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Project Runway 10, Episode 11: Fashions For the Youngest Set

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make a dance costume for the Rockettes.  Christopher won by making a costume that incorporated the New York skyline, while Ven was sent home.

The next morning, the designers get ready to face the day.  Melissa and Sonjia are both surprised by Ven’s departure.  Sonjia notes that there are now no longer any safe spots in the competition, so a designer will be either in the top or in the bottom.  Christopher, with three wins under his belt, believes he has a good chance of getting to the finals.

The designers meet Heidi and Tim at Babies R Us.  In case you’ve been living on Mars for the past few weeks, Heidi has a new line of baby clothing, Truly Scrumptious, that is sold at Babies R Us.  The challenge, obviously, is to make an outfit for a toddler.  Their models will be actual toddlers, and the camera pans over to a group of youngsters accompanied by their mothers.  Dmitry is all but cringing when he hears this: “We are all screwed.  Those babies are really, really small.  It’s like designing an outfit for a cat.”

Heidi then uses the velvet bag to assign a toddler to a designer.  As it turns out, three of the toddlers are boys, and three are girls.  There will therefore be two winning looks:  a boy’s outfit and a girl’s outfit.  (Why wasn’t this challenge held earlier in the season, when there were more designers left?)  The outfits should be for children who are up to 24 months old.  Heidi will supply all the needed materials, so there will be no trip to Mood.

The designers have a half-hour to consult with the mothers.  For the record, Elena, Melissa, and Christopher will be making girls’ outfits, while Fabio, Sonjia, and Dmitri will be making boys’ outfits.  One of the girls’ mother asks Elena to put her little darling in a blazer.  Another mother asks Melissa for something feminine and pink.  One of the boys “helps” Dmitry draw.  Fabio tells us that he used to be a babysitter.  His boy’s mother tells him that she likes vintage clothing for both herself and her young man.

Heidi then tells the designers that she will provide the designers with dossiers, supplies,  toddler-sized mannequins.. and a “surprise.”  There are murmurs of dismay when the designers hear this last, for they know that Heidi’s “surprises” tend to bode ill for them.  They’re right to be worried, for when they get back to the workroom, they find the promised supplies– and “Baby, Think It Over” dolls.  These are baby dolls designed to teach teenagers about some of the realities of parenthood– namely that babies are completely dependent on their parents, and that one’s days of hanging out at the mall are finished if you have a kid.

Tim explains that the baby dolls are to teach the designers about what babies need.  The dolls cry like real babies, and have to be fed, changed or rocked.  Okay,  THIS IS STUPID!  The designers have only until 9:30 to complete their looks, and they have to divide their precious time between actually working on said looks and caring for a yowling piece of plastic.  Not only that, but a better, more realistic way to learn about toddlers would be to either consult with their mothers awhile longer and/or watch the kids at play in a playground.  That would have given the designers a better sense for toddlers’ needs than the dolls, since toddlers tend to run around and get into things.  The dolls just scream.  Finally, it’s also quite insulting to the designers, who all range from mid-20′s to mid-30′s, to treat them like clueless teenagers.

Sure enough, the dolls scream and cry, distracting the designers.  Fabio’s the only one who seems to be enjoying his doll.  He names it “Brandon” and plays with it.  Most of the other designers seem to mirror
Elena’s feelings about the dolls:  She christens hers “A@@hole.”  The designers sort through Heidi’s supplies, and Fabio tells us that he likes kids and would like to have some of his own one day.

Melissa decides to make something that’s easy to put on and take off.  The designers all note how small the garments will have to be.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he’s got Heidi with him.  They start with Elena, who is making a denim jacket with a pleated collar.  It gets Heidi’s seal of approval.  Dmitry is working on a red hooded jumpsuit for his toddler.  He says he wants a “firefighter look” for his young man.  Heidi is also pleased with it.  Sonjia is making a gray outfit with navy accents.  Both Tim and Heidi like the jacket she’s made so far and look forward to seeing the rest.

Christopher explains that his toddler’s mother had very specific demands:  white denim jacket, an asymmetrical collar and so forth.  Heidi suggests that he also make a little dress with appliquéd flowers all over it.  Melissa is making pink and navy leggings with zebra stripes.  Heidi comments that she’s already selling similar pants, and feels that there’s no “fun factor” in the look.  Back to the drawing board, Melissa!

Afterwards, Heidi announces a twist:  The designers have to make a companion piece for the mothers.  The baby outfits should still be front and center, though.  The designers will get an extra day to do the work.  They will also have fifteen minutes to sketch, and a $150.00 to spend at Mood.  Oh, and they have to bring their “Baby, Think It Over” dolls with them, which is completely ridiculous.  Elena apparently agrees with my assessment and asks for someone to shoot her.  After shipping at Mood, they get back to work.  The designers then leave for the day at 10 p.m.  Unfortunately, they have to take their dolls with them.

The next morning, they wake to the sound of crying babies.  Dmitri mutters, “Oh right, I forgot.  I’m a father now.”  After getting dressed and soothing their charges, they head to work.  There, they work on both baby clothes and women’s clothes.  Mercifully, Tim stops by to take the plastic brats to “daycare,” so the designers can actually get some work done.

The mothers and toddlers come in for their fittings.  Christopher’s toddler’s mother dislikes everything he’s made, and goes so far as to compare the dress he’s made for her to a tablecloth.  Ouch.  Sonjia comforts Christopher by reminding him that Heidi is the real client, and that pleasing her matters more than pleasing the mother.   Then it’s time to go home again.

The next morning is the day of the runway show.  Melissa is very behind, and at one point has to ask her toddler’s mother to sew on a button for, as Christopher and the others have remembered that they’re in a competition and stopped helping her.  Christopher’s toddler’s mother apologizes to him for her earlier remarks.  The mothers then go to hair and make-up.  Melissa keeps frantically working on her mother’s companion piece and doesn’t stop until Tim orders her to do so.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judge, Hilary Duff, who is an actress and a new mother.

Fabio is up first.  He made a navy jacket and matching pants with white trim for his young man.  He also made a shirt out of a multi-colored monster print, and he used the same print to put a pocket on the front of the jacket and some decoration on the back.  He then used the monster print to make a baseball cap for the wee lad.  Mother is wearing a sleeveless blue and white floral print dress.

Melissa made a blue vest with a Sesame Street-type monster on the back.  She then put her little girl in a rumpled, overly short white dress that has a zipper down one side.  It’s impractical and probably won’t stay clean longer than two minutes.  Mother is wearing a black shirt, black shorts, and a shapeless brown vest.

Dmitry made a red hooded jumpsuit for his little boy.  It’s got a car decorating the front, and the hood is pointed, so the kid almost looks like a crayon.  The pants end at about the knee and look a bit like knickers.  Dmitry also made a two-toned blue shirt.  Mom is wearing a gray dress with long sleeves.

Sonjia made a gray suit for her young man.  It’s got navy blue trim decorating the collar and pockets.  Sonjia also made a polo shirt out of the monster print for him.  Mother is wearing a long gray skirt and long-sleeved black shirt.

Christopher made a white denim jacket and a white dress covered with appliquéd white flowers and green leaves.  It’s the sort of thing a grandmother would buy because it looks so “adorable.”  It’s also the kind of outfit that would be worn on special occasions like Easter Sunday and would therefore probably be worn exactly once before the kid outgrew it.  Mother is wearing a sleeveless flower print dress.

Elena made a dark blue jacket with a pleated collar, pistachio green pants, and a salmon pink shirt.  The little girl is also sporting a hairband of the same pink.  The hairband is a bit much, and the color combination isn’t the best, but this outfit would probably get a lot more wear than Christopher’s.  Mom is wearing a black skirt and a sleeveless tan top.

Afterwards, nobody is safe, just like Sonjia anticipated.  The judges want to speak to everybody.  They start with Sonjia, who wanted to make sportswear for her toddler.  Heidi thinks the outfit looks comfortable.  Hilary notes that, since it’s separates, it can be dressed up or down.  She also thinks it looks polished.  Nina thinks it looks smart and sporty– and easy to work with.  It wouldn’t take a lot of fuss to dress or undress this little boy.

Melissa had wanted to make an asymmetrical jacket.  Heidi likes the jacket, which is really a vest, but doesn’t like the dress.  She notes that it rides up, exposing the diaper.  Michael dislikes the fabrics used for the baby’s outfit, but like the mother’s outfit.  Hilary calls the dress impractical.

As for Fabio, he wanted to do a modern version of the traditional little boy’s sailor suit.  Michael thinks it looks practical.  Heidi likes the baby’s outfit, but not the mother’s.  Nina likes both looks– and it turns out that Fabio is a master of illusion, for his “suit” is actually a onesie.  It just looks like separates.  The judges are suitably impressed.

Elena wanted to make separates that could be dressed up or down.  She adds that the mother wanted something form-fitting.  Michael says the jacket is well-made.  Heidi dislikes the pants.  Nina doesn’t like the jacket, as she considers it impractical.  She does like the mother’s outfit.

Dmitry wanted to make a sporty, cool, and comfortable look for his toddler.  Michael likes the graphic aspects of the look, such as the car, but thinks the outfit is a bit costumey.  The judges debate over whether this is actually a bad thing, since little boys often enjoy dressing up like superheroes.  Hilary simply notes there’s a lot of red.  The judges do like the mother’s outfit.

Christopher wanted to make a white denim jacket and a look fit for a special occasion.  Nina says it’s adorable but impractical.  Heidi thinks it’s cute.  Michael thinks both the toddler and her mother look as if they’re on their way to a brunch.

The judges then have their chat.  Fabio had done a good job with his updated nautical look.  Sonjia had made comfortable separates that could be mixed and matched with other clothes for a wide range of looks.  Dmitry’s look was boyish and adorable– but resembled a crayon.

As for the girls’ looks, Christopher’s look was charming and had a lot of details.  The judges liked the dress better than the jacket.  Elena’s look was “all over the place.”  The jacket was nice, though.  Melissa had made a great vest, but her dress was too grown-up for a toddler.

The judges then announce their decision.  Sonjia had made the best boy’s outfit, while Christopher had made the best girl’s look.  They’re the winners.  Dmitry and Fabio are in, leaving Melissa and Elena in the bottom two.  Melissa is in, so Elena is out.

Next week:  It’s the final challenge before Fashion week, and the designers have to make an avant-garde look.

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