Friday, October 5, 2012

Is That Avant-Garde or Is That a Mistake? The Project Runway recap

She should avoid Mitt Romney, just to be on the safe side

Can we all just acknowledge a dirty little secret about Project Runway?
Neither the designers nor the viewers (not this viewer at least) are completely clear on what an avant-garde design is supposed to be.
It’s supposed to be wearable, but not too wearable.
Dramatic, but not costumey.
Bold, but not bizarre.
Cinematic, but not Tim Burton film cinematic.
Basically, avant-garde has to sit in this very narrow pocket, where one step in the wrong direction you didn’t push the envelope enough and another tiny step, you’re some sort of envelope-pushing freak.

Also, what could possibly be more avant-garde than L’Oreal makeup products? (Avon perhaps?)
But yes, this is the Insert Sponsor Awkwardly Into the Challenge challenge, as the designers must create their avant-garde looks to correspond with L’Oreal’s new “Leading Lady” makeup.

Fabio is given the Enchanted Queen

Sonjia is given the Seductive Temptress

Dmitry is given the Wise Mystic (perfect, because Dmitry himself looks like a wise mystic)

Mystical waterfall behind him

Melissa is given the Artsy Muse (perfect, because Melissa herself…well, you get the idea)

File footage of Melissa's recent trip to Boca?

And Christopher is given his choice of “Leading Ladies.” He picks Enchanted Queen. Fabio side-eyes him. It is ON, people.

They have $400 (a small fortune in the Project Runway universe) and 2 days (a lifetime in the Project Runway universe) to work with.

When they get back to Parsons, Sonjia discovers that she left her gold lamé fabric at Mood.
(This totes reminds me of the time I got home from the Giant and realized I’d left my bag with the Pepperidge Farm Geneva cookies back at the store. I will forever refer to that day as Black Tuesday.)

As Sonjia is having this gold lamé crisis, the camera pans ominously over these artsy black and white photos of past castmembers and Tim Gunn, all posing pensively, their hands on their chins. (Or did I just hallucinate that?)

Anyway, Tim Gunn comes to check on their handiwork.
Turns out, Fabio has made a less than thrilling jacket.
Tim Gunn looks at him silently.

Then Fabio (brilliantly) describes the 3 phases of Tim Gunn silence:

1. Hand on face (as recently documented in those dramatic black and white photos)
2. Crossed arms
3. Squint with the tilt

“If you get all of those, nothing good is going to come out of his mouth,” Fabio says.

Indeed, “the coat is looking borderline costume,” Tim finally says. “It makes me sad. It looks down. It looks dreary.”

Alert, alert: Your design has made Tim Gunn sad!!

Not to fear, later Fabio will turn that coat upside down, taking it from Drabio to Fabio.

Tim also thinks Dmitry’s outfit, while beautiful, isn’t quite avant-garde enough.
“But I’ve never done anything like this,” Dmitry protests.
“That doesn’t make it avant-garde,” Tim says.
Then he explains in concise, clear language exactly what makes a garment avant-garde but that part sadly got left on the cutting room floor.

(Off topic: Why is Dmitry wearing such distractingly bright colors this episode? Usually he can be counted on to wear gray or black. Today he’s tasting the rainbow and I don’t think I like it.)

Tim is now questioning whether or not Christopher’s dress is avant-garde enough. (See? No one has any clue!!)

"What makes it avant-garde?" Tim asks.
Christopher tentatively claims the exaggerated hips make it avant garde.
“Is that avant-garde or is that a mistake?” Tim asks.

So everyone’s all nostalgic and shit because this is their last day at the Atlas Apartments before the Fashion Week break.
“Goodbye Atlas Apartment!” they all trill as they leave for the runway show.
Apparently, Tim’s habit of politely saying goodbye to buildings is rubbing off on them.

Zoe Saldana is the guest judge and she’ll probably just sit there looking beautiful and saying nice things about everyone— record scratching sound. . .holy shit. Most opinionated guest judge EVER.

Never saw that coming.

Heidi gives us the dreaded one OR MORE of you will be out. Which makes no sense at all because everyone pretty much rocks the runway.

Yup, turns out everyone’s avant-garde look is avant-great. (Trust me, no one could judge me more for writing that sentence than me.)

Heidi, however, isn’t quite on the same page with the rest of the judges.

Looking deceptively "on the same page"

Most of them, for example, are meh on Sonjia’s emerald green dress.
“It looks like a napkin fell on her,” Zoe Saldana says. (The role of Michael Kors will today be played by Zoe Saldana.)

“It looks like an old lady’s answer to a bare-backed dress,” Michael Kors says. (The horror!)

Heidi, however, loves the color, loves the dress, and would totally wear it.

Likewise, with Fabio.
While most of the judges loves his upside down jacket and like his dress, Heidi says she’s “didn’t respond to this look at all.”
“I don’t see beauty,” she says. “I see sadness.”
Now Fabio’s outfit has made both Tim AND Heidi sad.

Ditto on Melissa.
Zoe loves the vest.
MK praises her work with leather.
And Heidi says, “I don’t know which is uglier, yours or Fabio’s.”

“Not on the same page” is actually an understatement. Heidi’s reading a whole different book.

(My thoughts on Melissa’s outfits? Her structural collars are the new Ven Flower. Enough already, we get it.)
They are all able to agree on both Christopher and Dmitry.

Christopher’s dress is deemed overly ambitious and only a partial success.
“The feathers are cuckoo,” Michael Kors says. “It looks like she has hairy arms.”

Zoe Saldana gives Christopher grief for not filling out the boobs, “the second place” a person looks when they look at a woman. (No comment.)

They love Dmitry’s suit.
“You are a brilliant tailor,” Michael Kors says.
The shoulders are a tad “costumey,” though and the “neck’s a little Vampira,” says Kors.
But impeccable work, nonetheless.

Next, the little song and dance where everyone has to explain why they deserve to go to fashion week the mostest and pick two designers to come with them.
Nothing controversial happens here, so I’ll just move right along.

“We disagree with what the designers did today so we have to look at their past,” says Heidi. (And when she says, “we” she means “I”).

After some deliberation—is Dmitry too much of a one-trick pony? has Fabio designed anything memorable? does Sonjia have a story to tell?—they reach their decision.

Christopher is . . .SAFE!
Dmitry is . .. THE WINNER! (Coming on strong like bull, is our little Russian dancer.)
Melissa is. . . SAFE!

So it’s down to Fabio vs. Sonjia.

Needless to say, I would’ve picked Sonjia.
But, alas, Fabio is in.

There’s an awkward moment backstage where Christopher thinks Sonjia is also IN and just doing a little fakeout. But no, she and her Carmen Miranda head scarves are hitting the road.

I think I'll miss this scarf  most of all

I do have one happy thought, however: Maybe Fabio will shave for Fashion Week and we can see the true gorgeousness that I’m convinced lurks beneath that beard.

That happy thought last all of 3 minutes, until we see the sneak preview of next week’s show and Fabio is shaggy as ever.

Now Fabio has made Tim, Heidi, and me sad.


Cliff O'Neill said...

Two points.

One, was I the only person who, when the designers were preparing to leave their living quarters for the last time thought they were bidding adieu to some unseen Aunt Liz? I kept wondering who was this woman they were talking about and if I had inadvertently dozed off for a bit and missed something.

Second, I am reminded of a quote from a writer for SNL that was seemingly common backstage after five seasons of the show. "You can only be avant-garde so long before you become garde."

Ericka Lutz said...

You mean... "is Dmitry too much of a one-note monkey" ... right?

maxthegirl said...

Ha ha, Ericka. I'd forgotten about that.