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Project Runway 10, Episode 10: Fashion for the Rockettes

Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced the ever-popular textile challenge, in which they had to design their own print fabric.  They then had to use the result to make a look inspired by their own cultural heritage.  Dmitry won and Gunnar was sent home.

The following morning, Fabio and Dmitry talk about missing Gunnar.  Somewhat later, Ven and Christopher move in with them.  Over in the women’s room, Sonjia notes that Elena is the only designer left who has yet to win a challenge.

The designers then meet Tim at the Radio City Music Hall, where Tim introduces them to the Rockettes, who are all dressed in spangly, short red dresses.  The Rockettes then perform a can-can for the designers.  Mid-way through the performance, Heidi, who is dressed in a green version of the Rockettes’ costumes, joins them in their dance.  Afterwards, she tells the designers what the challenge is:  Design a dance costume for the Rockettes.  The winning costume will be used in a future performance by the Rockettes.  Heidi then introduces the designers to Linda Haberman, the Rockettes’ director and choreographer, who spells out the requirements for a good Rockettes costume:  It must be versatile enough to be worn all year round, allow freedom of movement, and be spectacular both up close and from far away.

The designers will have the traditional 30 minutes to sketch, and they will also have access to some sample costumes, so they can get a feel for what the Rockettes typically wear while performing.  While examining the costumes, Ven notes the elaborate beading.  Dmitry tells us he knows what dancing costumes require, since he used to be a dancer himself.  Melissa decides on a hot pink outfit with a geometric pattern.  Elena tells us that she knows the costume has to be “functional” and “eye-catching.”

The designers then head to Mood, where they have a budget of $250.00.  This proves to be a problem for many of the designers, who naturally want to get all the spangles and baubles they can get their hands on.  Sonjia and Ven both have trouble finding stuff they like and can afford.  Elena does find things– only to discover that she is a good $150.00 dollars over-budget.  She therefore has to put stuff back.

At Parson’s, Tim tells them they will have until only 7:30 that night to work, as he will be taking them out to dinner.  Mercifully, this will be a two-day challenge, so they will have plenty of time the next day to work on their costumes.

The designers then get to work.  Elena worries that her royal blue costume will look like a high-school band uniform.  Sonjia, it turns out, doesn’t sketch; she’s apparently one of those designers who let the materials at Mood “speak” to her or something.  Today, they stayed mute, and she doesn’t know what to do.  Eventually, she decides to make a short skirt made of purple feathers.

At the day’s end, the designers go to a nice restaurant– where they seem to get plenty of wine.  Elena apologizes to Dmitry for her past behavior, while Ven talks about the woes of being the youngest in his family.  From the sound of things, his siblings were all significantly older than he was.

The following day, the designers get back o work.  Melissa has cut out 18 pieces of black and hot pink fabric that she now has to sew into a costume.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, and he starts with Sonjia, whom he can immediately see is in trouble.  She needs to “commit” and make a top of some sort to go with her feather skirt.  Elena admits that her look resembles a band uniform, and Tim agrees with that assessment.  (Royal blue may not have been the best color choice for a Rockettes costume, as it does remind people of cheerleaders or marching bands.)

Dmitry seems to be having better luck.  He’s using a deep purple fabric and making a “geometric look.”  Tim likes it so far.  Fabio is having problems with the sequins on his silver look.  He calls his look a “bitch” and Tim suggests, “Bitch-slap that bitch.”

Christopher shows off his piece which will have the New York skyline across the chest.  Tim likes it, but warns Christopher that his skirt is too short– as in it could expose the dancer’s crotch.  Melissa is doing some hand-beading on her piece.  Tim, worried that she won’t finish, suggests a way to speed up the process.  He likes the contrasting colors, but the look does need sparkle.  Ven is making a pale blue garment, and plans to cover up the see-through parts.  Tim advises against that, as they’re the most visually interesting part of the look.

After his rounds, Tim announces that he’s concerned about the challenge, as he doesn’t think the designers have the resources to do the job properly.  Therefore, he’s giving them an extra $100.00 and 15 minutes at Mood to get the things they need.  Ven, Dmitry, and Fabio all opt to stay behind, as they believe they already have what they need.  The others take Tim up on his offer and head out to Mood.  Melissa is having trouble finding sequins she likes and can afford, so Christopher gives her $50.00 to help her out.  She stocks up on black sequins.

Back at Parson’s, the models come in for their fitting.  Sonjia still doesn’t have a top for her model to try on.  Melissa’s look needs more sequins.  Sonjia takes time out to call her boyfriend, who misses her– and gives her some badly needed encouragement.  She then gets back to work with a new purpose.  At 11 p.m., the designers head home.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  Ven helps Melissa hand-stitch her dress.  The models come in for their final fittings– and Christopher’s sleeve rips as his model pulls on the top.  Melissa rips her invisible zipper and consequently freaks out.  Sonjia’s model has to struggle to get into her look.

Then it’s off to the runway, where the guest judge is revealed to be the actress Debra Messing.  What, it’s not Linda Haberman or somebody actually else connected with the Rockettes?  Messing, it turns out, is in Smash, a T.V. show about Broadway.

Dmitry is up first and he made a deep blue-purple costume out of a sequined material.  The skirt boasts a fringe, and the top has a high collar and a single long sleeve.  There are also angled cut-outs in the top.

Melissa made a sleeveless, color-blocked hot pink and black outfit that has her trade-marked straight-edge neckline.  The black parts of the costume have been decorated with sparkles and sequins, and the pattern on the front unfortunately looks like a  large number one.  Oops.

Ven made a pale blue mini-dress with a halter top that has a see-through section right below the breasts.  The fabric is sparkly, but is otherwise quite plain.  Ven’s look lacks the embellishments his peers used in their designs.  It looks more like a cocktail dress than a dancer’s costume.

Elena made a sleeveless, royal blue costume with lots of cutouts, which she then outlined with lots of silvery white crystals.  She also used the same crystals to outline a “belt” around the waist.  She used even more crystals to create a V-neck design on the front.  She then used sparkling blue bracelets and shoes as accessories.

Christopher made a mostly silver costume with the New York skyline wrapping around the model’s chest and back.  The parts that aren’t silver are “nude,” like pantyhose, and he decorated these with silver sequins, to simulate the stars in the night sky.  (Personally, I’d have used a dark blue material, to provide greater contrast and thereby make the stars and the buildings stand out more clearly.)  Give the man points for a clever idea.

Sonjia made an outfit with a skirt fashioned entirely out of purple feathers.  She made the sleeveless top out of an iridescent fabric with a pattern unfortunately reminiscent of fish scales, and she used more purple feathers to create epaulets for the shoulders.

Fabio apparently thinks the Rockettes perform in ancient Rome, for he made what looks like a silver and gray gladiator’s outfit.  He added black and silver trim to the collar and “breast plate.”

After the show, Heidi calls Fabio and tells him that he’s safe.  The other six will have to face the judges.  They start with Sonjia, who tells them she wanted to make something flirty and fun.  Heidi says the dress isn’t a showstopper, and Nina points out that feathers are fragile, which means the costume wouldn’t come even close to lasting a year.  Debra agrees and adds the feathers would probably molt.  Nobody wants to see 36 dancers shedding feathers all over the stage.  Michael thinks the outfit looks more like a cocktail dress than a dancer’s outfit.

Dmitry wanted to make something modern and glamorous.  Heidi loves it.  She’s especially fond of the fringe.  Michael calls it “exciting,” and Nina loves the color.  The judges note that the skirt moves, which is important for a dancer’s costume.  Debra thinks it’s beautifully made.

Ven wanted to make an eye-catching silhouette and adds that his costume looks like glass from a distance.  Heidi thinks the look’s boring.  She calls it “just a dress” and scolds Ven for not taking that second trip to Mood.  Michael says there’s a difference between “simple” and “boring,” and that Ven’s outfit is boring.  Nina adds that she would have liked more drama.  Debra disagrees– but dislikes the uneven hemline.

Melissa tells the judges that she was inspired by the Art Deco design of Radio City Music Hall itself.  Heidi calls the dress a showstopper– and then points out the giant number one, which she does not like.  She likes the colors, but thinks the skirt is too short.  Michael also hates the number one, but calls the dress graphic and dramatic.  It’s too much like a cocktail dress for his taste, though.  Nina likes the color and the vintage styling, while Debra likes the sparkles.  She finds the neckline awkward, though.

Christopher explains that he wanted to use the skyline in his design as an homage to New York.  Heidi loves the style, and Nina loves the skyline.  Nina thinks it’s chic and Debra loves it.

Elena tells the judges that she wanted to focus on movement and distance.  Michael thinks it’s busy, tacky, and would suit a Las Vegas cheerleader.  Debra thinks it would make a good circus costume.  Nina thinks Elena made a horrible choice with her fabric– and then compounded the problem by matching all the accessories to that royal blue.  Heidi thinks it’s too cheesy and also thinks it looks like something from Las Vegas.

The judges then have their chat.  Dmitry had made a modern and architectural look.  Christopher’s look was chic and used an “iconic” vision.  Melissa had chosen a good color scheme.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Sonjia had made a “crazy cocktail dress.”  Ven’s look was boring and suggest he doesn’t know what to do without his beloved origami rose.  Elena had simply made an ugly costume.  The judges do note that Elena had at least not made her usual silhouette.

The judges then announce their decision.  Melissa is in and Christopher is the winner.  Dmitry and Sonjia are in, leaving Ven and Elena in the bottom two.  Elena is in, which means Ven is out.

Next week:  The designers have to make baby clothes– and mind crying baby dolls.

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