Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway 12/12 Recap: New Bodies, New Looks
Tonight’s Project Runway episode presents a challenge that I’ve been wanting to see done again: designing for average women. As you will see (or have seen), the women used as models and clients have all lost a lot of weight and all look great, but they are not all super-tall or rail-thin. What’s even better is that, by and large, the designers are happy to be making clothes for women who aren’t in the size zero youth or couture markets. Of course, some of the drama is cut down from the last real woman challenge, but I don’t want to see that Jeffery-Angela fight again (irrespective of how many times Bravo re-airs Season 3).
These are a few of my favorite things.
As we rejoin our intrepid designer contestants, we are reminded that Chris was voted out last week. Everyone, especially Sweet P, misses his bubby personality and outrageous laugh. Meanwhile, Jack is dealing with a lip issue. It seems he had something that he though was a zit but now it has gotten worse and he thinks it is a skin staph infection that is making his upper lip swell. He’s worried about it and self-conscious about how it looks, but he decides to soldier on for the day.
All the designers gather at the runway for the ceremonial model choosing. Heidi brings out the models, and we can tell from the shadow cast on the runway’s back sheer wall that something is definitely up. Perhaps it’s a crazy fairy princess or a huge transvestite, as Sweet P hypothesizes. As it turns out, the models who appear are everyday women, all wearing clothes that are at least four sizes too big for them. Heidi explains that all of the ladies on the runway have lost significant amounts of weight—ranging from well over 100 pounds to about 50 pounds—and they are wearing their favorite outfits from when they were heavy. The challenge will be to construct a new, fashion-forward outfit out of the old clothes that reflects not only the client’s personality but the designer’s point of view.
Most of the women are wearing what would be considered casual to business casual clothes, except for the first lady, who is wearing a wedding gown. I’m no fan of wedding gowns in general, but this one is particularly shiny and over-decorated with beads, pearls, and sequins. Heidi draws the designers’ names from the velvet bag to match up the models with the designers and poor Steven is stuck with the wedding dress. He is not amused, noting the dress is like death on a stick.
After the designers are matched up with their models, they meet Tim in the workroom. He further defines the parameters of the challenge, saying that the new look has to be suitable for the clients’ every day lives. He’ll give them thirty minutes to meet with the clients and then they’ll go shopping where they’ll have 15 minutes and $10 to buy whatever they need to finish out their designs. From there, they’ll have until midnight to work and whatever time in the morning before the models show up for hair and makeup. Tim spies a note Chris left behind that I believe quotes from The Wizard of Oz, and everyone again sighs how much they miss the big guy.
This is going to be a quick challenge, but this early on, most are pretty excited. Ricky and his model/client chat happily while Victorya and her client decide to show off her svelte figure. Victorya does seem a bit put off that the clients aren’t ideal model size, noting that the rules are different. Kevin, on the other hand, just loves the idea of making clothes for real people. His client has lost a ton of weight and has as one of her favorite items a hideous, large yellow blazer. I wonder if she was heavy back when Miami Vice was on the air. Elisa pledges to make her client sexy and beautiful. Christian has a bit of a challenge with his client; she only wears jeans and black shirts. She doesn’t do prints, dresses, skirts, bare arms or legs, and only wants a black top and jeans. Steven stares at the huge pile of beaded, sequined white polyester satin and acetate lace and is at a loss. He tries to talk with his client, but that hot mess distracts him.
The thirty minutes run down and everyone is off to Mood. Jillian’s client had a red blouse but it had a lot of seams and darts, so there wasn’t a good, contiguous piece of fabric to work with. She uses her $10 to buy a couple of yards of fabric that match the shirt’s fabric exactly. Steven goes for several yards of a black cotton stretch fabric. Tim questions the choice of all black, but Steven is adamant that it will be okay and he’ll use the white dress for some trim and accents. Ricky spills some buttons, there’s lots of running up and down stairs, and generally it’s the same scene we’ve seen every week.
Sometimes in fashion, one day you’re out and the next day you’re in.
The designers have twelve hours left on the day to bust out their designs and Jack’s lip is really starting to get huge. From the confessional shots, we know he recovered from his ailment just fine. Jack tells us that he’s had these flare-ups before and they can happen to anyone. His immune system is in tip-top shape so he doesn’t know what brought it on. He ends up calling his doctor who advises he come in for treatment. Jack really doesn’t want to leave the show, which he will have to do in order to get the treatment. Tim arrives on the scene and he and Jack have a private chat. All of the other designers are concerned for Jack’s health but they don’t want to see him leave either. Jack and Tim come back in and Jack announces he’s decided to leave the show to get the treatment. Everyone is bummed and finds it hard to focus on their work. Poor Jack; I hope they let him come back if there is a fifth season. It’s not like the dude snuck in pattern books or something devious.
Realizing they’ve got a challenge to complete, the designers do get back to work. Ricky makes quite the scene when he tries on his client’s jeans—inside out—while wearing gold strappy sandals. As strange as it is to say it, he actually pulled off the look…aside from that blasted hat! Tim returns and will bring in the models for their early fittings, but before he does that, he has surprise. The door opens and in walks…Chris! He’s back to keep the level of competition up and so Jack’s client won’t have to walk naked down the runway. I suspect they’d make her do that, what with all those Bluefly.com naked chick commercials they run during the show. Chris is going to have some extra time—he can stay all night if he wants to—to work on the project since he was brought in late to the challenge. All of the designers are glad to see Chris back in the workroom. What really strikes me about this group is that, aside from some blips here and there, most everyone in this season gets along and acts like professionals. Of course, no fights equals no drama, but it is kind of refreshing to see. Now that I say that, next week Victorya will be hurling shoes from the accessory wall at Christian’s stupid hair while Ricky cries in the corner because Kit stole his hats and lit them on fire.
It’s three a.m…do you know where your Tim Gunn is?
The clients come in and Chris gets to meet his model. He comments that he’s under more pressure than ever before but he likes the idea of the challenge as he’s been up and down the weight scale over the years. Kevin fits what was the yellow blazer and is now a strapless, fitted tunic on his model and it is body-conscious and well-fitting. Rami busily fits the top of a high-waisted slender skirt on his model while Kit fits through the top she dress she made for her client to go dancing in. Christian decided to keep the jeans his model liked and just tailor them to fit. They fit well, but her butt is flat and he jokingly says he can’t make her have an ass. He’s also made a fitted black top/jacket thing that is great. It looks very much his style, but it suits the client well. Steven’s model gets fitted in the black fabric for a dress and she asks him if he tried dying the fabric or if he just ditched the dress and went straight to the purchased fabric. Steven is happy with the fitting and even thinks he may be done on time.
Four hours remain on the day and the designers are sewing their hearts out. Chris spies the wedding dress that Steven was saddled with and just laughs up a storm. Chris says he would have been able to make something great out of the dress. Sweet P is concerned she’s sewing too fast while Victorya worries she’s not sewing fast enough.
Tim comes in to check on the designers’ progress. Tim says to Christian, “How fierce is that?” to which Christian replies “very fierce.” Tim likes Christian’s work, but I worry about Tim watching too much Tyra. Tim turns his attention to Elisa’s short dress. He worries that it will be too short but she says the slip will be hanging out of the bottom. Tim thinks there is too much going on and, while it reflects Elisa’s design aesthetic, it does not reflect the client’s personality. He advises that she make sure the dress is right for the client and to clean it up. Tim then visits with Steven who says he just doesn’t “do” polyester satin. Tim cautions him to be careful on the runway, what with him having completely discarded the wedding dress material, save for a few flourishes. Finally, Tim checks in on Chris who is making an outfit that will allude to a sailor look, as his materials are navy and another blue. Tim advises Chris to only hint at a sailor outfit, not go down the costume road, and to make all his decisions early, not at three a.m. Tim says he’s made more bad decisions at three a.m. than he cares to remember. This sets everyone off in laughter and someone calls out “Names! Names!” Tim breaks up into laughter, saying he’s such an “old fart” his mind didn’t even “go there”. Tim then departs, saying he may come back at four a.m. to check on Chris, after he’s made his bad three a.m. decision.
The last hour of the day zooms by with everyone dashing around sewing. Christian seems to be done and he is razzed for being so cocky and young. Everyone packs it in for the night except Chris who sticks around to work on his project. He wants to make sure he does not get eliminated twice in a row. Chris ends up sleeping on the couch in the break room and only gets a couple of hours of sleep. He’s so groggy in the morning, he forgot if he actually made something. His outfit was finished, but he worries that it’s not that great.
Steven, however, is not done with his dress…at all. He runs around like a maniac trying to finish it, but things aren’t looking good. Tim comes in with the models; there are only two hours for hair, makeup and final fitting before the runway show starts. Kevin is confident in his design and thinks it may just win. Jillian likes her dress but realizes that the judges may call her to task for not actually using the material of the old clothes. She hopes that they’ll respect the decision to use the new fabric to make a better outfit. Christian, no surprise here, loves his outfit. He does not like Chris’—100% costume—or Elisa’s and Steven’s—100% gawd-awful hideous.
Elisa isn’t worried about her design because her client likes it and that’s who she is designing for. Ricky single-handedly tries to drive up Kimberly-Clark’s stock price by crying incessantly; he is teary because his outfit turned out well and his client loves it. Steven is no where close to done and, though he doesn’t want to, he breaks out the glue to attach the white collar and cuffs. Somewhere that nutbag Vincent is loving this, but Steven is sick to his stomach at using the glue. Both Kevin and Victorya try to help him get the dress done down to the last second, but it’s time to go on the runway.
Proof that runway walking can be accomplished by people other than stick-thin tall girls.
Heidi arrives on the runway wearing some flowy green dress that is cut up so high and is so sheer that, as Michael Kors would say, we can see what she had for lunch. But she’s Heidi, mistress of the runway, so it’s all good. Joining Michael and Nina Garcia is Patrick Robinson, the head designer at the Gap. Color me shocked: they have designers at the Gap? Isn’t what they put out pretty much a copy of what came out a couple of years ago? Well at least I now know who to blame for screwing with the pant lengths on jeans over there.
The runway show kicks off with Sweet P’s design for Chris (her client). She came in with a sack of a dress in an olive drab grey shade. Sweet P turned it into a cute little halter dress that shows off the much slimmer Chris of today. Jillian’s client Erika wore a sundress made of the new red fabric, accented with black piping made from Erika’s pants. It was very Lily Allen. Ricky stopped crying long enough to send Penny out in Capri-length jeans with a ¾ length sleeved V-necked tunic made of her old tee-shirt. It has some nice detailing on the cuffs and collar and suits her well. Chris pulled together the sailor-esque outfit for Sylvia consisting of a fitted dark blue skirt with a red accent at the kick pleat and a red sash and a fitted, lighter-colored blue sleeveless top.
Next up is Christian’s client Kerry. She struts out in the fitted jeans, the front-close shirt with what looked to be a ribbon detail along the placket and a thin jersey shirt in a dark grey/brown underneath. Christian comments that while the look is very commercial, it does capture his design sensibilities. Victorya’s client Ory comes out next. Ory’s favorite outfit was a loose, long, forest green velvet dress with some kind of matching wrap. It was very Dorothy Zbornak-goes-to-a-winter-wedding. Victorya has managed to make a cute cocktail dress out of the fabric that shows off Ory’s weight loss nicely. Elisa’s client Tracy comes out in a black dress with a navy underskirt that comes to about knee-length. She also has a red jacket. The outfit looks bulky and doesn’t work for me. Kit’s model Alicia wears a black dress with a black and white print accenting the skirt and the top. Kit rightly worries that it is not fashion-forward enough.
Kevin’s client Elyse bounds down the runway in black leggings and the fitted, strapless yellow tunic top. She obviously loves the look and it works well for her. Steven sends his client Laura out in a simple black fitted dress with white accents glued on the side of the high square neckline and the cuffs of the sleeves. It reminds me of something my grandmother would have worn to a wake. Rami’s client Lisa is last to come out in her high-waisted, fitted brown skirt and a white print V-neck tank. She also exudes excitement about her outfit.
With the runway show over, Heidi calls forward Steven, Christian, Chris, Kevin, Jillian and Elisa. The rest are dismissed from the runway, having scored well enough to remain in the competition. The six called out are the best and the worst and their client/models come out to join them on the runway.
The judges turn their attention to Kevin first. Elyse says she feels incredible in the outfit and Nina agrees that it was a great make-over. Michael likes it too, but cautions against relying on leggings because everyone has some. Not everyone, Michael…some of us are convinced that trend should have died in the 80s. The judges ask Elisa about her dress; she says she wanted to create a day trousseau for her client to take her through the day. Tracy likes the outfit but Heidi thinks that it doesn’t suit her and something more classic would have been better. Patrick Robinson cautions that the designer should not force her aesthetic upon her client and Michael says the red-black-blue color blocks chop Tracy up and don’t do her any favors.
Heidi then addresses Jillian and notes that she did not use the fabric from the outfit to make the dress. Jillian says that she matched the red fabric of the dress to the shirt Erika came in with and used the pants for the piping. Michael likes the dress, saying it is sexy without being hootchie. The judges then ask Steven what he used of the wedding dress; all he used from the polyester monstrosity were the pearls of the necklace and the collar and cuff details. Nina says he’s taken Laura from a wedding to a funeral, a description that Michael augments to describe the dress as a French maid at a funeral.
Patrick likes Christian’s outfit, noting that it reflects both Christian’s point of view and his client’s personality. Chris’ model liked her outfit, saying it was sexy but Michael says that all she needs is a beret and a cigarette, and she’s a French hooker from the 50s. With that, the designers are dismissed for the judges’ deliberation.
Glue vs. Spit.
Discussing their favorites, the judges say that Kevin’s model really loved her outfit and was sexy and comfortable in it. Christian really used the materials he was given and produced a young and cool outfit. Jillian’s red dress was perfectly executed and beautiful. On the other side of the spectrum, Elisa’s dress did not suit her client and chopped her up to make her look short and stumpy. Steven’s black French maid dress was a real disappointment, as the judges expected something great from all the material. They thought Chris forced a lot of details on to what amounted to a French 50s hooker dress and was too costumey.
The designers are called back to the runway; Christian is named the winner and Jillian, Kevin, and Chris are all in. It comes down to Steven, who went from a joyful wedding dress to a boring and clichéd French maid outfit, and Elisa, who made the dress about her and not about the client, with the excessive layers and colors. Heidi then announces Steven is out. He is a bit teary as he packs his work station up (though nothing like Ricky), and vows not to become a recluse. He will see where the crazy ride of life takes him, and I hope it’s somewhere near the Bravo blogs, because the guy has had the wittiest comments this season.
Re: Project Runway 12/12 Recap: New Bodies, New Looks
Christian, Jillian and Rami seemed to be the most talented so far.
Re: Project Runway 12/12 Recap: New Bodies, New Looks
Fantastic recap PhoneGrrrl .....thanks!
Re: Project Runway 12/12 Recap: New Bodies, New Looks
Thanks, PhoneGrrrl. The titles themselves are a good reminder of what happened this episode - and then you provide the details. Great job!
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