Friday, September 30, 2011

Taste's Great! The Project Runway recap

On Top Chef the word is “palate.”

And on Project Runway it’s “taste.”

It’s the thing that separates the amateurs from the pros, the wannabes from the winners. But in both cases, it’s an elusive, and apparently intrinsic quality.

The way Nina Garcia questions a designers’ taste level, with a sneer on her face, it’s like she’s challenging their very reason for existing. She clearly sees good taste as an indication of superior breeding, perhaps even superior moral fiber. (In the halls of Marie Claire magazine, “Your mama has a questionable taste level” is the ultimate put down.)

And I’ll never forget the way Ilan sniffed imperiously to Marcel on Top Chef: “Check your palate.”

Okay, so maybe a palate is an objective thing—I guess there are certain ways to quantify one’s sensitivity to flavors.

But isn’t taste kinda, you know, personal? And, at the risk of being controversial, isn’t “good taste” a bit of a cliché? 

Classic, simple, clean lines, blah, blah, blah. The judges’ obsession with good taste may very well be the reason Gretchen beat Mondo, still the bone-headiest decision in the history of Project Runway.

(Also, if Nina and Michael Kors have such damned good taste, why do they always love the tacky crap that Bert farts out? But I digress.)

All this taste stuff particularly pertains to Laura this week.

Laura, with all her Upper East Side certainty, is absolutely convinced that she has good taste.

When she hears that Nina Garcia has—gasp!—questioned her taste level, she shrugs:  “I think my style is TOO refined.”

Normally, I’d agree. But, um, what was she thinking this week? Seriously. Her chevron-striped top with clashing maxi-skirt made me not just question  her taste level, but her sanity. Get a psychiatrist on the set! Stet!

The thing that was doubly weird about this was, Laura didn’t even seem to know that it was a controversial pairing of fabrics. If she had said, “I know. I’m taking a risk. I’m channeling my inner Mondo”—I would’ve understood. But she was all like, “Really? You think these fabrics clash? I don’t see it.” Girl, check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Anyway, who wants to hear my theory about why they did two 70s-themed shows in a row?

None of you? Tough noogies, it’s my blog.

Obviously, they plan the shows well in advance—you don’t just get a star as big as “socialite” Olivia Palermo at the last second, people!—but I suspect the plan looked a bit like this:

Episode 9: Contestants design for TBD band.
Episode 10: 70s theme.

Then they found out that the band was a bunch of smelly, dashiki lovin’ hippies and they were saddled with two 70s shows in row.

Luckily, the designers tanked in such epic fashion last week, this show was hastily dubbed as a chance for redemption, the great 70s do-over.

And while we’re on the subject of the 70s, you know what really gets my goat? When people claim to have no knowledge of things that happened before they were born. Yeah, I’m talkin to you, Josh.

All  his “waaa, waaa, I can’t design for the 70s because I was born in the 80s” shit was workin’ my last nerve. (And I’m glad Viktor called him out on it.)

Yeah, Josh, if only there had been some books or movies that took place in the 70s! And if only there was this miraculous glowing box that contained an ocean of pictures and video and information you could access!

Dude, I wasn’t alive during the French Revolution, but I still know who frickin’ Napoleon is.

(Ah, I feel better now.)

So the other big dramah of this episode was Anya losing her money. She had her $100 envelope stuffed into her halter top, the way my grandma used to have a Kleenex stuffed up her sleeve.

Probably a bad idea.

And when she lost the money at Mood—more face time for random, do-gooder Mood employees! and Swatch mysteriously nowhere to be found!—you had the sense that she figured Tim was going to let her buy the fabric anyway. Because when you’re Anya, and you’re gorgeous, and effortlessly stylish and actually sort of loveable, people must do shit for you, like, all the time.

But Tim was dispensing the tough love today: Anya could borrow money from her peers—if they had any to spare (unlikely, in light of the skimpy $100 budget). And she could use muslin back at the studio.

Laura generously gave her 9 cents and Anthony Ryan gave her 11 bucks.

$11.09 to make an outfit. Bad times.

(But ain’t that the way it always goes on Project Runway? The person saddled with the biggest handicap always seems to excel, don’t they? That whole “necessity is the mother of invention” thing is a thing)

I suppose I should mention that Tim drops by later and tells everyone they have to create a second, one-piece look for $50, for those who are actually turning to today’s recap for “recapping purposes.” (What’s up with that?)

A few other thoughts before we head to the runway:

•Of course, Viktor wore a little custom-made safari outfit as a child. If his mother hadn’t arranged for round-the-clock Mossad bodyguards, I bet he would’ve gotten beaten up a lot.

•Along those lines, Viktor is wearing his “I’m the frontrunner” and “I’m super competitive” badge rather proudly these days, isn’t he?

•I love that Kimberly’s mother was a “secretary” in the 70s. And that she wore snazzy, secretary pantsuits.

•Can we put a moratorium on Bert making dirty jokes in the studio? Okaythanksbye.

Runway time! As mentioned earlier, today’s very special guest judge is “socialite Olivia Palermo” who is now some sort of Piperlime guest editor. (Please.)

You know how when you were a kid and you made a funny face and your mom told you that if you didn’t watch out it was going to stick that way?

My theory is that, at the age of 3, Olivia Palermo smelled something nasty—spoiled milk, or perhaps she walked past the Yankee Candle store at the mall—and the face just stuck.

This is who she reminds me of:

She’s a delight, I tell you. A pure delight!

So okay. . .here’s how it all went down.

The top 3 were: Anya, Viktor, and, uh, Bert.
The bottom 3 were: Joshua, Laura, and Anthony.

Joshua got the best (and by “best,” I mean  “worst”) critique.
Michael Kors said that his plaid pants “violated every fashion law of nature.”

Then his work was accused of being more 1870s than 1970s.
(“They didn’t specify,” Josh quipped, much to his credit.)

Then “guest editor” Olivia Palermo said that a chiffon tie might’ve “enrichened” his second look. (Oh editor, edit thyself. )

Nina flat-out called his look tragic.

But they were hard on Anthony Ryan, too. I loved when Heidi called Anthony Ryan’s looks “two boring girls in schmatas.” It’s always a happy day when Yiddish and German overlap and Heidi sounds like my Great Aunt Ethel.
And Michael Kors called them “hippie sister wives.” Lolz.

And yes, they brandished the dread “t”-word when discussing Laura’s bizarre misstep. But she was safe.

On the pro side, Bert named every middling 70s actress he could think of, just to show off to Josh.

“I call my look Shelly Hack meets Ali McGraw meets the chick who played Gabe Kotter’s wife on Welcome Back Kotter” he said.

For some reason, the judges were mesmerized.

They also liked Viktor. . .as did I. But I gotta say, Viktor is becoming a little excellent in a boring way to me lately. Maybe it’s because I’m just not that fond of him personally. But everything he does is impeccable, perfectly tailored, and a tad.  . .dull. (But oh, that taste level!)

And Anya, well, she wins! Yay! Her outfit felt spirited, and like a vacation, say the judges. It’s so nice, for a change, when good things happen to gorgeous, talented, charmed-in-life people. (Okay, not really hatin’. I’m girl-crushing on Anya as much as the next recapper.)

Bonus prize! Bert’s simple dress—not the Shelly Hack disco motion sickness one—is also going to be sold on Piperlime. So good for gramps.

It comes down to Joshua vs. Anthony Ryan and Anthony is . . .out!

He’d been fading in recent weeks, I must say. And much as I liked him I wasn’t too upset to see him go.

I can’t say the same for Heidi, who practically cried, and Tim Gunn, who openly wept.

Geez, people, get a hold of yourselves!

He’ll be just fine. He may not have won Project Runway, but at least he still has both of his balls! (Still too soon?)

Friday, September 23, 2011

That 70s Show: My Project Runway recap

Is it wrong that I ship* guest judge Adam Lambert and Joshua?

Cause I was definitely noticing a little somethin’-somethin’ between them. Or is that simply too much fabulousness for the universe to take in one relationship? The fumes from the haircare products alone could power a small Third World nation.

But I digress. . .

So remember Not!Allman guy from last week’s challenge? He’s baaaack. Well, not him literally. But his shaggy, unwashed, Southern-rock-lovin’ brethren—a soon to be very, very famous band called Sheep Dogs. (I swear, it looked like the casting call for Almost Famous 2 broke out.)

Of course, it was an absolute design trap to NOT makes these guys look “like an 8th grade production of Hair,” as Adam Lambert so aptly put it. Suffice it to say, the designers failed.  In spectacular fashion.

But before the "designing" started, we are treated to the first of three—yes three—performances by Sheep Dogs. (Free promotion much? I won't be surprised if next week, they ARE the Piper Lime accessory wall.)

So Sheep Dogs plug in their amps and Olivier is already covering his ears and writhing in agony. Remember kids, loud noises are among the many things that make Olivier very sad.

Once Sheep Dogs are finished “rockin’ the house,” the designers form two teams (not really) and each get to choose the bandmember they’d most like to design an outfit for.

Now, let’s face it, all these guys look like “before” photos, but only Anthony and Josh have the wherewithal to see that, underneath that Jesus hair and unkempt beard, Ryan is actually the cute one. They both pick him.

Laura gets fixated on Leot’s request for red jeans, so she picks him.

Viktor also picks Leot because, well, they could be long lost twin brothers, right? Shave Leot, give him a fancy little hair cut and bowtie, shrink him down a few inches, and it could be one of those Parent Trap deals—Viktor was raised by mom among the cocktail parties and shopping sprees of the Upper East Side; Leot was raised on the commune among the goats and drum circles by the pot-smoking dad. Through the magic of reality TV, they are united. . .

Kimberly and Anya both get some guy named Dashiki Dan. (Actually Sam.)

And Olivier and Bert both get the Nordic Guitar god Thor—aka Heidi, Girl of the Alps at a drag show, aka the lead singer Ewan.

To Mood they go, where the employees are all of a sudden getting facetime. Do you think they all threatened a walk out if Swatch got one more God damned closeup instead of them? (Can you imagine if you worked at Mood, featured weekly in a major television show, and all your friends were like, “Yeah, uh, can you hook me up with Swatch’s pawtograph?”)

There was a potentially dramatic moment where Bert gave Laura an extra $150 from his budget, which would’ve been intriguing in a Gift of the Magi kind of way, if he suddenly needed $150 worth of fabric to finish his design, but it didn’t work out that way, so whatevs. (They have an hour and a half show to kill, people. There’s going to be some filler.)

Also, Tim is trying out some sort of new Mood catch phrase and I didn’t like it one bit.
“Can’t do a thing without Mood!” he trills on the way out.
Just hold your horses there, Tim Gunn. The line is: “Thank you, Mood.” Thank. You. Mood. Stick to the script!

So the studio is awash with fringe and paisley and tie-dye and . . . taupe and ivory colored neutrals (you’ll never guess whose work station those are on!)

Kimberly was planning on making the world’s first plaid dashiki until Anya set her straight and gave her some putrid pumpkin-colored hippie fabric. Then Anya worried that maybe she had just given Kimberly the winning fabric. Spoiler alert: No.

Also, Joshua is trying on his pants and we get a closeup of his hairy butt in a pair of tightie-blackies.  (Do you think he uses up all the wax on his eyebrows? Because for a man as fabulously well-groomed as Josh is, I’d expect his legs and butt to be a little less, well, hirsute.) (Or is that a thing? Like a skinny bear? A puma, perhaps? Where my gays at?)

For the second time in two weeks, Olivier is forced to deal with the scourge of body fat. He just can’t quite understand why everyone can’t be smooth and fat-free and genderless like him!

“I’m not used to designing clothes for plus-size,” he moans. (I love the lack of article in front of the word "plus-size.") He’s really such a delicate, exotic little bird, isn’t he?

Not much happens, except I just realized that Tim Gunn does not like Olivier AT ALL. All of Olivier's constantly running late, and his whining, and his suck-the-energy-out-the-room ennui is working Tim’s last nerve. I just love when Tim clearly hates a contestant.

Also, Bert? The so-called big expert on the 70s (cause he was alive in the 70s! which was a loooong time ago! when most of these contestants weren’t even born, but Bert was, like, just back from ’Nam or somethin) thinks that a dashiki is called a “shadiki.” His exact quote: “Seeing how these guys are from Canada, I’m not really seeing them in those shadikis, or whatever they are.”
Honey Badger, don’t ever change.

So Sheep Dogs are too cool to walk the runway (is that even possible?) so instead, they will be performing 2 songs in their new outfits, before taking up permanent residence next week on the Piper Lime accessory wall.

But before that, what was up with the headband that Anthony Ryan sported to the judging? I guess he thought it was “rocker.” But he actually looked like Rhoda Morgenstern.  (If Bert was here, he’d be cracking up at my on-point ’70s humor.)

The songs begin and what can I say except: My eyes! My eyes! (And my ears! my ears! Just kidding. Sheep Dog are a perfectly adequate substitute if you can’t afford the Kings of Leon for your child’s obscenely overpriced 70s-themed Sweet 16 party.)

Each outfit was really more ridiculous than the next—I'm frankly amazed that they all resisted accessorizing with a tambourine—although I suppose Viktor's getup for his taller twin Leot was slightly less embarrassing. That jacket had a kind of Game of Thrones meets Easy Rider vibe that I sorta dug. 

At least Anya knew that her dashiki was a dadon’ti.
“I want to run from the room it’s so bad,” she says.

Since all the comments blended together, I’ll just give a few highlights of what the judges said about the clothing: Pocahontas, reggae jesus, suede lobster bib, 8th grade production of Hair, Golden Girl goes rock and roll moment, Peter Brady at an Autumn harvest, Forest Elf, Tinkerbell’s boyfriend.

I’ll just add: Ditto.

Among the many adorable things about Adam Lambert (besides his dreamy blue eyes) is how he giggled at all of Michael Kors’ and Nina’s and Heidi’s jokes. He can stay.

And thank goodness I was able to focus on the burgeoning romance between Adam and Joshua instead of the godawful clothing. There was some serious eye-sexing going on between them. For this much-needed distraction, boys, I give thanks.

So. . .
Viktor wins! He’s totally in the lead right now, isn’t he guys? He’s definitely been consistently excellent. (However, if next week he designs a pair of red bell bottoms and a Canadian dashiki, we’ll know my Parent Trap theory was right.)

And it comes down to Kimberly vs. Olivier to go home.
I must say, I would’ve been crushed if Kimberly was sent packing. It just didn’t feel like her time.
Aaaaand. . .it wasn’t. Olivier is out.

Backstage, the remaining contestants smother Olivier in hugs, which upsets him. Because human contact is gross and hugs are even grosser, and they make him sad.

“Get out!” Tim basically yells.  (Okay, it’s not quite that abrupt, but it’s seriously the least warm, least gracious Tim Gunn send-off ever. Tim is so OVER Olivier.)

So Olivier is gone. But not to worry. If he doesn’t make it as a designer of haute-drab things, he’ll always turn the world on with his smile. (Bert to me: “Up high!”)

*Fangirl speak for wanting to see a couple in a relationship. (You're welcome, mom.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Breast Intentions: The Project Runway recap

The bulbous creature emerged from the deep, approaching slowly and ominously. Would it suffocate him? Swallow him whole? Suck out his very soul? As it oozed closer, inch by inch, it was clear that this amorphous blob-like creature was, in fact, a woman’s breast. “Make it work!” the breast screamed.

And then Olivier woke up.

So there was a bit of a fakeout this week on Project Runway. First, the designers thought they were going to have to make menswear. Worse still, menswear for regular guys, with guts and beards and funny hair.  (Actually, that was all embodied by one guy.)

But, turns out, they weren’t designing for the dudes at all, but their significant others—all women, by the way (it was like a Breeders Convention broke out in the studio this week). (Although I do question the orientation of the “too fashionable to actually have sex” couple that Viktor was teamed with. I think they just read Dwell magazine to each other on their iPads and call it a night.)

This was actually an intriguing challenge on several fronts: Would the guys have even a clue as to what their better halves wanted? Would the designers be encouraged to do a bunch of “naughty candy striper” outfits? And how do you solve a problem like. . .breasts?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, for this week’s episode, the contestants were forced to confront something that no self-respecting designer of women’s apparel should ever have to deal with: I am referring, of course, to the female breast.

“I don’t like women having boobs,” Olivier admitted. “I just want them to be flat. I think it distracts from the whole design.”

And his client, Suzanne, didn’t just have any old boobs. She had some sort of foreign, mysterious, possibly fatal condition known as “Double Ds.”

So Olivier turned to the foremost authority on women’s breasts: Tim Gunn.

“What do I know about it?” Tim said, practically recoiling at the very thought. “I just know it’s a bra size. I don’t have any personal experience, Olivier.”

“Those boobs to me are trouble,” Olivier sighed.

(When I do my Olivier-based comic book, Boob Man, in which he sports a taupe-colored cape and saves the world from mammaries, that can be his catch phrase.)

Not to be outdone, Bert’s guy, Anthony, is also a breast man. I mean, to the point where he might need some sort of clinical intervention.
“What initially drew you to your wife?” Bert asked.
“Her breasts,” Anthony replied.
“And what do you love about your wife?”
“Her breasts.”
“And what do you and your wife talk about over dinner?”
“Her breasts.”
“And what color was George Washington’s white horse?”
“Her breasts.”
 (Come to think of it, this might be Boob Man’s first case!)

But while Bert kinda rolled with the punches (he actually thought Anthony was a hooter.  . I mean a hoot), Olivier was positively flummoxed, not just by Suzanne’s breasts, but by her general demeanor: brassy, bold, pushy, your basic New Yawk nightmare. And hubby Jeff wasn’t exactly shy either. They were convinced that Olivier’s pants were giving her an atomic wedgie and they were not. letting. it. go.

Then again, Olivier is easily rattled. In fact, these are the things that upset Olivier, not necessarily in this order:

1. Color
2. Loud noises
3. Laughter
4. Human interaction
5. Running
6. Breasts

So poor Olivier was practically cowering in the corner. Several times he was forced to hide behind his changing screen just to collect himself.
“They confuse me,” he moaned. “I just want some quietness.”

While it’s true that this week’s episode was mostly about boobs, it wasn’t only about boobs. There were other issues that emerged. Like thighs. (Heh.)

For example, you’ll never guess (no, seriously, never ever) who said this:
“Sometimes simplicity is beautiful and high fashion.”
Okay, I don’t have several millennia to wait, so time’s up: It was Josh. (I know, right?)
Turns out, his client wanted something simple and elegant and our little Browed Bedazzler was up to the task. I really didn’t think he had it in him.

Then there was poor Bryce (actually, when one mentions Bryce, “poor” is already implied) who was freaking out because his client liked pink. Bryce was convinced that, while his dress was all kinds of awesome, the whole pink thing was going to be the death of him.
(Cut to Heidi on the runway during judging: “The only thing I liked about your dress was the color.” Naturally.)

Anthony had a cute relationship with his clients, the missing Allman brother (and the gutted, bearded, funnily-haired guy mentioned above) and his hipster-bumpkin girlfriend. But maybe he had too good a relationship with them? They pretty much designed the dress for him—to replace a dress that Not!Allman had lost at the airport—and, suffice it to say, they don’t design real good.

As for Viktor, he could not have been more simpatico with his effete, fashion-forward clients—ironic eyewear for everyone!—to the point that she was practically wearing the exact same skirt he was designing for her. (And who else was surprised to discover that she was a lawyer? I was sure she was some sort of Swedish electro-pop sensation, a la Robyn.)

Runway time. Guest judge is Malin Ackerman, who may not be particularly—what’s the word I’m looking for?—“famous,” but was in one of my favorite shows of all time ( The Comeback) so will always have a special place in my heart.

Down the runway they come!
I love the way these women worked the runway. They were so damn cute. (Although Viktor’s girl was doing some sort of robotic catwalk thing that confused me. That kind of stuff may play well in the courtroom—or on Eurovision—but it doesn’t play well on Project Runway, young lady.)

As for the dresses. . .I hate to agree with the judges so much, but their Top 3—Joshua, Viktor, and Anya—were also my Top 3.  And their bottom 3—Bert, poorBryce, and Anthony. . . yeah, hard to argue there, too.

Everyone loved Anya’s dress. She apparently achieved the chupacabra of fashion design: The so-called gallerina dress (i.e., a dress perfectly suited for a gallery opening.) But there was some debate over the one billowy sleeve, especially since the client had such toned arms.

“Maybe she only likes one of her arms,” Michael Kors offered.

Viktor’s little getup was also deemed near perfection, but perhaps overly accessorized. I dunno. I loved the little clutch he made, plus the necklace. And are sunglasses really an accessory? I mean, technically yes, I suppose. But not in the “remove one accessory before you leave the house” sort of way, right? (Have you ever known a woman to say: “I can’t wear the necklace, the earrings and the sunglasses. It’s all too much!!” Me neither.)

Josh’s dress is deemed a modern Grace Kelly.
“I’m shocked you didn’t bedazzle her,” Heidi said.
“I wanted to, so, so bad,” Josh said.
We know, Josh. We know. . . strength!

As for the bottom 3. . .

Bert’s dress was, “a little tight, a little short, a little shiny,” according to Nina Garcia.

Bryce’s dress has these massive, utility pockets. Because nothing says flirty and fun like a hammer in your pocket.

Anthony created either a grandma dress or a cheerleader dress or a super hero ice skater dress, depending on who you ask. But no matter how you describe it, it was not very good.

And the winner is. . .Josh! I’m sure this will inspire him to really tone down his act and be tasteful and elegant from this day forward. . .and I also have some really good swamp land to sell you in Florida.
(Also, how bout that full-on handspring he did behind the screen? He’s so unexpectedly . . . sporty.)

And the loser is . . . poorBryce, finally put out of his misery.

Tim Gunn: “What are we going to do without you, Bryce?”

Home viewing audience: "Wait. . .remind us again who Bryce is?"

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Village Idiots: The Project Runway recap

Can we just all acknowledge the fact that Josh owns this season?

Sometimes it’s obvious who the breakout star of a given season will be. Santino pretty much jumped off our TV screens and barfed all over us to announce his arrival. Last season, there was the fabulous yin yang of good (Mondo) versus evil (Gretchen). And how could Season 4 ever have belonged to anyone but puckish design savant Christian Soriano?

But this season? At first I thought it was going to belong to the other Josh—the formin’ Mormon—coming from Utah, coming into the big city, and coming out of the. . .well, you get the point. But he ruined everything with the sucking.

Then I thought it might be Honey Badger—and it still is, to an extent. He’s got a strong supporting role in the great Walter Matthau, “walk a mile in my shoes you little piss-ants” tradition.

But it’s really all about Josh, right? With the dead the mother that gives him just a skosh of humanity? With the crazy futuristic eyebrows? With the design aesthetic that is like Pucci and Missoni mated in a blender with Jackie Beat? With the serious, big time, air-sucking anger management problem? With the straightlaced Midwestern Dad who, improbably enough, calls him “son”? (Exact quote: “I love you, son.”)

I give, Josh. You win. Season 9 is yours.

Which is how I knew that, at the end of the show, when Basic Becky was standing next to Josh, there wasn’t a chance in hell that Josh was going anywhere. Bye-bye, Becky. You are the latest in a long line of designers who felt that they were misunderstood, sabotaged, and/or thrown wildly off course by the unfairness of the show. In fact, you were just mediocre.

Moving right along. . .
So the show has decided to make every other challenge a group challenge, because while the group challenges may not be particularly “fair” or an accurate indication of “how well someone designs”—they do kick up a lot of entertaining shit. So hooray, show.

There will be two groups of 5, with no leaders.

Team Chaos is Anthony, Viktor, Olivier, Anya, and Bryce. (I have a warm, soothing feeling just thinking about Team Chaos.)

Team Nuts & Bolts is Josh, Laura, Kimberly, Becky, and Bert. (Run for your lives!!!!!)

Back at the studio, Tim explains that this is the HP/Intel pattern design challenge.
“Design your own fabrics and a full-fledged fashion show,” he says.

“What does that mean, Tim?” asks Viktor and it’s incredibly obvious he’s been instructed to ask that. (It’s truly the worst acting job I’ve seen since I was forced to watch an HR video on the scourge of sexual harassment in the workplace. “Nice pecs, Ed” was one particularly memorable line.*)

Well, little Viktor, it means you’ll be using a video camera—any ol’ brand of camera will do (heh)—to create a backdrop for a fashion show. And at least 3 looks need to come from the textile designs.

As a surprise, Betsy Johnson comes galloping in—if she were a contestant on Project Runway, she would be the breakout star of her season—and gives the designers some very good advice (that Team Nuts & Bolts promptly ignores) about knowing who your target audience is and using music to convey the message.

So the teams huddle to come up with their concepts and it takes me a while to recover from the fact that Olivier is wearing serial killer glasses.

Over at Team Nuts & Bolts, Josh has come up with the single greatest idea in the history of mankind: An all-girl Village People fashion show!
How this idea is shot down and not embraced like the sparkling beacon of awesomeness that it is, I have no idea. But I fully expect to see Gucci launch a similar concept at next year’s Fashion Week. (And no, Laura, there was no fireman in The Village People. Geez. Kids today.)

Instead, they decide to go with clocks. Yeah, clocks. (Laura, I’m just as puzzled as you are.)

They start designing and Becky is doing the inner hardware of a clock and others are doing time-related words and Bert, of course, is designing old-fashioned pocket watches, like the kind he used to keep in the pocket of his knickers (in the other pocket: an abacus!), while taking the horse and buggy to the school barn.

Then everyone prints their design, but Bert’s design doesn’t print, which reminds me I need to replace the sucky HP printer I have at home (product placement FAIL) so Team Nuts & Bolts is picking fabrics without Bert’s to choose from.

And Bert says, and I quote: “So much for my frickin’ clocks.”
Not tickin’ clocks (which would’ve been funny.)
Not fuckin’ clocks (which would’ve been bleeped out by the FCC.)
But frickin’.
And Josh acts like he just used every single one of George Carlin’s 7 dirty words.

“People who have dirty mouths, they’re not intelligent,” he sniffs. Then he gives Bert grief for walking away and “saying things under his breath.”

So Bert tries to explain. But his protests fall on deaf eyebrows.

“I’m asking you if this is the way it’s going to be for the next 2 days because I. Will. Not. Have. It. Bert!” Josh proclaims.  (This was the moment when I knew that Josh had won over the season—and my heart.)

Anyway, turns out Laura is like The Josh Whisperer, and manages to calm him the fuck down. (Or, as Bert might say, calm him the frick down.)

They head out to the street to film the backdrop for their video which has something to do with Laura being a schizophrenic lady who changes her shoes every 5 minutes as she gets in and out of cabs.

Also, the shot of Josh’s hairy legs in those bright yellow pumps? Can’t unsee.

Team Chaos, whose theme is ink blots by the way, does these somewhat predictable images of Time Square, but they are saved by the ingenuity of Anya, who suggests creating a kaleidoscope effect with the shots.

Back at the studio, Josh and Bert hug it out and try to make peace.

Then Tim shows up and sees right through their charade.

“I don’t see a potential wow moment here,” he says of Team Nuts & Bolt’s collection. (Drink!) “You need more cohesion among the 5 of you.”

And then something rather extraordinary happens—in fact, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I may not have believed it actually occurred.

Tim has Team Nuts & Bolts form a circle and hold hands. Yes, like the kind of thing they do on New Age retreats with drum circles and bonfires and group chanting . Or, if you prefer Anthony’s interpretation, he’s making the poor bastards pray together.

My new answer to “How Bad Was It?”
“It was Tim Gunn Prayer Circle Bad.”

Meanwhile, and needless to say, Team Chaos is positively thriving. Tim Gunn loves everything they’re doing and wants to marry their entire collection. (Except for Bryce’s, but he doesn’t count.)

They have but one snag, a sort of leitmotif running through their otherwise perfectly awesome day: Olivier refuses to make a pair of pants to go with his (expertly tailored) jacket.

One particularly humorous exchange on this subject goes like this:

Anthony: Olivier, where do you stand on the pant?
Olivier: Huh?
Anthony: The pant?
Olivier: Wha? What? The what?
Anthony (sighing): How are you coming on the pant?

Update: Olivier does eventually make a pair of pants, not that it matters because his jacket is smothered in awesome sauce and absolutely blows the judges away.

The guest judges are:
Rachel Roy (If she says “yum-o” one damn time, I will scream.) (Wait . . . I have just been informed that Rachel Roy and Rachael Ray are two different people.) (I’m pretty sure I made this same joke in a recap about five years ago. Please do not Google to confirm.)
Rose Byrne, who is a helluva actress (really!) but a tad useless as a Project Runway judge.

So Team Nuts & Bolts come down the runway and there is some good and some bad. It’s not a total disaster, although I remain puzzled by the length of Bert’s dress. (And hair.)

But then Team Chaos does its thing and it’s so much better, guys. I mean, it’s actually great. Every single piece (well, except for Bryce’s, but he doesn’t count) is extraordinary. And I kinda feel bad for Team Nuts & Bolts. They actually did get their shit together, but they just got outclassed.

Sooooo. . .
Team Chaos gets their tongue-bath from the judges and then it’s time for Team Nuts & Bolts to skulk back on stage and take their medicine.

Michael Kors makes a bunch of jokes at their expense: “Time’s a tickin’ when you’re wearing that dress!” and “Not a lot of women want to have the word cancelled on their crotch!” and “Your video looks like a hooker convention coming home after a long night!”—and then Heidi asks the team members to choose the weakest link.

Becky picks Josh. “He started us off badly. It almost collapsed us in a way.”

Bert also picks Josh, so apparently that hug/prayer circle/bromance didn’t stick.

Laura says Bert, because she prefers to surround herself with shiny,  new things.

Josh says Becky.

And then Kimberly says Becky, too. “She’s the least styled,” Kimberly says. “She’s more of a”—and here she looks at Becky, as though expecting some help (“glorified seamstress?” she hopes Becky will offer, or “really just kind of a space filler?”—but Becky refuses to play her game). “She has more of a simple kind of style,” Kimberly finishes on her own.

Little chat time.
Michael Kors calls Josh a “Little Dictator” which makes me giggle.
They love Olivier’s jacket, Viktor’s dress (me too!), and Anya’s overall fabulousness (me three!).
They hate Basic Becky and Josh’s bad taste and bad attitude.

And the winner is: Anya!
And, as stated in paragraph one (sorry spoilerphobes): Becky Ross’ time has . . . run out.

*Apparently, this would be an inappropriate thing to say in the workplace. Please make a note of it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Kid, You Not: The Project Runway 9 recap

From the runway, Heidi reports that this week’s challenge will send the designers back to the classroom. Then she makes meaningful eye contact with Bert and cracks: “For some of you, it’s been a while since you’ve been in the classroom.” Get it? Because he’s over 50! Joking about Bert’s age never gets old! (But Bert does! He gets older and closer to death every day!) Bert just smiles at her through grit teeth, as though to say: “Good one, Frau Chuckles.”

Off they go to the Harlem School of the Arts, where they will be collaborating on an avant-garde runway look with a bunch of super talented kids.

It immediately becomes apparent that the teen (and tween) artists are far more mature and competent than their adult collaborators.

Laura, for example, realizes that her art kid is the first well-adjusted human she’s encountered in weeks so she decides to use the little 11-year-old for an impromptu therapy session.

“We had a group challenge last week,” Laura moans. “It was very challenging for me. It was the first time I got any negative feedback.”

“Failure is opportunity in disguise,” mini guru says.  (I wonder if her mother rents her out for therapy sessions. If so, call me, tiny life coach.)

Of course, Viktor seems to have adopted a jaded “I don’t like children” pose because not liking children is cool in 2011, right? (Or wait. . .did he get that wrong? Did not liking children go out of style last year? Oh God, it’s so hard to be keep up with the fashionably disaffected these days!)

(In fairness, and in true Lifetime movie of the week style, his art kid Skyy is so plucky and sassy and scrappy and other words that end in "y” that Viktor eventually succumbs to her charm.)

As for Olivier, his art kid feels compelled to try to perk him up.

Art Kid (hopefully): Do you usually listen to music when you work?
Olivier: Yeah.
Art Kid: What kind?
Olivier: I like weally depwessing music.
Art Kid: :Facepalm:

Josh C’s kid has made a really awesome wolf painting and I feel that Josh could've saved himself a lot of agita (and all of us from having to lay eyes on his butt-ugly Elvira dress) if he had just gone to Amazon and bought this, the greatest garment in the history of mankind:

And did anyone else notice that Bryce’s kid’s portrait—that I have entitled “Sad Woman in Repose”—looked just like Cecilia? Just sayin’

“Thank you, Harlem School for the Arts!” Tim Gunn sings. (Somewhere, Mood is jealous.)

Nothing particularly exciting happens at Mood, but if anyone can send me a gif of Tim Gunn chasing his canine counterpart Swatch, I will be eternally grateful.

Back at the studio, Josh M is fretting because his kid drew a tree, which is something you find outside and therefore is almost as horrifying as sanitary things you find in the girl's room. But then he comes up with a clever concept of making a tree-like skirt and carving JM ♥ KC on it. You see,  those are his mother’s initials and she died of ovarian cancer a few years back. (Damn you, show, for humanizing Josh!) And are you ready for this? Kenneth Cole is the guest judge this week. Initials: KC.
Way to watch out for your son from above with the canny use of subliminal messages, mom!

Meanwhile, Laura is burning organza so the edges don’t fray.
“Kinda smells like when I used to burn my Barbies,” she says, which is odd, because Laura doesn’t strike me as the Barbie-burning type, right? (She’s more of the type to have a bunch of limited edition Barbies in a gilded display case in her lip-gloss-and-glitter-infused room).

And then, apparently in whatever incubated Upper East Side paradise she grew up in, they didn’t know from Eagle Scouts, because when Josh C gamely says, “Fortunately, I’m an Eagle Scout” she replies, “A Needle Scout?” And she’s not kidding. I repeat: Not. Kidding.

So Tim Gunn swings by and basically his message to the designers comes in one of two forms:
1. You are going too far.
2. You are not going far enough.

Then he does  a cute thing: While assessing Kimberly’s feathered creation he says, “You don’t want Michael Kors to say that this is a Hiawatha moment: Take me to Geronimo.”
So while the rest of the world does Tim Gunn, Tim Gunn does Michael Kors.

“Work like there’s no tomorrow, because for one of you, there won’t be,” he says ominously.
And Bert’s all like, “Enough already!”­—but then, chagrined, realizes this is not a “you will die soon” crack, but is in fact directed at all the designers.

There’s some business with Olivier actually gluing his dress to his model’s boobs. “Is that okay?” he asks. “I guess?” she says, which is the wrong answer. The correct answer when someone asks you if they can glue fabric to your breasts is: “Are you fucking shitting me?” Please write that down.

Commercial break and one of those nightmarish Febreze commercial comes on. Do you all know the ones I’m talking about? Where they abduct people off the street and blindfold them and put them in a room that looks like something out of one those torture porn Saw movies? And then it’s all like, “Surprise! You’re not in a meadow filled with flowers, you’re in a smelly dank hellhole!” (It must’ve been “bring your own crack” day at the ad agency when they came up with those beauties.)

So runway time. . .
No Nina. (boo!) But her Marie Claire associate Zanna Roberts Rassi is filling in. (Naturally, she has a British accent. Just once, I’d want one of those Marie Claire gals to be from Sheboygan.)

Plus, the aforementioned Kenneth Cole, although he is clearly not respected by the other judges, who are all like, “Go back to your cute little shoes and your silly controversial billboards, little man.” (Kors and Klum are the like the worst clique of mean girls ever!)

The looks come down the runway and they are a mixed bag.

I love what Josh M. did but find his avant-garde dress to be, ironically, one of the more conservative things he’s ever designed on the show.

I agree with Kenneth Cole (Native American name: He Who Speaks Loudly But Is Not Heard) that Anthony’s dress has a slightly crafty quality to it, but it is pretty stunning. (And I loved his kid’s painting. I think it was my favorite—or, as Zanna Roberts Rassi might say, “my favourite.”)

Anya’s dress is so gorgeous, there are no words. I pretty much love everything she does. (Can I double like her on Facebook?)

Kimberly’s feathered mini bird dress with pleather skull cup is actually kinda hot. (Yes, I just wrote that sentence.)


The judges really loved Laura’s yellow dress, with its mixture of hard and soft, but I think it was a just a feather away from being a Big Bird homage.

Becky’s dress is not the hot mess that I thought it would be. (Good work, Josh M!) (Yes, he credits himself for her improvement.)


Bryce’s red and black straight jacket dress. There’s a reason why Insane Asylum chic was never a thing.

Viktor’s dress: To me, it looks like someone spilled blue Gatorade on their wedding dress.


Bert’s “teletubby party dress” (™ MK) is an abomination. And Heidi actually likes it. (Maybe she’s smokin the same stuff those Febreze ad guys are?)

Josh C’s “I’m going to be a hooker for Halloween dress” (™ HK) is just, well, beyond tragic.

Olivier’s “look, I added a tiny swatch of color, therefore I am avant-garde” is almost as depressing as he is.

So . . . the Top 3 are Josh M., Laura, and Anthony
The Bottom 3 are Bert, Olivier, and Josh C.

And the winner is. . .Anthony! It’s nice that he redeemed himself from last week’s near auf-dom.

And the loser is. . .Josh C. Again! Because he can’t design. Still!

“Being eliminated for a second time, it gets easier,” Josh C says.

“You’re experiencing twice what most PR designers only get to experience once,” says Tim Gunn brightly. And when even Tim Gunn can't put a positive spin on things, you know you’re totally screwed.