Friday, October 28, 2016

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

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

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

The Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

The Runway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Loose Threads

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E6 "There IS Crying in Fashion"

Alright, here we go, I got a major bone to pick with you, Project Runway! Here we are, a full three years into running the Project Runaways blog. We've been pretty steady, fairly consistent, if not timely with our reviews. Admittedly, the amount of comments and engagement with each week's posts has dropped off, which hurts a bit but hey, what can you do? And yet did we get an invite to that swanky party that starts off the episode? NO! So many people I've never heard of are paraded around that over-designed (yeah, I said it!) bar space, all of them are introduced as "blogger" and here I am just like, well what the fuck am I? Chopped Liver?! Message received, PR! I don't like you either! Excuse me for a minute, I think I've got something in my eye.

The Challenge

Let's just move on to this week's challenge, shall we? All of the designers are at this swanky party / press event, and it looks like they're just getting a night to relax and unwind. No such luck since the space they're all partying in, the Absolut Elyx house, is meant to serve as their inspiration as they make a cocktail dress. No big deal, right? 

The Absolut Elyx house is a bit garish for my tastes, but there's a lot there to be "inspired" by. The designers have one day and $300 to make this look. So really we're talking about a very high-end, fashionable cocktail dress here. I, for one, was rather excited to see what everyone would turn out. 

But then, people start sketching. Cornelius, ever the helpful beaver, takes his time to explain to the dumb-as-shit viewers just what a cocktail dress is. Which is really lovely of him; I'm sure we all would have been lost without his guidance. His mastery of the concept of a cocktail dress should mean that he's got this challenge in the bag. 

Tasha, on the other hand, seems a little less certain. Or maybe she's just certain in a different direction. Her original idea is to leverage her street aesthetic to make a unique kind of dress that isn't really a cocktail dress so much as a dress her woman might wear to go get cocktails. And by cocktails, I think she means Bud Light Lime. It's the lime that makes it classy. I love Tasha, I've made no secret of that fact, but this made me nervous. I understand that making a little black dress might not speak to who she is as a designer, but this challenge called for some kind of variation on the little black dress, so why not just do that? Either way, I'm worried for Tasha's future. 

Speaking of the Little Black Dress, the trip to Mood shows us just how few people are at all interested in creating one. I don't know about you, but when I think cocktail dress, I think solid color, probably black, but also maybe a deep red or blue, cut in a way that will turn heads. You expect high skirts, low cut tops, open backs, and a lack of straps. What I don't tend to think when I head cocktail dress is patterns and prints. And yet that's exactly what so many contests are heading for. Via con dios, I guess. 

Tim isn't really impressed with the abundance of patterns either. Cornelius, who of course was last seen explaining cocktail dresses to us, is using a fabric he's used before, and it's honestly hideous. He's going to have to start all over and try again. So much for his encyclopedic knowledge of what a cocktail dress is.  Roberi is also in textile hell. Tim points out that his dress looks like a Navajo Blanket, and he didn't mean it as a compliment. 

Meanwhile, there's the continued saga of Tasha. Her fabric doesn't say adult or luxury at all. The cut of the dress isn't suitable for a cocktail party, and her focus on her street aesthetic has been to the detriment of the outfit as a whole. But Tim's visit with her features one of those quintessential Tim moments that make me love him and love this show. He says to her "Don’t push street into the cocktail, push cocktail into the street, and what happens to it?” And in one moment, he shows what his role as mentor always should be, and what Tasha's perspective always should have been. Had she started with that point in mind, she probably would have been on a much better trajectory at this point. As it is, Tim points out that the black denim fabric she's got would make for a much better dress than the one she's working on. If she has enough fabric to create an entire look out of it, she might be onto something. 

The Runway

Laurence: I don’t know that there are enough good things to say about this dress. Is it a little black dress? Yes, but does is stand out and say so much more than a typical little black dress would? Yes! I can’t see a single flaw in it, so just a million times yes to this.

Rik: What if the strap around the back was totally unnoticeable and the zipper was invisible? Would that be better or worse? For me, I’d say better because while I understand that the dress doesn’t stay up or have any kind of flattering fit without that strap, it was distracting. I understand the drive to go with the external zipper, but something about it seems off and out of place with the rest of the dress. Other than that I think this look is cute. It’s unique and certainly would turn heads for the right reasons. It’s an interesting take on the cocktail dress!
Jenni: I don’t think this is horrible, but the more I look at it the more I hate it. It feels like it’s in the weird place between being slinky and being formfitting and I just want it to chose one. Plus the appliqué is ugly. I think I’ve changed my mind: I do think it’s horrible.

Erin: You can just make out the shiny brocade fabric framing the feathers and I hate that. I wish the feathers had extended all the way up the neckline. But other than that small detail I love this. To me, a cocktail dress should be formfitting like this. And the feathers just give it an extra something to put it a little over the edge. I’m a fan.

Tasha: If she’d had more fabric and could have worked out some of the fit issues, I think this would have been a success. The denim makes it impressive and unique, the belt (sash?) sadly looks cheap and tacked on, but it also breaks up the dress a bit. And the hem on the skirt is actually cute. But the whole thing is so ill-fitting that it looks rushed and a little cheap and that’s sad.

Cornelius: Why does that fabric move like that? As she walks, it bunches up a bit and makes her look like she’s got a pot belly. I hate this. I hate the fabric, I hate the cut, I hate the fit, I hate it all.

Nathalia: This might be the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. That beaded fabric just sewn onto the front looks like she took some fabric and just sewed it onto the front of her dress. I wonder why! And the way it hangs around the waist and chest area is not flattering at all. Kill it with fire!

Brik: I gotta say, Brik made me gasp, and this time not in horror. I’m quite impressed. If I hadn’t been watching him work on it and no one told me whose dress that was I never would have guessed him. The back is simply to die for. I think the cut of the dress is still a little simple, so I don’t believe he has much innovative and interesting design in him, but I’m very impressed with this all the same.

Mah-Jing: That fabric is beautiful! Can you imagine how remarkable a cocktail dress made out of that fabric could have been? Sadly, this one just isn’t. The fit and the finishing kill this look. The frayed looking edges around the shoulders are tragic, and all of the bunching and wrinkling is an eyesore. It’s too bad because I love the fabric.

Roberi: I was very worried about this look and that fabric initially, but I have to say I like the finished product. I think thinner shoulder straps and a deeper opening in the back would have made me like it more, but all in all I think this is pretty OK.

Dexter: I don’t think this looks as good as he does, but I don’t hate it. Fringe is always going to be hit or miss, but I tend to like the movement, so I’m partial. I do love the color though, so there’s that.


So Laurence, Rik and Jenni...yes Jenni, are in the top. Tasha, Nathalia, and Erin...yes Erin, are in the bottom. I'm not actually surprised that Erin is in the bottom. While I didn't hate her look, I can easily see how others would and the judges certainly do. But Jenni being in the top floors me. Heidi's the first to point out that she's stolen Erin's typical embellishment, but they all think that's a good thing. In fact, they originally assumed that Jenni's look was Erin's and were prepared to heap even more praise on the woman with two wins in the bag already. Instead Erin gets taken to task for how costume-y her look is and how poorly styled her girl is. I'll admit that I hadn't noticed the styling on the runway, but that's just because there was so much to look at with the dress. Which is also called busy so there's that. 

For my money, the win should be between Rik and Laurence. Zac doesn't like Rik's exposed zipper, but everyone like his vision. Heidi points out that it would make a great cocktail dress because no woman would have anything like it in her closet already. So it'd turn heads and probably sell really well to women wanting something unique. The lavish praise on Laurence's dress, but in the closer look they're quick to point out that they want to make sure she's not a one way monkey. They knew that dress was hers as soon as it stepped out, and while her having a signature is good, they want to know that she can do more than those amazing shoulders. 

Nathalia is more of a head scratcher. Heidi and Nina properly hate it. They point out how sloppy and ill-fitting, and just all around cheap it looks. Which is weird since she blew most of her $300 on that crappy beaded fabric which cost $250 a yard. But Zac and the guest judge actually don't hate it. Zac is ready to applaud her ideas and commend her for creating something new. He's still clear that the execution isn't there, but he likes the ideas behind it. I think Zac is the judge I disagree with least often, but when I do disagree with him, it's on something like this. I have no idea what he's talking about here. 

And then there's Tasha. I didn't realize at first that the top and bottom of her dress were actually two different fabrics. This combined with the sash makes the entire thing look cheap. On top of that, there's the poor fit issue and the fact that there's no real speciality of design beyond the typical trappings of little black dress. And Nina's quick to point out that Tasha's look standing up there right next to Laurence's amazing little black dress does it no favors at all. So the choice of who to send home is between Nathalia who had ideas, but they were bad ideas, and Tasha who seemed to have no ideas. 

In the end, Jenni wins; a fact that still has my jaw on the floor. Her look was nowhere near as good as the other two in the top and this is just ridiculous. Tasha goes home and my heart breaks a bit. I think an entire little black dress made out of a very dark blue denim would have been wonderful. It could have captured her aesthetic and still wowed the judges. But in her decision to try and buck the system entirely and force her girl where she'd never really be, she trapped herself into a corner. I stand by my love of Tasha. She seemed like an honestly good person, but I'm not sure just how cut out for PR she was. 

Loose Threads

--I know I briefly mentioned Nathalia's $250 a yard fabric, but come on! As soon as that price is quoted at you, I don't care what kind of vision you have in your head, you say no thank you and move on to find something else. I know she only got 1/2 a yard of it, but that's still $125 out of a $300 budget spent on one piece of ugly fabric. It might be my love of Tasha talking, but I really was hoping she'd go home. If not for her poor design, then certainly for that horrible money management situation. 

--The time in the greenroom was catty AF! Apparently there's something a split happening amongst the designers with Dexter and Erin on one side and just about everyone else on the other. Nathalia's shady ass "Erin isn’t the only person to ever embellish anything" comment was amazing. 

--Speaking of Dexter, for all of his and Erin's confidence that they're going to be the top two and win it all, this challenge included, he's sent off the runway with a few words of warning from Zac and Heidi. Apparently he's lucky to have had immunity this challenge or else he might have gone home. Both of them are so cocky all challenge, and to see them both more or less in up in the bottom was pretty funny.

--I don't think we even need to mention Mah-Jing's tears over Tasha's exit. But I will say that Tim's "Mah-Jing's crying over everything" comment was pretty awesome. 

--I think this might have been one of the first challenges were we're seriously seeing the talent levels start to diverge. Dexter and Erin may not have had good looks, but there was an ease and a confidence to the way they tackled the challenge. Match that with Rik and Laurence's easy straight forward approach, and I think we might be looking at strong contenders for the top 4. Everyone else struggled, had to start over, or just couldn't find their way without Tim's help. Jenni and Roberi seem to be somewhere in the middle, so I'll mark them as wild cards. But my guess is that contestants like Cornelius, Nathalia, Brik, and Mah-Jing won't be around for much longer. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E5 "There's No I in Team"

15 seasons, and yet Project Runway still manages to get the team episodes right. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of typical season 15 ridiculousness in this episode. But I'm not going to lie, guys, I think this might have been the best 90 minutes of the season thus far. And I also have to admit that I don't really understand why. I don't fully understand why I love PR's team challenges so much. They tend to be crass and manipulative and loaded with manufactured (as opposed to organic) drama. Once you get to the judging, they always feel like the judges (looking at you Heidi) are trying too hard to force tears on the runway and cause someone to throw a teammate under the bus. On paper, I should hate all of these things, and in a lot of ways I do. When all of the mean girls ganged up on Ashley last season, I hated it and did not think that it made for great television. But that's not to say that it wasn't effective. But this episode, this was a kind of poetry in motion, and I loved just about every second of it. Even when I was rolling my eyes at it. And why might I have been rolling my eyes? Well....

The Challenge

Here we go again with the judges and the producers just cramming in way too much into one challenge. First off, this is the Mary Kay challenge, which in and of itself doesn't mean much. But it's also the first team challenge, and the designers are working in two teams of six to create a four look mini collection. How much money do they have to do so? Well that depends on how much money three "mystery investors" decide to invest into each team. You see, the teams also have to pitch their vision for their collection to these "mystery investors," each of whom have $1000 to divide between the two teams however they see fit based on their pitches. Also, each person on the winning team gets $5000 just for shits and giggles. Seriously, the longer Tim was up there with the guy from Mary Kay, the more I just wanted him to shut up and pick the teams already. 

The episode opened up with the guys from room 310 (Rik, Roberi, Alex, and Cornelius) waxing poetic about how much they all loved each other, how much they were certain one of them was going to win it all, and just generally sucking each other off is the least orgasmic way possible. So when Rik, by virtue of his win last challenge, gets to pick his first teammate, of course he picks fellow 310er Alex. The button bag, in all it's totally unstaged, completely random, wisdom picks Brik to be the first member of the other team. I mean come on, does anyone really believe that there was another name in that bag other than Brik's? How this fucktard is still on my screen is beyond me, but I refuse to believe him being picked first was anything other than purposeful from the producers. 

Whatever, what follows is what we all expected. Room 310 is quick to stick together, and then they end up with Nathalia and Mah-Jing to round out the numbers. Everyone else is on Brik's team, may God have mercy on their souls. 

Room 310 gets right to work and quickly seems to be sympatico with one another's visions. Mah-Jing is the only person who thinks their color pallette is a bit too drab, and maybe they should freshen it all up a bit, but who really cares what he thinks, he's not a 310er! Meanwhile Brik's team can't even decide on a color pallette, and Dexter's the only person interested in talking about how they're even going to win the money needed for the challenge. From the start, they seem to be doomed, but no one seems to be asking Brik what he thinks, which makes me think there's hope for this team yet. 

Alex has experience making pitches and working in the industry, so he throws his name in the ring to be the person making the pitch. Dexter's insistence on talking about how they go about selling their idea means his team picks him to make the pitch. Automatically there's a clear difference to how these two teams are going to be doing things, but it's neither bad nor good in general. 

The 310ers have decided to be Team Unity, and we shan't say anything more about that. They go to make their pitches to our mysterious investors. Who could it's Heidi, Zac and Nina obviously. As soon as Tim said there were three of them, we all knew who it would be, so the show should just fucking stop it already. Anyways, for Team Unity, Alex does all the talking, and he's good at it too. He answers all of the investors' questions, he presents a clear image of who their girl is, and based on their sketches, he shows something that looks like a polished and cohesive collection. 

Brik's team has decided to be Team Button Bag, and we shan't say anything more about that. Dexter starts talking but he is often helped by Jenni in particular and the other members of his team. They present a clearer picture of unity and democracy than the other team does, but I didn't feel like they presented a very cohesive look at who their girl is. Based on those sketches, I don't think anyone is assuming the same person is wearing each of their outfits. And then they totally flub on Zac's price point question. It appeared, to me at least, that Team Unity won the pitch portion of the challenge.

There's $3,000 in budget to be awarded between the teams as the judges see fit. This is tricky. In a perfect world, each judge would have split their $1,000 evenly between the two teams and we'd have an even playing field. But I doubt they would have been allowed to do that even if they'd wanted to, so inevitably the team that won the pitch was always going to end up with way more money than the team that lost. And that does not a fair challenge make. The question was always going to be about whether or not the team with more money had a distinct advantage over the team with less. We'll circle back around to this idea later. 

To my surprise, Team Button Bag won the pitch by a landslide. Zac allocates his money in a $800/$200 split; Heidi allocates her money in a $600/$400 split, and Nina joins Zac in the $800/$200 club. The larger amounts all go to Team Button Bag who ends up with a budget of $2,200 compared to Unity's $800. That's $800 to make a total of four looks. On top of that, considering Team Unity's upwardly mobile girl working in an office and their moderate price point, they have to make four looks that are classy and expensive looking, but would be sold at a moderate price. In short, they're screwed. 

I wasn't in the bag for either team up until this point. This is partially because I'm not in love with any of the designers yet. But I do love rooting for an underdog. So the moment the scales tipped so drastically in Team Button Bag's favor was the moment I decided I wanted Team Unity to win. I certainly thought the story of how the unity of the 310ers would boost their team up to heights that would surpass their paltry budget, while all the money in the world couldn't save Button Bag from Brik's poor taste and their lack of a cohesive vision would be the better story to tell. I hoped and hoped for it with all my might, but would I get it in the end?

Based solely on Tim's visit, I certainly thought so. He liked Unity's cohesion, and thought they'd youthed it up a bit. Nathalia's coat is the only thing that doesn't really belong, and to her credit, she immediately starts to change it. Conversely, he points out the lack of unity in Button Bag's collection and how simple Erin's coat is. Erin's response is to sew some kind of embellishment onto the pockets and call it a day. Brik and Jenni decide to use that interesting, but ultimately unflattering mohair fabric to create an entire new look. Brik and Jenni working together on a dress...this bodes well. 

The Runway

Team Unity
Look 1: Hm…. The color in the print certainly brings in a youthfullness that I appreciate. I agree with Cornelius when he says it looks polished, but I don’t know that I think it looks expensive. If there wasn’t that strange glittery sheen to the dress, I might be more excited about this, but I can’t see a woman at a tech company wearing this to work.

Look 2: I love this but I hate the fit of the pants. What material was used? It almost looks like a neoprene, but that can’t be right, can it? It doesn’t look like it hangs the way a jersey would, but I don’t know. The pants throw me off, but I think the top and the belt are spot on.

Look 3: I thought that if I looked at this long enough I would love it and see something good in it. I was wrong. That print worked a lot better as a jacket or a top than it ever could as a pant. And that jacket…I don’t know. Is it ugly? Or is it just boring and odd? I don’t know which, but I know I hate it. And the cut of the hem of the blouse underneath it is just not good. It’s purposeful, but I can’t see anyone, certainly not the woman they described, wearing it.

Look 4: All that ass! Sorry, I went to a place. I certainly think this looks young, and I say that as a good thing, but not a great thing. I think for an evening look this works, though it is ill-fitting. I think I could even argue that the same woman wearing the first two looks is likely to wear this on her night out. So I think all of that is good, but there’s something, and I can’t figure out what, that’s stopping me from being totally in love with it. OK, but not great.

Team Button Bag

Look 1: I don’t do this often, but as soon as this look turned the corner, I literally exclaimed “DAMN!” out loud and with some force. Let me get this out of the way first: I hate the detail on the sleeve. It looks stupid and childish, and like a forced way to bring cohesion to the collection. But everything else about this is great. It looks polished, well tailored, expensive and yet affordable (because it’s denim). A woman walks down the street in that and you think she looks like a million bucks without having to have spent a million bucks. I love it. Except those damn sleeves.

Look 2: That bib is disgusting and wrong. When she was walking out, I thought they had done something unique to the cut towards the bottom of the skirt, and I was impressed. But then she passed the light and I saw that it was just that the skirt was riding up and wrinkling, and I was bored. I’d like it a lot more without that stupid bib piece, but even then it’d just be a boring simple dress. That bag isn’t doing anyone any favors either.

Look 3: I am an out and proud gay man, so I want you to understand the magnitude of my next statement: I would let the woman wearing that outfit do whatever in the world she wanted to me. Powerful, stylish, sexy, unique, well made, and well thought out. I can’t say enough good things about this. I almost want to critique her styling as I’d like to see it on someone with their hair slicked back in a tight bun, but that’s just me. I’m in love!

Look 4: I love Erin, but I think this is a swing and a miss. Or at least, I think it’s very much not for me. I can’t say that anything about it is objectively bad, but I can say that I stared at it for awhile and just never felt any affinity for it. I thought the yellow and the mohair would go together better than it ended up doing, and there’s nothing remarkable about the look outside of the jacket. And I don’t think the jacket is remarkable for the right reasons. So no on this for me, but if someone disagrees, I won’t be surprised.

The Judgement

For my money, the outcome of that runway is that both of those teams are pretty much in the middle with one of them just being slightly higher than the other. However, much to my chagrin, the team that's higher is Button Bag. The fact of the matter is that they had two looks that literally took my breath away (one of which even made me question long standing aspects of my sexuality), while Unity had one look that impressed, and even then just the top of it. 

So I'm robbed of my perfect storybook ending to this challenge, but I think it's important to note that Unity wasn't done in by its small budget. I don't think more money would have saved them because they didn't seem to have as clear a vision of who their girl was as they claimed in the pitch. But more on that in a minute.

The judges agree and Team Button Bag wins while Unity loses. But they liked way more of Button Bag's looks than I did. Heidi waxes poetic about how great the little embellishments on the cuffs of Dexter's jacket and pants are. They all seem to love Erin's jacket, though I'm not totally sure why aside from the fact that it's yellow. And no one can say enough good things about Laurence's jacket. Nina points out that the moment she saw it she knew it belonged to Laurence, and you have to agree with that. Luckily, they all admit to hating Brik and Jenni's ugly ass dress. So they haven't gone completely crazy. When the team's asked who should win, it seems pretty well split between Dexter and Laurence with Erin getting a couple votes for some reason. 

Over on Team Unity, all of the comments are about the lack of this girl matching up with the girl they pitched. Nina points out that if any girl walked into her office dressed like that she'd ask her where they were going. Zac says that if they'd pitched evening wear at an entry level price point, they might have been in the top. Nina shoots that idea down by pointing out Alex's dress and the mess that is Roberi and Nathalia's look. And then something amazing happens, or at least I think it's amazing, when the team is asked who should go home, everyone to a person names his or herself as the weakest link. Admittedly, Rik doesn't say himself, but he doesn't name anyone else either. Mah-jing clearly has the best look out of everyone, so it'd be ridiculous of him to say himself (although he does point out that he's been in the bottom before). Instead he very tactfully and gracefully says Alex with a list of very reasonable reasons. I think this moment more so than anything that came before is what made me so impressed with this episode. I can't remember this kind of honest selflessness in a team challenge on this show ever before. 

Dexter wins, and Alex loses. There's something fitting about that as both of the people who kind of took the reins and led there team are rewarded and punished respectively. But here's where I think I'm going to get a bit controversial: If I were Tim, I think I would have saved Alex here. Listen, I know the save isn't something we've ever really agreed on here. Either we feel as though it's used in pity (as with Justin a few years back) or we feel like it's ridiculous and just proprietary (as with Edmond). For the record, I loved Justin being saved, but I was in the minority, but that's neither here nor there. My reasoning this time around is simple: Tim didn't seem to hate what Alex was doing when he saw it in the workroom, so he can take some portion of the blame here for not steering him in the right direction. But also, Alex was just in the top three one episode ago, so clearly there's something to him that deserves to stick around. I for one would like to see more from him. I don't think the judges got rid of someone who could have won the whole competition here, but there's a part of me that thinks maybe he just deserves to stick around for a little bit longer. Based on how emotional Tim was when he came into the Greenroom, I thought for sure that he was going to do it. Alas, no such luck. Goodbye Alex, your slow and sleepy tones will be missed. 

Loose Threads

--Speaking of Alex's visit to the top three last week, how about the fact that Roberi was in the top three as well and both of them end up in the bottom two this week?

--Mah-Jing was our source of manufactured drama this week; which shouldn't be surprising as he plays the role so well. He's a very sensitive man, but all his complaints about being left out fell on deaf ears to me. This fact was made all the more apparent by the end of the judging when he's pointing out how welcomed in the group he felt. 

--Conversely, Mah-Jing's story about his Chinese/Black background was really nice and illuminating. I can see how his years of bullying would have made him into the crybaby (I mean gentle soul) he is today.

--In my notes, I started out by questioning if Mah-Jing or Alex was getting the stronger loser edit in this episode, but by the mid-point I was firmly on Mah-Jing. Alex's story about dropping out of high school was touching, and clearly the kind of last hurrah spotlight we're used to, but the way that Mah-Jing dominated the middle of the episode made me think for sure that it was his time. 

--I'd love to hear what you guys think about the pitch and the allocation of money aspect of this episode. I was firmly against it as I thought it was unfair, but then seeing how the losing team was done in by their lack of vision and not their money, I'm not so sure any more. It seems like a realistic aspect of the fashion world (much like when the contestants work with clients) that I'm starting to think could enhance the show. I don't think every episode should feature it, but maybe an episode or two a season could? That'd be interesting. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E4 "Sink or Swim"

I hope no one minds if I start with the most important aspect of this week's episode first. I know I should build up to this, but I've never been one for burying the lead: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWATCH!!!!! Everyone's favorite fabric store pup turned another year older during the filming of this episode. And I think I speak for everyone when I say that if there's any great takeaway from this season of PR, it's that that sweet little fella is still with us. Many happy returns, Swatch!

Now that that's out of the way, I guess we can get back to the more mundane subject of just what PR is doing this season. I've been asking that since the beginning, and I think I'm ready to stop asking. Not because I don't think it's still an appropriate question, though I am wondering if I'm not just overthinking it all a bit, but simply because I don't think there's an answer.

When I was in my first collegiate-level Creative Writing class, my professor told us about a theory about the Grotesque. As she put it, Zombies are scarier than Aliens because zombies are still too close to human for comfort. Aliens and monsters tend to look, act, and think nothing at all like us, so there's a slight level of safety with them. But zombies tend to be just off from center in a way that we find highly disturbing. Anyone of us could become a zombie at anytime, and that hits us where we live. That's what grotesque ultimately means: almost normal, but not quite, and therefore frightening.

That's what I feel about this season of Project Runway. If there were massive changes being made to the format of the show, we could point to them and draw up a reason for their existence. But instead, all the requisite parts of a PR season are still there, they just feel slightly off. Like starting with an unconventional materials challenge, or going four episodes without a team challenge, or bringing in "real women" in the second week only to not use them at all, or having a Heidi as client challenge in the fourth episode, or all of the fashion spread and put into production rewards that have already been doled out. All of these things are typical to a season of Project Runway, but they don't usually all happen in the first four episodes, right? Or am I just misremembering things again?

But the point is, I don't think there's a reason behind any of it. So at this point, I'm giving up on asking. From now on, I guess I'll just talk about the episodes on face value and try to determine if they're good or bad episodes of this show we've all been watching for so many years.

The Challenge

This week, the contestants are charged with getting inspired by some of Heidi's line of swimwear to create a swimsuit and coverup that would fit in with her collection. The winning look, of course, will be produced on Heidi's line. On top of that, they're also designing the textile to use for their garment. So we've got a challenge that combines swimwear with Heidi as the client and create your own textile. Should be a hoot and half. 

One of the more interesting aspects of the textile design section of the episode is just how little product placement there was. They seem to be using advanced tech to do the drawing, but there wasn't the typical waxing poetic about the HP whatever the hell. 

Per usual, some of the designs are good and highly personal, others seem a bit more basic. Sarah's girl laying down on a beach blanket is a bad idea from the start, but she seems so excited. Alex's using the design of his tattoo is really personal and unique. It's almost got the same feeling as Mondo's poz sign dress from the same kind of challenge. 

Heidi's visit is as colorful as always. As is typical of a Heidi as client workroom visit, she does most of the talking while Tim just kind of lets her. The main takeaways are how shocked I am that Cornelius seemed to be planning on leaving his bottoms as high waisted as they are on the model form. I mean come on, anyone can see that that's a bad plan. Also, Heidi hates everything about Jenni's entire look. She goes so far as to try on the bathing suit bottoms and walk around with a look of serious disappointment. Jenni's big idea for this? Keep everything the same! Always a brilliant course of action. 

Allow me to say that I love these challenges. Much like menswear, asking the designers to create swimwear or even lingerie showcases just how difficult that sort of thing is. There's so little fabric, outwardly it seems like there's so little actual design to the whole thing, and yet they give the contestants so much trouble. Cornelius and Tasha in particular are struggling with the entire concept behind designing and creating swimwear. My continued crush on Tasha means I'm more than a little worried for her in this one. 

The Runway

Rik: Yes to this! One piece!!!!! This would fly off the rack like it’s no one’s business. I don’t feel any kind of way about the coverup, but I will say that I like how quickly and easily it comes off. And the back! This is super sexy, and the textile is great. This works!

Erin: Her coverup doesn’t come off? Is that good or bad? The front of that top is very very open. Which also I can’t tell if it’s good or bad. At least it looks purposeful and not like poor fit issues. All in all, I guess it’s ok. But I question how well it suits the challenge.

Cornelius: This is hideous. I don’t think his print is as much of a problem as it could be, but the high waist on those bottoms isn’t being hidden enough by that coverup to get away with. The coverup itself is basic and simple. And the straps on that top are glaring and out of place. 

Nathalia: Getting rid of the framing around the print was the right way to go. This looks a lot more mature and sophisticated. I think the textile is too busy and it hurts my head a bit. It feels like a magic eye, and that’s a bit much, but she’s not wrong about how it blends from far off, so there’s that. 

Brik: Ok, I’m going to try and not let my general hatred of him get in the way of this reaction. I think there’s some odd bunching fit issues with the bottoms in the front. It’s the opposite of camel toe, take that how you will. Other than that, I actually do like the bathing suit. I don’t love the cut of the top, but it’s not horrible either. And the textile works because of its simplicity. The coverup is fucking horrible though. We’ve seen a lot of pattern mixing on this show over the years, and when it works it’s great, but when it’s horrible, like here, then you kind of want to kill the whole thing with fire. I like this more than I have anything else he’s done thus far, but it’s still just a step or two in the wrong direction. 

Jenni: The edit to the bottoms makes this work a lot more than it did in the workroom. The strings on the sides call to the cut of the top, and there’s something smart about that. I don’t love the coverup. It’s original, which I want to give her credit for, but there’s something about it that just feels off. And the unclasping of it to just reveal her vag is…odd I think.

Laurence: I like the cut of the back. It adds a bit of sexiness to a look that’s everything but sexy. The textile is boring, sadly, and the suit is ultimately unflattering. I wish we could have seen her take the coverup off, because I’m curious about how that happened. 

Alex: I would have loved to see the back without the coverup. I like this a lot. I certainly think getting rid of the big blue blocks on the side was the way to go. I’m curious to hear what others think of the coverup. I can see how it could read as matronly, but I actually really like it, and it’s certainly nowhere near as old as Sarah was making it sound. 

Tasha: Well, no wardrobe malfunction, so that’s good. I think there’s something very easily commercial about this. It’s simple and ill-fitting on her model, but I could easily see someone wearing it. But I also don’t buy women’s bikinis, so maybe I’m insane? The coverup, sadly, is too simple and under-designed. For someone who’s never made a bikini before, I’m more impressed than I expected to be, but I do love her so take all this with a grain of salt.

Mah-Jing: The coverup isn’t denim, right? It looks too light and flowy for it to be. I like this more than I expected. I do not like the cut of the bottoms. Something about them look matronly to me. But the top is sexy, and it all works together. Nice rebound from the last challenge. 

Dexter: Dexter’s problem in the workroom was how dedicated to that snake eye he was. The success here is that he ditched it and went with a more basic snakeskin inspired print. So this came together nicely. Everything except that weird black bar across the bottoms. What the fuck is that?

Sarah: That textile is hideous and should be burned. And that coverup is easily the worse so far. With that being said, I do like the cut of the top. That little cut out right at the cleavage is smart and sexy. 

Roberi: Does she have camel toe issues? There’s something worrisome about that part of the garment. But everything else I really love. It’s vibrant and colorful, the coverup works well with the rest of it, and the cut of that swimsuit feels fresh and new in so many ways. I like it a lot. 


First off, who the hell is Lucky Blue Smith, why have I never heard of him before, and who do I talk to about getting him in my bed? Don't get me wrong, he's way prettier than I tend to like my men, but there's certainly something about him all the same. Those eyes, those lips, that soft spoken come hither voice, that man was doing it for me in this episode!

In any event, Rik, Roberi, and Alex are in the top, and Sarah, Tasha, and Jenni are in the bottom. 

The striking cut of Roberi's swimsuit and the way the coverup goes so well with it are the selling points here. Lucky likes the coverup more than he does the swim suit, and he's just so smart and classy and handsome that you can't help but to agree with him, right? No but really, I love the coverup, but it's really the cut of the swimsuit that I found the most striking. Nina points out later that the feathers would actually look just as good on a white fabric as they do on the black, and I think she's spot on. 

Alex's look seems to be Nina's favorite as she says she'd buy the whole thing and wear the coverup everywhere she could. No one says it's matronly, but I find myself wondering if Nina wanting to wear your outfit is a good thing or not. 

Rik is the real success story here. Going from the bottom in the last challenge all the way to the top here is really impressive. And everything on his look just works. From the pattern to the cut of it, to the genius and simple coverup. Lucky points out that it can be worn on the beach and then into a shop next to the beach without someone feeling like they're just wearing a bathing suit, and I think he's spot on about that. It's great work all around. 

As for the ladies, Jenni starts out by saying that she knows how Heidi feels about her look, and Heidi says she wants to hear what everyone else thinks. Turns out they all agree with Heidi. Which again leaves us wondering why she didn't change the damn thing. Admittedly, I thought the changes to the bikini bottoms were an improvement, but apparently I'm alone in that assessment. Zac has the most hatred for the look calling it granny stripper and sporty on top, slutty on bottom among other things. 

They point out how under-designed Tasha's look is and how much the coverup detracts from the two-piece and the textile itself. But that's not to say that they liked the textile to begin with, Heidi just thinks she should have fully committed to it and went all out. Which I can't disagree with. 

But from the start, it seems clear that Sarah is the weakest link here. This won't come as a surprise to some of our commenters who have been pointing out Sarah's shortcomings all season so far. And the most apt term for her looks thus far this season has been boring, but here she produces something that's downright ugly. Zac says the bottoms look like a boy's underwear, and Heidi is the only person to rightfully slam that horrible coverup. She started off the episode talking about how she didn't want to be safe anymore; I guess the point here is be careful what you wish for. 

Rik wins, Sarah goes home, and I don't think there's really any complaint to be had over this. Next week is the first group challenge of the year. I'm curious to see what this brings. 

Loose Threads

--Brik is still with us. At least this week he didn't actually have the ugliest thing on the runway so there's that. He did, however, like Sarah's look, which I think tells us everything we already knew about his judgement and taste level. He also had that "My name's Brik. I like Bricks" moment which I wish I could unhear. Something about it came off as very "I'm Groot" to me. 

--Anyone else noticing, and equally sick of, Mah-Jing's "I'm so straight. Look at how straight I am. Oh lady's bodies!!!!" routine?

--Tim in shorts....I got nothing. 

--Along with the continual conversation about Jenni's laugh, I think we should start talking about Alex's speech patterns. He's a sweet guy, and I like him, but he's only 30, and yet he talks and looks like he's much much older. When he speaks, I nearly fall asleep.

--Anyone have any thoughts about the fact that the three top looks were from men while the three bottom looks were from women? It's probably a little sexist to think so, but wouldn't you assume the ladies would have been better suited to making flattering swimwear for a woman's body than the collection of gay men on the show? 

--After some quick googling, I find out that Lucky Blue Smith is a model. He was scouted as young as 10 and was modeling by the time he was 12. Currently, he's 18 which makes me feel all kinds of creepy and cradle-robby, but only slightly so since he's still legal. Either way, he was easy on the eyes, but I also found him honest in his critiques. He may not have been the most insightful, but he also didn't play with kid's gloves which I always appreciate in a guest judge. I've talked about him too much haven't I? It's a bit creepy isn't it? I'll stop. 

--I do want to point out one more thing before I go, I'm very happy with the abundance of one-pieces on the runway. The one-piece is making a massive comeback lately, and seeing it on PR with the acknowledgment that it can be elegant and sexy was a great touch. Sorry, but I live in Florida and am at the beach or the pool every weekend, and I've been seeing one-pieces everywhere, so if it had been nothing but bikinis, I would have been pissed. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Project Runway: S15 E3 "Blacklight or Daylight?"

One unconventional materials challenge, one ready-to-wear for the "everyday woman" (though they
didn't use such a woman to judge or model said challenge), and now a gimmick challenge. What do you think PR is doing this season? It's not being different on a foundational level, but it does seem to be doing it's typical things in an odd order. And if I read the preview for next week correctly, we're already at Heidi's challenge? And with 13 contestants left? That might not be as off the mark as it sounds, but it certainly feels odd. Not to mention the fact that we won't have had a group challenge through four episodes. If PR is attempting to spice things up by throwing challenges at us in a different order than we're used to, I might commend them for it.

On the one hand, it's a quick and easy way to change the show without actually changing anything. But on the other hand, part of the fun of some of these challenges is that they tend to come when the competition has been whittled down to people strong enough to make the best of them.

For an example of this, let's look back to the type of challenge that this one most closely resembles: The Rainway from two seasons ago. That was episode eight and featured nine contestants. It was quite a spectacle. Not every look was great, but the stand outs from the episode (Sean and Kini's looks) were show stoppers.

I'm writing this review two days after having watched the episode (sorry, I've been busy lately), and I'm struggling to remember a single look from this week. Was anything on this episode really show stopping? Or maybe I've gotten a bit ahead of myself. Let's go back.

The Challenge 

Tim and Heidi come out and have fun with the blacklight. Heidi explains that this challenge is about creating a day-night look that looks as good in runway lighting as it does under a blacklight. It sounds, by her explanation, that the looks should be ready-to-wear and transitional. But there's a point at which she says that the look should be runway ready. So are they making high fashion, or real clothes? It's not very clear to me at least, but what do I know?

Back in the workroom, there's a tenuous connection made to Lenscrafter's Transitions Lens, but it doesn't really work. Which isn't surprising since most of the show's weak product placement of late hasn't been as smooth and effortless as the show would like to think. 

The contestants sketch and head off to mood with a little blacklight flashlight, but it's all pretty standard. Except for the absence of Swatch. We haven't seen him since the first episode, and I'm guessing that his old age is probably keeping him home more often lately. At least, I hope that's all it is. 

Tim's visit isn't really special either. He flat out calls Kimber's look ugly, which is a funny change of pace from his typically tactful approach. He looks at Dexter's fringe look and points out that he needs to go farther with it. It's surprising to me that he doesn't say the same to Alex who's big idea is to make a basic dress that just kind of changes color under the blacklight.

Meanwhile, Mah-Jing is obsessed with thinking about his fiancé's future wedding dress. As a result, he makes this ill-formed, misshapen, poorly-constructed white dress that Tim rips apart. It's not a make it work moment so much as a burn it down and rebuild from the ashes moment. 

Starting all over again becomes something of a motif in this episode. Jenni also has problems with her look that causes her to go back to the drawing board a couple times. By the end of the day, a lot of people have looks that are totally different from what they started with. On a one day challenge, that can always be risky. 

The Runway

Cornelius: I hate it. In the day light, it’s a boring ass white dress with nothing special about it at all. In the blacklight, I think it looks childish and haphazard. 

Jenni: This is another one that didn’t do anything for the daylight portion of the look. It looks like unflattering underwear and a clear rain coat. I want to commend her hand painting of the flowers, but no one wants to wear this. 

Alex: Alex nails it on the head when he points out how bored he is with the transition. I knew this when he was talking about his look in the workroom: the pink simply changing to orange isn’t enough of a change to really wow anyone. However, his dress is pretty and fashionable, so I’ll give him that much. He’s probably going to be safe, but he didn’t embody the challenge well. 

Mah-Jing: He seems to think that the mistake was in the pink paint leaving those streaks on the daylight look, but my question is what would the dress have looked like even without that mishap? It’s sad and boring in day, and messy at night. And the braided cord thing he did added nothing to the overall look. 

Nathalia: I think this is beautiful, but I do not agree with her assessment that it turns into a totally different garment in the blacklight. When the model unzips it, I love it a bit more, but I think the same thing about her transformation as I did about Alex’s. 

Roberi: There’s something weird and freaky about this dress that I love. It’s got a kind of Jim Hensen feel to it, but it works. It also looks like something that you wouldn’t expect to transform nearly as much as it does, so when the blacklight comes on, you’re pleasantly surprised. This might be the first look of the night that works in both forms of light. 

Kimber: I’m going to say no, but it’s a soft no. I think she 100% chose the wrong fabric, and I don’t think her painting on it to make it pop in the blacklight did her as many favors as she hoped it might, but I don’t think the dress itself is horrible. The pattern is, but the dress made out of that pattern is OK.

Sarah: Did she actually change the collar at all? It doesn’t seem like it. I can appreciate the transition. On the skirt in particular, I think it takes something that seems a little boring and makes it a lot less so. But I doubt anyone’s jumping up and down for this look. 

Rik: I like this, I really do, but I also fully recognize that there's a serious taste level problem with it. I don’t think anyone would want to wear it out in the daylight because where are you going dressed like that other than to a club? But as club wear, I think it works.

Tasha: When I saw it in the workroom, I was hoping she was going to do something different with the top. Maybe some cut outs on the front or something. Because as is, it looks unflattering. But I love the skirt and I like the back of the top a lot. So that makes up for a lot of it, but this isn’t winning any awards. 

Erin: I certainly think she did a good job of embodying the challenge, but I’m not in love with this look. She can do better, and I think we all know it. It’s just a bit boring. But I do think it looks like two different looks in the two different lights. 

Brik: Get the fuck out! I’m so done with him

Dexter: Ok, not great, but ok. I wish he had done something more spectacular with the fringe. But it’s nice, I guess. It feels more ambitious than a lot of the other things on the runway. 


Jenni, Erin, and Cornelius are in the top. Kimber, Rik, and Mah-Jing are in the bottom. The most surprising thing about the safe announcement is that they allow Laurence, who has immunity, and Brik who creates the worst thing maybe in the history of the show to skate by without so much as a word of reproach. 

When they introduced the idea of the blacklight challenge, my first thought was who would be ballsy enough (pun intended) to just jizz on their dress and call it art. Turns out the splooge comments are directed at Mah-Jing, and not without reason. His dress is called a crime scene and a motel bed sheet respectively. No one points out the useless cord thing which...I mean come on!

The comments on Kimber's dress are tepid at best. She's clearly in the bottom, but no one outright hates the dress. Zac says he had high hopes when he saw the fabric, but the complete lack of any kind of transformation makes it a disappointment. But the lack of overt disgust makes me wonder if they couldn't replace it with Brik's look and get rid of him once and for all. 

The comments about Rik's look are all about the sheer lack of taste with it. They get the model to turn around and notice the obvious butt cheek issue for the first moment. I don't spend any time in strip clubs, so I'm not the best judge, but I did think the claims of her looking like a stripper were a bit far. Maybe a rowdy club girl, but a stripper? I think the bigger complaint is about the way the laces on the skirt are creating weird bunches in the fabric. I like Rik's outfit, but I do think the complaints are warranted. 

Also in the surprising category, at least to me, is how much the judges love Jenni and Cornelius. No one comments on how Jenni's painted flowers are literally falling off before their very eyes. They also don't talk about how unflattering the two pieces under the rain coat are. With Cornelius, all of the conversation seems to be about the dress' transformation. No one mentions the plain white thing it is in the daylight. There's some talk about the unfortunate dart at the crotch drawing even more attention to her vag than the big smiley face there, but that's about it. They really like the emojis and feel like the look is very current. I hate it, but what do I know?

The highest praise, and this should come as no surprise, is for Erin's look. Nina comments that the look perfectly encapsulates demure and sexy, and I think she's spot on. This is a look that works both for day and night, and the transformation of it in the blacklight is breathtaking. 

Erin gets yet another win, and Kimber going home means Mah-Jing sticks around for another day. More importantly, Erin is sitting really pretty with two wins and three visits to the top three. I can't remember the last time we saw this kind of dominance from someone right out of the gate. But after three episodes, this is shaping up to be Erin's competition to lose. 

Loose Threads

--The opening to this episode was pretty great. Two people talking about how horrible it must be to be in the bottom and how useless someone in the bottom must be while Kimber, who was just in the bottom, is sitting right there. I can't believe how hard I laughed.

--Mah-Jing has a tearful facetime conversation with his daughter that doesn't really do much of anything. Apparently, he's just a crier, as he cries multiple times during the episode. Personally, I thought his tears in the confessional after the phone call were more effective than the needless crying during the call.

--The winning look also gets a spread in Marie Clare, but that seems like a pointless afterthought.

--I cannot express how boring and pathetic I thought Brik's look was. That he's just safe without so much as a word from the judges is ridiculous to me. He can't be long for this world, but I can't help but to wonder what it is that the judges see in him that's kept him around this long.