It's Always the Quiet One

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

Friday, July 25, 2008

How Green Was My Runway

Welcome to another glorious yellow morning in New York! Sadly, Jerry has left us, but we still have a big mess ‘o designers ready to dazzle us with their stuff. But first, Stella whips up a bit of breakfast – and what’s better than a big glass of… um… well, it looks like the stuff my dad used to rinse off the bottom of the lawn mower. Yummy.Over at Parson’s, it’s time for the designers to pick their models. Heidi, wearing what looks like trash bags left over from the last challenge, brings out The Velvet Bag™. Most of the designers stay with their original models until we get to Joe, who decides to dump his model after making her wear oven mitts and dried pasta on national TV. So that causes a few shake-ups. Jerell gets upset because Jennifer takes his model and then he declares that he’s “salty”. Salty? Is he suddenly a pirate? (Or maybe he says “saucy”, which actually doesn’t make sense either, so never mind him, he’ll get over it.) Nobody wants the poor model who looks like her hair got caught in a hedge trimmer so she is out.

Heidi calls all the models back out onto the runway and delivers the challenge: the designers have to make cocktail dresses for their models. Then she shoos everyone off to see Tim in the workroom. It turns out there is another twist to the challenge – they must use green fabric. Just green? Did they film this over St. Patrick’s Day? Is the guest judge Kermit the Frog? Ohhhhh… not green as in ‘color’ but green as in ‘environmentally friendly’. (That means if you can’t grow it, you can’t show it.) People are generally cool about that, no problem – until Tim tells them that the models will do the shopping! And they get no time to talk to them before they leave! This is met with varying degrees of excitement, horror and disgust.So the designers have no idea how much fabric they’re going to get, or if they’re going to have any thread or zippers. Tim whisks the models away to MOOD immediately. The models are completely lost in the store – they usually don’t have any choice in what they’re wearing on the runway, so they don’t know what colors to buy or, more importantly, how much to buy, and several of them end up picking out the exact same stuff.

Upon returning to Parsons, the designers get to see what they have to work with. Some designers are happy with what they get and some are freaking out because their model has only purchased enough fabric to make a cocktail dress for a Barbie doll. But they have to make it work! Suede is excited about getting to do some ‘green’ fashion – he wants to make it sexy but still put Suede into it. I’m pretty sure suede is not a ‘green’ material.

The models are herded off by Tim and everyone starts working on their dresses. Blayne thinks of Heidi as Darth Vader – all shiny and put-together on the outside, but ca-RA-zy on the inside. Korto is designing a dress that will make her curvy model look even curvier. Suede appears to be making a crazy quilt, and is also continuing to amuse the other designers (and annoy me) by talking about himself in the third person.

There’s also no shortage of whining in the workroom. Stella seems to have no other tone of voice and uses it to complain about - well, everything - and Korto thinks Wesley is copying her design – after all, she’s using darts in her dress, he’s using darts in his dress, so that’s totally copying! She consults with several of the other designers who tell her in no uncertain terms that she is nuts and she should leave them the hell alone and keep her eyes on her own work.
Tim comes in for his mid-design tour. He goes over to talk to Korto and he, like pretty much everyone watching the show, thinks she has her dress on the form inside out so she can work on the darts, and he’s quite taken aback when she tells him that it’s not, and the darts are going to be sticking out like the tail fins on a ’59 Cadillac.

Suede’s crazy quilt turns out to be the bodice of his dress, and it’s getting a puffy tulle skirt. Tim loves it. (I’m sitting here wondering if tulle is a ‘green’ fabric – isn’t it made out of of nylon? But Tim says nothing about it so I guess I’ll let this one slide.)

He’s not so in love with the designs of Wesley or Leanne, who both have the same chocolate brown satin. He’s concerned that any flaws Wesley makes will scream “Look at me!” on the runway. Leanne is adding lots of weird loops of fabric. She has so many ideas and appears to be sticking every single one of them on her dress.

Before he goes, Tim announces that there will be no immunity for the winner of this challenge – but the winning dress will be sold on He gives them a hint as to who the guest judge will be, telling them it’s a glamorous young Hollywood star.

After he leaves, Stella expounds on the joys of sewing with leather. Leather this, leather that. Then she goes through a list of things you can do with leather - it sounds like Forrest Gump's friend Bubba talking about shrimp. Blayne goes into the sewing room joking around with comments like “my husband’s leather” and “my kids are all named Leather”. Of course he doesn’t realize that everyone in the workroom can hear him. They all have a good laugh about it and Blayne affectionately calls Stella ‘leatherface’. (At least he didn’t call her “leatherlicous”.) But it’s good to see some lighthearted fun in the workroom for a change.

Next morning is a blur. After we get our requisite guys-in-underwear shot, the designers hustle back to Parsons.This part always confuses me. They were told by Tim that they had until midnight the previous night to finish the outfit. But the next morning there's always a couple more hours! If they’re supposed to be done by midnight then they shouldn’t get any more major sewing time. Alterations while it’s on the model, I can understand. But something like Daniel’s bodice not being attached to his skirt? That’s a heck of a lot more than an alteration. Tim must have been reading my mind because he comes in and basically chews them out for that exact same thing! You go, Tim!

While the models go through hair and makeup and we get lots of product placement shots, Daniel is still sitting at the sewing machine. He’s got five minutes, Tim says… will he make it? And… he does! Just barely. And with the models finally into their cocktail dresses, it’s runway time.

Heidi introduces the mystery guest judge – it’s the fashionable Queen Amidala herself, Natalie Portman! Apparently she has a new line of vegan shoes. I had no idea there was such a thing. I do think her line is pretty cute, so go check them out. But not until we see what happens on the runway!

The safe designers:Keith – This makes me think of Roman shades, or those big curtains they have in fancy theaters. Just give the cord a yank and whoops! Hello ladyparts! It doesn’t fit too well around the waist when she walks the runway.
Terri – I really like this! I don’t know why this wasn’t one of the top pieces. The color looks great on the model, the shape is nice, the ruffle details are pretty. I’d totally wear this.
Jerell – I would not, however, wear this. The colors are nice but that bodice makes her breasts look like they're growing out of the sides of her chest. And the trim around the bottom is peacock feathers but it just makes her appear to have an unfortunate hair problem.Jennifer – Why on earth did her model pick these colors? It looks like she’s going to a Halloween cocktail party. The design is okay, nothing groundbreaking, and it seems to be nicely sewn.
Daniel – This is really cute. I like the high front - long back skirt design. It definitely captured the Audrey Hepburn look he was going for, and I could see Natalie in this dress. I’d wear this too! I just wish they'd posed the model differently for this picture.
Joe – Here’s a piece from what Jerell referred to as “Team Ugly Brown”. The design is quite basic, and the little round cutout in the front is interesting - but too small. It’s nice that Joe managed to sew the dress without causing a lot of the wrinkles and puckering you get with this fabric. It fits his model really well.Kelli – It almost looks like the model didn’t put it on right, maybe she stuck her arm out of the neck hole? I also think the skirt is way too tight. If it had been fuller I would have liked this dress more.
Blayne – This looks kind of ‘eighties’ to me. Must be the combination of hot pink and black. It’s nice, but nothing special. One good point – she wouldn’t have to carry a purse because she could just stick all her stuff in the shoulder.
Emily – I like the braid detail she used on the bust and waist, but it seems to be sitting unnaturally low on the upper half of her body. If she’d had the fabric to make it longer I think it would have worked better. I do like her choice of accessories.

Who’s left on the runway:Kenley - This is definitely in the top three. Her model loves it, the judges praise the elegance of the design and how well it fits. The first thing I think when I see it is that it reminds me of Daniel Vosovic’s orchid dress from S2 – another challenge-winning dress.
Wesley – The poor boy just didn’t have much fabric to work with, so he had a strike against him before he even got started. He probably could have made it a bit longer if he’d left off the strips on the side. But it doesn’t fit well and it’s really wrinkly and bunchy. MK says he tortured the fabric, and you can almost hear it wailing.
Suede – Wow. While I admire the work it took to sew all those bias strips, this is not a favorite of mine. It looks like something the Mummy would wear on a date. The judges drooled all over it, and both Natalie and Heidi said they would wear it. And they’d be front and center on Go Fug Yourself the next day.Leanne – The woman who wears this dress would be popular on a crowded subway – it's got little handles all over it! And what’s with the weensy little feathery hat? The model doesn’t like the dress, and the judges don’t like it either.
Stella – This dress would be perfect for the woman who really needs something to wear while writhing seductively on the hood of a car in a music video. The judges do like that she put her own attitude into the design and Heidi gives her a gold star for being ‘most improved’ over last week. (Although if you can’t improve over barely-sewn garbage bags then you might as well just go home.)
Korto – Is there some kind of subliminal advertising going on for feminine hygiene products? Last week Blayne had that big maxi pad on his garment and this week Korto does Always With Wings. Her intent was to accentuate the curves of the model but she didn’t sew the seams very well so parts of the model looked crooked, especially in the back. Also, she used a necklace that seems to be made out of fossilized dinosaur teeth, which looks painful to wear.

Surprisingly, Suede is the winner of the challenge. (I would have gone with Kenley’s.) So he’ll have his dress manufactured and sold by – boy, I feel sorry for the people who have to sew all those bias strips.

Korto gets thisclose to being in the bottom two but squeaks by. She goes backstage and cries on everyone. That leaves Wesley and Leanne, and while the judges say Leanne’s dress looks like a school project, it is Wesley that they choose as the bottom designer. Goodbye, Wesley, keep up the positive attitude… but please buy some longer shorts.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and... oh heck, a whole bunch of other people!

Oh Project Runway, how I’ve missed thee! Let me count the ways…

On second thought, let’s skip that part and just jump right in to this week’s episode. Since this is the first one, we have to watch everyone move in to the Atlas (I guess the Gotham of last season was too Batman-ish or… something. Whatever. It looked just like the Atlas anyway.) Here’s how this season’s roommates break down.

Guys’ apartments: In one we have Jerell, who likes to wear fedoras and reminds me a lot of Ben Vereen; Joe, this season’s dark-haired bearded straight guy, who strongly resembles last season’s dark-haired bearded straight guy; Blayne, a tanorexic street-wear designer, and Wesley, who is wearing what is possibly the most unflattering pair of shorts in existence. In the other apartment we have Jerry, who already has his own relatively successful design company and always looks apprehensive about everything; Suede, who sports a blue-tipped fauxhawk and enjoys talking about himself in the third person; Keith, a tattooed buff guy; and Daniel, who… um… looks like a Daniel.

Gals’ apartments: Sharing one tiny bathroom are Stella, who can’t decide if she wants to be Cher or the guy from A Clockwork Orange; Jennifer, who seems much too shy to be on this show; Kelli, owner of a cool store about 20 minutes from my house (yay!); and Terri, a self-proclaimed speed-sewer. Sharing the other tiny bathroom are Korto, who hails from Africa but somehow ended up in Arkansas; Kenley, a WWII pinup girl wannabe who likes loud prints; Leanne, the “silent fashion assassin” with 1950’s science lab safety glasses; and Emily, who has a clothing company in LA.

After getting all settled, it’s time for rooftop champagne with Heidi and Tim! Everyone’s anxious to get this show on the road - except Jerry, who looks like he might pass out. After Tim probably kills an unsuspecting pedestrian by launching a champagne cork off the roof, everyone chit-chats until the bubbly runs out, and they all stumble downstairs.

Before you know it, it’s four am. Most people are asleep, but a few of the designers have come ready for anything, knowing that it’s entirely possible that Tim Gunn might come over at an obscene hour, and he does. Jennifer actually answers the door while wearing only a towel and is embarrassed (he’s gay, dear, don’t be). Tim wants everyone to meet him in the lobby ASAP, hangovers be damned, and they’ll be on their way!

They take a little stroll through downtown New York and end up at: a grocery store! But not just ANY grocery store; this is Gristedes, the site of the very first Project Runway challenge evah!
And what better person to appear and explain the challenge than Austin Scarlett, the designer who won that challenge. Doesn't he look dapper?

Now, some people might have a problem with them re-using old challenges. I say, “bring it on”! I know there were several times in the last two seasons where I thought, “Gee, I wonder what Kayne would have done in the wedding dress challenge” or “I bet Chris would have been blown everyone away in the live plant challenge” or even “I’m so glad Vincent didn’t do the lingerie challenge.” So hopefully, they will be doing more old challenges and we can get some fresh takes.

Everyone gets their money from Austin and sprints across the intersection to the store. (At this point I have to explain to my eight-year-old that police probably stopped the traffic because she is yelling “THEY DIDN’T LOOK BOTH WAYS!!” at the television.) People are buying interesting items – Daniel has filled his entire cart with blue plastic frat party beer cups, Wes has a giant yellow rubber ball, and Korto checks out the produce. Unfortunately a large number of the designers grab fabric-like items, such as plastic tablecloths and trash bags. (That’s not the POINT, people!! Sheesh.)

Back at Parson’s, people unload their stuff and get started. Jerry sniffs in disgust at other people’s items, commenting that it’s all “stuff that I would throw away”. And what did he pick up? A shower curtain. And a tablecloth. To make April Showers Bring blahblahblah. Yawn!

Let’s see what other people are doing. Joe has lined up boxes of multi-colored noodles, that looks interesting… Kelli is doing a neat bleach and dye job on some vacuum bags… Daniel is ironing his cut-up cups so they’ll mold onto his dress form (Now THAT’S seriously cool, I hope it works!)… Terri is braiding pieces of mop head. Leanne is disappointed that so many people got tablecloths, because she wanted to be different with HER tablecloth. *insert eye roll here* And Clockwork Stella’s freaking out. Instead of the nice Glad trash bags we saw her picking up in the store, she now has cheapo ones that disintegrate if you breathe on them. (Don’t you know you can’t use Glad? They sponsor Top Chef, not Project Runway.)

It’s time for the inaugural Visit From Tim! He starts with Blayne, who introduces him to his garment, which is called “Girlicious” and is basically a grownup onesie made of black shelf liner with a giant maxi pad made of jumprope attached to the front. Blayne states that he wants to be obnoxious and I think he’s doing quite a good job. It’s also obvious to me that Blayne aspires to be another Michael Kors – not in fashion design, but in skin tone. He’s quite orange. Let’s see where he lands on the scale.
Not bad, you’re getting there, Blayne!

After making the rounds, Tim is exasperated by the number of tablecloths being used and chews everyone out! He rightly predicts that the judges will say, “You guys are a bunch of slackers!” This freaks the tablecloth (and shower curtain) people out, and they start trying to do things to their garments to make them look less like tablecloths, with varying degrees of success.

The next morning, Kelli does what I believe might be the first Nina Garcia impression ever on PR. (It's much better than Jerell's weak attempt at a Tim impression earlier in the show.) It’s runway day, and most people are nervous as they hurry to finish their garments. Tim sends in the models. Blayne’s onesie doesn’t fit (somebody didn’t make sure their dress form was set to the model’s measurements, hmm?) so he has to sew her into it. Jerry, who has made – gasp – a raincoat out of a shower curtain (oh! The innovation!), decides to put his model in rain boots. Poor girl. She has this look on her face that says “I am soooo going to be air-kissing Heidi goodbye.” Just then, Tim returns to usher them out to the runway, and Korto realizes she’s forgotten to eat lunch so she rushes to the refrigerator to get her salad. No, wait, that’s part of her dress!

In the spirit of the challenge, Heidi strolls out onto the runway wearing a minidress made out of a damask tablecloth. (Nice hair, though!) Joining Heidi, Michael and Nina in the judges’ chairs this week is dear Austin, looking very businesslike in horn-rimmed glasses and a suit. Let’s start the show!

The safe designers:
Emily – It looks like someone smashed a piñata over her head and left it there.
Jerell – Interesting use of umbrellas, both cocktail and patio. And the sleeve-thing is a koosh ball. I think his tablecloth skirt got caught in a shredder though.
Leanne – It’s a giant bag covered in candy and coffee filters! Nina is NOT impressed.
Jennifer – Ingenious use of paper towels for the entire garment. And she put little lipstick kisses all over it, which is a nice idea, but they don’t show up very well.
Terri – The braided top is amazing, but she just phoned that skirt in.
Suede – Those tiny squares don’t do it for me. And it still looks like a tablecloth.
Joe – Wow, that pasta skirt is very cool. From far away it doesn’t even look like pasta, just a neat patterned material.
Kenley – Nice use of a dodge ball as a bodice, but that skirt fits weird.
Wes – This makes me think of Big Bird. He cut up plastic cups and flyswatters for the shoulder piece but they’re all the same shade of yellow so they don’t stand out enough.
Keith – I like how he used the dark netting to make it look shaded, but it still looks like a tablecloth.

(Geez, these pics from are horrible! Eww. Sorry!)

Who’s left on the runway?
Korto – Yes, she used a tablecloth, and it looks like one, but the vegetables saved her by adding a visual kick. The judges throw out words like “impeccable” and “chic”. They conclude that she has good taste (almost literally - nice salad, made me hungry).
Daniel – This is amazing and the model looks great in it. It kind of reminds me of the costumes in the movie Metropolis. The judges all like it, although MK can’t leave well enough alone and says he should have taken the silhouette further. Blah.
Stella – This is quite sad. Yeah, she sewed it all by hand, but I could do the same thing with NO sewing, AND I’d be sure and use Glad or Hefty. Heidi actually refers to this garment as “butt-ugly” and I wholeheartedly agree.
Jerry – Look! On the runway! It’s a bride! It’s a nun! It’s a… what the heck is it? The judges are just as confused, and can hardly find the words to describe its freakishness. They finally get around to deciding that this is what all the well-dressed psychopathic killer nurses will be wearing this season.
Blayne – Whatever this is, it’s certainly not boring anyone! Or impressing anyone! His wish to be obnoxious has come true. Heidi calls it a grunge Playboy bunny outfit.
Kelli – This is my favorite outfit. The treatment she did on the skirt looks great, and her use of spiral notebook to MAKE hook-and-eye closures on the back is bordering on genius. The waist is made of thumbtacks (which I hope she hammered flat because man, would that hurt). The only part I’m not too crazy about are the coffee filter boobs. Maybe she ran out of time, I don’t know. The judges are unanimous in their praise of her creativity.

It’s obvious who the two front-runners are: Kelli and Daniel. It could go either way, but the winner is Kelli! Way to go, fellow central Ohioan! (See, the Midwest isn’t a swirling void of ill-fitting sweatsuits and Angela’s fleurchons!) Kelli gets immunity next week.

Not surprisingly, the two left standing on the runway are Stella and Jerry. This could also go either way (and I’m secretly hoping that they do a double elimination, these were so bad). But in the end it’s Jerry who is sent to pack up his things. But he’ll be okay, he’s got his own company already anyway.

Next week: well, apparently Bravo has already listed every challenge and guest judge for the entire season (what is the deal with that??), so you can go look there. But I’m not going to look. I like to be surprised.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's That Time Again!

Yep, time for a new season of Project Runway! Which means I'm back to writing recaps.

Number of seasons I've recapped: two
Number of finale episodes I've recapped: none

Hmm... not doing too well. But I'm going to try it again! And now, I'm off to watch the show!