the usual mad dash around Mood. Notably, Christian decides to call his team “Star” because they are so hot and Ricky demands that all of their looks be constructed in duchess satin, the bane of bridesmaids everywhere.
Back in the workroom, the day files by quickly. Kit wonders how to incorporate fringe in a cap-sleeved dress without looking like armpit hair. Chris says that a lot of people pigeon-hole him as an over-the-top costume designer but he plans on showing he is as good as everyone else. Meanwhile, Ricky seems to have found the Rosetta Stone for Elisa’s language. He was a modern dancer and, according to Ricky, his instructors all talked in the same “high on pot” way. He gives her instruction on how to drape the fabric and find the center of the garment. Meanwhile Jillian is working on her overalls creation. She feels comfortable working with Rami but worries about Kevin getting his outfit done on time. As the leader, she’s concerned that if Kevin doesn’t pick up the pace, they’ll lose and she’ll be out. With the first day over, the tired designers head back to the apartments to get some much-needed rest.
A bossy cow comes out to moo.
On the second day of construction, Kit reminds us that they have to blend three trends to look cohesive and modern. Christian recognizes that his group’s trends are crazy but they are attempting to tone them down to be wearable. Meanwhile, Steven attempts a Tim Gunn impersonation saying, in Tim’s droll delivery, “Designers, you are all screwed.” It’s a good effort, but no one will top Santino’s take on Tim.
Team Ricky is in trouble. No, Elisa isn’t spit marking again; she’s actually the sensible and calm one in this picture. Victorya says she has serious ideas about fashion and knows what she likes, and clearly what Ricky is making is not to her liking. He’s constructing a dress with color blocks in neon. She does not like the way the blocks are coming together. Ricky is having none of Victorya’s criticism and says she needs to mind her own business and quit hovering.
With seven hours remaining on the day, Tim arrives and brings the models in for a fitting, hoping the early fitting will help the designers succeed. On Team Chris, the models put on the outfits to the extent that they are done, but Sweet P is not convinced they have a cohesive look. Chris has made a long camel dress with a halter neckline and a bolero with giant shoulder pads. She’s made a shorter, sleeveless camel dress to look like a large sweater. Those two work together for her, but Steven’s dance wear look is just not doing it for Sweet P. Over at Team Jillian, the short denim shorts Kevin made are too small for the model and will have to be remade. Kevin bemoans the fact that he made them exactly to the specifications he was given, but the guy has to suck it up and deal because the model isn’t going to get any skinnier overnight. Weirdly, they fit the shorts to Jillian who looks the same size as the model, but apparently is smaller. Back on Team Ricky, Victorya and her model do not like the way her dress is looking or fitting and Victorya unilaterally decides to change the design completely. Ricky doesn’t like the fact that Victorya didn’t consult him about this change.
Five hours later, with two hours on the clock, Tim shows up to check on the teams’ progress. He observes Christian’s group with approval, noting that everything looks very modern. He spots cohesion issues on Chris’s team and comments approvingly that all of the designs on Jillian’s team look like they were designed for Jillian. Ricky’s team disappoints Tim the most. He says the designs aren’t well finished and not refined. Victorya consistently describes the looks as her concept which really chaps Ricky’s hide. Tim departs advising that they just need to make sure all of the looks work together.
More Ricky-Victorya drama ensues. He gets on her about not consulting him about changing the design. He asks her why she didn’t take the leader job since she’s so bossy. She retorts that she expected Ricky to “step up” (can we *please* retire that phrase from the lexicon?!?!) and his failing to lead caused her to have to take over. Ricky concludes that Victorya is passive-aggressive and didn’t want to lead because she didn’t want her butt on the line. Later, they squabble again (though low-key squabbling as far as this show goes) about Ricky’s inability to make a decision. Amazingly, Ricky gets through this whole fight and confessional without breaking down in tears. Nevertheless, he’s still wearing those idiotic hats; I suspect he’s got a wicked large bald spot he’s trying to cover.
With only forty-five minutes remaining in the day, there is some drama at Team Jillian. Kevin is still fooling around with those shorts and Jillian grouses about it. Rami wants her to crack the whip but she doesn’t want to stand over him and demand he sew faster. Kevin is working on the shorts, but just not at break-neck speeds. The day ends with the shorts unfinished.
The day of the runway show has arrived. Understandably, Jillian is nervous because Kevin isn’t done with those damn shorts yet. Seriously, I think I could have made those shorts by now and I can’t sew. Elisa is also concerned; the rift between Ricky and Victorya is causing stress and is not helping to pull the collection together. Ricky and Elisa are both done with their garments but Victorya isn’t because she decided to completely redesign and remake her dress. Kevin attempts to “pull a magic rabbit out of his ass” and get the shorts done. Let’s hope the rabbit survives.
Tim again appears on the scene and brings in the models. They have the traditional two hours for fitting, hair, and makeup before the show starts. Kevin is putting the finishing touches on his shorts by hammering the jean-style buttons on with a wedge heel from the accessories wall. Steven is worried about Chris’ wide-shouldered bolero jacket; his concern is understandable unless Joan Collins circa 1986 is on the judging panel. Christian’s model is convinced that his team will win the challenge, as is Christian.
Victorya is still having trouble with fitting the bodice on her model. Ricky comes over to help and points out that flattening the chest of the model is not making the dress look polished. Victorya contends that a flat chest is desirable, but Ricky disagrees. He refits the top and the model is happier and more comfortable without her breasts flattened like pancakes. Perhaps Victorya should give up fashion and get in the business of designing mammogram machines.
Kevin successfully extricates the bunny from his behind and produces some fabulously fitting shorts. Jillian is so pleased with them that she now feels bad for doubting his ability. Christian is sill psyched about his collection and even more excited that Ricky’s and Chris’ collections look like crap. With that, Tim corrals everyone for the runway show.
Trios of trends past.
As per usual, Heidi arrives on the runway to introduce the judges. She’s revived a semi-Grecian look, with her upswept hair, and modified black toga style dress. And, by the way, after Tuesday’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I’m fairly convinced Heidi has a deal with the devil. No one should look that good after three pregnancies. Of course Nina and Michael are there and they are joined by Donna Karan, someone who knows as much about recycling old, tired looks as Michael Kors.
Jillian’s team is up first. Their trends were overalls, seventies flare, and poodle skirts. Her look is denim overalls but fitted through the waist and the pants are flared. The top of the overalls has sheer fabric with a matching tie around the model’s neck, in a 50’s style. Kevin sends down the denim shorts with a sleeveless loose-fitting tank top that has a collar that poofs upward to evoke the poodle skirt. Rami designed a sleeveless denim dress with a poodle skirt-like bottom and the straps are made to look like a more fitted and tailored strap of overalls.
Chris’ team is next. The trends they worked with were shoulder pads, oversized sweaters, and dance wear. Chris’ long, fitted camel-colored dress with the halter is draped nicely but the large-shouldered bolero seemingly made of upholstery fabric is distracting. Sweet P shows a sleeveless sack dress made of what looks to be a camel knit fabric that is belted. It also has a black turtle neck dickey-type insert to evoke the look of a sweater. Aside from it being sleeveless, it is my favorite look of the night. Finally, Steven shows black leggings topped with a sleeveless kimono-wrap top. It’s supposed to be dancewear.
Christian’s team is third. Their trends were zoot suits, fringe, and pleather. Christian shows a black pinstriped skirt, a fitted black jacket and a shiny top with a high collar. Jack sends down a grey pinstriped trapeze dress with fringe across the square collar. It’s my second favorite, and the one I’d actually wear. (<--as if you care) Kit made a black and white print skirt and top with a pinstriped dark vest. Her look appeared to be very well fitted, but the runway shots didn’t give a lot of detail on the pattern of the skirt and top.
Last, and maybe least, Ricky’s team is up. The trends they were saddled with were neon, cut outs, and underwear as outer wear. Ricky shows an ill-fitting satin dress with the middle and skirt in bright pink and the top in yellow. Elisa shows a one-shouldered shift dress with neon cut outs along the neck-line in triangles. Closing out the show is Victorya’s dress made of the tight fitting neon bodice with a short dark grey skirt. The outfit looks very 1980’s prom/skating competition—think Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles on Ice.”
After the show, the designers assemble on the runway and Heidi says the winner is so clear they are going to announce it right away. She then congratulates Jillian’s team for their cohesive and modern look and dismisses them. Jillan says in her confessional that she was a bit unsure of herself going into the challenge but now is confident that she’ll stay on the top of the competition. Has she not seen this show before? She’s sealed her fate with that comment! Heidi then says Christian’s team also did well enough to stay and they leave the runway.
Questionable leadership and even more questionable fashion taste.
The models are called out onto the runway for the remaining two teams. The judges start their questioning with Chris’ team. Donna comments that it was important for the collection to be uniform and for the teammates to work together. Michael notes that the three looks seem to be from three different fashion shows. Donna questions Steven on where the “dance” is in his dancewear; Nina similarly doesn’t see it. On the other hand, Donna likes Sweet P’s dress, and Michael agrees. Turning to Chris, Nina says the look is dated and not relevant, while Michael comments that the shoulder pad look was not updated at all and it just looks like a beauty pageant dress in camel. Donna wonders how Chris could lead his team when he couldn’t lead himself.
The eyes of criticism are then turned to Ricky’s team. Nina says the overall concepts were alright but the construction and fit was seriously lacking. Donna liked Elisa’s shift dress and thought Victorya’s fit was well done. Victorya does admit that Ricky helped her get the fit right. Nina is surprised at Ricky’s sloppy effort, noting that after last week’s pins and whatnot she expected his construction to be meticulous. (trademarked Garcia comment) Elisa defends Ricky and says that he helped her sculpt her dress because she doesn’t usually use duchess satin or any other fabric that does not stretch. Michael wonders who chose the satin, saying it was an awful choice that gave the team a disadvantage. Ricky says it was his choice. Responding to questioning about their team work, Victorya says she had to take on a lot of responsibility. Michael picks up on her trying to override Ricky’s leadership and Ricky comments that Victorya doesn’t respect him. Michael concludes that the team’s odd relationship really came out in the garments.
As is the usual practice, each team member is asked who should be booted from that team. Victorya says Ricky and Ricky says Victorya. Elisa says she always puts herself out first on a team challenge, so she says she’d kick herself off. On Chris’ team, Steven would send Chris packing, Chris would send himself home, and Sweet P, who really did not want to make this Sophie’s choice, reluctantly picks Steven because his outfit didn’t mesh as well as the others.
MOB doesn’t rule.
With the designers sweating it out back stage, the judges review the fashion fumbles before them. Ricky’s team suffers from having three disparate designs. Ricky’s poor construction and the team issues brought on by Victorya’s personality are their major complaints. Chris’ team’s collection is simply not a collection, not relevant, and not cohesive. Chris’ poor leadership and design of a “mother of the bride” dress (trademarked Kors comment) with a jacket that had no relationship to the model’s body drew sharp criticism.
The designers again arrive on the runway and Sweet P, Elisa, Steven, and Victorya are all in. Heidi says Ricky’s fabric choices made life harder for him and his team and he had the worst look of his team. Similarly Chris had the worst look of his team and the collection was not cohesive and modern. Heidi then says Ricky is in and Chris is out. On departing, Chris comments that the experience was a wild ride he won’t soon forget and he hopes that he brought fun to the show. He was a fun guy and I hope, as his last act of silliness, he stole Ricky’s hat collection.