Last week, on Project Runway, the designers had to create an avant-garde outfit inspired by astrological signs. Jerrell won, and thanks to a double elimination, both Blayne and Terri were sent home.
The following morning, the designers can’t believe that two of them were eliminated. Suede tells us that he was near the bottom, so he will have to prove himself, while Leanne wonders if they will be making evening gowns for infants. Kenley assures us that she will stay true to herself and not worry about what the judges think. Hmm, is this foreshadowing or just a red herring? It’s generally not a good sign when a contestant basically says, “Screw the judges, I’ll make what I want,” as that attitude gets people sent home.
At the runway, Heidi tells the designers she wants to introduce them to some “special ladies,” and six middle-aged women walk in. Heidi tells the designers that these women are not their clients — Leanne is very relieved to hear that — but the mothers of their clients. At this, six young women enter, and Jerrell guesses that it’s another prom challenge. Not quite, as these young women have recently graduated from college. This week’s challenge is to give the young women a head-to-toe makeover to ready them for the working world.
Heidi then draws names and randomly assigns the designers to a mother/daughter team. Kenley gets Anna and her mother Nancy. Korto gets Megan and her mother Amy. Joe will be working for Laura and her mother Janet. Leanne gets the very young-looking Holly and her mother Ellie. Suede gets Avital and her mother Yaffa. Jerrell is with Caitlyn and her mother Ellen.
In the workroom, Jerrell tells us that there is a lot more space, now that so many designers are gone. Tim comes in and tells the designers that the mothers will definitely have opinions about their daughters’ new looks, so they have to be treated as clients, too. The designers will have 30 minutes to discuss the makeovers with their clients, and they will have a budget of $100.00. The clients enter, and Joe tells us that the mother/daughter dynamic is the “eighth wonder of the world.” If one likes something, the other won’t, so the real challenge is to design a look that both will like.
Kenley thinks Anna has tastes similar to her own, which gives her an excuse to do the 40’s and 50’s-style clothes she loves. Korto’s client, Megan, has eclectic tastes. She will either be going to graduate school or to medical school. Korto believes that she will have an advantage as she knows better than to try to make her 20-something client look too old. Jerrell’s client, Caitlyn, wants something androgynous. Holly, the one Leanne had described as looking like a 12-year-old, has just got a job as an elementary school teacher. She needs something that will both give her freedom of movement and make people respect her. Holly’s mom, Ellie, suggests making a dress as that would eliminate the need to worry about matching tops and skirts. Oh, come on! Matching stuff is not that hard, particularly if you make one item a neutral color, like black or khaki.
Suede’s client, Avital, is a photographer, and thus also needs something that will give her considerable freedom of movement. She also needs something that’s good for interviews. Avital is another one who likes an androgynous look, and thus wants pants, but her mother wants her to get something more feminine. Suede himself doesn’t like making pants, but he knows he has to please his client. Joe’s client, Laura, majored in graphic design and is still seeking her first job. Joe plans to make her a skirted suit for interviews.
After the clients and their mothers leave, the gang goes to Mood for their shopping. Korto buys some cotton and leather and jokes about being the new queen of leather now that Stella’s gone. As Joe is making a suit, he gets fabrics from the menswear department. Suede finds a purple print and declares that it’s just what he’s looking for.
The designers have two days to work. Korto reminds us that there’s no more immunity. Leanne tells us that her first job was designing for a small clothing line, and that she eventually wanted her own line. Joe tells us that his first job was working in a stockroom at Gucci, and that was how he’d got bitten by the fashion bug. Kenley assures us that Anna loves vintage clothing. (How convenient! That’s what Kenley loves making!) She also tells us that she left Florida after graduating from college and came to New York. Jerrell’s first job was working at McDonald’s. He got free food, but standing over the fryer damaged his skin. (It sounds like Jerrell’s had some career changes — from fry cook to model to fashion designer. And he’s only 28.)
Tim sends in the clients and their mothers for the first fitting. They have 30 minutes. To Suede’s distress, both Avital and Yaffa want changes. He’s afraid the results of said changes will look cheap and that his own aesthetic sense will be buried. Laura dislikes the pinstripes on her suit, but her mother likes them. Joe thinks they’re sophisticated and I think he’s deluded. Pinstripes would be fine for a businesswoman, but they’re way too conservative for anybody in the arts — and Laura is a graphic designer.
Kenley is thrilled with how her dress looks on Anna, and Jerrell tells us that all she knows how to make are vintage dresses. Ellie isn’t happy with Leanne’s work as she thinks it makes her baby girl look flat-chested. Ellie goes so far as to say that if they were shopping and Holly tried it on, they would leave to look for something more flattering. Jerrell tells us that he’d been wondering who’d get stuck with this challenge’s version of Hedda Lettuce, the persnickety drag queen Suede had been saddled with a few weeks ago. Leanne tells us that she’s been dealt a major setback as she basically has to start over again. “One sexy teacher dress coming up,” she sighs. I’m thinking Ellie may be asking for a bit too much, as the dress somehow now has to be comfortable, authoritative, and sexy — and the last two generally do not go together.
Suede has made his top into a dress and he now has to sell Avital on the results. Joe plans to add pocket squares to his jacket so Laura can have some different colors. Kenley tells us that he’s making an 80’s business suit for a graphic designer. As the designers leave for the night, Jerrell “assures” Joe that he can work on Nancy Reagan tomorrow. I’m thinking that Laura’s mother, Janet, is probably having way too much input in this challenge. The pinstriped blue suit is something I’d have worn to job interviews myself after graduating from college — and I’m almost 45. It’s not something a college graduate from this decade would wear, unless they were going into something like law or business. Laura is going into the arts, which tends to have a more casual dress code.
On the second day of the challenge, the clients return for a second fitting — without their mothers. Joe thinks Laura is warming up to his suit, and I think she’s probably being polite. Joe wants to show off his skills at fitting and tailoring. Jerrell believes his outfit is both pretty and age-appropriate. To Leanne’s great relief, Holly likes the changes that she’s made. Avital is also happy with her dress.
Tim then gathers the designers and Suede worries out loud that they will have to design something for the mothers. Suede needn’t have worried, as Tim introduces a “special guest,” Jeannie Syfu, from TRESemme (who is sponsoring the challenge.) Jeannie will advise the girls on new hairstyles. The winning look will be featured in Elle, and the winning designer’s client gets to model it.
After Jeanie has advised the girls on how to do their hair, Tim does his walk-through. He likes Suede’s dress, but not his jacket. He especially dislikes the pockets, which he thinks look sloppy. Tim agrees with Kenley and Jerrell about Joe’s look: He tells Joe that it would be suitable for a banker or lawyer, but not a graphic designer. Joe airily dismisses Tim’s advice, saying that he doesn’t care about Laura’s field, he just wants her to look professional. How can this guy be in his 40’s and NOT know that different occupations have different looks associated with them?!
Tim praises Jerrell’s work, to the latter’s delight. He warns Kenley that her look is too masculine without the pink belt, and he advises her to lengthen the tulle. Kenley tells us that she never listens to Tim. Even if Kenley survives this week, I’ve a feeling that attitude is going to bite her in the butt one day, as the judges do want to see signs of progress and learning in a designer. Kenley’s only in her 20’s, so she doesn’t know everything yet. She just thinks she does.
After Tim leaves, Korto tells us about her daughter. She is four years old, but is already showing signs of a fashion sense, which worries Korto, who isn’t looking forward to her daughter’s teen years. Joe tells us that he’s missing his wife and daughters, and he calls them. Later that evening, the female designers discuss who is likely to go home and decide that Suede is most in danger.
The next day, Tim sends in the clients and it’s time for everybody to get ready for the runway show. Cue the usual montage of people getting dressed, getting their hair done, and their make-up applied. Then it’s down to the runway, where today’s guest judge is the fashion designer Cynthia Rowley. The mothers are also present, but they’re just going to watch the runway show and won’t take part in the judging.
Joe’s client, Laura, is first. She’s wearing a navy pinstriped suit with a skirt and a striped purple shirt. Aside from making Laura look like a transplant from the 80’s, it’s fine. Joe assures us that Janet thinks it’s mature and beautiful. I hate to break this to Joe, but that’s probably not good. I don’t know what Janet does for a living, but I’m going to guess that she’s not a graphic designer and she certainly isn’t the one going on job interviews.
Leanne’s client, Holly goes next. She’s wearing a navy dress and a short but bulky-looking gray jacket. Jerrell’s client, Caitlyn, is all in brown. She’s wearing a pencil skirt, an oversized cardigan, and a satin top. Korto’s client, Megan, is wearing a green and white print dress and a tan jacket.
Suede’s client, Avital, is wearing a purple print dress. She also has a gray jacket with lilac trim and ruffled cuffs, and these look long enough to get in her way. I mean, hello, a photographer is not going to want anything that might impede her hands. Kenley’s client, Anna, is wearing a purple and pink print dress with a wide light pink belt and a maroon vest. It’s okay, even if the belt’s color made me think I was seeing an exposed midriff at first, but it’s nothing special, either.
After the show, the mothers leave, and the judges begin grilling the designers. They start with Kenley, who tells them that she likes Anna’s style and wanted her to look fresh and fun. Anna is something called an “assistant accessories buyer,” which makes me think she works in a department store or something– and people who work in sales do have to at least look approachable. The judges agree, mission accomplished, but largely because Kenley was lucky enough to have a “Mini-Me” as Nina calls Anna. Heidi says that Kenley was thrilled to have a client who shared her fashion sense. It sounds as if the judges agree that Kenley technically did good work– but that they are also getting tired of Kenley’s vintage clothing fetish. Kenley seems to have inherited Terri’s spot as this season’s Romi: She’s technically proficient and thus might get to the finals, but she’s not diverse enough to win.
Joe tells the judges that he saw the challenge as taking a young girl and giving her a smart and professional outfit she can interview in. Cynthia comments that it’s interesting that he assumed “professional” equals “suit.” Heidi asks Laura to take off the jacket and then tells Joe that she likes the outfit better without it. Michael says that Joe showed a 60-year-old’s idea of how a young professional should look. Kenley and Anna both giggle at this. Nina calls the suit a cliche.
Korto says that Megan had told her that she loves green. She also said she wanted to make something youthful, as well as professional, as Megan is in her 20’s. The judges agree that she succeeded. Megan herself loves the outfit, and Nina and Cynthia both like the jacket.
Leanne explains that Holly wanted a dress. Nina asks Holly to take off the jacket and comments that she looks better without the jacket. Cynthia points out that kids’ teachers tend to dress comfortably and casually because they’re with kids. Michael thinks Holly could look youthful and sophisticated at the same time.
Jerrell tells the judges that his client, Caitlyn, wanted an androgynous look. So he made a skirt and a more masculine cardigan for her. Heidi likes it and says that Caitlyn is hired. Cynthia says the outfit is good for her body type, and Nina likes the combination of the frilly blouse and the oversized sweater.
Suede tells the judges that he wanted to make a strong artistic look for his client, Avital the photographer. Cynthia thinks the jacket doesn’t work with the dress, and Michael says the outfit does not make him think “photographer.” Suede explains that Avital had also wanted a day-to-evening look. Cynthia suggests that she change before going out. Ouch. Nina doesn’t like the print with the jacket.
The designers leave, and the judges then discuss them. Jerrell “transformed” his client, and managed to make her look sophisticated without making her look old. Nina thinks Kenley finds interesting prints and patterns. Korto had made a very well-tailored jacket; it was the best of the jackets made for this challenge.
Suede’s jacket was far less successful, and it made his client look 20 years older. Nina adds that Suede’s outfit looked like it was from another decade. Michael says that Leanne’s outfit wasn’t fresh and Heidi says that it looks frumpy. The judges call Joe’s suit “cliched” and a “time capsule.” Joe himself is “out of touch.”
The judges then hand down their verdicts. Korto is in, and Jerrell is the winner. His look be featured in an ad in Elle magazine. Kenley is in, and so is Leanne, leaving Suede and Joe in the bottom two. Joe’s look aged his client by about 25 years. Suede’s look was dated, overworked, and impractical. Joe is out, so Suede is in.
The credits show Jerrell and Caitlyn posing for Elle. The previews for next week show Jerrell considering sabotaging Suede, and LL Cool J acting as the guest judge.