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Project Runway 11: The Art of Fashion

Last week on Project Runway, the teams were shuffled again.  The designers also confronted the Lord & Taylor challenge in which they had to make a spring look inspired by the Lord & Taylor rose.  (Yes, there were a lot of pink and coral dresses…)  Michelle won and Samantha was sent home.  Not only did Michelle win the right to stay and design, but she won the right to have Lord & Taylor sell her dress.

The next morning, both Layana and Michelle talk about how unhappy they are that Samantha was eliminated over Richard.  They then discuss the idea of mixing the teams so that it would be men versus women.  (They actually say “boys versus girls,” but since everybody left is over twenty-five, I won’t.)  Naturally, they assume that the women would have the advantage, but I tend to think it would depend on the type of challenge and Stanley’s ability to corral the other two men.  He is easily the strongest and most consistent male designer standing.

At the runway, Heidi sends everybody to meet Tim at the Guggenheim Art Museum.  He explains that the Guggenheim was built to house the most cutting-edge and innovative modern art in the world.  He also announces the judges have reshuffled the teams again.  Stanley and Michelle  will work together, which gives them an immediate advantage, as neither one is prone to time-wasting histronics.  Richard and Patricia are a team, as are Layana and Daniel, which means that Patricia and Daniel have both been saddled with an immature, unreliable teammate.

The challenge is the ever-popular HP Intel textile challenge in which the designers will have to make their own print.  Each team will have to make a conceptual “wearable art” piece along with a ready-to-wear companion piece.  Tim urges the designers to make the conceptual piece as “big” and “over-the-top” as possible.

The designers are given thirty minutes to explore the museum and sketch.  Layana is soon drawn to a wire sculpture.  She and Daniel agree that she will do the conceptual piece, while Daniel will do the ready-to-wear.

Stanley is intrigued by a crescent-shaped sculpture.  He and Michelle decide to work on the conceptual piece together, and then do the ready-to-wear.  Om the last team, Patricia will do the conceptual look, while Richard will do the ready-to-wear.

Back at Parson’s, the designers find HP graphics computers and a lot of art supplies waiting for them.  They will have an hour to design their textile.  Michelle sketches a woman’s face, saying it’s supposed to be of a woman on the brink of insanity.  Stanley likes the sketch, they decide to make the faces yellow against a black background.  Patricia and Richard decide upon a design with long triangles in it, while Daniel and Layana choose a geometric pattern.

Afterwards, the designers head out to Mood, where they will each spend $200.00.  Patricia picks out silk organza and leather.  Richard realizes that the judges are getting sick of his jersey knit and looks for something else.

Back at Parson’s, Tim makes an announcement:  The winning designer will get 10 grand and a new graphics computer from HP Intel.  After he leaves the designers get to work.  Michelle paints a design on some fabric.  It strikes me as a good idea to start with that, so the paint will be dry by the time of the runway show.  (This is a two-day challenge, by the way.)  Patricia is working on her conceptual dress, while Richard is fiddling with a black bracelet.  He tells us that he can’t start until he knows what her look is.  Um, couldn’t he ask to see her sketches, or is she one of those designers who doesn’t sketch?

The following morning, the designers find their textiles waiting for them, and everybody is pleased by how their fabrics came out.  Daniel, however, is not amused when Layana tries to hog all of the fabric for her flared, draped dress.  He’d like some for his skirt, thank you very much.  Layana isn’t happy with how her look is turning out.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, and he starts with Stanley and Michelle.  He’s pleased with their looks and is especially impressed by the train  on the “wearable art” look.  He can see at once that Patricia and Richard are having major problems.  He comments that Patricia’s look has a lot going on and adds that she should let it go and let it flow.  Seeing how little Richard has accomplished, he wonders aloud if Richard is trying to sabotage Patricia by having her be responsible for everything.  Richard denies this and Tim tells them that they need a “make it work” moment.

Tim likes the geometric print that Daniel and Layana made.  He’s less impressed with Layana’s dress, which he calls “flat and lifeless.”  Layana bursts into tears and talks about how it’s hard for her and how she’s been second-guessing herself.  Tim gives her a hug.  She’s still upset and so goes off to cry some more, which worries Daniel.  She eventually collects herself and decides to make an evening gown with an eccentric edge.  Michelle amuses herself and Stanley with an impression of Nina critiquing her look.

The models come in for their fitting.  After that it’s time to go and get some rest back at the apartment.

The following morning, it’s the day of the runway show.  The designers get back to work, and Stanley and Michelle discover a problem.  They had decided to use plastic bubble wrap in their conceptual look and painted it black.  The paint isn’t completely dry yet, so they have to wipe some of it off and hope the remainder will dry in time for the show.  Then the models come in to get dressed and go to hair and make-up.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the judges.  Rachel Roy is filling in for Zac Posen again.  The fashion designer Tracy Reese is the guest judge.  She’s known for her ready-to-wear looks and use of patterns.

Layana is up first.  She made the “wearable art” look, which is a gown made out of the textile that she and Daniel had designed.  Said textile has a black, gray, and green geometric pattern against a white background.  She then wound a lot of black tulle around the gown.  She also made a matching headpiece out of the tulle.

Daniel made the ready-to-wear look, a black blazer with a plunging neckline.  He also made a miniskirt out of the textile he and Layana had designed.

Patricia made the “wearable art” look, a long multi-colored skirt made out of their textile paired with a tunic that has a similar color scheme.  She added a white veil to the look.

Richard made a sleeveless top out of the multi-colored textile Patricia had designed and a very short pleated white skirt that curved inward to the point it seemed to constrict the model’s legs.

Michelle and Stanley’s “wearable art” piece consists of a long skirt made of bubble wrap painted black.  They made a sleeveless shirt out of the black and yellow face print that Michelle had designed.  Over that, they put a sleeveless dark green coat with a train.  The train had a white, branch-like pattern painted on it.  The model also wore a spiraling headdress made out of the same green material as the coat.

Stanley and Michelle’s ready-to-wear look is a high-waisted dress made out of Michelle’s black and yellow face print.  The sleeveless bodice is black.

Afterwards, Heidi tells the designers that she’s pleased with their efforts.  The judges then start with Michelle and Stanley, who describe the “wearable art” dress as one worn by “a torrid, dark woman on the brink of insanity.”  Heidi and Rachel both love the print.  Nina can definitely see that the woman wearing the “wearable art” look is “spiraling out of control.”  The judges deem the looks to be a well-matched pair.  When Nina asks who did what, Michelle answers that she had designed the print and hand-painted the train.  Stanley had made and painted the bubble wrap skirt and the ready-to-wear look.

The judges then talk to Patricia and Richard.  They say they can see that Richard had had trouble.  Rachel doesn’t think the two looks go together.  Heidi likes Patricia’s look, but not Richard’s.  The judges think Richard’s weird pleats look as if they are fighting each other.

Layana had wanted to do a very modern print, while Daniel was inspired by the Guggenheim’s architecture.  Heidi says that Daniel’s look was her favorite.  Nina calls it sleek and modern, and Rachel likes the blazer.  Nina thinks Layana’s look was a hodge-podge, and she can see that Layana had struggled with it.  Tracey thinks Layana’s look seemed like something from the 19th century.

Afterwards, the judges have their chat.  They didn’t like Patricia’s veil and the print looked circusy.  Richard had made a very bad skirt, and done so poorly overall that the judges wonder if Patricia had let him hang himself.

Michelle and Stanley made a very good team, and had combined his sophistication with her whimsy to good effect.  The coat was beautiful.  Layana made something fir for a Southern belle, but Daniel had done a good job with his ready-to-wear look.

Heidi then announces the judges’ decision.  Stanley is the winner and Michelle is in.  Daniel and Layana are both safe, leaving Patricia and Richard in the bottom.  Patricia is in, while Richard is out.

With Richard gone, Michelle becomes the last non-minority standing.  She is also the sole survivor of the hapless Dream Team.  At this point, she and Stanley all but have a lock on the finals, leaving the other three to duke it out for the remaining spot.

Next week:  The designers have to make a celebrity editorial look.  There won’t be any more teams, but the designers will have helpers.