Friday, September 17, 2010

Funny Peculiar: The Project Runway recap

Have you ever been the only sober person in a room full of drunk people? That was sort of the way I felt watching last night’s Project Runway.
The designers were positively cracking each other up.
The very utterance of the word “tran” or “tranny” sent them all into giddy peals of laughter.
There were ongoing skits about puritans and wheat fields and S&M.
Valerie went so far as to proclaim Michael D to be a “barrel of laughs.”
It was designer’s open mic at Giggles: The Comedy Factory. And they were bombing.

Michael C. started the show with this waggish (and let’s face it, moronic) observation:
“Ivy uses two colors: cream and opaque.” A beat: “Well, opaque isn’t a color, but if it was, it’s name would be Ivy.”
Try the veal, ladies and gentlemen!

This week’s challenge is to design American contemporary sportswear inspired by none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Most of the designers seem pretty stoked and I’m fairly sure that only a couple of them had to do a Google search.

Ivy, however, admitted that she was a little lost.
“Fortunately, I do have a color palate in mind: Black and white or navy and white.”
(Yes, once you’ve established a risky color palette like that, the dress pretty much designs itself!)

There’s a lot of talk about what sportswear really is and who really knows how to design it.

You’ll never guess who thinks she has this sportswear concept on lockdown?
“I’m worried about Mondo’s look,” says Gretchen, the first of her many grave expressions of concern for the other designers. She’ s so caring.

For his part, Andy is making the most unfortunate pair of parachute/cargo/clown pants I’ve ever seen.
Yes, that Jackie O: Slave to trends. Also, down with the juggalos.
“I kinda hope he keeps going with it,” giggles Valerie, looking sideways at Andy’s pants. “Just keep going.”

April, who is pretty much the only actually funny one left, had this assessment of Andy’s pants: “It’s more Jackie Yo than Jackie O.”

Back at Giggles, Michael D. has this take on Mondo’s outfit:
“If you took Jackie Kennedy to the desert and gave her some mescaline to eat, you’d have Jackie Kennedy plus Mondo, does that make sense?”
(Maybe after a few cocktails.)

This is the comic interlude portion of the show, where there are many jokes about designing for the First Tranny, and Prairie Home Sex Shop, and smacking each other with wheat.
If there was a gong in the vicinity, I would’ve sounded it.

Back at the house, Michael C. is really encouraging of Andy and his crazy-ass clown pants.
“I think if Jackie Kennedy was alive today, she’d wear those pants. Because she’s a risk taker!”

I wrote in my notes: He’s totally full of shit, right? (Later, I’d have confirmation of my suspicion that Michael C is, to quote Brit-Brit, “not that innocent.”)

In the studio, Tim has an announcement to make: They will not do a runway today. Instead, they will have one more day to design an additional item: outerwear!

Valerie is understandably freaked out.

“If the garment we created is already a jacket, can we make something else?” she asked.

“No,” Tim said, not even hesitating. (I thought maybe he would at least consult with the Austrian judge.)

“But I feel like it will be bulky,” Valerie moaned.

“I don’t disagree with you,” Tim said. “I was surprised you made a jacket.”

Yes, if she were Nostradamus—it would’ve been a surprising move on her part.

At Mood, a stretchy camel fabric catches Michael C’s eye. He hovers over it, considering it.

“I’m actually going to use that fabric,” says Gretchen. And damned if she doesn’t swoop in and take it, like a buzzard.

(In fairness, the fabric was jutting out, so maybe Gretchen had pulled it, considered it, and walked away. The key phrase there, though, is walked away.)

“I could’ve been a bitch about it and take the fabric, but I rise above that kind of stuff,” says Michael C. (Or more accurately, I pretend to be the kind of guy who rises above that kind of stuff. A fine line.)

In the studio, Michael C makes two (or maybe 3) dresses and two (or maybe 3) jackets.

“He has no conviction or vision in these challenges,” Gretchen says, concerned.

Tim makes his visit.
He can’t believe that Michael D. has continued with his Tranny Home Prairie skirt, or whatever it was.
“I had it on my model and it looked good,” Michael D. insists.
“The skirt?” Tim asks, incredulous.
“Uh huh.”
“It did?” Still incredulous.

(When Tim can’t even wrap his mind around the concept of your skirt looking good on the model, it should set off some sort of warning bell, but Michael D. remains unmoved.)

Tim, who had surprisingly little in the way of criticism for Andy’s pant fiasco, is however worried about the crotch.

“Jackie Kennedy would not have camel toe!” Tim announced.

(And with that, Tim has officially just won the Search for a Rising Star comedy challenge. Thanks for playing, everyone.)

At home, Mondo is wearing the most extraordinary outfit—part Nazi Youth, part Joel Gray in Cabaret, part Little Lord Fauntleroy. (He claims to have been inspired by The Cotton Club, for what it’s worth.)

Allow me to describe: He has on a pair of tight black short shorts, a white wife-beater t-shirt festooned with a black pom-pom ivy motif, herring bone knee socks, dog tags, and suspenders.

Michael D asks him to do a little tap dance, and, shockingly, he obliges.


A few minutes to go before runway and Gretchen’s concern runneth over.
“Maybe 50 percent of the room I’m nervous for,” she says sadly.

The guest judge is January Jones, from Mad Men. She does dress really well on the show! Oh wait. That’s the wardrobe department. She is awfully pretty, though.

The looks come prancing down the runway and they are truly sad. I hate to agree with Gretchen, but she’s right. I can imagine half of these people going home.

Mostly they were done-in by outerwear.
Christopher’s otherwise chic dress has the kill-of-the-day slung haphazardly over her shoulders.
Michael C’s swank blue dress has on a jacket that looks like something you keep in the office for cold days.
Valerie was right: Her bulky vest over her jacket looks like a fat suit.

Michael C, Gretchen, and April are called forward. They are safe!
They mosey back to the green room. While April and Michael C. are just glad to be out of the woods, Gretchen is clearly pissed that she’s not in the Top 3.
Didn’t they notice the fact that she was the only designer who truly grasped the concept of sportswear!

Michael C is consoling her.
“I think Jackie set trends, so I can imagine her in your look,” he says.
Gretchen nods sagely. Finally, she and Michael C are seeing eye to eye.

Cut to confessional: “When I said it was an honor to be there with Gretchen, it was total bullshit. I don’t think Jackie would ever wear any of those pieces that she sent down the runway,” Michael C says. And the jig is officially up.

So if the designers were in a particularly giddy mood this week, the judges were in a particularly evil mood.

First, Heidi wouldn’t let Valerie get away with claiming that her jacket could double as a blouse.
Then she called Christopher’s throw a “dirty old rug.” (they otherwise liked his dress.)
Michael Kors called Michael D’s outfit “An old lady on top and a cheerleading skater on the bottom. It’s insulting.”

But they reserved the harshest criticism for Andy.
“I want to crack up,” says Heidi. “I feel like I’m on a different planet.”
“Really?” says Andy, still not quite getting it.
“It’s a trainwreck.”
“I wanted to take a risk,” says Andy.
“Oh, you took one,” says Michael Kors.

The judges did, however, like Mondo’s fab purple houndstooth skirt with striped shirt and Bolero jacket and Ivy’s chic white blouse with palazzo pants and sheer gray jacket. (Heidi wasn’t wowed by the jacket, which she deemed too busy. But all agreed it was a quantum leap forward for Ivy after last week’s hospital gown.)

“They’re in bad moods today, man,” says Valerie, when she gets backstage.
Andy is still in shock.
“They hated the boots, they hated the pants, they hated the top and they hated the vest,” he sighs.
(But besides that Mrs. Lincoln. . . .)

Decision time.
“Mondo you’re the clear winner of this challenge. Congratulations!” (Have they ever deemed someone a clear winner before? I think that was a first.)

Ivy safe. Christopher safe.

Andy. . .safe!?! (It’s clear that in the world of Project Runway, if you must fail, it is better to fail spectacularly. The judges will mistake it for creative genius.)

So it comes down to Valerie vs. Michael D.
I have to say, I would’ve been really bummed if Valerie had left. While I agree with Nina Garcia that darts and pleats do not a couturiere make, I like the girl. And think she has promise.

Whew! Valerie is safe. That means Michael D is out.

“One more little bubble of laughter is going away,” sighs Tim Gunn.

One can only hope.


Cliff O'Neill said...

You are clearly so much more inspired that these designers. And I shrieked at ...

Yes, that Jackie O: Slave to trends. Also, down with the juggalos.

Also ... What the hell is the deal with everyone's mad obsession with palazzo pants. This is not Top Palazzo Pants!

maxthegirl said...

Funny Cliff.

MoHub said...

Great recap. Just a few terminology things:

Palette, not Palate
"Jig is up," not "Gig is up"
Houndstooth, not Herringbone

Otherwise, great as always.

maxthegirl said...

Hey MoHub-
Maybe you can proof my blog BEFORE I post it. ;) Thanks!