L'aventure parisienne, partie deux
Bonjour ! Bienvenue à l'examen de cette semaine de la "Passerelle de Projet".*
You might want to keep your English-French dictionary handy this week! In the spirit of international harmony and appreciation, I’ve decided to use some French in my recap. Whether it’s correct French is a different story, but I've included a handy vocabulary lesson at the end. Appréciez!
Cue the kicky French accordion music!
We’re still in Paris, and Angela has just left the workroom and is on her way back to New York (actually she gets to spend the night and flies coach back the next day, which was kind of nice of Bravo), much to the glee of last week’s winner, Jeffrey. He now has immunity, which means he can basically send la merde down the runway and not get kicked off. Which, knowing Jeffrey, might happen. Qui sait?
Guest judge Catherine Malandrino tells the designers that their next challenge will be to create a couture gown. I have no clue what that means. But thank goodness for Tim Gunn, who of course knows exactly what that means and explains it. Apparently it has something to do with tedious hand-sewing and embellishing which takes weeks to do for one dress, and only certain people are allowed to do it and they must be licensed by the French government, which (besides being very snotty) means there’s a very real possibility our designers may find themselves thrown into le prison at some point in the show. (Now THERE’S some drama. Let’s cross our fingers for that.) They will have two days and 300 euros to spend at the Parisian equivalent of Mood, and must present their gowns to Catherine at a party.
Knowing full well that all work and no play makes for dull television, Tim sends the designers to their hotel (where we get to see Jeffrey doing a brilliant imitation of a monkey eating).
Tim then whisks the designers off for a lovely walk through Paris and treats them to dinner at – surprise! – a French restaurant. Who knew they had actual French restaurants in Paris? I thought it was all American fast food nowadays. Anyway, they all toast each other, and Paris, and Kayne graciously adds Jeffrey to the toast for winning the last challenge, but they all drink anyway.
Le matin suivant the designers venture out into the streets of Paris to get inspiration. First they hop on the Metro and Jeffrey is mistaken for a musician by a passenger on the train, who was clearly hoping he was someone famous. It must be the tattoo. It couldn’t be because of the spandex pedal pushers he’s wearing. He clearly looks more like Audrey Hepburn. (See, there’s that Angela connection. Even when she’s gone he can’t avoid her.)
They finally end up at Sacre Coeur, which has marvelous views of the entire city, and much sketching is done - some of it inspired, some of it same-old same-old (I'm looking at you, Laura!). Vincent informs us that he was trained in couture so there’s no WAY he can lose this. I’m wondering if he’s got the word couture mixed up with something else, like ordeur.
Tim then takes them to the fabric store, gives them their 300 euros (which are much more attractive than American money, by the way) and one hour to shop. Laura wanders, lost and pregnant among le tissu. Vincent manages to weird out the cashier, who clearly cannot understand a word he’s saying but gives him a funny look anyway as she slightly backs away from him. Jeffrey picks out a bright yellow tartan that makes me think of something Ronald McDonald might wear when he’s visiting his homeland of Scotland to eat McHaggis. He shares with us his fondest wish – to win the challenge even though he has immunity. Apparently that’s never happened before.
Back at Parsons Paris, Tim informs them that they will be using French models, but will have to make the garment fit their New York models after they get home. This is met with wild enthusiasm in the form of slack jaws and vacant stares. He then says something that sounds like dupuiez-vous, which I can’t spell and therefore can’t look up but is probably just “make it work” or “carry on”.
The designers get down to work. Uli has purchased no prints at all, which is very weird. And all of a sudden – whoa! – Laura’s showing. A lot. I swear, she wasn’t the day before! Now she’s all popped out. Maybe it’s triplets! And the pregnancy hormones have obviously upped her bitchiness factor, as she does a lot of picking on Kayne and his dress’s pageant-ness during this episode. She doesn’t have much room to talk, as she’s designing the exact same low-cut dress she always does except it’s floor-length this time.
Fashion note to Kayne: Don’t wear black socks with shorts, and if you really HAVE to, fold them down. Don’t pull them halfway up your calves. ‘Kay? Loveyameanit!
Meanwhile, Vincent spends the entire first day messing around with his muslin, and when they leave for the night it appears that he has not sewn one stitch of actual dress. So unless he’s planning to make the entire thing OUT of muslin (which I wouldn't put past him), he may be in for some trouble. Of course HE thinks everything is hunky-dory and that he’s a fashion god and everyone else’s work is la merde. But Laura sums it up best: “He’s a legend in his own mind.” She describes his work patterns, which turn out to be the Vincent variation of the Daniel Franco Shuffle.
Next morning, Jeffrey decides to run his electric razor in the bedroom while Vincent’s still sleeping (yes, Jeffrey’s doing it on purpose) and Vincent does his usual crankypants thing. He bitches, “You see me sleeping here, what’s wrong with you?” Jeffrey casts a baleful eye at the lump of blankets that is Vincent, and replies "bzzzzzzzzzzzzz" (in razor language that means “f*** you”).
Lots of activity in the workroom today! To quickly sum up, we get: Tim’s eyebrows working overtime, Jeffrey’s creepy laugh, Laura’s exposed tummy, Vincent the God of Fashion ragging on everyone's design while neglecting to work on his own, Michael in "it looks like Malan's Miss USA dress" trouble, BIG Kayne eyes about pretty much everything.
As the day comes to a close, Laura shares that she's at that uncomfortable, tiring, ankle-swelling phase of pregnancy. What's she complaining about? She’s done with her first trimester already and it's only been about 3 ½ days! If she keeps going at this rate of speed, I predict that she’ll make it to the final four and then give birth on the runway.
Day two. Lots of frantic sewing that, while interesting to see, doesn’t inspire much commentary. But I can always count on Vincent to provide something interesting to write about. Not only has he constructed his dress out of fabric that looks like he ripped it off a Louis XIV armchair, but he is gluing it like crazy. Tim is incredulous! What happened to the hand-sewing requirement? Ribbons I can understand (I guess), but gluing an entire hem?? Maybe Vincent considers it handwork, because he is holding the glue bottle in his hand, after all.
But time is up! The designers and their models go for a leisurely stroll to Catherine’s party. Unfortunately for Michael, someone hurls les ouefs off a balcony and his dress gets splattered. (Maybe he can pass it off as a couture design element.) But they get on the boat, and meet back up with Catherine, who is wearing some seriously hideous Nicole Richie-esque sunglasses and clothing that looks like she stole it from the wardrobe department of “That Girl”.
Kayne shows us that he can be amusing without BFF Robert, by pretending to be French.
Oh Kayne. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the moustache and goatee you’ve drawn on your face with black eyeliner. I love your cheesy Pepe le Pew accent. J’aime votre petit béret. All you need to say now is “come vith me to zee Cazzbah, and ve shall make zee beautiful rrrhinestoned aczezzories togezairrr!” Je m'aime un certain Kayne! Le sigh.
Catherine is quite interested in Jeffrey’s neck tattoo (or maybe just interested in Jeffrey! She is being quite flirty). But she makes equal time for each designer, asking about the inspirations for their gowns. All of the designers are able to answer this pretty basic question except for Vincent, who answers, “I don’t know, but I really like it!” or something like that. At least he didn’t say what he USUALLY says. (You all know what it is. Don't make me repeat it!) I shudder to think how Ms. Malandrino would have reacted to that. Then he proceeds to talk her up something fierce, saying how beautiful and wonderful and marvelous she is, and then out of the blue asks about her shoes, which is weird. He asks for her honest opinion on the dress, to which she replies, “It’s an interesting dress.” You go, Catherine! If he’s not gonna answer your question, you sure as enfer don't have to answer his.
Anyway, they have a little runway show on the boat so Catherine can score their gowns. Laura’s looks like Wednesday Addam’s prom dress; Michael’s model looks depressed; Kayne’s model works the heck out of it; Vincent’s dress causes Catherine to make an awful face; Uli’s is… well, Uli’s; and I guess I was wrong about Jeffrey’s. It’s not for Ronald McDonald. It’s for MRS. Ronald McDonald.
The designers spend the rest of the lovely Parisian evening partying and drinking champagne and cruising up and down the Seine, and nobody else is pelted with egg, so their time in Paris ends on a high note.
Speaking of notes - It’s time to leave the world of accordion behind, and get back to some good ol’ electric guitar! Upon arriving in New York, the designers are rushed back to Parsons for the second runway show. Some of the dresses need a little work – especially Laura, whose Elizabethan neck ruff collar got crushed in the garment bag and is now lying as limp as a dehydrated celery stalk. After some alterations, the usual models are fitted and ready to walk.
The guest judge for this week is none other than Richard Tyler. Heidi again gives the cryptic “benefits for winning” speech, and then starts the show.
- Kayne: Loveitloveitloveit! It’s gold and butterscotchy and flows like water down the runway. Simply beautiful. The judges, however, unanimously pan this dress for being “too much” and “over the top”. After looking at some samples of actual couture, I had the idea that THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT! Kayne’s dress was pretty and flowing. THESE are “too much”. I’d also like it if someone can point me to the definition of “taste” that the judges keep invoking. They use that against him ALL the time.
- Uli: Same hair, same silhouette. Yes, she didn’t use pattern, and yes, she added some braiding that took a long time, but her bodice looks see-through. (I had to watch it a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t seeing her model’s actual breast parts through the lace.) The judges call it “toned down” and “grown up”. Michael Kors is just happy it can’t be paired with flip-flops. (Oh, Mr. Kors?If you make an outfit, someone will wear flip-flops with it whether you like it or not.)
- Jeffrey: Okay, this dress looks pretty awesome now. I think it’s totally due to Marilinda, who worked the enfer out of it. I still wish he had picked something other than the yellow tartan, but the silhouette is actually really attractive. The judges like.
- Vincent: One word – boobage!!! The necklilne is so deep, and the color is so pale, it almost looks like there’s no front at all! Is it glued to her chest to keep it up? And that fleurchon on the back looks like a bunny tail. (Maybe that’s Vincent’s way of protesting Angela’s auffing.) The judges HATE it. They ask what parts of it he did by hand. He replies, “I used expensive fabric.” Um, that doesn’t answer the question!
- Michael: golden boy no more. The color of the gown is amazing, but the top doesn’t fit and looks like giant blueberry danishes. The judges pounce all over this. They also complain about the mess on the skirt, but put a cork in it when he tells them about the egg-thrower. They feel sorry for him but still don’t like the top. Heidi asks him to tuck part of the bodice inside and voila! Different dress.
- Laura: This dress is made out of wool – WOOL! It’s black! It has long sleeves! For an evening gown! Gah. The judges pronounce it lifeless and old. (But it could be worse... it could look like this.)
After reading Catherine’s scores, the judges make their decision and call all the designers back onto the runway. Heidi switches it up and announces the winner first, and it’s Jeffrey again. He even seems a little surprised! I guess he got his wish after all. He goes back to the waiting room and cheers to nobody, since everyone else is still out on the runway. (Cue the "Rocky" music.)
Heidi sends Uli, Michael and Kayne (le sigh!) backstage, leaving Laura and Vincent to endure the drawn-out auffing. I’ve got all my fingers and toes and even my eyes crossed that this is finally the week Vincent gets his – and he does! Remerciez un dieu! I get up and do an improvised can-can of glee! He goes backstage to tell the other designers au revoir, and even gets a hug from Tim (who probably went home and chucked his jacket in the fireplace).
This is the part where I usually say "bye" to the designer and talk about how much I'll miss their... whatever... but I just really won't miss him at all. I do wish him luck, as he's going to need it, but there will be no gaping Vincent-shaped hole in my television next week. So au revoir, Monsieur Libretti. Ne laissez pas la porte vous frapper comme vous partez.
*Vocuabulary Lesson: Appréciez! (Enjoy!), la mairde (s**t), Qui sait? (who knows?), Le matin suivant (the next morning), ordeur (trash), le tissu (fabric), les ouefs (eggs), J’aime votre petit béret (I love your little beret), Je m'aime un certain Kayne! (I love me some Kayne!), enfer (hell), Remerciez un dieu! (Thank God!), Ne laissez pas la porte vous frapper comme vous partez. (Basically, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out.") And si vous plait, don't send me angry comments telling me my French sucks. :)
*I took 3 years of French in high school but the only thing I remember is beaucoup de papier which means a lot of paper. So all of my translations were done by Babel Fish. A fun game to play there is taking what it spits out and switching it back into the original language. (Take for example, my opening phrase. I typed in: “Hello! Welcome to this week’s review of Project Runway!” and got my opening line in French. I then put that line back into Babel Fish, told it to translate French to English, and it turned into “Hello! Welcome with the examination of this week of the "Footbridge of Project!”) It made me think of Engrish.com, which is another fun language site.