Friday, October 28, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E7 "Welcome to the Urban Jungle"

Project Runway isn't always great. In fact, most times it doesn't come near the greatness of its earlier seasons, but it's often fun and sometimes new. Like tonight's episode starting with an in media res opening. What's that about? We begin with the contestants getting ready to ride a roller coaster and everyone talking about how they generally feel about them. Not just any roller coaster but the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coasted at Universal Orlando. 

Fun fact: I live in Orlando. To be more specific, I live like five minutes away from Universal. I have an annual pass to Universal and Islands of Adventure. I've ridden this coaster a number of times, and have gone to the park more than enough times this summer for the ridiculously expensive pass to have already paid for itself and then some. My point is simple: Why wasn't I invited to go to Universal with them? This makes two weeks in a fucking row that I could have been included in the Project Runway fun and they snubbed me! This is getting old. And why is PR kicking around in my backyard?

The Challenge

They're here mostly for the opening of the new Kong ride at Islands of Adventure. A ride I haven't even been on yet. So major spoiler alerts for that one, thanks a lot, guys! Reason being because Tim makes a lame attempt to relate the jungle motif of the ride to the Urban Jungle in order to inspire the designers to make a streetwear look fit for the Urban Jungle. We've seen PR reach and twist itself into weird shapes to justify a sponsor before, but this is just ridiculous. 

In any event, that's the challenge. There's a mention of Universal's new water park which I have been driving by a lot lately, so that was weird. People sketch by the pool, and then it's back to New York and a trip to Mood. Seriously, I don't even know if they spent a whole night in Orlando or not. Something about this mini-vacation seems like it'd be more tiring than having just stayed at home. 

Other than the change of scenery opening, there's nothing stand out about this episode. The group being down to ten means there's more time to spend with the designers in their down time, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. There's a lot of sitting around the break room chatting about how far they've come in their designs and how much farther they still have to go. More talk about Cornelius and Nathalia's friendship, but nothing really illuminating. 

Even Tim's visit is lackluster. Though I did really love his conversation with Nathalia. She's creating this oversized jacket inspired by the bats on the ride and she wants to put faux gorilla hair onto the lapel. The fur is obviously a bad idea and it was a bad idea even when she bought it at Mood, but it takes Tim pointing that out before she gets it. He looks at her outfit, and with the most side eye imaginable he says “And streetwear is what you do?” They agree that the jacket should be shorter to show off more of the pant, and all seems right with the world. 

Tim's visit to Erin is an odd one. She's spending all day making new embroidery embellishments, and Tim is worried about her time, but he doesn't say anything about how ugly the embroidery itself is. There's no telling what the fuck those things she's making are supposed to be, and that's a problem. In fact that's the problem I've had with most of her embroidered elements all season. The judges have loved it, but none of it looks purposeful to me. Or at least none of it says "I had this idea to embroider these specific shapes onto this dress." Instead it's just the act of embroidery itself as if that's enough to wow anyone. Anyone other than the judges that is. They have been wowed thus far, so maybe they will be this time. 

The Runway

Brik: What if I said I didn’t hate it? Here’s the smart thing about it: the pattern on the front of the top doesn’t wrap all the way around to the back too. That would be too busy and too much. It's kind of too busy as is, but the front kind of works for me. Maybe it’s the fit of it all, which is banging, or something else, but I’m not going to complain about this. The design might be a bit simple, and you can see on the seam of the pants where the pattern doesn't match up, but it is street wear after all. 

Rik: The loops at the side that look like suspenders are really eye catching. I think in a good way. I’m really liking this. It’s interesting, it’s unique, which I think I’ve said about his looks a lot lately, and it’s really quite fun. I could honestly see someone wearing it. 

Nathalia: Isn’t there supposed to be like a kind of flying squirrel aspect to the jacket? If so, why doesn’t she spread her arms? If I’m wrong and it’s just a big baggy jacket, then I’m bored. But I can appreciate the shorter length and the exposed midriff. The pockets on the pants are certainly cool. Maybe I'd like the look without the jacket at all which just doesn't do it for me.  

Laurence: The jacket is stunning, of course. But the fit of the pants is tragic, and the material is boring. But I guess that’s a given with khaki. The pants and the jacket are the look, but I’m still disappointed that the top underneath the jacket isn’t more interesting. Or maybe if she took the jacket off it would be, but just seeing that jersey (?) top peeking out is a little boring. I like the look, don't get me wrong, but she's so good that these small elements can't help but to be noticeable flaws.

Roberi: There’s something special about this. I can see the inspiration, but I can also see someone wearing this in real life. I think the tank top is a bit boring in that it doesn’t have anything going for it other than the asymmetrical hem. But I do love the jacket and the shorts. 

Mah-Jing: So when he heard streetwear, I assume he thought they meant a woman who works the street? I do not like this. The sheen of that fabric makes it look cheap, and dressing it down with that denim jacket (which I actually do like) completes the effect. 

Erin: My first impression is to just say no and move on not giving this look the time of day at all, but the more I look at it, the angrier I get. What the ever loving fuck was she thinking? There’s no rhyme or reason behind that embroidery at all. What shape is that supposed to be? And why place them where she does on the shorts? No reason, because she’d didn’t fucking think about this. She just said “Lalala I do embroidery and the judges like it, so let’s do more!” There’s something lazy and careless about that and for some reason it makes me honestly angry. I had her pegged for the final, but now I seriously want her gone. 

Dexter: Except for the fit issue in the front, those shorts are great. So I guess they’re only great in the back. Other than that, no! Streetwear? Really? What street are you on where someone’s wearing that? Is it fashionable? Yes. Would it surprise me if the judges like it? No. But if anyone tries to claim it fits the challenge, I’m throwing my shoe at the TV.

Cornelius: I like this in spite of myself. I don’t like the fit of the top, or the construction for that matter; there's way too much exposed side boob, but other than that one issue, I really like this look. It’s cute, fun, and kind of flirty, but mostly it’s real and ready to wear. Maybe it’s not fashionable enough (kind of the opposite of what Dexter did), but I like it all the same. 

Jenni: Is the pattern on those items created by the stitching? Did she do all of that stitching to create said pattern? Did I miss this fact in the workroom somehow? If this is the case, then I like this a lot more than I would if it were just a textile she chose. I don’t think there’s as much design in the cut of the outfit, but the work in the stitching is really quite special. 


Maybe I'm just totally off my game lately, but two of the looks I liked end up in the bottom. Brik and Cornelius are down there, but so are Erin and Dexter (kind of). Nathalia and Laurence are in the top. It's a strange judging because Nina starts off by complimenting Dexter, and I thought I was just totally wrong this go around. Luckily, everyone is quick to point out that the outfit he made just doesn't work. It's not well constructed enough to be haute couture like he seems to want it to be, and he's trying too hard for haute couture for it to be streetwear. Nina thinks it's bold and interesting, but I'm with the others in not being impressed. I will say it does look better without that stupid jacket though. 

Erin gets criticized, but ultimately I thought they were a bit too gentle with her. Again there are calls of surprise that this look came from her. During the closer inspection, Heidi asks the important question about whether she's the designer we've seen for the last couple challenges or is she the designer who was in the top so often earlier. Given how grueling this competition is, I think it's more likely that she's just hit a slump from which she can rebound, but as the saying goes, One day you're in, the next you're out! After these two weeks, if they were to send her home I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. 

As much as I liked Brik's look, I wouldn't lose sleep over him going home either. He went from back-to-back stints in the bottom, to a string of being safe, to now being back in the bottom. The writing's on the wall that he's simply not cut out for this competition, and it's a bit of a shocker that he's lasted this long. Yet again the judges complain about his poor taste in mixing patterns and his lack of a vision about who his girl is. He admits to not having had a plan and Heidi jumps out of her skin trying to get him to not admit to such things. No one has anything good to say about his design, but I must say I'm still with him when he says the patterns don't go together, but they kind of go together. There's no excuse for the sloppy construction of the top, but I simply don't hate this as much as the judges do. 

One look I will backtrack on a bit is Cornelius'. While I did notice the poor construction of the top as the look walked down, I didn't notice how odd the construction was on the pants until they were standing still and being ripped apart. I didn't even realize they were drop crotch pants until Heidi pointed it, and I immediately lost a lot of the love I had for them. One of the guest judges hit the nail on the head when she said the look was good from the knees down but horrible above that. 

In the end, Laurence gets her second win (finally!) and Brik gets sent home (Finally!). As we mentioned last week, we're in the long slog now as we get rid of the five contestants that are no more than dead weight from this point forward. Mah-Jing, Cornelius, Nathalia, and Roberi certainly make the shortlist. But to be fair, if Erin and Dexter don't pull themselves out of the slump they're in, I might have to rethink who'll be moving on. If I had to guess, I'd say Roberi and Jenni are the solid wild cards who could usurp Erin and Dexter's positions in the finale if they aren't careful. With that being said, Laurence is a lock for NYFW barring a implosion, and Rik seems to have gotten fairly hot at the right time. He was safe today, but I think they could have replaced Dexter's spot on the runway with Rik in the top and we would have had a smoother judgement. Either way, next week is another team challenge, so if Dexter and Erin are going to right the ship...well I don't know how easy that'll be in the midst of a team. 

Loose Threads

--There's no more immunity from this point out. And Laurence is the only contestant who's proven capable of bringing it each challenge so far. 

--The thought I had upon seeing Brik shopping in Mood oddly had nothing to do with his poor fabric choice. It was solely "What a flat white boy ass.”

--We've talked a lot about the abundance of one day challenges in these last few seasons, but do you think that might have anything to do with the abundance of spinoffs? Like are production schedules maybe overlapping to such an extent that they have to keep everything down to a one day challenge or they'd just run out of time? If that is the case, I'm all for getting rid of those useless spinoffs and getting back to a more classic PR format.

--I have to admit something, I don't know when it started but I currently find myself in the midst of a huge crush on Rik. The tattoos, the emergence of his talent and clear point of view, and just something about his general bearing have got me all a tither lately. 

--Is there less personality on this season? Or is the middle section of these episodes boring for a different reason? For the last two episodes I've really struggled to find much to say during the workroom / Tim critique sections of these episodes. Tim has another moment this week where he gives some good advice (telling Cornelius to keep Heidi in mind during his design) but other than that there's just nothing to latch onto. Or is it just me?

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