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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ep 09: End in Tears

Now that we're down to 8 designers, I think it's time for a reckoning.

Points: Win=3, Top=2, Safe=1, Bottom=0


Michael C

Not sure what it's worth, since theoretically a major screw-up can setnd anyone home. But what's interesting is that you'd think Ivy would be losing it and Valerie would be confident, and instead it's the other way around. Anyway...

The show begins with Mondo and Christopher moving in with Andy and Michael C.

Andy: "Now I'll be with people I can trust."
Whatever, Andy. Hope there's a reunion show - maybe there will be some explanation for all the Michael C hatred.

At the runway, Heidi comes out...

Tastefully dressed at last!
... to tell the designers that she's not going to tell them about the challenge. This scene is increasingly a waste of airtime. Anyway, she is willing to say one thing.

Heidi: "A big chunk of change is involved."
I was expecting a pun, but sure enough, when Tim presents the challenge, Collier is with him.

It's the Loreal Challenge! Winner gets an "advertorial" in Allure and 20K!

The Challenge: Create a dramatic, high-fashion, couture-like look in your own style, inspired by eyeshadow.

Yes, eyeshadow
I'll admit that I've always been really into eye makeup, but this seems like a stretch even for me. However, for $20,000, I expect anyone could be inspired.

The eyeshadow comes in several finishes, and the designers choose which one they want to use as their theme. For some reason, Tim picks names from the velvet bag, even though they seem to be able to choose whatever they want.

Mondo picks Bright (surprise), and so does Ivy, who wants to show the judges that she doesn't only work with neutrals. Michael C goes for Metallic, as does Andy. Christopher and Valerie like Crystal, April decides on Matte, and Gretchen says she's taking a risk by picking Velvet.

They get $300 and two days. Sketch and Mood. Swatch can't stop barking.

Swatch: "I hate Tim's shoes."  

Tim: "My shoes are going to get you, Swatch!"
When they get back from Mood, there's new music! That's practically unheard of on this show. It's a whistle-and-finger-snap ditty chosen to show that the designers are being lackadaisical since they have 2 days. April interviews that she's working at speed since she wants to be ready for anything that might be coming.

April is smart, as well as mature, funny and talented.
If April is single, perhaps she'd like to meet katson! (Joking- katson has a great girlfriend who is also mature, funny and talented.)

Everyone's working away, but there's some gretch-style drama.

Gretchen: "Michael C is using MY colors."
"Boundaries have been CROSSED!"

"I OWN burgundy!"
1,610,067 French people: "Mais non!"
It's a good thing Gretchen wasn't competing in S2, when everyone kept using the navy charmeuse. It would have been a bloodbath.

Tim's Walkabout - He mostly tells the designers to be themselves and make sure they're going big enough. He does say that Gretchen's dress looks like a robe (true) and that Ivy is being too literal with her concept (also true).

Since this is the Loreal Challenge and they're ponying up 20K, they get extra screen time this week. The designers consult with Collier on their makeup looks. And I must say, the man's good at his job.

Andy wants warrior girl makeup.

Collier notes that Mondo is not afraid of color.
Ivy's model gets a fairly tasteful treatment of blue - as tasteful as it gets, anyway. I don't like blue eyeshadow - it's a hangover from the early 70s when I first started wearing makeup.

Next, model fittings. Mondo has some trouble.

Mondo's bodice is much bigger than his model.
He's going to have to re-make it, because just tightening it messed up his construction.

Day Two: everyone seems really tired. April mentions Red Bull several times. Several of the designers are worried about time. Mondo thinks his model might need to go down the runway in a bustier and panties.

"Would they let her?"
Tim's back, and the designers don't look thrilled to see him. He says he is shaking as he presents The Twist: Create a second look - a ready-to-wear version of their runway garment.

They have 15 minutes to sketch and 15 minutes at Mood. Everyone but April is freaking out as they work. Tim comes through to see how everyone is doing.

Valerie is particularly stressed.
She knows she doesn't have time to make her original design and fears presenting something really unworthy. Tim tells her that all designers want to realize their grandest visions, but when they can't, they need to let them go and focus on Making It Work. That was a very caring and important speech.

Still, Valerie loses it. She runs out to cry. Ivy and then Gretchen follow. They're in the restroom, so we hear but don't see. Valerie says she's afraid she's going to make an ass of herself on the runway.

Valerie's friends talk her down from the ledge and they return to work.
Valerie interviews that she appreciates their help, since they have work to do also. Ivy interviews that Valerie needs to suck it up more. I've seen some articles taking her to task for this, and while I'm not a big fan of Ivy, I disagree. We all get impatient with friends from time to time, but Ivy showed her support when Val was down. She gets a pass on this one.

Runway time! The judges are Michael, Nina and guest Naeem Khan, designer of Michelle Obama's dress below.

Love them or hate them, you can't deny they're a gorgeous couple.

The runway look is very April, as well as well-made and nicely proportioned. She really has a point of view, but I hope in the next challenge to see something new. The ready-to-wear dress is cool, with the slimming lace panelling, but I wish she'd step away from the ruffly bed jackets. Still...

My rating: Top 3

Interesting how Mondo used stripes and a plaid again, almost like the Jackie O look (I know, herringbone and plaid aren't the same) and created a completely different effect. Pay attention, April! The RTW is very wearable, by women of all ages and sizes - and here we see the slimming panelling again.

My rating: Top 3, the clear winner

I guess last week was a fluke. Her runway gown looks like a costume from a junior high school musical, with lopsided bodice and crepe paper streamers glued on. The RTW cocktail dress looks lumpy around the waist, but if the neckline were symmetrical, it might have been OK.

My rating: Bottom 3, and totally auf

Michael C
Hmmm. The runway gown is rather interesting from the bodice to the knees, then everything goes insane. The wired hem is bizarre and costumey, and the train is so long as to be preposterous. The RTW cocktail dress is pretty, and very flattering to an hourglass figure. If Michael had reined it in on the bottom of the gown, he could have been Top 3.

My rating: Safe

The bones of the gown are fine, but the cloth swathing the hips and the shoulder poof take it in to the realm of parody. Luckily, the cocktail RTW dress is beautiful. Panelling again, but with the shoulder straps, the asymmetrical neckline works, while Ivy's didn't. Anyway, the second looks means Christopher is... 

My rating: Safe, as always

You know, personally I really like the Art Nouveau runway look. The patterned velvet is very soft and pretty, the feathers are unexpected, and the beading on back is beautiful if the wrong color. But this is a costume for The House of Elliot, not a current runway garment. The RTW dress has a split personality - the woman who would want to show that much leg while walking wouldn't want such a droopy silhouette while standing still.  

My rating: Bottom 3, but not out

It's too bad she wasn't able to realize the sketch she made for the runway look - it was fabulous in a Bob Mackie kind of way. But it was so ambitious she had to dumb it way down, and the RTW dress is a sloppy afterthought. She's very lucky Ivy's is such a trainwreck.

My rating: Bottom 3

Personally, I think his runway look is a science fiction film costume, but I know the judges will love it. Especially the boot-pants; they love that kind of gimmick. Anyway, the costume is well-designed and constructed. The RTW dress is beautiful and wearable, and it's just what Heidi should wear on the show.

My rating: Top 3, on sheer theatricality

Judges: Please step forward, April and Christopher. They are Safe.

That means Mondo, Andy and Michael C are the Top 3, while Ivy, Valerie and Gretchen are on the bottom?

No, Michael C is joining Ivy and Valerie in the Bottom 3. They are sent backstage while the judges talk to the top group.

Gretchen explains that her runway look is a fantasy of what she wants to show in her work, while her RTW dress has all the best elements in an accessible garment. I'd like to quote Jay when he acted as a judge in Season 2, "Big speech - doesn't match the dress." I don't get the glamour that Gretchen has over the judges. Anyone else presenting this would have been told that it was something out of a Merchant Ivory film. I've read that in person, Gretchen is very model-y. Maybe that's it.

Anyway, Heidi loves the beading on the back. Naeem agrees with her, but they both think it should be on the front.
Naeem: "Think about sitting at the dinner table and put the details where they'll be seen."
Michael: "The hair is costumey."
Nina: "But the makeup is perfect."
katnap: They're both right.
Andy's look was inspired by armour, and his RTW dress has the same metallic fabric with a sheer overlay to make it more wearable. All the judges love the cocktail dress. Nina and Michael love the runway outfit, especially the boot pants (told ya). Naeem like it, Heidi doesn't.

Mondo explains that his runway gown was inspired by kaleidoscopes. While Michael says it's too short and Nina thinks the fabric is inexpensive-looking, they really love it otherwise. Naeem is impressed by the masterful use of stripes. Michael says the back looks like the Kentucky Derby winner's ribbon exploded, and he means it as a compliment. They love the hat and the hair.

Mondo, the heir to Philip Treacy?
All the judges find the RTW dress simple, wearable and beautiful.

The Bottom 3 are out next. Ivy is first, and she explains her ocean influence. Michael says all the bottom 3 looks have a pageant, bridesmaid problem, and Ivy's looks like "bridesmaids under the sea. He hates the way she used the colors.

Ivy clearly disagrees.

"It's overkill."

"You tried hard, but - please."
Naeem tells Valerie that she was not imaginative enough. Michael says she tried to force soft fabric into a structured design. Nina says when she looks at it, she sees Miss Guatemala. Valerie tells her that her family is Guatemalan.

Nina: "OMG, I intended to disparage your gown, not your heritage!"
Michael says that the only possible accessory is a wand.

"Bippity, boppety, boo!"
They all agree that the RTW dress is a sloppy afterthought.

Michael says that Michael C's gown is pure Gone With the Wind.

"The model is styled like Scarlett O'Hara..."

"...and the train includes all the drapes of Tara."
They like the RTW cocktail dress, but Heidi says it's too short - that you need to choose boobs or legs, not both.

Just sayin', Heidi.

The deliberations mostly repeat the runway comments as usual, but there's a debate about who's worse, Ivy or Valerie. Not surprisingly, Nina picks Valerie, but Naeem says Ivy.

The verdict:
The Winner

Mondo says he had $14 to his name when he got to Project Runway.

Mondo: "I now have $20,014 to my name."
April: "Will you buy me a miniature horse?"

Joyful tears!

Andy is in. Gretchen is in. Michael C is in.

And there's a very long pause before they say that Valerie

Guilty tears.
When Ivy comes in to say goodbye, she says she'll miss designing.

Disappointed tears.
The other designers point out that she'll still be a designer.

Valerie: "I wish I could go home for you."
Ivy's look says she doesn't disagree.
Ivy, superior to the last, interviews that she feels she's more creative than some of the remaining designers.

Ivy: "Good luck, and stop kvetching!"
Coda 1:

Congrats from Collier.
Mondo participates in the shoot for the "advertorial." He's a bit intimidated.

Mondo: "I've never done anything like this in my life, but I could get used to it!"
I'm sure he'll get the chance. Mondo is talented, and he looks really cute in a suit - like a Hispanic bar mitzvah boy. His closing interview: "It's good to dream and work hard because it pays off." Words to live by!

Coda 2:
We all know the final collections of all the designers who showed - final 3 and decoys - are available through our friends at Blogging Project Runway. I'm waiting until a designer is eliminated before looking at his or her collection. Ivy's collection was pretty much what you'd expect - very well-made, but nothing particularly innovative. Still, I'd wear most of it. Here's a sample: