Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Under the Gunn S1 E10: Crossing Teams

If there's one thing we've learned from our years of Project Runway, it's that being a wallflower gets you nowhere. While being a complete and utter jerk doesn't necessarily insure you the win, at least egotism and confidence get you noticed and sometimes a begrudging respect. But, being a pushover with no confidence will get you kicked off the show. I still remember that one season where that one designer said "I should go home" and Heidi was all "You need more confidence in order to survive. You killed yourself by saying you shouldn't stay. Auf Weidersehen."

This lesson gets reinforced time and again, and, spoiler alert, it will be reinforced this week on Under the Gunn. This is also going to be the first time where the mentors are not the primary focus of the episode, creating a story where we finally get to see how the designers work together and how they work in general.

As we open the episode this week, everybody is passive-aggressively bitching about Natalia in front of her, without mentioning her name. Blake: "I miss Michelle. How does it feel to be the top two girls?" "It's another chance to get to prove who we are." *crickets* *Asha sideways glares at Natalia*

Asha, getting the villain edit while wearing a shirt that tackily says "Ohio Against The World," openly bitches about Natalia in asides, constantly throughout the episode. Even before we've made it to the challenge, the editors have inserted Asha's bitchiness, and don't let it up. She must have gone in to the confessional booth 300 times throughout the day to bitch about Natalia again and again. 

This week's challenge is the mini-collection team challenge, to create a spring collection inspired by an over-expensive boho women's clothing store that's found in malls everywhere, Francesca's. They also have the accessory wall. This week's teams are Oscar and Shen (finished + stylish), Blake and Sam (tailored + young), and Asha and Natalia (future + current). All three of these teams might stylistically add up to amazing mini-collections if they can figure out how to work together.

The editors, however, have already foretold that Asha isn't willing to work with Natalia. Nor is Mondo willing to work with Asha or Nick. By the time we hit Mood for fabric selection, even Tim seems to be ready to oppress Natalia out of the series. Later, both Shen and Sam have asides claiming they used to not respect Natalia, but they've come around. But, really...who cares since they aren't teamed with her.

The other two teams work well with each other, with Blake and Sam realizing that you CAN elevate junior with some really good tailoring. Oscar realizes that he sometimes needs some really good editing and Shen can bring a milder eye to Oscar's overdesigning. Both teams collaborate well during sketching, and during Mood.

On the other hand, Asha and Natalia are fighting in Francesca's. They continue fighting in Mood. Asha has decided on a color palette that she hasn't shared/confirmed with Natalia. Asha picks out a whole litany of fabrics, but doesn't fill in Natalia with her overall story. Asha chooses a bunch of fabrics, and runs the team overbudget if they included any of Natalia's fabrics. They can't agree on anything either, because Asha chooses some really fucking awful fabrics. Asha and Tim steamroll over Natalia where she can't get her fabric. When they get to the work room, Natalia wants to cut little swatches of the fabric in order to create a color story, and Asha refuses to let her because she doesn't work like that. It's really brutal how easily Asha's ego and pre-determined hatred for Natalia overpowers Natalia's wallflower nature and lack of confidence. The part that makes me really want to slap Asha is when people comment on her misery and she grins and passive-aggressively says "being positive" when she's being anything but. Her attitude is as tacky, cheap, and fake as her stupid t-shirt.

By the time we get to the mentor critiques, where the three designers come critique the teams in pairs, based on their designers. They stay with their team members. Nick and Anya work well together because Oscar and Shen are really lost at first with some good seedlings that have been lost in an incoherent collection of mundane design. Mondo and Anya critique well because Mondo likes Blake, and Anya is a terrible critic though she knows good criticism. 

But, Nick and Mondo have the same dynamic that Natalia and Asha have. Mondo hates Nick, and he also hates Natalia. He bowls over both Nick and Natalia in order to undermine Natalia and put the onus on her not to be critical of Asha. He also takes time out to say "you need to edit, but I love this Moroccan thing you've got going" in Asha's really awful fabric pairing that will become a dashiki. At this point, Natalia starts designing not to save herself, but to keep Asha from being out. "This isn't about me. This is about a team challenge." Ego, this girl does not have. 

During the final day run-up, Blake and Sam are given some sort of pseudo drama that they have to finish a dress in 2 hours, but they're really good at finishing anyways. The audience really knows that the big trouble team is Asha and Natalia. Asha asks Natalia to do some finishing on her crappy dashiki, just so she can freak out on the runway about how Natalia fucked up her awful thing, and says as much when Mondo comes by. 

*Deep Breaths* It's runway time. The guest judge this week is Sei Jin, from Francesca's. The winning design will be sold at Francesca's, and the designers will win $5,000 for that design. 

Shen and Oscar: Their collection ages a little from 14-year-old to late 20s as it goes on. I wasn't as gaga over it as the judges, though it is solid. Also, the maxi dress fits Francesca's but it isn't quite in the same story as the other two outfits.
  • Design 1: OMG, CUTE! Up close and personal, the overalls seemed rather heavy, but from afar the overall shorts are totally junior cute. which is a bit too young for Francesca's. But, it's well done and the removable overalls are nifty.
  • Design 2: I love the blazer from the front. But, from the back the cutout looks really saggy. I don't get the love because it kind of looks like somebody slashed the jacket. The pieces underneath the jacket, the bright orange knit things are also so hidden by the jacket that they don't get any time to shine, even though they are kind of brilliant on their own.
  • Design 3: It's a maxi dress with pockets. It's stunning, but we've all seen it so many times that it was dependent on its great print.
Asha and Natalia: It's a tortured collection of terrible fabrics, unnecessary 60s retro, and terrible finishing. None of this is what I would expect from either Asha or Natalia on their own. Asha is normally future slut, while Natalia is normally more modern and innovative. That they created such a bad collection of Woodstock-inspired kitsch is telling of how they worked together.
  • Design 1: Natalia look. The skirt is cute. The back is cute. The front is abhorable. It's a simple design with none of Natlia's usual innovation, so her lack of finishing skills comes back to haunt her when she creates something so simplistic. The skirt is so interesting (why pleats?!) and the back straps are fantastic, but the front bust is about as crushed and steamrolled as Natalia.
  • Design 2: God, I hate this look. I hate everything about it. The dashiki is made up of awful felt fabrics, the turquoise doesn't match the brown and the gold, and everything about it is just pure tacky. It's just hideous. I just...I just can't.
  • Design 3: Costume. OMG, does anybody actually wear this anymore? It is pure Woodstock. I haven't seen anybody in this look in decades. 60s aren't revivalist right now. The skirt, however, is interesting with it's belly strap and cutouts. But, it's in service of a look that's so dated it makes me scream.
Sam and Blake: Modern, youthful, and kind of tailored. This is what I expected their ollection to look like. It's kind of expected, and doesn't fit in too well with Francesca's (probably the least compatible of the three collections), but it is within their aesthetic without straying too far from the challenge. It's finished well as well.
  • Design 1: Trendy, young, fabric. It's not junior, but perfect for that woman who wants to look 22. I love the top especially with the strong  red in the back.
  • Design 2: Modern and boho casual. This feels like what Asha's design 3 was trying to be. It's an updated version of the overtly 60s crop top with harem pants replacing the skirt making it far more casual.
  • Design 3: It's a nice semi-evening outfit. The asymmetrical top is interesting, but I can't see many girls wearing it. The skirt is a nice skirt. 
The judging is basically everything that you can see on the runway with your own two eyes. Strangely, Sei Jin takes up Shen's jacket instead of his overalls, and not so strangely also picks up Oscar's maxi dress with pockets because it is a totally expected window piece. 

But, the worst part is what happens between Asha and Natalia. When asked who should go home, Asha doesn't want to be the first to bitch out Natalia in order to make herself not seem like a bitch. But, Natalia doesn't have the ego or confidence to throw Asha under the bus where she belongs for that fucking awful dashiki. Instead, Asha works herself up to tears in order to say how much she wants it and tears tears tears. It's totally fake. Natalia, on the other hand, starts tearing up and throws herself under the bus, saying that she doesn't want Asha to go home because of Natalia. Which, ugh. Natalia's inability to stand up for herself and her lack of confidence was, ultimately, her undoing and she goes home.

Random Observations:
  • Sam's comment of "isn't that a dress that every girl already has?" makes for an awesome friendly bitchy session that Under the Gunn has seriously been lacking in. It's gay camaraderie at its finest...wait, Shen is married with kids?  Still doubtful...
  • When Tim comes in to say that the designers have an extra hour to finish their outfits, Oscar's look of "what the hell? Come on! I've been finished for hours already!" is hilarious
  • Can we see the hair stylist lead make out with Handlebar Moustache Guy? Can they have their own series? Shirtless Stylists! I'd watch.
  • Nick really likes saying "Easy Breezy [random third verb]." It's like a drinking game. If he references Cover Girl's tagline, finish the bottle of wine.
  • Apologies for being so late on this week's posting. I had it all written out, and had clicked save instead of publish. YAY late night writing! LOL  Tomorrow's should be published in a more timely fashion.

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