Friday, August 19, 2011

Do You Have a Plan B? The Project Runway recap

Have you ever known somebody who was super intimidating? Just one of those fierce, formidable people who seemed to really know how to be an adult, while you were still fumbling through your own arrested adolescence?

And then did you ever meet that person's mom. . and everything just kind of snapped into perspective? Because no matter how fierce somebody may be, odds are they have mother who makes them feel awkward, unsuccessful, and inadequate—just like you!

Such it was with Nina Garcia and her boss, Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles. One gets the sense that Nina, quivering in her Fendi boots, has to submit to some sort of wardrobe inspection every day when she arrives to work.

“Does this meet your approval, Generalissima Coles?” she would ask tremulously.

And if the answer is no, it’s back home to change for Nina or she runs the risk of being fired for insufficient fierceness. Yikes.

But I’m ahead of myself, as usual. . .

The show starts with all my hopes and dreams about Fallene giving me a fetching haircut being shattered.

“I miss Fallene,” Julie says wistfully. “She gave me a wonderful haircut.”

Now, is it just me or is Julie’s hairstyle the style of not having any style? And hey, look, that’s a life choice, but I’d hardly be bragging about a haircut that looks like what happens to POWs when their hair hasn’t been cut in 387 days. (Of course this all makes sense. Fallene didn’t give herself that dang haircut. The person I really need to hire is the gal who works in the next chair over.)

Anyway, it’s off to the runway to get their assignment and Heidi comes out with a sneaky grin on her face.

“Today you’ll be designing for a client who knows a lot about fashion. . .”

And out walks Nina Garcia. A Project Runway first! (Which begs the question: WHY is this a Project Runway first? It seems like every other week the contestants are designing a look for Heidi Klum. . .I always had the sneaking suspicion that Nina thought she was a little too good to wear the clothing of these reality show wannabes. “Oh Heidi, all that design-y stuff always looks so good
on you,” she would demure, whenever Heidi asked her to be the client for the challenge. Hmmm. Maybe Joanna Coles made her do it.)

So Nina will need an outfit to transition from work to an “industry event.”

“I like classic with an edge,” she says. “Streamlined, clean, tailored. I do not like voluminous. I do not like a lot of pleats. I do not like loud patterns or colors. I do not like Green Eggs and Ham.” (Just making sure you were paying attention there.)

The designers are, understandably, freaked out—all the more so when Nina comes to check in on their preliminary sketches.

“I made you a slight cowl neck!” says Bryce.
“I hate cowl,” says Nina.

“I’ve designed a mini dress!” says Josh.
“Do you have a Plan B?” says Nina.

“I’ve made you this jacket!” says Cecilia.
“It feels a little dated,” says Nina.

(Poor Cecilia, upon hearing this news, feels an “awful pang in her stomach.” Imagine if she knew that she has the least Facebook likes of any of the Project Runway contestants—165 compared to Anya’s mighty 3,000—and zero votes for fan favorite. Then she’d REALLY have a pang in her stomach. )

Meanwhile, Kimberly wants to show the world she can do more than design a great pair of pants so she has cooked up a really nice sketch of a dress for Nina.
“I would love pants,” says Nina. “I really love your pants.”

(She also really loves Danielle’s blouses, forcing Danielle to consider scrapping her design. Nina is a one-woman tough crowd.)

To Mood they go, where Becky and Anthony get the same speckled (and ugly? amiright?) fabric.

Of course, Anthony thinks she copied him, but what does she have to gain in copying Anthony’s fabric choice?

Here’s what I think happened: Anthony found the fabric first, but didn’t properly push the fabric roll back far enough so it was kind of sticking out, practically begging Becky to notice it, which she did.
(There. Mystery solved. Where do I send my bill?)

The designers get cracking and then it’s time for round 2 of  the game show sweeping the nation: “How Much Will Nina Think I Suck?”

Here’s a typical exchange, when Danielle shows Nina her kelly green jacket:

Danielle: The stitching, I could do it in black.
Nina: No.
Danielle (holding up dark green contrasting belt): Would this ever be an option for you?
Nina: No.
Danielle: I was planning on doing a cuff at the bottom.
Nina: No.

(Watch out Anthony Robbins! Nina Garcia can give an inspiring pep talk like none other.)

Upon seeing Anya’s mustard yellow pattern for her jumpsuit, Nina trotted out the dreaded: “Do you have a Plan B?”

And no, Anya didn’t—but, unlike Cecilia who just moaned and groaned about her lousy fabric choice— Anya is flawless and fearless and is determined to dye that fabric into submission, which she does. (*Off to “like” her on Facebook.*)

A few more notable moments before runway day:

We got to meet Anthony’s adorbs fiancĂ©e Matthew via video chat. And they both have the most precious, slow Southern drawls. It’s like Forrest Gump if he were fabulous!

“I need to fix my model’s nipples,” says Cecilia. (That’s all. I just wanted to make sure that quote made it into my recap.)

I’m back on the Olivier crush train. . .a little. He’s better when he doesn’t talk much and just flops his hair around.

With two hours to go, Tim Gunn parades into the design room.
“Alright designers!” But the room is empty. Is it a surprise party? The apocalypse? Is Tim being Punk’d? No, they’re all in the sewing room—i.e., they’re way behind schedule.

“I’m really alarmed,” says Tim. “I’m sweating through my suit!” (Oh, Tim.)

Meanwhile, Laura is bemoaning the difficulty of sewing in high heels, because she is contractually obligated to have at least one “dumb blonde” moment per episode.

(In fairness, I like Laura now. All the more so when she helps Anya finish her jumpsuit—and no, Viktor, that’s not “cheating.” )

Guest judges are the aforementioned Simon Cowell in drag (aka Joanna Coles) plus the lovely Kerry Washington, who is number 2 on my list of actresses who should be bigger stars (number one is Rosario Dawson).

So there’s the awkwardness of Becky and Anthony using the same fabric, especially since they go back-to-back on the runway.
“I’m sure the judges are thinking, Didn’t we just see this fabric,” sighs Becky.
(Cut to Heidi, furrowing her brows, with a look on her face that unmistakably says: "Didn’t we just see this fabric?").

When Cecilia’s seriously drab dress comes down the runway, a kind of funereal hush descends upon the room. That’s rarely a good sign.

As for Bryce, he feels good about his dress but for one concern: “The noticeable imperfection is the hem.”
(Cut to Heidi, her eyebrows now raised, with a look on her face that unmistakably says: “That is one fucked up hem.”)

Soooo. . . Top 3 are Kimberly, Viktor, and Anya (!)
Bottom 3 are Cecilia, Julie, and Danielle.

Backstage, the contestants mull who has a shot.
“I have a sneaking suspicion Olivier really has a chance,” says Bert.
Senior moment alert! (Olivier is sitting right next to him.)

Then they all talk about how Kimberly is going to be in the bottom, because they are all dumb.

Back on stage:
Everyone loves Viktor’s not-so-simple little black dress.

“You can never go wrong with a beautiful black dress,” Heidi says. Preach.

Julie’s house coat is a bit of a disaster, though.
“She should have a pocket with Kleenex in it while she dusts,” says Michael Kors.
 “It’s unwearable,” says Joanna Coles. “If Nina came to the office wearing this, I’d think she was asking to be fired.”
(And with that, Nina’s sphincter tightened just a little bit.)

The less said about Cecilia’s dress the better.
“It’s just very sad,” Nina says.

However, they can’t get enough of Kimberly’s fitted gold top with flare-leg pants.
“It’s transformative,” says Joanna Coles, who is a true believer in the healing power of clothes. “You could come in and be doing your expense forms in that and you’d feel like you were living a million dollar lifestyle.  And if Nina doesn’t want to wear it, I will.” 
(Uh oh, Nina. Hide your wardrobe! Run for your life!)

Everyone is amazed by Anya’s jumpsuit—they all think it’s super fun and marvel over the shape and how expertly she dyed the fabric.
Heidi praises the tailoring and Viktor is giving Anya the stinkeye, as if she’s going to volunteer the fact that Laura helped her with the finishing touches. (Keep your eyes on your own damn garment, Viktor.)

Danielle’s unfortunate kelly green blouse leads to this little gem from Joanna: “Clothes are emotional. They make you feel something. And they make other people feel something about you. This makes me think your model’s depressed and that you’re a little depressed, too.”

(Considering the fact that there is nothing Americans like more than being scolded by snooty Brits,  it’s amazing that Lifetime hasn’t given this woman her own show.) (Just Googled, she did have a show once called Running in Heels but it got canceled. I bet she was especially mean to Nina that day.)

Not knowing their fate, the 6 designers trundle to the green room.
Everyone is amazed that Julie is in the bottom, which amazes me, because that House Coat—is it a dress? is it a coat? “it’s a drote,” declares Joanna (hey, that’s funny!)—ain’t got no alibi.

“We thought your dress could be in the top or the bottom,” says Becky. (Also, the winner could be a male or a female. And the loser could be Julie or somebody else.)

“I live in the bottom,” cracks Julie. “It’s like I live in a bad neighborhood because I’m always in the bottom.” Sigh.

They’re summoned back on stage and Kimberly wins! Kimberly wins!
Will she have the guts to design anything other than a pair of pants ever again?

And the loser is. . .Julie (much to Cecilia’s dismay, by the way. She has so emotionally checked out. We should seriously throw a few Facebook “likes” her way, just to buoy what’s left of her spirits.)

“Hey, we had fun,” Julie says. She’s actually kind of charming, which I’ve just noticed now. (Ain’t that how it always goes?)

Bonus footage! Nina looking ah-mazing in her office and perched knowingly from atop a NY taxicab in Kimberly’s outfit.

You better watch out, Joanna. A few more "transformative" outfits like this and Nina might be gunning for your job.


Cliff O'Neill said...

How odd was it that you can barely make out a teensy bit of the outfit in that taxicab ad?

Also ...

“I need to fix my model’s nipples." I want that on a t-shirt.

maxthegirl said...

“I need to fix my model’s nipples." I want that on a t-shirt.
Ha! Me too, brother.

Spencer said...

Personally, I have enough trouble with my own nipples before I go trying to fix anyone elses. #TheMoteInYourNeighborsNipples

MoHub said...

My teeshirt would simply have neeples emblazoned across my chest.

sgoodl said...

Please tell me you're working on a recap on this week's ep. Arty designer drama-club types racing on the New Balance track? I might, in fact, watch a reality show entirely based on this premise. But only if there were live betting for real money.