Thursday, October 19, 2006

Project Runway: Goddammit.

It's the finale! FinaleFinaleFinale! And we catch up with the designers one and a half days before the show. Everyone's hard at work except Jeffrey, who's already finished, which led Laura (and, to a lesser degree, the others) to accuse him of outsourcing his sewing.

Uli regrets the accusation, but Laura and Michael don't. Laura even points out that, as a business owner, Jeffrey would have access to outside help. Jeffrey is rightfully bothered that Laura questioned his integrity, which Laura, in a fit of delusion, denies. Oh, Laura. I love you, but I'd love you a lot more if you'd come out and admit that you're out to get Jeffrey, at least a little bit. The plot thickens as Jeffrey is apparently missing receipts from the pleating company.

The day before the show, the designers arrive at the workroom, where the mood is subdued. Jeffrey spends his free time pacing around worrying, and then decides to make a skirt in case he can't find the missing receipt for the shorts he was going to use. Eight hours before the end of the day, Tim shows up and gathers the designers together before declaring Jeffrey not guilty. Uli is visibly happy, and hugs a crying Jeffrey. Michael looks a bit sheepish, and Laura seems...pensive. Jeffrey won't, however, be able to use the shorts. He's also over budget by about $200, and so will have to toss something from the collection and inform the judges. This was our scandal? Jesus Christ, Kara Saun's shoe thing in the first season was worse than this!

Jeffrey is rightfully pleased with the outcome, and decides to toss the wigs to resolve the budget issue, and use some extra leather pants he made instead of the backup skirt. Laura, continuing her delusional ways, says that the solution was a good compromise, and that she never meant to keep him from showing. I'm calling bullshit.

One hour before the end of the day, Michael (joining Laura on "Team Delusional") feels good, but nervous. Uli is also feeling confident. Oh, Michael. You're breaking my heart. Tim gathers everyone round for the last time, and is totally verklempt. He actually has to stop and compose himself. Awwww. I love Tim! He's really proud of the designers' work, and calls them all winners. Take Michael's collection out of the equation and we'll be on the same page, Tim. The designers wrap up the night with a group hug.

It's the morning of the show, and the designers are up at ass o'clock in the morning. Laura reiterates that she wants to beat Jeffrey on the runway. 'Cause I'm sure if they had found that Jeffrey outsourced the sewing, she would have turned all Uli and been like "No, it's a design competition. Let him show anyway!" Not that she should have, but come ON, Laura. You would've been happy to have him gone. Admit it!

The designers try and stay calm, but when they see the tents at Bryant Park they realize how huge the moment is. Jeffrey, who feels that he needs to prove he deserves to be there, calls it the biggest day of his life. So does Uli. Once they get inside, there is much marveling at all the soon-to-be-filled seats, and Laura and Jeffrey walk the runway. Well, Laura waddles the runway, anyway.

Two hours before showtime, there is much rushing around behind the scenes, and Michael is feeling the pressure to make sure everything's perfect. Too late, Michael. Too late. A few Extreme Zooms on the Tresemme products later, it's five minutes to curtain. The families are all patiently waiting for the show to start, and the designers are feeling the nerves and the moment.
Heidi comes out to start off the show. Our guest judge this year is Fern Mallis, the creator of Olympus Fashion Week and Vice President of IMG Fashion. I see Daniel V. in the crowd!

Jeffrey's collection is first, and he bounds onto the runway with excitement. Introducing his family, he says, "That's my son and he's crying...with glee." Ha! His music of choice is very moody, and a bit too low-energy for the collection, I think. Maybe it would be good for a collection actually influenced by Japanese ghost and demon stories, but not for these outfits. What outfits, you say? Well, the pictures on Bravo's site are a bit messed up right now, but here's the link to his collection so you can try and follow along at home, and I'll link to the ones I can.

The first bunch of looks were with polka dots. I liked this one a lot (if the link works), but overall wasn't blown away. As the patterns shifted into stripes, though, I dug the outfits a lot more. Everything was beautifully constructed, and with the exception of a glaringly out-of-place floor-length Uli dress, the collection fit together and expressed a point of view very well. My other favorite was this striped blazer. He gets lots of cheering at the end (although no applause for individual looks), but I wasn't that impressed. Then again, what the hell do I know? Nothing, apparently. (Spoiler Alert!)

Uli's next! She talks a bit too long about this being her dream come true, but you can't hate her for it. I really like her music--it's sort of a bouncy piano and strings with a beat. Her collection started off with a lot of neutrals, mostly tan and silver, which was a bit of a narrow palate for me, but it all looked great. She definitely stepped out of her comfort zone with so few prints and so many short dresses. The truly "Uli" pieces came out at the end, including a great swimsuit which got a big round of applause. Nazri's beautifully patterned dress, which I can't seem to link to, was stunning, and rightfully got a round of applause. The whole collection gets loud applause and cheers. Way to bring it out, Uli! Michael Kors looks very happy.

Laura's next, and jokes with the crowd that she finally made it "big" in the fashion world (she's hugely pregnant). Hee hee. Her music is peppy and jazzy, and the collection started off with lots of gold tones and moved into black lace. It was definitely more youthful (and dressy) than her usual fare, but still very, very Laura. A somewhat risqué floor length black lace dress got applause, as did a feathered skirt that must've taken forever to make. Most of her looks had detail that looked very painstaking--beading, feathers, sequins, etc. I loved this beaded dress, and this outfit, another of my favorites, got a big round of applause. I actually didn't love the final look, which seemed a bit over-the-top to me, but it was overall a job very well done. Way to go, Laura!

Michael gets HUGE applause coming out--he's obviously the crowd's favorite. Little do they know the horrors that are to come... He says that his inspiration is a woman on the hunt to find out who she is. She finds out that she's sexy and sophisticated. Um...not unless the clothes have changed since I last saw them. Or are they all from before she finds herself?

The collection started with lots of 70's-looking white outfits. Here's a representative sample. Yeah, I wasn't stunned yet either, but brace yourself, because it got a LOT worse. We're talking Day-Glo orange, hot pink, a horrifying gold swimsuit, and a few prints that make my eyes hurt just thinking about them. Yeah, yikes. Everything seemed to fit very well (read: formfitting), and looked well-made, but damn. In Project Runway-speak, the taste level wasn't there. Especially with those huge belts. No one piece got applause, and I was NOT feeling it either. Sorry, Michael. And wow, Tim said in his blog that Michael really pulled it together from when he first arrived in New York. I cringe to think of what the collection must have initially looked like for THIS to be better.

So what the hell happened with him? My theory is that he only works well with restraints on his creativity. He excelled at extremely restrictive challenges (make something out of trash, out of room decor, in the style of Pam Grier, etc.), and even presented work made with the constraints of previous Project Runway challenges at his audition. His portfolio, as the judges later point out, was much like this collection. I'm just sayin'.

After the show, everyone's buzzing. Michael, still on board "Team Delusion," thinks it went well. Sigh. At this point, I think it's down to Uli and Laura, and most showgoers are in agreement (but apologetic toward Michael). Uli gets the most votes, and Bravo earns my scorn by interviewing a Wal-Mart executive. Lame, Bravo. Laaame.

The judges, it seems, thought it was a great show. Everyone had a point of view (Michael's being "Ugly"), it was emotional, exciting, etc. etc. And I'll admit, it was MUCH better than last season's lame-ass final show. Even with Michael's dud of a collection. But come on, as each season has brought more experienced designers, you'd think someone would be able to come close to Jay's winning collection from the first season. So far? Not so much.

The judges bring out the designers and models, and the great interrogation begins. Laura says that she wanted to do eveningwear and create a romantic, escapist, luxurious collection. The judges can't believe she created what she did for only $8,000. And holy crap, she did all the beading on Camilla's outfit herself? Wow. Unfortunately, Michael and Nina don't think she brought out the surprise factor enough. Uh-oh. Fern, though, thinks the focus was "extraordinary" given the time and budget restraints.

Michael's turn. I begin cringing in anticipation of the tongue-lashing that is sure to follow. He says he found who he was as a designer through the show, and thus thought of a safari concept. Hmm, that's cool, I guess. He was also, apparently, inspired by the 70's. You don't say! Fern acknowledges that he was the crowd favorite, but doesn't think the collection stood up to the expectations. The judges, along with me and the rest of America, are disappointed. Michael Kors thinks Michael turned the volume up too high. The judges DO like the beautiful make and fit of the clothes, and the fact that Michael made a range of types of outfits (sportswear, swimsuit, eveningwear, etc.).

Jeffrey continues to try and pass off his collection as inspired by Japanese ghost stories. Whatever, dude. Fern loved Marilinda's dress, and though Jeffrey had a lot of great ideas. I will grudgingly agree with that. Michael likes that Jeffrey gave the girls outfits for all kinds of occasions, but Fern thinks that the nicer looks seemed out of place compared to the much stronger sporty looks. Heidi calls him out on going over the budget. Apparently, though, once he tossed the wigs he was $600 under budget. How much do wigs cost?!

Uli's up next, and says that she wanted to show them a broader variety than she has before. Nina thinks the clothes are terrific and saleable, and that the solids are actually really nice. Heidi would wear anything in the collection, and thinks it was young, fun, and diverse. Michael loved Nazri's dress, but didn't think that the connective thread between the pieces was cohesive, color-wise. Fern points out that resort clothing is incredibly lucrative in fashion right now, which I didn't know.

The judges deliberate alone. They think that Uli makes the kind of clothes women want to put on. She also pays attention to detail, is passionate, and works hard. Michael weirdly thinks that her show was "just a little bit of a roller coaster." What does that even mean? I'm going to assume it was cut out of context, or something.

They think Jeffrey was the most innovative, and that the variety he showed was perfect. They hated the long gown, though, and don't like that he went over budget.

While they agree that Laura is meticulous and shows amazing workmanship, Nina isn't sure that she's creative and innovative enough to win.

They think that Michael's clothes fit beautifully, but that the taste level wasn't quite up to par.

Kindly, the judges say that all the contestants have a career waiting for them in fashion. Nina even wants Uli's number. They bring the designers back as we go to commercial. America apparently thinks that Michael should win. Did you see his collection, America? Did you?

Heidi says she's proud of all the contestants, but that there can only be one winner. Just like there could only be three finalists, right, Heidi? The judges believe in Michael's future as a designer, but he needs time to mature. That's putting it kindly. He says he'll take the world by storm, though. I hope so, Michael!

Laura's also out. What?! They say she had an exquisite collection, but that it was too limited. Fashion sucks, you guys. Her collection was AWESOME. She's at peace with the decision, though.

Ok, so Uli has to win. Right? ...Right? According to Heidi, Jeffrey's collection was innovative, cohesive, and showed his range. Uli's collection pushed her, and was beautiful and saleable. Congratulations...Jeffrey. Um...are you fucking kidding me? Goddammit. Uli's happy for him, and thinks things happen for a reason. I guess she's gonna do great things anyway, but day-am. This sucks. Jeffrey's in shock, happy, whatever. BAH, Project Runway. BAH.


Anonymous said...

"Ok, so Uli has to win. Right? ...Right?"

Exactly my thoughts at that point!

Anonymous said...

i completely agree with you on everything. i was so happy that uli showed a very good collection.

i also agree with you about wal-mart. that was not only lame, it was weird. of all things they could have kept it, why not edit this out. as it was, i was a bit disappointed that they hadn't made this into a 90-minute finale.

so my question to you is "why link to wal-mart?" they don't deserve the extra attention.

Liz said...

Yeah, in my opinion Uli got totally hosed. Ah, well...she'll sell tons anyway.

And I actually linked to Wal-Mart Watch, an anti-Wal-Mart organization! :) So we're on the same page there.

Anonymous said...

Oh yey! More anti-Wallmarters! WOO!!

Liz said...

Indeed, Wal-Mart=Evil.

Oh, and if anyone was wondering, the links to Bravo's photos do change the pictures around, if that makes sense, so they sometimes aren't linked to the outfits I was actually describing. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Uli deserved the win at all. Her collection was pretty, and everything looked okay, but I didn't really LOVE anything. There was nothing different about it at all and it wasn't very cohesive. Jeffrey definitely deserved to win, and I'm happy for him.

Liz said...

Fair enough...I think that with three collection so good (excluding Michael's, sadly) it just becomes a matter of personal taste. Like I said, I'm no fashionista, so I'm just going by my own personal impressions.

I'd actually probably be more likely to buy something out of Jeffrey's collection, since I'm not as mature as Laura's or as sophisticated as Uli's. I definitely like edgy. I just personally thought Uli's stood up better as a whole.

Somebeach said...

I didn't think Laura was delusional, she WASN'T questioning his integrity.

She had no question in her mind.

Colleen said...

I agree, it should have been uli all the way. Jefferey was a perfect second. But no, no, no.... Id wear Uli's clothes. Id wear them right now. What, you say its winter? Bah, fuck that shit.

Liz said...

Winter outside, perhaps, but a tropical 80 or so degrees inside my apartment, thanks to some overenthusiastic radiators. Resort-wear, here I come!