Friday, March 26, 2010

Say My Name: The Project Runway recap

There’s a great scene in Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run where Woody, playing a hapless bank robber, hands the bankteller a note.
“I have a gub?” she asks.
“No, it’s I have a gun,” Woody hisses.
So she calls another teller over: “What does this say?”
“I have a gub,” the other teller confirms.

And so it was with Emilio and his signature print. Mila had no idea what the heck it said. And Tim Gunn thought it was some kind of tribute to his bromance with Seth Aaron. (“Does that say I heart Seth Aaron?”) It actually said E Sosa, except the “o” was a heart. Clever. (Not really.)

The question remained: Would Emilio’s indecipherable egomania be his undoing? (Yes, I realize that my breathless cliffhangers lose much of their impact since you’ve all seen the show already, but I just can’t help myself.)

As you’ve already gathered, the challenge here was to design your own print, which was kinda cool, even if it was painful to watch Vivienne Tam shilling so shamelessly for Hewlett Packard.
“They made the computer more personal,” she recited. (Hmmm, where have I heard that before?)

So then the designers got to play with the coolest computer game ever, where you kind of paint on a screen and it turns into a pattern. (Imagine how much time Jackson Pollack would’ve saved with this sucker.)

Some of the designers pattern choices were, shall we say, curious?

Mila did something that sort of looked like what a room painter does to test her paint samples on a wall.

Jonathan, still clearly broken up over the auf’ing of his BFF, decided to go with a pattern I’d like to officially rename: Subtle cry for help. (“Everything is pale as hale!” Anthony decreed. Couldn’t have said it better myself.)

Emilio did his I Heart Me thing.

Seth Aaron decided to go for something really different for a change: A British take on pop punk! (Sigh.)

Meanwhile, Anthony was jibber jabbering away about Oprah and Beyonce and god knows what else. . .
“I do not purposely try to be entertaining!” he deadpanned. Ha, ha—good one.

Tim came in to assess the textiles. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of Mila’s maxi-dress, so to punish him, she called him “TG.” Seriously, Mila, have you ever met a man less deserving of a casual, diminutive nickname than Tim Gunn? What next: T Dogg? T Sizzle? Show the man a little respect!

As previously mentioned, Tim was flummoxed by Emilio’s “Narcissism on Parade” print. But Emilio stuck to his concept. So what if he took the phrase “signature textile” a little too literally? He was committed.

Down the runway they come.

It’s funny that Michael Kors called Jonathan’s getup a disco straight jacket, because that term could’ve also easily applied to Mila’s maxi-dress. The poor model couldn’t move her legs 2 inches in that thing. When the model had the audacity to pick up the side of the skirt—so as not too topple over—Mila’s rolled her eyes. “She ruined it,” she said.

I loved Maya’s print the best, but she kind of overdid it with the sculptural wickety wack. So close. . .
(By the way, can you believe she’s only 21? She’s seriously the most mature person in the competition.)

I need to say it: I just don’t get Seth Aaron. Lady Gaga would reject his stuff for being too gimmicky.

Back to Emilio: Got to give the guy credit. Coming up with a signature fabric when no one knows who you are (or can read your handwriting) is gutsy. But damned if it didn’t work. His dress was hot. I would totally wear it (and insist that “Esosa” is Hebrew for “fierce.”) He deserved the win.

Phrases used to describe Jonathan’s “cry for help” dress:
“Disco straightjacket.”
“Dirty tablecloth.”
“Full on catastrophe.”
“It was pitchy, dog.” (Oh wait, strike that last one.)

And yet, miraculously, Jonathan didn’t go home. And neither did Mila, despite the fact that her model seemed have her legs bound.

Nope, Anthony went home for being too. . .Anthony.

But in true Anthony spirit, he went out with a smile on his face and a piece of Southern-fried hokum on his tongue:
“You don’t have to have the crown to be the queen,” he exclaimed. I’ll miss the guy.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do I Dare Design a Peach? The Project Runway recap

Oh Tim, you tease you. 

First you announce the promising—albeit a little played out—challenge: Design a day and night look inspired by a New York neighborhood. And then you brightly trill, "More exciting news!" 

You see, Tim, usually when someone says "More exciting news!" what follows is, well, exciting news. "And you'll be working in pairs!" does not qualify, no matter how enthusiastically you say it.

But who could resist the allure of 8 divided by 2 which equals 4? Math has a mind of its own. And it must be obeyed.

Yup, 8 contestants left and every single one of them has won a challenge . . . except for Maya. Awkward! Would this be her week?

Anthony is the first team leader and he picks Maya. (They get Chinatown.)

Amy goes next and—oh! squee! besties!—picks Jonathan. (Upper East Side.)

Emilio goes next and picks Seth Aaron. (Harlem.)
Leaving Jay and his moobs to pick Mila. (East Village.)

Jay acts like receiving Mila as a partner is some sort of major handicap. She's only won 2 challenges and come in second on at least 2 more. It's not exactly like you were saddled with Ping there, fella. 

So they wander the neighborhoods. And Anthony makes Maya laugh, which is such a strange and foreign experience for her that she has to look at her reflection in a store window to see what her teeth look like. 

And Emilio is so stoked to share Harlem with Seth Aaron, they're practically holding hands and skipping. 

And Amy keeps asking Jonathan if things—the brick, the wrought iron, the high numbers on the street signs—are "classic Upper East side" and I'm already beginning to worry that she's over thinking it. 

Meanwhile, Jay and Mila are . . .coexisting. Which is the best either could've possibly hoped for.

Nothing of consequence happens at Mood. Back at the studio, Maya is trying to tell Anthony that she knows better because she's an "artist." How Anthony managed to avoid saying, "So what am I? Shit on a shingle?" or some such thing is beyond me.

And Seth Aaron keeps adding random swatches of color when Emilio isn't looking. But Emilio keeps making him take them off.

And Jonathan and Amy are trying to recreate the entire 3rd edition of Patternmaking for Design, Vol. 1.

And you know who's working together quietly, professionally, coolly? Yup, Mila and Jay. 
Okay, Mila is justifiably concerned with Jay's lackadaisical tank top approach. (Every once in a while Jay forgets to try.) But mostly, it's smooth sailing. 

"Let's just say it's working as planned!" boasts Emilio, as it was his Machiavellian maneuvering that led to the pairing of Jay and Mila. (And by Machiavellian maneuvering, I mean: He picked Seth Aaron over Mila.) Not quite sure what drama he thinks he's created.

Tim comes by and likes everyone's look, but is concerned about Jay's pants and thinks that maybe Jonathan is overdoing it. Ya think?

Jonathan and Amy begin to get a little nervous and I'd love to have a gif of Jonathan, face pasty, faux hawk askew, 5 o clock shadow darkening, looking straight at the camera and saying: "We're f*cked."

To the runway they go. 

Top Two:
I have to say it, I hated Seth Aaron's overworked dark denim jumpsuit—although maybe it was that atrocious "Fat Bastard"-style hat. The judges loved it, so what do I know?
I prefered Emilio's zipper gown, although it didn't quite have the wow factor. 

Maya's pagoda-inspired jacket (with Anthony's fabric choice that she had earlier deemed tacky, btw) was nice—and I particularly appreciated the red darts in the skirt—but a little too conservative for me. 
Anthony's paper dragon dress almost worked. 
(Presumably, Maya would've come in first had she and Anthony won the challenge. Poor Maya, always the girl who looks like the woman who wins many of the challenges, but never the winner, herself.)

Bottom Two:

Mila's Lower East side jacket and red tights had her usually spectacular craftsmanship and precise point of view, but I have no idea why the model was giving us rock and roll devil horns at the end of the runway. That thing was about edgy as Hannah Montana.
The less said about Jay's droopy tank top the better. (But kudos to him for supplying Molly Sims with the proper verbage: "It tanked.")

Last (and, sigh, least) Jonathan and Amy. Oh, Amy. I had such high hopes for you. But after last week's taxidermy disaster and this week's peach shirt dress that screams "sales rack at Anthropologie"—it's time to go. As for Jonathan, his dress was overworked, but it had potential.  It needed a do-over. (Or in his case, a do-under.)

So Emilio and Seth Aaron BOTH win! And it's a touching middle-aged male bonding moment. 

And little Amy is out. (If I had any idea how to do a little emoticon frowny face on Blogger, I'd insert that here now.)

Next week: Someone designs a disco straight jacket!

(Unrelated P.S. that only 5 percent of my readers will comprehend. Go Terps!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cello? Is it me you're looking for?

No Project Runway recap this week, as I will be in Warm Springs, VA attending the Garth Newell music workshop. See how relaxed that cello looks in this picture? That's going to be me, baby!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Screw This: The Project Runway recap

I get the feeling that Project Runway is operating on a shoestring budget this year.

First, the contestants were designing for an exciting fashion icon who turned out to be. . . Heidi Klum!

Now they are meeting one of America's favorite designers. . .Michael Kors!

(Next week: They'll be designing for one of America's most dapper men. . .Tim Gunn!)

The funny thing is,  Michael Kors has literally nothing to do with this week's hardware challenge. It's not like he's known for using a lot of studs or grommets in his designs. If you ask me, he just wanted some face time for his (admittedly lovely) Soho boutique. (Hey, why should the Bluefly Accessory Wall get all the plugs?)

Kors informs the designers that they will have to "think outside the box" and "push the envelope" this week. I'm surprised he didn't add, "march to the beat of your own drummer"—just to complete the non-conformity cliche trifecta.

The challenge? Make a garment with materials from the Scheman & Grant  hardware store.
And let me tell you, "Thank you, Scheman & Grant" just doesn't roll off the tongue the way it does with Mood.

Back at the studio, it's like the H&G Network broke out, with everyone banging away with their tools.

Jesse is concerned about his look (and with good reason—duhn, dun, duuuuhn!) and says, "I hope somebody crashes and burns. . .not in a mean way, though." (Jesse, there's only one way to hope that someone crashes and burns—and it's the mean way. . . )

Yay! I've discovered that my favorite contestant, design-wise (Amy) and my favorite contestant, personality-wise (Jonathan) are BFFs! And who wouldn't want Jonathan as their No. 1 gay, when he so adorably cracks wise on the hardware challenge?

"Ladies and gentlemen, straight off the Periodic Table of Elements—it's copper!" Jonathan announces, holding up his dress.

Oh Jonathan . . .call me.

Mila has been working all week on her witty color blocking material. "Color blocks—take me away!" she sings, so glad to be included among the cool kids.

No one's material is working the way they'd hoped: Jesse's flowy part is actually his sticky part and Anthony's sticky part is sort of flowing and Jay's Hefty bag has shrinkage.

Tim comes in to survey the damage:
"I feel like I'm at the Arms and Armour Wing of the Met!" he chuckles. (Ah, if only Jesus were still around to appreciate Tim's joke.)

Turns out, Jesse's dress is so horrible that it looks like a school project. "And I don't mean high school or junior high school," says Tim, "I mean elementary school." What can Jesse do with such a sartorial sucker punch to the gut but laugh? Which is exactly what he does.

Emilio's Intergalactic flapper something-or-other is a hot mess. And to make matters worse, he doesn't have nearly enough washers or macrame material to finish the job.

"Maybe you'll have to make it a bathing suit," jokes Tim. (But is he kidding? Duhn, dun, duuuuhn!)

Not gonna lie: I need Maya's key necklace on my neck—and now. That thing is all kinds of awesome.
(Also not gonna lie: After 7 episodes, I still have to check the Lifetime site to remember which one is named Maya and which one is named Mila.)

Runway day and everyone is pretty much in a panic.

In fact, people are so busy trying to finish up that they pretty much just ignore Tim Gunn when he comes into the studio.
"How's everybody doing?" Tim says.
"I'm about to send in your models, okay?"
Right about now, Tim feels like Mila backstage after a second place finish.

Turns out, it was no joke: Emilio is walking a bathing suit down the runway. A bathing suit with washers in the bikini bottom—sounds like an embarrassing trip to the emergency room waiting to happen!

"No one would ever guess that my look came from a hardware store," says Emilio. Well, except for the part with the washers in the bikini bottom.

Some cool stuff struts down the runway: My girl Amy is back. Jonathan also does a good job. But I have to agree with the Top 3: Mila, Maya, and Jay. They definitely worked that hardware store like  Bob (Mackie) the Builder.

And the winner is. . .Jay! Who cried earlier this episode, so I knew he was either the winner or toast. I, personally, might cry if forced to wear those bright yellow parachute pants he seems so fond of. Designer, clad thyself!

Bottom 3: Jesse (whose dress looked like the Tin Man or a dirty vacuum bag, depending on who you ask), Emilio (for obvious reasons), and Anthony (who didn't embrace the spirit of the challenge and pretty much just made a pretty dress).

I actually find it stunning that Emilio didn't lose. I mean, it wasn't even a stripper outfit. It was like a shredded piece from the beaded curtain that separates the strip stage from the Champagne Room that had been sprayed with Silly Putty. But I did admire the way he pretended that making a skimpy bathing suit was his master plan all along.

Nope, handsome (but vaguely creepy) Jesse hoped that someone would crash and burn—but not in a mean way—and that someone was him. A lesson in karma for us all.