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Project Runway, Oct. 29 – Winning Looks


Last week on Project Runway, the designers were challenged by Michael Kors himself to design an outfit inspired by a given locale. Irina won by by creating a design fit for a ski lodge at Aspen, while Nicolas was sent home for making a white shirt and pair of gray pants that didn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with Greece.

After the challenge, Logan and Christopher are doing some math: There are only six designers left and only two of them are guys. Logan comments that they all need to step out of their comfort zones. Christopher says he’s got to get the judges to understand him. He’s distressed by the fact that he was doing so well in the beginning, and is now landing in the bottom over and over.

In the women’s apartment, Irina is delighted to see that the remaining women outnumber the men. She also thinks it’s wrong that fashion design has been a male-dominated industry, when women should know more about dressing a woman’s body than men do.

Althea believes that she, Irina, and Carol Hannah are the strongest designers left. I tend to think she’s right, as they’ve all won at least once and none of them have (so far) graced the bottom with their presence. She thinks Gordana and the two guys aren’t as good. (The judges apparently agree with her.) Gordana says it’s time to show imagination, and Carol Hannah says she wants to make something other than dresses.

At the runway, the designers find that their chairs are facing away from the runway, which is a first. They’re puzzled, but dutifully sit in them. Then Heidi comes and greets them. She tells them to turn around, and when they do so, they see some of their outfits displayed on the runway. Heidi explains that these are their winning looks from past challenges.

Irina’s winning look is the Aspen getup from last week’s challenge; Carol Hannah’s winning look is the dress from the Bob Mackie challenge; Gordana’s winning look is from the wedding dress challenge; Althea’s winning look is from the models-as-clients challenge; and Christopher’s winning look is from the red carpet challenge at the very start of the season. Logan has never won a challenge (what the hell is he still doing here?), so his “winning look” is something the judges liked– or at least considered his least horrible. As far as I can remember, not only has Logan never won, he’s never even cracked the top three.

Heidi issues the challenge: Create a companion piece for their winning look. Irina comments that this challenge will show who has the right stuff and who has just gotten lucky. She believes that a few of the remaining contenders should have been sent home by now– and she’s right. These competition shows always seem to have at least one contestant who lasts longer than their skill warrants. Heidi sends the designers off to Tim, who fills them in on the details. They have thirty minutes to sketch. They also have a thirty minutes to shop at Mood, and a budget of $100. They have until midnight to complete their look.

As the designers sketch, Althea reminds us that her winning look has a paper bag waist and a short skirt. She decides to make pants that have the same waist. The jacket from her first look is menswear, and she wants to make a larger version of it because she loves playing with volume.

Irina is happy to be working with her Aspen look. She relishes the challenge because making a companion piece is similar to building a collection. She’s probably right, given that designers’ collections tend to have a theme or “cohesiveness.” Gordana thinks her dress is edgy, so she’s going to do a blazer and pants. Christopher decides to make a longer version of his original, winning gown.

At Mood, Logan buys 40 zippers. He wants to take the zippers from his original look and multiply them. Christopher looks for the metallic satin he’d used before, but can’t find it. So he buys thirty yards of a similar silver fabric. “I’m going to go huge,” he tells us. Or maybe just desperate. I mean, how many episodes have started with Christopher bemoaning his latest loss and vowing to do better? Can we put this guy out of his misery already?

Irina finds some fabric that she loves and decides to make a dress. Carol Hannah, meantime, has decided to avoid sequins and feathers, as she does not want to merely repeat her winning look. Good call, as the judges hate designers who repeat themselves. That seems like it will be the main trick of this challenge: Can a designer make a companion piece that isn’t a mere copy of their winning look? Tim urges Carol Hannah to take risks and be creative, but to stay within her comfort zone, so she’ll be confident.

In the workroom, Carol Hannah lays out her fabric to ponder her plan of action. Irina plans to use the print of her fabric to flatter a woman’s body. She wants her second look to be more tailored. Althea starts with her pants as those are a lot of work. Logan jokes they look like Malvin’s chicken pants, and Althea’s not amused. Gordana notes that everybody is more tense, because the finals are looming. Nobody wants to be sent home at this juncture.

Logan thinks he has a good chance of getting to Bryant Park because he has a different point of view. He also says he’s from Idaho. One, I think he’s delusional about his chances. Two, I’m sure there are other designers from a so-called fly-over state. Three, it’s usually the weaker designers who go on and on about having a different point of view and/or being misunderstood. The good ones concentrate on making the best clothes they can.


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