Friday, September 17, 2010

Project Runway, Season 8 - Episode 8

After three weeks of insane runway breakdowns, bridesmaid transformations, yacht rides and Tim Gunn lashings (and one giant mega review from yours truly), we were bound to hit a disappointing episode of Project Runway along the way, right? Unfortunately, the pristine image of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had to be dragged through to mud because of it.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty...

  • Challenge: Told they would be taking a look back, the designers were charged with creating an American sportswear look inspired by the late, great Jackie O. As Tim pointed out, this meant quality, taste, style, sophistication and expensive elegance. Something tells me most of the designers missed that list of adjectives. After last week's resort wear challenge, it looks like we are taking a stroll through Michael Kors' repertoire for challenge inspiration. Note: not complaining.
  • Twist: Of course, at this stage of the game there was no way the challenge would be that simple. The designers showed up for what they thought was going to be a runway day only to be given a bit of a surprise (though, when we still had an hour to go in the episode it was pretty clear they were not done yet). The designers were given $150 to create an additional outerwear piece to go with their current look. A bit unfair to those who had already created some sort of outerwear (meaning Valerie), but life's never fair in the world of Project Runway.
  • In the Workroom:
    • Mondo called The First Lady "The First Tranny" and my heart grew three sizes.
    • Michael Drummond decided he hated sportswear and to make his look a little "dressier." Disaster ensued.
    • Michael Costello had no idea what he was doing so he made 18 dresses, pinned them up on a wall and threw a dart to see which one his model would wear. I'm kind of kidding, but I'm also not too far off.
    • Mondo tap danced and my heart exploded (I know - not in the workroom, but I had to mention it).
  • Judges & Tim: The judges were joined by Mad Men star January Jones - an interesting choice considering her red carpet looks tend to be rather hit or miss. The panel seemed extra fiesty last night, although I can't blame them considering some of the schlock that was sent down the runway in the name of Jackie O. Meanwhile, Tim Gunn wore a seersucker blazer and plaid tie that were beyond gorgeous and I want them immediately. He also urged the designers to remember that "Jackie Kennedy would not have camel toe." That's why he's our sage.
  • Bottom Three:
    • Valerie - Poor Val sure had a lot of attention on her last night, didn't she? It made me incredibly nervous the entire episode - and apparently with good reason. Her look was beyond plain and though I enjoyed the deep purple color of the top, the vest was bulky and overwhelming. There was no impact, no imagination and nothing worth remembering. 
    • Michael D - That whole "I'm going to dress up my look because I hate sportswear" thing totally backfired. Forget the ill-fitting top, bulky waistline and hideous skirt - this was simply not a look that drew inspiration from Jackie O. Michael Kors found the whole thing insulting, and I couldn't help but agree.
    • Andy - Ohhhhh, Andy. He forgot the challenge was to do American sportswear inspired by Jackie O. Instead, he did Asian sportswear inspired by Lara Croft. He had a beyond-insane crotch fit issue in the front, a wedgie in the back and horrific styling. It didn't read American Sportswear at all, sending the judges into a huge tangent of insults, my favorite being that he used Nicole Kidman's boots from Cold Mountain and her hair from Far and Away.
  • Top Three:
    • Christopher Collins - Cutey-patootie Christopher Collins went into this challenge feeling confident and ended up creating an elegant and classic silhouette that was still form-fitting and sexy. For me, it veered a little too "mother of the bride" with the sash, but the inspiration was clear. That fur shrug, on the other hand, was a complete misstep. Over the course of the judging it was referred to as a dirty old rug, a toilet seat cover and dirty dish rag - and I think they were being kind.
    • Mondo - Tap dancing Mondo created my favorite look and the absolute sure winner. It was the perfect mix of Jackie O and Mondo: a sharp, classic, perfectly tailored silhouette with bold colors and a clever mix of fabrics and patterns. The bright purple lining of the jacket was beyond fabulous and the judges praised him for capturing the allure of Jackie O perfectly.
    • Ivy - After almost being eliminated last week, Ivy stepped it up with an architectural look that had both sharp tailoring and visual intrigue. Like Heidi, I was a bit confused and overwhelmed by the proportion of the jacket versus the top. And although praised for her color choice, I really wish Ivy would break out of her white/navy/beige box and show us some color.
  • And the winner is: Mondo, of course! There was no other choice for the win last night - Mondo's look was perfection.
  • Auf Wiedersehen to: Michael Drummond, who will always be remembered for his squinty eyes and plunging tank tops.

So not the best of runway shows last night (the episode wasn't called "A Rough Day on the Runway" for nothing), but the amount of Mondo made it totally worth it. Next week looks chock full of drama: Valerie sobbing in the bathroom! A potential forfeit! A shocking announcement that has Tim Gunn shaking! Man, I love this show.

What did you think, fellow judgers? Were you as appalled by some of designers lack of inspiration from Jackie O as I was? Do you want Christopher Collins to stay in the competition just so he can keep smiling that adorable smile? And are you starting to set your sights on who of the remaining eight designers will be competing in the finale? Sound off in the comments!
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