Monday, August 15, 2011

Project Runway, Season 9 E3: Tall Tales


Every once in a while on Project Runway, the designers collectively produce work that is far below the standard that we have come to expect. Unfortunately, this week's episode was one of these particular occasions when the winner isn't exactly fantastic, it's just the best of the bunch. Lucky for us, it coincided with the first team challenge of the season, so the drama counteracted the underwhelming runway results.

Let's dig into the black velvet button bag and dig out some judgments, shall we?

  • Challenge: Heidi walks out onto the runway wearing a pair of stilts like a circus act and tells the designers they will need to "think big" and create an eye-catching, imaginative, larger-than-life look for models on stilts. This sounds more like a challenge on America's Next Top Model, but let's just go with it. The designers are divided into pairs, and the drama begins from the very first second—just the way team challenges are meant to be! The teams are brought to Mood with $500 and we get our first shot of Swatch the dog in Season 9. I missed him!
  • In the Workroom: It's three episodes in and already everyone is on the same cycle, which means the bitch pants are on and ready to go.
    • Viktor and Bert don't get along at all and Elder Gay Bert is being unbearably sassy. Viktor appropriately nicknames his partner Bertzilla.
    • Anthony Ryan, paired with Laura, decides he wants the model to look like a plantation girl and that sounds awfully racist to me.
    • Josh and Julie get paired up and they are complete polar opposites. "You're such a rough chick!" squeals Josh, and I continue to love him more and more.
    • Danielle and Cecilia are paired into this season's "Who are they again?" duo and bond over their love of chiffon. I can only think of Andre from Season 2 exclaiming, "Where the hell is my chiffon?!"
    • Fallene has a breakdown every 30 seconds and Bryce reminds the world that she can't cut on grain every 4 seconds. This team is incredibly grating.
    • "Good Lord, that thing is ghastly," says Becky about Viktor and Bertzilla's outfit, and she continues to earn brownie points from me.
  • The Judges: Joining Michael and Nina this week was "fashion entrepreneur" Kim Kardashian, wearing a dress so short even Heidi probably thought it was too much. The runway show was held at Battery Park in front of the press and a live audience, a supposedly huge "Project Runway first" that actually didn't feel like that big of a deal. Remember all of those challenges when random patrons selected the winner in front of a Macy's or at an art gallery? This felt like that, but lamer.
  • Top Three:
    • Anthony Ryan and Laura - They started off with a weird "cage" idea, but were able to course correct and choose a different path—not all Runway designers have this insight or ability, so it's sure to help them in the future. I loved the bold colors, the flow of the skirt, the feathers and the general "wow" factor. Yes, it's a bit of a ripoff of Gucci's recent collection, but it was clearly the best of the bunch and it came from the team that worked the best together.
    • Becky and Kimberly - This militaristic circus ringmaster look was a real showstopper and reminded me a lot of Season 7 champion Seth Aaron. The tailoring was fantastic, especially with the pants, and the look was cohesive from head to toe. I didn't love the half collar, but the way it showed off the model's tattoo was very cool.
    • Cecilia and Danielle - You guys, I can't really explain how this ended up in the Top Three, except to say that it proves how poorly all the teams performed on this challenge. The color combination was lovely—if a little boring—and the pants were perfectly made, but the bedazzled collar of the blouse was so tacky and the model's pumpkin-shaped hair style was beyond distracting.
  • Bottom Three:
    • Bert and Viktor - Yikes. This was a terrible collaboration and their garment looked like a sofa puking up drapes. There was no joy, no drama, no elegance... just a dress that might as well have come from the reject pile for a high school production of The King and I.
    • Bryce and Fallene - This look was so minimal that it looked it was the model's first fitting instead of the final product. The tutu idea was cool, except putting pants underneath it was disastrous and the tank top was about as simple as they come. Props to Fallene, though, because that headpiece was pretty awesome.
    • Josh and Julie - "Drama doesn't mean tacky" should be plastered on Josh's workstation for the next challenge, because he took the idea of a sexy matador and took it way over the edge. The biggest problem with this look was the insane proportions. The model looked like she had a teeny tiny little torso—complete with teeny tiny cape—and huge long monstrous legs. The fabric they used for the pants almost had a "Mondo-esque" feel to them, but it just didn't work.
  • Dishonorable Mention: For some reason, people were calling Olivier and Anya the "dream team," which I totally didn't get. And, as if trying to prove me right, they put together a sloppy dress with a really bizarre, aquarium-esque fabric with poorly sewn cutouts in the drab gray top. They are lucky the pack of designers did so poorly this week, or this would've for sure been in the bottom.
  • Kors-ism of the Week: You have to love Michael for exclaiming what we were all thinking about Danielle and Cecilia's model: "That hair is cah-RAY-zyyyyyyyyy!!!!"
  • And the winner is: Laura, quite deservedly so. It was really nice that Anthony Ryan conceded the win to her. She was playing up the whole "privileged white girl" thing at the beginning, but I actually think she is one to watch in future challenges.
  • Auf Wiedersehen to: Fallene, who just wasn't cut out for this whole experience. The pressure and the overall talent level of her competitors was too much for her little body to handle. I'll always remember her for her puking clown dress, but I'm not too broken up about saying goodbye. 
Hopefully next week, when the designers have to create a look for Nina, will produce better results on the runway while continuing to give us plenty of drama to dig into in the workroom. Because, really, that's all we are asking for, right?!

What did you make of this week's episode? Were you disappointed with the runway and the very odd challenge? Are you starting to get fed up with Cranky Queen Bertzilla? And who are you ready to say goodbye to next week?

[Image Source: Lifetime]
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