It's Always the Quiet One

Rambling about life, culture, Project Runway, and the occasional fruity drink.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Designer, Clothe Thyself!

Let me start this recap off by saying I think it's a crime that Project Runway didn't win its Emmy. Sure, The Amazing Race has people loading camels into pickup trucks, but if it weren't for fashion designers, those people would be naked. Plus PR has Tim Gunn. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, on to this week's show. While I admire the hard work Kayne put into creating the new svelt body he currently sports, I really don't need to see twenty seconds of him shirtless and stretching. How much do you want to bet that he was totally mortified watching himself half-naked on national television? He's very sad that his comrade-in-snark Robert was sent home. Then Vincent acts very exasperated by the fact that he, the winner of the last challenge, has to make his own coffee. Over in the girls' apartment, Uli and Laura talk about Laura's bun in the oven. After reminding us that she has enough kids to field her own soccer team, she says the number won't affect her ability to do whatever the heck she wants. (Of course not. I'm sure she has a very well-paid nanny or two.)

Cut to Jeffrey ragging about Angela again. I think I've figured out what it is with Jeffrey. He has a HUGE crush on Angela. I remember my mom telling me when I'd come home complaining that boys were picking on me: "They pick on you because they like you but they don't want their friends to know it." I also remember thinking that was about the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Well, now I see what Mom was getting at. Jeffrey's using any excuse he can to talk bad about Angela, to whomever will listen, and frequently within earshot of Angela. Wait and see, next episode he'll put worms in her sewing box, and that will be the final bit of proof we need that Jeffrey does, in fact, love Angela. Methinks the boy doth protest too much.

Everyone's anxious to find out the next challenge. Heidi comes out onto the runway and - oh, HORROR! I don't have much of a problem with Heidi's outfit this week - the top is 'eh' and her jeans are really tight and that's a cool belt and she's wearing boots again, but... HER HAIR! What's going on with those bangs?!? Either she's at that awkward stage when you're trying to grow out your bangs and they're too short to pull back but long enough to cover your eyes, or she's getting a jump on Halloween by putting on her costume already. This year she must be going as this little guy from Codename: Kids Next Door.

The designers all stick with their usual models this time, which means Danielle and Alexandra are out. We discover that the other models are none too fond of Kayne's chit-chatting model Amanda. (Gee, wonder why?) Anyway, after that is taken care of, Heidi tells the designers that their new challenge will be to design an outfit for a hip, international jet-setter.

The American Heritage dictionary defines jet set as "an international social set made up of wealthy people who travel from one fashionable place to another." And luckily (or unluckily) for the designers, Michael Kors is the king of this group, so whatever they do had better be good, or it's auf with their heads.

Heidi (in an obvious voiceover) also throws out a cryptic line about there being more benefits to winning challenges that will be revealed later. Something that's more of a benefit than getting your own show at Olympus Fashion Week? More than your own Saturn Sky Roadster? More than an internship at Macy's? (Well, not sure I'd count that last as a benefit somehow, but whatever.)

She sends them off to Tim, who reveals the last bits of the challenge: THEY are the jet-setters, and THEY will be the models. The men are, for the most part, less than enthusiastic. Nobody's enthused by the budget and time for this challenge: a whopping $75 and ten hours. They start sketching, and Angela is visibly stumped. She's sketched a head, and all of a sudden it hits me: she told Miss USA she couldn't sketch because she was embarassed to show her HOW she sketches.

They run around Mood like chickens with their heads cut off, looking for cheap stuff that doesn't look cheap. Kayne spends almost all of his money on a Versace silk print that looks like a butterfly wing. It's definately Kayne. Maybe his idea of jet-setting includes joining the skydiving Elvis impersonators.

Back at Parsons, the designers offer their own personal definitions of the jet setter asthetic: Michael's all "Hamptons meets the 'hood" (which are about two of the farthest things from each other he could possibly pick); Uli KNOWS jet-setting because she herself does it quite often, and knows that whatever she makes has to be something you can wear even when you're wasted; Angela thinks it's her cousin who flies all over and hunts (let's hope he's not combining the two) and uses the phrase "hillbilly jet setter", which will probably be exactly how her outfit turns out; Jeffrey instantly thinks of himself and rock stars; and Kayne can only come up with Tara Reid "because she had that TV show and showed her boobies." Can't wait to see what he makes. Oh well, we've already seen his this episode so I guess it can't be that bad. Of course it's nowhere NEAR as scary as seeing Vincent run around the workshop in his boxers.

Jeffrey quacks some more about his ugly muumuu from last challenge and says mean things to Angela, and again the editors have spent way too much time on them. Everyone seems to be tired of it too, except for Vincent, who's cackling at every comment Jeffrey makes, and that surprises me not.

After a while, Tim comes in to make his rounds. You can clearly see that Jeffrey's outfit is not Tim's favorite, but he does admit that Jeffrey's nailing the rock 'n roll look he's going for. Laura says she's trying not to be boring and classic - she's doing a kind of wrap-waist cocktail dress in a nude stretchy fabric that I kind of like. Tim is exceedingly concerned about Kayne. It's too Elvis (and this is Vegas Elvis, not Hounddog Elvis). Michael explains his whole 'urban Hamptons' look - cargo pants and a jacket all in white, with a white T-shirt underneath. Tim makes a 'whoosh'ing noise like a horse makes when it's lying down for the night. Michael thinks fast and decides to make a collared shirt (instead of the jacket? Under the jacket? I'm not clear on that). Then he actually shoves Tim out of his workspace (in a nice way).

Angela's having troubles with time, and Tim calls her outfit "Holly Hobby". I loved Holly Hobby as a kid, and had a doll and a bedspread and everything. THIS outfit is NOT Holly Hobby. She wouldn't be caught dead in what Angela's making.

Tim exits the workroom (strangely, they didn't show him talking to Vincent, but it's no secret to those who listen to Tim's podcasts that he has no love for Vincent, so perhaps he just had nothing to say to him) and manic sewing ensues. Bobbins are flying off machines, Kayne's ripping his pants apart with his bare hands, and Vincent looks like he has his pajamas on (at least it's better than boxers) - that CAN'T be his garment? Of course, over all of this, Jeffrey has to offer his opinions on everyone else's stuff. Angela has used her rosettes (insert eye-roll here) to make giant targets on the butt of her pants. She's also given it a sunburst crotch. My mind boggles. But the night is over now and everyone has to stop.

We are treated to an impromtu modeling lesson from Michael, who has done a bit of modeling himself and gives Kayne a few pointers out on the patio of their apartment. Kayne tries, poor dear, but quips, "It's easier when you're from the ghetto - I'm from white trash."

Morning comes earlier than the designers would like, and we get a good look at Angela's nightgown (which is not a good thing - it's yet another cut-up heirloom quilt.) Blearily, the designers make their way over to Parsons for the runway show.

But, since they are the models, they have to worry about getting themselves down to hair and makeup, while at the same time putting any finishing touches on their outfits. In the makeup room, Jeffrey asks to be less green, and I come to the forehead-smacking realization that Jeffrey must be part Grinch. Angela and Laura have five people doing their hair at the same time, while Michael apparently skips the entire process (why mess with perfection?) and keeps on sewing. After getting a glimpse of Laura's foundation garment in the workroom as she puts on her dress, we see Kayne putting on his clothes while Laura interview that Kayne's tackiness doesn't translate to high fashion. I disagree. I find that there are many examples of high-fashion tackiness. Example 1. Example 2. (My thanks to The Manolo for those.)

The big moment has arrived. Heidi's wearing my daughter's sundress and clunky black boots (what IS it with her and boots this season? She wears them with almost everything.). Let's take a look at what happened on the runway, shall we?

  • Vincent's outfit is something you could buy off-the-rack at Wal-Mart. He accessorizes it with his own flip-flops. MK comments that it looks like the pajamas they give you in first class on an airplane. (They give you pajamas?? Whoa.) It's safe, with no "twist" to it. Vincent comments that HE is the twist. That may be, but I can't stop thinking how his parted hair makes him look even more like Rick Moranis than ever. Strange Brew, indeed!
  • Jeffrey has achieved his goal of turning himself into a rock star, complete with Bedazzled skull T-shirt and pants with a studded crotch that makes me think of those barbed training collars you buy for dogs. Ouch! But I will say that with this outfit, his tattoo looks very normal. He gets the Heidi "it looks expensive" stamp of approval.
  • Angela is clearly not a model by any stretch of the imagination. She doesn't even appear to be trying as she shlumps down the runway in her fleurchon-encrusted outfit and oversized Nicole Richie sunglasses. It looks like she's headed off to a Camp Jubilee Jumbles reunion. Heidi tries not to giggle. MK is horrified. She's chosen linen (obviously she was not paying attention when the judges chastised Robert in the icon challenge about his use of the same material) which is all rumply and will look even worse after she's worn it a bit. MK calls her a "mess" and a "homeless person." And those targets on her butt are screaming "kick auf here!"
  • Laura looks, as she says in the show's opening, fabulously glamourous. She's got her hair down, is wearing beautiful earrings and shoes, and her dress is immaculate. It's still got the low-cut front but it's not as low as her usual offerings and manages to hide her bosom. The wrapped waist and criss-cross back is lovely. (I'd like one in red and another in black please!) The judges love it.
  • Michael tears up the runway in his all-white ensemble, although I don't get all the random strings hanging off. He says he's off to the Hamptons to chill with P. Diddy, and I'm sure that's something he's really going to do in the future. He's wisely chosen a seersucker material for his pants and MK commends him, saying that it doesn't wrinkle because it's already wrinkled. (Um, what? Whatever.) This one gets thumbs-up from the judges too.
  • Kayne comes out looking like a cross between a country music singer and a Vegas lounge act, with a little street thrown in. And isn't it fortunate that Macy's supplied a rhinestoned "KAYNE" belt buckle? What are the odds? The judges agree that while it is extremely well-constructed, it is a costume. Yeah, from the Donny and Marie show.
  • Lastly we have Uli, wearing yet another halter dress made of wildly patterned fabric that while ugly on their own, look surprisingly not ugly when put together. The judges, after all this time, FINALLY pan her for making the same type of dress over and over. ('Bout time!) And why didn't she do anything to her hair? Did she just run out of time? Possibly.

The judges tally their scores (do you think they play that music in the auditorium?) and it's time to find out who's in and who's out. But we've forgotten about the jet-setting part of this challenge - the judges need to see how well the garments travel. Heidi informs the designers that they have one hour to get their butts back to the Atlas, pack, and get to the airport. Everyone freaks! Angela tries to catch flies with her mouth! Kayne gets big eyes! Vincent looks annoyed! "Get going!" yells Heidi, and they're off.

Earlier in the show we saw Vincent putting stuff in his suitcase. That was supposed to be in the morning before any of them found out they were going anywhere. Is this a case of misediting? Did Vincent know something the others didn't? Or does Vincent just keep his bag packed in case the aliens come to take him home?

As they leave the apartment, the guys speculate on their destination. Vincent volunteers Budapest and Istanbul, which as you no doubt know are two of the great fashion capitals of the world. But when they get to the airport they find themselves going somewhere decidedly less exciting than that - Paris! Kayne's eyes look like they are going to pop right out of his lil' ol' head with excitement. Even Laura gets into it when she finds out they're travelling first class.

They board the airplane (which is eerily empty of other passengers, much as the terminal was on their way in. (I'm sorry but at 9am, JFK cannot be THAT dead.) The flight attendants are wearing very stylish red outfits, and offer everyone champagne and pillows. To everyone's joy, Tim boards the plane! Can't go on a field trip without Tim Gunn. Champagne and black silk pajamas for everyone! Let's get this transatlantic party started!

So they arrive in Paris, and as they wend their way through the streets we are shown many of the icons of the city: the Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower. (Jeffrey shows off that he knows a bit of French by calling it la Tour Eiffel.) I'm reminded of the scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation where the Griswolds get stuck in a traffic loop in London for hours and Chevy Chase keeps saying, "Look kids! Big Ben! Parliament!" every time they go around the loop.

The van drops them off at Parsons' Paris campus, and the designers are shown to a nice raspberry-colored workroom with windows - but only 6 work tables. After all, someone will be out before too long. How cruel, to fly them all the way across the Atlantic just to have one of them sent right back! Would have been cheaper to auf someone THEN send them, but that would mess up the whole "how do the garments travel" part. Ah, well. C'est la vie!

Tim introduces them to designer Catherine Maladrino, who will be the final judge. She watches the designers in a mini-runway show between the worktables. Angela's pants are really wrinkled. Laura's dress still looks perfect, but her four-inch heels weren't the right choice for travelling. Catherine pronounces Laura and Vincent in, and then announces the winner: Jeffrey! Of course Jeffrey is very humble, as always. Michael was the runner-up, and Uli is also in.

That leaves us with Kayne and Angela (no surprises there). I almost have a heart attack when Catherine says, "I'm sorry" to Kayne - I thought she was aufing him! - but she was just telling him he looks ridiculous. Angela, however is "from another world" and is out. This makes Jeffrey grin from ear to ear, and he rags on her AGAIN. To make him look worse (if that's possible), the producers edit in an interview with Michael where he says how talented and sweet Angela is, and that she's got a great spirit and smile. (Michael's just class all around. Pay attention, Jeffrey, and learn!!!)

So, Angela packs up her homemade bag and jets back to NYC. (Alas... poor Jeffrey will have to find somewhere else to put those worms.) Interestingly enough, this leaves Laura as the only remaining designer to have not won a challenge. But remember, last year Kara was in the same position, and she made it to the final four and created what was probably the most creative collection of the four at Fashion Week.

What does the City of Light have in store for our designers? We shall have to wait and see.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Emmy Fun

I couldn't sleep so I thought I'd look at red carpet photos from last night's Emmys. A few things jumped out at me, so I put it all down here. It won't win any webpage design awards, but it might give someone a chuckle.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I Was A Teenage Humorist

So I'm talking to my sister on the phone and somehow or another the conversation works its way around to this blog. I ask her if she'd read it lately (I think she's the only one in my family who even knows it exists) and her reply is, "Yeah, but when are you gonna write something that's not about Project Runway?" I hear the collective gasp out there, but have pity - she doesn't have cable. So without further adieu, here is something that's not about Project Runway.

I've always liked writing. When I was a little kid I used to write little books for my grandma, with cutesy titles like "The Poinsetta Who Got Picked at Easter". Years later when I was in college she sent them all back to me "for posterity." They're horrid, so I'm sure my kids will get a kick out of them some day.

Anyway, writing. I always got my highest grades in English and did best at the creative writing assignments. (I did pretty well at grammar and punctuation too, and constantly corrected notes my friends wrote me and sent them back. Surprisingly they still liked me.)

During my junior year in high school I wrote a 25-page murder mystery story for English class, starring my friends, which proved to be a big hit. One afternoon near the end of the year one of those friends came up to me in the hall and said "I'm going to try out for the school newspaper and you're a good writer so why didn't you try out too 'cause wouldn't it be fun if we were both on the paper together?" After chastising her for spewing a giant run-on sentence, I thought about what she'd said. Being on the paper hadn't ever crossed my mind before. I wasn't overly enthusiastic at first. The only thing I knew about it was which hallways to avoid on paper-selling day, 'cause those people were pushy! And I needed my quarters to buy Snickers bars from the vending machines at lunchtime.

But she eventually talked me into it. All I had to do was submit a writing sample, and write a second little paragraph on why I'd like to be on the paper. So I BS'd my way though that (I figured that writing "Because my friend thinks it'd be fun if we were on the paper together" would probably not be the most convincing reason to choose me) and turned in an essay I wrote for English 3 about my grandmother's house. Then I completely forgot about the entire thing.

Two weeks later, the same friend came up to me in the same hallway. Turns out I actually made it onto the newspaper staff and she didn't. She could have been bitter, but she wasn't - we were still friends through college. (Although in hindsight, maybe she was a BIT bitter - after all, she did end up secretly dating a boyfriend of mine in college while I was still dating him. I didn't make that connection until just now! Hmm...)

Senior year rolled around and with it came my first journalistic assignment: write an editorial on a recent failed school levy. Yawn. I remember how hard and extremely unfun it was trying to get phone interviews with people on the school board and then writing what was probably the most boring thing ever, although the newspaper advisor really liked it. I was beginning to think this had been a bad idea.

During discussions for the next week's issue, the advisor brought up the fact that we had no humor writers, and she would like intereseted staffers to submit a possible column, which could become a weekly gig if the copy was good enough. I jumped at that because, well, it seemed less boring than tax levies and I wouldn't have to interview anybody. Besides, I had a lot of funny people in my family, and my sister and I spent a good chunk of our childhood listening to my mother's records of the Smothers Brothers, Allan Sherman and Bill Cosby - it should be a piece of cake!

So I spent a week writing and re-writing and crumpling up an entire ream of paper (this was before recycling was fashionable) and feeling definately un-funny. My mom, sensing my pain, handed me a section from the Sunday paper and pointed to an article. "Here. This is funny. Read this." It was a column by Dave Barry (who is one of the funniest writers in America and if you don't know who he is then shame on you!) and it changed my high-school life. Here was someone funny! Here was someone who wrote the same way I thought about things! Here was a guy with bad hair who was not afraid to make fun of himself in national syndication! He was my new hero, my humor mentor. With a renewed sense of purpose, I grabbed a new ream of paper and started writing. Needless to say, I got the position (well, I had to share it with this other girl who was a junior and who, at the time, didn't strike me as all that funny. Looking back, I still think she wasn't all that funny, but she was pretty, so I guess we were even).

My first column was about the Homecoming Dance. It contained gems like "Taking your date to 7-11 for a hot dog and a slushy is not acceptable," and the whole thing was quite humorous considering that I never even WENT to a homecoming dance. But it was such a thrill seeing my name on the byline, and I was hooked. During the year I tackled such pressing topics as TV Christmas variety specials, daytime talk shows, how to write a good "I don't have my homework" excuse, and school elections. I even ended up writing half of the annual April Fool's edition (school basketweaving team, anyone? A snake who pole vaults for the track team?) and managed to get my friends' names in the paper by mining them for quotes in various "serious" stories I wrote on the side.

It ended up being a really fun class - it got me out of study hall every day and I got to be quite the expert on Macintosh computers (we had two - we called them Prometheus and Bacchus - and we thought they were the best things EVER. Keep in mind that this was back when most computers were amber- or green-screened IBMs and all you could do on them was type or play Oregon Trail). I really didn't care if anyone read the column or thought it was funny; I enjoyed doing it.

But I got a shock one day after a history class when I was stopped by the captain of the football team, a guy I'd never talked to in my life, and he told me how much he liked reading my column. (I didn't even know he knew who I was!) And I got an even bigger shock when I was voted "most humorous girl" for the class memory book. They did a photo shoot with me and the "most humorous guy", and we were supposed to act very serious in the picture (because acting serious when you're "most humorous" is really hilarious, see?). The funniest part about it is that the picture didn't turn out, and there's a big blank spot in the memory book where my picture should have been.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

All in the Family

This weeks' episode of PR starts off as most of them have: with Jeffrey whining. Only this time he is sad because his good friend Alison is gone. And he assures us that he's finished harping on Angela. (We know that's a big ol' lie.) Meanwhile, over in the apartment of two-time winner Michael, he's making sure that he stays hydrated because dehydration is a major cause of headaches. (Grinning too much because you WON TWO CHALLENGES IN A ROW doesn't help either.)

It's time to find out this week's challenge. Heidi is thankfully wearing nothing I can badmouth - someone's chosen a safe tank top in black for her. I've noticed that she has been wearing a lot of black this season. Perhaps she's in mourning for her last season's stylist. I know I am.

This week the designers will be creating an outfit for the 'everyday woman'. Heidi calls out the models. We see a shadow on the scrim and everyone is very taken aback, as they were expecting their regular models and this is DEFINATELY not one of their usual models. Taken-aback-ness turns to shock and then to glee as the designers' mothers (and a few sisters) come onto the runway. Robert is pleasantly shocked to see his sister, who has come all the way from England. Laura starts crying when she sees her mother. But she hasn't lost it completely because when Jeffrey points out his mom, she quips, "I thought she'd have a mohawk!" which causes all the other sniffling designers to laugh. (Good job, Laura!) I admire all these women for being brave enough to do this. (Would I have done it, had my son been a designer on the show? Well, heck yeah!)

Joining Heidi on the runway is Judy (Kayne's mom), Darlene (Angela's mom), Patricia (Vincent's sister), Pamela (Michael's mom), Teresa (Robert's sister), Pam (Jeffrey's mom), Heidi (Uli's mom), and Lorraine (Laura's mom). Then Heidi drops the bomb that the loved ones will also be the models - but the designers CANNOT pick their own family member. This elicits much "awwww"-ing from the designers. I think that it's a horrible idea, considering that it sets up the whole "last one at kickball" situation. And using moms and sisters makes it that much worse! What were the producers smoking at THAT production meeting? (My suggestion would have been using two Velvet Bags and picking designer/model names out randomly. But c'est la vie, it is what it is.)

Michael won last week, so he gets to go first. He picks Robert's sister (Robert approves). Everyone else gets drawn from the Velvet Bag. Laura picks Jeffrey's mom, just to torture him, she says. (I'm sure that makes Jeffrey's mom feel great.) Vincent picks Uli's mom, and Angela picks Laura's mom. (It has not escaped my attention at this point that the designers have picked the thinner women first.) Kayne picks Michael's mom, Uli picks Kayne's mom, Robert picks Vincent's sister, and last but not least, Jeffrey "picks" Angela's mom (because she is the only one left - kind of like during the Miss USA challenge when Vincent "picked" Angela) and she smiles graciously. Then they cut away to Jeffrey saying he ended up with her because "God got drunk today" which is just totally tactless but totally Jeffrey, and I hope Angela's mom throws something at the TV when she sees this episode. To her face, Jeffrey assures her she's going to have fun, but I don't think she's so sure. Angela herself is less than thrilled that Jeffrey is going to be designing an outfit for her mom. (In case you've missed it - you might have, it's been so subtle - Jeffrey and Angela are not BFF like Robert and Kayne.)

The moms/sisters all hug and visit with their designer kin in the workroom for a few minutes. Uli had not seen her mom in a year, and they're both a little weepy. Michael gets to show off his winning designs to his mom. Kayne takes some pictures.

But enough Old Home Week. It's time to get down to business. Or... brunch! Tim takes them to a party instead, hosted by this week's guest judge. They head over to Tavern on the Green, and are greeted by the very orange Michael Kors and his equally orange mom, Joan, wearing the ultimate in mommy/son matching outfits: black blazers and shades. They have a lovely garden party, complete with champagne and mimosas. Then, as moms always seem to do when at a gathering, they start bringing out pictures of the designers as kids. Everyone is shocked to see pictures of Kayne at twice the size he is currently. He makes a great comment that I totally agree with: "Sometimes the past needs to stay in the past." But you can tell he's kind of glad to show people the pictures because it shows how much work he's done to lose weight (110 pounds!). Michael was a totally cute kid. However it's Jeffrey's mom who brings the pictures that really shock me - Jeffrey in a suit with frosted blond hair.

MK, who is making the rounds of all the tables, moves on to Laura and her mom. He tells his mother that Laura has five children, to which Laura replies "Working on number six!" and about gives her own mother a heart attack on national TV! Her husband doesn't even know! Real subtle way to break the news, Laura. (No wonder Laura's been so bitchy lately. She's totally excused!)

Back at the workroom, Tim gives them a half hour to caucus with their clients, and freaks everyone out again by telling them they only have a day to finish the garments. Kayne says a silent prayer. Last week's "one day only" challenge didn't go so well for him, so that's probably a good thing for him to be doing. Vincent comments that there are going to be a "lot of secret hidden things in this one", but what the heck does that mean? Coming from Vincent, it's scary. He's gonna have all sorts of whack popping out of his outfit. Poor Uli's mom!

Right away you can tell that this is going to be harder for some of the designers than others, because several of the moms/sisters are decidely more plus-sized than others, and they're not experienced in designing for this segment of the population. Robert is visibly concerned about not being able to work on the dress form for this challenge. In his conversation with Vincent's sister she comments that she really likes his kimono idea, and I immediately think, "Kara Janx! Do a Kara-style kimono dress that looks good on everyone!" I'm hoping Robert is joking about putting her in head-to-toe zebra print with a "Stop picking on Robert" sign on the front. On second thought, Robert, do it. It can't possibly hurt.

Laura's mom wants an Audrey Hepburn-ish type look, which might work in Angela's favor since she just made one of those. While Lorraine obviously wants her daughter to win, she says she won't sabotage Angela. (It's okay, Lorraine, Angela usually does that to herself.) Kayne picked Michael's mom because she had rhinestones on her shoes. I predict his outfit will be fabulous. And sparkly. I think Kayne has the edge in this because he used to be much larger and knows how clothing fits (or doesn't fit) on a larger person. Vincent comments that Uli's mom has a European air about her. (Well, duh, Vincent! She's German. Germany is IN Europe.) I think this pairing might work out well, because Uli's mom doesn't speak a lot of English and neither does Vincent.

At Jeffrey's table, Angela's mom is trying to tell Jeffrey how to take her measurements. (Um, I think he knows how to do that.) She also wants a jacket and he right away shoots her down (not in a nice way, either, he's like "Oh, I don't like that at all"). After all, they only have one day. Angela's mom says she feels like she wants to cry (not a good sign). Jeffrey is visibly worried about this whole thing. I'm worried that she's going to end up in some Madonna-esque bustier.

Over at Mood, Robert despairs over his model's choice of red and black for her garment. ("Oh God, here I go again with BORING colors!")

I would like to know how red is boring. Maybe you would have felt better with a nice cream, Robert? Because that's certainly not boring.

Back in the workroom, there's a lot of confused-looking people just sitting around staring at their useless size zero dress forms. Jeffrey has improvised and taped a bunch of padding onto his dress form and I wonder why some of the other designers haven't done that as well - it makes sense. Robert's especially nervous, to the point of fright. I'm expecting to see him in a dark room, wearing a stocking cap and holding a flashlight a la "Blair Witch Project" whispering, "I'm scared of this and I don't know what to do. I'm so scared!" Another thing that's scary is Vincent actually making a sensible statement - "You have to be able to compensate and deliver to real women, because these are the people that wear your clothes." He's not talking about Jeffrey, of course, because only rock stars wear his clothes.

Michael gets all ambitious on us and designs a reversible dress for Robert's sister, using black and a very busy white-and-black print. I'm a little leery of the print, it looks too much. It would probably be all right as an accent but as an entire dress? Hmm... Kayne, meanwhile, just impressed the heck out of me by tailoring a pair of pants for Michael's mom, and yes, Kayne, they are damn cute. I think he's the only one making pants. But I'm not sure because they're not showing us much of what people are actually MAKING. I hate that.

Laura has made a lovely blue skirt with a double row of buttons down the front that makes me think of The Monkees' stage outfits, but I hope she's planning on adding a shirt because her dress form has giant puffy pasties on it right now. Jeffrey's mom seems kinda hip but I don't think she's THAT hip, somehow.

Tim interrupts the work by sending the models in to see what's going on. I crack up over Uli's mom and Vincent. She speaks very little English, as I said before, and he's doing that same thing that some people do when talking to a deaf person, talking loudly as if that makes them hear what's being said. He's just using very basic noun-verb combinations - "You like?" - while she just nods and smiles and thinks "What a nutcase!" in German. We also need to thank Laura's mom. She appears to be reining in Angela's full-tilt boogie.

Tim goes over to chat with Angela's mom about Jeffrey (without Jeffrey around). She very meekly says that she basically hates everything he's doing, but does it in such a way that you feel sorry for her - but I also see some passive-agressiveness going on here. She says the colors are matronly and she tries to avoid that - but she asked him for dark colors and that's exactly what she got. Huh? Okay, so she wanted greens and purples, but I have to side with Jeffrey and say that I think the blues will look nice with her coloring. (Personally I would have tried a burgandy but I'm not a fashion designer, am I?)

Tim walks away and I think that's the end of it, but oh no. They get into it - not a loud shouting match, but loud enough so that other people develop Rubberneckers' Syndrome and stop what they're doing - and it's very uncomfortable to watch. Jeffrey's being his usual honest self, telling her that he's going to make what he's making and he hopes she likes it, but that he doesn't appreciate her even standing there. She's wringing her hands and saying that she's not excited and it's not what she wanted. Jeffrey starts to make a surprisingly nice comment - "Maybe other people find things about you that are beautiful that you don't find in yourself..." (and I'm startled and pleased to hear that, but then he ruins it by adding,) "...because of your insecurities." And on top of that, he goes into the sewing room and calls her a crazy bitch. Oh, Kaaayne! Where's that duct tape?!?

I'm ready for that part to be over but noooooo. We now get to watch Angela talking to her mom in the lounge and there's sniffling and stuff, which is even more uncomfortable to watch than the last segment and I really wish TV had a fast-forward button. Now, I'm not trying to be mean here, or saying that Angela's mom isn't upset or justified. But I think she could have a career as a soap actress because some of this is just really fake-looking. And I can see that Angela gets it honestly. Vincent even gets into it and starts giving Jeffrey advice (which I'm sure Jeffrey has tuned out) and some of the other moms/sisters close ranks around Angela's mom (even Uli's mom, who doesn't understand most of what they're saying but is empathetic anyway). At this point I'm getting annoyed because they've spent ten whole minutes on this and that's ten minutes we didn't get to see what anyone else was doing. I don't even want to comment on it anymore.

Kayne's being ambitious. He's making three pieces... AND jewlery! (Did he say that? Sure sounded like it.) Uli starts teasing Michael about winning three in a row and Michael swears he'll faint if that happens. Oh no! Who will save Captain Save-a-Ho if he falls backwards off the runway?

The designers are released for the night and back in the girls' apartment there is much teasing of Laura for being pregnant. We get to see the same disturbing shot of Laura's boys smacking each other with baseball bats, and she jokes that she'll just throw this new one on the pile with the others. (I think she's joking, at least.) Do they make armor for babies? This one's going to need it.

Much awkwardness ensues in the workroom the next morning, as the designers have to dress their models. Usually the models are stripping down to their underwear and not caring much about who's looking. But these are people's moms and sisters! Can't have them doing that. So there's a nice folding screen provided for modesty, and that's very thoughtful. The designers seem to be very weirded out by having to fit each other's relatives. (Good thing Keith's not around anymore to feel anyone up.)

On to hair and makeup! It's fun to see all the women getting glammed up for the runway show. And there's not a funky hairdo in sight, thank goodness. There are some definate "hot mamas" (and sisters) at Parsons today!
It's the moment of truth on the runway. Heidi comes out in black - AGAIN - although she mixes it up by wearing a see-through skirt, and announces that there will be no immunity for the winner this week. Michael Kors and his mom are wearing basically the exact same outfits they had on yesterday. (I'd love to see their closet. You know they share one.) Thank goodness Nina's wearing some color, or I'd think this had turned into Project Funeral.

First on the runway is Jeffrey's mom. Laura is suddenly worried about her garment, that it's not right for her figure. (I'm worried about the dress Laura is wearing. I know it's nude fabric under that stretch black lace but she always just looks NAKED! And let your hair down sometimes, Laura. There are no kids here to pull it or stick gum in it.)

Kayne's mom walks the runway. Uli has designed a lovely flowing sheer print top with a thistle-colored shirt underneath, and pants (okay, see, Kayne wasn't the only one, but did they show us that? No.) that looks really good on Judy. Uli's mom is next. Vincent's dress for her is black with what looks like a wrestling belt around her waist, and a huge fawn-colored collar that looks like two dinner napkins. And the collar doesn't continue onto the back of the dress, which looks very weird. But, it's rather subdued for Vincent, I guess.

For Michael's mom, Kayne has designed a bright coral-orange shirt with a coordinating print scarf (he called it a poncho but it looks like a scarf to me) and tan capri pants. Very nice! Angela's look for Laura's mom is too bohemian. It's all black, with flapper fringe criss-crossing the front of it, and the black shirt and skirt/pant/whatever it is are not the same shade of black. She's also carrying what looks like a metallic purple gym bag. All she needs is a nice scarf for her head and it's off to a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof for her!

Robert's totally "boring" bright red kimono shirt and black dress for Vincent's sister looks very nice, but she is not walking straight and looks like she might be in pain, and I feel very bad for her. Robert's sister is next, wearing Michael's reversible skirt dress. I like the dress but... Michael! Dude. You need to work on the hair. Almost all of your models that weren't Nazri have had the "mean school headmistress" pulled-back hair. Take some advice from Vincent: Let it flow, let it go. Last to come down the runway is Angela's mom. She's smiling and trying to have fun but we KNOW she hates that dress, and I know I hate that dress. It looks like something a prison matron would wear.

So now the judges do their usual talking to everyone, and it's pretty uneventful except for Heidi talking to Uli's mom in German, which is cute. And Heidi also lets Robert have an earful - "Too safe! No prints! You should know better!" The B-word is thrown about among the judges like a beach ball at a high-school graduation. (Nobody seems to care that Vincent's sister really liked the outfit.) And Angela is accused of making a Stevie Nicks dress, but not even Ms. Nicks would wear THAT lampshade wanna-be.

After the dust clears, Heidi announces that the winner is... not Uli! Sorry, but she should have won. Instead, it is Vincent. (I predict that Vincent will now be VERY popular in Germany, much like David Hasselhoff.) Last on the runway are Robert and Jeffrey, and despite the drama and hideousness of Jeffrey's dress, Robert is given the kiss-off for committing the unforgivable sin of boredom.

Dear Robert. I shall miss your snark, your gab-fests with Kayne, your buffness, and your perfect white teeth smiling at me every week. Allow me, if you will, to leave you with a final bit of advice:

You better go wash that. You'll get a rash.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

First Impressions are Everything

Well, I think we're about at the halfway point of the Project Runway season, and they're down to eight designers. That got me to thinking about my initial thoughts of this season's group (just by reading their Bravo bios and seeing pictures of them), and I thought I'd revisit it and see if I've changed my mind any.

People I thought I'd like: Katherine, Bradley, Angela, Bonnie.
  • The first time I saw Katherine's sketches, I knew she would be one of my favorites of Season 3. Not that I snowboard, but I just got a nice "I could wear that" feeling from her stuff. Plus the people in her sketches are totally cute. I was quite sad when she was cut, but she's still a fave. And I LOVE her Auf'd Runway stuff. I thought she'd go farther in the competition.
  • Bradley's designs on his website didn't wow me but that's just because they're not my style. But something about him made me think I'd like him. Keep in mind this was before I heard him talk - and then I liked him even more. He's just funny, and not full of himself, and doesn't take things overly seriously. I wasn't sure about his chances though.
  • Angela - eh... not as crazy about her as I thought I would be. I was all prepared to root for her til the end no matter what, 'cause we Ohio gals gotta stick together, but she's just done some seriously fugly stuff.
  • Bonnie just seemed friendly and that she had a good attitude towards everything.

People I thought I'd be annoyed by: Jeffrey, Malan, Keith, Kayne.
  • Didn't like Jeffrey's tattoos, didn't like the picture they used of him with the sunglasses and the rebel attitude, didn't particularly think it was fair that he's friends with Santino. Now, I'm still annoyed by him, but mostly because he is so WHINY. And has said some rather nasty things about other people.
  • Malan just seemed snobby to me at first look. That and I thought he might be a vampire. But during his brief run on the show he grew on me. Probably would have ended up in the "people I like" category had he been on longer.
  • Keith? I just didn't like the look on his face. And while I think he has talent, he just made some bad choices.
  • There was just something about Kayne (I think it was the profile shot and the spiky hair) that gave me a feeling of annoyance, like he was going to be snobby and elitist. But I was so so so wrong about him - he's one of my favorites now! Go Kayne!

People I was ambivalent about: everyone else. But here are my first impressions.
  • Uli looked mean.
  • Vincent: something was a bit off but not enough to make me annoyed. Reminded me of Rick Moranis, whom I like.
  • Michael: we were going to see some hip-hop style stuff from him (which I don't like) and he would be off quickly.
  • Stacey was intellectually snobby. Off quickly.
  • Robert: how was he going to go from Barbie to real women? The proportions are totally different! Off soon.
  • Laura: I didn't like her dress. And she looked kinda mean too.
  • Alison: pretty and perky but I wasn't sure I'd like her stuff.

Anyway, seems like I was right on a few and wrong on a lot! This is why I rarely take people at face value and almost always wait until I get to know them before I make a judgement on whether I really like them or not. And contrary to what Jeffrey believes ("I'm entitled not to like you!") I believe that it's a person's privelege to try to like everyone. Some times are just more successful than other times.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, today is my birthday, and I am just sittin' around, taking it easy, not doing much. This year I am finally bowing to culture and getting myself an iPod. I thought about getting one last year, but opted to just replace my portable CD player instead. I also got a very nice bar of chocolate as a present from someone who knows me very well and told me that she was sure I'd much rather have chocolate than a card. Too true! Tonight I will go do something fun but I haven't decided what to do yet.

I also talked to my mom - she usually tries to call me at the time I was born (thankfully it is late morning and not 2am like my sister). This year I was supposed to answer the phone and go "waaahh!", which is what my mom would have heard at that time the day I was born (had it not been back in the day when they still gave powerful drugs as a rule rather than the exception). I don't think I cried. I was a good baby. :) Anyway, I forgot I was supposed to do that, and said, "Hello?" to which my mom replied, "Hey, what were you supposed to do??" so I racked my brain for a second or two and then cried as requested. We had a good laugh over it, which is a nice thing to do on your birthday.

And no, you can't ask how old I am.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dumpster Designing

It's a lovely New York morning at the Atlas. It's quite amusing how they can turn something as mundane as people getting ready in the morning into entertainment. Michael, for having so little hair, has an awfully big hairbrush (and you know what they say about guys with big hairbrushes). We have to listen to Vincent whine about his 401k again and talk up his talent and construction abilities (which I have yet to see), and Alison jokes with Uli about having used up over half of her tube of anti-stress lotion already.

Over at Parsons, Heidi comes out in yet another weird outfit. It reminds me of Gwyneth Paltrow's slouchy goth Oscar dress, only uglier, and she's added another giant belt buckle, which has worked its way around to her butt. She brings out the winning and losing designers' models. Michael sticks with Nazri, which is smart; but that means the lovely Katie is out. (Laura is sad, and so am I. Katie was my favorite.) With that unpleasant task out of the way, it's time to find out about this week's challenge. Heidi gets all drill sergeant on the designers: "You're pampered and have had it too easy, and the next challenges will be tough, you bunch of pansies!" Angela's like "nuh-uh!" But Heidi ignores her and orders them back to their barracks to wait for Tim.

Tim gets them up at 5am to take them to Newark, New Jersey to be whacked by the Mafia, because he's tired of the whole Project Runway thing and wants to start his OWN line. Their challenge is to design their own cement shoes (although Vincent opts to make a concrete hat).

No, really, he takes them to a big warehouse, where he dramatically opens a large garage door...some people yell "YEAH!" and some say "oh my God" and I'm saying "WHAT IS IT???" It turns out that it's all quite anti-climactic: Tim has taken them to a recycling center and they have to use recyclable materials to make their garment. "Shut UP! I didn't want to work with trash," laments Robert. They're all wearing totally fashion-backward reflective vests and lemon yellow hard hats. (They should have to redesign THOSE. They could use it!)

Tim tells them this challenge is all about innovation and creativity. Wait, Tim! Didn't we already have this challenge?? Yeah, we did. Keith won with a bedsheet dress. But maybe since it turned out Keith was cheating, they're giving them another chance.

Anyway, since they have to do this again, Michael says it will give them a chance to "think outside of the box." (Just make sure it's recycled, Michael!) Laura picks up a handful of shredded paper and says, "Think I could make fur trim out of this, Alison?" and I'm saying "NOOOOO!" (If Angela is Rosette Woman, Laura is Fur Trim Woman.) Robert shows us his impression of the thread on a sewing machine while pulling a strip of paper off a giant spool. Jeffrey is in heaven after he finds a Martha Stewart magazine.

Kayne is gleefully twisting the tops off of plastic water bottles, and recounts how he spent his white-trash youth dumpster-diving with his sister. Vincent is going to make "art" again (he's holding an old vinyl binder- I'm envisioning a skirt made of binders, held together by the metal rings connected by those tough plastic strips that you find holding boxes of copy paper closed. Yeah, that's art all right. I think when Vincent gets older, he's going to be one of those guys who builds a house using nothing but aluminum cans.) Alison is inspired by the unusual materials. That's good, but I'm concerned - we've already seen way more than usual of Alison, and this is either really good or really bad.

Long, long strips of Mylar seem to be popular with the designers. I forsee a lot of shiny garments on the runway. They also come away with strips of plastic, posterboard, giant plastic bags used for peanuts, and a myriad of other materials. (It makes me proud to be a recycler. After seeing the outfits I may change my mind, so I hope they're good!) Before they leave, we have a brief music and dance interlude brought to us by Michael and Laura, with Laura trying to do some 'yo yo yo" rapper's hand movements that white society women should just never, never, never do. Even her good buddy Michael tells her to stop, and we thank him for that.

So the designers lug their three recyling boxes full of crap - there's no way all that stuff is going to fit into the PR van - and they head back to New York. They now have $25 to spend at an art supply store to get whatever else they need to complete their outfit. Kayne's grabbing a neon green paint that worries me right off the bat, and he's getting way too many sable paintbrushes (heck, one of those can cost $10 - don't blow your budget on brushes unless that's going to be part of your outfit. Earrings maybe?) Jeffrey picks up bright yellow and electric blue paint - two colors you don't usually see together in an outfit unless it's on a varsity cheerleader. Tim's all psyched because he gets to talk over the store PA system! (I did that one summer during college that I worked at Wal-Mart, it's really fun!)

After returning to Parsons and unloading all their bins, the designers are shocked to find out that they only have ten hours to do their garments. Not ten hours today, and all of tomorrow, just ten hours, period. And Tim has already wasted fifteen minutes of it, talking to them. Move on, Tim, let them get started already!

Everyone buckles down to work. Uli's cutting up the remains of a military weather balloon (or is it the Roswell UFO??). Laura has a large peanut bag that has the words "For peanuts only" and folds it so that it reads "for nuts only" - and then there is a sharp editing cut to Vincent (a little joke by the producers there, methinks). Alison has cut some multicolored strips of plastic and is using what looks like bright yellow tape to hook them together, and it looks pretty cool. (But I'm still worried about how much talking she's doing.) Angela, instead of making patchwork rosettes, is just making patchwork - big quilt squares out of paper. No idea where she's going with that.

Michael's got a big piece of clear plastic - is he going to make a see-through dress?? That would have been a great thing to do if he'd had immunity from last week! And they couldn't have done anything about it! That would have been great!! But he doesn't, so I'm curious as to where this is going to go. Vincent lets us know that he doesn't own the future, and we all breathe a huge sigh of relief, because I can see a "Vincent future" and I'm scared. So is Laura, apparently, because she gets a big soliloquy on how 'whack' he is. Then they both make some stupid faces.

Time for dinner! Kayne and Robert enjoy some anonymous dishes in big aluminum covered warming pans. (I'm hoping it's foil and not some of the Mylar the designers brought back with them.)

Robert claims that he only has "two seconds to eat" but then he settles himself in a chair and giggles "Let's trash-talk someone." So they pick Laura. Robert comments that her dress looks like a straightjacket so she must be "sewin' for herself again." Then he advises Kayne to wash his face where Laura pecked him on the cheek earlier, so he doesn't get a rash, gulps down his mystery meat and takes off for the workroom again. So much for those two seconds. Check out Jeffrey's trash-talk about Laura: "F***". THAT'S how you trash-talk when you have two seconds for dinner, Robert.

As we come back from commercial, we get a pan shot of the entire workroom, which looks like a preschool classroom's art center at the end of the day - scraps of stuff everywhere!! The Parsons janitors will not like that. Robert shares with us how he sorts his own recyclables at home: plastic, paper, ex-boyfriends... what? (I've had some of those and trust me, they're not good for anything else useful.) Alison's paper strips look really cool! But apparently it was not that easy to sew it, and her skirt is looking kind of lampshade-shaped, so she pulls a Michael and starts redesigning her outfit - that's either a good sign or the kiss of death. She's got some pretty pastel turquoise and cream butcher paper, so it might not be too bad.

Kayne has made what appears to be a pageant gown for Barney's little sister Baby Bop - it's all green and purple glitter with a big flower painted on it, and then he's gluing the bottle tops (with the insides painted green) all over it. I don't know WHERE his head is at. Maybe that kiss from Laura didn't give him a rash, it gave him brain fever! Somebody get him some antibiotics before he gets auf'd by this dress. The other designers are snickering at him, or just standing around looking at it thinking "I am so glad that's not MY dress." I'd like to have the big flower in a frame in my dining room, it's pretty! But not on that dress. Kayne keeps saying he hopes he doesn't get kicked off. (Me too.)

Jeffrey, meanwhile, is loving the entire challenge. His dress is made entirely out of newspaper. He'd really like to win - and part of me hopes he does so we wont' have to listen to him WHINE anymore! Michael finally gets to tack his name onto his Pam Grier outfit on the Wall of Fame. Everyone claps. (Well, everyone except bitter, bitter Jeffrey.) He shares with us another Heartwarming Michael Moment (tm), showing us a folded piece of paper he's kept in his wallet since he auditioned for last season, that says he will make it and win this season. He's moving in the right direction so far.

Cue the Vincent music! He's made a big white toothpaste tube and is now gluing random pieces of scrap paper all over it - he's also got what looks like grafitti that says "hell and back" on it. It's beyond words. I don't know what else to say about it. I'll wait and see what Tim says. I'm sure he'll have a LOT to say about this dress.

I think Tim heard me, because in he walks. He starts his tour of the workroom with Uli. Hers is very pretty! It's made out of white paper and mylar braided together and looks a bit like a Jiffy Pop popcorn container. Tim also likes Jeffrey's newspaper dress, which he is now painting in his blue and yellow cheerleader colors. Tim then moves on to Vincent, and asks the question every viewer has been asking themselves: "What is it?" To which Vincent replies "I don't know!" (Neither do we, Vincent. Neither do we.) Michael has woven a very nice bustier out of gold mylar. It reminds me of those gold foil-covered coins you get at holidays. But at least the see-through plastic wasn't the shirt! Now it appears to be some kind of shrug. He completes his look with a white canvas skirt with nothing on it. Tim suggests putting... something... on it, and coins a new Timphrase: "Make me believe." (Don't know what that means, but it came from Tim so it must be deep and meaningful.)

Then Tim wanders over to Alison's table and we see her new dress. It is the color of butter (what happened to the turquoise paper she had earlier?) and a little chunky-looking. Tim says the same thing about her model, Alexandra, (which is kind of rude, Tim!). They giggle over that. But he out-and-out laughs over poor Kayne's. It's crafty and amateur and the bottlecaps are horrid. "It's a high school prom backdrop," says Tim. And Kayne, with an HOUR left in the night, trashes his skirt. BFF Robert is "concerned" - but you know that inside he's screaming and gnashing his teeth and renting his clothing. So Kayne abandons all thoughts of winning and just concentrates on staying out of Nina's way, because she will eat him alive if he doesn't come up with a better skirt. He only has Mylar left so he makes a 'fairy skirt' that actually looks kind of cute... on him. His only chance to win is if the judges all "smoke crack before the runway show." (It could happen - they've made decisions before that had to have been the result of that.)

After four hours of sleep, everyone stumbles out of the Atlas and tromps over to Parsons for the runway show. Tim, obviously well-rested, comes in all cheery and everyone wants to slap him. He gives them the usual two-hour countdown. Right away, the biggest hazard of working with recycled materials becomes apparent, as a large number of the designers can't get their garments on their models without ripping. The models make all sorts of annoyed faces. (Cool T-shirt alert: Robert's says "You look hotter online." I WANT ONE!)

Kayne, after being worried that his dress sucks, asks the makeup guy for a crazy not-gorgeous look. Maybe he's just giving up and has decided to send the most God-awful ugly thing down the runway he can, and hope that the judges are struck blind and can't really get a good look at it. Alison appears to be going the same way, when she asks the hairstylist to give her model a big bow made out of hair. We get to witness a lighthearted exchange between Laura and Kayne, and the affection is flying thick and fast.

  • Laura: "I just worry about your choices so often, sweetheart."
  • Kayne: "I worry about your character and that's worse, so..."

(Let's just stick to Kayne and Robert exchanges. The ones with Laura aren't nearly as funny.) Angela is gluing her model into the dress, while Alison uses tape to give her model a waist. Vincent actually told the stylist to give his model cornrows, which only look good on Kevin Federline, so shame on you Vincent!
Heidi comes out onto the runway looking like Olivia Newton-John at the end of Grease when she gets all sexied-out with big hair. Some celebrity stylist gal joins the judging panel. I Googled her, and found out she's responsible for the big black-rimmed eyes Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sported last year (which I HATED!!), so I have no respect for her as a stylist or as a judge. Michael K. says "Hey" to the designers, and they cut to a shot of Laura and horror! I can see her boob. Ack. Her taste level is just not there!!

But on to the clothes! Uli is first, with her cute Mylar-and-paper popcorn skirt. It's okay. Lindsay is a bit slouchy when she walks, though. Next up is Angela, who completely misunderstood the challenge and made the outfit that Bradley SHOULD have made for Cher last week. Next came Nazri wearing Michael's gold bustier-white skirt (with nothing on it - Tim was probably sitting in back holding his head in his hands) and tarp shrug. Eh. Not horrid but nothing spectacular. (I'm worried about Nazri though - she's got big dark rings under her eyes! Hope she's not coming down with something.) Vincent's model can't even walk in his dress, it is so long and stiff. And I think she's wearing her black bra underneath it, which is good because otherwise she'd be popping out all over. (Vincent says he's doing some popping of his own but I just don't want to think about that. *shudder* I hope he doesn't let his eight-year-old daughter stay up and watch these shows and hear him talking like that!)

Robert!!!! He has designed an amazingly beautiful dress, completely made of mylar. And while his outfit is tinfoil-shiny like Bradley's top from last week, where Bradley's was a dried-up baked potato that had been on the buffet for 6 hours, Robert's is a delicate pomme de terre fresh from the steamer, unadorned except for a pinch of salt and a wee bit of fresh butter to bring out the flavor. Danielle is really working it because she KNOWS she looks awesome. I think this is the best I've seen so far and I really really hope he wins.

Jeffrey's blue and yellow cheerleader-pleat dress doesn't look as bad as I thought it would, although I hate his model's chopped hair. The newspaper moves like fabric, he painted on a fake belt which is kind of cute, and the actual shape is quite nice. Just wish he'd picked a different color combination. I predict top three for Jeffrey. Laura's dress looks like a photonegative of the one she herself is wearing. I'm so bored by her designs, they all look the same. Alison's dress, despite her attempt to give it a waist by using masking tape, just looks clunky. And it's the same color as her model's hair, so it is kind of bland. And poor Kayne. The only thing that can save his green-and-silver discotheque-wood-nymph monstrosity is if the judges hate someone else's more. It's just awful any way you look at it, and Kayne thinks so too.

Heidi calls designers out, and I honestly can't figure out if it's the top/bottom group, or the safe group. Robert didn't get called, and I think his is clearly a front-runner, so I am expecting Heidi to send the called designers backstage. But she doesn't! No WAY did Robert just make a 'safe' dress. His was gorgeous, sister! I'm mad now. Anyway, he goes backstage, and the top three must be Jeffrey, Laura and probably Michael, leaving Kayne, Alison and Vincent in the bottom.

And the winner is: Michael! Our first two-in-a-row winner this season! And while Michael's outfit was okay on television (maybe it looked more WOW in person) I really really really thought Robert's was prettier.

Laura, Jeffrey, and Kayne get sent offstage (Kayne is soooooo lucky and he knows it!!) which leaves Vincent and Alison (shock!) in the bottom two. They do the usual long drawn-out auf'ing sequence complete with suspenseful new age music, but after an hour of waiting, we find that mercifully, Vincent is OUT.

Well, in the real world, that's the way it was supposed to turn out. Four shows ago. But you remember that kooky hat Vincent made in the first challenge? It was actually a time-travel device, and Vincent used it to go back in time and upset the time-space continuum (much like Biff in the second Back to the Future movie, where they get skewed off into an alternate reality and Michael J. Fox's mom ends up an alcoholic floozy with bad breast implants). He fixed it so that he doesn't win, because that would alert everyone to his nefarious deed, but he's never out. This is how we lost Malan, Katherine, Bradley, and now...

Alison. Yes, sweet, perky, happy Alison gets Heidi's auf wiedersehen this week. The designers are justifably shocked, but Laura is pissed and lets Vincent have it. I just can't believe Alison is out. Her dress was not NEARLY as bad as Vincent's. At least she spent some time on it - all that accordion pleating! And yes, it looked like a big stick of margarine on her waist-impaired model, but Vincent's looked like a huge chunk of dried-up bleu cheese.

Good luck back in the real world, Alison. Look at it this way - at least you won't have to worry about running out of anti-stress lotion anytime soon.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Everything Old is New Again

It's the day after Angela's win and Bonnie's departure, and we are subjected to yet another early-morning "I'm not winning" whining jag courtesy of Jeffrey. (You don't get this much whine from a room full of two-year-olds when the TV's on the fritz and it's time for Barney. And yet we are supposed to believe that he spent eight hours getting his neck tattooed? I can just imagine how THAT session went.)

Michael wants to win also, but somehow he is able to convey this to the audience without whining. (I think Jeffrey needs to move in with Michael and take some lessons.) Robert, on the other hand, is feeling humbled. You can tell it's eating him up inside that anyone thinks his designs are boring. As we see them leaving their apartment I see that somebody has spilled grape juice across the back of Robert's shirt. Not down his shirt, but across the shoulders. It has to be grape juice, right? Because who in their right mind would wear a shirt with a weird purple discoloration across the back, on purpose? Maybe it's a fashion thing I just don't get.

I am shaken from my concern over Robert's laundry by Heidi's appearance on the runway. She is wearing the top of a flagpole as a belt buckle. It's huge! I hope she doesn't have to sit down, or she may not be able to carry any more children. While all the designers are trying to avoid looking at her abdominal region, she uses this distraction to surprise them with an unexpected new twist to the model selection - this week, the model will get to choose which designer she wants to work with! Brilliant! The models are shocked and giddy - the designers are mostly shocked and giddy - and then there's Vincent, who must have been munching on a large, sour pickle at that moment. The only bad part about it is that this week two of the models will have to go.

Heidi starts picking buttons from The Velvet Bag. Alexandra picks first, and she chooses Alison, who actually THANKS her. (That lady is class all the way. I love her.) Anyway, the models pick, we get to hear them actually talk a bit, and some of the designers look kind of pouty that the model they usually pick doesn't want to work with them. Ha! Taste of their own "it was lovely to work with you but I want to shake things up a bit" medicine. Finally it's down to Jia, Javi, Katie and Katia (what happened to her hair?? Did she get attacked by a mutant Flowbee?) on the models' team, and Vincent and Bradley for the designers' team. Jia's name comes out of the bag, and you can tell she's trying to decide between the lesser of two evils. She stays with Vincent, who says, "That's my girl!" and really creeps me out. The last name picked is fresh-faced Katie, and she's stuck with furry-faced Bradley (who is last AGAIN). This means that Javi and Katia are out.

I hope you'll forgive me, but I have to rant a minute. Heidi is a big liar. This is NOT a competition for the models. A competition would mean they are being judged on their abilities. There might be a little of that when a designer picks a certain model, but most of this is just luck. Now if they start letting the designers or judges rate the models on how they walk and pick who's out that way, THEN it will be a competition. Two very good walkers are out this week by mere bad luck, leaving some decidedly weird walkers in the model pool, and that totally invalidates this as a 'competition for the models' in any sense. Thank you.

That being said, this week's model selection process was really interesting. Bravo, Bravo. But there is yet another surprise on the horizon! Heidi tells the group that the challenge this week is to modernize the look of a fashion icon, AND the models are going to get to pick the icon for their designers. Designers are freaking out over their rapidly dwindling control of the entire process. Models are freaking out because they're getting something to do other than walk and get poked by needles. It's a mutha-f*in freak-out!

Tim meets the models in the workroom, and shows them pictures of the icons they will be choosing. The tension is mounting as the girls decide which ones they want to try for, and we see a shot of someone's hands twitching, like she's getting ready for the big shootout at the OK Corral. What happens next is a gem of reality TV - Tim yells "GO!" and the models literally hurl themselves at the pictures, pushing, shoving, flinging undesired icons and less-assertive models by the wayside. "Wow!" is all the usually eloquent Tim Gunn has to say about that as he edges closer and closer to the emergency exit, just in case they come after him next.

When the dust clears, the models all have a picture. Tim sends in the designers (this show is all about the twist this week, baby!) Nazri picked her twin sister, Pam Grier, who is perfect for her designer Michael. Angela ends up with Audrey Hepburn (who must have rolled over in her grave just now to avoid the rosettes) and she starts doing aerobics in the workroom, she is so excited. Robert's model picked Jacqueline Onassis. Jeffrey will be designing for Madonna, and this is a sign to him that the Whining Gods want him to win so they can go back to working with toddlers. Other matchups: Kayne/Marilyn Monroe; Uli/Diana Ross; Laura/Katherine Hepburn; Alison/Farrah Fawcett; Vincent/Twiggy.

But poor Katie. Not only did she get the designer nobody else wanted, she got the icon nobody else wanted - Cher. And Bradley proclaims to know nothing about Cher. I'm.. I... I can't think of anything funny to say about that. It's just... who doesn't know CHER? (Poor, poor Katie. I like her a lot and I hope she isn't out this week.) Overall, I think the models made very shrewd decisions, and in most cases the icon matched up well to the style and personality of each designer.

I'm thrilled by the trip to Mood. Yay! I see color!!!!! Lots of glorious color. $150 worth of color! (Designers, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, and thank Glinda for that!) Michael picks a hot fushia that is going to look awesome on Nazri. He is also getting MAJOR screentime this episode, which in Bravo's predictable way either means he's the winner or he's out. I'm worried about Robert though, who makes the comment "If I'm boring then I probably should just go home." Come on, Robert! You're a friggin' BARBIE DESIGNER! Look at that fabulous aqua fabric you're picking out! It's not boring! Argh. He really needs a swift kick in the butt.

Back at Parsons, Kayne is soooo excited. He starts babbling about Marilyn and Gwen Stefani having a love child. We also get to see the beginnings of his bodice, and it is LEATHER. On Marilyn Monroe. I'm concerned, but I'll reserve judgement until I see more of the garment. Let's check in on Vincent, who is cutting armholes, and he lets us in on his design process: he just imagines someone else designing the garment. Well, that explains it! Last time he had a design business, things didn't turn out so well, so he developed multiple personalties to deal with the trauma. One of them got his fashion designing talent. (His name is Vincennes.) He just lets that personality take over when he needs to design an outfit. Then one of the other ones deals with other designers' issues (his name is Vince and he's from Brooklyn - "I need ya to move three feet away from me or you're gonna find yourself takin' a long walk off a short pier if ya get my drift"), and then the original Vincent comes back for the runway show (which is why he can never quite seem to explain his outfits).

There's trouble afoot in the sewing room. It seems that Angela messed up her sewing machine, so she moves over to Bradley's and messes it up too. That pisses Bradley off, so he now has to use Alison's machine, which means Alison can't use hers. Jeffrey, who is apparently the only one who knows how to use the machines correctly, comes in and starts yelling at Angela that if she breaks the machine, she needs to fix it. She tells him to shut up. (That's her snappy comeback.) Jeffrey states that he's entitled not to like Angela, which awakens the "don't make me come back there" instinct in Laura, and she gives Jeffrey some major lip. (So much for her "fashion spa". This must make her feel like she's right back at home with her bat-weilding boys). Jeffrey starts quacking: quack quack quack quack (surely he's about done) quack quack quack quack (enough already!!!) quack quack QUACK. That's supposed to be Laura I guess. Then he storms out of the workroom saying "I wish that fuckin' bitch would have a stroke!" Not sure which fuckin' bitch he's referring to, but either way that was just bad form, Jeffrey.

In the workroom Michael tries to be peacemaker, which is very cool. Jeffrey does have a point, though - if you break it, you should fix it. Michael says that he's not trying to be "Captain Save-A-Ho like we say in the 'hood", a comment made even more hiliarious by the fact that he's wearing a preppy polo shirt. The night ends back at Atlas, with Jeffrey hating on Laura and Kayne taking notes for the tell-all he's going to write after this is all over.

Day Two! You know this is going to be a faaaa-bulous day by the way Kayne removes his sunglasses with a dramatic flourish and then uses his sheer black fabric for a wig and does a Cher imitation. Angela, to my alarm, appears to be making the exact same dress Audrey's wearing in the photo - shades of Marla Duran, perhaps? I hope not. We finally get to see what Alison's been up to. She has a brownish-looking fabric for her bodice and an icy blue for the skirt - brown and blue are very 70's so I'm sure she's right on track. Vincent and Jeffrey are having a field day over what they're seeing at Bradley's work table (Jeffrey coins the sure-to-be-annoyingly-popular catchphrase "supercalafrajalisticexpiala-crazy"). But that doesn't concern me as much as Jeffrey himself - what the hell is he making? I see red leather, I see black something-or-other, I see rings... is it armor?? Do they sell Kevlar at Mood? But let's get back to Bradley. It appears that he's making a foil-wrapped baked potato. He looks so lost. I'm afraid to say it, but I think Bradley's making something awful on purpose so he can go home.

The models come back in for some fittings and to give the designers some input on the designs so far. Bradley's got an issue with his pants (I think this is getting to be a trend with him.) Katie says they're "cameltoe pants". (Hold on, I have to go look this up. *flipflipflip*) Oh! Ewwww! Fix them right now, Bradley Baumkirchner - you don't want Nina Garcia to see THAT! Moving on to Kayne's table, his model Amanda is talkingtalkingtalkingtalking. She will not shut up. Kayne's all like " don't say" as she tells him every teeny tiny detail of her evening out the night before. Then she follows him into the workroom and plants herself on a sewing machine stand and continues talking. Kayne makes a comment to the effect of "You should be pretty and seen and not open your mouth." I think, "That's so rude!" but by the end of the segment I am totally in agreement. Then BFF Robert comes to the rescue and shuts her down.

Tim brings in Nathaniel Hawkins from TreSemme. He's going to tell them how to do their hair. He also has yet another surprise (I don't think my heart can take it!) - he announces that the winning look will be turned into a TreSemme ad for Elle. Everyone flips out because this is huge huge HUGE! Even au naturale Bradley thinks it's cool, because he used their gel today and his hair actually did look curlier. So they all get a turn to talk with Nathaniel about their model's hair. Vincent of course is channelling Vincennes who knows ALL ABOUT styling and doesn't need some namby-pamby corporate stiff telling him how to do HIS job. Michael and Nathaniel discuss giving Nazri more of a 'fro than she already has - is that possible? Will she be able to hold her head up? Kayne is all 3LI (love it love it love it) over his styling. Robert scares the piss out of his model by saying he wants her hair cut short. Of course he is teasing. I think.

Meanwhile Tim is going around the workroom again, and we get to see some of the other garments. Laura's making a Laura outfit and that's all the mention it deserves. Robert's worst fear is realized when Tim feels his garment is incredibly plain and -duh duh DUM! - boring. Michael has switched the bottom of his outfit and is now making hot pants. Tim hates hot pants! You can tell Tim would like to burn all the hot pants in the world. But being the fashion guru that he is, he knows that they're in and that Michael is dead-on in his decision to use them for Pam. Bradley has apparently confused Cher with Judy Garland, as Tim compares his top to the Tin Woodsman. And Angela is making rosettes. 'Nuff said.

We come back from commercial, and it's Runway Day. Michael has a bit of a dilemma, as he still has no bottom to his outfit. But it's okay because he's Mr. Immaculate Construction and will pull it out with time to spare. The designers head over to Parsons, where it's time to style their models and get ready for the runway show. Jeffrey chooses big glunky boots to go along with his armor-dress, and yet doesn't want her makeup to be hooker-like. Robert is sewing Danielle/JackieO into a black lacy baby doll nightie.

Kayne is worried about something on his bodice. Amanda (his chitchatty model) says it looks sloppy and Kayne gives her a look that says "GIRL! What did you just say? Ain't NOTHIN' sloppy about MY dress." He quickly tries to figure out how to make a strip of duct tape look like it's part of the outfit so he can put it on Amanda's mouth. (Maybe some rhinestones.) Michael's shorts are HOT which is good, because they're hot pants.

On to the runway. Oh. My. God. What is Heidi wearing??? My first thought is that she's stolen the Luke Skywalker costume from the original Star Wars movie and chopped the bottom off of it. But then we are treated to a back shot and now she's an Oktoberfest waitress! No! Wait! I see what it is. Heidi's gotten tired of just judging and has attempted to do the challenge herself, modernizing the Swiss Miss Cocoa girl! But joy - Michael Kors is back! And not quite as orange as usual. And there's Diane Von Furstenberg! This is an awesome judging panel. (Oh, yeah. Nina's there too, yada yada yada.)

Here come the models. Alison's Farrah outfit looks like lingere. I guess it's okay. It's mostly the hair that says Farrah, but that's really what she was known for anyway, so Alison could have sent her model down the runway in a muumuu. I'm getting hungry looking at Bradley's baked potato shirt. Like the Farrah look, the only thing Cher about this outfit is Katie's hair. Surprise! Angela's dress has rosettes on it, but it is totally an Audrey Hepburn style. I like the texture also. (I have now decided that it's not the rosettes that were the problem with her previous outfits. It's the fact that she made them out of funky ugly fabric.)

Kayne's model, for all her mouth-diarrhea, is a stunning, red-headed Marilyn Monroe. She has the whole attitude down pat. It looks like she's naked underneath her dress - something I think Marilyn would have done. The dress is very, very tight on her very tiny butt - it looks like two hamburger buns stuffed in there. Laura has made a pair of brown plaid pants with a waist up to her model's nipples. I could see Katharine Hepburn wearing that, I guess, and it's a Laura look - eh, it's boring.

Vincent. Vincent, Vincent, Vincent. Where to begin? I know that Twiggy in the sixties modeled a lot of plaid and mod looks, but I got three different impressions from this. One, Jia looks like a teenaged Raggedy Ann doll on acid. Two, Dr. Evil has taken up residence on the Island of Lost Toys and this is his newest FemBot. Three, she's an extra from A Clockwork Orange. This one will be in the bottom.

Michael's Pam Grier looks incredible. I can imagine her wearing that and kicking some badguy ass. He is my pick for the win. But Robert! What happened? Where is that gorgeous aqua fabric you picked out at Mood? This looks like Jackie O's hillbilly cousin. A rope belt? Was that actually on the Macy's accessory wall, or did you go down to the lounge and borrow one of the curtain tiebacks? The giant sunglasses and the flipped-out hair helped a bit, but man oh man. Robert's grabbing at roots on the slippery slope to boredom. If he put this outfit on a Barbie, nobody would buy it. Not even if it was marked down to a quarter at the thrift store. Ouch is right, Robert. Pull it together, man!!!

Uli's color is beautiful. I could see Diana Ross wearing that. For a bit of sparkle, Uli added some nice jewels up the middle of the butt. BUT... it's a halter dress. Just like every other outfit she's designed. Color and pattern, while nice, can only take you so far. She needs to try something with sleeves next time. I know she can make sleeves - she did a jacket for the dog challenge. Jeffrey's outfit was the only one that made me go "What the HELL?" as it came down the runway - but I could totally see the Madonna of the 80's wearing that. (I said that a lot about her back then too.)

The top and bottom scoring designers are: Angela, Kayne, Michael, Robert, Vincent, and Bradley. For all his whining, Jeffrey is happy to not be left on the runway. (I notice that Vincent has what appears to be pattern-marking chalk dust all over his clothing - do they not get to do laundry? First Robert and now Vincent. I'm concerned!) The judges love Kayne's mixture of leather, stretch and crystals. Marilyn would be goth-faaaabulous in that dress. Vincent offends Diane by talking about Twiggy like she's dead. All the judges think Michael's outfit is pure genius. Nobody likes Bradley's. Heidi comapres it to a cheap Halloween costume you can buy at the mall. Angela's monochromatic rosettes (oh, sorry, she calls them fleurchons. How silly of me!) are a big hit, and Heidi wants a dress like it in every color. (But not every color at the same time. That would be a totally different type of Angela outfit.) Robert's outfit is just plain -dare I say it again? - boring. And old. I guess all that working wtih Barbie, which is for little girls, has caused him to swing the entire opposite direction into designing clothing for old ladies.

And the winner is: Michael! Of course. Because he got the most screen time. And he made a bangin' outfit! He does a touchdown dance on the runway. He is happy to have won, but he doesn't have a big head about it. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Heidi gives Robert an ultimatum: they believe in his talent, but he has to wake them up if he wants to stay. Bradley, predictably, is out. And he's not upset! That confirms my earlier suspicion that he did it on purpose. He gives us one last cute quote: "There is serious fashion going on and I made a tinkertoy." Then he makes a nice divebomber sound effect, and he is gone. Good luck, Bradley! I'll miss your happy-go-lucky attitude and freaky comments. Don't ever shave.

Now, about the TreSemme photo shoot. I saw Chloe's grand-prize spread in Elle this month, and it really wasn't much bigger than the TreSemme ad probably will be. So, didn't they kind of just give the 'grand prize' to Michael? And wow - Nazri and Michael look good together! They should have babies as soon as possible.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Three Easy Pieces

or "The Tim Commandments"

This week's episode opens with Uli and Bonnie waking up to a Katherine-free apartment. They discuss the possibility that they might have to move, but don't want to live with Angela - which means one of them is going to end up living with her. Angela, meanwhile, knows she has to prove herself after the streetwalker fiasco of last episode. (And her outfit of choice for the day? I'll give you three guesses, and all of them had better be "bubble skirt". When Angela's grandmother entrusted her with the family heirloom quilt that HER grandmother made out of fabric that she wove herself out of prairie grasses while riding in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail, she probably didn't intend for Angela to turn it into a bubble skirt.) Alas, poor Jeffrey. He hasn't won a challenge yet, so that means nobody understands him. There have only been four challenges so far, Jeffrey; you've got lots of time for people to continue not understanding you. So buck up, little camper!

At Parson's, Heidi comes bouncing out onto the runway with another "Yoo hoo!" (Did she do that last season and I just didn't notice? I hope this is not an every-episode thing.) And she's wearing a much better outfit than last week's 80's disaster. I'm thinking that Heidi needs to be pregnant for every season, because her maternity clothes were much better than the stuff she's been wearing. (Call Kara Saun, Heidi, fast!) She tells the designers that their challenge this week is to design an outfit for Macy's line, INC. During a back-shot of the designers, I notice that A)Robert and Kayne have THE BEST posture, and B)the back of Robert's shirt appears to say "Potty Yacht". Heidi's got the infamous Velvet Bag and that can only mean one thing: we're going to have some model-switching. Kayne and Robert share a precious "here we go again" look. Less than half the designers stay with their original models. Uli pulls a Zulema by taking Nazri away from Keith, which I think was very strategic, but somehow not in the least bit evil (come on, I bet she catches spiders and puts them outside instead of squashing them). Toni of the teased-to-heaven poodle hairdo is out.

In the workroom, Tim introduces the designers to Mehmet Tangoren, a VP at Macy's, who explains the particulars of the challenge - they are to design a three-piece look for INC's fall line. Mehmet explains that the "INC Woman" is fashion-forward, likes to wear all the hot new looks - or as Heidi would say, "Hot, hip and happening" - and ageless (that sounds great, although I really wouldn't want to see my grandma in a sparkly tank top and low-rise jeans). Now I admit that I haven't been to Macy's for a while. When I was a kid it was all for old ladies! I start feeling sorry for old ladies - where are they going to shop now? (Oh, wait, they can go to Sears.) So the designers are all buzzing about this new exciting challenge when Tim rains on their parade - they must work in teams of three. Robert and Kayne are like "YES! We gotta be together", link arms and do their secret handshake, because they are soooo BFF and woe to anyone who even considers splitting up the Wonder Twins.

The designers will have to sketch and pitch their ideas to Mehmet who will pick four team leaders. So they hustle back to their respective tables to get started. Robert upends a giant bag of markers onto the table. I can't believe how many markers he's got. (Remember that scene in The Breakfast Club where it's lunchtime, and Emilio Estevez keeps pulling food out of his bag and all the other kids stop and stare at him 'cause they can't believe how much food he's got? It's like that.) Angela says again that she doesn't sketch as a usual part of her process, but yet she does one. That proves that she just REALLY didn't want to be a team leader for the pageant challenge (she was probably protesting how much electricity the Miss Universe show was going to be using).

Now we see the designers giving their presentations. Laura's inspiration is "the holy grail of shopping" - the perfect pair of black pants! Good job pushing your boundaries, Laura. Kayne pulls the "I'm from the south" card, like it isn't apparent as soon as he opens his mouth, and then makes it sound like Southerners are the only people in the country who love color. Keith makes a LOT of eye contact with Mehmet - even when he's pitching to guys, he makes me feel creepy. I kept waiting for him to make some comment about the guy's legs. I hate Vincent's sketches. (Nick Verreos made the comment in his blog that some of the designers need to take fashion sketching classes - he's looking at YOU, Vincent!) He also makes a statement that "gray will take the place of brown" - the Macy's guy looks at him like he's nuts, which of course he is. Angela's inspiration was a sunrise over the Empire State building. Way to work the New Yorker sense of civic pride, Angela!

Mehmet picks his team leaders: Robert, for his outstanding sketches (it's the markers, I tell you!); Bonnie, because he feels she understands the customer; Keith, for his colors and presentation; and lastly Angela - everyone's like OH SHIT!! Oh no he didn't! - because he loves her inspiration. They cut to a shot of her sketch.

She apparently is designing an outfit for the same lady that Jeffrey did in the first challenge - the mom from The Incredibles. (But seriously - get this lady a good croquis.) Tim chooses buttons from the Velvet Bag. Angela goes first. Everyone is praying that she doesn't pick them. But someone HAS to be on her team, and she very shrewdly picks Mr. Immaculate Construction, Michael. He's obviously thrilled. You can tell by the way he says, "Aww DAAAA-yum!" and rolls his eyes comically. She also picks Laura, because she and Michael are apparently joined at the hip now. Robert picks Kayne (Wonder Twin Powers, activate!) and Vincent (maybe Robert is planning to work a kooky hat into his design, in which case Vincent is the obvious choice for a teammate). Keith picks Alison. She thinks it's because he doesn't know about construction, but we know it's because he hasn't hit on her yet. He also picks Jeffrey because he will be no competition for Alison's affections. Keith says that he picks these two because he won't have to hold their hands. (Well, he won't hold Jeffrey's, just Alison's. Her hands are very important to him.) Bonnie picks Uli, because they worked so well together on the Miss USA challenge. Poor Bradley. He is the last designer standing. He feels terrible, like he is the last kid to get picked at kickball. (Hey! That's the exact same thing I said about him and Angela two challenges ago. That's so weird. Get out of my head, Bradley!) So Bonnie acts happy like she was going to pick him all along.

The best part of the challenge is that the winning outfit will be mass-produced and sold at Macy's. Robert says it would be great to have his clothes at Macy's because he can get his designs to a wider audience. (Um, Robert? Your designs are on Barbies. I think Barbie might be a teeny bit wider of an audience than Macy's.) The worst part of the challenge is that their budget is $100. What? Only $100 for a three-piece outfit? Are they kidding?? Most of the designers seem to be sharing that sentiment. Tim tells the teams to go back to their corners and come out fighting! Or go to their corners and start fighting. Whichever works best for them. Bonnie's trio does a cute little "Go team!" like they're playing peewee football. Robert starts to share his vision with his teammates. Vincent's standing there shaking his head at everything, but comments in the voiceover that "he's team leader" (much like he said to Angela about himself, so at least he follows his own rules). Laura urges Angela to bring her own color palette into the jacket. (Careful what you ask for, Laura!) And Keith starts delegating work, giving everyone what they're best at. The pants go to Jeffrey and the top (which is supposed to be some funky turtleneck-with-a-tanktop-that-can-turn-into-a-skirt) goes to Alison. Those are the two hardest parts of the outfit, according to Jeffrey. What's Keith gonna do, the necklace?

Here's a fun game courtesy of Laura: say "full-tilt boogie Angela quilted extravaganza of puff" three times fast.

Back at the ranch, Bonnie is nagging Bradley about the pants. He thinks she's prejudiced against his facial hair and muses that if he gets rid of most of it, she might lighten up. I have to say that I find Bradley's random comments quite refreshing in a show that can sometimes get very repetitive (Heidi Klum, I'm looking at you!) He makes another one later about being a "squid without an ocean, an eagle without a sky..." Don't we all feel like that sometimes? At the next table back, Keith is trying to use reverse psychology on Alison to get her to do his work for him. "Oh, you're busy, don't worry about coming over here, I can do it. Boo hoo hoo!" Alison says he's never done womenswear before. Honey, he's made three dresses so far! And a SASH. Let's not forget the sash. He worked a LONG time on that. Jeffrey is wishing he had ended up with Angela after all. He sees how Keith is so successful - he just makes very basic garments. Although I have to say - it's hard to make even a basic garment while you're lying on the table, eye-level with the midsection of a dress form and thinking... I don't want to know what he's thinking... while your teammates are doing all the work.

But it's finally time to retire to Atlas for the evening, and everyone gets ready for bed. (This is the moment we've been waiting all season for!) Kayne's got something on his mind, and starts murmuring to Vincent that... Keith has pattern making books!!!!!!! (TreSemme Time Out: I like Kayne's hair down and not spiky.) Kayne also goes to talk to Robert and Michael, who both say daa-yum, they wish they'd thought of that. No, they agree that they need to tell the producers because, as Robert says, they were to have no books or extra supplies so they'd all be on an even playing field. (But what about your gazillion markers, Robert? How fair is THAT? But I'll forgive you, because you are so incredibly buff.)

The producers decide that Tim, in addition to being mentor and all-around good guy, should get some experience being the bad guy, and send him off to Atlas. He's carrying what looks like some books, but this blog has received an exclusive picture of what he's REALLY carrying:

Turns out that in addition to the contraband fashion books, Keith also left the production AND used the internet!! Ack. Tim tells him to leave. Keith says didn't expect to be kicked off the show, that his image is tarnished forever, and he'll be a laughingstock to his friends, but really, what did he expect? He also says he never used the book but I don't believe that either. He leaves. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Keith.

Next day at Parsons Tim gathers the designers to tell them what's happened. The girls are shocked - well, all except Laura, who knew he was an asshole all along and is trying not to be smug about it. Alison looks ready to cry in the workroom, and later we see her as she's crying by the window. (Could she actually be crying for Keith? This girl is angelic.) That leaves her and Jeffrey to "make it work" on their own. I don't see that as a problem, considering the fact that Keith hadn't actually been doing much work the day before. What's different today?

All is not well in Wonder Twins Plus Vincent Land. Vincent's not fully on board with Robert's design, to which Robert replies that he's entitled to his wrong opinion. He also comments that Kayne has the taste of a love-starved heyena. (I guess that's supposed to mean that he will like anything? This is not up to your usual snarky standards, Robert. Must be the pressure of being team leader.) Vincent's advice: "let it flow - let it go." Oh, so that's what's wrong with Vincent.

Cue the cutesy music: Angela is making rosettes. Michael and Laura agonize over this in the sewing room. Laura laments that they can't stop her from hanging herself. (Just make sure she's using a quilted puffy rope with rosettes, Laura. And add a little fur for yourself. Thatta girl.) Angela, predictably, wants to put rosettes all over the pants. In the end, Michael and Laura talk her down to several tasteful, small rosettes in the same fabric as the pants and jacket, and I am shocked that I actually think they look nice!

Tim makes his appearance. Robert's outfit seems matronly to him, and he says "It will be a matter of taste in the judging" which is the kiss of death from Tim Gunn. He's more pleased with Angela's team - the rosettes work for him! Uh oh. Bonnie's pants are having an issue in the back - like her dress form is wearing a diaper that desperately needs changing. Uli says that it's not Bradley's fault (he made them), but Bonnie's fault for wanting them to be so wide. This is trouble. There is a very limited segment of the population that would be attracted to pants that make one's butt look wide on PURPOSE, and I somehow doubt they shop at Macy's.Tim wanders over to Alison and Jeffrey and is pleased to find that they are doing very well without their cheating leader. And so, Day Two is over. Back at the Atlas, there is rampant speculation on what Keith is doing right now. I think he's probably laughing his ass off that he got as far as he did without any of those dorks finding out. And Bonnie actually lets herself be shown on national TV wearing a cardboard thing on her head, and one of Angela's rosettes has attached itself to her sleeve like a fabric leech.

It's D-Day. Michael is rockin' this stylish, bright red "country/western meets R&B" vibe that I love. (Unfortunately, that's the last bit of color we see the rest of the show apart from Bonnie's equally bright red shirt.) Heidi comes out onto the runway wearing little girl shortalls - did she make that herself?!? I'm also extremely underwhelmed by the looks that come down the runway. Robert's model is wearing a jacket made out of a flour sack and a black skirt slit to her butt, but a nice top. (I have one like just like it, which means that it's not going to win.) And at least his model's hair is pretty, unlike Angela's (that's Michael's fault though). She's also wearing dumb sunglasses. (Back away from the sunglasses, people!) The garment is kind of drab-looking, and where's the Empire State building fabric? Bonnie's looks big and shlumpy like Mr. C from the Letter People (after she took the coat off). Alison and Jeffrey pulled it off! Although I don't understand the wifebeater worn at the waist. Overall, I didn't really like any of them. Why didn't they use COLOR? Blue! Red! Green! If being fashion-forward means you have to dress like you're going to a funeral, then I'll just keep going backward. Heidi's was the best outfit on the runway, and that's not saying much.

The judges keeps Angela's team and Alison and Jeffrey. The other two teams are lowest, and will come back later. This is a new twist! First up is Angela. The judges like the rosette detail on the back of the collar, and the propotions of the outfit, and the pink with gray. It turns out that they lined the jacket with the missing fabric (what's with putting the most interesting parts on the inside of the garment? She did that last week too). Alison and Jeffrey worked very well. Mehmet likes the pants - they're groovy, sexy, and stretchy, with nice buttons on ankles. The designers are surprised to find out that they won't know who wins until tomorrow morning, when the winning outfit will be put into the window in the Herald's Square Macy's store.

Now for the bummer part. Everybody hates Bonnie's - Nina can't stop going on about the cowl neck sweater and how 70's it is, the pants look cheap, they hate the fabric, and it's dowdy. They ask Bradley how he feels about the outfit and he very diplomatically says that it turned out really close to the sketch! As far as Robert's is concerned, they think it is for sophisticated classic customer, which apparently is not what they're looking for. The "sporty" jacket doesn't match the rest of the pieces - in fact, the whole outfit screams "Wednesday Adams goes to throw rock-filled snowballs at skiers." Vincent comments that Robert is team leader and was passionate about his design, so he was only too happy to help him. (In your FACE, Angela!) One by one, the teammates are sent off the runway until there is only Bonnie and Robert left. Robert is told his outfit is a total bore. Bonnie's is stale and not fashion-forward. Bonnie's out. I feel bad for her. Finally Bonnie comes to the runway looking put-together and pretty and she's out. (And Uli will have to move in with Angela.)

But who wins?? In the morning, the two remaining teams trek over to Macy's. Angela's team is victorious! She's so excited, but Jeffrey's like "Can we go now?"

Next week the designers will be modernizing a look for fashion icon. Thankfully, Michael Kors returns in all his dayglo orange glory, and the talented Diane von Furstenberg joins the judging panel. Since I doubt she is the icon they're going to be designing for, that means the icon might not be a real person - maybe Ronald McDonald? He's definately not what I'd consider "fashion-forward." I'd love to see what they'd do withTHAT.