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.