Friday, August 29, 2014

Project Runway S13 E6: "Rock the Wedding"

Project Runway Season 13 Episode 6 PhotosOk guys, are you ready for a lesson on manufactured drama? Because that's what this entire episode consists of. The drama starts at the top of the episode when we open up on a tense and silent apartment with some of the girls sitting around looking pensive. Why is everyone on pens and needles? Has someone withdrawn from the competition? Has someone fallen from the balcony? Is there a sexual scandal brewing amongst our gals? No, Korina just called Amanda a big Phony, and apparently Char agreed. All of this takes place off screen for some weird reason, but there you have it. Korina's bitch goddess persona is rocked up a couple levels as she basically attacks Amanda to her face instead of just behind her back. And there's no explanation as to why.

We get a quick shot of Amanda crying and then we whip off to the challenge. This, my dear readers, is what we call a cliff hanger. I was expecting a big To Be Continued... screen in between the confessional and the challenge. But they're suspense building wasn't that obvious; which is actually a compliment believe it or not.

The contestants sit in front of a rocked out alter, and a few of them guess that the challenge will be to design a wedding dress. Sure enough, Tim walks out with the amazing and resplendent Dita Von Tesse, and informs everyone that they are indeed designing an unconventional wedding dress and also a companion look for the reception afterwards. The rules are that there ain't no rules, Tim says (though with a lot more refinement and better grammar), and they mostly want to see the designer's unique aesthetic shine through. Since the designers are asked to create two looks and since two day challenges are the things of the past, this will also be a team challenge. Or at least a pairs challenge. And guess who gets paired together... Of course this is totally random, and by no means were Amanda and Korina's names purposefully left out of the button bag in order to ensure this very eventuality.

The drama between the girls continues as they debate what they're looks should be. Amanda's aesthetic is wild and hip and crazy, but Korina's is more simple and streamlined. Korina of course refuses to design anything expansive and Amanda refuses to design anything simple and boring. And they glare at each other while Korina explains during her confessionals that if they end up in the bottom, she'll be the one to go home since the judges love Amanda for some reason. Of course, any drama manufacturer knows all of this is just setup for the team either bringing it together and getting a win, or falling apart and fulfilling Korina's doom prophesy. To Be Continued...

Amongst the other pairs are Fade and Emily who are happy to be together as their both older and married and trust each other's aesthetic. Kini and Sean create the obvious dream team with both of them fresh off of a challenge where they were both in the top and Sean won, but Sean's immunity immediately places Kini on edge. And a reluctant Char finds out she's paired with Sandy.

The pairs head off to Mood where Amanda and Korina at least have agreed on a kind of Tux inspired look for both of their outfits, and start looking for black and white fabric. Meanwhile, a reluctant looking Char concedes to Sandy's love of color and agrees to work with the loudest yellow fabric Mood has to offer. How can this possibly go wrong? That was rhetorical, let's not list all the ways in which a garish yellow fabric can go wrong on a wedding dress challenge as we'll be here all day if we do.

Back to the workroom and back to the drama. Char mockingly imitates  Amanda's excitement over the challenge and she and Korina laugh about it for a bit before Amanda storms out to blow off a little steam. She runs into Fade and shares her frustrations with him. To his credit, Fade listens and offers some helpful words of consolation as he tries to figure out what Korina and Char's problem is. He points out that it might be jealousy over the fact that Korina was in the bottom but Amanda was in the top Again last challenge. I found the stress Fade put on the "Again" to be interesting. I think he was intending to imply the way that Korina felt about Amanda's continued success, but I also think it could have been a little bit of a slip on his part to showcase how everyone feels about Amanda's success. To his credit, I don't think Fade's support of Amanda is ever about any kind of veiled criticism on his part, but it's fun to read the situation that way. They end their conversation with Fade assuring her that if she ever wants to talk, he's totally here for her, and I think what we're seeing is the start of a really cute friendship.

Tim's visit is really lackluster after the whirlwind that was Heidi's visit last week. He points out that Alexander and Samantha's looks probably have too many applique elements and look too similar to one another to be easily distinguishable. He tells Char and Sandy that their construction is going to have to be perfect in order to overcome the horror that is their yellow fabric. And then there's the meeting with Korina and Amanda... Tim gushes over Amanda's "not another fringe dress" look, citing its innovation and cool design. And then he bluntly asks Korina what's so special about her Tux look. The entire time he's talking to the two of them, you can seen Korina's seething over his unwillingness to admire her simplicity and demonize Amanda's exuberance. It's enough to make you wonder if she's ever even watched the show before.

In the end, Amanda and Korina are left in just about the same place as they were before Tim's visit: Korina has no desire to spice up her look and Amanda refuses to tame her's down. This is a group that is not in agreement at all, that can only spell disaster. To Be Continued...

Runway day sees a lot of people scrambling to finish their looks. Sean, having spent so much time on his tuxedo pants, doesn't have a blouse ready so Kini steps in to make one for him. "He could sent a topless model down the runway and still be safe" Kini acknowledges as he bitches about Sean's immunity once more. He's not wrong, but I expected a little more excitement on Kini's part to be paired with Sean, and I was wrong. Likewise, Korina's spent so much time on her jacket that she didn't have time to make pants. Amanda steps up to make them for her, but not knowing her model's measurements, the pants end up being ill-fitting and Korina just has to fix them anyway.  And so the end of this drama and ultimate suspense is coming. It's on to the runway for us!

Dita Von Tesse is there to judge and some fashion writer or something is there to waste space and time. Sorry, but when Dita Von Tesse is on my screen, I tend not to care about anyone else.

Kini: I like it a lot, but I'm also starting to feel like we’ve seen a lot of this big bulge/ruffle on the hip silhouette this season. It’s well made, and fits her perfectly, and I love the story of who their girl is. So I don’t want to take anything away from it, but is this just going to be the season of the big hip ruffle?

Sean: Here’s the thing: I hate a high waist line on just about anything. I always prefer a low waist or a bit of stomach showing. I don’t like what a high waist tends to do to a person’s torso. So I can’t say that I love this look, but I do see how it’s unique and innovative, and I also think it’s a brilliant take on this challenge. So objectively, I’m impressed, but subjectively it’s not the look for me. That top is perfect though, and their mix of masculine and feminine is really brilliant. The same woman is certainly wearing both of these looks.

Alexander: I think there’s a lot of almost about Alexander’s look. It does look different from the other things he’s put down the runway thus far, the open back is a nice touch, and I really like the lace fabric. But he went a bit too crazy with the floral applique.

Samantha: I like this look in spite of myself. It’s certainly the most interesting thing I think Samantha has put down the runway thus far. I think they ended up with something nicely cohesive and yet still stayed away from making the same dress twice like Tim was worried about.

Korina: I find it boring. I like the fabric, but I find the look itself to be boring. I don’t know if it was just my computer screen, but I couldn’t see anything wrong with the fit of the pants, so either they pulled it out at the last minute, or they made a big deal out of nothing, but I’m still bored. 

Amanda: I’m bored with this too. As much as she says it isn’t another fringe dress, it might as well be another fringe dress. The looks match up at least in color scheme if in no other manner, but I honestly found them both to be a snooze. I wouldn’t want to get married in either. 

Emily: I’m not going to lie, I fucking love this. It's artistic, but also functional. I think I can see how it lends more funeral than wedding, but I also think there’s honestly a client out there who would just love to get married in this look.

Fade: Conversely, I’m not sure I buy that there’s someone who wants to spend their reception in Fade’s dress. This isn’t to say that I don’t like it, because I do. But there’s something about it that suggests it’s a look for the wedding night more than for the wedding reception. And I don't think these two dresses go to the same woman.

Sandy: There’s just something so homemade about the bodice to me. It looks cheap. And the draping on the dress looks messy. And the color offends my eyes. I can’t see anyone wanting to get married in this look. 

Char: What the actual fuck? I knew the look was bad on the dress form, but I had no clue it was this bad. Holy shit that looks messy and unfinished as hell. Like she just stapled fabric to the model and let it fall where it would. This is a huge step back from Char after weeks of being safe. WOW.

So after a full episode of sniping between Korina and Amanda, the pay off has to be them being in either the top or the bottom. And given how boring both of their looks are, the suggestion is that they're in the bottom. I was so ready to watch them cat fight it out on the runway before Hedi tells us that they're the only team that's safe. This is an entire episode in futility. The editors wanted this episode to be as dramatic as possible, and framed it through the lens of Korina and Amanda's animosity, but what do you do when your contestants give you every aspect of a dramatic arch except a conclusion? The answer to me would be to edit all that shit out and find something else to focus the episode on. But what do I know?

The judges are split on every teams looks except Sean and Kini's who the love. Zac and Nina hate Emily's dress, while Heidi likes it. I don't find any of this surprising, but what I did find to be a little surprising was Dita's point about Emily's dress looking like a parody of goth instead of like an actual goth look. I loved Emily's dress, and I won't make apologies for that, but I also don't disagree with Dita's point. I also agree with Nina's point that the veil and the sleeves are a bit too much and she should have gone with one or the other. 

Another good point from Dita comes when they're looking at Char and Sandy's looks. She points out that given this dress she doesn't trust Sandy's ability to construct good clothing at all. I watched this moment thinking to myself, And so say us all. I haven't been impressed with anything Sandy's done this season, but the construction issues on this look are just embarrassingly bad. But as bad as Sandy's look is, I think Char's is way worst. 

As the judges gush over Kini and Sean's looks, they ask them both who deserves the win. Sean quickly points out that Kini's amazing and has been in the top a number of times and totally deserves the win here, and Kini agrees. The thing about this is that I don't think that Sean's admission that Kini should win is born of a need to be humble or anything; I think he honestly feels like Kini earned this one. But neither of them mention to the judges that the only piece on the runway that Sean designed and constructed were the pants. If the judges had known that Kini was responsible for the dress and for the blouse, maybe they would have given him the win? Instead Sean collects his second win of the season. Char is sent home, and as much as I hate Sandy, I can't disagree with this decision. If there was ever a look someone deserved to be outed by, it was that one.

Stray Observations:

--Tim hates weddings? WTH, Tim?

--Can I just say how much I fucking love Sean and Kini's woman? That they went with a lesbian wedding was amazing, and then to add to that her career focus was so moving. All things told, this was a good week for marriage equality on reality TV. As I pointed out in my review of this week's So You Think You Can Dance. Sorry for the shameless self promotion.

--What the fuck is Zac doing during the judge's closer look at the clothes? He's talking in some accent and playing a role and it's really fucking annoying. I usually excuse a lot of Zac's choices and such, but this is one that I simply can't get behind.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Project Runway S13 E5: "The Klum of Doom" there's Runaways, how was everyone's week? Do anything interesting? Is anyone else trying their best to avoid news about Ferguson because they find it so horribly depressing and a sure sign that we're in the end of days? I mean, things are rough right? Is anyone else wondering how long I can go without talking about the actual episode of Project Runway from this week? Because I'm guessing quite some time.... quit....awhile....indeed.....

Alright, I got nothing. Welcome to that PR staple: the Heidi Klum as client episode. This week, the designers are asked to design a look for Heidi to wear on the Red Carpet for the upcoming Emmy's. In one day! Winning look gets worn; when Heidi gets asked who she's wearing, that designer gets name dropped, blah blah blah. While the designers fret about how one goes about designing a Red Carpet look for the Goddess that is Klum, I sit back and wonder how does one go about writing a review for a show he's pretty much only hate watching at this point. I mean, admittedly, this season hasn't been as bad as this last season of True Blood, at least I haven't felt the need to develop a drinking game around PR in order to get through episodes (which I totally did for True Blood and it's glorious, you should play for the finale). But at this point I'm not sure exactly what's sustaining me on watching anymore. Are we only tuning in each week because we always have and don't know how to stop? And while we're at it, what really is the meaning of life?

Anyways, everyone goes to Mood, they buy fabric, and everyone debates what's needed for a Red Carpet look. Color? Fabric choice? What color would look good on Heidi's skin? The last one I find to be really interesting as I didn't realize Heidi had a skin tone that was so wonderfully unique that she had to match it with a specific color to really make her pop. Sorry to get on my POC high horse on this one, but Heidi's just another white girl super model, the colors that look good on her are all the colors that would normally look good on the Red Carpet. She could probably even pull off a boring Taupe color.

To be honest, the real problem I have here is just that the beginning of this episode felt so boring to me. It's nothing new or innovative on the part of the show. As I've said, we've seen this challenge a hundred times by now. Every time it comes up, the contestants talk about the same thing: How to make Heidi happy without losing my own aesthetic. There's only so many different ways to have the same conversation before we are left realizing it's just the same damn conversation. And there's something off about the pacing of those opening moments of the episode. Or is it just me? It just feels like there's no sense of urgency, there's no passion or drive. And I was just bored.

And then Heidi came in. This felt a lot like a "Let there be light!" moment for the episode, because Heidi hates EVERYTHING in sight. And with good reason: it's all so horrible. Ok admittedly, Kini and Sean are on the right track, but Kini's got construction issues that need to be reworked, and Sean's got vision but nothing definitive has been executed yet, so we're all kind of just taking it on faith that he'll pull it out. Luckily for him, he trusts his vision and doesn't allow Heidi's pointed "You know you've been on the bottom a lot now" statement to sway him.

But everyone else? Holy shit! Heidi and Fade talk smack about Korina's look in German, and it's the giddiest moment of my life. Heidi ends that exchange by telling Korina not to cry as if she takes anyone crying in her presence to be a great offense. And I'm left wondering if this is how she raises her kids. Because that's just priceless. Sadly, on this front I agree with her about Korina not crying. As much as I understand that I'm alone in liking Korina's Mean Girls vibe this season (I mean really, her snide "Not making what you're making" comments in the workroom make me so happy), I think that her crying in this moment isn't really the way for her to gain any sympathy from viewers who already hate her. It doesn't feel like a kind of crying that would go a long way towards conveying some heretofore unseen depth of personality, right? So she should stop.

I really do want to just keep talking about all the bad designs out there for this one. I mean I haven't even mentioned Sandy and Kristine's looks yet, but I feel like we should keep going. Having seen nothing that she'd even remotely consider wearing on a Red Carpet, Heidi decides to give everyone $100 and an extra twenty minutes at Mood. No one gets any more time, because one day is still somehow reasonable for a fucking Red Carpet dress, but you can have more fabric and even less time to finish. I mean I don't know how far the workroom is from Mood (someone want to Google that for me? because I also don't know that I care to do the legwork on that one), but I assume that 20 minutes in Mood, plus whatever the travel time is between Mood and the workroom would come out to at least 30 minutes of not working, if not more. So it sounds to me like instead of enhancing their looks, the people going to Mood are actually just shooting themselves in the foot... We'll circle back around to this concept. people who choose not to go to Mood aren't allowed to keep their money, but instead have to give it to one of the designers who are going. Is this right? Or was it just suggested that they give their money away? I ask because Sandy seems to be the only person asking for money, and everyone she asks at least seems to give her a very sad and resigned yes. Could they have said no? Could they at least have run to one of the designers and had a Fry moment?

Who knows, either way the result is what it is: Sandy spends over $400 on her return trip Mood. While I think this is a bit ridiculous because I hate her and I want her to die lose every week from now until she finally goes home, I also have to agree with Char's point that you can't really be mad at her for playing the game. Unlike last week's episode, everyone has the same opportunity to go back for more fabric, everyone has the option of getting money from the people staying behind, everyone has the ability to spend more than the $100 they are given for this. So it's at least fair, and Sandy exploiting that option is resourceful.

Everyone comes back to the workroom and I think the theme of the Mood trip was something along the lines of "Heidi complimented this one little thing about my look, so I'm just going to run with it!" Korina, having been insulted in multiple languages over her Hunter's Green, comes back with something she seems to think is Emerald Green. It isn't, but I worry that telling her that might have the same effect as telling a child there is no Santa, so I guess we'll just run with it. Heidi complimented the red in Kristine's look, so she just buys a lot of that and starts a new look. What could possibly go wrong?

The Runway:

Char: It moves beautifully, and I love the color, but something in the construction of the top and the back looks a little messy and unfinished. It looks like she had ½ of an idea and never finished it.

Emily: The look is certainly sexy, but it isn’t Red Carpet. Or at least not Emmy’s Red Carpet. Maybe the Grammy’s? Certainly an after party. But anyone wearing this on the Red Carpet would get ripped a new one.

Mitchell: I don’t like the front, but I don’t hate it either. I think considering the amount of time he had to throw it together, you can’t be too upset. But the back, oh God the back. That was just a serious miss on his part. That should have been much cleaner. I like the weaving detail he attempted, but he didn’t execute it well at all, which is probably because he didn’t have time.

Korina: Again, I don’t want to hate on this because she didn’t have as much time as she needed. I think the biggest problem with it is that I find it to be a boring dress that no one would wear on a Red Carpet. The color is muted and unflattering, the construction issues with the back just are what they are, and the front is boring. The styling is boring as well.

Fade: I love this. I don’t know if it’s Red Carpet, but I love it. I think it might be Red Carpet in the sense of someone really making a statement, but it’s certainly not a “gown.” I think it’s a bit too casual, but I love it. What can I say? I love it!

Alexander: Hm…. Even when we ignore the butt cheek issue (which we probably shouldn’t ignore the butt cheek issue), I’m still not really a fan of this dress. I think the construction is nice, but I don’t think the fabric photographs all that well. And the only interesting thing about the back is the butt cheek issue. Which shouldn’t be the best thing about the back of your dress.

Sandy: It’s beautiful, but I hate her, so I don’t want to talk about how beautiful it is. I don’t want to talk about how expensive it looks (which it should since she spent more money than everyone else), or how perfect the open back is, or how elegant it is, or how Red Carpet ready it is, because I hate her.

Samantha: It’s pretty; it’s more memorable (maybe) than anything she’s put down the runway thus far, but I still don’t like it. I find that black on black looks don’t tend to show up as well on the runway on this show. So the detail she added to the bodice doesn’t show until you see the dress close up, which makes it look like just a basic black dress. It also doesn’t scream elegance or sophistication to me. But it’s not an ugly look by any means.

Kristine: I know the Red Carpet portion of the event takes place in the evening, but that’s no reason for your model to look like a Lady of the Evening. Those are two different things, Kristine. And this dress is just a no!

Kini: Look out everyone, Kini is rocketing to the top of the ranks of this season. The way the sparkle (is that sequins?) perfectly adds that hourglass shape. It accentuates curves in a perfect fashion, the back is breathtaking, I love this look so so so much!

Sean: My sweet handsome Aussie boy. Here’s my one question for you more design savvy people, is there any way this dress could have been made and still function while being strapless? I love the movement, I love the color, I think it’s very fun, but there’s something about the spaghetti straps that makes it look a little cheap to me. I hope he’s in the top this week, because I think he needs a confidence boost, but I’m also starting to think that as much as I love him, he doesn’t have what it takes to win.

Amanda:  Is anyone else kind of bored with Amanda’s aesthetic? I think she saved this look from where it was during Heidi’s visit, but I’m still not impressed. It fits the challenge, although it doesn’t scream Heidi Klum to me, but I don’t find it to be very attention grabbing. 

Sean, Kini, and Amanda (really, guys? really?) in the top 3; Korina, Kristine, and Mitchell in the bottom three. Ok let's get it out of the way quickly because I want to talk about other issues than just the judging as we wrap this up: Sean wins, and Kristine and Mitchell go home. I know most people won't be sad to see Mitchell go, but even if I did like him (and I did) the truth is that his look this week was very not good. I almost wish he'd gone with his more typical and flashy aesthetic which probably would look at home on the Red Carpet is he just classed it up a little. 

The thing I want to talk about here is the extra trip to Mood. You'll notice that the three people in the top refrained from going to Mood, but the three in the bottom all did go back. All of them also had the added "excuse" of not having enough time to really finish their designs. Because you can't make a polished Red Carpet look in five hours. However, then there's Sandy. Who totally made a fully Red Carpet ready look in that same five hours. Granted, she had a lot more money and purchased fabric that was a lot more expensive, but still. So as much as it kills me to say so, Sandy should have been in the top in place of Amanda if for no other reason than to add in the drama of "But Sandy also pulled her look together in five hours and it's good." Not that I'm advocating someone being in the top just to add drama, but let's not pretend like this show is above so doing. 

The other thing I want to point out is that the judging problems of this season kind of continue. I don't think it's as problematic this week since someone other than Amanda or Sandy has won, and also because the winning look is really beautiful and totally something I think Heidi would (and should) wear. But I don't think there's really any doubt that Kini's look is the best of the night. If you do have an argument in favor of Sean over Kini, please share it in the comments. So we do have another week where a clearly more deserving designer doesn't get the win for some reason, but the deserving designer(s) go home. I say all that to say the problems with this season haven't gone away after 5 episodes, and I can't tell if I'm worried about that, or if it's still too soon to really worry. Will the judging finally even out a bit more now that we have our first non-Amanda non-Sandy win? Will there be an actually original challenge at any point this season? Will we ever discover if we're actually alone in the universe? Or, the more difficult question by far, figure out why we're still watching this damn show every week? Tune in next week, Runaways, where none of these questions will be answered. 

Stray Observations:

--In accordance with our semi-ongoing conversation about how the judging for this season might be fully purposeful: Does anyone think things are being staged in a fashion to stop Tim Gunn from using his save? Like maybe so much attention is being paid to who should go home in an effort to not enact the save at all, that less attention is being paid to who really should win? I don't think it's a mean thing, per se, but more like the judges want to constantly feel like they're right and the easiest way to do so is to not place yourself in a position where Gunn will have to contradict you. 

--In Mitchell's confessionals this week, he's wearing some plaid shirt with cutoff sleeves and open buttons at the neck. The entire thing just screams Red Neck. And I have never been more attracted to him in my life!!!! My God, I don't know who that person was, but I would do naughty things to him. 

--Tim Gunn pointedly telling Mitchell the look this week has to be tasteful was hilarious.

--Also hilarious: the looks on the designers faces when they agree to give Sandy their money. Which is why I wouldn't have given it to her. I literally would have stood up and said "Does anyone other than Sandy want my money to go to Mood?" but I'm not a very good person.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Project Runway S13 E4: "A Suitable Twist"


1. not fair; not conforming to approved standards, as of justice, honesty, or ethics:

an unfair law; an unfair wage policy.

2. disproportionate; undue; beyond what is proper or fitting:

an unfair share.

Someone should remind the producers of Project Runway of this fact.  Because nothing screams unfair more than an undeserving designer picking fabric for everyone else in the competition. Is my selective memory acting up, or is this the first time we've ever done that on this show? It's also possible that my extreme hatred of Sandy plays a part in my anger over this development, but I find this to be horribly problematic. In their defense, pretty much every suit to choose from was equally unappealing, but in a challenge where a significant part of the expectation is to be "inspired" by the fabric you're choosing, how does it make any sense whatsoever to have someone else choosing your suit? Speaking as an artist, it's not easy to get inspired by something you have no say in. You can't just pop up with an image and ask me to get inspired to write a story about it over the course of one day. Maybe this would have worked better with more than one day; give the designers a little more time to mull over the looks they've been unfairly assigned and find something within it they can be passionate about. But under these circumstance? I think this left the deck unfairly stacked against some designers and it left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Now that we've got the rant out of the way; welcome back Runaways! The designers start with a trip to Red Robin, Yawn Yum! I don't know if it's simply because we don't have Red Robin's here in Florida, but I couldn't bring myself to be excited about this particular piece of product placement.

We're introduced to Jason Rusk who is someone with Red Robin. I wasn't paying much attention because I was too busy cooing over how little he is. At 6'1", I tend to really like short men (who am I kidding, I like tall men too, I really don't have a "type"), and as such I just found him so adorable. I wanted to put him in my pocket... ok things just got weird, let's get back to the challenge. Jason says something about putting a spin on something "as classic as a burger," so there's that, plus men in horrible suits which have to serve as inspiration and fabric, and the finished look has to be high fashion, and Sandy gets to choose everyone's suit because she won last week, and probably about 100 other things. Has anyone else noticed how convoluted the challenges have been lately? It feels like they all have multiple layers which tend not to have anything to do with each other, and never combine to make any sense.
Anyway, that's when the man candy comes out in horrible suits. Sandy chooses suits for everyone "based on their specific design aesthetics," and then everyone goes inside to sketch and eat free fries.  Much to my disappointment, the men didn't hang around the restaurant in their underwear after having the suites ripped off of them. Talk about missed opportunities. Then it's off to Mood for Swatch! Or I mean supplemental fabric. But really, are we even watching the show for any reason other than Swatch and HMG at this point?

I normally love Tim Gunn forever, and to be honest I still do, but I have a bone to pick with him over his workroom visit this go around: I feel like he's giving very bad advice. Admittedly, the first moment of bad advice proves to be my not having a full vision of what the finished product would be. But when he tells Amanda that the increase of fringe towards the bottom was a good idea, all I could think was Car Wash Crotch." Which shouldn't be the goal for anyone. But Amanda certainly pulls it out by the end and I had to eat my words. On the other hand, however, when he meets with Sean, and sees the tragic mistakes he's making, never once does he offer any real advice that could potentially save the outfit. He tells him to go with the unfinished outside of the dress instead of the boring, but smooth, inside of it because it's more interesting. But never once does he voice a concern that this is a bad idea. I understand that Tim comes in close enough to the end of the day that scraping an entire look in favor of something new isn't feasible, and thusly he's mostly there to try and tell them how best to save or edit the looks they've already got, but we've seen him offer strong words of caution before and I don't feel like he did that here. And that he does it to my PR Crush of the season hurts my heart and had me panicking that Sean would be going home and I'd have to write the review through tears.

On to the runway: Bethany Mota is guest judge this week, take from that what you will.

Korina: I think it’s beautiful. I don’t think it’s really innovative to conflate “edge” with “leather,” I’d like to think that time is behind us, but with that being said, it’s clean cut, the color is beautiful, the slit in the skirt is sexy, I really like the belt, and it’s wearable.

Char: This feels more like high fashion to me. It’s nice, I like the dramatic neck and the bow on the hip. I’m not jumping up and down about it, but I like it. 

Fade: I think the textile is beautiful, but I also think it could be the sort of thing that’d make someone a little dizzy looking at it. It’s nice, but the entire cut of the look just screams “safe” to me.

Samantha: Who the hell is Samantha as a designer? Nothing I’ve seen from her sticks out in my memory thus far, and this look tells me nothing at all. I find this to be offensively boring.

Hernan: Very unflattering placement of the V (pun intended), and the look feels very costume. Get rid of the V (I think only a gay man would say that) and it’s at least an OK costume. I think this is purely a Taste Level issue. It's not hideous, it's just tasteless. And that's not the first time I've felt that way about his designs.

Alexander: I think Alexander has redeemed himself, though I don’t think it would have taken much for him to have done so after last week. At least this proves he has an aesthetic and is capable of design. I think the skirt is a little boring, but the design elements of the top feel High Fashion. I also really like his model’s styling. Good job.

Mitchell: The interesting this about this look to me is that I never would have guessed it came from Mitchell if I just saw it on the runway. I don’t think it’s great, it’s got a costume feel to it too, and outside of that it’s a little boring. But I don’t think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen either.

Sean: Oh my poor Aussie baby. This was just… no. The top is too simple (though it’s certainly better than what he had before), the skirt looks messy and unfinished, nothing about this says high fashion. I hope he’s safe, and I think I can make the argument that this is another example of a designer with the deck stacked against him doing the best he can with what he’s given, but this was just bad.

Kristine: The fit on those pants is just horrible. But she recognizes that, so I don’t feel the need to throw her under the bus much. For all the drama about her and Korina doing the same jacket (and Korina’s bitchy “nice jacket” comment is just perfect), I think they still look like two different looks. It turned out to be nbd. I do like this jacket though, the horrible fabric notwithstanding.

Amanda: Ok allow me to say that I actually do like this look, and I do think that the fringe saves it in a lot of ways. She certainly pulls it out, and I respect that. But when I look at it, it immediately puts me in mind of her Unconventional Materials look, and that makes me hate it a little bit.

Kini: I almost, kind of, mostly love this look. There’s something really odd going on with the hemline in the front. And I think there are construction issues with the skirt as well. But the design is beautiful and I really like the sleeves (I didn’t think I would) and I love the back. For having so much time given how fast he was going, you’d think he could have cleaned up the construction a little more.

Sandy: I’m so done with this woman. I don’t hate the top if I’m being honest, but I do hate the rest of it. Get the fuck off of my show!

Emily: She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite designers to be honest. I love every aspect of this: skirt, pants, top, all beautiful, well designed, and well-tailored.  

Kini, Amanda, and Alexander are in the top, and Sean, Kristine, and Hernan are in the bottom. How Emily is just safe blows my mind, and again we're set up for an episode where a deserving designer isn't going to win. But it's compounded by the possibility that my man might lose. And to be honest, his look this week is really horrible and probably deserves to lose. I also think his defense of the look is a little condescending. If he'd simply gone with more of a "I did the best I could to be innovative with a suit and a fabric that I never would have touched in my life if I could have avoided it," I think it would have made more sense. I'm sorry, but I really do feel like the designers hands were tied in a lot of ways by their "inspiration" being chosen for them. Nothing can excuse Hernan's final look, perhaps, but how do you really justify sending someone home when they were forced to work with a look that didn't speak to them and a fabric that they couldn't work with. No matter what the judges say when they touch Hernan's dress, if the fabric wasn't his choice, it wasn't his choice. All of it comes back to doing the best you can with what's handed to you; which might sound fair, and in some ways I understand that everyone's at least got some of the same restrictions, but everything about this feels wrong to me.

In any event, Amanda wins, which gives us 2 different winners over the course of 4 episodes, and I mean, really judges? Are you even fucking trying anymore? And Hernan goes home allowing Sean one more shot to redeem himself. Sean's look is easily the worst of the night, but typically when it's just poor construction vs bad taste, poor construction tends to win out. I only hope he can have an Alexander type turn it around moment next week and rocket to the top where he belongs. (Insert joke about him being a top here)

Stray Observations:

--This is also another place where I think Angela holding her team back in the unconventional challenge hurts everyone. The judges say something about never seeing any imagination from Sean, but I feel like had they been able to talk to him and Fade during that week, they wouldn't feel that way. But instead they were judged as a group and we're still feeling the aftermath of that. 

--I'm sad that Hernan went home because this felt like the first time we got to see fully bitchy Hernan, and I loved every minute of it! His calling everyone a bitch, and his catty behavior, which I thought was more friendly to at least everyone who wasn't Sandy, was just so much fun! I laughed so much and wanted more of him. 

--Do we really honestly think Sandy picked those suits trying to match up contestants aesthetics as best she could, or is that just the company line? I tend to think intention matters in most places, but I don't know if it does here. If she really does think that that's the suits most of them would have chosen themselves, then she's insane. And if she doesn't feel that way, then she's a jerk. 

--I know most people hate Korina, but I think I love her. Her "Great jacket" snide to Kristine and the look on her face when everyone in the greenroom was saying they loved that jacket were just priceless. Shade 101.

--What's the over/under on how long we can all stomach watching this season if the judging doesn't get better?

--Also, I almost forgot to draw attention to Jack Mackenroth (he was a contestant way back in season 4) and the awesome work he's been doing with HIV awareness.

--And also, I fully expect Julius to let us know what the designer vote break down was for this episode. I'm very curious about these developments every week. Not having cable sucks, but downloading the episodes and watching them sans commercials and over the course of like an hour 15 minutes really does make them far more enjoyable.