Friday, September 27, 2013

Project Runway S12 E11: "Next Generation..."

Alexander looking lost.
Phwoah.  I just...just...I'm speechless...almost.  I'll hint at the results with Tim's words of dismissal, "I have to tell you. I am quite shocked by this outcome."  And, I think that many of us here commenting on Project Runaways agree.  But, first...

Next Generation... is the dreaded-to-me, HP pattern making challenge.  This is the episode I always think is the most risky of all the episodes.  The first, and most obvious, hurdle is that making a good textile pattern is really hard.  Even as a graphic designer, one of the things I hate most is creating patterns that look good. It can be difficult, scale is hard to determine in larger formats, and what looks good on screen can look godawful in large.  There are a lot of graphic designers that agree with me (and there are others who completely excel at patterns). Scale is difficult. But, so is creating something that repeats nicely without looking cheap or student-y.

The other, less obvious, hurdle of this episode is the fabric.  It always looks like Project Runway uses one of the cheapest fabrics you can print on.  In the show, the print house that PR says they use is Dyenamix, a relatively high end custom print shop in New York.  One would suspect Dyenamix has a wide array of fabrics they could actually print on.  Silk, cotton, polyester, etc.  Nowadays, you can print with dye sublimation on a few different styles of fabric.  But, the fabric they use on Project Runway always looks like it has roughly the same texture as wet cardboard.

These two hurdles always perplex some of the designers on Project Runway.  Designers who hate patterns struggle, while some designers love patterns.  Even more than that, designers who haven't ever worked with stiff fabric struggle with the challenge, while those who know how to use a wider variety of fabrics survive.  One would think that, at this point, designers who have watched Project Runway would realize these two things and practice on textile creation, or with stiff as hell fabrics.  Alas, the same patterns repeat themselves.

As per usual, this is the HP challenge, and we're introduced to HP's new gigantic keyboardless computer.  It's kind of fug with a kickstand.  It's supposed to be a desktop separated from the desk, but that this looks far too gigantic to carry around the house.

We're also introduced to the inspiration - not clients or models, Tim says - for this challenge: innovators, the next generation.  These innovators range from a young female computer scientist (Kate's muse) to a BMX biker/mentor (Bradon's muse) to Miss USA (Justin's muse). Most of them are doing semi-altruistic projects, and then there's the cake maker (Alexander) and the artist (Helen).  Upon meeting the cake maker, Alexander foreshadows that he is worried about taking inspiration from a cake maker. "Especially coming from a costume designer, I could turn that and make it reeeaalllllyyy scary."  It should be noted that Alexander was not last to choose his inspiration (he was number 5).  Maybe he thought Thiago was hot.  I dunno.

I want to take a step out and highlight my favorite two entrepreneurs for various reasons.  Feel free to skip the next two non-vital paragraphs.  Feel free to comment on whatever in the comments.

The first entrepreneur I can't help but love is the 17-year-old girl coder.  As a former engineer (not computer science though), female geeks are close to my heart because they're rare (or, they were in the early '00s).  Female programmers have uphill battles from the surrounding geeks, many of whom are under-socialized and oversexualized.  There are whole hashtag movements in the tech world to inspire women to get into the tech industries despite the challenges.

The second is Miss USA.  Now, I'm sure she was a beauty pageant queen before she won in 2012, but I really like that she started a non-profit in African communities in 2006, a full 6 years before she won Miss USA.  That's really challenging the notions that Miss USA is just a beauty pageant where the looks is the best part of the queen.  Awesome.

Anyways, they go back and we have the usual challenges with the pattern making.  As a note on the following links: the Project Runway full dress site shows the fabric patterns in full size next to the dress.  So, I'm linking to the dresses both here at the fabric first looks and, again, at the dress analysis. They are the same links, so go for it.

Alexander creates the beginnings of a warm chocolatey print, but can't figure out the reflect tool, and so the curves and the chocolatey-ness spirals gets broken up by these hard lines in the repetition.  This is exactly what I fear with patterns.  It becomes less fluid, and more obvious...and it really doesn't work.

Helen creates a weird starry pattern that looks very disparate as a pure fabric pattern.  It's this weirdly hipstery twee starry pattern.  She bitches and cries and struggles when she sees the print, and has no idea on how to work it.

Dom creates this bold print of white, navy and pure magenta.  It is a cross between thick zebra and Keith Haring.  It's impossible to imagine, and it's kind of amazing yet awful.  I both love and hate it on the roll.

Bradon creates a plaid pattern that feels like the plaid that Eyebrows used in the modern southern challenge had sex with a deconstructed version of Mondrian.  It's city and dancy and...its gorgeous.

Kate makes...shit.  Baby blue shit.  I don't even know.

Justin makes a cool print that is like a demonic Rorschach test  I see devil horns where it is supposed to be I Love You.  Alexander sees aliens.  Justin sees x-rays.  I really really love the fabric, but you can go so wrong with it.  It's brooding and goth.  And, if you fight that darkness rather than embrace it, you're in trouble.

Alexandria makes the most boring print of this grey off-grey pattern that is like it got dirty.  This embodies Alexandria struggles as a designer.  She had this brown ugly pattern when she was meeting with her inspiration (some woman who rehabilitates places after disasters, or something).  Then it went into a faded grey dirty print.

By the time we get to Tim's critique, Helen is having a full-on breakdown.  But, the two worst are Alexander's chocolate-cake-inspired nunnery outfit and Kate's baby-blue what-the-fuck-I-don't-even. Alexander's look is already looking tortured in the fabric, like he's fighting the stiffness and losing, plus he chooses to use the white edges of the printed fabric to create this cross right in the middle of the chest. Kate is making some sort of blue southern retro thing with a shirt where she has inverted the hidden pleats and put them on the outside.  Tim reacts in horror to both.  Neither of them listen.

The designers continue with their work and the designers who listen to Tim actually manage to transform their outfits into something that works.  And the ones who ignore Tim suffer.  Then, before we know it, it's runway time.  The inspiration muses are going to sit with the designers, but then they get shuffled off before the judges hear whether they like the outfits.  They're not designers, clients or gone, peasants!!!  The guest judge this week is Peter Som, who is actually one of the most insightful and witty guest judges I think I've seen this season.

The looks:

Bradon: He has an edgy as hell fabric.  Once he figured out that the fabric doesn't flow, he created a chic bomber jacket (which are supposed to be rather stiff) out of this modern print with a cyan lining.  Mind you, this fabric, used like this, also looks like it would make a high end carpet pattern, but I love it anyways.  The dress he makes below the bomber jacket is streetwise, simple, and chic as well.

Justin: Sooooo close, but so far.  I love LOVE the top of this dress.  LOVE.  I cannot express how much I love the corset of this dress.  But, then he didn't know what to do with the bottom.  He went with this pagenty-two layered grey-on-the-outside softly-draped dress that he basically glues to this hard-edge modern corset.  Then, he glues it on the outside, with a transparent fabric that only adheres to the bottom of the corset.  This bottom turns a lovely corset into a trainwreck.

Kate: What. The. Fuck. Kate.  Your first problem is your baby-blue wallpaper fabric that might be good in a hotel therapist office.  It has roses and some sort of hard lined busyness and then there is this dot pattern in the middle, and then there is a white line at every repetition, but the line does't meet, so there is a break right in the center.  Ugh.  And then, the dress comes out, and it's like this woman has air filters attached to her dress.  The top half of Kate's look was this baby blue top that is covered with dust that comes up to her neck.  In the end, this is a dress that has so many damned elements, none of which have anything to do with anything else.  It's schizo.  It's awful.

Alexander: In a race for the bottom with Kate, Alexander's dress looks like he fought with the fabric, and the fabric won.  It's tortured, and stiff.  It's crinkles and wrinkles.  He has this hideous cross that is going up to her neck.  And, the neck line is all the way past her shoulders, with long sleeves, looking like the dress is on backwards. But the back of the dress is wide open from the small strap going across the shoulder blades to the small of her back. And, really, the whole outfit was one big tortured look.  Did I say it was tortured?

Dom: In a fit of juxtaposition, we go from tortured to astounding.  It is completely reminiscent of Mondo's showstopper in his first runway (that Heidi would wear to the Black Swan premiere).  Only more street, urban, and cruder in the print (due to Dom not being a textile designer).  It looks like it was made from a stretch fabric, and the fit is impeccable rather than tortured. The fabric is stunning and the whole dress is edgy and young.

Alexandria: You guys, I think I've figured out Alexandria's aesthetic. It's like a bored cyberpunk aesthetic. The drop pants she was hooked on for a while were once popular in cyberpunk. The torn and ratty jacket with the bunchy asymmetrical neckline was once cyberpunky.  The black on black on grey monochrome is cyberpunky.  But, Alexandria always does it in a very boring and dull and depressive manner that.  This bland ripped outfit is no exception.

Helen: Dear readers, I hate this look.  I can see why people might like it.  It is a bit of old retro patriotic almost-costumey.  So help me, it's boring, and I hate the starry pattern.  The dress in ivory and white seem a little too classic.  The top is nice in its halter proportions, though.  But, the combination just don't work for me.  Feel free to argue.

Tonight, Heidi says "one...or more of you will be out."  Uh oh.  That's not good.  Dom wins the challenge.  I'm kind of surprised that Bradon didn't win it, because his look was amazing as well.  But, he gets an "amazing job" on his dismissal.  Since, this challenge didn't come with rewards, I'm fine with it.

Alexander is the first to go.  Goodbye Eyebrows.  I thought you might have had a chance, but this was a severe stumble.  And, really, your work hasn't been stunning enough to bring you back. All Heidi sees is tape and the cross.  And, its terrible.

But, then we get the surprise that Kate, who I think all of us had put in the front running, is eliminated.  Not unfairly, because that dress is fucking hideous.  Nina's first response, "Oh god..."  And then, "there are too many elements and none of them are working well."  Zac Posen, "There is so much wrong with this dress..."  Heidi: "It's ugly."  Peter Som: "It looks like she fell in a box of Kleenex."  Really, you can't say enough bad about this dress.  It's not boring, though.  But, it is a significant WTF moment and not in a good way.

So, now there are 5.  We're down to Justin (?!), Alexandria (?!), Dom, Bradon, and Helen.  It's not like Justin has been overlooked.  He was rescued and hasn't stepped up his game.  Alexandria is also just...ugh.  So, our final three are Dom, Bradon or Helen?  Or will one of them also fuck up hard enough to drop out?  Kate failing so hard was a surprise this week, so...that's where we're at readers.  I'm still mildly in shock.  Much like Tim.

Stray Observations
- "Just because your last name is Pope doesn't mean you have to make Priest costumes.  Just because my name is McDonald, I don't make dresses out of french fries." - Bradon on Alexander

- "You're stronger than this." = Stop crying, shut the fuck up, and do your damn work.

- "It's Courtney Love.  In a good way.  Not a cocaine way." Eh, Dom...Courtney Love = Heroin and probably Oxys.

- Ironic statement of the week: "It's bold. But then I like bold." - Alexandria

- Unfair statement of the week: "And, I really wish the print had continued on the dress  Because, there's nothing more fun than seeing a print dance on chiffon or georgette." - Zac Posen, as if the designers had that option.  Asshole.

- "Cake... When I think about cake...and the possibilities about cake..." - Heidi, who is obviously fantasizing, probably inappropriately, about eating cake.

- I just noticed that my DVR has been saying this is season 14.  All Stars messed up that numbering system...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Project Runway S12 E10: "Project Runway Superfan!"

If I were a superfan, I'd have some serious questions about showing up on Project Runway as a model. Especially if I wasn't 6'1, 110lbs with A- or B-cups.  That isn't because non-models can't be pretty.  It's because you know you have a better than even chance of ending up wearing something with an awful fit on national television.  It's because you have a decent chance of getting the designer who will bitch about your not being a coat hanger.  And, it's because you have to be kind of happy if the designer listens to you and then they end up on the bottom.  Oh, and if you're physically fit to skinny, you'll be in the top. But if you're not skinny, you are going to be in the bottom.

That being said, I'd be on Project Runway in a heartbeat, and the designer would have a fucking heart attack while I demanded a better fit.  And, could I have tear away clothes like the strippers from last season?

Yes, dear readers, this is the "real woman" challenge that all long time fans of Project Runway have come to love and dread, all at once. But, fortunately, this isn't random nice old women who have somehow been scammed by Project Runway.  Or, worse, the mothers or relatives of the other designers. This is a group of the afore-mentioned superfans, who have pre-conceived notions of how the show works.  Insult away!  Just kidding. Please don't insult the superfans.

When we first meet the superfans, they are arrive oohing and ahhing at everything, and taking more photos than an old lady on a tour bus. OH! They ARE on a tour bus. And then they get taken backstage and allowed to walk the runway and crawl around the sets nosing around and taking photos. They talk with Tim Gunn, and otherwise act like really adorably fun people.

And, after awhile, our superfans go into the workroom where the designers have NOT been chained to their desks.  I repeat the designers have not been lashed to their desk in order to while away their morning doing nothing more than twiddle their thumbs.  They're just sitting there, making odd comments about needing to randomly cut and sew some muslin because that's what they do for fun!  They even stand and walk away from their desks to greet the superfans in order to prove they haven't been chained there on a permanent basis.  

The superfans, as per usual for the "real woman" challenge come in ranges from boyishly skinny to curvy to already hot to plump.  ToKen gets stuck with one of the larger women, which already rang elimination bells in my head.  Alexandria has to do an interview suit for an art student.  Justin has to do a dress for a mormon who lost 130 lbs.  Eyebrows has to deal with another woman with curves who wants a SUIT.

Captain Sassypants bitches early in the episode off screen about having to design for non-models, which he's never done before. Everybody else is quite happy with their models, which is a really refreshing change of pace for Project Runway.  Sure they may not know how to dress the models properly (especially Ken), but they weren't as blatantly offensive as they have been in seasons past.  Probably because the producers were like "Shhhh, this is our viewing audience.  We're on LIFETIME! You gotta be nice."

The designers consult and sketch with the superfans, and then the superfans get to go to Mood.  Which is great because ToKen is designing in green for a girl who should not be wearing green. Match your skin tones bitches.  But, then ToKen gets a crappy green fabric because his model was super excited by it.  And, he also gets some other fugly pseudo-pleather fabric to go along with it. Elimination bells #2. Everybody else picks average fabrics.

The superfans are given hair consultations on day one for their New York vacations so they look stunning while in the big city.  Hey!  I need a hair consultation!  Instead of using that L'oreal stuff, can you use this manic panic hair dye?  Maybe we can go green!  No, don't faint! How about neon purple?  Gay rainbow?  Leopard Print!  And, bleach the shit out of my hair to dye it.  40 strength, so you don't burn the shit out of my scalp.  *sigh* *dreams*  I'd also like a pair of fashionable bleachers, I can bring my oxblood leather boots.  Old school punk is back, right?

Anyways, the designers start designing, and Alexander is the only one truly struggling because he agreed to a suit for his superfan. And, considering that the superfan isn't a model, that means that Alexander needs to have a shitton of room for a lot of alterations because he is probably making somewhat educated guesses.

After the workroom, the male designers have to consolidate rooms.  I hadn't noticed that this year they haven't been in plush cushy apartment suite accommodations, and were merely in a hotel with four single beds.  Lulz.  And, since they are now down to four male designers we're going down to one room.  And, so, after a long day of working and dealing with superfans, the designers have to pack up and move into a single room.  You know, because they didn't have time to do this in the morning while they were waiting for the superfans to finish up the tour, right?  

Captain Sassypants confesses that this angers Queen ToKen and he isn't about to put up with it.  He sets up his ironing board right in front of the front door, and starts ironing as the designers are starting to move in. Eyebrows, who is in the lead in the train of two, opens the door but has to wait for ToKen to finish his ironing of his jean short cutoffs?!!?  WTF?!  Who irons jean short cutoffs?  I mean, really...

Eyebrows gets pissed because at this point, he just wants to settle in and go to bed.  And Eyebrows knocks down the ironing board and iron.  Then, Ken starts pitching his biggest fit yet to the point where the talent supervisor comes in and pleads with him to calm the fuck down or else she's going to lose her job if he cuts a bitch.  Meanwhile Eyebrows and Dance Beard have ran back to their original room and locked the door.

The next day, Tim Gunn has a group sit down, as one would with 12 year olds.  Because, really, that was an 12 year old thing to do.  On all sides.  All the women except Helen are like, "really, dudes?  really?  Get the fuck out."  All the men and Helen are like "Sassy, stop being such a bitch."  The end result is that Captain Sassypants gets his own bedroom.  Elimination bells #3.

Back to the design.  ToKen makes some sort of hideous green dress that even he hates. Eyebrows struggles with time.  Justin makes a dress that has the woman's signature on it.  Awwww. Dance Beard goes leather.  Alexandria goes...well...Alexandria.  Everybody else is safeish.

And, then its time for hair and makeup.  There is a wide range of skin tones and dress designs that Handlebar Moustache Guy had to design for.  Some of the makeup is more naturalistic.  Some is more edgy.  It's a wide range of...bitch!!!  DON'T YOU BE HUGGING MY MAN! Get your hands off HMG, he's mine!  Justin, control your superfan, dammit.  No, really, if I was a superfan on Project Runway, I fear I'd be sexually harassing HMG during the makeup consultation in the worst ways possible, which I will refrain from detailing on here (you're welcome for that).

And, time for the runway show.  Which, Nina didn't even show up for!  Seriously, Project Runway?  I know Nina is busy and all, but you have a superfan episode, and Nina can't even be bothered to show up?  Anyways, her replacement is Zanna Roberts Rossi, new editor of Marie Claire and Joanna Cole's replacement (since she has left Marie Claire for Cosmo).  And the special guest judge is Erin Fetherston.

Justin: OK, he's dressing for a Mormon who is hiding extra skin from losing 130 lbs.  So, yeah, it's going to be a little boring.  But, it fits her well, and I really like the signature and the way it comes from the shoulder and down the middle.  It's tasteful, but I would have preferred this in an actual color (like the yellow in her before picture) because the top comes across as so flat on in black. Top three.

Dance Beard: The vest is amazing.  It looks like something that Joanna Coles would wear. Its military and butch.  It looks expensive, and its great in that leather.  The dress looks cheap.  It's a really nice simple black dress that Dance Beard kind of ruined with cheap shiny plastic strips haphazardly applied to the bottom.  Top three (for the vest alone, IMHO).

Eyebrows: Poor eyebrows.  He had the frame of a great suit with a giid fit.  From the back it is a really nice silhouette, and flatters her figure.  Then, it gets rough.  He added gigantic black flaps at the bottom which makes the whole thing start looking silly.  But, worse than that, he adds a black piece of something over one shoulder that looks like a burping rag for mothers of infants.  Not finishing is one thing, but those extra elements are whoa.  Bottom three (and probably could have gone home).

Dom: Safe, off the rack dress that looks really nice on her.model.  And a nice jacket.  It's just a really OK dress.

Kate: I love this look.  Those leggings are nice and slimming, and her top is so well proportioned that the leggings pairing doesn't make her look like Humpty Dumpty (which is a problem I have seen frequently, where the legs look out of proportion thin to the girl because of the black leggings and billowy top).  The top is stunning, even if it isn't in a color I'm not fond of.  And, it's safe.

ToKen: An ugly green simple outfit with graphic stripes that go across it in unflattering ways.  Especially the stripe that goes across one boob and makes everything look lopsided (Heidi was so right).  The two materials suck together. The model loves it, even as ToKen himself hates it.  ToKen goes home (thank God).

Alexandria: It's a boring design. The bulky military design of the front jacket doesn't match the clustered feminine back, nor do either of them match the summery skirt that's poking beneath it.  And then there's some sort of black cummerbund-like-thing.  It's really confused.  Yes, its an interview suit, but it looks confining and uncomfortable.  Bottom three.

Helen: Its a really nice runway dress.  She was the only one who went red carpet, and she had the time to do it too.  The bust looks especially nice, and the whole thing looks rather edgy and elegant. With a power hairstyle, this is the transformation of the show.  She wins.

So, in the end, ToKen's gone.  It wasn't for the dress, either.  I think Eyebrows' unfinished suit was god awful, even in the directions he was taking it.  That burping rag was hideous and unnecessary, and the jacket had those weird black things at the bottom of the front.  ToKen's was just averagely bad.  Though, his was more boring, which is the semi-rule of this season of Project Runway (though, I think Alexandria's was more boring).  Personally, I think that ToKen's temper had overstayed his welcome a few episodes ago.  His fights were no longer interesting or entertaining.

The final scene of Captain Sassypants was hilarity, though.  Alexandria: "I think you have a voice." Sassy: "Project Runway pushed me as far as I want to be pushed." Tim You're happy? Well, good.  Because I have to send you to the work room to clean up your space. Right now."  Then, Sassy hugs some of the designers, but walks right past Tim Gunn.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Sassy.  Good riddance.

Interesting coda that already happened: Captain Sassypants did not show a decoy show at New York Fashion Week.  Even though even London showed a decoy collection, Sassy apparently couldn't be bothered.  I haven't been able to find news on this absence, and I suspect PR won't make any announcement on it because then they would be acknowledging the presence of the decoy collections, which they haven't really done.  

Random notes:
- The stage manager looks like he may be kind of hot as well.  He's only seen in shadow, but he looks positively hunky.

- What the heck is with that skirt and top pairing that Heidi is wearing?  A beigy striped top with a floral spring print skirt?  It's, fortunately, not the kindergarten teacher alphabet sweater that Nina once wore, but it is a ?! moment.

- Alexander is delusional. "Did your model like it?" "She LOVED it."  [later in the close-ups] "The design looked a little different on screen. But, you know..."

- Best judge dance arounds: "But, you're a cool girl! You know, you want something maybe a little bit more...inspired."  "We think you're better than this dress."

- The two skinny real girls were indeed in the top, and one of them was the winner.  Way to break your stereotypes Project Runway!

- ZOMG, Alyssa Milano is hosting PR All Stars!  I think its a sign that I'm gay that my first thought was "the seductress Amy Fisher!"

- And, not in the advertisement for PR All Stars, Zanna Roberts Rossi is the new Joanna Coles as mentor.  She won't be a cold heartless woman who seems like she's coming in for 15 minutes.  But, Joanna will be missed.  I loved her, though I might be the only one.

- Fashion related sidenote: What was Chelsea Clinton wearing on tonight's The Daily Show?  It looked like the Theo Huxtable shirt that Denise made in that one episode of The Cosby Show.  Only in dress form.  Was anybody else bothered by this dress?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Project Runway S12 E09: "Let's Do Brunch"

OK guys, I'm lost in this episode.  The only times I ever went south of the Mason Dixon Line were when I visited my grandma in Florida as a high school teenager.  Everything I know about southern fashion I learned while watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, or Bad Boys II, which let's face it, probably is more-than-slightly skewed.  I just want to be up front about this because the judges' decisions for the top three completely baffled me.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself...

We first go to a Southern hipster restaurant in Portland Atlanta Williamsburg for a "southern-style" brunch.  Nothing says "southern" like being surrounded by gigantic prints of French art with ivy climbing all over the wall, and a restaurant called "Juliette." Its that neo-European-chateau style that has become popularized as promoting naturalistic old world charm.  So, it's just like being in the deep south with a modern woman, right?  At least they'll have mimosas, maybe?

Anyways, this is the Accessory Wall challenge, by which I mean Belk, which actually is a department store and not just an online retailer.  Huh.  The closest I have been to a Belk department store was when I drove through Missouri.  I said I'm going to have a problem with this challenge!  The challenge is to style for the modern southern woman, who is the common Belk customer.  My first thought was "airy with brightly colored prints that is loud or brassy and could possibly be tacky."  Tim's description, "She dresses vibrantly and expressively, and she is always fashionably put together.  She knows how to use accessories and she loves color, and anything with feminine details."  Dom and ToKen are from the south.  This location-based over-confidence is almost always the kiss of death, and always leads to the designer going for too respectful to avoid stereotypes or a design intended for their mother.

The designers then have to sketch and design for a modern southern woman while sitting in an old-world styled restaurant surrounded by French art in the middle of Hipsterville, NY.  Then they go to mood, where three designers choose plaid.  I don't quite know what could have possessed them to think of plaid.  Not in Hipsterville, NY.  Nope.  No idea.  And, then Kate chooses a fabric that looks like the 60s puked on a dress. Maybe up close it looks better, but on TV it looked like somebody sewed some weird Magic Eye stereogram pattern periodically on a hideous orange and then surrounded those patches with 2-dimensional dingle balls.  It's hideous. Helen has also been taken over by the 60s by choosing a yellow fabric, and a flower cut lace.  On the other side, Dom picks out this amazing black and white zebra-esque print that screams southern modern to me.

In the design room, the designers hear the designs will be made and sold by Belk.  This causes Alexandria to panic. Again. And, she designs the fuck is that first print that she uses?  It's like this Navajo inspired pattern had sex with a houndstooth pattern, and then one of the competitors was jealous and poured bleach all over it.  Tim Gunn: "Hideous."

Also, Dom has a crisis moment thinking she's always been "safe" and needs to go "minimal."  By "minimal" she means "simplistic."  Dom, let me be honest with you.  Minimal is not "under-designed."  The yellow dress that Helen made, then subsequently ruined, with the flower print?  That's minimal.  It has shape without being structure or overt.  If you want to go minimal, think about what minimal means rather than under-designing it.  And, you can do a minimal dress in a pattern.  So, don't eschew your oh-so-southern pattern.  But, she does anyways.

The rest of the design time flies by, including the second day...and suddenly its Runway time.  And, we're only 40 minutes into this episode!  If you've watched the preview, you know why it is wrapping up early this week.  If'll just have to wait. Our special guests are some chick host of some Lifetime

ToKen: A pageant-y, bridesmaids-y dress whose only innovation is the razorstrip back.  It really is not terrible. It is just soooo...booooorring.  SNOOOOZZZZEEEE.  You've made an every dress in a plum fabric. Congratulations.  How very modern southern of you.  Bottom three.

Helen: A sunny yellow tea-time dress with flower lace on it.  Its pretty.  It's a bit too long for its pattern.  It should be just above knee length and then it would be a great brunch dress.  The effect is like a modern version of those drinking glasses your grandmother used to have that were yellow with raised daisies on it that always got chipped. Alternately, the color and lace combo is young, and the lace is nicely patterned.  But, it's still modern retro.  Safe.

Justin: Its an orange brunch dress.  Its nicely draped.  The color is right on the money for its length.  It is. Safe.

Red Eyebrows: The first of the plaid trio.  I absolutely love this print.  This print is an edgy, young, gorgeous take on plaid that nobody else chose. And then Eyebrows turned it into an easy, messy, tablecloth-y dress.  There are sharp corners to the hem, and it flows nicely.  It has a wicked sense of humor, and I kind of like it despite its messiness. Top Three.

Alexandria: The second of the plaid trio.  I think I have a couple overshirts in this pattern.  I live in the Hipsterville of Seattle, you can all screw off with your judgments.  It's a boring fucking dress with a boring fucking print in dull wintery Northwestern colors. It's mis-shapen, too transparent, and ugly.  Safe (though I don't know why).

Dance Beard: The third of the plaid trio.  Hey!  I think I had a shirt in this print once before as well!  Its a better print than Alexandria's.  I really don't get this dress at all.  The top has mismatched panels, intentionally so.  The pattern doesn't match the bottom.  He has a flat board of fabric in several panels going down the front. And it hung flat on the body.  While the back billowed out.  I was really confused by this dress.  Apparently it was the "clear winner."

Dom: Honey, that is not a minimal dress.  For one, you have two fabrics competing with each other.  Especially at the shoulders, which are flared our with curls?  It's in a heavy looking solid fabric (which, to me, screams north).  And then with a slit in the dress, and a deep neck with three dart lines. And, from the back it is even more pageant-y with a full back and floor length skirt. No.  This was not "minimal." This was over-designed to try to look under-designed.  Maybe this is for your mom...but I couldn't see a modern woman in it. Bottom Three

Jeremy: I think you designed for Peach.  No, really, with the glasses and the hair, you styled it up for Peach. And I thought she used tgo have a penchant for jackets.  The floral print is kind of OK.  But, overall, you just went madame.  Your instincts are for older women.  That is not appreciated by the judges. Bottom Three

Kate: What. The. Fuck. I really don't get this dress.  At all.  No, at all.  The heavy shoulders. The colors. The print. The dingle balls. She minimized the Magic Eye stereogram portions to just touch the bottom of the dress, but the rest of it, I don't get at all.  It's eye-searingly ugly, and it looks like it it came out of some crazy designer's idea of the '60s. Top Three.

The judging was really kind this week.  Ken was bitter about plaid being loved this week.  And, his glares at Heidi were not unnoticed.  He was repressing so hard.  I wanted him to scream and pitch a fit about how no southern woman would wear plaid (as he's been railing on since the beginning of the episode).  But, he didn't. The other fun part was Heidi's disgust with Kate's dress.  I agree with her.  The best question she had about Kate's dress was to the Belk merchandiser "You think that somebody would actually buy this?!" EXACTLY!!

This week, we get a special treat, since everybody sucked this week.  We get the bottom three designers sent back to the work room to get one hour with an assistant designer to either modify their designs or create a whole new look.  So, runway looks again:

ToKen: So, you cut the dress to hoochie length and added a shoulder drape.  Oddly it kind of works, but he should have cut off the razorback.

Dom: She makes the dress everybody wanted in the first place.  It's hard to be harsh given what she did in 60 minutes.  The left boob is weirdly malformed.  But, the asymmetry is fascinating, the print is gorgeous, and the back is amazing.  She becomes second winner.

Jeremy: New dress. Its summery, with an interesting mix of prints...but in the most usual of construction. He loses.

So, Jeremy goes home for going to his older instincts.  Adrian would probably argue that because Jeremy can't pull himself out of his old lady mumsie instincts, he deserved to go home.  I argue that I think he has enough skill that he should have been saved here.

Stray observations:

- More things Captain Sassypants doesn't do: "Think about the Southern woman." and "Pay attention to anybody else in the South."

- Another thing Captain Sasspants doesn't do: Answer any questions that other designers ask of him.  Hypocritical bitch.

- "Do you need a hug?" "I need prayers!"

- Captain Sassypants' Mom: "Have you had that 'Other Side' come out yet?"  Apparently Captain Sassypants has had an anger rageoholic problem for long enough for his MOM to refer to it as "that other side".

- Dear HMG, I'm not a big fan of that fade you've got going on the sides of your moustache/beard.  It's kind of messy, but I dunno if I could take it seriously in "play time."  Then, again, I'm starting to suspect you're not a D, in which case I could trim it for you.  *evil laugh*

- "Out of the two of us, I think the right person went home, which was Jeremy." - Humble parting words from Captain Sassypants

- If you want further proof that some of the "confessionals" are recorded much later, check out the hot haircut Jeremy has in his goodbye confessional.

- Next week is the dreaded/expected "real woman" challenge.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Project Runway S12 E08: "Having a Field Day"

This weekend, I attended PAX.  I participated in a You Don’t Know Jack tournament, which was supposed to start at 8pm; but, it actually didn’t start until after 8:30 due to the previous tournament, Marvel Vs Capcom, running really long.  I commented that it was akin to football pre-empting Jeopardy!  Well, that experience is mimicked in this week’s Project Runway branded introduction with sports.  Sports?! I didn’t tune in for this!  Ah well…whatever.

The last time I remember PR having a sports event, somebody fell and somebody else dropped out.  In 2011, there was the track episode, where Cecila decided to drop out, and our favorite fatphobic femme Olivier had a panic attack, fell and bruised his need, requiring paramedics.  Fun times, made for lots to talk about, so let’s repeat it!

This year, we have a Double Dare-esque obstacle course, minus the slime, where the main obstacle seems to be not being distracted by our Teutonic Goddess screaming instructions at you.  “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU TWO?!  IT’S A FLAG. IT HAS A STICK ON IT! YOU CAN’T FIND IT?!  YOU’RE STILL LAST!!” I wonder if some might consider this to be as erotic as Lucy Liu with a riding crop in Charlie’s Angels.  The winner of the course gets first choice of fabrics, and an extra hour of sewing.  Sadly, nobody dies.

Today’s challenge is sponsored by New Balance, through which Heidi has yet another fashion collection of mass manufactured clothing, this year is sportswear. Last year, Heidi was introducing a baby fashion line at Babies ‘r’ Us, called Truly Scrumptious, and did not have anybody eating any babies (to my chagrin).  This year, again, Heidi is saving real world costs by getting the designers to provide her with free designs for her collection.  The winner of the challenge gets the honor of having their design sold online with Heidi’s name attached to it.  Luckily, there is a precedent for this, otherwise I would be shitting all over New Balance, whom I actually kind of like as they have select shoes that are still manufactured in America (a rarity).  Instead, it is merely a sign of Heidi’s ability to get people to do work for her for free.  It’s nice being at the top, isn’t it?

So, Dom and Justin win. Everybody selects their fabrics, and then we come back to the workroom to find that everybody’s mannequin has been taken over by Heidi’s boring collection as examples of what they should be matching.  Tim Gunn helpfully explains that these are just examples, and should be used as inspiration.  Then, he dolefully adds, “You can’t cut them up. Ok?” 

Immediately upon Tim’s departure, Helen asks a question of Tim, outside the workroom, trying to get a leg up on the other designers.  The question: Should we use the pieces as examples of fit as well?  Not much of a leg up, to be honest, as anybody with two brain cells would have come up with that idea. But, she thinks she’s being shady, and then everybody else thinks she’s being shady.  Captain Sassypants calls her out, she fights back, and then it’s the Ken and Helen drama show, which at this point, seems more put on and pointless than any of the Housewives shows.  As such, I’m not going to waste any more time on this drama, because it’s current Drama Queen Helen vs current Drama King Captain Sassypants.  And, yawn…because, at this point, aren’t we all a bit tired of the overblown drama? 

And, as such, the first real looks we get of the designs are during the Tim Gunn critiques with special guest Heidi.  ToKen has nothing to show. RHDB has problems because she went back to the 90s, whose athleticwear was a throwback to the 80s, with Day-Glo neon colors intercut with black angular bands, creating a warning sign of such.  Which, I really like for women who run or bike at night outside of a gym, especially compared to the dark grey and black jacket that Kate is making, which is great for hiding sweat, but is also great for getting hit by a car.

In fact, many of the outfits are in dark greys and blacks, or purples.  You know, nothing that is easily visible.  It strikes me as fucked up that Heidi is discouraging the one designer who was going all out on safety and visibility.  While RHDB’s design might have left some to be desired in the critique state, it was also the least likely to lead to being cut off your body in an ambulance instead of being ripped off your body in a bedroom.  But, I am mainly thinking about outdoor exercises, such as running or riding a bike, instead of at the gym.  I just like things to be versatile, and I’ve seen many a man and woman run their way to the gym as a form of cardio warm up. 

The other important critique is Alexandria’s critique.  She has made these hideous drop crotch pants and a dark colored jacket/cape looking thing.  It’s ugly, but Heidi gives her seal of approval.  Remember that I said that the pants were already made, and Heidi exclaimed “I like a drop crotch pants.”  That’s important later.

Anyways, RHDB panics and has to rebuild everything.  Unfortunately.  And, ToKen has to actually make something (because what he whipped up by the time Heidi and Tim made it over was pure shite, and he knew it).  Everybody rushes, we get the brief  scenes with HMG hottie, and then it’s time for runway, where we learn that the special guest is An Orange!  No, wait, it’s just Michael Kors.  Actually, to be fair to The Human Orange, he looks like he went into rehab for his addition to fake tanning.

Kate: I like this look.  I love the heavy orange at the bottom of the leggings. And, while I love the heavy bright orange at the neck, I can’t imagine anybody who could work out with a cowl neck.  Everything else about it is merely standard well done sportswear.  She is in the top three.

Dance Beard: I love the light grey.  It looks reflective, and safe.  The heavy green piping at the shoulder means that it is always visible.  The black and grey swirls at the bottom are sexy as hell.  The only thing I don’t like is a couple of the pipes at the hip feel overdesigned, but the rest of it is amazing.  It feels urban, and hip.  He is, of course, safe.

Alexandria: The model could barely WALK in those drop crotch pants nevertheless exercise. The jacket is boring. The shirt is OK, but feels a touch like a costume from Million Dollar Baby or some other urban boxing movie.  Just ugh.  Bottom three.

Helen: She makes this god-awful mesh jacket hoodie, all in black, with a cape feel to the back. And, then has these tights where the safety color is covered by more black mesh.  And, because the mesh jacket hoodie is never unzipped on the runway, it hides this awful and boring grey shirt with a neon green pocket cover stitched at the belly, and there is no safety color straight up visible anywhere on the outfit. She wins.

Dom: She makes an urban, Brooklyn, look which is outlined in bright orange, and has a great jacket sweater attached to it.  The jacket has an amazing crescent ass cutout on its bottom, which just highlights the booty lines of the leggings.  The shirt underneath it has an amazing array of lines for the razorback. Safe.

Justin: Makes a more polished, but more straight-up sportswear companion piece to Helen’s look.  It has an asymmetrical jacket which also echoes Red Eyebrows’ asymmetrical jacket.  The colors pop, and it looks like it could be in a workout video. Safe.

ToKen: No. This is the girl who doesn’t know what fits her yet. Bottom three

London: Meh. What the hell is up with the yellow piping that is outlining the top of the ass? Safe.

RHDB: SNOOOOOOOZE. Loose pants, loose top, nothing fits right, it’s just bad. She goes home.

Red Eyebrows: Its ok.  Great job on the leggings, but there were better looks on the runway.  Nice asymmetric jacket.  Top three.

On the runway, they rip Alexandria up and down for her drop crotch pants, but ultimately it is RHDB who goes home.  My favorite part of the runway was when Heidi starts double backing on the drop crotch, and then Tim comments, “What’s a poor designer to do when the host of the show says she loves it?” And, Heidi lies her ass off trying to say that she only saw them in a sketch.  You know, even though she saw them in person, and then said she loved them on the runway.  She never admits she’s wrong though.

And, so goes home another designer who needed to go home.  We still have to get rid of ToKen, and Alexandria.  Then we’re down to the good designers.

I’d like to take a little extra time expressing my distaste with the judge’s winner.  The look isn’t commercial, it isn’t fashion, and it isn’t active wear.  Helen’s look is just plain blah.  I don’t know what they were thinking with her winning, but I’m not a judge.

Stray observations:
- Heidi comments “You need to get the blood flowing” but neglects to finish with “you lazy slobs.”
- No, I really do mean, I am not going to waste any more time on this week’s stupid drama.  Discuss this in the comments, if you must.  I’m just kind of over it this week.
London’s total Heidi/Tim critique is “Wow, you got sunburned!” Of course he’ll be safe.
- Project Runaways is looking for a writer for next week.  If you would like to step in and take next week, please let me know at