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Project Runway Season 10: Of Lexus and the Emmys

Last week on Project Runway, the designers confronted the “unconventional materials” challenge, in which they had to make clothing out of candy.  Ven won and Lantie was sent home.

On the runway, Heidi tells everybody that they will have to make a red carpet look.  She then sends them off to meet with Tim, who is standing in front of a bunch of luxury cars.  He then informs everybody that this is the “Lexus challenge,” in which they will have to make a red carpet look fit for the Emmys.  The designers will also have to incorporate their car’s color in their look, and they will have to work in teams of two.  There are the usual groans at this, as working with a partner involves compromise at best and muting one’s own fashion sensibilities at worst.

Instead of drawing names from the usual Ominous Velvet Bag of Unnecessary Drama, Tim gives  working car keys to everybody.  Each pair of designers will then pick up their client.  They will have thirty minutes to talk to their client and $300.00 to spend at Mood.

Andrea and Christopher get the brown car and go to pick up their client, who turns out to be Anya, the winner from Season 9.  Sonjia and Nathan pick up Valerie from Season 8, while Buffi and Elena get Season 3’s Laura.  Ven and Fabio pick up Kenley of Season 5, and Gunnar and Kooan get Irina from Season 6.  Raul and Alicia pick up Season 7’s Mila, while Dmitry and Melissa get April from Season 8.  April has dyed her hair again– and it’s lavender this time.

We get the usual complaints and commentary from the contestants.  Gunnar is worried about being teamed with Kooan, who had been in the bottom.  Ven is concerned about Fabio’s skills, as the latter has so far been a strictly middle-of-the-pack contender.  Alicia and Raul, on the other hand, are pleased to be working together, as they both specialize in menswear.  Um, they do know that Mila’s not a dude, right?

The designers meet with their clients and talk things over.  During this, Andrea and Christopher wisely ask Anya what she does not want.  She responds she doesn’t want anything flowy or that looks like she herself could have made it.  She wants something a bit more structured for the Emmys.  Afterwards, the designers sketch for the traditional 30 minutes.

At Mood, Tim reminds everybody to think “Emmy red carpet.”  Elena and Buffi both like outfits with big shoulders and look for material they can use for that.  Melissa and Dmitry drew the silver car and thus frantically look for a silver fabric that doesn’t look cheap and that they can use.

At Parson’s, everybody gets to work.  Gunnar is worried about both working with the eccentric Kooan and making a look for the outspoken and demanding Irina.  Raul notes that Mila also has a strong opinion.  Ven says that he and Fabio decided to make a look that would incorporate Kenley’s silhouette and their fashion sensibilities.  Smart.

Tim comes in to tell the contestants they have until midnight to complete the look–and that the winner will accompany their client to the Emmys.  Note the singular.  This may be a team challenge, but there will be only one winner and one loser.  Elena tells us that she and Buffi have divided their work– and Buffi isn’t happy about the division of labor, since it involves her ironing the pleats in the dress, while Elena does the actual designing.  Raul and Alicia and working on a black and red print dress.  Ven DR’s that he doesn’t like working with Fabio, as he considers him ignorant.  Dmitry and Melissa moan about the difficulties of working with silk charmeuse.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he’s brought the clients/previous contestants with him.  He and Irina stop by Gunnar and Kooan, who have only a dress form with tape to show for their efforts.  Irina does not look happy, and Tim warns them that their current design– as marked out on the dummy– could look vulgar.

He and April are much happier with Dmitry and Melissa’s efforts.  April loves the fabric and Tim notes that the dress looks almost liquid.  Dmitry or Melissa know their draping, it seems.

Tim and Mila stop by Alicia and Raul, and both question their fabric choice, saying the red and black print looks too “daytime” and casual.  Raul suggests using black fabric instead.  Mila accepts this– apparently forgetting that the contestants are supposed to use a fabric the same color as their car.  Alicia and Raul had driven a red car, not a black one.

Next up are Ven and Fabio, and Kenley literally squeals with delight when she sees the navy blue dress that they’re working on.  She applauds Ven’s taste in fabric, and thinks the dress itself looks like a “modern Grace Kelly.”  Valerie, although quieter, is similarly pleased with the gold dress Nathan and Sonjia show her.

Anya has reservations about Christopher and Andrea’s look, as she believes it shows too much skin.  Tim agrees and says the gown should either have a low-cut front or a low-cut back, but not both.  The contestants decide to fill in the front and keep the low-cut back.

Last up are Elena and Buffi, who are making a black dress for Laura.  She notes that it’s very “ambitious,” which is often code for “you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.”  She then suggests a different way to do the pleating, which upsets Elena.  Buffi calls Elena a “perfectionist,” leading the latter to stomp out.  Buffi considers leaving herself, but some of the other designers suggest she stay and work.  (In other words, take advantage of Elena’s absence to do some construction, as opposed to mindless pleating.)

Elena eventually comes back to work, expressing shock about the lack of time.  (Hasn’t she watched this show?)  Christopher DR’s that Elena is like somebody who came out of the woods.  Elena tries to justify her own behavior by talking about how she grew up in the Ukraine and therefore had to be tough.  If I had a dollar for every time somebody confused “toughness” with “rudeness,” I would be about as rich as Bill Gates.

Meanwhile, Christopher thinks Andrea is working much too slowly.  The clients come in to try on their dresses, and Raul tells us that he hates red carpet looks.  That’s practically blasphemy to the average designer, who lives for the chance to make a fancy gown– but Raul is a menswear designer.  When men attend red carpet events, they wear black tie or the like.  Thus,  while Raul is probably used to making the occasional tuxedo, he’s probably never made a gown before.  On that note, it’s time for everybody to go back to the apartment.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  The clients, who will serve as models, come in.  Kenley (loudly) likes her dress.  Christopher thinks Andrea is lackadaisical as well as slow.  Irina spots a flaw in the back of her dress and demands that Kooan or Gunnar fix it, thus upsetting Kooan.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judge, an actress named Krysten Ritter, who plays the lead in Don’t Trust the B_____ in Apartment 23.  She also used to be a model.

Buffi and Elena made a long black gown for Laura.  It has a pleated, sleeveless bodice.  Christopher and Andrea made a brown gown for Anya.  It has an open back and an awkwardly placed and overly long slit going up the front.  Anya is also wearing a thin studded belt that looks fine from the front– but looks strange from the back, as it’s well above any fabric.

Ven and Fabio made a knee-length navy blue dress for Kenley.  It has Ven’s signature pleats on the front.  (He needs to watch that.  Sooner or later, the judges will get bored with it.)  Dmitry and Melissa made a long silver gown out of silk charmeuse for April.  It has 3/4 length sleeves, an exposed back, and a sash.

Raul and Alicia put Mila in a plain black gown.  It’s sleeveless and has a cutout in the back.  They added a plain red belt, since the rules said they had to incorporate their car’s color in the design– and they didn’t drive a black car.  For some unfathomable reason, they also gave poor Mila an ugly hair extension to wear.

Gunnar and Kooan made a sleeveless white gown for Irina.  They added a gauzy white scarf and a silver collar necklace to jazz it up.  Sonjia and Nathan made a glittering gold gown for Valerie.

After the show, Heidi calls Nathan, Sonjia, Dmitry, Melissa, Elena, and Buffi.  They are safe and will move on to the next round.  The other four teams have the highest and lowest scores between them and will have to face the judges.  Elena wishes she had placed in  the top and not merely been safe.  The judges’ call strikes me as strange, as I thought Nathan, Sonjia, Dmitry, and Melissa had made the best dresses.

Heidi goes on to say that Gunnar, Kooan, Fabio, and Ven had the high scores, while Andrea, Christopher, Alicia, and Raul had the low scores.  The judges then start with Ven and Fabio, who had wanted to present Kenley with modern luxury and make a dress with clean lines.  (Actually, it’s Ven who does all the talking here.)

Nina thinks it looks expensive, while Heidi likes the color and the fact they made it short.  Krysten disagrees, saying a dress for an awards show ought to be longer.  Michael loves how they polished Kenley’s natural style.  When asked who should go to the Emmys, both guys nominate themselves.

Gunnar and Kooan tell the judges they were aiming for old-school class.  Gunnar adds he was happy to work on a white dress, while Kooan admits he’d been working outside his comfort zone.

Heidi calls the dress “eye-catching” and says she’d wear it.  Nina likes the overall design, and Krysten likes the bare shoulders.  Michael likes the silhouette.  When asked who should go to the Emmys, Kooan simply points at Gunnar, who happily agrees.

Then the judges talk to the low-scoring designers.  Raul and Alicia talk about how they’d wanted to give their look a menswear vibe.  Mila says she’d wanted something more fitted.  Heidi thinks the dress is boring and Nina calls it frumpy.  Heidi also hates the hair extension ponytail.  Krysten also dislikes the dress and Michael wonders aloud why Raul and Alicia didn’t play to their strengths and use a menswear fabric instead.  When the judges ask who should go home, Raul and Alicia at first try to protect themselves by saying it was an equal partnership– and then Raul admits that he’d drawn the design.

Finally, Christopher and Andrea have to try and defend their look.  Christopher doesn’t even try– he just says he’s “mortified.”  Heidi thinks they bit off more than they could chew, while Nina thinks the look is hackneyed and outdated.  Krysten thinks it looks like something you could buy for Halloween, and Michael calls it “bad pageant,” especially with that awful slit.  When the judges ask who should go home, Andrea and Christopher begin arguing, and there’s a lot of “he said, she said.”  Christopher gets upset and Andrea calls the conversation “demeaning.”

After that, the judges have their chat.  Gunnar and Kooan made a dress with a great silhouette, but chose the wrong fabric.  Ven and Fabio worked well together to produce  a chic and expensive-looking dress.  By contrast, Christopher and Andrea had made a cheesy and clichéd dress, while Alicia and Raul had made a frumpy dress with zero sex appeal.

The judges then announce the winner, and it’s Ven.  Fabio, Kooan, and Gunnar are all in.  Christopher and Andrea are also in, leaving Alicia and Raul in the bottom two.  Alicia is in and Raul is out.

The following morning, the women wake up to find Andrea has disappeared.

Next week:  Andrea is gone and one of the guys also considers quitting.