Oh Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen.
You win two challenges and suddenly you start to think the show is all about you, huh?
You start saying things like “I’m a force to be reckoned with” and “I think [Valerie's] definitely going to be on the top with me.”
Then you start helping the other designers, like you’re their patient, experienced teacher and they are your slow-witted, but adoring pupils.
And then you are surprised when your fellow designers respond like this?
“I hate that bitch.” -Michael D.
“She is annoying me.” – April
“Her attitude has changed.” – Peach
“If her dress gets chosen over mine, we have issues.” – Michael C.
(And just wait til you hear about her showdown with AJ!)
Anyway, this is the unconventional fabrics challenge. It takes place at a party supply store in Brooklyn called “Party Glitters.” (“Thank you for shawping at Pawty Glittahs,” say the two heavily blue-eye-shadowed girls behind the counter. Toto, we’re not in Mood anymore.)
(An aside: I love that the owners of Party Glitters couldn’t even be bothered to call the store “All that Glitters.” They were obviously like, “It’s shit for parties. That glitter. Stop breaking my balls!”)
Tim Gunn makes it clear that the judges want to see creative use of fabrics, so the contestants should try to avoid placemats and tablecloths.
Casanova, who is pretty much disgusted by the whole challenge, heads straight to the tablecloth and placemat section.
“I make dresses, not piñatas,” he grumbles later. (Having seen his finished product, I beg to differ. . .)
Gretchen bemoans the fact that her sophisticated fashion sense has no place in this land of “shiny crap.”
AJ is freaking out because apparently doing whimsical, kitschy dresses is totally his thing, so now there’s all this pressure on him. (Or maybe it’s the tie wrapped around his head?)
Back in the studio, Tim Gunn checks on everyone’s progress. He and AJ have an exchange that goes something like this:
“This is so your challenge,” says Tim.
“No it’s not,” AJ says quickly.
“Is too!” says Tim.
“Is not!” says AJ.
Michael C observes from his station: “Please. Everyone in the room knows that AJ loves a hot glue gun.”
And by hot glue gun he means. . . hot glue gun, keep your mind out of the gutter.
Speaking of minds out of the gutter, how cute was it when Tim Gunn visited Kristin’s station?
She was working with these little critters called “Wooly Balls” and Tim had a little giggle fit over them. I think at one point he dangled the stuffed Wooly Balls in the rough vicinity of his own family Gunns.
“They have faces!” he announced.
Still giddy from his run-in with Kristin’s balls, Tim visited Peach’s station and told her that she needed to remove the “lump of coal up her ass” and turn it into a diamond. I love immature Tim.
“The potential in this room is overwhelming,” Tim notes before he leaves. “I have chills. I really do.” Then he says that the models will be back tomorrow with a little surprise.
The room groans. Surprises on Project Runway rarely involve cake or streamers. (Turns out, this special surprise ends up being no big whoop: Make an accessory for your outfit with some extra party supplies.)
With the extra half hour, we finally get to see how the contestants eat. There’s some sort of buffet set up in the studio. I spy chafing dishes and fried strips of processed meat. Gretchen is eating with chopsticks. I can’t tell if it’s an Asian buffet, or if she’s just the kind of pretentious person who eats with chopsticks all the time. (Don't answer that.).
Next morning, Mondo is all decked out in his patented emo Pee Wee Herman garb. “Mustache or no mustache?” he asks Casanova. And damned if the dude doesn’t pull out some sort of press-on mustache. Eccentricity, thy name is Mondo. (Casanova was on Team Mustache, as if there was any doubt.)
As the girls leave their house, Sarah casually says to Gretchen: “Time to win!” (I like that girl. She’s going to be my new Project Runway besty.)
As everyone scrambles to finish their outfits, Andy, who is doing something quite elaborate with ribbon, is running out of time.
Peach and April run over to help him. This kind of teamwork always warms my heart. Gretchen, however, takes it as a personal affront: “Andy had a lot of help and it’s hard for me,” she whines.
The special guest judge is Betsey Johnson, pretty much perfect for this challenge.
Down the runway they come and I agree with Tim. There’s some stellar stuff. I loved Christopher’s dress (I would so wear that thing!) but it doesn’t quite change my opinion that he does boring but impeccable work.
Andy’s black ribbon dress is, in fact, a stunner. How the hell does that thing look like leather and silver?
AJ’s dress looks like something a 5-year-old would make at the fashion version of a “Build a Bear” store. Not entirely wrong, but not quite right, either.
Ivy’s paper plate dress made her model look fat. Just sayin’. . .
In the end, the top 3 are Valerie, Gretchen, and Andy.
The bottom 3 are AJ (ruh-ro!), Casanova, and witty Sarah, who did something truly regrettable involving palm trees.
Everyone loves Valerie’s Ascot Gavotte-inspired black and white dress, made of cocktail napkins.
Betsey Johnson is particularly pleased with the fact that if you spill something on yourself at the party, you always have a napkin handy.
Gretchen’s gold fringe skirt with faux leather jacket (made from crumpled paper bags) is another hit.
“The vibe is very cool,” says Nina.
The only misstep: Too-tall boots that don’t work proportionally with the skirt.
Finally, Andy’s ribbon dress is a sophisticated show-stopper.
“I can see you and Rihanna fighting over that,” says Michael Kors.
“Well I saw it first,” says Heidi.
As for the bottom:
AJ’s dress is characterized as a “hot mess” by Nina.
“Thank you,” says AJ. Perhaps this an attempt to be gracious in the face of criticism, but it makes him look like a schmuck.
“That was not a compliment,” says Heidi. Heh.
But Betsey almost likes it: “At least you had the party spirit going on. I just wish you had taken it a zillion times farther.”
Next up, poor Sarah and her “sad” palm tree dress. It did look like a poorly made costume from the junior class production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Just not good.
Finally, Casanova, with what, quite frankly, has to be one of the butt-ugliest dresses to ever grace the Project Runway stage.
“It’s a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral!” says Michael Kors. In this case, Kors’ patented mixed metaphors really do apply. “It’s a bodice combination platter,” he continues. “The taste level is totally missing.” Ya think?
So it’s time for the judges to deliberate. Everyone goes back to the greenroom. This is where all hell breaks loose.
Everyone wants to hear about Andy’s first trip to the top 3.
Andy opens his mouth, beginning to form the words.
“I think Andy’s piece was really lovely,” Gretchen jumps in, doing that thing she does.
“I want to hear from Andy,” someone says.
Gretchen looks ticked but let’s Andy talk. For a moment.
Then she starts chiming in with more of her patented "I'm an important designer because I've won two challenges" insight.
AJ tries to interrupt her.
“Can I talk?” Gretchen says.
“You talk all the time,” says AJ. “You talk ALL the time.”
“You’re just being sensitive because you’re in the bottom!” Gretchen snaps. Oh, it is ON.
Saved by the results.
Valerie is . . .safe. Bridesmaid boulevard, once again. It comes down to Andy and, yes, Gretchen.
Could Gretchen actually go for the three-pete?
And the winner is. . .Andy! (Whew. Dodged a massive ego-shaped bullet with that one.)
So who’s going home?
AJ is . . .safe.
It’s between Casanova and Sarah. And the loser is. . .Sarah.
I call slight bullshit on that, to be honest. There have been a grand total of 3 shows. In two of them, Casanova has put something totally unwearable on the runway. Look, the guy is one of the season’s “characters”—I get that. But he can’t design.
Not that Sarah was going places. But it figures that just when I decided she was going to be my season BFF, she’s auf’d.
Weird, Grey’s Anatomy style drama in the final seconds. Ivy passes out and is taken to the hospital. Everyone is freaking out. I assume it’s dehydration but . . . what gives? They’re doing a cliffhanger on Ivy’s health? Tacky, tacky, tacky Project Runway. These are actual people. At least I think they are. The jury is still out on Mondo.