Mixing Old Fashioneds
Project Runway 10/8 Recap: Unwedded Bliss
A big thank-you to MFWalkoff for filling in for me last week while I was out of town; I missed seeing Louise of the awesome bob get booted while other, lesser contestants remain. As the judging gets wackier, I worry that what credibility PR has will be lost. Let’s start a petition to Lifetime to either give the show back to Bravo or chain Nina and Michael to their judges’ chairs for the duration of the season!
The Gay Divorcees
In the apartments on the morning of the new challenge, Carol Hannah is sad Louise is gone because it has now come down to talented people leaving. Gordana waxes poetic about having come to America with nothing and says she is taking the risk of being on PR because she can build herself up again if she loses everything. Irina senses there is some hostility toward her for having won two challenges; Logan reinforces that idea by saying out of one side of his mouth that she is seen to have talent by the judges and then by saying out of the other that Irina thinks she’s better than everyone. Christopher and his stupid jaw-line creating beard pledge not to be in the bottom again, because he’ll surely go home. As the season has progressed, the editing has become a little more ham-fisted on the sob stories, so y’all do the math.
On the runway, Heidi appears to introduce the next challenge. She actually introduces it, and does not immediately send the designers off to Tim, which has got to be a first in about five weeks. Her surprise this time is new models—and nine women wearing wedding gowns come out on the runway. These looks range from the poufy meringue, to the sleek column dress, to something very 70s/Princess Leia in the original Star Wars. The challenge is to re-make the wedding gowns into something new and fun for the clients.
The designers get to picking their clients, with Irina going first based on her prior win. Gordana clues us in that the designers will want to pick the women wearing dresses with the most fabric. Irina picks Robin, who has on a gown with about 500 yards of white fabric. The rest of the picking pretty much goes down like Gordana called it—the more fabric the original dress had, the faster the ladies are picked. This leaves Shirin, the last designer picking, with a client wearing a very plain white column dress and not much material to work with. Cue the drama please.
In the workroom, the designers examine the dresses they have to work with, and it’s not all sunshine and roses. Irina finds her dress is mostly made of acrylic and acetate, while Shirin is saddled with two yards of polyester that can’t even be dyed. Tim announces that the winner will have immunity, but it will be the last immunity given. Plus, he says, they only have until midnight to complete the new looks. In come the divorcees and the first client meetings commence.
Gordana’s client Annie gives her permission to totally wreck the dress and make it punk rock. Irina’s client Robin wants to take down the million-yard dress to a stream-lined look. Epperson’s client Melissa wants to show off her body, while Stephanie, Nicolas’ client, wants only cruelty-free materials used in her outfit. And poor Shirin…not only does she not have much material to work with, but her client Charlie wants to have the white polyester turned into a Cher costume, circa the Half Breed days, with lots of feathers. Not even Tim Gunn could make that work, and Shirin is feeling the stress.
The designers do get a chance to run around at Mood for fifteen minutes as per usual. They’ve got $25 to spend on no more than two yards of fabric and then whatever other notions or trim they want to buy. Shirin does get some feathers, but meanwhile loses her mind a bit. Epperson plays it calm, saying you just have to deal with what the challenge is. Logan buys some ugly-ass grey wool that looks like carpet padding to make yet another pair of pants. Time’s up, and with the obligatory thank-you shout to Mood, it’s back to FIDM and back to work.
Carol Hannah, wedding gown designer in her regular life, finds it a bit sacrilegious to deconstruct the dress, while Shirin finds the transformation empowering. Either that or she was blowing smoke up the interviewing producer’s backside…it’s hard to tell. The serious music comes on and we learn Gordana was divorced and she has to keep her head clear to focus on the challenge. However—and no producer manipulation at all here—she decides mid-challenge to call home to try to talk to her kids, whom she misses terribly. Wait, wait, wait…didn’t we see this a couple of weeks back with Epperson? Making it all the more dramatic, no one is home when she calls and Gordana’s hands are covered in black from dying her fabric. Oh, the humanity!
With the change of the music to the fast-working music, the designers talk about their garments. Epperson is going to use the least amount of the wedding dress as possible, and Shirin worries about the Vegas-look of her feathery dress. Then with eight hours on the clock, Tim makes his rounds. Starting with Christopher and what appears to be a simple LBD on the mannequin, Tim immediately says he’s worried. Christopher anticipated this, and explains that the plain black dress is really the foundation of the garment and there’s going to be some shiny silver material covering it. Tim still looks concerned, but is slightly encouraged at Christopher’s choice to make the skirt longer than the client wanted; that would have been way too “cougar” for Tim were it shorter. He next visits with Irina who has dyed her lacy fabric a kind of grey/brown color. Tim nearly loses his lunch when he learns the fabric is 100% acetate, but he likes what he sees in her design.
Epperson is up next; he says that his goal is to use as little of the wedding dress as possible in the design. Tim explains that the wedding dress is supposed to be the core of the look, and the bit of the dress that Epperson is using to make a jacket looks very much like a lab coat. Logan’s pants outfit also has Tim concerned. He thinks there are too many textiles going on and not enough of the wedding dress is used. Logan says his client didn’t want her legs to show, hence the pants; Tim just tells him to make it work, but with that one eyebrow raised (a true Tim Gunn tell), he probably doesn’t think it actually will work.
Tim then stops by to see Gordana, who is making a strapless short grey dress out of thin strips of the wedding dress layered in a diagonal pattern. It’s only half-way done, yet it looks very cool already. Tim thinks it is beautiful, and cautions her to push the design as far as she can for the judges and keep in mind the thought that she’s going to win. Tim moves on to Shirin, and he apparently has heard about how wild Charlie, the client, is. When Shirin tells Tim about the desired Cher look, he once again looks aghast, while the rest of the workroom breaks into convulsive laughter. Tim tells Shirin to keep the design true to herself and she asks about the feathers and trim she bought. Shirin then breaks down and cries right there in front of Tim Gunn, as he critiques them. With a comforting arm around her shoulder, Tim gives her some advice to play around with color blocking and be free of the actual dress.
Tim departs, reminding them that the wedding dresses need to be at the core of the new design. Epperson decides to start over and Logan freaks out at all the work he has to do. Shirin refuses to go home for a crazy client, and decides to stitch in details on the dress, since dyeing is out.
The clients come in for a fitting; Epperson only really has a sketch to show, but the client seems happy. Somehow Nicolas’ client is happy with the little vest and pants he made, despite them being seriously ugly. Irina’s client likes the color the dress fabric has been dyed. Then that wacky Charlie comes in and gives Shirin attitude for not having made that many changes to the dress. Shirin doesn’t care anymore about the transformation nature of the dress and just wants to make something that doesn’t suck.
I blame Queen Victoria for these atrocities.
The morning of the runway show arrives, and we hear even more from Gordana and her missing her family. Christopher is oddly confident even though his client didn’t like the dress. We’re treated to the LA shots of street signs bearing the words, “Fashion District, 8th Street” and I am horrified. Everyone knows the Fashion District is on 7th Avenue in New York. I was there, just days ago, buying notions to keep my bridesmaid dress actually on my body and not creating a Janet Jackson-esque wardrobe malfunction.
Back at FIDM, Logan scrambles to finish something to send down the runway. Shirin works like mad on the stitching on the dress. Epperson works hard on reconfiguring his dress to meet the criteria of the challenge. Tim sends in the clients and starts the two-hour count down. All of the clients seem happy, with the exception of Shirin’s client who wants the already short hem even shorter and fusses over the shoulder straps. Christopher’s client worries about looking like a fat grandmother, but once she sees it on, she likes it. For some reason, Nicolas’ client likes the pants, brown tunic, and weird vest but he hates it…as do I and probably most of the viewing public.
The clients get ready and we learn that the models had a little class with the clients to teach them how to walk down the runway. We shall soon see if they pull it off. Last minute scrambling ensues, mostly on the part of Logan. The pants he made are a mess, and Irina expresses the same sentiment in her interview. Epperson isn’t over-the-moon confident, but seems okay with where he’ll stand since his client loves the outfit so much.
Judgment time arrives. So who is on the panel tonight? Michael Kors (thank the fashion gods), Zanna Roberts, senior fashion editor at Marie Claire, in for Nina, and Tamara Mellon, founder of Jimmy Choo. (Now Jimmy Choo…there’s a brand I could pimp for. Size 6, any style, please & now!)
The show starts and these nine transformed wedding dress looks saunter down the runway, model-style, on the divorcees.
Irina’s bronze-beige dress for Robin, which uses some of the lace for a draped, loose short sleeve.
Shirin’s short, white cocktail dress for Charlie with dark blue stitching and ribbon empire waist/belt detail and thankfully no peacock feathers.
Logan’s ill-fitting grey trousers and white vest top for Leah.
Carol Hannah’s tiered grey tulle short strapless dress with a black modified bolero jacket for Lisa.
Althea’s weird blue dress on Marilyn, styled like she’s going to a county fair in 1950.
Nicolas’ pants, top, and little white jacket outfit for Stephanie that she likes and he hates.
Gordana’s pieced together strips of grey fabric sleeveless dress for Annie. It isn’t altogether that different from Carol Hannah’s, but it somehow works better because it’s got a bit more edge.
Christopher’s cocktail dress for Beverly that is very shiny and sparkles like crumpled up tin foil in the runway light.
Epperson’s white dress with full, short sleeves brought in at the waist by an almost corset-like design of black strips of fabric for Melissa.
Heidi calls Carol Hannah, Nicolas, and Althea forward as safe. How Nicolas is safe is now the 9th Wonder of the World. Out come the models and the criticism flies.
This is what you get if you call home crying.
Gordana is questioned first by the judges. She says she wanted to create something that both represented her and her client; she used the lining of the dress to make the new look. Michael thinks it is edgy, chic, and flatters her client’s body. Zanna finds it flattering and Tamara loves the asymmetrical neckline. The client loves it, and Heidi acknowledges Gordana did a good job this time. Christopher fares not so well before the judges; he says the look is for industry parties. Tamara thinks the dye job on the acrylic is nice, but there is too much volume in the garment and would land the client on a worst dressed look. Michael thinks it is too tin foil and Zanna thinks it looks like a space bubble.
Epperson says his idea was to get rid of the other dress, but then he realized that he had to use it. Heidi smacks him down and says she was clear on the challenge and then asks the client, Melissa, what she wanted. She says flowy and fitted in the waist; Heidi concludes Melissa didn’t ask for Oktoberfest. Tamara thinks it’s more “pirate’s wench” and a costume. Michael says the dress doesn’t make Melissa look longer or leaner and Heidi says it’ll kill the first date. Shirin faces down the judges next. She explains the whole Half Breed idea Charlie came to her with, and says she couldn’t do it and stitched the fabric to make a pattern. Charlie thinks the dress is safe but beautiful. Tamara finds the dress completely suits Charlie, and as much as Michael loves a Half Breed moment, he’s glad Shirin stuck to her guns.
Logan explains his client didn’t want a dress or skirt, so he went with the trousers, but Heidi has yet another Oktoberfest moment. Leah likes it and would wear it on a second date. Zanna wishes it would have been executed better, especially the cuff on the pants. Michael has an issue with the neckline making her look like an opera singer (a/k/a fat on top). Tamara thinks the whole thing is a tragedy because Logan failed to coax his client into something that looks good. Finally, Irinia and her blah dress face the judges. She says the only new material is the sash. Zanna thinks it was a clever idea to dress the client like a sad mother of the bride and Tamara thinks it is chic. Michael loves that the client owned the look and Heidi thinks it is unbelievable. I’m left at unbelievable too because the look is just dowdy and old and I wanted to hear that from the judges.
During deliberation, the judges think Shirin thought about the client and made her look chic and owned the design. Gordana created a versatile, edgy design and wasn’t safe. Irina’s dress was perfect, sexy, and age-appropriate (I suppose if the client were in her 80s, which she clearly was not, that would be true). The judges think Epperson misunderstood the challenge and made a theme outfit. Logan’s trousers were abysmal and the ruffling on the top was terrible. Finally, Christopher’s dress was too much fabric and looked like a metallic garbage bag.
The designers return to the runway to find out their fate. Shirin is in and departs the runway. Heidi then names Gordana as the winner of the challenge for clearly producing the best dress out there. Irina is in, despite her dress being seriously fugly. (Okay, I hate that dress…and I’m not ashamed to admit it.) Christopher is somehow also in for the tin foil look, so it comes down to Logan and Epperson.
Heidi didn’t like either of the Oktoberfest looks nor the fact they both didn’t follow their own design aesthetics. Logan left Heidi speechless with the bad pants and ill-fitting vest. Epperson lost the point and didn’t transform the wedding dress into something fabulous. With that, Logan is in and Epperson is out.
Epperson departs saying he learned a lot and he is going to push himself to go forward. I’m pushing forward to get to next week when Nina is back. I can’t be the only one carrying the “aesthetically displeasing” torch. So dear readers, if you cry talking to your family, you may be in or you may be out. It just depends on the whim and will of Ms. Klum (though soon to be Mrs. Samuel) and her cohorts.
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