It's Always the Quiet One

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

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fashion Is Like a Box of Chocolates…

or... Dance of the Sugar-Peplum Fairies

Finally! After a stupid two-week break, Project Runway is back. This week’s episode opens with poor Kevin, all alone in his big apartment. One by one, his roommates have fallen victim to the Curse of the Straight-Guy Designer. The other guys better hope he gets auffed before one of them does. If not, the producers will move him into the second apartment to save money on rent, and Kevin will laugh maniacally as he strokes his weird facial hair because the rest of them will be doomed!

Over at Parsons, Heidi comes out on the runway in a simple black dress, which makes her look just like the other models when they line up on the runway. How rude. “I am wearing what you are wearing, because we are sisters in modeling, but I look ever so much hotter than any of you will.”

Before she can tell the designers about their next challenge, the tedious model-picking must be done. We haven’t seen them since the “fashion-don’t” challenge. Everyone pretty much always sticks with the same models, so I’m tempted to fast-forward past this part. Good thing I don’t because Christian starts it off with a bang, dumping his “fabulous Lisa” and daring karma to pick him off by snatching up this season’s It-Model, Lea, from whoever it was that stole her last time. Rami also dumps his regular blonde model in favor of Steven’s redhead, Sam. Sweet P is shocked that she is not picked last again. Ricky, however, is last and has to choose which two models go home. He decides to keep Fabulous Lisa.

Heidi shirks her hostess job yet again and leaves it to Tim to tell the designers about the next challenge. (I hope they pay him extra when she does that.) Although it’s only 10:00 in the morning (we just watched them all wake up, didn’t we?) Heidi makes them all go back to New Gotham and go to bed, because tomorrow they are going on an early field trip, and they will need 18 hours of sleep to get through it.

Next morning is everyone’s worst nightmare – being woken up by Tim Gunn and having him see you in a bra-less, toothbrushing, bedheaded, half-asleep stupor. So the designers rush to get dressed – Christian’s wearing a jacket that must be his own design because it looks just like several of the things he’s sent down the runway. Jillian’s outfit reveals her secret: she is the long-lost daughter of Mork and Mindy. (See how proud they are?) Kevin grabs his completely straight-guy Mood tote bag and off they go!

Tim walks them down to Times Square and reveals their destination: Toys R Us! (Oh, wait, wrong season.) No, it’s the fabulous, jam-packed, put-you-into-a-sugar-coma-just-by-looking-at-it Hershey store! Elisa is ecstatic that she can imbue her creations with Hershey Magic! And sour-puss Christian is upset that they’re gonna have to “make shit out of candy.” (I think when he was a kid his parents only let him keep the toothbrushes out of his trick-or-treat bags.)

For this challenge, the designers get unlimited cash and five minutes to stuff as much Hershey’s merchandise as they can into their mouths – um, I mean, into their shopping bags. But they only have the rest of the day to work on the garments. I think the Hershey’s people grossly underestimated the amount of material the designers are going to need, because they’ve got a few dinky little shopping bags laid out for each of them. That might do for your ordinary chocolate shopper, but this ain’t no ordinary shopping trip. Tim lets them go, and the designers recreate the scene from Willy Wonka where the kids run wild in the Chocolate Room. Christian attacks the peanut butter cups and threatens to brain anyone who takes even one bag of them, because that’s all he is going to use for his outfit. Jillian is drawn to the Twizzlers because they remind her of her hair. Chris, however, stays away from the edible materials and grabs pillows instead. “Don’t make stuff out of food!” he warns. And he should know. He’s made many a food-themed costume, most recently making dresses out of lettuce for Wishbone. (By the way, have you SEEN his website?? If not, go right now. I’ll wait. I love his stuff. It’s amazing. And check out the pic on his bio page - he looks a lot like the improv comedian Brad Sherwood, whom I also love. But, I digress.)

After the five minutes, the Hershey store is in shambles, and the designers are so laden down with stuff that they can barely get through the doors (good thing Jillian wore those suspenders – she uses them to hold a pillow, making it look like she’s pregnant with a baby Twizzler). But back to Parson’s they go, like candy-laden Pied Pipers, probably being followed by an increasingly large crowd of tourist children picking up the odd Rolo or piece of Bubble Yum that falls out of someone's bags.

I should mention here that I loooooove chocolate. And I really wish the TV had Smell-O-Vision because I bet that workroom smells AMAZING. Candy is flying everywhere. There are giant Hershey bars the size of sidewalk slabs. I didn't realize Hershey made so many brands of candy. I think I’m getting hyperglycemic just watching it.

I’m scratching my head over Sweet P, who is disemboweling stuffed bears and skinning them, then moves on to smashing crockery. I don’t have any idea where she is going with this. Neither do any of the other designers, who keep giving her funny looks.

But what happens next is so sad, I can barely watch. Christian sits at his table unwrapping thousands of peanut butter cups and THROWING AWAY THE CUP PART! Oh, the humanity!! That’s so wrong!! He’s not even keeping the foil, just the brown inside wrapper. That’s what he’s using for his dress? I thought he was kidding.

Because the producers think too much fun and gaiety is bad, they immediately bring the mood down by having Elisa recount her horrible car accident several years ago where she got smashed by a Porsche while walking in London, which left her briefly dead, as well as broken and comatose. But she puts a positive spin on her tragedy and is making the most of her second chance. Good for you, Elisa!!

Christian… is done!?! Completely. Because all he did was sew a basic high-necked sack dress and glued waxed paper circles all over it. (Heck, my daughter’s Brownie troop could do that.) He thinks it’s the shit, and I agree. It does looks like poop from a distance. (Gee, when he said earlier that he was going to have to make shit out of candy, I didn't think he was being literal.) Couldn't he have used the gold foil wrappers to make a belt, or something, to break up the expanse of brown? So since he’s done, he hippity-hops around, pretending to be Tim, giving his unsolicited opinion on everyone else’s garments. Kevin is so glad he’s got Tony Soprano on speed-dial because Christian’s gonna need to be whacked pretty soon.

The real Tim comes in to see how it’s going. He goes over to Victorya and starts talking with her. She comments that she liked her dress until she started putting the ruffles on it. (Then why put them on if you don’t like them??) Tim expresses some logical concerns (as in, "why did you sew your silver material on upside down because it looks awful") and she says “Really?” or “You think?” after everything Tim says. What she’s really passive-aggressively saying is “Oh, Tim, you’re full of crap and my dress is perfect so I’m going to patronize you so you’ll go away.” Tim also talks with Jillian, who is sculpting a bullet-proof vest out of Twizzlers, and Sweet P, who has scrapped her teddy-bear pelt skirt and is making a giant maxi-pad skirt instead.

The next morning Christian just farts around again since he’s “done” and refers to the workroom as a “tranny mess.” I am not sure how he got that from a room full of candy wrappers. Maybe transvestites like to eat loads of Kit Kat bars and throw the wrappers on the floor? I don’t know.

Jillian is still having issues with her Twizzlers. But it’s time to fit the models. Luckily, and much to Jillian’s surprise, her model knows how to sew! (Fashion designers are not the only ones who get to learn that skill.) She offers to help attach the candy so it doesn’t start dropping off the dress as she walks down the runway, because that would make both of them look bad. (I'd also like to say that the model looks great in her glasses. I wish I looked that good when I wear mine!)

Christian tries to get his new model to join him in badmouthing everyone else, saying stuff like “there’s so much ugly in this room” while completely ignoring the fact that his dress looks like it’s covered with miniature chocolate cowpies. But she doesn’t seem to like to trash talk as much as his last model did. (Good for her!)

The models traipse off to hair and makeup and I get my first good look at Ricky’s dress. My initial impression is that it looks like a giant (full) Hershey diaper. But at least it’s kind of interesting, as opposed to Victorya’s, which is just white and ruffly and looks like a giant pile of meringue.

Out on the runway, Heidi shows up in her second nice dress of the episode, which I think might be a record for this season (and back into last season). She lets the designers know that all of their garments are going to be auctioned off to benefit a breast cancer charity so she hopes they’re good enough to fetch some big bucks. She then introduces guest judge Zac Posen, and off they go!

The 'safe' designers:

  • Ricky - It’s a bubble skirt, but at least it’s a well-made bubble skirt with a point of view. And I’m quite proud of Ricky for making it through this episode without shedding a tear. He also managed to style Christian's ex-model correctly and not make her look like a forty-year old spinster. Love the hair, the neck bow is a nice touch, and the bows on the back of the shoes are super-cute.
  • Kevin - Very classy, with not a hint of logo anywhere, except for the clutch, which is cute. You could actually wear this out somewhere and nobody would know it was made from giant stuffed Kisses and cheap velvet Hershey Bar pillows.

  • Christian: - What? They let this through? Oh, it’s because he had immunity from winning last week. Too bad, I would have loved to hear MK and Nina rip into it. He is clearly shocked that he did not win. And wow, did he manage to make the "It" model look horrible. That hair is too severe. And what's with the chocolate pancake on her head? The more I look at this outfit, the more I hate it. In this photo it looks like it's made of Bigfoot fur.
  • Kit - I don’t like this particularly. I think there are too many words on it, it looks chunky and the boots do not help that. Plus she had the hairstylist make her model look like a Kewpie doll.
And who’s left on the runway?

  • Chris - This is a great garment. He could have easily gone over the top with this, as MK notes, but he wisely kept far, far away from costume. I like the way he cut the words in half and sewed them together vertically, so that they became more of a pattern instead of letters. He mentions Andy Warhol and Stephen Sprouse as his influences here (I had to look that guy up, and after seeing his work I can completely see where Chris was coming from). The judges love it. Nina even says it could be part of an Elle spread. (Of course it won’t be, but wasn’t that nice of her to say!)
  • Elisa - Oh dear. She keeps saying she was going for a “macabre Gretel” but her definition of macabre must be a lot different from everyone else’s. The judges use words like “sad” and “flea market.” There is no joy on Elisa’s planet with this design. Those odd foil balls on the elbows really do nothing for the overall outfit.

  • Sweet P - Uh oh, she gets the "boring" card of the night. This design fits right into Sweet P’s aesthetic but it’s too simple for this challenge, considering all the stuff she had to work with. (She should have gone with her original skirt, at least.) The skirt makes me think of the little paper bib they put around your neck at the dentist’s office, and that is about as far from candy as you can get. Also, it's a little short. But I love the earrings she picked to go with this.
  • Rami - I wasn’t too fond of this because the top and the skirt look like they were pulled from two different outfits. But it’s got a lot of nice details, the construction is great, and it fits the model perfectly. She looks like something out of the Jetsons, but he did say he was going for a futuristic look and I think he nailed it.

  • Jillian - All the Twizzlers stayed put! Hooray! The judges were impressed that she used so many edible materials. I didn’t like the way she had the two bodice pieces separated by the clear plastic. I think it would have looked better if the two pieces had been right next to one another. And the stiffness of the candy made the top immobile, which was probably pretty uncomfortable for the model and her chest area.
  • Victorya - I don’t know where this woman’s brain went during this challenge. The bodice on the dress is all lopsided. The judges think she ducked out to go to Dairy Queen and that’s where the inspiration for the dress came from. For the runway show she told her model to walk with her arms rigid on both sides, like she was a giant walking doll with no elbow joints. It was kind of scary looking!

This judging was a bit different than the others. They’ll usually have one they love, one they hate, and the rest fairly evenly spaced on the scale in between. This time, they seem to really love the top three and really hate the bottom three. When the dust settles, Rami is declared the winner, getting immunity for the next challenge.

Elisa, sadly but predicatably, is out. (This episode contains, quite frankly, the worst case of Loser’s Edit they’ve ever done on PR. They’re not even trying to hide it now.) She is very gracious throughout and retires from Project Runway with her dignity intact, having spread her magical presents across our planet and leaving a wake of happiness and sound effects (SWISH! FWAH!) behind her.

I have to applaud the production company for this challenge - it was fun! Do more fun stuff. Or at least show us the fun stuff they're doing in the workroom because we know that it's going on and you're just not sharing. And kudos for putting the episodes on the Bravo website. Now please fix the website because it doesn't work half the time. Thank you. (And I am angry with you for making this show about chocolate because I seriously must have gained 5 pounds while watching it. I was so hungry!! Every commercial break I was up looking for stuff to munch on. BAD!!!)

Next episode: The designers take up scrapbooking, apparently. Ricky cries. Again. And Christian argues with the judges. Again.


Blogger TropicalChrome said...

(Gee, when he said earlier that he was going to have to make shit out of candy, I didn't think he was being literal.)

Ok, remind me not to drink coffee when I read your recaps! I nearly snorted it - oh, Christian, if only others thought as highly of you as you think of yourself!

Great recap - enjoyed it a lot!

4:08 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Ha, I totally wondered the same thing at Christian's "tranny mess" comment. And WORD on his poo-dress, the more I think about it, the more I hate it. And yet...I still can't bring myself to hate Christian. I think it's the snarky comments.

Loved the recap!

5:18 PM  
Blogger tiff said...

Gah. Christian sucks. Thanks for the connection - he did make SHIT out of CANDY!

great recap!

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Bittybis said...

I had the same thought about Christian's use of the same material for the entire dress. Perhaps if he had deigned to think about it instead of dismissing thought as useless, it would have occurred to him to use some sort of contrasting material. The only thing that saved him from getting blasted for this one was that three other designers made worse choices.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous madam ovary said...

Sweet Pea has the gangliest model I've seen on PR. Someone on BPR compared her to a baby giraffe. All of the outfits look too short on her. But, Sweet Pea picked the model early on so the blame is back on her I guess.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Toyouke said...

Sigh, Christian. If he wasn't so busy badmouthing other people all the time, I'd probably like him better. Or if his comments were as funny as he must think they are. When he was sent out in the middle I was evil and laughed a lot.

8:25 PM  

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