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Project Runway, Sept. 24 – Project Runway Goes to Hollywood


Last week on Project Runway, the designers visited the Los Angeles Times, where one of the editors challenged them to make clothes out of newspaper. Johnny threw his first dress in the trash after Tim had criticized his workmanship, but he couldn’t admit that to himself or anybody else, so he made up a ridiculous lie about a malfunctioning iron. The judges weren’t impressed by his deceit or his hastily-made second dress and duly sent him home. Irina wowed the judges with a paper trench coat and won the challenge.

The next morning, Ra’mon and Nicolas are both glad that drama king Johnny is gone. Ra’Mon thinks the competition will be more serious now, while Nicolas believes they can now focus on design rather than Johnny. Irina says she would love to win again, but notes that the competition is getting tougher, while Gordana is upset she wound up in the bottom three.

At the runway, Heidi tells the designers that they need to get out of the sewing room and see some movie-making. Nicolas is delighted and tells us that he has a background in costume design. Whenever a designer talks about their background, that’s usually a clue that they are going to do very well or very poorly in the challenge. The designers are to meet Tim at Stage 6, which proves to be a soundstage. With him is Collier Strong of L’Oreal.

Collier and Tim issue the challenge: Make a look based on a movie genre. More specifically, imagine a character fitting said genre, and design a look for that character. Tim has placards bearing the names of five different genres: action/adventure, film noir, period piece, sci-fi, and Western. As the challenge winner, Irina gets to pick first and choses film noir. Carol Hannah and Logan both pick action/adventure. Ra’Mon and Nicolas pick sci-fi. Louise and Althea also pick film noir. Gordana and Christopher choose period piece.

Shirin and Epperson get stuck with Western, which nobody apparently wanted. I can see why this would be, as the Western is a heavily male-dominated genre. The cowboys, Indians, sheriffs, and outlaws seen in your typical Western are nearly all guys– and the designers have to make an outfit for a female character. Not only that, but some of the designers, like Christopher, don’t like working with denim.

Back at the workshop, Tim tells the designers that they have thirty minutes to sketch, plus thirty minutes to shop at Mood. They will have a budget of $150. They have until midnight to complete their look. Epperson and Shirin both struggle with the Western. Shirin sketches a saloon girl and wonders if the outfit should be red and black or pink and black. Either way, it will look like a costume. Carol Hannah decides on a look for a “sexy assassin.” Logan mentions that Carol Hannah is the only woman he’s ever felt connected with, and Carol Hannah tfinds it distracting to work next to him, because he’s so hot. Showmance alert!

Ra’Mon is a Trekkie and loves science fiction. I love science fiction, too, but some Star Trek costumes look really cheesy, so I hope Ra’Mon’s careful. Nicolas admits to daydreaming all the time and adds that his background in costume design sets him apart from the other designers. Irina plans to do a “wow” piece. Christopher wants his costume to evoke an epic drama.

The designers go to Mood. Nicolas wants to be in the top three, but he also wants to be experimental and daring. Christopher wants brocade for his outfit, but finds that it’s too expensive. It’s $30 per yard, and he thinks he’d need seven yards of the stuff. Ra’Mon wishes they had more time to complete the challenge.

Epperson wishes he’d gotten “period piece” instead of “Western”– and then decides to treat “Western” as a “period piece,” which makes sense, as the “Wild West” era often depicted in movies roughly coincided with the Civil War and the Reconstruction. In other words, he can design an outfit for somebody who lived during the latter half of the 19th Century. With that in mind, he starts designing an outfit for a “beautiful lady whose husband has gone off to war.” She has to run things in his absence and has toughened up in the process.

Gordana feels inspired by the 1920′s, when women were “emancipated” and got the vote. Louise has mislaid her bobbin and is looking for it. Irina jokes about sabotage.
Nicolas’ costume will be for an alien queen who lives on Orion’s Belt, while Ra’Mon is designing for an alien/human hybrid character.

Louise is still seeking her bobbin, as Carol Hannah feels the workroom has a more competitive vibe than before. She thinks part of the challenge is the ability to take the pressure. She jokes there should be a detective movie about Louise’s missing bobbin.

Logan tells us that he thinks the remaining competitors have a lot of talent and that the winner will be the one who does the best job of meeting the challenge’s requirements. Thank you, Captain Obvious. That’s the case with every challenge!

Tim comes in for his usual visit and starts with Gordana, who tells him that her character is in her 30′s. Tim suggests making the neckline lower. Irina tells us that Gordana isn’t on the same level as the rest of the designers and isn’t up to competing at Bryant Park.

Christopher tells Tim that he’s doing a “Vampire Bride” from the Victorian period. Tim warns him that bare arms was not an acceptable look during that era. He does like the bustle, though. Christopher politely thanks him.

Tim’s reaction to Epperson’s look is to exclaim, “Annie, get your gun!” (For the Western-challenged, that’s a reference to Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter noted for her accuracy. She was also the subject of a musical, Annie, Get Your Gun.) Tim thinks the look is perfect for a Western.

Ra’Mon explains that he is making a jumpsuit that looks like lizard skin. Tim is on the fence about it and warns that it could work very well or be a mess. Louise shows Tim both her sketch and partially completed dress, and he he likes her capacity for “subtlety and nuance,” but warns that does not always translate well on the runway. Louise promises to “pull out all the stops.” Nicolas is doing a villainess in white, like the White Queen from Chronicles of Narnia. Tim thinks his design looks too safe, and Nicolas assures him that he can “go much bigger.”

After that, Tim tells the designers that he is “enthralled and inspired” by what he sees, but reminds the designers that somebody will be going home. He advises them to look around and assess their own work. Nicolas, true to form, critiques Ra’Mon’s work and tells us that science fiction is about beautiful women, not Godzilla. Actually, Nicky, monster movies do count as a sub-genre of sci-fi, even if they generally don’t earn much respect. Besides, Ra’Mon’s love, Star Trek, does have a habit of putting people in jumpsuits.

The models come in for their fittings and makeup consultations with Collier. Irina tells us that makeup is crucial to this challenge. Collier recommends a dark eye and raised brow for film noir. He puts glittery silver makeup on Nicolas’ White Queen, and suggests classic, sexy makeup for Gordana’s 1920′s character. Carol Hannah wants harsh, dramatic makeup for her assassin.

Ra’Mon’s model tries on his green jumpsuit, and he hates how it looks on her. He thinks it looks like “Kermit the Frog gone very wrong.” He decides to start over, even though there’s only two hours left.


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