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Project Runway, Sept. 16 – Jackie Oh No!


Last week on Project Runway, Michael Kors took the designers on a cruise around Manhattan. He also issued the following challenge: Make resort wear. This seemed straightforward, except for a twist: The designers would be in teams and be making their teammates’ designs. April won, and Casanova was sent home for literally making an outfit inspired by his grandmother.

The next morning, Michael D. and Christopher notice that it is quieter without Casanova around. Ivy tells us she’s a strong woman and adds that if she had listened to all the idiots who thought otherwise, she wouldn’t be here today. (Ivy might want to check out some reality show message boards and see how many people wish she’d been weaker.) Michael C. notes that Ivy needs to work with other colors than cream and “opaque,” and he admits he knows the latter isn’t really a color. Still, he’s right. One-trick ponies do eventually get weeded out.

On the runway, Heidi Klum simply tells the designers they will be “stepping into the past.” Tim Gunn, of course, will fill them in on the details. The designers find him at Capsule Studio, and he’s standing in front of a Jackie Kennedy exhibit. This week’s challenge is to make classic American sportswear inspired by Jackie Kennedy. Hmmm. Tricky challenge, especially since Jackie Kennedy’s heyday was in the 1960′s. That means anybody who makes an outfit just like one of hers risks being pilloried by the judges for making something old-fashioned. On the other hand, the Kennedy connection has to be visible.

The designers sketch for their usual half-hour. Christopher specializes in sportswear, so he thinks he will do well. (Christopher has a voice?! With attention hog Casanova gone, it looks like we’ll start hearing from some of the quieter designers.) Andy usually makes clothes with an Asian flavor, and is thus initially worried, but he finds inspiration on Jackie’s reputation as a risk-taker and decides to do a statement piece. Valerie wants to make separates.

The designers spend 30 minutes and $150 at Mood. Tim advises them to keep taste, elegance, and expensive-looking materials in mind. Mondo lets the fabrics “speak to him” and takes the ones that grab his fancy, while Ivy feels lost, as she has no vision. She has decided on a color palette, though: black and white or navy and white. Good move, using dark colors.

In the workroom, the designers get to work. Mondo starts draping material, but isn’t sure how to proceed. Gretchen comments that Mondo is too Mondo and not enough Jackie Kennedy. Mondo switches his dress for a skirt with a top. Michael D. doesn’t like sportswear, so he’s going dressier than he usually does. He is using the kinds of fabrics associated with sportswear and hopes that will be enough to appease the judges. He jokes about getting eliminated for making something that looks too expensive, which amuses Valerie. Michael C. thinks his own dress looks like something from The Crucible.

Valerie would really like to win a challenge, and not just be in the top three. By my reckoning, she’s been in the top three four times, but hasn’t won. The fact she brings this up means she will either finally win or end up in the bottom. Ivy notes that a lot of designers don’t seem to know what sportswear is. Christopher seems to be making a cocktail dress, for instance, while Valerie seeks advice from the other designers. Michael C. doesn’t like his backless dress, so he’s trying a new idea. Andy notices how big his pants are; he could fit in one leg.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and starts with Christopher, who tells him he’s inspired by Jackie Kennedy’s “energy.” He’s decided to add trim to his design, and Tim approves, as this makes it look more expensive. Tim moves on to Valerie, who is making slim black pants. Tim thinks the pants are vulgar and urges Valerie to be very mindful of the fit.

Tim finds that Michael C. has made two dresses. He gave up on the first dress because it looked “too cocktail,” but the second dress looks even more so. Ivy hopes that her model’s walk will give her pants more dimension. Andy’s pants are beautifully draped.

Tim is startled by the oversized herringbone print Mondo is using and says he can’t believe that herringbone comes in a Mondo color. (It’s purple.) Michael D. admits that his skirt is too heavy and Tim says it also looks too “Annie Oakley .” Michael D. comments that fashion is cyclic and old styles can look new again. True, but I don’t think Jackie Kennedy was into Wild West looks.

The models come in for their fitting, and Ivy has only a shirt ready for her model. April assures us that Jackie Kennedy would never wear Andy’s outfit, especially with the fit going up the model’s butt. Valerie thinks Michael C.’s dresses look too Donna Karan.


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