Out comes the velvet bag of names and a model we pay little attention to is sent home as we begin our second episode of the summer edition of Project Runway. Barefoot models in their black nighties are also a part of this show, and sometimes it could make or (literally) break someone’s design. They too, are in a competition, but it’s a story we rarely follow.
Here She Comes… Miss America
This week’s challenge is designing an evening gown for Miss America, Tara Conner, who will be competing in the 55th Annual Miss Universe Pageant in Los Angeles. Can you guess who was overjoyed to hear this news? Kayne. The pageant queen/diva.
As the team gathers around Miss America and Tim, she informs the designers of what she’s looking for in a dress. She tells them she is the second shortest contestant in the pageant, so she needs a dress that will “elongate” her. She likes earth or monochrome tones and would like something that drops in the back, but doesn’t plunge in the front.
Tim informs the group that they will be working in teams of two, and each designer will have an opportunity to pitch their dress to Tara, who will then pick the seven team leaders.
For me, I always love to see the designers’ sketches come to life. This seems to be a difficult task for some to pull off. Last season, Santino had a brilliant and unique design for this challenge. Heidi loved his ideas and made him a team leader. Unfortunately, his final product looked tawdry and goofy. So I was watching in anticipation how the designers’ sketches would compare to the actual gown.
The Team Up – Be Afraid… Be Very Afraid
Angela makes a dramatic move and decides not to sketch anything. Instead, she begins to leach off other designers, particularly our pageant god, Kayne. She wants to suck up all the glory of someone else’s work, instead of doing the work herself. At one point when she walks away, Kayne looks directly into the camera and whispers, “I’m sick of her.”
As each designer pitches their idea to Tara, you can see the fear in her eyes as some of them present their sketches. Angela goes in and tells her she didn’t come up with a sketch, but rather, she was going to ask questions to get an idea of what Tara wanted, which I believe was already done when Tara spoke to the designers as a group.
Tara makes her decision:
- 1. Keith – she liked the line of his design. He chooses Bradley as his team member.
- 2. Uli – Tara said she liked the flowing of the gown. Uli chose Bonnie as her team member.
- 3. Vincent – “I like how you want to show me and not just the dress,” Tara said. Angela was then selected as his team member.
- 4. Laura – With the sparkling of the dress, Tara thought it would look great under all the lights. She chose Michael to join her team.
- 5. Malan – She liked the curviness of his design. He chose Katherine as his other half.
- 6. Jeffrey – Tara liked that he understood she was a “strong, independent female.” He chose Alison to help him create his design.
- 7. Kayne – She liked the concept of the jewelry on the piece, but more importantly, he was a “pageant freak.” Robert, who was the last man standing, joined his team.
This was by far, one of the funniest episodes I think I’ve ever seen. Sure we’ve been entertained by Santino’s goofiness and imitations of Tim, and Jay’s quirkiness in season one, but this episode packed a wallop of lines that were hilarious:
- When they went to choose their fabric, Kayne was choosing a color that went against Tara’s taste. As Jeffrey watched in the background he says, “I’m not sure what he’s thinking, unless sherbert has become an earth tone and not ice cream.”
- As Vincent was trying to put together his masterpiece, he wasn’t allowing Angela to have any say-so. As she tried to help, he tells her: “Move three feet away from me.” In which she replies, “I’ll move one and half feet back and you move one and a half feet forward.” As Tim approaches Vincent’s design, he tells him, “I’m disappointed.” And that was that.
- As Tim looks over Malan’s gown in progress, he silently stares with his finger over his lips. When he breaks the silence, he blurts, “It’s looking really heavy, kind of like it’s carved out of a big log.”
- As Laura is tweaking her dress, she says, “This cannot be here. It will look like she’s pooping.”
- Robert decides to relay the bad news to Kayne about Tara when they discuss applying the rhinestones to the gown: “She’s a beauty queen, not a disco ball.”
- And before they begin the runway show, Heidi adds more pressure to the cooker: “She’s [Tara] putting her future in your hands. So we better be wowed.”
Although this week’s guest judge was the client, Miss America, we were also graced by Vera Wang’s presence as a judge sitting in for Michael Kors.
As promised, here are my picks for the week:
- Most Ridiculous – Although Kayne won this challenge, I couldn’t help seeing John Leguizamo’s drag queen role as Chi-Chi Rodriguez from the movie, “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything,” wearing this ridiculous get-up. I will admit that the jeweled neckline was gorgeous, but one look past her hips and it was classic drag queen all over the place.
- Most Creative and Most Dramatic – Jeffrey’s dress was ambitious. It was done in long pieces and the skirt gave the illusion of elongation as it slanted at the waist and hip line. Even Alison admitted that if they had more time to work on it, because it was so detailed, they would have had a beautiful gown.
- Most Wearable – Laura’s gown was simple and elegant. She went with pure white fabric that was shiny, straight and simple. Starting at the top of the dress, the rhinestones swooped down one side and exploded at the bottom of the dress. This is a gown that could be worn as an informal wedding dress or at a formal function.
- Most Beautiful – This by far, had to be the most beautiful dress on that runway: It was Uli’s gorgeous gown with fabulous earth tone colors overlapping and flowing like rippling waves of the ocean. The details of this dress were explicit, as she added trim of satin on the bottom of the layers. As the model walked down the runway, the dress opened from the front, just below the hip, like a beautiful flower with layers of different colored fabric. Bravo, Uli!
As Kayne won this challenge with his ice cream colored dress, it was Malan who was ousted by Heidi. The breast area was inconsistent and literally looked like chocolate frosted cupcakes. The seemingly edible dress offered Malan a ticket home, and I couldn’t help but feel moved by his exit. Earlier in the program he told the story of how he presented his mother with sketches of his designs when he was a young boy, and she told him he’d never amount to anything. This was his opportunity, as he put it, to prove to her that he could do this and be good at it. Good luck, Malan!