Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Runway: Back in Business

Phew! Finally a return to normalcy on Project Runway this week after a duo of challenges resulting in stunningly bad outfits. Last night's challenge was great, and the results definitely separated the wheat from the chaff. They also finally started to make me believe that this season's group of designers can live up to the talent of previous seasons', which I had honestly been doubting thus far.

The models this week are all women who have lost huge amounts of weight--from 45 to 160 pounds, in fact. Wow. And they're all wearing their (very baggy) favorite old outfits, which will unfortunately serve as the raw material for the challenge: To make outfits suitable for the clients' everyday lives, while still expressing their point of view as a designer. Wow, this is, like, the most booby-trapped challenge ever! Let's list the pitfalls: The models aren't traditional sizes, the designers have to balance their clients' wishes with their own style, AND the fabric choice is limited and largely awful. Yikes.

Models are chosen randomly, and Steve gets stuck with the one wearing a freaking wedding dress. Satiny polyester, beads, lace, the whole nine yards (possibly literally, given the amount of weight some of these women have lost). Man, that's rough. Or, as he describes it, "death on a stick." Some designers (Victorya) aren't really into the idea of making clothes for real people. Others, like Kevin and Elisa, think it's great. With $10 and 15 minutes at Mood, Steve and Jillian decide to buy new fabric, and use the old only for accents. Risky!

In the meantime, poor Jack has a potential staph infection, unrelated to his HIV since his immune system isn't suppressed. Incidentally, props to the dude for being so healthy in general after being HIV-positive for 17 years. Sadly, with his face swelling up rapidly and the intensity of the necessary treatment, his doctor wants him to get help immediately, so Jack breaks the news to Tim that he needs to leave the competition before telling the rest of the group. It's so sad, you guys. I hope they let him back on for the next season, so he can get a fair shot at it. He was showing so much promise! The group is shaken up, and finding it difficult to "carry on." In happier news, Jack's exit means that Chris is back on the show, to everyone's immense delight. Seriously, they love the dude. He'll have all night to finish his outfit, due to the late start.

The clients arrive for a fitting, and seem generally happy with the designers' work. God, if I had lost that much weight, I'd be happy with anything and everything in life (which may explain a couple clients' positive reactions to what look like pretty ugly designs-in-the-making). Steven's client, though, does mildly question his choice to use black. This may or may not be important later.

Tim takes a turn around the block, complimenting Christian's outfit, but questioning how little Steven is using the wedding dress, and whether Elisa's will please her client. He also warns Chris to avoid being costume-y, which seems like a lost cause at this point, since Chris is going with a "sailor" theme. Tim also cautions Chris to make his decisions while he's still rested, because Tim has "made more bad decisions at 3 o'clock in the morning than [he] can list." Haven't we all, Tim? Haven't we all? But apparently, Tim's such an "old fart" that his brain didn't go there, to the amusement of everyone.

The next morning, Chris is just waking up from his two-hour nap when everyone arrives to put the finishing touches on their looks. Steven basically runs out of time, so Kevin and Victorya (didn't think she had it in her!) help him finish up, which still doesn't save him from having to glue the hemline. And that's really, REALLY not the worst thing about his outfit. Christian, as usual, is extremely confident, but he's got some competition in Kevin, whose model looks amazing in her outfit.

Runway time! The guest judge is Gap's head designer, which makes sense, because Gap's child laborers and Project Runway's designers are forced to work the same long hours with no pay. Oh, except that there's not a $100,000 prize at the end of the road for the child laborers, so much as a life of misery. Aaaanyway, let's check out the outfits!

Sweet P did an OK job with what she had to work with, I suppose, but I definitely fault her for the black tights and shoes--they didn't complement the dress at all. Jillian made an incredibly cute and flattering dress (I especially love the black lines), but didn't really adhere to the spirit of the challenge when she bought virtually all new fabric, which is pretty lame. Ricky's outfit is nice and flattering, but a little too reminiscent of something you'd buy on sale at The Limited.

I honestly feel like Chris could have pulled it off, if not for the giant red hip-enhancing bow. Urgh. Christian's outfit is totally hot, totally Christian, and totally impressive, given the pickiness of his model. Victorya's look, on the other hand, was very "holiday cocktail party." Which, given what she had to work with, was a fine result, but far from stunning. Which makes me happy, since I'm not loving Victorya so far. Elisa's design is a big fat "meh." It's like she decided to just layer a bunch of fabric, rather than actually design something flattering. I expected something better.

I also expected something better from Kit, one of my early favorites, though her outfit is definitely cute. It's just not "wow," you know? Kevin's, on the other hand, is amazing. Fashion-forward, flattering, completely transformed, and just plain HOT. His model is clearly loving it. Which makes it extra-painful to see Steven's next, as it's just...oosh. He didn't use the wedding dress, and he still totally botched it. Ugly design, poorly-constructed, and just generally a Bad Idea. Rami's look was very cute, and his model definitely liked it. It's not at the same level as Kevin's or Christian's, though, fashion-wise.

The judging panel leaves Steven, Christian, Chris, Kevin, Jillian, and Elisa in the spotlight. The good: Kevin's model loves her outfit, as do the judges, though Michael questions the leggings, ingenuity-wise. Jillian gets dinged by Heidi and Nina for not using the material, but Michael loves that the dress is sexy without being hoochie, and Nina just plain loves the dress. Christian gets mad props for managing to make something that suits his style, could sell, and pleases his client.

The bad: Elisa tries to explain her point of view, and her model says she feels great in the outfit, but Heidi doesn't think it suits her model's classic style. Michael doesn't find all the choppy layers flattering. Chris's model also claims to like the outfit, though Michael thinks it's too cliché, and the Gap guy questions the Red Bow of Horror. The ugly: Steve gets criticized for not using the original dress, though it's definitely a stretch when Michael calls the wedding dress fabric "amazing." Nina questions the black, saying it takes the garment from wedding to funeral.

In solo deliberation, the judges point out that Kevin's model loved her outfit and was very comfortable in it. They like that Christian really used the model's clothes and made them look great without compromising his style. They think Jillian's dress was perfect, though she didn't use the model's fabric. On the other end, they think that Elisa's dress was unflattering and unsuited to her client's style. Steve's didn't use the dress, and his model looked like a French maid. Chris's costume-y outfit, on the other hand, looked like a "1950's Paris hooker," which I didn't realize was a fashion cliché.

Jillian, who obviously couldn't win without having really followed the spirit of the challenge, is in. Christian is the winner, which is fair, though I probably would've leaned more in the Kevin direction. Kevin, of course, is in, as is Chris. Elisa, Heidi points out, couldn't change her style to suit her client, and used too many layers. Steven turned a "joyful" wedding dress into a boring, clichéd French maid outfit. Steven is out, DUH, and Elisa is in. Well, it may not have been suspenseful, but at least the outfits were interesting this week! Here's hoping the season continues along this vein, and that Jack and Dale are off somewhere hosting fabulous viewing parties.


David Dust said...

Nice recap!

Click here for DavidDust's Project Runway recap.

kp said...

I'm coming back after a self-imposed break from all things television. I am really bummed about the strike, so I haven't really been watching anything and am more or less saving anything new for a day when I can't watch another movie. *sigh* Love your thoughts on PR - pretty much all my thoughts exactly! And I hate Victorya, she is like a even more prissy and annoying Vera Wang. ;)

Liz said...

Hey, KP, welcome back! Yeah, the strike is sucky for sure. But at least there will be some new scripted shows premiering in the next couple are the darkest days.

Yeah, Victorya sucks, and is overrated, in my opinion.