It's Always the Quiet One

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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Decked Out in Denim

In this week’s episode: New York City is attacked by a giant monster with no style whatsoever, and who also hates the Statue of Liberty (too much draping)! As it wreaks havoc on Manhattan, Tim Gunn and his band of intrepid fashion designers (followed by a brave Bravo film crew) sew for their lives! They create a giant walking Statue of Liberty out of Levi’s 501 jeans. In the end, they finally defeat the monster by spraying it with a mixture of hot glue, Michael Kors’ self-tanner and Ricky’s tears while blasting Jackie Wilson songs.

Well, it was ALMOST that dramatic.

Now that I’ve stolen the plots to two entirely different movies, let’s see what really happened. After a disturbing clip where Victorya continually refers to Sweet P as Kit, which I think she’s doing on purpose, we move back to Parson’s for model selection.

In a surprising twist, Heidi (who is wearing obscenely tight jeans and a t-shirt with giant nostrils on it, which makes the designers giggle) only brings out the winning and losing designer’s models (Marie and Lisa). Christian gets to pick – will he stick with Fabulous Lisa, or request a walkoff? He should pick Marie, but stays with Lisa. (Marie should consider herself lucky. She is way cute, and Christian tends to style his models in a way that ages them 25 years.)

Heidi sends them off to Tim, who is going to be taking them somewhere. Again.

Hey! How did Yoko Ono get in here? Security! Oh, wait, that’s just Victorya.

Tim gets everyone into the van and away they go! They end up at a Port Authority warehouse on the docks where the dads of the prom dress girls are waiting for them with big sticks.

No, no, it’s a lady from Levi’s, who has a pink bird on her head. The warehouse door opens dramatically and we see: lines of laundry. At least it looks like laundry -it’s hard to tell because it’s about a half-mile inside the warehouse. It turns out to be jeans and jackets from Levi’s, and a bunch of white cotton. The challenge is to take the clothes and make whatever they want to make, but the garment must be “iconic” and “capture the spirit of originality and creativity that has lived in the heart of the Levi’s brand.” Yes, she really said that. I wonder how many takes it took her to get that right.

The designers all run in to get their jeans. (Come on. Did they really HAVE to set it up like that? More running? They should have just put all the jeans out on tables over at Parsons and saved the gas.) This warehouse is dirty too – there’s a good half-inch of dirt on the floor. The dirt is puffing up around them as they run, like Pigpen. Ick.

Back at Parsons, they get to work. Levi’s has sent over a bunch of rivets and buttons and labels and stuff for them to use, which is nice, but I hope they sent a rivet machine too, because you can’t sew those puppies on. Ricky espouses the joys of denim (sometimes he makes his hats out of it! That explains a lot) and brags that nobody can fit denim like he can. Nobody? Oookay…

Rami talks about growing up in Jerusalem, and we get to see that he started out as a super-cute blonde kid with a 70's bowl haircut (I had one too! Didn't all 70's kids?) and ended up looking like one of the guys that sang “I’m Too Sexy”. Then he tells us that basically, American designers are crap. After that, Chris and Christian get in a stupid time-filler argument about how to clean the dirt off denim. This leads to the revelation that the other designers think Christian’s a whiny baby and talks like a twelve-year-old girl. Rami sums it up best: “Christian is like a cartoon character.” (He really is, actually - go look here and here.)

Jillian gets pissed because Victorya’s making a coat, and SHE’S making a coat, and that’s totally copying (even though most of the other designers are making dresses and they’re not bitching about copying). I’m actually surprised that Jillian didn’t decide to make overalls. Christian decides to make a “biker” outfit with puffy sleeves and ruffles all over it. Sure, that makes sense – if the biker is eight years old. And it’s not any crazier than Sweet P, who is making a denim wedding dress.

We see Ricky come into the workroom, and hear a voiceover by Christian saying, “His work has been the same boring thing since Day One.” Hmm, is he talking about Ricky, or himself (see aforementioned jacket with puffy sleeves and ruffles)? I’m not sure.

Everybody’s busy in the sewing room but Chris, who is in the workroom happily chatting to his garment, and Christian makes fun of him for it. That actually gives me one more reason to love Chris, because I do the same thing! I’ll talk to the laundry or the dishes or my computer sometimes when I’m working. Everybody does it (ok... usually only in your head but you’re still talking to yourself). It doesn’t mean he’s crazy; he’s problem-solving, so shut up, Christian! (Besides, who’s sitting at the sewing machine saying stuff like “Oh, I’m gonna die from barfness” to nobody?)

It’s time for a visit from Tim! He thinks Ricky’s dress is “stunning” and I’m wondering what he was drinking before he came in. It’s okay, but I don’t think I’d say stunning. (Turns out they edited his comment – go read Tim’s Take for the whole story.) Next up is Chris, and Tim isn’t liking some of his details, but Chris chooses to ignore him. Bad! Tim’s not too keen on Jillian’s coat, either. He is, however, impressed with Rami’s use of zippers as trim (which Jeffrey did last year, as lots of people have pointed out, but it’s still an interesting idea). Next, we get a look at Victorya’s – hey, she just used a pre-made jacket! Is that allowed? Hmm… And her skirt is sewn on inside-out. (There’s a reason the back of the denim is on the inside of the pants – it’s UGLY!) Last is SweetP and her wedding dress, which Tim proclaims “hippy-dippy.” Another bad! Will she listen to him, or continue on? Yay! She does. One of the Project Runway commandments is: thou shalt always listen to Tim. She whacks the bottom off of it.

The day is rapidly coming to a close, and everybody’s bitching at each other in the sewing room. Lots of running, lots of sewing, lots of… blood? Yes, somehow Jillian keeps cutting her fingers on the sewing machine. She whines and flops like she’s sustained a major injury and I’m sure it hurts, but I’m expecting to see blood spurting all over the place like in a Monty Python skit. But... nothing.

Next morning - What is Rami doing? And why is Christian dressed like a hobbit? And why does the fabric of Jillian’s skirt looks like it’s moving? No time for questions! Get back to work! It’s runway day!

Ricky loves his dress and knows the judges will hate it. SweetP loves her dress and knows she’ll be safe. Christian loves his… um, outfit, and thinks it should win, as always. But it doesn’t matter what they think – what did the judges say?

  • Chris – He was trying to reinvent the ‘little black dress.” I hate to say it, but this is kind of plain. I want more ‘wow’. And I don’t get the thing down the side – it throws the dress off-balance. And please try leaving Marcia’s hair down sometimes! Sorry, Chris, it’s not my fave this week. Nor the judges' – they say he’s got the right idea but he didn’t take it far enough.
  • Ricky – The styling is great – awesome boots, nice hair (and I got more of a Brigitte Bardot vibe than Amy Winehouse, personally) and Amanda really did a great job on the runway. The dress itself? Cute, nice seaming details on the front, and the buttons down the front of the bodice are eyecatching. The Levi’s lady pronounces it “cool!” The rest of them like it too, and compliment Ricky so much that he cries tears of joy on the runway. (Heidi is vaguely amused.) During their chat she comments that it’s “finally the Ricky we’ve all been waiting for.”
  • Sweet P – If you didn’t know this was made out of jeans, you wouldn’t know it until you got up close. I like the colors she used, and I am so glad she took Tim’s advice and shortened it. I’m not sure if the dark parts were supposed to match up and didn’t, or if that was the design, but I kinda like them not matching. And I love the necklace she picked out. The judges love her dress. They think it makes her model look skinny, and MK says he would wear it if he had the right shoe. (Was that supposed to be a compliment?) The Levi’s lady didn’t feel it looked “Levi” enough, but she did like it. I think it should have won.

  • Victorya – Blech! A walking pile of boredom. I’m not knocking the fact that she used one color for the entire thing – it’s that she chose to use the jeans with the grayish-dirt tint that makes them look like they’ve been buried for a couple of years (I hate that color). Heidi and MK call her out on the fact that she didn’t really do very much but tack a skirt onto a jean jacket – which is exactly what she did, and yet she was struggling to finish on time. What gives?
  • Christian – Okay, so I wouldn’t let my eight-year old wear this to ride her bike. But it’s still too weird for a ‘biker’ outfit. Would those pants be comfortable to wear while riding on a Harley (or even a dirt bike) for hours? I don’t think so. And the little bit of white peeping out emphasizes the fact that the super-tight jean gives her a muffin top – which is quite an achievement on a model with 0% body fat. The judges like the tailoring and the fact that he made jeans out of other jeans.
  • Rami – Now this is how you use all one color successfully. This is a really nice garment. It’s actually two pieces but they go together so well that you can’t tell. And each piece is nice enough that you could put them with different tops and bottoms and they’d still look classy. Nina’s ecstatic that he didn’t drape anything! For this challenge, “sophistication” was a good word, as opposed to the prom dress challenge.
  • Jillian – Not the most exciting thing out there, but it’s passable. I wish she’d done something other than a coat. It’s almost as if she’s hoping the judges’ enthusiasm over her last coat will carry over to today. But it doesn’t, and they basically think she tried too hard to do too many things and didn’t do any of them particularly well. And the coat makes her model look fat, like a big denim marshmallow.

The verdict: Ricky wins! And Levi’s will sell a limited number of his design on their website! He is absolutely floored. But he doesn’t cry! And who’s out? It’s between Victorya and Jillian – who were both in the top last week with a coat, and went straight to the bottom this week with… coats. Victorya’s was by far the worst, so she is out. And rightfully so. That coat was fugly. (But it turns out she’s having the last laugh, as she is showing at Fashion Week anyway.)

Next episode (but not next week! What’s up with that??): The subject(s) of the challenge is moaning and shrieking and grunting behind a big white door. Sweet P and Christian arm-wrestle. And there’s a lot of weird shiny fabric in the workroom.


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