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Project Runway 5, Episode 3 – I Love New York


Welcome to the third episode of the fifth season of Project Runway. We begin with the usual recap of the previous episode, in which the designers had to make cocktail dresses out of environmentally-friendly materials. The twist was that the models were both the clients and the shoppers, so the designers could only use whatever fabrics and items the models had bought. Suede won the challenge and Wesley was sent home.

The following morning Daniel says that he misses Wesley, while Kelli tries to wake her roommate Stella and is eager to see what the next challenge involves. At the runway, Suede is offered the choice of his model, Tia, or another model. If he decides on the latter course, all of the models will be brought out. He decides to keep Tia. Heidi then sends the designers back to Atlas Hotel to wait for Tim, who will take them “out on the town.” This leads to some lame speculations as to which restaurant Tim will take them and the like. Um, no, guys. Anybody who’s seen this show will know that a field trip is almost certainly in the offing.

Sure enough, Tim takes them on a field trip. As it’s raining outside, everybody sets out in ponchos and rain boots, and boards a tour bus. En route, Tim tells them that they are to create a look for a night on the town inspired by New York at night, which seems like a nice way to send off the Big Apple, as subsequent seasons of this show will be set in California.

Tim drops the designers off at four different places, and tells them they have an hour to take pictures. The first group, Daniel, Suede, Leanne, and Jennifer, gets off at Columbus Circle. The second group, Blayne, Stella, Keith, and Kenley, disembarks at Times Square. The third group, Korto, Kelli, and Joe, gets off at the New York Public Library. Finally, the fourth group, Emily, Terri, and Jerrel, leaves the bus at Greenwich Village.

Stella has trouble operating her camera and asks Blayne for help. Keith gets in his fellow designers’ way when they’re trying to take pictures, much to Stella and Kenley’s annoyance. Upon overhearing their complaints about him, Keith snottily DR’s that he’s not here to make friends and that this is a competition. That’s true, but being in a competition is not a license to act like a jerk. Keith’s behavior also makes me hope that somebody else wins, as I find it much more satisfying when the winner is somebody who wins by virtue of their talent and skill, rather than through “strategy” and sabotaging other players.

As they walk around, the designers gradually find things that inspire them. Jennifer is fascinated by a large clock. Kelli likes a black and silver fire hydrant for its “Mad Max” look. Terri looks around for graffiti and stickers, and soon finds some. The following morning, the designers go to Parson’s to start sorting through their pictures and select the one they like best. Tim tells them they have half an hour to pick an inspirational photo, after which they will go to Mood. They will have a budget of $100 and a half-hour of shopping time.

Kenley chooses a map which reminds her of a print. Blayne picks something with a lot of neon colors. (He needs to be careful about that, as the judges frown on designers who repeat themselves, and he’d designed a dress with neon pink in it the previous week.) Keith chooses a shot of an old magazine and tells us that he wants to be in the top three. You and everybody else, pal.

After that, it’s off to Mood and Stella feels lost, probably because they sell things besides her beloved leather and denim. The other designers don’t have this problem and cheerfully make their selections. Terri finds a print that has all the colors from her photo. Emily picks a silk chiffon for movement. Jennifer selects cream and midnight fabric, as she plans on a literal interpretation of her clock picture.

After that, it’s back to Parson’s where the designers begin their work. They have until 1 a.m., and this time, the winner will get immunity. Leanne has chosen a picture of a metal tree planter, because it was both “architectural and organic.” She’s nervous, because she was in the bottom two last time, and obviously wants to do better. Keith tells us that he has a background in abstract art and plans to incorporate that in his work. He cuts a bunch of fabric into little pieces. Stella is hard at work hammering grommets into her leather, much to Blayne’s annoyance.

Tim visits the designers three hours before the deadline. He checks on Jennifer first, and tells her that her hemline does not look good. She tells him there will be three hemlines and sleeves. Then he visits Keith, and this time Tim is worried that the dress won’t have a shape. Keith assures him that it will be fitted. Tim loves Kenley’s picture, but worries that her dress will look “costumey.” Terri plans to make an open-back dress worn over pants. Leanne shows Tim her finished black skirt, which he calls “gorgeous.” He advises her to keep the top simple, so as not to detract from the skirt. Tim is less happy with Emily’s dress, which is basically a black dress with a giant ruffled corsage across the chest and down the side. He tells her to jazz it up somehow. Blayne tries to inflict another stupid catch phrase on the world by telling Tim, “Holla atcha boy.” Tim, bemused, repeats the phrase. Blayne is trying way too hard to be “cool” and “good T.V.” After Tim departs, the designers continue working until 1 a.m.

The next morning, the designers go to Parson’s to put the finishing touches on their dresses – which means, of course, that many of them, including Daniel and Jennifer are still frantically working on seams when the models arrive. Keith gets some bad news at this juncture: His model, Runa, had to drop out, so he will be using Alyssa instead. This means he will have to tweak his dress to make it fit Alyssa properly. Then it’s the usual scenes of the models getting prepped. After that, we go to the runway, where Heidi and Co. are waiting. Tonight’s guest judge is Sandra Bernhard, a “night life enthusiast.”

First up is Keith’s model, whose dress is made up of a million pieces of white fabric. It looks like that what inspired him was a shredded newspaper or magazine. Blayne’s model is wearing a black dress decorated with several neon flourishes. Nice, but he did something similar last week. Joe’s outfit is a black skirt with a brown top. Emily’s dress is the aforementioned black dress with big orange ruffles across the chest and down the side. The down the side part is okay, but the bit across the chest is not going to do the wearer any favors, no matter what their breast size happens to be.

Leanne sends down her nice black skirt with a simple top. She’d obviously listened to Tim. Jennifer’s navy and tan dress looks decidedly old-fashioned. Jerrell’s model is sporting a two-toned green gown with ruffles. Kelli turned out a black skirt with a crocheted top. Daniel’s model is wearing a gold dress. Kenley’s outfit is green and purple with a bubble skirt that is half print and half purple. It looks a lot nicer than that description makes it sound. Suede’s sleeveless shirt dress is tan and gold. Stella sends down gray pants and a silver halter. Korto’s model is wearing a black jumpsuit. Terri’s model is wearing a long-sleeved backless dress with pants.

The judges then call Keith, Kenley, Emily, Terri, Jennifer, and Leanne. These six have the highest and lowest scores, while the others have qualified to go on to the next round. Kenley’s dress reminds the judges of something from the 80′s, but Nina thinks it’s cute. Keith talks about the magazine that had inspired him, but Michael thinks all the white fabric looks like “toilet paper caught in a windstorm.” The judges think Keith’s dress looks sloppy and unfinished. I’m thinking Keith is not getting anywhere near the top three this week.

The judges found favor with Terri’s graffiti-inspired outfit and say it makes the model look “fierce, sexy, and in control.” Emily tells the judges that she was inspired by Washington Square, but the judges found her “Carmen Miranda” ruffles “distracting”. Heidi really likes Leanne’s dress and says she would wear it. Jennifer’s dress, alas, is pronounced “matronly” and “boring.”

After their usual deliberation, the judges call back the six to announce their decision. Terri is in, but it’s Kenley who’s the winner. The judges tell Leanne that she’s in and that she did a good job. Keith is also in, leaving Emily and Jennifer in the dreaded bottom two. Emily’s look is “distracting” and “cliched”, while Jennifer’s look is boring and matronly. The judges are particularly confused by Jennifer’s dress because of her professed interest in surrealism. (I agree; when I think of surrealist clocks, I think of Dali’s melting watches. A dress based on those could have been cool.) Still, it’s Emily who’s sent packing.

The previews for next week indicate another field trip. Plus, Keith apparently swipes somebody else’s fabric. Assuming that’s not just misdirection on the producers’ part, Keith needs to be sent home soon.


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