It's Always the Quiet One

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Leopards and Zebras and Monkeys, Oh My!

Dear PR production staff: I appreciate the fact that Elle is a sponsor of this show, but if you continue to shove this scowling Mary-Kate Olson cover down our throats every episode... ...I will hunt you down and set fire to your collective underclothing. Thank you.

On with the show! Roommates Keith and Daniel start out their morning in the fitness center, pumping iron. They both get very sweaty and I hope they left time to take showers before heading over to Parsons, or I pity the designers that have to sit next to them.

When they get there, Korto (as last week’s winner) gets the opportunity to switch models but she doesn’t. So there’s nothing left to do but give the designers their challenge: they will be designing for a high-powered, glamorous professional woman. This immediately makes Blayne think of Hillary Clinton in a neon pantsuit (a mental picture that's going haunt me for some time). Apparently Blayne has not had much contact with professional women (but possibly with some “professional women”). In the workroom everyone speculates on who it could be - Heidi? Nancy Grace? (gah.) Joan Rivers? (double-gah.) The late Divine? (Oh. That’s the other kind of professional woman. Sorry.) Of course Stella wants it to be Sharon Osbourne, because then she’d definitely get to make something out of leather.

Tim arrives with the mystery client: Brooke Shields!
The designs will be for her character on Lipstick Jungle, the Sex and the City knockoff she’s currently starring in and I’ve never seen. (In fact, I don’t know anyone who’s watched it, and I asked around.) Anyway, since this season has a recycling-of-past-challenges theme to it, the look must go from day to night, which was a challenge from S2. Then Tim stuns the designers by throwing in the big twist: their garments will be sewn and modeled by monkeys.

Well, you’d think that’s what he said, judging by the reaction he gets. What he really says is that they’ll be working in teams of two. Each designer will have to pitch their idea to Brooke, who will pick team leaders. Everyone gets busy sketching, and then they each go in and try to sell their look to her. She’s very diplomatic about it, even finding something fairly nice to say about the ones she obviously doesn’t like. Stella, who has drawn something with a corset and drawstrings and probably leather that would be great in an upscale bar for professional women Harley riders, gets a completely comical blank look on her face when Brooke reminds her that the character has to go to work in it. Before announcing the team leaders, Tim tells the designers that the winning look will end up on Brooke's show, thus guaranteeing a larger audience this season as PR viewers tune in to see if it really makes it on the air. (Hey! Andrew McCarthy is in the cast, so I may watch it once. I loved him in Mannequin). Terri proclaims that this is now a serious competition. (What was it before? Summer camp?)

Brooke's choices for team leaders are Keith, Terri, Korto, Blayne, Jerell and Kelli. Blayne chooses Leanne, Keith picks Kenley (much to Daniel's disappointment, 'cause, "hey, we pumped iron together!"), Terri selects Suede, and Korto chooses Joe. Kelli has to decide between Daniel and Stella. She likes Stella but Stella might screw up and have to go home and then Kelli will feel all guilty. So she goes with Daniel, and apparently feels really good about that. This leaves Jerell with Stella, but he's happy because he was planning to do something leather anyway. Or else he's just saying that to make Stella feel better because she was the last one left. The teams get $150 and head off to MOOD. Keith immediately regrets picking Kenley because she tries to take charge of choosing the fabric, and picks a technicolor daisy print that could have come out of a 1973 Sears catalog. Thankfully Tim also agrees that it’s hideous, and they get something else, while Keith sticks his tongue out at Kenley while her back is turned.

Back in the sewing room, buddies Kenley and Daniel grouse about having to sew someone else’s sucky designs. Kelli tells the story of her childhood and we all know what that means. (Cue ominous music.) Meanwhile, in the workroom, Keith and Jerell make plans to carpool to Bryant Park for Fashion Week, because they’re both really concerned about the ozone layer and they can each chip in on gas, which will be up to $6 a gallon by that time.

Tim sends the models in for an early fitting. Things are not looking good for Team Kelli. She can’t understand why, in the time it’s taken her to make a fully-lined jacket, Daniel has made a crappy skirt that’s only ruched on one side and has a crooked zipper, and makes the model look like one of her legs is considerably shorter than the other. She makes him rip it up and start over.
On the other side of the room, Terri lays into Suede for making a crappy shirt. She comments that she doesn’t care what he’s got in the anatomy department, but he’d better man up and sew some ruffles, dammit! (Take cover, designers, there’s a lot of crap flying around this workroom today!)

Later, Tim returns to check in. He visits Blayne, whose design contains a pair of Bermuda shorts. Brooke herself said she was ‘a bit scared’ of the design, and with good reason. What high-powered fictional studio executive wears shorts to work? In a vain effort to give some constructive advice, Tim tells Blayne he needs to "dress up" the shorts.

Tim must not have eaten much for lunch, because Korto's puffy orange jacket makes him think of a giant sweet potato. Joe and Korto get into it a little bit because Joe was all “I love it!” until Tim came in, and then he’s all “I have some reservations…” Korto is ticked. She goes into some big soliloquy about how if Joe was out playing near traffic she wouldn’t let him get hit by a taxi (but you know, deep down, she'd really want to push him in front of it).

Finally it’s time to get ready for the runway show. While everyone’s doing their last-minute tweaking, they all talk smack about each other’s outfits, Kelli is glad Daniel managed to finish the skirt so they don’t have to send the model down the runway half-naked, and Tim begs them all to use the accessory wall “appropriately” – whereas in other weeks he has told them to “borrow generously”. Hmm… Actually I think he needs to have a little chat with Jerell about his personal wardrobe, because he’s wearing… um…
...a couple of Depression-era flour sack curtains tied at the shoulders? With pants? And that ratty jacket with the safety pins all over it. Oooookay...

Heidi introduces Brooke as a “fashion icon”, and I think Heidi’s throwing the title around a bit too loosely this season (just because someone wears clothing does not make them an ‘icon’. Case in point: Jerell above). Let’s take a look at what the design teams dreamed up for Brooke’s character.

The safe designers
Korto and Joe - This is business attire? I'm not sure I could get away with this at a PTA meeting, let alone a board meeting. The day-to-evening aspect involves taking off the top, and underneath is a pretty plain tan tube dress. And boy, does it have fit issues!! The bust is all baggy and crooked. I do think the orange top would look great with jeans, so I'm not knocking the design, but it's not right for this challenge.
Terri and Suede - This outfit has the same basic issue for me. I really like this design, and it fits the evening wear criteria perfectly, but it's not appropriate for the office at all.

The top two Jerell and Stella – Compared to almost everything else Jerell has sent down the runway this season, this is pretty tame and tasteful. I wasn't digging the zebra-print belt but I do agree that it gave the design a bit of a kick. It didn't turn out looking much like his sketch, which included a more form-fitting skirt with colored side panels, but overall it's a pretty nice outfit. I guess you could wear a more businesslike belt during the day and put the zebra one on before you went out. (Oh, and don't forget the sunglasses. Because nothing says "night out" like some sunglasses.) Brooke likes the mix of textures. The judges think it's well-made, flirty and sexy.
Keith and Kenley – This was my favorite. The colors are great, I really like the ruffled skirt (it moved really nicely when the model walked) and I thought Keith's day-to-evening switch was really ingenious - the sleeves tie up near the neck for daytime and when it's time to go out they can be untied, which made them longer and open up the middle. (It's kind of hard to describe.) It's classy enough for work and relaxed enough for after work. You know the judges like it because they say it looks expensive. They like how Keith's and Kenley's completely different design aesthetics worked together (although they didn't hear Kenley complaining about the design for the entire show).

The bottom two Kelli and Daniel – Leopard print and aqua just don't to go together in my opinion. The daytime look (shown here) is actually not bad - not a very innovative silhouette but I could see someone wearing this to work. However, when the jacket comes off, it's - in the words of MK - "slutty, slutty, slutty", a corset top with straps and peeks of belly. Nina gets off a zinger - "you can't get taste if you don't have it" which is pretty much the kiss of death. When asked which of them should go home, Kelli picks Daniel because she won the first challenge and hasn't been in the bottom at all. Daniel is more upset by the implication that he has no taste - he defends himself by saying that his taste is impeccable. This sends Kenley, who is standing next to him, into a fit of giggles that isn't really explained and seriously pisses Daniel off. (I guess they won't be too buddy-buddy in the next episode.)
Blayne and Leanne – This would look great on Punky Brewster, not a high-powered executive. I don't know what Blayne was thinking. I don't know what Brooke was thinking for picking it! (I suspect the producers had a bit of a hand in his selection as a team leader.) The blue tank top underneath (the evening look) was nice, and I even like the blue shirt, but I'd wear them with jeans. (I'm also taking issue with Blayne for using the same pair of shoes AGAIN this week after I told him not to.) Nina accuses Blayne of not listening to Brooke. Heidi says it looks like the model got dressed in the dark. The judges also criticize Leanne for not trying to talk Blayne out of it. Blayne inisits he took a risk and stands behind his design. He also states that he would be the one to be auffed because it was his design. (See, Kelli, he's watched PR before - you never throw your teammate to the wolves! The judges don't like that!)

Keith is chosen as the winner, and I wholeheartedly agree with that decision. It's a beautiful design and met the challenge perfectly. He doesn't get immunity, but he does get his design on a network TV show to be seen by a handful of people, so that's pretty good.

It comes down to a choice between Kelli's questionable taste, and Blayne's inability to design something that fits the challenge as opposed to something he just feels like making. In the end it is Kelli that goes home. I am sad, because I like Kelli and I think she has designed some interesting things. (Plus she's one of my hometown girls! Go Columbus!) But she's doing okay - her shop's getting a lot of business, and I hope I'll be able to get down there sometime. Let's bid her a fond farewell as we take one last look at her very elaborate tattoo.

Next episode: It's Chris March!! And drag queens!! And pink pterodactyls from a gay Jurassic Park!! Whoopee!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! As always! Your "turn of phrase" often has me chuckling, and then laughing outloud.

Oh, and FYI, I have seen EVERY episode of Lipstick Jungle. It is not a bad show!

Can't wait for the next installment!


7:50 PM  
Anonymous Polgarra said...

I love your recaps, mostly cause I agree with you about everything. Except for Stella. I think I like her more than you. I just can't help it.

10:22 PM  

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