Friday, November 22, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E5: "Partners in Crime"

Last week, nobody was eliminated. For no good reason either. There was so much shit walking that runway that a quadruple elimination would have been acceptable to all of the viewers. So, Project Runway All-Stars, when Alyssa Milano walks in and introduces this week by asking the designers, "How are you handling the pressure?" I'm sure you'll forgive me for screaming, "FUCK YOU! THERE IS NO PRESSURE ANYMORE!!" Even Pansear, last week's winner, is like What the fuck ever, "There's like pressure; but there's not..."

The real reason nobody was eliminated was because this week is a team challenge. And, this week's product placement is some Bonnie and Clyde revival.  It's some miniseries from Lifetime, and it's the second Bonnie and Clyde movie out this year, after David DeCoteau's Bonnie and Clyde: Justified. Yeah, Project Runway, I just cross product-placed with an inferior product. Suck it!

The task this week is for each team of two to create two looks - male and female - inspired by Bonnie and Clyde. The gay men and straight women perk up...male models?  Bring on the eyecandy with ill-fitting clothing! And, the looks have to be inspired by the 1930s. Which is post-Black Tuesday, and post-stock market crash, and obviously depression era. But, these were flashy and stylish bank robbers in their idealized setting, so...flashy and stylish outfits are called for.

The teams are chosen by each other, instead of the button bag. For once. And here are the pairs:
- Pansear and Zinger
- Seth Aaron and Necktat
- Korto and Elena
- Mychael and Irina

Teams that actually seem like they're based in real world challenges where you get to hire your collaborators make for good television. Everybody has been behaving well, except for Elena's attempt at manufacturing drama with Viktor in order to get more screen time. Which, *zzzzzzzz*.

Because everybody is acting politely, the drama is down, and the construction bits are up. Viktor is teaching Pansear how to better his construction by bias seaming, and cutting along the grain (which pops up every few seasons). The designers sew and hammer. Mychael is doing motorcycle details, in a fabric that gets criticized as "spangly" but also reads Copper, which is steampunk.

When Zanna comes around, for the most part her criticisms suck...except her one good critique this week is of Viktor's fringe on the back of his look, a male look. She otherwise calls some looks Victorian (aka Steampunky if modernized; note this as this is important), and blows through the critiques without much of anything valuable to say. You guys, I like Zanna, but I am really missing Joanna Coles this week. She could say something that would rip up your whole dress, and also give you the hint on how to fix it...and say it in 6 words while moving on to the next designer. Joanna Coles was certainly an ice princess, but she was smart and brief, which is completely needed in the 1 hour episodes.

The models come in, and yay eyecandy!!!  Except, not so much. All of the male models stay in black tank tops, and even the model who doesn't fit Jeffrey's outfit because he's been pumping iron is only shown in a black undershirt. Come on! We get a lingering voyeuristic shot of Mychael's model in tighty whiteys putting on pants, but that's the sum total of our eye candy Even when they come back for the runway, we only get 10 frames of skin. Um...Lifetime, do you know who your audience is??

And, runway...

Georgina has been replaced by Project Runway staple Austin Scarlett, aka the best possible judge for this, as he LOVES period pieces. Unfortunately, Alyssa and the producers choose one of his claims to fame as "he's been portrayed on SNL." Guest judge number 2: supermodel Bar Rafieli. And, guest judge number 3: one of my favorite judges, Elie Tahari. This man has always been smart about his critiques and comfortable seeing things that has a different vision than what he expected.

Before I get into the critiques, I began to think that maybe I had the wrong idea of 1930s fashion in my head. I had crisp looks, that, for men, had high waisted pants with lower crotches but were otherwise very much on the way to being what we see as the classic men's look of the 1940s. For women it was the transitional period from flapper to 1950s conservative. Prints and earth tones were coming back. Bosoms were on their way to being covered up with high neck lines. Thinking very Mildred Pierce. But, in watching the show, as you'll see below, I keep thinking Victorian. And, I don't think I'm all that far off.

Seth Aaron and Necktat
Seth Aaron: He created a sophisticated throwback to the Victorian era, and updating it to steampunk with leather accessories, chains, and awesome graphic fishnet leggings. It is definitely not 1930s depression era, but it is an amazing look.

Necktat: A military coat straight out of an 1800s Doctor Who episode. With great pants that came out of the 1930s. It isn't as steampunky as Seth Aaron, but still goes back wayyyy too far for the 1930s.

Together, their outfits are of the same Victorian sci-fi episode, though they also don't match as a couple. They're very different takes on the challenge and don't come together harmoniously.

Irina and Mychael
Irina: A gorgeous copper and gold dress with a brown skirt that captures the earth tones we associate with the 1930s, post-flapper era. The spangles were part of the 1920s that were getting melted into the 1930s browns but then the neckline started going up from the low low flapper era. But, the Dracula jacket throws it way off, and becomes a piece that is lost in what it wants to be.

Mychael: He creates a look that has great conception, though is also Victorian gone completely steampunk. Copper with belts and zippers and looks like a motorcycle jacket. If Doctor Who had a motorcycle episode set in the Victorian era, this would be exactly what they would be wearing to blend in.

Strangely, even though they come from different eras, the materials and shapes make it look like these two people belong together. It may be different inspirations, but at least they match.

Elena and Korto
Elena: High neck, attached cape to the jacket, cinched waist. I'm sure you can tell what I'm going to say about it. But, it's a great look for a vampire.

Korto: The pants are good. The jacket is good. But, I don't even know what this is other than an outfit. It doesn't have any other eras around the edge, and seems like the punk challenge where Korto just went, "Fuck it. I'm going to make something that looks good."

Together, the looks meld nicely. They say absolutely nothing 1930s.

Pansear and Viktor
Pansear: The second look from the 1930s.  It's an elegant dress that looks like Joan Crawford would have worn it, with the rising neckline and earthy tones that recalled the 1930s. It's totally within era. It has a great holster fashion accessory that blends with the lines well (though I thought it was a bit wide). This is something era and is the surefire winner.

Viktor: Um...This is also of era...if the guy was Charles Atlas and didn't buy new clothes after he became a muscle god. You know Charles Atlas, right? The weakling weighing 98 lbs who became a muscle model and workout guru. At least that was his story. Well, this suit was bought by the weakling and never resized. The neckline barely fits him, the shirt is all wonky, the bowtie is ill sized, and it otherwise just looks terrible. It may be 1930s, honey, but it is all wrong.

Together, this is the only couple of the 1930s. But, Pansear's outfit is stunning and she looks like she picked up some male hustler and put an ill-fitting suit on him so she could have somebody hunky to go to the red carpet with.

Elena and Korto are safe, by which we mean, "Get the fuck off the stage because we have no idea what to say about your outfits."  The judging is all fucking over the place tonight. The only people to really listen to are Elie and Austin. They know their shit compared to everybody else. Alyssa Milano is still shopping for her closet. Bar wants the story to come through the outfit, but it is the story she has in her head.

It really comes down to Pansear and Irina. Both of them have a 1930s look. And, the losers come down to Mychael and Viktor. Mychael made a costume; Viktor made a terrible look. Alyssa came to the rescue of Viktor for some reason saying it was somehow immaculate. I dunno.

And...Necktat ultimately wins?!!?  What?!  I guess they wanted to use his pants. Or, maybe they had a directive to come up with a men's look because all of the Bonnie looks had been completed. Either way, wtf?!  And, Mychael is out, which is OK.

But, really, after last week's bottom shitshow, I'm a little pissed that Mychael is going home. on a look that was a bit costumey but not anywhere near where last week's looks. I feel a bit cheated. And, Alyssa was a bit harsh when she calls his look Desperately Seeking Susan as, apparently, she can only think of Madonna movies from the 1980s. But, SOMEBODY has to go home, I guess. Just...ugh.

P.S. Project Runway, no amount of Madonna-referencing is going to make up for the lack of male flesh that was in this episode.

Stray Observations:
- Viktor's non-zinger Zing of the Week: "It's like Project Runway Total Fitness. I lost 15 pounds in 30 minutes, and I'm not a paid actor!" (he's really proud of this one too)

- Alyssa Milano's TMI of the week: regarding Seth Aaron's look.  Elie: "It looks like with black high boots and a whip, it becomes a different outfit." Alyssa: "That's what I LIKED about it!!"

- Zanna thinks a peacoat is automatically Chippendale's.

- Necktat: "This guy should just be in underwear running down a beach." Audience, "Holla!"

- And, what's with the D-ring on the back of Viktor's suit above the fringe?  Is he meant to be a puppet? I think Alyssa probably liked that D-ring.

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