You Gotta Have 'Art
The show starts off with a reminder of last week’s WWE challenge (as if we could ever forget, as it is seared on our brains for all eternity) where Chris was the triumphant winner of the “tackiest challenge” and crying Ricky (who didn’t cry) was out.
Over at Parsons, Heidi brings out the winning and losing models, who weren’t even in the last challenge, and then lies to them about it being a competition for them too. (Can you just drop this part next season, Bravo? Because nobody’s buying it anymore.) Chris, who won last week, chooses to stay with his model Marcia, meaning Amanda of the Amy Winehouse beehive is out. Heidi asks the designers if they want their next challenge (for the last time *sniff*) and Christian’s all, “Duh! Why else are we sitting way down here in these uncomfortable chairs? Get on with it, woman!”
Again, she sends them to Tim: “He’s waiting for you all the way across town and you have ten minutes to get there and the van’s out of gas because we wasted it taking you to the Port Authority a couple challenges ago… so MOVE your butts!”
Huffing and puffing, they arrive at their destination – the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “It’s huge!” Rami offers helpfully. As they move through the museum, we are treated to many views of statuary derrières and other unmentionable parts. Tim defines the challenge: to find a piece of art in one of three museum wings (Greek/Roman statues, European paintings, and an entire Egyptian temple) to use as inspiration for a garment. They can pick anything! Tim gives them each a camera and off they go.
Back at Parsons, they look through their pictures and pick one they like best. Rami and Christian have already picked out shoes! Accessory wall hogs. (Hey, I just noticed something. When they were walking to the Met, the screen said it was 7am. Now, back in the workroom, the clock says 2:35pm. I’m sure they ate lunch in there somewhere, but they spent five or six hours at the museum? And Jillian was wearing four-inch heels? Wow.)
The designers head over to Mood (for the last time *sniff*) to spend their $300. Christian is going to use every penny, because he’s buying entire rolls of organza. (Didn’t he make that dress a few challenges ago? Did the editors put the wrong Mood footage in?)
Time to start sewing. Rami’s got this gorgeous lilac material that he is, of course, draping. Jillian tells us about her inspiration piece, a painting of soldiers from the 1460’s wearing jackets and bubble skirts and tights while riding around on fat ponies. Chris has picked a painting of a noblewoman wearing a powdered wig and a big poofy wrap around her shoulders, so he’s going to make a dress with a big poofy wrap around one shoulder. Because he doesn’t want to be too literal, you know.
The next morning we see that Sweet P hasn’t sewn anything but her muslin mock-up, and then she tells us how she needs to win because it will save her business. (Aww, poor girl, you must be out, because that’s classic loser’s edit right there.)
Time for a visit from Tim! Hooray! Oh, no it’s not, what a letdown - he’s just sending in the models for a fitting - all except Sweet P’s model, Lea, who has a family emergency. What’s Sweet P going to do now? Is she going to have to run out into the street like Jay did in Season 1 and try to convince some stranger to come in and be her model?
Christian thinks that Chris’s dress is too “costume” and looks a lot like the avant-garde one they did together. He stops just short of saying Chris copied it, but you know he’s thinking it. I’m thinking Christian’s black-and-white poofy-froofy design looks like almost every other black poofy thing he’s done, so he needs to shut the heck up.
Surprise! Jillian has made a coat. Granted, it’s a short coat this time, but it’s still a coat. At some point there will be a short gold-lamé disco roller skating dress underneath it, if she doesn’t run out of time like she usually does.
Tim comes back in to introduce them to a “special guest.” He sure likes the word special, doesn’t he? I never noticed until this season how much he says it. (And on his other show, he was saying it every two minutes.) Anyway, the designers are all wondering what kind of fabulousness will walk through those black double doors – which unknown person could possibly top Sarah Jessica Parker for specialness??
Letdown number two! It’s just the bald makeup guy that they already know. Then we have to sit through “makeup consultations” (well, I don’t, I fast-forward through that part because it’s boring). Tim acts like the guy’s never been to Parsons before – don’t they see him every challenge?
After bald makeup guy is done talking to them, there’s about four hours left in the day. Chris shocks the workroom by announcing that he’s done, and he’s going to go take a nap. Christian can’t believe it! He’s done too – what else would you expect from someone so perfect and fierce – but is he off snoring on an uncomfortable couch! No! He’s putting ribbons on his hat! He’s snipping threads! He’s at least pretending to be working. He then drones on and on about Europe and how young he is, and does a little famous designer name-dropping. (Personally, I’d much rather listen to Chris snore in the other room.) Then he tries on his clothes and you just KNOW he’s making them for himself.
Tim returns to check on everyone’s progress. The other designers inform him that Chris has gone off to dreamland… but Tim is having none of that! He glides out into the lounge, puts his hands on his hips and demands that Chris get up off his butt and show him how “wowable” the dress is. Tim is not wowed. He tries to get Chris to add something to it but he is not budging.
Worried, Tim moves on to Christian, who is also done but doesn’t get chewed out. Tim teaches us a new word, obfuscation, when asking Christian about his shrunken poncho-like piece. (It’s basically just a fancy word for confusing, but I plan to use it in conversation first chance I get, ‘cause it just sounds cool.)
He moves on to Sweet P, whose model still hasn’t shown up, and he gets worried again. She tells him about the peacock picture she’s using as her inspiration piece, but aside from the colors, he’s not seeing much peacock in her dress. He thinks Rami’s purple dress is stunning, but is concerned that Nina will call Rami out for draping again. (He also makes a mental note to have the designer’s apartments checked for mice, because apparently some small animal has been chewing on Rami’s sweatshirt.)
At 10:00pm, Sweet P’s model finally shows up. They try the dress on her and thank goodness, everything fits, but there’s still a lot to do. So what does she do? Wander around the workroom whining to Jillian and sit with her head in her hands. Sew, woman!! The day’s over and you’re not done!
Then the sulfuric Manhattan streets roll by, and it’s the start of a new day. As I sit here watching the apartment sequence, I’m struck by the fact that this is the last time we’ll see this group of designers getting ready for their day at Parsons. How I’ll miss this peek into the ordinariness of these extraordinary people - no more hair-curling (or hair-ironing), no more tooth-brushing, no more pretend-facial-hair snipping, no more sitting around in fugly blue robe-jammies… (Okay maybe I won’t miss that last part so much, ‘cause those are just awful.)
At Parsons, the girls still have a lot of work to do. I know Sweet P wasn’t done last night but I’m not entirely sure if Jillian even has her skirt cut out, let alone sewn. Tim comes in and gets all sentimental on them about it being the last day. He does his little spiel to get all the sponsors’ names in one last time, then tells them to make sure their designs will “send Nina’s shoes flying across that runway” (which will then cause her toes will curl up and disappear under her chair, like the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy’s house falls on her).
Sewing… fitting… makeup… hairspray… false eyelashes… unibrows… feathers. Jillian puts the rollerskating dress on her model and it has NO hem… not even a crappy one like Kevin did during the prom challenge. There’s time for one last session of model-torturing before they have to go, so Jillian steams the dress while it’s on the model. Ouch! Better get some ointment for that burn.
Time’s up! Off to the runway! Heidi informs the designers that since only three of them will be going to Fashion Week, two people will be out today. She introduces the judges and gives Michael and Nina their perfect-attendance gold stars for this season (is this the first one that they’ve made it to every show?) and introduces guest judge Roberto Cavalli. Let’s start the show! Chris – (Marie Françoise de La Cropte de St. Abre, Marquise d'Argence by Jean Marc Nauttier) People are complaining that he just copied the avant-garde challenge, but I don’t think he did. Yes, he took the basic idea of the big shoulder and used the same basic construction – but big construction is what Chris DOES. How is that different from Christian’s puffy sleeves or Rami’s Grecian columns? I see his inflated version as being in-between the noblewoman’s dress and the avant-garde. The colors are kinda blah but that’s what’s in the originial painting.
Roberto pays Chris a huge compliment in saying that he is the most artistic of all the designers and could easily be doing haute couture in Paris. Chris gets verklempt. The other three judges jump his case for doing big construction again. But they agree that Chris is all about the show, even if they don’t like what he’s showing.
Roberto feels the love Christian puts into his garments. Nina is impressed that he thinks about “the whole show,” and MK overuses the word super. Yet… they give him NO crap about doing the same types of things over and over. I just don’t get that.
Rami – (Marble Statue of Aphrodite by Kallimachos) I actually quite like this dress – the color is gorgeous, and I applaud that he went shorter instead of making a floor-length gown. I see where he’s going with the single loop, as a nod to the armlessness of the statue, although I don’t like the way Sam had to keep her arm straight while she was walking.
Rami gets all defensive with the judges when they say his dress is too normal and same-old same-old. (Yet another rag on a designer for doing the same thing over and over!) They all agree that it is beautiful and lots of women would wear it (I would!), but apparently that’s bad. I do see where both sides are coming from, though.
Sweet P – (Peacocks by Melchior D'Hondecouter) To borrow a word from Tim, this really isn’t too “wowable” to me. I don’t really see the peacock inspiration in this dress (I’m not counting the wispy feathers growing out of Lea’s head), other than her color palette.
While MK thinks her dress is cute and wearable, he also thinks there’s not enough “show” to it. She’s commercial, but not fashion. Roberto wishes she’d done more with the peacock theme.
Jillian – (Scenes from the Story of the Argonauts by Master of the Argonauts) This is cute, although I wish the skirt part was just a bit longer. I like the visually interesting little hole-punches in the back of the jacket that let the gold shine through when the light hits it. The dress looks like an afterthought, but the jacket is really nicely done. My only complaint is the fact that Jillian has this thing against letting Lauren’s hair down – if you look back through the few challenges where the models were actually used, Lauren’s hair is either pulled up or pulled back so tightly that it looks like it’s up. The girl’s got gorgeous hair! Let it down sometimes! (And if I never see that pair of shoes again I will be very happy.)
The judges like the fact that Jillian has sent a lot of different things down the runway. Roberto pretty much offers her a job right there, and you can tell that she’s really having to restrain herself from jumping up and down. Later, Heidi uses the word “ballsy” to describe Jillian’s designs, because while Jillian herself is quiet, she thinks up some really ambitious things. (It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for, don’t they know that?)
After much deliberation, Heidi brings the designers back out for the verdict. The winner, not too surprisingly, is Christian, based purely on the fact he had the largest number of pieces. So he’s definitely in for Bryant Park. He’s very quiet and humble on the runway, but as soon as he gets backstage, the diva comes back out and he’s all, “No surprises there, bitches, how could I not win? I made fifty pieces! Meowch!”
Also going to the tents is Jillian. She bounces backstage and flounces her skirt around, revealing the fact that she’s got a garter pistol strapped to her leg (just in case they tried to auf her, maybe).
Sweet P is out, and you can tell by the look on her face that she’s not too surprised by this. That leaves Rami and Chris on the runway – one will go to Bryant Park, and the other one will go to wherever the other auffed designers are holed up until filming is over. Heidi tells Rami he’s been consistent but safe, and tells Chris that they know he can bring the drama but can he do something new?
Chris is… IN! So that means Rami is… also IN!?! You can hear the collective “WHAT?” from living rooms and bars all over America! The judges couldn’t decide who they liked better, so they both get to make collections for Fashion Week. But here’s the catch: while they both have to make an entire twelve-piece collection, only one of them will count. They have to do a mini-show for the judges, using their three best pieces, and from that the judges will decide who’s show will be part of the Final Three.
Backstage it’s group hugs all around until Tim comes pouting down the stairs to send SweetP to clean up her stuff. She’s understandably sad that she didn’t make it to Fashion Week.
Which, of course, is a big lie, because as we know by now, all five of them showed collections at Fashion Week. They had to, because the tent show was last Friday, and this episode didn’t air until Wednesday, so if they didn’t all show we would know immediately who was out before the episode aired. This was kind of an interesting twist the first two seasons, but everybody knows the trick now, Bravo, so I think next season you should just schedule your episodes better and only let the actual Final Three show. You’re not fooling anybody anymore. But for the two designers that aren’t official, getting to show at Bryant Park - even if they don’t have a chance to win all the “fabulous” prizes - is more than enough, in exposure alone.
Next week: the always awkward and entertaining reunion show! And Heidi will name the winner of the $10,000 Fan Favorite vote (if this isn’t Chris, I’ll eat my keyboard).
*Art photos taken from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.