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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ep12: The Mayor of Excuses Village*

*Jonathan Adler, Top Design, 2007

This will be short - had emergency root canal Friday morning. Thanks to Laura K of Blogging Project Runway - she sent me a Tim Gunn bobblehead as a trivia prize, and Tim is pushing me through this recap - "I can't want you to succeed more than you do." Thanks, Tim and Laura - I'll make it work.

The show opens immediately after the last elimination, with Tim sending the final 5 back to to the runway.

Heidi: Sur-priiise!
And the real surprise is that this is no Twist. They are sent to a swanky Presidential Suite to relax, drink champagne and reflect. Standouts:

Gretching about I-I-I as usual
This is the man who couldn't connect a few short weeks ago.
Next morning, Tim and Mayor Bloomberg present the challenge.

Take inspiration from NYC
They have $500 and 2 hours at a landmark of their choice to sketch.

Michael C picks the Statue of Liberty. Too literal? This could be trouble.

Mondo and April both head to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Andy goes to Central Park, which seems odd - Andy doesn't seem to be inspired by nature. That seems more like a Gretchen thing.

Gretchen chooses the Lower East Side. As an inspiration, that's very non-specific. It's also not a "landmark."

At Mood, the fabric choices are a bit baffling.

Andy: Central Park?
Tim tells April she should think about a surprise. April agrees...
...and heads straight for the black chiffon.
The Muppets Take Brooklyn?
Swatch: This concerns me.

Back in the workroom. Tim tells them to one or more will be going home... design, conceptualize, finish, and choose their adverbs from the Piperlime Thesaurus wisely.
Work flurry. A few highlights:

Gretchen: Michael C is ME, only, like, so 5 years ago.

8:30? Ruh-roh

Tim's Walkabout: Helps Mondo decide to scratch the sequins. Obliquely encourages April to back off the crazy by telling her that her strength is in her ability to step back and look at her work objectively. Shows Michael C the error of his tortured-fabric ways. Advises Andy to step away from the slutty. Gives Gretchen a clue that it might be better to reference her customer rather than herself.

There's a hair blah, and fitting blah, and styling blah blah blah.

Runway time!
Heidi's top is so gorgeous I can barely concentrate on the runway. Who made that?
The judges are Michael, Nina and S4 winner Christian, arguably the most successful PR designer ever. Rest assured that I will eschew the use of the F-word while he's with us.

From Christian's latest collection
On with the show...

Michael C
I'm  ambivalent - on one hand, there's a clear reference to the inspiration, it's pretty, and the very high slit and very low back are dramatic. On the other, it seems simple in the extreme. If there's an interesting flow as the model walks, it's hard to tell with the black fabric.

My rating: 2 of 5

This outfit is completely blah - the colors are boring and even ugly, the skirt bunches as the model walks, and the details on the jacket are forced and don't lie right. I can't imagine anyone wanted to wear any of these pieces.
My rating: 5 of 5, my pick for the auf

Cool, but too much going on IMO. The patent details, plus the cutouts on the back, all add up to too much. Still, it's very Andy.
My rating: 3 of 5 - it would have been 2, except it has nothing to do with Central Park unless it was covered by an oil slick

Another spot-on pattern mix with a clear reference to his inspiration. This dress could be worn by a woman in her 60s (with a somewhat longer skirt) as well as a girl in her early 20s. 

My rating: 1 of 5, the winner yet again

Calling Stevie Nicks from the 70s - your album cover dress is ready. This is totally April, but who could wear this, and where would she be going? Also, the cutout over the armpit is strange and unflattering. In anyone but a model, that area is really problematic for bulges. April doesn't help herself when she styles the model as an April clone, because it gives the judges the impression that she can only design for herself.
My rating: 4 of 5

This was a lackluster runway show, but that's in keeping with Project Runway tradition. Every penultimate challenge has produced underwhelming results, except S5 Wedding Dress challenge, where Leanne and Kenley showed especially exciting looks.

The judges want to talk to everyone. Mondo's up first. Everyone likes his dress, although Heidi's getting tired of houndstooth. Michael points out that he doesn't need color to make clothes that are "joyous and full of Mondo."

The judges aren't fooled by Andy's assertion that his dress has anything to do with Central Park, but they think it's meticulously made and cool.

Christian loves the Excrescence Bracelet/Glove.
Judges to Gretchen: What happened?!?

Even the model can barely stay awake for this look.
Gretchen: I'm tired, I'm sick of the challenges, I don't want to fit into a cookie cutter, I want to make stuff like what I wear, and Swatch ate my homework.

April says her look speaks to the structure of the Brooklyn Bridge and the fluidity of the water below.

Nina: Hooey.
The judges are tired of same-old same-old from April. Michael C says he was after a showstopper with his black gown -- and the judges agree. Heidi would love to wear it (and fast forward to Season 9 and another little Samuel child on the way?).

And now the awkward questions - why should you go to fashion week, and which 2 should go with you?

Michael C: Range, Andy, Mondo
Gretchen: Want to show MY point of view, Mondo would be fun for ME to see, April
Andy: Risktaking, Mondo, April
Mondo: Growth, Michael C (who is verklempt that anyone chose him), April
April: Show range, Mondo, Gretchen (who looks pissed that no one else chose her)

Backstage, Gretchen and April say that if they don't get to fashion week now, they will another time. Michael C very kindly tells April not to take the judges' comments too much to heart, Andy and Mondo talk about how hard it was to choose. Mondo says he wishes they could all go.

And as we know, they all did. Somehow the producers need to figure out a schedule that doesn't make for so many decoy collections - it takes so much of the drama out of the stakes.

Judges: Christian isn't all that impressed with Mondo, but the other judges love his ability to create runway and wearable at the same time. They see Andy as stuck in the warrior woman mode, but they respect his skill. For Michael C, even if he doesn't know what the fabric is, he knows what to do with it. April hasn't taken any chances. Gretchen has lost her steam, and Christian thinks her show might be interesting.

The verdict:

One will be AUF. The remaining 4 will create collections, but only 3 will be finalists.
The Winner

Mondo is in. Andy is in. That leaves April and Gretchen, who I'm sure cannot believe she isn't in the top three.

Gretchen is in.

She tells us all that she needs a high-end fashion show to show the scope of her skills. And we're treated to a final gretching:

"I'm glad I got the second chance that all you guys have already gotten. "


It's rough on April to miss the finale by one challenge, but she did herself proud on the show. Except for piling on the we-hate-Michael C bandwagon, she showed herself to be funny, intelligent and mature as well as talented. That will certainly help her as she launches her career.


April's decoy collection was excellent, the best of all the decoys. She stayed true to herself but showcased a different side of her work. That collection will have people taking notice - I'd be surprised if she hasn't gotten some job offers since then. If she had done one of these looks for the NY Challenge, she'd have been in the final group. Check it out on Blogging Project Runway.

April? Made pants?

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