With just eight remaining designers, the intense work schedule and overall competitive nature of the game, everyone seems a bit more serious this week. Amy laments her placing in the bottom three last week; Mila wants to redeem herself from last week’s bore-fest; and Maya just wants to finally win a challenge.
And now for even more product placement.
During her brief introduction of the next challenge on the runway, Heidi tells the designers to get ready to be in a New York state of mind and dismisses them to the designers’ lounge. Tim and Collier Strong, the L’Oreal Paris makeup guru, are there. Collier’s presence clues us in that this is the makeup challenge, which as the hair challenge, is just a chance to shill product. Tim sets up this week’s rules: the designers will be working in pairs, with one designer as the team leader. Each pair will be sent to a particular New York neighborhood, form which they will draw their design inspiration. The teams will have $300 to spend at Mood to buy materials for both a day and a night look. The pairs are Anthony and Maya, who head to Chinatown; Amy and Jonathan, who go to the Upper East Side; Emilio and Seth Aaron, who choose Harlem; and Jay and Mila, who pick the East Village. Jay is the last team leader to pick his partner; Emilio snatched Seth Aaron with strategy—he can’t work with Mila and knows Jay can’t either. I’m sure if the choosing order had been reversed, Jay would have stuck Emilio with Mila as well.
Emilio is excited to sketch in Harlem; he lived there for a while and knows it’s all about church, chicken, and liquor. He and Seth Aaron notice the abundance of denim on the denizens of Harlem and will incorporate denim in their looks. They also draw inspiration from a large mosaic of Harlem life. Meanwhile, down in Chinatown, Anthony and Maya are taken by the bustling narrow streets, structured buildings, and lots of red everywhere. Anthony is distracted by the cooked ducks hanging in windows of restaurants; Maya loves that he can still bring the silly even during stressful times. The tissue paper fold-out dragons really catch their eyes, as do the external fire escape ladders. They want to use these elements in their designs. Amy and Jonathan wander around the Upper East Side and notice it’s pretty quiet, full of luxury stores, and a lot of grey architecture. Jonathan is concerned Amy’s style might not fit the UES aesthetic; she is going to do a shirt dress for the day look and he’ll use his cut-away technique for a night look inspired by the glass and wrought iron of the architecture. Down in the East Village, Jay and Mila gravitate toward the graffiti and texture of the architecture. She says the East Village woman is modern yet appreciates things from the past. Jay rattles off about a hundred ideas, which leads Mila to conclude he is very scattered.
The designers all meet up at Mood for their thirty minutes of shopping. Jonathan and Amy have a tough time finding all the coordinating fabrics they need, while Emilio oversees Seth Aaron’s choice of denim—he wants blue denim, not the black Seth Aaron initially chose. Anthony and Maya agree that they shouldn’t be too literal and go with all black and red. Maya is a bit concerned about Anthony’s textile choices of the past and steps up with her opinion, even though he’s the team leader.
Once back at Parsons, Tim lets them know that they will only have through the end of the day and a bit of time in the morning to complete their looks. Further, he says, no one should assume that the team leader would be the one sent home. Mila apparently doesn’t buy that last bit of advice—she doesn’t like the pants Jay is making, but doesn’t say anything to him. Emilio decides to make a “classic Billie Holiday” gown for his Harlem night look, all the while monitoring Seth Aaron’s progress. He things Seth Aaron tends to go overboard on detail. Jonathan and Amy realize the enormous amount of pleating work they’ve both decided to use in their garments and start to freak out early and often about the time constraints. Over with Anthony and Maya, her control issues are coming out. Anthony pledges that he can’t be scared of anything, including Maya’s control issues. Maya has made a mock-up of the 3D diamond shapes inspired by the paper dragons that will be used in Anthony’s night look. He’s not going to tolerate her taking over his garment. Mila and Jay just work quietly, separate and apart, without much discussion between them. That is one way to keep the bickering to a minimum.
The designers then go down for their makeup consultations with Collier. Frankly I find this and the hair consults to be the most boring, blatantly commercial part of the show, so I skip it. After meeting with Collier, Tim comes in the workroom to check on the progress thus far. Tim is especially impressed with the denim day look jacket Seth Aaron constructed and only cautions to keep the urban edge in the night look. Tim is intrigued by the paper dragon application but expresses concern over Maya’s chose of a pale beige color for her jacket; she had other fabric that she could use and decides to change material. Taking a look at Jay’s pants, that promise to poof out at the hips, Tim wonders if Nina and Heidi will take him to task for making a woman look wider where she absolutely doesn’t want to. Jay promises there won’t be too much fullness, and there will be a slim black and red tank to go with the pants. Mila says she’s going to be making a dress for under her black & white (no surprise there) jacket, but they haven’t agreed upon the shape of the dress. Jonathan and Amy explain the bazillion techniques they are using for their designs and Tim wonders if they are over-designing, which is pretty much obvious to even a casual viewer.
Five hours remain on the day and there still must be a model fitting. Seth Aaron is busy working on a hat to go with his day look and Emilio puts the dress together faster than ever before so he can fit the model. Anthony’s busy hand-sewing all the paper dragon detail on his dress. When the models arrive, Jay wastes no time bitching about Mila to his model. He does get the pants fitted as he likes them, so there is that. Seth Aaron’s jacket sleeves are too tight—he cut them wrong or thought they had stretch—so he just chops them off and makes it work. Time rolls by, the models leave, and Mila starts to worry that Jay won’t finish; there’s only two hours left on the day and he still hasn’t started the tank top. We end the day on a confessional of Emilio laughing about sticking Jay with Mila; he promises he’s really a nice guy, but things are working out as planned.
Love it when a plan comes together.
The morning of the show brings loads more of work. Jonathan and Amy scramble down to the last minute to get their garments finished and their models sewn into the looks. Maya is worried there isn’t enough color in their looks but still thinks it was a good idea not to do a typical Chinatown design. Mila knows Jay’s last-minute tank top is crap; she promises she’ll be straight with the judges about who did what while Jay worries she’ll throw him under the street-bound large MTA vehicles.
Finally it’s time for the show. The judges this week are Heidi, Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein in for Michael, Nina, and Molly Sims, model and actress. The looks shown are:
Maya’s short black skirt with red detail and a wrap long-sleeved jacket that has openings down the outside of the sleeves to give the ladder look.
Anthony’s short black dress with deep V with the golden diamond shaped 3D detail trailing from the right shoulder to the left side of the hem of the skirt.
Jay’s grey, almost jodhpur-like pants that are fitted, and a black and red tank top that offers no support on top.
Mila’s black and white jacket, black and whit short dress underneath.
Amy’s pleated orange and yellow shirt dress over leggings—the shirt dress comes to a big gather right at the hips.
Jonathan’s evening look with cut away detail but a far more distracting weirdly obvious dart on the bust line.
Seth Aaron’s dark denim pants and jacket with lots of god thread detail and crazy hat. There’s a splash of color with a bright print top peaking out of the jacket.
Emilio’s long dark gown, lined with yellow, with a zipper down the front.
After the show, Heidi calls Jay & Mila and Amy & Jonathan forward; they have the lower scores so they must wait while the judges talk to the top scoring teams. Emilio is first up talking to the judges. He says the day look was inspired by all the denim they saw in Harlem and the night look is an old-school Harlem gown. Heidi loves them both—they are impeccable. Francisco thinks the gown could be sexier but sees both pieces as sophisticated. When asked who did what, they each take credit for their designs but both admit it was Emilio’s idea to add the color print to Seth Aaron’s outfit. The judges get that they worked well together and had a good time. Nina’s only problem is that Seth Aaron’s jacket had too much detailing going on; Molly, however, disagrees.
Anthony then explains their Chinatown looks; he says, after getting distracted by the ducks in the window—because they just don’t do that in Georgia—they focused in on the dragons for the night look and the building inspiration for the day look, including the pagoda-like structure of the day jacket. Nina appreciates the subtle call to Chinatown but does wish there were a bit more color in the night look. Molly likes the day look the best. Anthony says they worked well together; at first he thought Maya was going to be a quiet partner but then realized she’ll definitely let you know if she doesn’t like something.
The top two pairs are sent away while the bottom two come out to defend their designs. Amy nervously starts out by saying their neighborhood was the Upper East Side and they used the peach brick tones and repetitive patterns of the buildings for their day look. The night look was inspired by the wrought iron in the architecture. Jonathan volunteers that they worked well together and got along great. Nina finds the day look unpolished while Molly thinks the peach tones are hard to wear and the look doesn’t convey the Upper East Side. Francisco thought the day look would have worked better in white and Heidi just thinks it is ugly. She also sees the night look as too busy and Nina thinks the side panels on the bottom of the dress make it look heavy.
Jay explains their East Village look was inspired by the texture and graffiti found in the neighborhood. Nina loves Mila’s nighttime look; she sees the lines of the East Village in the design. The day look, however, is terrible; the tank top looks like a leotard and is badly made. Heidi comments that the model’s boobs are just floating around. Nina, as Tim predicted, hates Jay’s pants although Francisco thought they were cool. When asked how they worked together, Jay keeps it simple: they were professional. Mila says nothing.
The judges discuss the designs: Amy was too caught up in the technical detail and turned out a 1950s Lower East Side look; Jonathan’s dress was overworked; Jay’s pants were also overworked and the tank was terrible. Mila gets a pass—her execution was impeccable but it almost seemed like she was the team leader, not Jay. As for the top pairs, Anthony and Maya produced subtle, sophisticated, well-thought-out designs. Emilio and Seth Aaron made looks that worked together, through use of the zippers, and conveyed the right attitude. Nina is disappointed in Emilio’s night look because she knows he can do more.
The designers are called back in and it’s a Project Runway first: Both Emilio and Seth Aaron are winners. Of course, Anthony and Maya are also in, as they did such a good job. Mila is in, as is Jonathan. The decision comes down to Jay and Amy. Jay produced ill-fitting and mismatched pants while Amy produced dowdy bad retro. With that Amy is out and Jay is safe for another week. Amy packs her things to go while Jonathan cries more than she does at the news of her departure.
Oh, and in case anyone noticed, it did look like Seth Aaron put a fresh coat of black nail polish on this week. Alas, still no clue to the big MBFW spoiler mystery. I guess we’ll keep speculating in the spoiler thread for another week!