Itís Wednesday already and time for Project Runway. I think the holiday weekend threw me off, because it still feels like Monday. Or it could be that it is less than a month from Christmas, someone cloned my Amazon credit card so I have to wait a week to get a new one, and Iím freaking out about holiday shopping. Maybe itís all the year-end deadlines that are coming up at the office. But all of that is neither here nor there when we have a fun-filled hour of nearly naked men to concern ourselves with. Thatís right, people, Project Runway as finally thrown in a menswear challenge!
From ďFashion IconĒ to ďWho the heck is this guy?Ē
The morning after the previous challenge where milquetoast Marion got the kiss-off from Heidi, the guys are getting ready to head out. Jack is taking his morning medication and he says that he has been HIV positive for seventeen years but is at optimum health. From the looks of him in his underwear (and the NSFW pictures floating around on the internet), I have to say he does indeed look like a fine specimen and he puts Kevin, also standing around in his underwear next to him, to shame. Chris is upset that Marion is gone and wonders aloud what Marion is up to and why they couldnít have kicked Christian off. Christian, meanwhile, is standing in the kitchen and hears Chris. Of course, itís all in good fun and everyone has a laugh as they head out the door.
The designers then meet Heidi along side the runway. She tells them that they wonít need their models for this challenge and sheís sending them on a field trip to get their next challenge. The only clues she offers is that itís a Project Runway first and they are going to be meeting Tim at 10 Rockefeller Plaza. The designers walk through the streets of Manhattan and meet Tim in the atrium of a large office building. He then takes them up to meet a handsome guy in a suit whose name is Tiki Barber. Apparently heís a Today Show correspondent and former running back with the Giants. No one in the group, save for maybe Kevin, had any idea who this guy was nor did I, but I donít do the football. I am impressed, however, that a guy called Tiki Barberóa name that screams cruise ship hair stylistóplayed in the NFL and lived to tell about it. Steven, who hands-down wins the quotability award, says the only thing he knows about football is that itís the one place on television where spandex is acceptable. I suppose he doesnít count the home shopping channels as ďacceptableĒ.
Tikiís challenge to the designers is to create an outfit for him to wear on the Today Show. He says it is a challenge for him to find clothes that fit him properly and accentuate his features and that he and his wife work hard at finding good outfits. With his wide neck, narrow waist, and big butt, clothing can be challenging. He likes dark colors but with texture, pattern and detail and is not afraid of color. The designers ask a few questions, then head back to Parsonís.
A dearth of originality.
The designers enter the workroom as usual, save for Christian who is being carried in a large-ish tote bag by Jack. It is not surprising that Jack could lift Christian, itís just shocking that Christian can actually fit into a bag that looks to be the size of a Big Brown Bag from Bloomingdaleís. Tim enters and tells them that theyíll have thirty minutes to sketch, thirty minutes at Mood where they can spend $150, and the rest of that day and the entire next day to make whatever menswear looks they come up with.
Sketching commences and itís obvious from the start that nearly everyone is lost. Sweet P has never done menswear and neither has Jillian. Kevin has done some menswear but still isnít that sure of himself. Soon enough theyíre all at Mood, running around as usual. Rami says sportswear makes him nervous, Chris jokingly considers making hot pants, and Kit puts her experience as a stylist for television shows to use in choosing colors that will look good on camera.
They return to Mood with six hours of the day remaining. Carmen says sheís going to make three pieces and constantly bugs Jack for tips on the outfit. Ricky and Sweet P are going to make suits, Christian is going to make a blazer and some pants, Jack is going to do something suit like and pretty much everyone else is going somewhere near the suit family. It must suck to be a dude with such limited fashion choices.
Stress is really getting at everyone and it starts to come out when Jack decides to take off his shorts to deconstruct them and use the pieces as a pattern. He specifically asked Tim before if it would be okay to use his clothing for a pattern, so itís completely legal. But then Carmen and Victorya both trace the pieces to make their pants. Some cattiness erupt over this bit of corner cutting, but I wonder if itís just because some of those guys are miffed that they didnít think of it first. Everyone works as quickly as possible and then Tim arrives to call time for the end of the day. To cap off the end of the first dayís work, Steven, wearing a hat, comments that itís midnight and heís standing around in a pimpís hat, just like at home. I donít care if Steven sends down a suit made of duct tape and fishing wire, the guy has got to stick around just for his quips.
Get out the mop, thereís drool everywhere.
Bright and early the next morning, the designers are back at work. Most everyone is still freaking out and stressed because they really havenít a clue how to do menswear. Christian is pretty confident that heíll do well because he can sew really fast. Chris is fairly calm, saying that while heís older and has no formal training, heís good with pants. He started sewing in the fourth grade and thinks pants are just two big sleeves sewn together. Given that it took until Season 3 of this show to see sleeves regularly on the designs, I wonder if it is really any easier to think of pants as giant sleeves. Rami stands around gloating at his wondrous pants, noting aloud that he draped them and didnít trace them. We get it alreadyóheís not a tracer; seriously dude, lay off watching Chasing Amy.
With ten and a half hours to go, Tim arrives with the models for the challenge. The designers are first glad to see them because they can get measurements. Then they really take a look at the guys and start drooling. Everyone, except Kevin and Elisa, are gawking a bit too much. Kevin has to point out in his confessional yet again that heís straight and doesnít get the big to-do over the buff naked men in the workroom. Elisa, on the other hand, is a bit shy and embarrassed by all the nakey-nakey and wonít watch her model change. Youíd think someone so in touch with nature and imbuing things with spit would be okay with looking at a guy in his boxers, but youíd be wrong. After this whole male model experience, Steven finally gets why straight dudes are impressed with the notion of designers hanging out with hot naked girls for fittings.
The fittings are hit and miss. Sweet P has serious problems with the dress shirt sheís makingóthe scaling is all wrong but the pants are alright. Jillian has issues with her pieces and will have to re-cut some of them. Work progresses for a few more hours and then, with seven hours on the clock, Tim arrives again. This time heís got Ginny Barber, Tikiís wife, in tow. Sheís there to critique what is going on. They first visit with Jack, who is making a dark trouser with a thin, light purple pinstripe and a lavender dress shirt with a darker pinstripe. He plans on making a vest as well. Ginny likes Jackís look so far. They then talk to Ricky, who appears to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Heís got a ton of pieces he wants to do for a layered look. Ginny says layering is good but Tim points out that heís got a lot of work left to do. Next they speak with Kevin who points out his jacket is double-vented to allow for Tikiís ample bottom, a detail Ginny appreciates. Finally, they speak with Carmen who is making a casual jacket for a more leisure look. Ginny flatly says the jacket looks like something from Memberís Only and Tim suggests she re-think the jacket. Ginny and Tim then take their leave while Carmen considers how to change the jacket, as she does not have much spare material to work with.
With only a few hours remaining in the day, some designers revise their plans. Kevin decides to ditch the jacket idea and make only a vest. Jack also concentrates on making a good pair of pants and a good shirt, tossing his jacket idea as well. Ricky is seriously overwhelmed and even puts the zipper in his pants the wrong way. At the sewing machines, Ricky and Carmen get into a verbal spat, instigated by Carmen singing ďdonít go home too soonĒ to Ricky as he freaks out. He signs it back to her as he storms out of the sewing room. Steven calls it as he says everyone is panicing like theyíre on the Titanic.
At least no glue was involved.
The elimination day has arrived and there is not a calm soul amongst these thirteen contestants. Sweet P still has no shirt made and hopes she can sew one really, really fast. Ricky wants to go ďballs outĒ (didnít that phrase die with The Apprentice?) and finish his shirt and pants and make a jacket. Perhaps if he could bend the space-time continuum Ricky could get this done, but donít bet on it. Carmen doesnít even have her shirt started, so sheís freaking out. Jack is content with his two well-made pieces saying that itís better to have two done right than three pieces done shoddily.
The models arrive and start in for the final fitting. Kitís gotten all three of her pieces finished. Elisaís model comments on how nice the vest that she made is. Kevinís model particularly likes the pants to the outfit. Meanwhile, Ricky teaches his model how to sew on buttons so that he can finish the jacket. Sweet P still has major issues with what is supposed to be a dress shirt. The collar looks like it could fit a neck the circumference of an oak tree, while the sleeves are attached so sloppily, it looks like thereís rouching.
The models then head down for hair and makeup and come back up to be dressed. Sweet P tries to style her mess of a shirt to look at least somewhat presentable by adding the tie she made. Ricky finishes the jacket by pinning in the lining and the hem, praying that the judges wonít see the shiny silver pins. Carmen is also pretty bad off; she hasnít made a shirt at all and drapes the shirt fabric around the modelís torso to make a shawl-like collar. Time is up, however, and itís time to start the show.
Sadly, no spandex.
On the judgesí panel tonight are Nina, Michael, and Tiki, and, of course, Heidi who is wearing some kind of black and white kimono-esque dress with some killer black boots. Itíd probably cost me two house payments to get those boots, but I now covet them. The outfits come out in a fast and furious pace, and we see:
Jillianís three piece dark suit with a black on white print shirt that has a wide, open collar. Itís nice and mostly conservative but doesnít set off any style alarms.
Carmenís tan pants, old man style brown jacket, and blue fabric for a shirt. I suppose itís for Tiki when heís 80 and cruising the casinos of Atlantic City and has, literally, lost his shirt.
Christianís tan or khaki fitted pants, camel casual shirt with an asymmetrical collar, and a fitted jacket with detailing on the pockets. The jacket is cute but doesnít look anything like menswear.
Kitís fleece navy blazer, some knock-off khaki Dockers, and a simple dress shirt.
Ramiís beautifully draped blue pants, a jacket that kind of looks like a windbreaker and would fit in at the old man store next to Carmenís jacket, and a plain shirt.
Sweet Pís high-waisted pants and shirt that looks like, as she admitted, a kindergartener made. The model wears a tie draped around his neck, outside of the shirt.
Stevenís fitted grey pants and a darker grey long sleeve polo shirt. The outfit was very Banana Republic and even had a tiny blue ascot.
Victoryaís simple dark pants and shirt with a white jacket that had a black collar that looked like the collars that are on high school letterman jackets. I have no idea what that kind of collar is properly called, but it made me wonder what I did with my letterman jacket.
Kevinís dress pants and vest with a purple dress shirt and a darker purple print tie and pocket square. It was a bold use of color but still tasteful. Colors-wise, itís the best so far.
Chrisí dark dress pants and dark zippered jacket with a plain crew neck shirt underneath. Something about evoked the idea of what the male uniform should be at the Lancome counter.
Jackís dark pants with the thin purple pinstripe and lavender dress shirt with a darker pinstripe. Itís a lot of stripes and the pocket is cut so the stripes go at an angle to break up the monotony of the vertical stripes.
Rickyís dark ill-fitting pants with a shirt and jacket that doesnít fit the model. The model walks like he doesnít want to be stuck with the pins in the jacket.
Elisaís grey pants, camel shirt and darker brown vest.
Heidi then calls Jillian, Christian, Rami, Steven, Victorya, Chris, and Elisa forward, says theyíre in and sends them off. The six remaining are the highest and lowest scoring designers and the questioning commences. Tiki comments that he likes Kitís conservative outfit. The judges like the choice of the fleece for the jacket; Michael comments that it would be dull but for the fleece. Sweet P knows sheís in trouble and admits she had problems with the shirt. Tiki says the outfit is entirely too messy to wear, and Sweet P tells the judges of her shirt trouble. The tie is nice, were Tiki seven feet tall. Jackís outfit draws praise from Michael for the fit and Tiki likes the colors. Nina comments that there are only two pieces, but Jack reiterates that he would rather have two pieces well-made than three that are sloppy.
Ricky faces the judges next. Nina calls him out on the use of the safety pins and Tiki says that it is too sloppy to wear on the air without looking like a fool. Nina says the all the dark colors are boring and dull. Kevinís use of color is liked by Tiki, but Heidi says that her husband would never wear that much purple, noting it would be more fitting on David Beckham. Finally Carmenís outfit it critiqued; Tiki says the jacket is too short and would draw too much attention to his butt. Heidi laughs and is surprised that guys worry about that kind of thing. Michael notes that the lack of shirt screams that she had time-management issues. With that, the designers are sent away while the judges deliberate.
Pack your scissors and go.
The judges first contemplate their favorites. Tiki liked Kevinís avant garde approach and that he had a whole ďlookĒ going on. Tiki also favors Jackís outfit, noting he could wear it today on Today. Kitís outfit drew praise especially from Michael, who said the use of fleece made it casual without getting to ďgrandpaís cardiganĒ. The judges had issues with Sweet Pís outfit; Michael noted that it was completely wrong and had no concept. They did not like Carmenís outfit at all. The trousers were awful and there was no shirt, and had everything been executed properly, the judges were at a loss as to where someone would wear it. Maybe theyíve never been to the AC. Finally, Tiki says a five-year-old could have made Rickyís outfit and done a better job.
The designers return to the runway and Kevin is in. Tiki announces that Jack is the winner and he will wear the outfit on the Today Show. Kit is complimented on her good work and is also in. To my and her amazement, Sweet P is also in and it comes down to Carmen and Ricky. Heidi says that everything in Carmenís outfit was off: the pants, the jacket and the model was half-naked. Similarly, Rickyís construction and presentation was awful but even if that had been perfect, the outfit was still boring. With that, Carmen is out and Ricky is in. Carmen is sad to go before she could demonstrate her talents to the world but is glad to be out on a challenge that is admittedly not her forte, rather than something she knows how to do.
Know where I can get Heidiís boots on the cheap? If so, drop me a PM.