Friday, December 27, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E8 : "Nina's Trending" 

In fashion, it's not about following the trends, it is about setting them. This week, our intrepid designers are asked to look into their Swarovski crystal balls and design a garment that will capture what is new and happening next year. As the last challenge resulted in a gown that will be sold next year, we could say that they have already ticked this box (surely we will all be wearing Korto's taupe and orange post-Sochi?)

Now, few people would say that I, MediaGrrl, am a fashion trendsetter, but what do you know, here comes Alyssa wearing a blouse and denim skirt combo I wore to many a Chicago bar in the late 90s, showing all the world not only her tasteful, ladylike side, but also the reason I went home alone most nights.  Alyssa wants to know how this thing we call All Stars compares to their own seasons. If she wanted some behind the scenes dirt or even amusing whining, she gets nothing. The designers mumble something about, well, you know, it not being the first time. its actually easier, so...

Enough! Challenge time! Who better then to be the hand-feeder of the details, and guest judge, but the arbiter of style and questioner of taste levels, Nina Garcia. Yay, Nina's back. Now, judging the final looks is a deadly serious business, but this handing out the assignment - not so much. No need to show up completely sober. Nina seems to have come from a three martini lunch (or, as they say on 30 Rock, she's business drunk), gives Alyssa a big hug (I really love you, Lyssa Merano), and tosses the chunks of challenge meat to the hungry design tigers.

Bloggers - the biggest influence in the fashion industry (note: surely it is tv recap bloggers?), the voice of the people, like Gretchen once proclaimed of herself, a force to be reckoned with, and the convenient satisfier of this year's "real women" challenge. PR:AS has flown in five of the best from all over the  world. Sort of like the A-Team, if everyone was Faceman and BA was not a chronic over-accessorizer. See, in a weird twist, all of them are gorgeous. No lumpy bridesmaid or dumpy mother to tent up this season. Extensions glued in and glottal frys set to "psyched", one aspiring Garcianista will jet off to Belgium with Nina to shoot a video with the winning look. This will not appear in or on Marie Claire, oh no, but on the front page of a fashion blog-blog called Style Hall, an agreement Nina clearly inked after the fourth on-an-empty-stomach cocktail, and let's just say, it is a good thing Joanna Coles isn't around to see this moonlighting. You might remember, Joanna had the power to crush Nina like a little bug, but now she is off supervising astrology-based sex quizzes and staring down interns for the gals at Cosmo.

Pantone is sponsoring this challenge, even putting up the winners at the Pantone hotel (who knew) to publicize the color of the year, 2014, which is.... no, not black, Elena... Radiant Orchid! Write that one down for the next time you shop, Radiant Orchid. What Pottery Barn sage green and my short denim skirts were to the 90s, Radiant Orchid will be to the nows. Or the almost nows.

The designers return to the workroom and select their bloggers. Korto goes with Carli from New Jersey. Christopher gets Fleur from London, the one in England, whom he describes as having an easy, breezy (catches himself dangerously close to Maybelline territory) natural beauty. Seth Aaron takes Gigi from Toronto because he feels she has ADD, like him, and she is lively and stunning and the tallest of the bunch. Elena and Viktor take the interchangeable Dulce from Los Angeles, and Jarmaine, who is also from Los Angeles. Weird - what are the odds that two mermaid-haired brunettes in the greater LA area would have the inclination to create blogs devoted to putting on makeup, showing off makeup and scoring free makeup (JlovesMAC, anyone?) and lure in innocent designers by appearing adorably in the shower and asking sexually charged questions like: "do you remember this vest of mine?"  Yeah you do, Zinger. Yeah you do.

So our remaining five come up (now) with a trend prediction (future) that features a color that Pantone has decided (now) will be the color of the (future).  If you follow.

The Runway:

Zinger forecasts: creating your own textile

In a last minute change of plan, he creates a 50s flirty circle-skirted dress in black Neoprene over the Radial Ochre. To mix it up, he adds a great looking white biker jacket, with a zipper in matching RO. Cute look. Zinger says the jacket is "a staple from the 50s but I feels that in 2014 is not going to changes" .  What does that even mean?  I think... I may have caught what Nina has.
Nina calls him out for being too soon, and Isaac underlines the fact that she is 100% right. Bottom three.

Elena forecasts:  creating your own (heavy) textile

This is styled like a catalog look, one where the bottom or inner garments are completely plain, so they fade into the background and showcase the item for sale. Here we get a nondescript black skirt paired with the featured item, a big, collarless jacket that is appliqued (?) with geometric stripes. I can't make my mind up on the tweedy, beribboned, peplumed  jacket. I know I don't care for it on the model, who is vertically challenged.  Part of me likes the originality of it and the combo of colors, part of me thinks it belongs at a fundraising tea. Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch. (I'll drink to that, Nina.) Elena doesn't quite get the idea that a peplum cuts her tiny blogger in half, but she does rock lipstick in the color of the year, Radon Oprah. 

Seth Aaron forecasts:  color blocked seams in a "British-flag inspired" dress

I almost always like SA's looks, and this is no exception. He also receives props from Nina for the best use of the color, but the dress, while beautiful, flawlessly made and wearable, even for the everyday woman or person without curves, like Gigi, it doesn't have quite the wow SA is capable of.

Korto forecasts:  no color

This is a great look. Crisp clean white, nicely cut vest top with almost a fan-pleated effect, lined in Redundant Orca. We can question the shoes and the clutch (both cool, but perhaps not with this look) but this is the clear winner.

Pansear forecasts: Near-vintage-Paris-soft-military

As with most Christopher creations, his sketch was so much better than the finished product. The color choice takes the original idea from a bright teal green, which popped against the RO, to a faded olive, which simply clashes. The lace overlay looks forced, and his description of "soft military" seems to come from not being able to find the cloth he wanted at Mood. Nina no likey. It does bring us to this odd exchange:

Nina: it looks like seaweed that has come out of the swamp.
Pansear: Thank you.
Nina: That's not a compliment
Pansear: I didn't take it as one.

The judges scramble to find any sort of competition to give us drama for the 1st place prize, but we all know it will be Korto's blogger flying off to Belgium to eat Panetone, use Pantene, stay at the Pantone hotel.

Viktor is sent to pack his fans. All Stars has lost its zing.

Stray Observations:

Alyssa Milano could play the co-lead in of How I Met Your Mother's Sister

In watching the opening credits, I had forgotten Daniel was on the show

Elena  is pissed that everyone is stealing her Neoprene fashion ideas

Alyssa  shows why she was the go-to under 12 actress for Movies of the Week about divorce: "Nina, can you stay for always?"

Christian Soriano is correct: over-design is a tough sell

Korto's girl predicted a victory "in the name of Jesus, Amen." Take that, panel of judges.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E7 : "As Sewn on TV"

Hello Runaways,

You might know me as MediaGrrl in the comments section, but for the first time, I'm filling in for the wonderful Julius as he is off opening his one man revival show, Christian? Sorry? Oh, no!  I will do my best to keep the Project Runaways mood of serious frivolity going, and I look forward to your comments as well. On to the recap we go!

This week is brought to you by the letters Q, V and C, who are sponsoring The Wall this season. Please use it thoughtfully, or not, as Tim is not here to remind us.

This episode starts with a bang-- no shots of sleepy designers waking up to the site of a grizzled cameraman from IATSE Local 600 hovering over their twin beds this season. Instead we are at a helicopter pad, somewhere adjacent to Manhattan. Alyssa is there to tell the final six that they will be designing something for QVC and they're going to meet the famous Lisa Robertson, program host (for hours of QVC sales are called "programs", not streams of endless pitches of a overly caffeinated auctioneers. It's less wordy.) and "Style Authority," a title that sounds both dubious and menacing.

The designers have yet to put two and two together to understand why they are standing in front of helicopters-- as no one really knows where the Batcave QVC HQ is located, they don't realize they will be crossing state lines to visit Westchester, Pennysylvania. I assume this quiet berg of 18,000, home to Dave Barry and coach Muffet McGraw, has rarely incited squeals on the level of Elena's excitement, nor been host to an off-her-meds Ukrainian neon enthusiast and a crew this motley.  Bubbly Elena and the girls get in and away they go. Irina is pleased!

The men also load in to their helicopter, and as you've seen a million times in dude movies like Black Hawn Down and Blue Thunder, they immediately begin putting makeup on. We also get a fan-flick and a bon mot or two from Zinger, who is acting like his normal hilarious and in-need-of-air self. Please note that. He's just fine and dandy at this stage.

The designers arrive at QVC and enter a cavernous, clean lobby that looks like a smart hotel that would be attached to an airport in the 1970s. They look with wonder at the pale marble and oooh over the flatscreens showing the International versions of QVC. We even get a not-at-all forced soundbite from Seth Aaron, marvelling at the fact that QVC is on in, like, Germany. Way to sell it, crew.

Uh, oh, is that Lee Meriwether descending the staircase from the Delta Sky Lounge? Nope, it is Lisa Robertson, product of the pageant system, winner of the cheekbone lottery and a student of the "chin on the chest shows gravitas" school of media training. She informs us that she is lucky enough to reveal this week's challenge - designing a gown for she herself  to wear at (or near, or around, or close to, or while at home thinking about) the QVC Oscars-related "star-studded gala", where she will be working the red carpet. She mentions this is a live broadcast, so please, no designs that must be touched up in post-production or CGI'd in later. This gown must also look good in photographs, and later we'll see that this is part of the judging, one of those parts that the judges seem to ignore if it doesn't go along with their auf'ing plans.

As I had never heard of the barnacle to the Oscars boat that is the "Star-Studded QVC Live Broadcast", I checked the roster of "A listers" from last year. They had Jennifer Hudson, fair enough, and her personal career cautionary tale, Marisa Tomei, the ubiquitous Lisa Rinna, an always-welcome dash of Jane Seymour and an up and coming model from Germany, one Miss Heidi Klum, if I'm spelling that right. Pretty girl, I assume she was just happy to have been invited.

Lisa Robertson is not just a Style Authority, she is a damn good tour guide, showing off the studios and inviting them to try their hands at on-camera (but not live, thank goodness) program hosting. She forgets to point out her chin technique, as if they'd master that in a day. I must agree with the giddy, hairflipping, nervous Elena, "It's not as easy as it looks". Nope, and that is why we have laboratories that create lisarobertsonbots. The six are then led into Isaac Mizrahi's own studio, which Seth Aaron claims that they all recognize, ya know, from watching it on QVC. Barring a hospital stay, the only person less likely than Seth Aaron to watch QVC is Isaac himself, who pops in to say hello, in a shot that seems like a third take ("that's great, Isaac, can we just do one more shot of you entering, more excitement this time, have fun with it").

The designers sit and sketch, captured by the smooth tracking shots and brighter lighting that give these past few episodes a different, more stylish and less rough reality show feel.

We see Lisa will have a wide variety of looks to choose from:
Pansear is thinking semi-strapless, fitted, a mermaid shape.
Viktor is going form fitting, stylish, flared out at the bottom in a mermaid silhouette.
Irina is taking Isaac's advice to go dramatic and "pull out all of the stops", and so to differentiate herself, designs an almost bridal look, assuming the bride wanted a strapless, fitted, mermaid gown. 
So lots of options for Lisa.

It is then the next day, and we can tell that as everyone has changed clothes:  Elena has reapplied eyeliner over yesterday's, and Viktor has changed into a yellow polo shirt. What - a yellow polo? No costumey corduroy bowtie and kid's birthday hat? How mundane. Is there something wrong with little Zinger? No, he seems fine, but stay tuned, gentle reader! After a trip to Mood, the remaining six have about 11 hours to pull off a gown. "A GOWN", frets Pansear, blocking out the fact that he has done at least three gowns this season. He decides to whip out his fabric feathering technique, which the judges loved during his season.

Irina is also fretting, as she has concerns about completing her complicated design in the allotted time. No one made you put 18 panels into your dress, Irina. Still, she has always been an efficient worker, so surely she can whip up all of those seams, perfectly, then top stitch each, and add boning, and reinforce the skirt, and then applique her dress before deadline? I am tired just typing all of that, but godspeed Irina. She doesn't seem pleased.

And in a constant state of fret-itude is Elena, or Pikachu, as Viktor calls her, who confesses that she is worried that she doesn't "know the techniques for evening wear" (also should be noted, she made a silky smooth red gown last week that looked very evening),and speaks for the audience when she wonders aloud if she will freak out. Is it better or worse, mental heath-wise, if she is aware that she is losing her marbles during challenges?

But Elena will only have a supporting role in today's big story, for, noticing the vaccuum of drama and sensing there is airtime up for grabs, Viktor takes a turn for the sad. Is something wrong with Zinger? Has he lost his... zing? The first and biggest clue that a Big Moment is coming is the postprodution insertion of Lifetime's Emotional Confession Music. The camer a captures a sigh as he cuts fabric. Zinger, with brow delicately furrowed, claims that he has something on his mind, a thing that has been bothering him so much, something that makes him afraid of how other people will treat him, and he needs to talk about it, confess it to the world, because he just "wants to be free".

Oh the drama! Mr. MediaGrrl and I paused the tv-- intrigued. What was it? What was troubling our hero? What had he done? Had he killed a hobo? Worn white after Labor Day?

We would find out along with Zinger's two closest friends, Elena and... Seth Aaron? who knew?, whom he thoughtfully interrupts as they diligently work to finish their complex red carpet gowns. Zinger steers them into the break room, takes a deep breath and -- and Elena, jumping out of her skin, shrieks "what the fuck, dude, tell me what's wrong!"

Mr. MediaGrrl had guessed testicular cancer. I had guessed bankruptcy. Turns out, Viktor is HIV positive. He has known for ages, but only his partner has been told. His family will possibly find out on tv. Dare I say Elena and Seth Aaron look relieved? Editorially, I want to add, what a good place to be in, from a public health standpoint, when HIV positive status, while not great, is not received as a death sentence. I remember the 80s, when not only my crush Mark Harmon's sexy doctor character on St. Elsewhere was dealt that card, and that meant he was a goner, but in the years that followed many people I knew in what we call "real life" were affected. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. HIV is not, then or now.

So, back to Viktor's big reveal. His friends, mulling over this news, must not have given Zinger the gasp, the snap of the fan, if you will, that he was looking for, so he mewls "I just didn't want you to treat me differently", and looks sad, forcing them to get up and defend their respect and fondness for him with hugs. Elena even offers a backrub. Manipulative little so-and-so. Seriously, I do not get the motivation for the timing of this kind of announcement, especially when we see who is sitting on the judging panel this week.

The mood is immediately lightened by a glistening pink bubble that floats in and bursts to reveal Glinda, the GiggleWitch of the South, aka Zanna Roberts Rassi, here to shut down the design munchkins with a lilt in her voice and a shake of her blonde curls. Today Glinda has forsaken her sparkly gown for a matchy two- piece flowered outfit that wouldn't  look out of place at an English gardening club meeting. She gets right to work dispensing advice, some of it good (Korto's orange ruffles look cheap, Irina's is too bridal) some bad (tells Pansear "keep adding" to his look) and some intriguing (people do not like green). She is not very pleased with what she sees.

Runway Day:
The models march in wearing matching black tanks, as Korto gives us the Freak Out Update. She's freaking out because after viewing her test photos, she sees her orange super-gathered dress is a neon mess, and starts over completely. According to Korto, Christopher's freaking out, Viktor's freaking out, Irina is ice cold, Elena, duh, and Seth Aaron is running around like crazy. She herself, well, girl is "twisted", which I think is the DefCon 5 of freak outs.

Irina should be worried - in putting the dress over her model's head, she experiences the first of quite a few rips of the 18 pieces of delicate fabric she has worked so hard to piece together. Zinger thinks that this may be due to her stiffening the fabric with buckram, a cotton which is used a lot in hat making. He says it can tear easily. Irina is not pleased. Aside from that, and some ass-measurement issues from Pansear and Elena, we are off to the runway.

Sitting next to Isaac today in place of The Beautiful Georgina Chapman® is Mondo Guerra. You might remember him from his tearful HIV positive confession during Season 8, the one that seemed organic, real and heartfelt. Also, you might recall that he wore crazy little outfits that included shorts with suspenders, pins and necklaces, a style that that seemed organic, (sur)real and heartfelt. Mondo is his own man. Viktor is not.
When Mondo's name is mentioned by Alyssa, there is a quick cut to Viktor, who looks down. Wild coincidence that Mondo is visiting this week?

Lisa Robertson is there, natch, and the end chair is occupied by the lovely Elisabeth Moss, one of the "greatest acting  talents of her generation", according to the lovely actress Alyssa Milano, who, despite what you think of Charmed,  is not.

Pansear:  I love midnight blue and black together, but damn does this dress have a lot going on. Feathered technique on a fabric that has a tiny bit of sparkle, leather trim on the boobs and a full leather shoulder piece, a belt and a poofy tulle train. The ethereal model doesn't sell it so much, and during judging, standing still, the dress makes her boobs look like Good  'n Plentys, but somehow it all comes together.

Zinger:  Who doesn't love olive green? Guest judge Elisabeth Moss, as it happens. I like it on redheads and ashey blondes like Viktor's model, but the color is not the biggest problem here, it's the gores and the ruffles and the fins and the train. This dress is busier than a tornado at a trailer park, a theme carried through by the model's messy styling. It's okay. Not for anyone above a size two, or with Lisa's fantastic figure.

Seth Aaron:  Full disclosure here: much like Emilio Sosa  declared when he designed his own fabric, MediaGrrl  hearts Seth Aaron. From his positive attitude to his cool cartoon-y sketching style, excepting his current eyebrow situation, I just adore him, and I think Alyssa feels the same way. In fact, Seth seemed to give her quite the glance when she walked out tonight. Hmmm.  His sparkling, non strapless, non mermaid gown is one of my favourites, even with the Cadillac fin'd bum.

Korto:  There is a fine line between effortless and lazy, and Korto's is right there. Not sure how my buddy SA got knuckle-rapped for a basic drapey gown last week when Korto's maxidressey simple gown is seen as comfortable and flowy.  The skirt is made of various levels of left-over orange chiffon, and has pockets, which always get the female judges squealing. The top is made of taupe fabric, twisted into a sort of halter. I'm thinking that drab color will not look as nice on the pale skinned QVC host as it does on Korto's darker-skinned model,  and I predict it will be changed when the actual dress is made.

Elena:  She's gone all Patricia and made her own textile, black overlaid onto purplish brocade, cut out to create an effect of scales. It's cool. The judges seem to have more of a problem with the design of the dress than the fabric, pointing out the "dowdy" bateau neckline and some weird seaming in the back. Elena's warming up for her self-predicted meltdown, not thrilled with her dress, saying "I'm just praying that the judges don't execute me for it". That says a lot about design school discipline in the Ukraine.

Irina:  a gown for the perfectly postured, impossibly thin, showin' off the A-cups bride who will be married in a church with no steps and no modesty code. The mermaid skirt maintains its stiffness and does look beautiful, but I found the faux-leather and pearl flower appliques strewn about it a little heavy-handed. The model can't quite make it on and off of the runway without giving us another nice rip.  Of the dress, I mean.

Personalities abound and opinions differ on the runway tonight.
By the time all of the models are brought out for the judging, the seam split has grown to about 6 inches. Irina is not pleased. Isaac is blaming the fabric, Irina is blaming te model, and as she is questioned about this catastrophe, Irina softly snarls, "yeah, she RIPPED it". Her model does not have the mobility to kick her for this.

Seth Aaron announces, without prompting, that "he is back!" which delights Alyssa, annoys Isaac and prompts a flirty "no, you are Schmoopie" back-and-forth with Elisabeth Moss on the merits of sparkle. (Turns out they both like it. Awwww.) Style Authority Lisa Robertson feels the gown is "too close to home" and by home she means where her vagina would be, if such a thing was allowed on QVC. Silly Lisa, lady parts are known around here as "the good china". It is agreed by the judging panel that the widening of one's bottom is not a good thing. SA is in the bottom three.

Isaac says Pansear "had him at navy tulle". I looked it up - thinking the Navy Tulle might be a military event that the two attended, and we were getting our second confession of the episode. Nope, he just loved the train, and Pansear's feathering technique, which, sadly, is also nothing sexual.

Zinger  gets shut down, multiple times, for his choice of color, by a blonder than I've seen her Elisabeth, who actually would look lovely in that shade. Alyssa says she's disappointed, she expects more of Viktor, and why can't he be more like Mondo? (Well, she doesn't go that far.) He is in the bottom three.

Elena's is called a "good dress", making her gasp and smile, but also "dowdy" and unflattering, making her have the sads. She's in the bottom three.

Korto's tangerine/cafe au lait concoction gets mostly positive reviews, "a fresh idea", "very wearable", with lone dissent coming from Lisa, who doubts the glamour factor will outshine Lisa Rinna and some leftovers from The Hills. In fact, for a moment Lisa is leaning towards the drama of Irina's structured gown, but is hip-checked into sanity by Elisabeth and Mondo. As I may have tipped off earlier, Korto is the winner, and Lisa will wear her dress. No way does that taupe stay taupe - we shall see.

But someone has to go home, and it comes down to Elena and Irina. Elena is terrified, and she wells up. Which will it be: a near miss that the designer didn't really sell to the judges, or a beautiful failure that was not completely suited to the occasion? If Elena goes, surely this is the meltdown we've been waiting all episode for...

Nah. Irina goes home, with the "no Heidi kiss kiss" send off seeming colder than usual. Although she says she would have liked to have won, we hear the sigh in her voice, and as she goes and cleans up her space, she makes it clear she doesn't really need this All-Stars business. Irina is not pleased.

I'll be with you again next week, and hope to have the recap up a little sooner.

- Martina

Stray Observations:

Isaac's perfume is called Fabulous. Was Divine taken?

"The bonus puts you in so many homes - it's an amazing prize," says Irina. ask Joan Rivers how much money she has made from QVC. So designers, would you rather be in front of millions of shopping housewives or be the toast of Paris Fashion Week?

Elena has never been on a helicopter. Or, one presumes, in one.

Viktor spreads his fabric on the floor to cut - this has always weirded me out when the designers do this. How clean is that floor?

Irina sure wore a lot more makeup, shorter skirts and higher heels during All-Stars. It brings to mind Althea and SweetPea, who both must have looked at their original seasons and thought they could do a little better in the styling department.

Apparently there was a rumor circulating that Lisa Robertson had died. She is the Abe Vigoda of tv shopping.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E6: "Marge Madness"

And so it’s come to this. We are no longer designing fashion. We’re designing for a cartoon character. Which is fitting considering how much of Project Runway is actually a cartoon. Especially last season with its outsized personalities and big, boisterous, fights that could only have been accentuated by the use of Acme products that backfired. Oh, to have seen an Acme sewing machine sew up Captain Sassypants’ mouth shut.

Side tracked. Anyways, in a move that’s truly unprecedented, we get…a product placement!!  This week’s product placement is The Simpsons, and the designers have to make a dress for Marge to go on a dinner date with Homer. Now, if you’re like me, you know that she’s periodically had formalwear, and there was even a whole episode Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield which centered around Marge finding an amazing power suite in an outlet mall store, and modifying it to hobnob with the rich and famous. She toiled every night working over the sewing machine to make a new outfit for the next day out of this one. Marge was the original Project Runway seamstress.

Marge makes an appearance to give the story and rules.
1) This is a dinner date with waiter service. So, formal/fancy.
2) This needs to be sexy for snuggling afterwards.
3) No green
4) Easy for a drunk Homer to remove (SERIOUSLY?!!?)
5) Use accessories from the “Who’s ever sponsoring the wall now wall.” OK, Simpsons. You get points for that.

Now, one would immediately think simple-ish, formal, not crazy patterns, and yellow skin. Also, no pink power suits because that’s been done. Probably also not a State of Florida costume. Though, admittedly, I would love that costume on this show.  Elena’s idea is a super low cut red dress with a formal blazer. Irina has an idea for a purple tube dress with an elegant tutu. Both of these ideas are fantastic for cartoons, as they’re simple but allow movement.

This whole concept confuses the fuck out of most of the other designers.  Necktat has an idea for a long purple dress with a bunch of purple roses snaking down the front. Note, at Mood, Necktat buys like 10 fabrics because he’s freaking out. Korto designs a version of a sexy but conservative asymmetric little black dress. Pansear wants to do a summer dress that we’ve seen 100000 times. Seth Aaron’s dress idea is to make a graphic dress with purple and black barbershop pole lines. Gawth boy.

And, when I say that it confuses the fuck out of people, I mean everybody is challenged. Pansear starts panicking about his design and questioning but slowly plodding his way to the final dress. I do mean plodding because he overworks a dress that most designers have done in 10 minutes. Seth Aaron says “I’m fucking lost” and over the course of the episode, he starts and works to a decent part of 6 different dress designs. Irina can’t figure out how to drape anything. Necktat designs 2 different dresses, and both are rather boring.

Seth Aaron’s rejects:
Design 1: Skinny dress with black and purple barbershop pole lines (drawing only)
Design 2: Long floor length red carpet look with many layers of multi-colored chiffon. (drawing only)
Design 3: Polka dot fabric with a severe black slash of fabric (partial execution)
Design 4: Some sort of simple black dress. (draping)
Design 5: Black dress with purple cutouts (cutting and sewing)

Zanna Roberts Rossi comes in and starts doling out the worst advice ever. “It’s date night at a restaurant. You don’t want to go too futuristic.” “I’ve seen this one hundred million zillion times. I’m going to let you mull that over for a bit.” “You need to think about how this looks on the runway.” “Think of her not as a cartoon character but as a real housewife around age 40. I don’t know how many of them are wearing polka dots.”

She doesn’t actively criticize Viktor’s trainwreck which looks like a formal version of punk. I think Elena’s spirit has possessed Viktor in a weird edition of The Exorcist. Pansear has already started 2 dresses. Seth Aaron is on Design 3 by now. But, considering all of her advice, Zanna is getting increasingly useless, in my opinion.

We also have a little drama between Pansear and Viktor because Viktor is hurt that Pansear didn’t help him as much during the team challenge. And then Viktor apologizes. And it seems like he means it. And Pansear accepts. You guys! This is All-Stars drama. People acting like human beings. Solving their problems not by yelling at each other, but by talking it out, apologizing and moving on. Project Runway, I am proud. You’re starting to grow up. *tearing up*

During the model fittings, we start to see what Irina has designed. And, oh lord. It’s a cupcake tent. Maybe I’ll be wrong. But, her dress was going so wrong so fast. And, it never really recovered. Necktat called it “a gigantic nightie.” And, he’s not wrong. At all.

Anyways, runway.

Guest judges are Anthony Ryan (who we’ll get to in a minute), Abigail Breslin (who is looking kind of hot now),  and Stacey Bendet (who designs for some line called Alice + Olivia…I don’t even).  Back to Anthony Ryan Auld. He makes it hard not to mock him. I can’t mock him for being bald or gaining weight, because he was dealing with testicular cancer. And, that needs to be acknowledged. But, then he painted a gigantic black stripe on his head? And, wearing above-the-knee shorts? I don’t even know what the hell you’re doing by styling yourself that way. And a blue suit jacket with your skin tone?! No. Go home and put on clothing that looks good on you, and wash that damned stripe off your head.

Korto: Slink, shiny and sexy. It looks like Korto would wear that dress. Sure it looks like a slightly tweaked version of a black dress we’ve seen 100 times, and Marge may have even worn a dress similar to it at one point, but it’s a good basic look.

Pansear: He created a summer dress with a ball of fabric on it. Pansear had a lot of fabric and bought too much, so he just kind of bundled it all up on the side. Add in a belt, and it made a good maternity look.

Necktat: You gave us a split open vagina with a sloppy long pearl necklace. NO. NONONO.  That is a fucking ugly perverse joke of a dress.  What the fuck is wrong with you?!

Irina: Nope. It’s a cupcake. And, if you note, it also has this trail of glitter going down the front like Marge spilled glitter on herself. Totally stolen from Necktat’s initial drawing. It’s an eyesore.

Viktor: Faux punk. I have “expensive hooker” written on my card.

Seth Aaron: “It’s a perfectly beautiful gown that sells at every store across America.” – Seth Aaron. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Only not as a self-promoting compliment.

Elena: Red simple dress, elegantly made, with one of the most amazing slightly masculine art deco blazers you could ever want. It was a gorgeous gorgeous piece that would read amazingly as a cartoon. I am in love with this outfit. And, it recalls the business suit episode without being a direct copy.

Judging is weird. Everybody except Stacey fawns over Irina’s outfit. Nobody comments on the vagina in Necktat’s outfit, though Stacey focuses on the ugly ass shoes. Somehow Elena doesn’t win. Even worse, Irina does win. But, what do we expect with this fucking show? Though, finally, Necktat is out.

Ed’s note: Apologies for being distant these past few weeks. I've been planning a trip during December. And, thus, I’m looking for guest reviewers for the rest of the month of December. Please e-mail me at if you want to review.

Stray Observations
- Elena: “Color in my collar.”

- Elena: “Keep it simple.” Cut to confessional where she’s wearing some sort of obnoxious-ly printed shirt with pink straps and a flowers…and a floral bra with thick white straps.

- Pansear to Viktor: “Don’t you think it’s too tea?” *drinks with extended pinky to show he thinks it’s a bit casual and a bit gay*
Viktor: *missing the mark* No! It has movement.”
Pansear: *glares with intent*(you totally missed what I was saying)
Viktor : *firm look* (No, I got it. I just am not giving you the upper hand, bitch.)
Pansear: *look of bewilderment*

- Viktor’s non-zinger zing of the week. “I don’t know if Marge Simpson would wear it. Maybe to the 40/40 club?”

- Viktor: “I want her eyes to pop…*flicks fan* darling…” Shoot me.

- Stacey: “It feels like you got a belt off the street.” (Seth Aaron: “What do you want? It’s the QVC Wall, bitch.”)

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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E4: "Keepin' It Classy"

I think we all felt this way by the end of the episode.
Every Project Runway All-Stars host starts to reach a sort of middling stride mid-season. Alyssa Milano is starting to really loosen up compared to when she began. It's almost like the producers were watching the dailies and told her to be more natural, and she finally figured out how. While she still doesn't have the dominating presence that we've come to expect from Frau Klum, Alyssa is starting to loosen up in front of the camera and become an interesting figure. Her faux accent is starting to slip a little. And, her teeth are unclenching. And, she's starting to feel fun.

Which is good because we're bringing back one of the most famous challenges ever, you guys!  Maybe some of you don't remember this challenge, but we're bringing back the unconventional challenge!  ZOMG! I remember seeing this like 2 months ago, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it! It was so hard when they had to go to like a wallpaper store and a hardware store. Or, maybe they had to go to Coney Island and cut up animals. Or, maybe...anyways, we haven't seen this challenge in awhile, and it's back! ZOMG. Be still my beating heart!

Bur, what is our challenge, outside of an unconventional challenge?  Well, we have to take a trip to find a SCHOOL BUS! Immediately, my gay ass starts worrying that this is going to be an anti-bullying episode, because I spent my time on the school bus blasting KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails at volumes that pierced everybody else's ear drums. Immediately the designers start fucking around on the school bus. And, they're being taken to PS 212, some school in NYC. So, it's not an anti-bullying after school special, but it is a mad dash challenge, in the vein of that time they tore up their apartments in the first episode.  They have 4 minutes to get everything, and...

Oh, fuck...Pansear. Really?  You have to bring the bullying? I know it's uncouth for me to say, because solidarity and I was bullied and blah blah blah but...*sigh*. So, because of the bullying, we know that Pansear is not going home because emotional backstory = stay. But, then we have the fight between Korto and Necktat for who's going home as they're both revealing a bit much in the asides. And, a little bit of Mychael. And, they're all starting to make really REALLY ugly shit. 

I've also really been in love with Korto's revealing.  Every time, she's like "Bitches, I'm here for the money. Why the fuck am I here?" This time, she's revealing its all about her daughter and growing her business to provide for her child. And, Awwww.  But, she still doesn't want to be here. Meanwhile, Pansear is still ranting about bullying. And, he'll not stop until the runway. 

During Zanna's consultations, she's all worried about the outfits that she should be worried about, and enthusiastic about some of the ones she also should be worried for. Korto's look starts out looking like a rejected costume from Hackers, but then we see her start doing shit with rubber bands that starts making it look like a homemade Marching Band outfit. And, Zanna is worried about Mychael's progress because he hasn't done much of anything, and insult's Necktat lego foam dress. And, ooooooof. There's the origins of some serious ugly in the room. And, then there's a twist. Because PS 212 isn't a commercial tie in, this is the Mary Kay tie in episode, where two people consult on makeup whose advice seems to get ignored the next day.

And, soon its time to go to runway, where I fully expect to see Dan "I have 2 shirts" Savage representing It Gets Better because, well, bullying and high school. Instead, we get the fantastic Gabourey Sidibe, from Precious, the New York high school movie about bullying in the inner city. And, also Michael Urie, who was*checks IMDB* Partners and Ugly Betty. He also directed He's Way More Famous Than You...which, um...  Poor guy. Maybe he was the one who replaced Dan Savage. 

Anyways, Runway.

Irina: I hate to admit it...this was my favorite look on the runway today. It was over the top pink and princessy, which is a total departure for Irina, but its well made and it doesn't entirely look like it was made from other materials. It looks like some weird combination of a little girl's fantasy dress and 80s pop summer gone to France. I just...I hate loving it. But, it's so awesome.

Pansear: He totally trainspotted Mychael's look from last week. It's hard plastic armor which is kind of transformer-y, and armor-y. But, it's border costume for me. 

Korto: What...the...fuck. At least she realizes it isn't good. But, seriously, she started out so modern with bright orange lines and complicated curves, and then she ended up with an elementary thanksgiving pageant apron like thing. It''s fucking awful, and an eyesore.

Elena: Made another color blocked android-esque sci-fi look. Remember how I said Pansear's looked border costume?  This is total costume to me. I think this would be in one of those cheap sci-fi pornographic movies where the costumer had like $40 and one day to make an outfit.  ...  Oh.

Necktat: Stripper at a hot dog stand at an Indian Casino.

Viktor: I like this one too, but I have always had an issue with dresses that look like you just glued things to a base fabric. It's almost cheating. Though, it looks like the cooler version of Justin's showstopper last season, outside the plastic chunky pieces.

Mychael: I'm sorry. I can't be mean to this. Poor guy.  Have at it commenters.

Seth Aaron: What?! At least its not boring?

So, the judging this week is whack again. Seth Aaron who has one of the worst looks on the runway is safe, and Irina, who had the best look, is also safe. But, neither Gabby nor Urie have much interesting to say. I love Gabby's way of looking at clothing, but they didn't have much intelligent to say. Michael Urie compares the boobies on Elena's dress to Rosie from The Jetsons, She was flat, honey. What were you fantasizing about as a pubescent boy?

But, the most entertaining part of this episode besides Korto's "I don't need to be here" moments, is Necktat's volcano of bullshit. "I never got from this that we were supposed to do something that was wearable. I heard something to the effect of 'flex your creative muscle.' And, this to me was an anime girl, in a sundress, mid-twirl."  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Elena's impression of McKayla Maroney was fucking priceless. I think she did it better than McKayla (sorry!). 

Necktat's volcano of bullshit is only matched by the finale where nobody loses.  WHAT?!  I know people struggled, but there was some serious ugly on this runway, and not even all of the bad looks were out there.  Seth Aaron's look is atrocious. And, just...omg, you guys...what?  *drink*  And, of course, the bullying outfit wins. Heartstrings pulled.

Stray Observations:

- Viktor (I think): "I refuse to do children."

- Viktor's Non-Zinger Zing of the week: "We don't need no twist, thankyouverymuch!...zan-na." *gestures with finger*

- No, Elena, Lady Gaga wasn't around 10 years ago, and no you didn't design for her 10 years ago.

- Zanna (to Irina) "It's definitely the pretty corner over here." Irina: "............" (translated: Don't make me cut you.)

- What the hell does Alyssa Milano have on during the runway?  PLEATS?!!?  I'm about to go on a fashion rage.

- Isaac: "I felt a little manipulated by Pansear's bullying story." Me: "Just like I was manipulated by your martini story."  No, Isaac, you're not gonna live that down until you do some good judging this season.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E3: "Sip into something sexier"

Show opens. Designers walking.

Necktat: "We've had a really rough two weeks..."

*needle scratch*

WHAT?!  No.  You've had a really rough 5 days. WE'VE had a really rough two weeks.

And, so, this episode begins with a lie and then a slap in the face. Apparently, Isaac Mizrahi was one week off with his critique. When he said "This is a slap in the face to the woman wearing this dress. What if she wanted to drink a martini??" he really thought we were in the martini challenge, you guys. Not really, but it was a complete slap in the face to jump from the worst criticism ever to a challenge that totally embodies that criticism.

Which totally mirrors how I experienced this episode. I had just caught up with The Daily Show's Wednesday critique of Jay Z losing his street cred by sticking with Barney's over arresting the kid who paid for the $350 belt because the kid was black. And, then I'm faced with today's product marketing where the designers get stuck in Jay Z's 40/40 club, which has a hot white bartender, and boring, probably expensive, drinks.

OK, the 40/40 drinks are not totally boring, but they are just pseudo-classic "artisanal" drinks (read hipster drinks) made with cheap liquor. For instance, on a freeze frame of Korto's drink, Summer, the vodka they use is Stolichanya.  Which...*SCREAM* If you'll indulge me for a brief few paragraphs, I'm going to get a little political on you.  Feel free to skip.

Starting in July, the gays decided to dump Stoli and any Russian vodka. We banned it from many of our bars. We banned it from our homes, and it is surely not going to pass in our gay-themed shows without comment. The ban on Stoli probably started a couple weeks after this episode was aired, so I'm not going to get all activisty "ZOMG, Project Runway is sponsoring Russian vodka and is an enemy of the gays."  But, I will tell you that this is a reaction to Putin's anti-gay policies, and the level of violence that is escalating in Russia over the past year. Among his policies are a ban on gay "propaganda" which can include kissing or holding hands in the street.

The reason this is significant is that us gays love to drink. And, I mean...we LOVE to drink. And, we drink a LOT of vodka. When I went to an Oscar fundraiser, they ran out of vodka a couple hours into the show.  So, us dumping one brand of vodka is kind of significant, especially given the popularity of Stoli and its flavored vodkas. Now, I'm not saying that my readers are necessarily pro-gay, but if you're watching Project Runway I kind of have to assume you have a mild tolerance of us. And, especially in this comment section...which is like whoa. Anyways, I just needed to take that paragraph or two to say that...back to the show.

So, we're at the stupid Jay Z club, and we're being served pseudo-artisanal cocktails made by a generically hot white guy, Yusef. The cocktails has a mix of names from Spotted Plum to Summer to Tiger Eye.  Some of the names you kind of expect to be generic looking, like the Hemingway which I would imagine would look something like an Old Fashioned. But, a Tiger Eye I would hope would have something like a complicated layered drink effect. But, no. These are all just shaker drinks. And, the Tiger Eye is pale celery color. Now what I would think of as a Tiger Eye. The only interesting one is Seth Aaron's Hemingway which had a huge chunk of orange peel.

And, so, these boring-looking drinks serve as the inspiration for this week's cocktail dress challenge. Fuck I need a drink.

The next morning - wait...they closed down the 40/40 club for the shooting of the intro?  Or, did they get kicked out in an hour and go to bed early?  I'm so confused - our intrepid designers hit mood with a fresh $100 in their pockets to make a fancy cocktail dress. $100 is not much based on previous episodes. And, with the lower budget we get some interesting choices, like Pansear choosing curtains. Or, Korto's decision to go with a loud plaid-esque green print.

And, this episode is actually really nicely heavy on the construction details. I love this aspect of All-Stars. I like watching Viktor start to deconstruct his gorgeous cathedral print by making patterns based in part on the architecture and the gables is a fascinating insight. I like listening to Necktat's inspiration of Vietnamese dresses from the basis of his drink having passion fruit.

But, my favorite part is Pansear's debate on how to make a dress with a sheer non-fabric without showing off vagina and nipples. He created a wrap, but it got heavy and tableclothy. Then he started double layering nude chiffon under the curtain fabric.

My second favorite is Korto.  "ALL MY FANS..." Yeah yeah, we're sorry for bring you back, Korto. But, she's not going with the color of the cocktail which she describes as "dingy, mudgly kind of dream."  And, she's not going safe because "the safe house is locked up and she lost the key."

This episode also focuses on how everybody is trainspotting. Necktat says that Korto's dress is trainspotting Isaac's 2011 summer line. Pansear says that Melissa (who is so boring I can't even think up a defining characteristic) is trainspotting herself. Elena says that Viktor trainspotted Alexander McQueen. And, this is completely hilarious because apparently, in an edited out comment - according to somebody on the TWOP forums and brought out in reddit - Anya called out Necktat for trainspotting Martin Margiela (thanks for the tip, Origami Rose (the user, but probably not Venbot).

And, then we get the twist.  Dudes, really?!  We're in a 60-minute episode. Zanna Roberts Rossi decides to throw in an accessory challenge.  *sigh* No, Zanna. That was PR's other spinoff, Project Accessory. *sigh* What the hell?! The audience doesn't care about the accessory, and neither does anybody else. All it does is serve to fill in the run time and make everybody panic.  Boooooo. We don't care.

Soo, after making a bunch of shitty looking accessories, we're off to runway! This week's judges are NOT ANYA!  But, really, its accessory designer Rebecca Minkoff, and interior designer Nate Berkus. It should not be noted that Berkus' appearance was probably in anticipation of a new series that so far has not been aired, nor had a date set for it.

Irina: Garish. It's like Jay Z's nightclub vomited onto the dress. It is gold and silver, but it is garishly patterned, almost like linoleum. That and its cheap plastic sheen makes it looks trashy and hideous. It's very bling bling gone wrong.

Pansear: Elegant, classic, and timeless. Sort of like a flapper dress but with jewels on the back which brings it into the Jay Z bling bling land. It's gorgeously nude, and I am in love.

Mychael: HELP! His model was caught in a shredder! And, the dress won!

Necktat: Kind of like a pomegranate champagne. It looks like a cocktail to me. It's a simple easy dress that is rather safe with garish jewels attached at the neck. It's like an Asian dominatrix.

Elena: It's way too long for a cocktail dress, and reads like futuristic officewear to me. Sort of the type of outfit, one would find in a Heinlein sci-fi novel/erotic fantasy (which, really, are the same thing).

Seth Aaron: Black and red color blocking. Yawn.

Melissa: It's the awful version of her old dresses...only more floppy with a weird yellow callout in the small of her back. "She would go to a cocktail party, and many girls would stop to ask her what she was wearing." - Melissa.  I agree. "What ARE you wearing, darling?"

Korto: No. It's a weird dress that looks like it had a baby with a weightlifting belt, a back brace and a fetish harness. Even without the gigantic belt, it looks stupid.

Zinger: A gorgeous dress with a trampy slit at her hoo-ha.  I'm going to say it again. HOO HA!

Anyways, Alyssa is using Project Runway to fill her closet. Never mind that the winning designs are sometimes auctioned off. Alyssa wants it.  Fuck you if you wanted it, she's the host, and she'll beat you down while wearing her executioner hood if you try to challenge her for it.

Most of the judging is reasonable. Especially Nate Berkus, who tells Elena that she's trainspotting Balenciaga and Narciso. Elena, Pansear and Zinger are in the top three (all justifiably). Necktat, Melissa and Korto are in the bottom. I would have switched Necktat for Irina, but you know...   Of course, Isaac has to have his absurd fixation of the episode with Pansear's dress back, which is wrong. It's what brought the dress into the now. And, he's probably the reason that Pansear wasn't the official winner for making a flawless dress. But, both Pansear and Zinger's dress end up in Alyssa's closet, while Melissa goes home for her mess of a dress.

Stray Observations:
- Viktor "We're walking to the 40/40 club and I've never been there and I'm like OMG, today's the fir*squeal*."  Closed captions tell me that he said "first day" but I don't believe it.

- Viktor "What's your drink?"
Elena: "Sardinia."
Viktor: "Like the fish-a?"
No, like the island.

- Pansear: "I'm a homosexual. I would not want to see hoo-ha." I am really glad hoo-ha is still a nickname for va-jay-jay.

- Viktor's non-zinger of the Week: "Cocktail dresses are supposed to be easy going. But, her dress is more like "Oooo, you're going to an eskimo party." According to Urban Dictionary, an eskimo party is either a musical trio or inserting ice cubes to help with anal sex.  Um...Zing?

- Alyssa Milano's TMI of the Week: "I have too much back fat."

Friday, November 1, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E2: "Bitten by the Fashion Bug"

Ok, guys. This is it. We got all of those silly introductions out of the way, and we only have 60 minutes (minus commercials) to get through the episode. Let's get down to business. Challenge, sewing, drama, models, makeup, runway. Let's make it snappy, people!



Ok, Melissa saying that the competition is crazy hard. Well, that's the usual Project Runway thing. But, within 2 minutes we're already inside the New York Museum of Natural History. Yay, we're through the product placement within the 3rd minute. And, we've even gotten Curly Moustache Guy saying "I'm going home" "I'm from Texas."

The challenge? To create, in one day, an avant garde look based on an insect, or arachnid. Today, I learned that a scorpion is actually an arachnid.  I was going to be all snarky and "scorpions aren't arachnids or insects, silly Project Runway." But, I had to double check because I hate biology, and they are arachnids!  *the more you know*

While typing all that up, we're already 8 minutes into the episode, and we're in the work room.  Jeez this episode is going so fas...wait...

We have time to fawn over work room.  With Mychael Knight commenting to us such mind-boggling information as "It's bigger than Mood" and "I love the colors." Or, Christopher Palu helpfully adding "Our tables are all set up. There's a sewing room that's attached. It's really nice." We see that the walls are done in a shade of blue-purple that has been dubbed, on Wiki at least, as either Pomp and Power or Dark Pastel Purple. But, really, its almost a grey.  And, the stripes don't help it.

We're also introduced to the QVC accessory wall that Viktor describes as "AMAZING. There's necklace, cuffs, bags, shoes..." Probably also belts, earrings, hair pieces...  You know, accessories!  And, he finishes with "Anything a girl would like" and then makes a hand motion around his neck that makes me think he has confused a girl with an octopus. No, Viktor, girls have boobs, not neck tentacles.  

Korto is still on her "Why the fuck am I here" rant.  She comments, "I got to go back to Africa, and design for their President as well as Vanessa Williams, Miss Universe, Estelle, Serena Lopez...Mama's not done, and yet I'm here?!!? Jesus fuck why did you guys bring me back here. Assholes."

So, 10 minutes in (and no commercials!), we're actually at the design...until Elena freaks out and has sweaty armpits. But, nobody gives a shit, really. "Drama, please?  Did you even see ToKen last season? You'll have to do better than having moist armpits." And, then we get to actually look at a bit of the design and tension. We get lots of shots of people cutting, and pinning, and expressing frustrations. Viktor zings us with "I'm about to turn into Elena," and is edit punctuated by Elena doing her best Gene Simmons impression. *zing!* And, NeckTat gives us this episode's next round of name droppings saying he used to design for Marilyn Manson. 

Zanna Roberts Rossi comes in and breathlessly explains that avant garde means "pushing boundraries, experimental, innovative, and super daring."  Take note. This is important. But, then Zanna speeds through everybody's critique. My favorite comment is to NeckTat, "You have a LOT of ideas." And, then to Korto, "This is pants and a jacket. How is this gonna win the challenge?"  And, she finished up with "this is really not avant garde enough. From all of you."  Note this. This is important.

Two people re-design based on Zanna's commentary. The first is Michael, who had gone completely Green, and decided to flip it and go into neutral grey with green highlights. The second is Melissa, who decided to second guess her whole outfit...but doesn't change anything?

Elena decides to lose it for the rest of the episode. Screaming, walking, crying, everything. She took the crazy challenge, and she kind of nails it without being all angry aggressive.  Somebody, give this woman a medal. We need more of her self-inflicted-psychosis high drama, and less of the angry at other people drama. I mean, she goes screaming through the sewing room, through the work room, crying the next day while finishing her dress.  It's an amazing performance, and she manages to do it without yelling at anybody. She even gets her model AND Viktor to help her finish her dress. Good job.

Fittings, product calling, etc. And, now runway. 

Special Guest judge #1: accessory designer Jennifer Meyer who turned Katie Holmes, Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston into loyal clients. Please note that at least Katie Holmes is wearing a necklace. That is the only visible accessory in the name dropping client picture collection.

Special Guest judge #2: Friend of the family, ANYA?!!?  NOOOOOOOO!  A shoo-in!!!  Remember how we said her season was rigged?  She's back to rub it in!  Fuck you!  *ahem*

And, remember how I pointed out the definitions of avant garde, well Alyssa Milano really hammers it home by saying, "we're looking for something really unique."

And, Show:

Seth Aaron: Fetish Maid at a goth bar's amateur fashion show.  *snooooooze*

Mychael: It's a cute grey neoprene dress with a cute shawl that has some interesting cuts to it that make it green. There's nothing strange about the dress. It's a little ultra-modern. 

CMG: An interesting brown dress with a bizarre neckline that is strangling his model. It looks somewhat cheap, but he did it with $250 and in one day. It at least is risky.

Korto: "I'm gonna make a biker outfit with more things attached."

NeckTat: It's like Rorschach decided to go on a bender and ended up with a lampshade on his head, only it was too big and ended on his shoulders.  It's strange, and it's avant garde evoking war imagery and violence. I love it and hate it, which means I think it is the most interesting piece so far.

Melissa: *snooooooze*

So, up until now, it's been amateur hour.  Everything has been kind of interesting, but ultimately really snoozy. Suddenly...the runway becomes a different show.

Viktor: An strange avant garde super hero gown that looks like it may have been a costume out of Batman and Robin. It's sort of Poison Ivy if she had been white and green instead of red and green. It definitely borders costume, but it is interesting.

Palu: It's high fashion from the 1990s vision of 2050. It's boxy and techy looking. It's interesting but expected.

Irina: Gothy avant garde that reflects the darkness of her soul. It's pointy, sharp, black, gothic with runway styling and dramatic, and everything that avant garde should be taken to a dark dark place. I love the fuck out of this look.

Elena: She makes an alien androgynous, edgy look that is hard and feminine and looks like its from a rock show.

And, then we get Alyssa being a sly little minx and calling people in 3s and 2s. First three names, then "you will be critiqued." Then two names and "you will be safe." Repeat. *wink* 

But, the judging goes weird. Irina, Elena, and Mychael are on the top. CMG, NeckTat, and Melissa are on the bottom.  The criticisms for NeckTat, in particular, are almost their own Rorschach test. Isaac thinks the woman should be able to drink a martini. Anya thinks it is a backup dancer look. Georgina says the lampshade looks clumsy (correct). Alyssa thinks that the hood was appropriate for the bedroom *cracks whip*.

And, they loved Mychael's conventionally unconventional look. They liked how it looked expensive. Mychael won, and CMG loses (based on his taste level).  Seriously?  Melissa's boring-ass look doesn't lose over CMG's cheap-looking insect dress?  And, this is where we are with judging...

Stray Observations
- Palu on NeckTat's concept: "It's a cool concept...............ish?"

- Moustache: "The model gets it. She gets the avant garde. She gets the strange." Who cares?

- Seth Aaron: "9 minutes." Elena: "Wow. *screams*" Title card: 4 hours remaining.

- CMG: "I have butterflies in my stomach." *psst, Daniel. Butterflies were last season. You didn't happen to eat their butterflies, did you?*

- Viktor: "It looks like it's from the planet Elenus." *Non-zing ZING!*

- Alyssa Milano: "Bye." How cold and impersonal compared to Heidi's "Auf Weiderschoen!" Have a heart, girl.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars S3 E1: "You Got Punked!"

OK gang, here we are in Season 3 of the Project Runway spin-off All-Stars.  And, this season we have a motley crew of former contestants, some of whom I barely even remembered.  But, since I still have the copy of the coffee table book from the library, and All-Stars only had 60 minutes this episode (more on that later), let's go through the cast.  Feel free to skip down to my "..." as this is just a huge gigantic info dump.

Season 3
Mychael Knight, Finalist, 2 series wins
Jeffrey Sebelia, Winner, 2 series wins 
Upon doing a little bit of research, season 3 wasn't even covered by AV Club. This is the before time. Jeffrey Sebelia, season 3's winner, was a relatively new father back then, and he was also a rocker with a huge prominent neck tat.  His final was really slick and cool when it wasn't inspired by a picnic blanket. For the most part it was easy, stylish, and half of it still looks timeless.  Mychael Knight was the fan favorite of season 3, and his final collection was the right around the time of the urban blaxploitation 70s revival. 

- Also from Season 2: Laura Bennett and Uli Herzner
- Season 3 had the first everyday woman challenge (though Season 2 had the designers design for each other).  As such, the women were the designers' family.  Yes, Jeffrey was the one who made another designers' mom cry. 
- Laura and Mychael both accused Jeffrey of getting help with the construction of his final collection. The producers deemed this to be unfounded

Season 5
Korto Momolu, Finalist, 2 series wins
Korto Momolu's designs had been very tribal and inspired by Africa.  Her whole collection reflected by her African and urban tastes rendered in a high end, almost beachy, style. But, Leanne won with her one-note-ish collection of petals.  Korto was fan favorite though.

- Also from Season 5: Leanne Marshall, Kenley Collins, and Suede
- Drag Queens on the runway! (Man, I really REALLY miss the drag queen challenge)
- Korto designing a "hip hop" look for Leanne, and having LL Cool J shut that design down

Season 6
Irina Shavayeva, Winner, 3 series wins
Does anybody even remember this season with any fondness? Irina was like what Alexandria of Season 12 wanted to be.  Her collection was dark, punky and gothy while still being rather high fashion and never boring.  It was cold and icy in all the best ways.  That said, not many people liked it.

- Also on Season 6: Althea Harper and Gordana Gehlhausen
- First and ONLY season to be filmed in Los Angeles
- First season on Lifetime, and first season under Bunim-Murray
- Bob Mackie outfit!
- This was the season of the redone wedding dress.

Season 7
Seth Aaron Henderson, Winner, 2 series wins
Amelie Gilette dubbed Seth Aaron as Ed Grimley in the finale. Seth Aaron had had a Hot Topic aesthetic for much of the season, and pulled out a Dita Von Teese runway full of edgy leather and gothic touches while still remaining stylish.

- Also on Season 7: Emilio Sosa Mila Hermanovski (color blocking!) and Anthony Williams
- Little kid and mom challenge?

Season 8
Ari South (formerly Andy South), Finalist, 1 series win
Andy South was an urban, edgy, designer. His final collection was space age urban that was kind of monochromatic but still felt like it would have been great for a 1960s Italian Space Opera a la Barbarella. And, really, they were railroading Gretchen from day one, with Nina finally getting her way to everybody's dismay.

- Also on Season 8: Gretchen, Mondo, Michael Costello (yeah, it was THAT season)
- 90 Minutes format
- Hats, hats hats
- John Teti's first review season on AV Club

Season 9
Viktor Luna, Finalist, 1 series win
Viktor was the consummate seamstress.  Really, everything he made was impeccable, if a little boring. But, his final collection was borderline edgy, but so meticulous that it bordered boring.  I liked it more than most of the other commentors on AV, but what are you gonna do? Anya was railroaded for the win this season.

- OWL!!!
- Also on: Anya, Bert, Josh M (aka Big Gay Josh), Olivier
- Olivier asking Tim what Double D's were
- Big bear rock band standing around in their underwear

Season 10
Elena Slivnyak, Eliminated in Episode 11, 0 wins
Melissa Fleis, Finalist, 1 series win
Christopher Palu, Finalist, 4 series wins
Elena came in on a wave of androgynous eastern-block punk/goth overly butch designs, and failed to impress anybody. At all.  Christopher Palu was the sweetest most squeezably adorable gay dude on the series.  And, his designs for the final collection were totally average ready-to-wear. And, Melissa was even more boring San Francisco ready to wear.  They were both snoozefests in their final.

- Also on: Dimitry (winner?!), Origami Rose and Fabio (gypped!!!)
- Fundraising
- Candy!
- Rockettes

Season 11
Daniel Esquivel, 13th episode elimination, 2 series wins
Dali Moustache from Austin was weird and we all thought he had good taste in the beginning, but then he fumbled.  And, as he fumbled, it was totally represented by his hair.  The lower he got, the worse his hair got, until his elimination in Finale, Part 1, where his crazy hair was craziest. And, his mini collection was old lady jackets.

- Also on: Portland, Kate, and Tu
- Team based season


Project Runway All-Stars has a cold open tonight, introducing us to 11 different designers and the new host in 5 minutes.  Remember how in the last episode of Season 12 of Project Runway, which aired IMMEDIATELY BEFORE this episode, the designers complained that they were cast to fit into characters?  Tim Gunn denied this.  Well, all of these designers are pretty much introduced by their characters.

Elena: Megabitch.
Palu: "I'm here to sew stitches and cut bitches."
Ari: Transexual (RISKY!).
Mychael Knight: Chip-on-shoulder.
Viktor Luna: Reality Show Talking Head.
Daniel Esquivel: Austin Moustache.
Jeffrey Sebalia: Rocker turned hipster
Irena: Megabitch #2
Seth Aaron: EGO!
Korto: Fan Favorite Revenge Story
Melissa: Apologetic

Really, dear readers, this is how Project Runway re-introduces us to the All Star designers. Not by their fashion.  Barely by their position. But, by their personalities.  No, its never about their personalities, right?  Ugh.  So so ugh.  But, this is a 60 minute episode, and this all happens in 5 minutes.


And, so begins our journey into season 3 of Project Runway All-Stars, aka The Quest For More Money.  Since this series was actually The Quest To Give Mondo The Win, it's never taken as seriously as Project Runway prime.

This season, we get two changes.  The first is the host. Gone is everybody's least favorite Angela Lindvall, who had all the personality of a bowl of oatmeal.  Our new host?, Alyssa Milano. She has more personality than Miss Oatmeal, but what I can't get over is her accent.  Ah well, it is so much better than what we had, so I can't really complain.  The second change comes later.

Tonight's product placement? Debbie Harry and Blondie.  She's introduced as the queen of punk, or some rot.  But, really, if you've ever listened to people in the scene back then they all knew she was going to sell out for success first. And, while she makes good pop rock music, by the time she was successful she was so far from punk it wasn't even funny.  And, listen to the clip.  It's so generic adult electro, I'm bored by it.  Snooooooze.  And, punk should never be boring.  *seeeeeethe*


The challenge is to design a punk rock look, and they have to design at Mood.  I wonder if this is because of the delay in season 12's final episode, where they suddenly got a extra day in the last non-finale episode.  It seems like it would be rough for Mood, as they have to close the basement for a whole day, but maybe nobody uses the basement?  We see fabrics and shit all around them.  And, supposedly this is to make everything feel more DIY and punk.

If I had my way, they'd send the designers to a consignment shop, like Value Village, first to buy some fashion and then have it be a transformative punk challenge.  Because, really, that's what punk is about.  It's about the re-appropriation of elements and using them in ways that they should never look in a down and dirty way to say fuck you to the establishment. It's down and dirty.

But, the designers have to create a design from scratch.  What's impressive is that, in this 60 minute episode we get a lot of design compared to drama, but we're also down to 60 minutes and have 11 designers, so we get flashes.  Viktor has a promising look of chaotic grommets. There are jackets.

Now we get the second change for this season.  Our favorite ice queen mentor Joanna Coles has been replaced by Zanna Roberts Rossi.  Zanna is nicer and sweeter, but she seems really soft for being a mentor.  What makes Tim Gunn work is that he's completely direct.  He has a warm personality, but he takes no shit and rarely minces words.  Zanna seems like she's not direct, and is trying to nudge the designers from their terrible intentions instead of showing them the way.  Joanna Coles would just be like No.

Throughout the episode, we get a wide range of what some people think punk might be.  Elena likes the new wave/no wave era of punk when it was the origins of all things 80s.  Seth Aaron thinks Korto's look is bad because it doesn't have anything hard, and thus isn't punk at all.  Some say its DIY. Some say its thrown together. Ari thinks it is street.  This episode seems to be trying to turn punk into a buzzword instead of a series of movements that started in the working classes of the 1970s. Or, it is displaying the brutality of this episode as it is all about appropriating a rebellious movement against the system and making it into high end fashion.  I don't mean to get preachy you guys, but punk was always against this type of thing.

The final prize:
- Custom capsule collection on QVC
- A fashion spread in Marie Claire and a year as contributing editor
- A computer
- A year's supply of spring water,
- Trip for two to Southeast Asia (what?  Is this The Price is Right?!)
- Free hair styling and photography for a year
- Makeup
- A couple sewing machines
- $150,000

No comment.


Necktat: Its a deconstructed dress and a leather jacket. The bottom is straight out of Fight Club with the wedding dress Marla Singer wears. The top is 1980s punk, and too finished to be punk.  And, I'm bored.

Palu: Color blocking.  It is really polished and trying to give it a harder look.  He struggled with his best instincts, and it came out looking OK.  Not punk, but not finished either.

Irena: This is 80s hair metal bordering punk.  To me, this was the most badass dress on the runway.  It was hard, and hard and hard.  I loved this look, but it says metal a little more than punk.

Viktor: Punk goes high end. The challenge was to marry punk to a high end fashion look.  Where Necktat made a look that was really punk, but not so much high end, Viktor makes a look that was like the punk is going to work at a fashion magazine.

Korto: Struggled.  It's a big meh for me.

Dali Moustache: This made me laugh.  He literally took high end fashion and strapped something punk to it.  It's hilarious.  It mocks the judges, and the demands.  And, for that reason, its really fuck you punk.  I love the shit out of it.

Elena: Sloppy neon straight jacket worn backwards.  The jacket is witty, but it feels too 80s costume to me.  It's like New Wave (which Blondie was a part of) without going modern. But, this is exactly what we were expecting out of Elena in her original season.  It's masculine clothing on a female thatmakes it ripe for genderfuckery.  I like the jacket.

Ari: It's high end, modern (almost pomo), with great design and a polished look.  It has punk around the edges (like the sleeves and shorts).

Mychael: High end fashion made for an urban woman.  He has an eye that is so far from punk.  But, it looks good.

Melissa: Change the hair, and its kind of meh.  The back is amazing and off.  The front is so boring though.

Seth Aaron: Designed for Nicki Minaj. This is pure awesome rap.  This is not punk to me.  "I'm a badass, but I have money and I'm growing up."  - THAT'S NOT PUNK! That's empire.

In the end, everybody tells what they think punk is.  From street to leather jackets, to bondage to not caring to anarchy.  Debbie Harry sounds a bit drunk or on luudes, and monotously says "this isn't punk" or "I kind of love it."  It's sort of royal queen of sellout. Now, I may be coming down hard on Debbie Harry, which is only mildly unfair because I like her music.  But, I've always taken a bit of ick to her being associated with punk so hard.

Anyways, Elena wins this one.  And, Ari goes home.  Goodbye transexual designer. You made an amazing, but non punk outfit.  I had a bit of thought that you would not be long for this season because transsexual is edgy, but I didn't think you'd be out first, and not on an outfit as impeccable as that.

It's going to be a rough season, you guys.

Stray Observations:
- Necktat on QVC: "That's sort of the dream of every designer. If you can reach the demographic that QVC're set."

- Viktor wore wings on his jacket

- Coming up: The SIMPSONS?!