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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ep13: The Long and Winding Road

Out on the runway after the April auf, Heidi (in a great dress - the new stylist is really working out) tells the final four that they have $9,000 and six weeks to create collections. Three of the four will go on to compete for the win. And we'll all pretend that the fourth will not show at Fashion Week, but in fact 10 designers will show.
Lest we forget.
[rant] How is it that in so many seasons, the producers can't count backwards and end up with at least just a few decoys? I think two or three are kind of nice, and might even balance out bad judging. But if 10 out of 16 (or was it 17?) designers show at MBFW, what's the real reward of making it to the final 3? [/rant]

Tim gives them a final pep talk, and Heidi wants to be wowed.

Who would have thought we'd see Judgemental Andy, Queen Bee Gretchen, Outcast Michael and Isolated Mondo in a group squeeze?
In many ways, the clothes (which have been largely unremarkable) have been less interesting than the personal interactions this season. I'm surprised to say that about Project Runway, and I hope it isn't a trend, but it's been rather satisfying with this group.

Tim's Walkabout takes him outside the 48 contiguous states for the first time as he visits Andy in Waianae, HI.

A Project Runway first: Tim in Wellies.
Andy's family lives on a huge farm...

where they raise orchids and coconuts and catfish.

Tim vs Chinese catfish
The house looks pretty ramshackle, but it appears that Andy had an idyllic place to grow up. He mentions that he appreciates his unusual childhood. The thing is, kids don't appreciate living differently while growing up - they see the value in retrospect. I can picture teenage Andy itching to get to the city. It's great that he's come to realize how lucky he was so young.

Andy's cool mom
Tim asks Andy's mom if she's surprised that Andy's childhood produced a fashion designer, and she talks about her support for her kids to do what they love.

Laotian textiles and metals - could be an exciting collection!
Andy isn't very far into his collection, except for headdresses, because his fabrics just came from Laos. He's got to make 10 looks in 12 days. Yikes!

Next Tim visits Michael C in Palm Springs, where he meets Michael's partner Richard. So OK, maybe I was slow on the uptake, but my first impression of MC was gay, then after learning about adorable Giovanni I wondered - plus no straight male designer on Project Runway has ever not made a thing of it (remember Asshat Jason?), except I think Seth Aaron.

Tim: Stop the design diarrhea
They get right to the critique. Michael's problem is the opposite of Andy's. As per usual, he's done twice the number of garments he needs. Tim tells him to knock it off and finish his chosen looks.

Michael's inspiration: Sunsets and feathers (and whiskers on kittens...)
Dinner with Michael, Richard, Giovanni and some friends reveals that the Costellos haven't been supportive of Michael's coming out or his choice of career.

Giovanni is clearly very impressed by the cameras and the fashion talk. Plus, maybe a little less trashing of the grandparents in front of the kid?

Although I'd never want anyone to deny their true selves, when people with kids come out it can be extra complicated for the former spouse, the grandparents and the children. Hopefully some day we'll get to the point where that won't be true, and when people won't feel pressured to live in a way that doesn't work for them.

Off to Denver to see Mondo. His collection is inspired by the circus and the Day of the Dead. Can't argue with that as Mondo inspiration.

Tim: This top  is a 3D definition of "jejune."

From what we see, it's clear - in case it wasn't before - that the season is Mondo's to lose.

More revelations of tough childhoods as we learn that Mondo's parents tried to make him  "more macho." They all seem pretty good natured about the whole thing now though. As Mondo plays the piano, noting that he had to play baseball if he wanted lessons, he VOs a heartfelt and timely message to young people who are different.

"You ARE cool. Don't let people convince you otherwise."

By the way, if you haven't seen Tim's It Gets Better message, you must. Be prepared to be floored.

Next, we see Gretchen and her mother, it looks like packing up her home. And that's what they're doing. Turns out, Gretchen came home to a broken relationship and and empty bank account. You know, I always thought the edits were setting Gretchen up for a Reality Show Comeuppance. It's sad to see that it's actual reality.

A few days before Fashion Week begins, the designers all gather in a suite in NYC. Tim drops by with the unexpected good news...

...and the expected bad news.

Although it isn't that bad - they get

Michael C is making one of his Effortless Draped Dresses. It's a pretty color, and it would make a great red carpet dress for someone like Kate Beckinsale or Elizabeth Moss, who has a great figure but doesn't like to show all the goods at once.

Mondo's in trouble. His first dress is a kindergarten-y mess.

I don't know what Gretchen is doing with that lichen-colored linen. She's got the tail of the dress attached to the neck in the back. Uli in S3 did this to beautiful effect in her final collection, but it's not working for Gretchen.

Andy has a very cool pleating device, and he's going to town with this chartreuse silk.

Tim's mini-walkabout shows that he thinks Mondo, Gretchen and Andy are in pretty good shape, and that he's worried about Michael C.

Runway time! No guest judge, just the Big Three. Reminder: 3 go to Fashion Week, 1 is OUT.

Look 1: The silver romper - and I hate rompers on anyone over 6 - is pretty, with the ruffled collar balancing out the tiered shorts.

Look 2: What was he thinking, showing this as part of his mini-collection? The bikini doesn't fit on top at all, and the sheer overlay is bizarre. It floats in a dramatic way, but it doesn't do anything for the model. This might have passed as part of a larger collection, but it's a disaster here.

Look 3: Wow. The pleated top is a major accomplishment, and the skirt is just the right proportion. Don't know about the belt, but otherwise stunning.
My rating: IN, and if the rest of the collection lives up to Looks 1 and 3, he could walk away with the win.

Michael C
Look 1: Very pretty, and very Michael C. A million women of many ages, me included, would love to wear this, albeit with a much less dramatic leg slit.

Look 2: Good idea, awkwardly executed. There's too much of the trim, and the feather shape of the skirt is too boxy.

Look 3: The sequined pants are nice, although I don't get the top. The fringe is used in an interesting and unexpected way, but the single sleeve and the way it is placed over what looks like a heavy-duty long-line bra are strange.

My rating: IN, but unless his collection contains some surprises, he's a distant third.

Look 1: I've already given my opinion of the back. the front is nothing special. The twisted straps are sort of cool maybe.

Look 2: Sale rack at Chico's, including the jewelry. The prints are ugly together, the top is nothing special, and the pleated, cropped pants would flatter no one.

Look 3: This is a complete WTF. Where exactly does someone wear briefs and a sequined smoking jacket? It's not beach, or party, or anything other than stripper-on-a-break. Also, I think it's offensive to cover women's eyes, mouths or faces as "fashion." It says that we're not people, just bodies to be stared at or played with.

My rating: OUT

Look 1: Another masterful mix of prints, and both the blouse and the shorts are great separates.

Look 2: Mondo pulled it out. The skirt is great, and he managed to make the turquoise and pink work with the tan and black check. I like how this look links the other two.

Look 3: The panelling is flattering, but to me this is too Tim Burton-character-costume. The circle print (those can't be called polka dots) is too big, and the skirt is too tight not to have some sort of slit.

My rating: IN, and the winner if his collection doesn't get too cartoonish. Lose the hair ornaments, Mondo! 

The questioning is interesting, as Michael and Nina let them know that for the most part they were not smart about picking their mini-collection. Andy and Michael C are particularly lambasted. They also say that Gretchen's looks are too off-the-rack and, word.

The verdict:

No surprise here.

They have got to be kidding!! Nothing about any of the three pieces Gretchen showed are worthy of the Final Three. They've been giving her a "you're better than this" pass for weeks, but it shouldn't get her into the finals - and ahead of Andy? Travesty!

Good - two of Andy's three looks belong on the final runway.

There's a pause, so you think there might be a surprise Final Four, but no.

Michael C was robbed - not because the three pieces he showed were great, but because Gretchen's were abysmal.

And he is totally, completely, nakedly devastated.

This was so hard to watch. Michael C, I hope all of your loved ones rise to the occasion. You've proven yourself to the entire country, and even if you weren't a finalist, never forget you showed at Fashion Week!


After everything he went through, I'm sorry to say Michael C's decoy collection is disjointed, but there are some lovely looks. My favorite below; check out the whole thing on Blogging Project Runway.


  1. Thanks for another great review.
    Your take on the clothes is always spot on!

    Gretchen's mini-collection is bad, but I think what sank Michael C's collection was his color choices. The use of only coppers, browns and pink(?) made his collection seem too flat... wish he had picked from some of this other pieces...

    Looking forward to your review for the final!

  2. I HATE Gretchen's collection!!! I cannot believe that she was chosen over Michael C. I am still heartbroken for him, even though, I know, he got to show at fashion week...its just WRONG in my humble opinion. And I, for the most part really liked his color choices and outfits--ok, maybe not the box skirt or the last nipple show, but, it seriously puts Gretchen's to shame.

  3. Thanks, Sean & Rox - Can't wait to see how this ends. And it's going to be interesting to compare these to final collections from previous seasons.