Friday, September 23, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E2 "Just Fabulous!"

The early passages of Project Runway are often a mixed bag. For that matter, the same can be said for most reality TV series. At least when it comes to things like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, you've got an auditions phase during which you can get to know some of the contestants and pick early favorites. With PR, it all kind of just starts. You don't know who any of the contestants are, and they don't really know each other yet. And there are way too many of them to begin with. With too many contestants and not enough time to get all of their personalities on screen so you can make a judgement, you're usually left judging them based solely on their work. Which is just horrible for a Fashion show, I know.

And then an episode like "Just Fabulous!" comes along and the producers and editors try to sway you in one way or another. It's either a success or a failure, and which category it falls in often has to do with execution. "Just Fabulous!" introduces a villain and the notion of a rivalry in the workroom, but I'm not sure I think it does so well.

The episode starts with the news that Cornelius (young black guy with hipster glasses) was insulting Dexter's (other black guy with stupid haircut) look from the last episode. Rightfully so since it was hideous, but Dexter took offense. It's worth noting that all of this sniping took place off camera. Presumably, Cornelius had all these negative comments during the greenroom segment of last episode, and yet no one seemed to think it was important to capture this moment for posterity.

Either way, this news makes it back to Dexter, presumably through someone telling him what happened (again, Dexter finding out what was said behind his back isn't caught on camera), and he decides that he hates Cornelius who never has anything nice or positive to say about anyone. I'm not willing to claim that this isn't true. The moments we spend with Cornelius aren't exceptionally pleasant. But what he says mostly amounts to a young person holding himself to a higher standard because he came on this show to win. I'd say that I feel like we've seen meaner mean girls than this on the show before.

But on the other hand, perhaps what he's been saying off camera really has been so heinous and beyond the pale that he's really just the worst. The problem with that, as I'm sure you've already spotted, is that he's saying them off camera. So in the meantime, we're all just left with having to take everyone else's word for it that he's the monster they're making him out to be. Either way, this isn't really good storytelling.

The Challenge

This week is the Just Fab challenge which is...I'm honestly not too sure. The designers go out to a pier where they end up being confronted by a group of 100 "everyday women." These women are not their clients or the models, but they're certainly there. I guess to remind the designers what real women look like in case they've forgotten over the course of the one challenge where they designed something for a model. 

In actuality, their challenge is to design something for the Just Fab woman. Who is every woman, of every size, shape, and color. So they're final look has to fit their model, but also has to look as though it would be flattering on a non-model. It's versatile ready-to-wear which still has to be fashionable. And the winning look will be produced and sold on Just Fab. How hard can it be?

Oddly enough, not very hard at all based on Tim's visit. He has very little to say to any one contestant. Laurence has a lot of work to do to make her look into something that would be suitable for other body-types, but there's little doubt that she'll be able to pull it off. Kimber hasn't started sewing at all yet, but she assures Tim that the sewing will be the fastest part of all this. Tim tells Brik that he's trying to do too much and to scale his look down a bit, and he takes his advice. All in all, it's another ho-hum day in PR land. 

The Runway

 Laurence: A jumpsuit is never going to be my favorite, but I certainly see how they tend to blur the line between fashion and ready to wear. This look suits the challenge surely, and I think the pop of orange in the back makes it special, but I'm not in love with it.

Rik: I don't hate this, but I do think the pattern mixing gives me a bit of a headache. It's cute and chic, and I can't think of a moment were I've ever seen an outfit that looks like separates but is connected in the back. So that's special.

Alex: I hate the big bow on the front, but I love everything else. This woman looks smart and professional and well put together. She purple fabric seen through the sheer top is really eye-catching. And I love how he paired it with that bag. I wish the front were different, but I do love this look.

Jenni: Much like a jumpsuit, I'm not a huge fan of the drop crotch either. But there's something special and evocative about this. I think the bigger weakness of the outfit is the top and that bathroom rug treatment around the shoulders. It doesn't strike me that a bigger person could wear this, not at least without looking silly, but it's not a bad outfit.

Kimber: This outfit is cute, and I love the peak at the lining in the pockets, but this certainly could not be worn by a plus-sized woman. Or it could be, but I don't know many women of size who would want to wear it. The lack of sleeves and the key hole cut out in the back seem like automatic no's for most normal sized women. But maybe I'm wrong, or at least maybe it's cute enough to overcome those issues.

Linda: No!

Nathalia: I think I'm in love. I don't know that I think this is easily reproducible, but that's just a guess based on very little knowledge of clothes manufacturing. But it's still stunning. That jacket is out of this world. I like that she calls in androgynous because I think that's true and it's main selling feature. I'd like to see it with the jacket all the way off, but even with just the peak at the blue straps in the back, it's stunning. I love this.

Sarah: Cute, but boring.

Mah-Jing: I like this, but I think it's sold a little bit more off of the accessories than the dress itself. It's nice, but I didn't really have very strong emotions towards it until I saw how the clutch and shoes accented the orange stitching. The cut of the dress is nice, and everything about it is good, but the accessories are the only thing that made it really memorable.

Cornelius: I think this would be better with a different textile. The pattern on the top and the skirt don't really clash, but they also don't compliment each other in any way. The most interesting part of the outfit is that it's a hoodie, but you really couldn't know that until she turned around, and by then I was already against the look.

Tasha: I'm trying to decide if I love this or if I just love Tasha. This is another look that I don't think would sell well to a bigger woman because of the midriff exposure, and the sheer fabric that hangs down gives her the odd look of someone with a pouch or something. Honestly, I initially thought she was wearing a fanny pack or something. But even with that being said, I find this unique and charming and I like it.

Brik: While I certainly find this bland, I don't hate it. Also I think there's a problem on the butt with the pattern not matching up, right? Either way, Tim said to pair down the original concept and he did and ended up with this. Maybe he paired it down too much? I don't know. It's not great, but it's not ugly either. I agree with him that women would want to wear it, but when they did, I feel like they'd just blend into the background too much.

Dexter: Here's what I'll say about this, in the wake of last week, I'm happy to see that Dexter can do something simple and not too flashy or out there. But I can't really see someone as wanted to wear this. It's not the most unflattering thing ever, but it's just kind of there. It doesn't stand out and isn't as cute as the other jumpsuit we had on the runway tonight.

Roberi: Ok I guess. I like the jacket, but I can't say that I see much cohesion between the three pieces.

Erin: I can't tell if I love this but want to hate it or if I hate it and want to love it. I think I want something happening in the front to break up all that white, but at the same time, I get it. I do love the fabric though and I really want to touch this dress.


Before we get there, this week sees the greenroom moment from Cornelius that I guess we needed last week, but again I say, did he say anything that was just horrible? He compliments Brik as a designer and a person, but rightfully points out that his pants are ill-made and unflattering. Is that so wrong?

Erin, Laurence, and Alex are in the top. Kimber, Brik, and Linda are in the bottom. It seems like the writing's on the wall that Brik after two challenges in the bottom is going home. Zac couldn't even muster a response to what he saw. Nina finds there to be too little personality in the whole thing. Guest judge Dobrev thinks it's business on top and couch party on the bottom, and that makes sense. This woman doesn't know who she is or what she wants, or at least Brik doesn't know who she is or what she wants. 

Linda is also slammed for her use of knit in the dress and the sheer sloppiness of the kimono styled jacket. I'm interested in the judge's point that this should have been her challenge, but I don't see why. Aside from the fact that she's an older, everyday woman. But that doesn't mean much. 

They do love Alex, Laurence, and Erin's looks though. Heidi points out that after two challenges, she feels like she knows who Erin is as a designer, and I can't help but to agree. The selling point on Erin's dress is the moment she belts it at the waist. I wish the model had done that on the runway (and during the closer look, Heidi says the same. Erin really thought about this challenge, and I'm impressed. 

Alex's point about making the top sheer so that his woman can add any color she wants under it was very smart. Heidi points out that not every woman can pull off that crop top look, and that's fair, but it's still stunning. The most telling comment might be Zac's when he points out that the bow on the blouse is something that's unoriginal, but it works so it's understandable to keep it. 

Apparently, the messy shredding nature of Linda's jacket is purposeful? I can't believe that. It's horrible. Heidi hates her look more than Brik's. I don't think Nina agrees. She hate's Brik, but thinks his is equally bad as Linda's. Heidi thinks that at least Brik's two pieces look well made, which is more than we can say for Linda. It's interesting to me the way Heidi's going to bat for Brik. Two weeks in the bottom two seems like a good enough reason to go home. 

In the end, Laurence gets the win over Erin which is interesting to me. I wonder if the ease of reproduction of Laurence's look puts her over the top because I do think Erin's look was better. Or maybe they didn't want to give her two wins in a row? Either way, that's the outcome. Laurance's nonchalance over winning is funny though. 

Linda actually does go home instead of Brik. This has got to do with Heidi's championing for him because I can't see much of a reason to keep him around. Linda stumbled this go around, and it's not that her look last week was very good either, but still. Brik needs a total rethink on what he's doing if he has any hope of sticking around much longer. 

Loose Threads

--Earlier in the episode Linda gets a little spotlight talking about her past and her kids. She says she wants to win this for her daughters. I guess her son can go get fucked. 

--The more effective spotlight was placed on Laurence talking about how her father abandoned her when she got pregnant as a teenager. It was very emotional, evocative, and told us a lot about her that felt unique. We get a lot of "I love my kids" stuff on PR, but nothing this personal and real life. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E1 "An Unconventional Launch Party"

And so here we are again, another year, another season of Project Runway. At this point, if someone asked you what it is that you expect from a new season of Project Runway, what would you say? Some fashion, weird challenges, a little drama, Tim and Heidi being, if not themselves, then certainly the personas they've crafted for themselves over the last 15 seasons. Perhaps that's why we keep coming back: Project Runway is not the kind of show to ever really change.

And that fact is no different here. We start off with 16 designers, and by the end of the first challenge there will be 15. Everyone arrives to a nice swanky welcome party. It's all decked out because, as Tim and Heidi inform them when they finally join, the decorations for the party are to be their materials for the challenge. First challenge for the season is also the first unconventional materials challenge. We've done this before (I'd swear) but it seemed fresh and unexpected. What wasn't unexpected were the number of people swearing they'd never worked with an unconventional material before and had no idea how they would blah blah blah.

You signed up for Project Runway, surely you know by now that this is a natural part of the show's DNA. I'm not saying that in your spare time you have to teach yourself to make fashion out of anything, but don't act so surprised when you get on the show and they tell you to make fashion out of anything.

Anyway, there's a mad dash to grab the most striking elements of the room and the most fabric-based materials. There's a rather serious scuffle between two contestants (Cornelius and Mah-Jing I believe but to be honest I  won't start remembering names for a few weeks), but it's not a huge deal. It might be one if it comes up again, but for now I don't care.

In the workroom, everyone pretty much gets along fine since no one knows each other well enough to love or hate anyone else just yet. There are those two people who went to school together and have a little history, but it didn't seem to be the juicy kind of history no matter what the producers wanted us to think, so we'll gloss over that as well.

There are three main takeaways from Tim's visit:

  1. He likes Brik's look. Or maybe the bigger deal is that there's someone on the show named Brik. Or even bigger, there's someone on the show named Brik, but he's from the South, looks Norwegian, and has the affectation of a Cali Surfer Dude. So Norwegian Surfer Dude (NSD) is in the process of throwing glitter all over a pair of pants. It's somewhere between fashion and a grade school art project. But Tim likes it. He has a few pointers for him, but it basically boils down to keep it up, kid. 
  2. Tim does not like what the little gay with the ginger beard is doing. As I'm sure you guys could have guessed, as soon as Ian stepped on the scene with his little gay voice and his ginger beard, I was pretty smitten. But when he started working on his look, I fell out of love quick. It's too simple, too boring, not innovative, and completely at odds with the challenge. Tim tells him as much, and he doubles down. He's not going to listen to Tim Gunn because he really loves his look and it speaks to who he is as a designer. We all know how this story ends 99.9% of the time, so the writing's on the wall here. 
  3. Tim also doesn't like Tasha's look, but unlike the gay ginger beard, she's changing it up. Starting from scratch actually and making everything over from the ground up. I don't mind telling you that Tasha's my early favorite. She's got this laid back vibe that clearly masks a lot of insecurities about her talent level. She's a plus sized woman who designs read-to-wear for normal women, and on some level she's still surprised that she was chosen for the show to begin with. In other words, she's kind of my kryptonite. So she takes Tim's advice, and I sit on pins and needles hoping it works out for her in the long run. 

The Runway:

Mah-Jing Wong: More yes than no, but only slightly. She looks like someone balled up a lot of paper and threw it at her. It’s thought out instead of haphazard, which I appreciate, but it’s not very special. 

Jenni: I’ll give her credit for the hand painting and the creation of separates, but the feather boa wings made me think of Big Bird, so no. 

Sarah: I like that I don’t know what the material is, but the top does look a bit like cut up muslin to me. Or, more specifically, cut up plain fabric. Which is bad, but not horrible. I’ve seen worse. 

Nathalia: More feathery arms, but I mostly like it. I don’t know if it says lux so much as (improbably) expensive hooker, but hey. You know, like a hooker who would call herself a call girl but you’d look at her and say, No you’re just a hooker. Like that. 

Dexter: No!

Rik: Boring and safe but not bad.

Ian: Ok, I’ve been doing this long enough that you guys know how partial I am to the cute gay ginger. Which is my way of saying I want to like Ian so bad, but this dress is fucking hideous. Give me a break, it’s like he didn’t even try. Bullshit cut up photos stuck to a muslin dress? Get the fuck out of here. 

Tasha: Stop! Hamma Time! So here’s the thing, Tasha made her model look wider in the hips than is usually acceptable on this show, but I must say, I actually like this look. It’s cute and quirky, and somehow ends up being unique. I don’t think it’s a top look, but I’m certainly impressed enough to want to see more from her. 

Erin: I’m mixed about this. It turns the corner and I immediately say NO, but then I watch it more, and I guess it grows on me a bit. The feathery motif of the night isn’t doing anyone any favors, but there’s something about this outfit that I can’t bring myself to fully hate. 

Linda: Linda’s look is nice. I think it’s classy and unobtrusive. It’s classic without being too simple. It’s paired down but still holds onto some element of the unconventional materials. However, it also looks like a woman her age made it. So while I like this look, nothing about it is surprising or makes me feel like I want more. 

Kimber: I hate the back, but the rest is ok.

Laurence: There’s a cut and a shape to this that I certainly like. But it doesn’t look like she pushed herself at all to use the materials. She’s got the ability to be a stand out designer, but this doesn’t feel like it’s within the parameters of the challenge. 

Brik: I want to hate it, but I can’t. It’s just flashy, crazy, and unique enough to make me smile. The back, the corset top, the shoulders, I love all of it. And he fully committed himself to that crazy glitter, so I’m happy for him. 

Cornelius: I love it. The color, the placement of the plates and the flowers, just all of it. This is a yes for me. I’m less sure about the back and the trail of flowers down it, but hey. 

Roberi: This made me smile. I love it in spite of how short it is. It doesn’t look like any of her is peaking out of it, so that’s good, but maybe like an extra 1/4 of an inch would be nice. But still, it’s well thought out and well executed, so I like it. 

Alex: I like this, but some part of me thinks there’s one color too many somewhere in there. Towards the midsection, I feel like something could have been paired down a bit, but it’s also cool as is. 


Tasha, Erin, and Dexter (really?) are in the top. Brik and Ian are in the bottom. Roberi is in the bottom, but given they're comments, he's actually more in the middle, so whatever. 

So Tasha takes Tim's advice and ends up in the top three. Ian ignores it and ends up in the bottom. Show of hands of people who are surprised by this outcome. 

The actual surprise, for me at least, is that they really liked Dexter's look. I've gotta tell you, Runaways, I watched this thing walk the catwalk, I listened to the comments, I looked at it during the closeup inspection, and I simply don't get it. Heidi and Nina both seem to think it's fit for a real runway right now. This might be true, but I've never been a fan of that kind of fashion personally. They all seem to like the volume and the tribal feel of it. Zac calls it an Eskimo poodle, but he means it affectionately and not like the rebuke I think it should have been. Every year the judges make a call or two that I simply don't understand and this is one of them. 

As I listened to them talking about Roberi's look, I was less surprised than I expected to be when I found out he was in the bottom. They're pretty much split down the middle on this one. Nina feels like she's seen this look on PR multiple times before and she's bored with it. The guest judge thinks it's too short. But Heidi loves it and has no problem with the length (no surprise there), and Zac feels like we've seen it before but never quite like this, so it's a good a thing. I'm left thinking he could have been safe and they could have talked to someone else instead, but whatever. 

In the end, Erin wins with what Zac referred to as his favorite look of many seasons. That's much higher praise than I'd give it, but I'm happier with her win than I would have been with Dexter's. Tasha's look doesn't stand up to the closer inspection, which is too bad. But she got enough of her personality in it to make them appreciative. 

The obvious choice for loser is between Brik and Ian. As we've seen at this stage 100 times before, it's a choice between Brik's poor taste level and Ian's sheer lack of creativity. One of these days I (or someone who actually cares more than I'm pretending to at the moment) will have to look back over all of the seasons of this show and calculate how many times this has been the dilemma and just what the percentage is for choosing poor taste over lack of creativity. My guess is that poor taste will get a pass over creativity way more often than not, but I could be wrong. I wasn't wrong here, and Ian is rightfully sent on his cute little way. 

To his credit, he's not upset about it. I mean he sheds a few tears, so maybe he is upset but he's sticking with the stiff upper lip reaction. But he certainly stands behind his design. He loves the dress he created and sent down the runway. To do something else would have been to lose himself in someone else's vision and he's not ok with that. So I tip my hat to him for standing true, but I also know that he had to go home. Because if this is the caliber of what we can expect from you all season long, then you have no place here. 

And so ends another by the books first episode of Project Runway. I want to complain about that. I want to hold my viewership and this show to a higher standard and demand something more. But the practical side of me says no. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If there's one thing we know about PR it's that change is very rarely for the better. The show has gotten back into some of its more positive ways as of late, so I'd hate to see them lose momentum now. It's shaping up to be a rather typical season for the show, and that oddly means I'm excited to keep watching. 

Loose Threads:

  • One possible explanation for why I'm so happy PR isn't rocking the boat with a major change this season is because So You Think You Can Dance, my other summer staple, did make a big change this season. It worked out for the better, but SYTYCD is a show that's clearly grasping at straws in a bid to stay on TV and it feels sad to me. It wasn't broke no matter what the viewership numbers may have indicated to the contrary, and I wish they hadn't tried to fix it. 
  • Is it just me or are there more black people on the show this year? Kudos to PR if that is the case. 
  • Speaking of the increase in POC, should we even mention the fact that there's a black contestant named Mah-Jing Wong, or do we just let that go?
  • What, if anything, are thinking for nicknames this season? I'm probably sticking with NSD for Brik, and I was thinking of going with Mamma Bear for Tasha because she gives me a mamma vibe, but that's all I got really. Here for suggestions. 
  • Generally each season there's a contestant that I develop a bit of a crush on. In the best years, that person is also really talented and my love of them is enhanced by my love of their clothes, or vice versa. But now with Ian gone, that doesn't seem to be on the plate this season. Brik is kind of attractive, but there's something about him that I simply can't get past. So he's not my fav. His Southern charm is nice though. But I think this year I'm heaping all my love on Mamma Bear and all my lust on Zac. Though I've also kind of cooled on him lately too...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Project Runway All Stars SE5 E09: "A Touch of Style"

Project Runway All Stars recap

Many things to discuss.

One thing this season seems to be doing very well is highlighting New York City. I've seen all of the previous incarnations of PR, and remember more than I'd like to admit. Where my high school French is hiding in my brain, no idea, but say "Viktor", or "the challenge with the stilts", or bring up the time the designers were sent to the worst fake restaurant and then ripped the furnishings apart for the unconventional challenge, I can call up these images. I think my nephew has green eyes, but that, I need to check. Sometimes NYC has played a significant role in an episode, sometimes it was shoehorned in, and one time the misguided location change to Los Angeles happened. Why did that seem, so off putting, aside from the reduced presence of Nina and Michael? Just did. But lesson learned, they moved back home and all was forgiven.

This season just seems to be hitting some lovely New York notes, like visiting the Alvin Ailey studios and today, going to Coney Island. I think we went there before, also for an unconventional, but this time they visit the ballpark home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Nothing more charming than minor league baseball, and a lovely location, good spirits and a tie in with Alyssa's very well known line of "athleisure wear" make it a nice start.


Athleisure wear, the new business casual. Is this a thing? Not only a thing, we will be told later by Zanna Rossi Roberts, but one of the biggest trends at the moment. Oh now I feel stupid. In fact, I might even be participating in this trend as I type this, without knowing that for once, I am fashion forward. Let me check...  nope Couch Casual seems to be my style tonight. But it's the NEXT big thing and you heard it here first. I am the Olivia Pope of wine drinking ensembles.

So the remaining seven put away their meager hopes of this being a day for fun and rides and go into the green and sunny field where they meet not only Alyssa, but their models.

A note on that before I forget - notice the models have switched up almost if not every week? I haven't been paying close attention to many but the odd-looking in real life blonde African American girl (my apologies if that is not her background) and the impossibly willowy dark skinned goddess with the beauty mark on her upper lip stand out. I recall she was Kini's "Alice Through the Looking Glass", and that girl can WALK. Alexander was sent home last week for his Cinderella, but his model stood out with her cute short hair and flawless - as flawless as a sent home look can be - styling by HBM and the hair guy. Tonight, she'll walk for Sam, so she didn't get cut. Surely having constant models for each designer is a nice way to make it easier, a streamlining concession for time? I shall go back and see who has been switched up, but I'm sure Odd Blonde has walked for a few of the gang.

Touch this

Alyssa has a fashion line - who knew?  - called Touch, and a quick search shows she also has the domain Well played, Milano. She tells the designers that she came upon this idea when she went to the merch store at a game and could find nothing feminine (used to be so true, thank you for the girl cut tees, manufacturers) or fashion forward (err, not the point of a Red Sox jersey, Alyssa). So she got to work designing and now she shows off the models wearing... basic cotton blend looking tees and casual pants. Really, it looked like Lands End on a good day. So without confessing that her line needs help, Alyssa tells them to got into the athleisure trend and the winning design will feature in her line.

Later on the runway she will clarify, the winning design will be MODIFIED and mass produced for sale on her site and wherever else her stuff is hawked. Now I'm not in the US, so maybe it is omnipresnt at boutiques or Nordstrom's or, err, Kohl's? You tell me. But she could use some pizazz if this what she has to show.

Get sketching.

Asha has the clever idea to making a skirt that looks like a baseball jersey wrapped around the waist, and a top playing on a sports bra;  Ken is going hoodie with red and black piping – it’s someone’s team colors, he muses - Layana is up for this and goes big with multiple-pieced textured leggings as the main attraction; Emily is doing cool urban white; Dom is doing a Jil Sander ish dress (okay, hmmm, a dress) with a detachable skirt that goes from maxi to knee length, and Kini is doing a cool swing coat over jeans, the coat color-blocked with white mesh, and speaking of mesh, Sam is going to do a cheerleader-style skirt that his sketch shows is not cheerleader at all, and it’s a dress, and he’s using the same mermaid in a net fabric that he used last week and Kini is using this week. Kini who may or may not have thought of that before he chose his textiles, confesses, maybe I’ll show him how it’s done.

The Producers salivate in the background.


Zanna visits - will she be impressed

ermmm... not really? 

Zanna’s critiques, on the other hand, do cause some panic. After announcing that this a trendy trend, she has to, bless her, sort of finetune it for the seven, pointing out that athleisure should go from casual rah rah go team to out for the evening. In this case, it must be runway ready. She doesn't like Emily's cowl neckline, ok, I get that. She loves Dom's futuristic looking man dress, not sure I get that (for this challenge), she spins Sam's dress form to show a flirty dress that is mesh over... something (Neoprene?) in the front and almost all black lace in the back. Two different outfits, she says. Does she add, and neither of them would be ATH or Leisure? FFS, lace? Sam, btw, is the cast's and his own fave for this challenge. This is his dojo and he is throwing stars.

We shall see.

Zanna's worried that both Kini and Layana are leaning too “sporty” and less athleisure, a hard to evaluate distinction til she mentions, this shouldn't go to the gym. That does seem to clear it up, the ATH in athleisure isn't the wearer, this girl is watching not participating. Okay, useful advice. Layana's legging are not a concern for her, or her admiring codesigners, they would never go to Zumba. Ken has little to show ZRR, so she prods him to work hard, and off she goes.

Look who's back

As the night goes on, Formerly Angry Ken, as I was prepared to rename him, skips back into his old ways. Kind of. Ken has his idea in place, but not the constructed piece, so he can't fit his model. He seems a bit tense for a while but it builds up and then takes an incorrectly sewn shoulder seam, a silly but harmless mistake if you have a lot of time, to set him off.

A recurring theme in these recaps has been, will, and if so when, will we see the old Ken. Now, I don't mind a bit of snarkiness, and Ken has been involved in the Kini/Sam drama as mostly an observer, but Ken's rage on his original season was scary. As in, I felt equally scared for him as well as the people he was engaging with. What was going on beneath the tuxedo tattoo? His triggers were hard to predict and he seethed with hate and anger that could not be good for him. So back to this week and here it comes as Ken tosses his hoodie to the table and says he has had it. He storms out.

Except, he doesn't really lose it. Lose it in a fed up, tired tired tired, can't do this any more, freak out way. Yes. He walks out, past startled floor runners in the hallway, and, followed by cameras, out to the street, where he hails a cab wearing sunglasses at night. So he can, so he can, watch the pressure cooking in the rear view mirror and get away from all of this nonsense.

But let's talk about what he didn't do. He didn't yell, he didn't blame anyone or pick a fight, he didn't give nasty parting words, he just said, I'm done, and left.

End of. And considering his past responses to pressure, this was controlled and within the parameters of what we might do. Sometimes I wonder why more of the various cast members don't, with the lack of sleep, etc. For this guy, I suspect he has gotten some help with his issues, and surely Lifetime wouldn't have him back if he hadn't. So good for Ken. Not good that he left, but the way he handled it.

Project Runway All Stars recap
Ken is ferrrrustated, and gets the hell out.

But is he gone for good?

The designers are stunned, but, hey work to be done so on they go, Layana sewing endless bright blue pieces together for her possibly kick ass leggings and Sam revising his not-for-this-challenge look into something better but also not right.

The next morning, no Ken. In All Stars we don't get to see much if any hotel time, so what was said? Does he room with Sam and Kini? Did he go elsewhere to sleep?

Ken then reappears, a new man. New ish. He brushes away the concerns he receives in a friendly way and goes back to his look. Fast. He does note that the others were about to pick over his remaining fabrics, and I think gives Layana some leather he isn't using. Who (aside from Stella) would have time to sew leather at this point? He's good with his look, does a last-minute addition of black pockets, and seems at peace. Not Dalai Lama peace, but for Ken, content.

Sam has finished his changes and Layana, finally done with the leggings, changes up her top into something fancier. A plain white shirt won't do.

Runway Time

Guest judge this week is Kristin Cavallari, who designs something or other as it seems everyone from a successful docu-soap does, and who spends a lot of time at games as she is married to Bears QB Jay Cutler. She seems nice and young-matronly. Isaac is dressed in his knitting circle casual to suit the theme and does a sheepish "go team" to the group. Not the "hello fairies" from last week but cute.

Safe: Emily. Remember, she has won one, but she always seems safe, although her designs are anything but.

Project Runway All Stars recap
Swingy and smart from the back, too

Tops: Kini, Dom and Sam? Asha?
Bottoms: Layana, Ken and Sam? Asha? Bit of a split on those two. Asha's too literal and Georgina doesn't like the buttons down the front of the skirt, but it is pointed out to her that baseball jerseys do have those visible buttons. It does look sloppy though.

Sam gets undeserved praise for putting a girl in a lacy dress. Someone did point out that Sam will likely suck up to Isaac by using flats. Well, it worked. I think I'd like this dress if the challenge was sightseeing in Paris, maybe? But this is too dressy, too cutesy, too much

Winner, Kini for his awesome coat. The judges even liked the length of his basic jeans.

Two good things that didn't go together.
Loser: Layana. The cool last minute top she made did not go with her leggings, style or color-wise, so taste issues and being on the bottom forever caught up with the sweet Brazilian.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Project Runway All Stars S5 E08: "Once Upon a Runway"

Project Runway All Stars S05E8
Cheerful Alyssa Milano caught not smiling - see, it is all in the editing!

Once Upon a Runway...

Let the wordplay begin.

In the Land of Lifetime, life is not a fairy tale for these designers – budget cuts keep them to a very tight schedule (one day challenges are the rule now) and I’m sure their accommodations are not five-star. The Cinderella moment will only come from one of them, and if you ask Dom, not that we did, she might tell you the “ball” that is winning PR only lasts until midnight. Sometimes your glass Manolos crack and you have to come back to the workroom and try to win all over again.

So only one person will come out of this arduous design marathon the winner, and her name is… Laura Michelle Kelly. Yes, the smiley British actress is back again – you might remember her from this episode and from this episode of PR Junior oh and seen commenting a few times in the Juniors finale as well, like the editor is in love with her. In the PR All Stars kingdom of Manhattan there is only one musical playing, and it is Finding Neverland. You’ll be surprised to know one of the NY producers is Harvey Weinstein, Mr. Georgina Chapman. Hmm. Go figure.

LMK meets the group  - now down to eight - with either pregnant or recycling her maternity wear host Alyssa Milano at a bookstore. Alyssa tells them they will be creating a modern runway look for a classic female character from literature. I instantly love this idea. Imagine the possibilities of dressing a modern day Anna Karenina, a Holly Golightly, a Becky Thatcher, a Carrie White. Okay, I jumped to the conclusion that they were talking proper literature, but of course they were aiming for fairy tales. After a brief dramatic character description of each, LMK handed out the following “clients”:

Dom got Tinkerbell (small and sassy, she calls her)

Sam got (and is) the Little Mermaid (the depressing Dane H.C. Andersen’s depressing tales for depressing Danish children)

Emily, Snow Queen (see above)

Kini got Alice, of Wonderland and Looking Glass fame

Asha got Rapunzel

Ken, Snow White

Layana, Belle (she says as she split her upbringing between the country and the city, living with her dad, she’s comfortable with whats' going on in Belle’s head. This does not speak well of Layana’s dad.)

And Alexander is handed Cinderella (which he loves as they are both tall, blonde princesses. I do get a kick of of Alex.)

And we're off to Mood

Project Runway All Stars recap
Hang in there, buddy!
Alyssa excitedly sends them off to Mood, extra kiss-blowy as after last week, now she knows where the store is, and when they get there we see our fave canine sidekick Swatch. Worryingly he doesn’t move too much, and the designers are encouraged not to step on him. Horrors! Can you even imagine? Good thing Sam doesn't trod his loafer on Swatch's paw, because he is already persona non grata.

All in all the designers seem happy with their assignments and extremely unhappy with Sam. The men, mostly. Emily is so chill she's probably never had a white-hot design-related grudge. It starts to kick off in the rarely-seen breakroom as they all shovel down their lunch. Snipe snipe snipe, Sam and Kini, one upping each other. Squabbles are great, if only to see Dom’s adorable reactions. She should have been a child actress on Family Matters or on an ad next to other kids digging into yummy breakfast cereal. Good thing Asha is not taking sides; we see this episode that she is working with some gold glittery goin-out nails. They are at least an inch long. How can anyone function with nails that long? 

But Asha stays out of the fight and the kitties with the claws are the usual suspects for staying in: Kini, Sam, Alex and Ken. But wait: as the day goes on, it comes to light that Ken, who has been backing Kini up in the taking down of Sam, had no idea that Kini not only tailored Sam’s trousers in Episode 3’s challenge, he created the poufed organza neckline that the judges all loved so much. Ken is flabbergasted, which – considering Ken’s shaky grasp of the English language – leaves him all kinds of tongue-tied.

Zanna got the Memo

Zanna must know the theme this week, based on the little girl dress she's wearing. Her critiques don't say too much that we don't already know. She worries about Asha's finishing, tells Dom to sell her girl's story on the runway, and tells Layana she's seen too much of the same from her (not stating the obvious: color clashes) and, words of wisdom here: maybe try something different?
Project Runway All Stars recap
(Does not photograph well)

Kini tells Zanna that Alice is a naughty girl and gives her a dress with ladylike front and a surprise back of ruffles. I just adore this look and how he incorporates the story into his design, but the duality of Kini’s personality has left me cold. As noted above, this contest is a slog, people are tired and crammed together way too much, but. BUT. He seemed so nice on his original season, but this feud with Sam has gone on and on. If you’ve made your point, and you seem to have the support of the other stabby queens, then stop acting like a fourth grader and get to work.

Runway Time

Guest judges are singer – correction, she's listed as Singer/Songwriter - Kesha, with acid yellow hair, no bra and bad posture, and Fashion Police’s Brad Goreski. He looks dapper and has a bowtie and interesting eyeware. Georgina has her long hair down this week and Isaac greets the Final Eight with, "hello fairies!". I've never loved him more.
Project Runway All Stars E08 recap
Snow White wearing Ken Red

Safe are Emily and Ken. They both did unicolored pant outfits with nice tailoring. That’s not going to get you anywhere with these judges...


 …cause the judges want to see tight pants 
..while Rapunzel is trapped in
an Asha red tower
and ruffles, like Asha’s look for Rapunzel. It is very red, Isaac loves the fabric(s) but Georgina finds them a little too shiny. The look is styled with flipfloppedy sandals that Brad hates and Isaac dies over – so unexpected! And yes, it was expected that Asha’s model would have to have long, long, hair, a very long braid down her back. It hit below her bum, and probably used up all of the extensions in the ____________ Hair Salon. (So much for product placement, I cannot for the life of me remember who the sponsor is this season)

Dom: I loved the funkiness of the fabric mixing and the urban coolness of the cut (tight pants and a long tummy-baring coat that was almost skirtlike) but when she explained the cut out panels on the back were negative space to represent Tink’s wings, I clapped so hard that other fairies came back to life.  

Kini’s tea party dress was a little costumey for Isaac but Mizrahi also said it made him feel like he was at a fashion show. Kesha says it’s like a fashion mullet. 

Bottom three:

Sam had the Little Mermaid and put her in white netting with sparkly sea-toned rectangles saving her modesty. It looked like I could not only have thought it up, but executed it. It also seems to have uneven sleeves. The crop top doesn’t go over well either  - earlier in the Sam-slagging someone pointed out that his too-simple design of crop top and pencil skirt was what got Stella sent home. Isaac is not amused and does not want to see anymore of these half shirts.

Project Runway recap All Stars Ep 8
Layana forgets "Belle" means pretty
Layana who went from not liking her dress to loving it once the model slipped it on, explains that the Beast is taking his old lady to an Argentinean polo match. Not in that hideous yellow and pleated print mess, say the judges. Georgina notes a taste issue, and that the colors clash horribly. Kesha finds that "boring" – so not tacky enough?

Alexander’s Cinderella look was designated depressing and more of an evil stepmother look by Georgina, and the judges all agree that while to look is sophisticated – and I must say the model looked gorgeous - but old. 

Then the boys talk booty, with Brad saying snug assdesign is on trend, and this gown doesn’t have it, and
Project Runways All Stars recap Once Upon a Runway
Alexander's challenge to lose
Isaac, agreeing with Brad for once this session, chiming in that the back is actually off-putting in its gathers, and PS, the neckline is cheap. Slumpy Kesha tells him to be nice.

The winner: shockingly (from the edit and from my POV) Asha.

And going home is Alexander. He initially takes it like a small punch to the gut, “damn!” he says, but has a nice goodbye in the lounge, and notes that he needs to reevaluate the youthfulness of his designs. Aww, bye Alexander!

what did you think?