Monday, February 1, 2010

Project Runway, Season 7 - Episode 3

Oh, how I love when Project Runway designers are forced to work in teams! Since the very first season, we've been pretty much guaranteed drama when it comes to doubling up - Season 1's Nora and Kevin, Season 3's Angela and Vincent and Season 4's Sweet P and Elisa come immediately to mind. We all knew Ping's days on the runway were numbered, so I'm glad we got a good partner challenge in early. I'm sure Jesse was really excited, too!

Tim brought the designers to the Met to examine the work of some of fashion's most prestigious elite, although I was really hoping for an Egyptian exhibit-themed challenge. The designers were charged with designing a high-end garment with a budget of $500 - apparently there is no recession in Runway land. I wish Oprah had been present to shout "The highest budget in Project Runway ...evahhhhhhhhrrrrrrr!!!!!" Of course, two designers + two days = TWO LOOKS! "Classic," as Seth Aaron pointed out. The second look was to be made with only $50 and (twist!) be a inspired by another team's design.

It seemed to me as though the inspiration from the Met went completely out the window once the designers returned to Parsons. With a few exceptions, most teams used $500 to make a so-so cocktail party outfit that didn't look much more lux than previous challenges, and certainly didn't match the glamor and wow-factor of Season 3's couture challenge or Season 4's avant-garde challenge. In fact, more often than not I preferred the "look for less" version of the look than the original. And although the judges discussed the second looks in their critique, it didn't seem to matter much when choosing the winner. Wah wahh.

The pair of the evening, of course, was Ping and Jesse (his thought process at the Met: "Please don't pick me, Ping....Please don't pick me, Ping....dammit...."). Ping may be crazy and not that great of a designer, but Jesse clearly has some anger issues. It didn't take long for him to start swearing and pounding his knuckles while Ping lost her sketchbook, picked out heinous fabrics and tried desperately to assert herself as the team leader. It was pretty much a lost cause from the start. The pair's high-end look was about as expensive-looking as the previous week's burlap sack garments; the draping fabric tail looked more like an afterthought than a full design. The low-end look was not even comparable to student work - even if they had properly fit the model (who, by the way, should've kept her big mouth shut), it would've still been terrible.

Anthony and Seth Aaron, though an amusing pair, produced a heinous yellow and black gown - thank goodness they had the sense to remove that Ronald McDonald red sash we saw in the work room ("everyone needs a dress"). Anthony (of course) delivered one of my favorite lines of the evening when he scolded Seth Aaron during their session with Tim: "Don't act up in front of the company." He may be an on-and-off designer, but I hope he sticks around for a while. He's way more fun to watch than dry toast Anna (I think that's her name...did I just make that up?).

I wasn't particularly crazy about Jay and Maya's high-end gown - although it certainly was the most interesting of the bunch. I loved that Jay slacked off the whole time and then assured the judges that immunity was irrelevant to him. Nice try - the cameras don't lie. Their look for less, however, was wonderfully put together and, as the judges pointed out, looked better than its $500 muse. The detailing on the front and the youthful vest are things that would certainly appeal to a mass market, and would probably resale for less than $100 - bonus! If anything should have won this challenge - it was that look.

Jonathan and Mila seem to be equally talented and conniving - I kind of wish something had gone terribly wrong because that would've been an epic catfight on the runway for sure. Their baby doll version of Seth Aaron and Anthony's gown was outdated and way too literal, but they both took credit for that downfall. The high-end winged jacket was intriguing, different....and ugly. Seriously, who's going to wear that? Okay...besides Heidi. I did appreciate the craftsmanship and the uniqueness of using separates versus a dress, but I just couldn't get into this look. The judges, however, loved it.

In the end, Mila took home the victory and we said 'sayonara' to Ping. She will certainly be missed, though not at all for her fashion sense. Hopefully the fall of the Ping Dynasty will not be an end to the excitement of Season 7. I have faith that Mila, Jonathan, Seth Aaron and Anthony will bring us the drama, but hopefully we can also get some great fashion along the way.
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