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Project Runway 5, Episode 4 – Going for the Gold


Welcome to the fourth episode of Project Runway. As usual, we start with a recap of the previous episode, in which the designers had to make an outfit for a night on the town, inspired by nighttime New York. Some of the designers had noted Keith’s competitive nature, Kenley had won the challenge, and Emily was Auf-ed. The following morning, Korto tells us that Emily had been her roommate, and Kenley is glad to have won immunity, as it means she will be safe even if she has an off day during the next challenge.

Down at the runway, Heidi brings out Shannon and Leslie, Kenley and Emily’s models, respectively. She offers Kenley the option of keeping Shannon or swapping. If Kenley does the latter, Heidi will bring out all the models. Heidi then informs the models that this is a competition for them as well. Um, sure. The models don’t have the control over their own fates that the designers do, and the designers tend to pick their favorites very early on. That means if the designer who works with a particular model is sent home, that model is usually toast, as is indeed the case today. Kenley decides to stick with Shannon, and Leslie is sent packing.

The designers are then sent to Tim, who takes them on a field trip. As usual, the designers wonder where they are heading, and Jerrell hopes their destination does not involve female wrestlers. (Oh ho! Jerrell’s at least seen the last season of this show!) The designers then find themselves at the Armory Track and Field Center, where they see a guy speedskating around the track. Said guy turns out to be Apolo Ohno, a speed skating Olympic Medalist – and guest judge. Today’s challenge is to design an outfit that a female Olympian can wear to the Opening Ceremonies. The very idea of this challenge frightens Daniel, because he has never watched the Opening Ceremonies so he has no clue what kind of outfit he should make.

Tim and Apolo give the designers a half hour to check out the Olympic Museum and sketch their inspirations. Joe feels extremely confident about this challenge as he has a background in designing sportswear. He and Terri also have the added advantage of having watched Olympic Opening Ceremonies, so they know what kind of clothes Olympians might want to wear. Stella, for her part, thinks Olympic athletes are modern-day “gladiators” and plans to dress them accordingly. In other words, she’s found an excuse to put them in black leather or something similar.

Sure enough, when the gang goes to Mood for their half-hour of shopping, Stella picks out black stretch satin, plus some red, white, and blue material she will use for trim. This time, it’s Daniel who wanders around feeling lost. He does “high-end fashion,” not sportswear. Joe reminds us of his sportswear background. Hmmm, it looks like Joe is getting the “cocky edit” this time around, which means he will either do very well or very poorly. Kenley picks out a blue and white plaid. Terri gets annoyed when she sees Keith cutting from a roll of fabric she’d picked out for her own outfit.

After that, the designers head back to Parson’s where Tim tells them they have until 1 a.m. to work on their outfits and the winner gets immunity. While they work, some of the designers discuss their own athletic backgrounds. Stella has danced. Leanne has been a cheerleader and a gymnast. Joe, who is making a skort, used to play football. He also tells us that his two daughters are into sports and that he wants to win for them. Daniel says he wasn’t into sports, but says he’s shooting for a 1940′s look. Terri has decided to put her speed sewing prowess to the test by making pants, a shirt, a vest, and a blazer. She’s noted that the U.S. team generally wears jackets during the Opening Ceremonies March of Nations. Stella chose black because it looks “powerful” and she wants the U.S. team to look “badass.” Keith tells us that he used to be a gymnast and was extremely competitive.

Kenley models Daniel’s dress and bolero for him, giggling all the while. Several other designers tell us they find her giggling irritating. Korto likes white, as she considers it an eye-catching color. She’s watched the March of Nations and has found that her attention was always grabbed by the teams in white. Korto tells us that she grew up in Liberia, and her family was exiled during the civil war of the 1990′s. She calls America a “place for second chances.”

At 10:00 p.m., Tim drops by to see how the designers are faring. He finds that Joe is making a skort with red and blue zippers. Tim thinks Blayne’s dress is “Sgt. Pepperish”– a remark that goes right over Blayne’s head. Tim mutters, “Ah, youth!” and tries to explain what he’d meant. Daniel fears his dress and bolero will look too much like “Wonder Woman,” and Tim responds that he should be worried about how his blue fabric is likely to look purple in certain lighting. Besides, Olympic athletes are real-life superheroes. Jerrell is making an old-fashioned pencil skirt, and Tim reminds him that he is supposed to be designing for someone muscular, who might want to flaunt her powerful, athletic body. Tim tells Jennifer to “ramp up” her outfit, which looks too matronly for the Olympics.

After Tim leaves, Kenley advises Daniel not to use the bolero. Later, Joe accuses Daniel of re-threading “his” sewing machine which he’d “only left for five minutes” and then accuses Daniel of being selfish. Daniel responds that there are plenty of available machines. Joe DR’s about how there are too many queens stirring up drama. Um, Joe, if you’re any sample, straight guys can also stir up drama. Quit being a jerk and shut up already. Korto comments about how it’s like being back in high school and how she wants to get to college already. The following morning, the designers get back to work. Tim sends in the models for the usual dressing, styling, and so forth.

At the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judge, Apolo Ohno. She also tells us that the designers had had a budget of $150.00, for the benefit of recappers and anal-retentive types the world over. Korto’s model is the first up, and she’s wearing wide-leg, white linen pants, plus a shirt and a vest with red and blue accents. Suede’s model is wearing a blue skirt with red and white trim plus a white halter. Kelli’s model is wearing a blue and white skirt with a red and white blouse. It looks very old-fashioned.

Joe’s model is wearing a white skort with “USA” emblazoned on it. She also has a white sport jacket with mixed red and blue zippers. Both the jacket and skort have red and blue trim. Leanne sends down a model wearing shorts and a high-collared shirt. Everything is white, except for the red, white, and blue collar. Daniel’s outfit looks like the first major misstep of the night, as it’s a royal blue cocktail dress with red piping, and said dress looks purple in the wrong lighting. Jerrell sends down a blue pencil skirt, plus black leggings, a hat with polka dots, and a neckerchief with even more polka dots. What was he smoking? He may have seen previous episodes of this show, but it’s a safe bet that he hasn’t watched many Olympics.

Stella’s model is wearing a black jumpsuit with red, white, and blue trim. Keith sends down a blue bubble skirt with a sleeveless high-collared jacket. Terri’s model is wearing white pants, a blue jacket, a banded, red, white and blue tube top, and a red and white scarf. Jennifer’s model is wearing a white and gold skirt with a navy blue bolero, which doesn’t look even remotely sporty, American, or Olympian. Blayne sends down a model in snug white pants and a one-sleeved white jacket with red and blue piping down the front. Kenley’s model is wearing a plaid blue and white skirt with a blue top.

The judges call Suede, Kelly, Leanne, Stella, Keith, Blayne, and Kenley. Heidi congratulates them and tells them that have moved on ot the next round. That leaves Terri, Joe, Korto, Jennifer, Jerrell, and Daniel to face the judges.

The judges start with Terri, who tells them she’d wanted to do a blazer, as she’d noted that the American teams generally wear blazers. She also says that she’d been inspired by the history of the Olympics. Apolo likes the colors and Nina thinks it’s versatile. Jennifer says she was inspired by Olympic history, particularly the 1920′s. Nina says her outfit is too “feminine and girly.” It’s not athletic at all. Joe was the only one to put “U.S.A.” on his outfit. Apolo likes it, and Michael says the skort was a good idea, even if the length was off. Heidi also likes how he put red and blue zippers together.

Daniel’s outfit was inpired by the 1940′s. Apolo says it’s not “Olympic” or “athletic”, and Michael says it doesn’t even look American; it looks like it’s from the “Republic of Cocktailland.” Korto wanted to work with lightweight weather, and Nina thinks it looks chic. Apolo likes the vest. Jerrell says he was inspired by the 1920′s and added the hat as protection against the sun. Apolo doesn’t think it looks athletic and thinks it looks like something from a “movie set” and Michael doesn’t think it would suit a strong, athletic woman.

The judges then send the designers backstage while they deliberate. They liked Korto’s modern-looking outfit, and this turns out to be a pattern. Namely, they liked the more modern outfits better than the attempts at recreating 1920′s and 1940′s gear. Terri’s outfit was simple, stylish sportswear, while Joe’s was literal (because of the USA emblazoned on it) and athletic. Jerrell seemed to “have trouble grasping athletics,” while Jennifer’s outfit was prim and romantic. Nina notes that she can’t separate her own tastes from the challenges. Daniel had simply created a cocktail dress. Ironically, the judges agree that a “Wonder Woman” look– which Daniel had feared– would have been fine, as Olympic athletes are the nearest thing to superheros in the real world.

The judges then call the designers back in. Heidi tells Joe that he’s in, and then announces that Korto is the winner. Heidi compliments Terri on her efforts and tells her that she’s in. Jerrell is in, which leaves Daniel and Jennifer in the bottom two. Both of them had missed the mark by a wide margin. Daniel had been asked to showcase an athlete, instead he just made a cocktail dress. Jennifer is stuck in the past — and she’s Auf-ed. As Jennifer packs up, she says she wished she could have stayed longer and expressed her surrealistic point of view. Jennifer, honey, you had four chances to express said point of view and didn’t. Calling yourself a surrealist doesn’t mean you are one.

The previews for next week show the designers meeting Brooke Shields. Tim describes one designer’s outfit as resembling a sweet potato, while Michael Kors calls someone’s outfit, “slutty, slutty, slutty.”

This challenge hammered home the designers’ need for versatility, and it may have revealed who is in for the long haul and who isn’t. Stella could surprise everybody and go a long way as she’s (so far) mostly been able to adapt to the challenges. A couple of challenges ago, she’d made a very nice cocktail dress with a single sleeve and lacing up the sides, in a nod to her rocker roots — and it might have been her first cocktail dress, for all I know. There’s a difference between doing that and making a dress even when the challenge calls for something totally different. I’m not a designer and even I knew that Daniel and Jennifer’s outfits were completely inappropriate for the challenge. If Daniel can’t or won’t make other things besides high-end pieces or cocktail dresses, he’ll be gone fairly soon.


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