Category Archives: Fashion-Modeling

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.

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.

Project Runway 10, Episode 9: The Art of Using Prints

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to work in groups of three and design fall clothing.  They also had to do their own fund-raising by offering t-shirts and fashion advice to the mostly uninterested citizens of New York.  Elena and Dmitry nearly came to blows, while Alicia stayed out of their way and the other teams remembered to act like professionals.  Sonjia won with a gorgeous dark green jacket and Alicia was sent home.

The next morning, Christopher notes that the competition is half-way over.  Dmitry and Elena wisely decide to avoid each other.  On the runway, Heidi tells the designers that the next challenge will call for an “individual inspiration.”  (Gunnar tells us, that if he wins, he’ll spend some of the money on boots for himself– and a boob job for his mother.  Such a devoted son…)

The designers go to the workroom, where they find Tim with Mondo Guerra,  last seen as the winner of Project Runway All-Stars.  They announce that it’s time for the HP and Intel textile challenge.  The designers will have to create their own patterned fabric and then design a look inspired by their cultural heritage.  Mondo goes on to tell the designers about his own experiences with this challenge in Season 8.  He then warns them not to be too literal.  Anything resembling a national costume will likely get them booted.

Tim adds that the textile must be “prominent” in their look.  In other words, it can’t just be used as trim or an accessory.  The contestants will have an hour to design their textile– and special guests will be bringing them information about their heritage, so they should have plenty of inspiration.  The special guests turn out to be the designers’ loved ones:  Fabio’s partner, Ven’s sister, Dmitry’s best friend (who is female), and the other designers’ mothers all come in for a tearful reunion.  The “information” they bring turns out to be slides and videos of the designers’ families.

Gunnar DR’s about how he was bullied as a child and often turned to his mother for comfort.  Christopher shows his mother how to use the fancy HP gear, while Dmitry decides to make a red pattern based on traditional Belarus designs.  Ven tells us that he was born in Guyana, but that his ancestors come from India.  He will therefore use a pink hibiscus in his print, as that flower is often used in Hindu rituals.  Christopher, by contrast, doesn’t have a clue what to do; he hates prints and thus doesn’t use them.  Gunnar, meanwhile, draws a bird design to symbolize his escape from bullying.

The loved ones leave and it’s time for the designers to go to Mood, where they will have a budget of $100.00  They will pick up supplementary fabric, buttons, zippers and so forth.  After that, it’s back to work.

Christopher designs a black skirt.  He tells us that he’d finally made a lady-bug design, as  lady-bugs were important to his family.  Oh, boy.  A lady-bug print is a tough sell for anybody over ten.  Sonjia has decided to make pants, and Dmitry, remembering the judges’ scolding, has decided to make separates, rather than his usual dress.  Christopher still isn’t sure what to do, as he won’t have the bulk of his fabric until the next day.  Make a cute accessory to go with the dress, maybe?

Tim comes in to send everybody home, as their loved ones are back at the apartment fixing them dinner.  Melissa and Christopher find their fathers have joined the party, and everybody has dinner together.  After the loved ones leave, Christopher worries that he won’t be able to stay motivated.

The next morning, the designers find their fabrics ready and waiting for them.  They’re excited, and so am I.  Dmitry , Christopher, and Melissa all have prints with a lot of red in them.  Huzzah!  Color!  Fabio tells us that his print is a stylized representation of reproductive organs, which are the source of all life.  Not only does that strike me as being in questionable taste, but the thin lines of the drawings don’t show all that well against the dark background.  Christopher, still struggling, is now having problems deciding on a silhouette.  Ven is working on folded decorations for his dress.

Gunnar tells Sonjia about how he’d been bullied as a kid.  He then shows her his print, which depicts a bird flying away from a pair of “wretched hands,” symbolizing his eventual escape.  He later experiences a case of buyers’ remorse, though, when he finds that the print is hard to match up at the seams.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Christopher, who has made two lady-bug dresses and can’t decide which one to continue working with.  Tim calls one “expected,” which should be a cue to pick the other one.  Sonjia shows him her pants, which have a black, blue, and red pattern against a white background.  She explains that she’s African-American and chose colors and a tribal-looking pattern that represent that.  Tim seems pleased, but warns her that the fit of the pants will have to be perfect.  Tim then stops by Dmitri and thinks his design looks “prim” so far.

Ven is up next and Tim is not impressed by the white dress with the hot pink flowers and scrunched-up pink and white decorations on it.  The decorations are especially bad, and Tim calls them an “homage to the menstrual cycle.”  The decorations resemble “maxi-pads,” in his opinion.  Tasteless, but I can see it.  The folded decorations are about that size and shape, and while humans don’t have hot pink blood, still…  Back to the drawing board, Ven!

Fabio shows Tim his fabric– but doesn’t mention what the design is supposed to be.  Melissa shows Tim the dress she’s working on and Tim tells her to be more ambitious.  Elena shows Tim her look– and beats him to the punch by admitting that it looks like a hospital scrub.  She already has an idea in mind to fix that:  add a high collar.  Tim likes that idea.  Last up is Gunnar, who explains his bird imagery.  Tim thinks the look might be a bit too literal, as it resembles armor and has a heavy yoke.

After that,  the models come in for their fitting, and Ven revamps his dress, starting by removing the offending decorations.  After that, it’s time to go home.

The next morning the designers get back to work.  Tim stops by to send in the models for their final fitting and to have their hair and make-up done.  He also tells the designers that their loved ones will be watching the runway show.  Gunnar’s mom stops by to assure him that she likes his dress.

Then it’s off to the runway.  Heidi introduces the guest judges, Mondo Guerra and Anya Ayoung-Chee, both of whom are Project Runway alumnae who had won the textile challenge during their respective seasons.

Sonjia is first and had used her patterned print to make a pair of pants.  The print is black, red, white, and blue, and has a tribal design.  Sonjia also made a black shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and a draped back.

Elena also opted to make separates.  She made a pale gray mini-skirt.  She’d made a yellow, violet, and blue print with an abstract design and used that to make a short-sleeved top.  The top has navy blue trim and a zipper down the front.

Christopher made a cocktail dress.  It’s strapless and he used black organza to obscure the red and white lady-bug design.

Ven had made a print which consisted of hot pink hibiscus on a white background.  He used that to make a draped, one-shoulder top.  He also made a plain white skirt with intricate folds that create his beloved abstract rose.

Fabio made a long black sleeveless dress.  He used his print to make a vest.  Melissa made a red and white with a geometric pattern which she used to make a short-sleeved cocktail dress.

Gunnar made a black skirt.  He used his black and white bird print to make a jacket.  He also used thin black trim to try to hide the fact that he couldn’t get the fabric seams to line up just right– and it doesn’t work.

Dmitry is up last and he made a suit.  He used his red geometric print to make a shirt, and he also used it as trim on his black jacket.  He then added geometric cutouts to the back of the jacket, so the print shirt could show through.  He used a black skirt to complete the ensemble.

Heidi then calls Elena and Fabio and tells they are safe.  The other six have to face the judges.  They start with Melissa, who explains that she is of Polish descent and therefore wanted to use the colors of the Polish flag in her look.  Heidi thinks the front part of the sleeves looks like wings, while Michael thinks the dress look upscale.  Mondo likes it, but thinks the styling is too predictable.

Ven explains his Indian heritage and Heidi thinks the dress looks like something a Hawaiian stewardess would wear.  She also points out that the folded flower design in the skirt doesn’t mesh well with the hibiscus print.  Michael is simply getting sick of seeing flowers week after week after week.  When Ven denies having ever been told by Tim to lay off the flowers, the judges call Tim, who explains how poor Ven’s original design was.  He hadn’t mentioned Ven’s overuse of flowers– this time.   Mondo and Anya both think the look is too busy.

Dmitry tells the judges that he was born in Belarus to a family of artists.  Michael applauds Dmitry for stepping out of his comfort zone and not doing another dress.  Mondo calls the jacket a show-stopper– and then adds that this is a print challenge.  Heidi calls it “stunning” and Anya also likes it.  Nina calls the jacket “phenomenal,” and then adds that Dmitry overstyles.

Gunnar tells the judges about his problems with bullying and the symbolism behind his look.  Heidi finds it bizarre and confusing, while Michael thinks the look isn’t compelling, even though the story behind it is.  He adds that the print looks like “bird postage stamps.”  Nina gets “sadness and struggle,” but again doesn’t see the print’s impact.  Mondo says it’s too chaotic, and Anya is simply confused by it.

Sonjia tells the judges that she wanted a print that looked tribal, in a nod to her African ancestry.  Heidi praises the fit of the pants.  Anya likes the overall look, while Nina likes the draped back.  Michael appreciates Sonjia’s attention to detail.

Christopher explains the rationale behind his lady-bug print.  Heidi calls it a “simple” dress and Nina says it’s “expected.”  Mondo thinks Christopher overdesigned his look, and Michael thinks the print looks like upholstery.  Ouch.

The judges chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Melissa’s dress is colorful and polished,  Dmitry made beautifully tailored clothes and used the peek-a-boo effect very well.  Sonjia made perfect, expensive-looking pants.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Christopher had made a mediocre dress and tried to hide a bad print with black organza.  Ven’s dress was proportioned well, but he needs to stop doing flowers.  Right now.  Gunnar’s dress is poorly proportioned and in questionable taste.

Heidi announces the judges’ decision.  Melissa is in and Dmitry is the winner.  Sonjia and Christopher are in leaving Ven and Gunnar in the bottom two.  Gunnar is out, while Ven is in — but  Heidi and Michael then warn him that they are sick of folded flowers and want to see something else.

Backstage, Gunnar and Christopher make up and part amicably.

Next week:  The designers have to design a costume for the Rockettes.

Project Runway 10, Episode 8 – Fall Fashions, Sort of

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make a look that 1) would complement nine other looks made by Project Runway alumnae, and 2) could be and would be sold by Lord and Taylor.  As everybody met the parameters of the challenge, at least in the sense of no obvious train wrecks, the judges decided not to send anybody home.  The real reason, of course, was two designers bailed unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  Keeping everybody after this challenge enabled the producers to bring the numbers back up where they wanted them.  Christopher won the challenge.

Speaking of Christopher, he’s not at all happy about the decision to keep his arch-rival Gunnar, who would have been sent home if things had gone normally.  Ven is also unhappy that there was no elimination.

At the runway, Heidi asks the contestants who among them is a good negotiator.  Everybody, including Elena and Ven, whose people skills have been shown to be sorely lacking, raises their hand.  Heidi, bemused, then sends everybody to meet Tim, who will fill them in on the details.

When the designers get to Parson’s, they find the place looking like a summer camp rather than design studio.  Everyone’s work space is covered with arts and crafts supplies, including glitter, much to Elena’s horror.  Tim explains that this week, there is no budget for Mood.  The designers will have to earn their money for Mood by making craft projects and then trying to sell them to the good people of New York.  The designers will have three hours to make stuff.

Tim then twists the knife by announcing that this will be a team challenge, in which everybody will work in trios.  There will be no group leader, either.  Cue the moans and groans.  Christopher tells us he does not want to work with Gunnar, while Dmitry informs he doesn’t want to work with Elena.  Their prayers go unanswered as Tim announces the teams.  Team 1 consists Christopher, Sonjia, and Gunnar; Team 2 will have Dmitry, Elena, and Alicia; Team 3 consists of Ven, Melissa, and Fabio.  Team 3 seems to have two distinct advantages:  no known rivalries between the members, and said members have all won at least once.  Fabio himself notes the second advantage.

The three teams start work on decorating their t-shirts and totebags.  Elena, naturally, dislikes the results of her group’s efforts.  Sonjia seconds that opinion and says the shirts look like something a homeless person would wear.

After that, Tim gives the teams two hours to sell their wares.  He adds that they can try to sell other things, too, like fashion tips.  During this part of the challenge, Elena demonstrates that she would make a lousy sales clerk, as she actually describes the shirts as “crappy.”  Even the designers who try to put a positive spin on things find there is a very limited market for their goods.  Team 1 eventually resorts to having Sonjia sing for their supper– so to speak.  At the end, Team 1 has earned $684.00, Team 2 has earned $500.00, and Team 3 has earned $800.48.   (Somebody paid them in change.)

Tim then describes the challenge itself:  Make two fall looks.  At least one of the looks will have to include outerwear.  Sonjia is delighted to hear this, since it will give her the opportunity to make a coat or jacket.  The three teams are then given the traditional thirty minutes to sketch and plan their looks.   Team 1 decides to use leather and hunter green in their looks.  Elena on Team 2 thinks they should concentrate on picking fabrics and worry about color later.  Well, we all know that she and Dmitry will probably pick black or gray, anyway.  Surprise, surprise, Team 2 starts picking out shades of gray when the gang goes to Mood.  At least they’re getting stuff.  Team 1 has problems making up its collective mind, and they eventually decide to split up to get things.

Back at Parson’s, the contestants get to work.  Well, most of them get to work.  Elena and Dmitry spend precious time squabbling over whether to do a dress or separates.  Listening to them, Christopher likens them to Boris and Natasha from Bullwinkle.  I’m amazed he knows about them, since that cartoon aired in the early 60’s.  On the other hand, there was a movie, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, that was made in 2000.  He probably saw that as a kid.  Alicia, meantime, decides to avoid them and just work.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Team 2.  Dmitry is working on a dress and fringed shawl, while Elena is making a coat and Alicia is making pants and a shirt.  Tim finds the sleeves on the coat “distracting,” and he warns Alicia to mind the crotch of her pants.  He visibly shudders when he sees that Dmitry has opted for exposed darts on his dress.

Next up are Team 3.  Ven has been working on a fanned skirt that Tim decrees is not cohesive with the rest of the collection, which include a coat, a jacket, and pants.

Team 1 is last, and they tell Tim that they’re shooting for an “Army feel.”  Christopher is working on a trench coat while Sonjia is making a jacket.  Gunnar is making two dresses.  Both Christopher and Sonjia discuss the possibility of using leather for their sleeves, and Tim thinks that’s overkill.  He tells them not to overdesign and to mind their proportions.  Details will be crucial to this collection.

Over on Team 3, Ven reluctantly scraps his skirt and starts work on another one.

The models come in for their fitting, and Christopher finds his coat doesn’t quite fit, so he needs to fix it.  Gunnar’s dresses, however, seem to be fine so far.  Alicia also finds that her pants don’t quite fit, and Elena chews her out about this.  Dmitry points out that “tailored” doesn’t mean “tighter,” thus getting into another fight with Elena.  Alicia just tries to fix her pants and ignore them.

On the day of the runway show, Fabio works on his coat, while the oft-surly Ven works on Melissa’s pants so she can finish her white jacket.  Tim sends in the models, who get dressed and go to hair and make-up.

Project Runway 10, Episode 7 – On Mixing Art and Business

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to design outfits for regular, non-model women.  As you may have learned via the Internet, Ven acted like a complete jerk and was horribly rude to his client.  Nathan tried to please his (taste-impaired) client, but failed to please the judges, who sent him home.  Fabio won the challenge.

The following morning, Christopher tells us that he misses Nathan.  Sonjia and the other women agree that male designers are more likely to put women in outfits they want to see them wear, while female designers are better at making clothes women would actually wear.  There may be some truth to that as women designers are generally better at remembering that other women usually wear bras and thus design accordingly– but it still feels like tempting fate (or the producers) to actually say it.

When the designers assemble on the runway later that morning, Heidi sends them off to meet Tim on 5th Avenue.  They find him at Lord & Taylor’s flagship building.  Tim then introduces them to Bonnie Brooks, the president of Lord & Taylor.  She and Tim show the contestants nine dresses on display.  Each of them was made by a Project Runway designer from the previous nine seasons:  Jay McCarroll (S1), Nick Verreos (S2), Uli Herzner (S3), Chris March (S4), Korto Momolu (S5), Gordana Gelhausen (S6), Seth Aaron Henderson (S7), Mondo Guerra (S8), and Bert Keeter (S9).

In honor of Project Runway’s making it to 10 seasons, the designers will have to make a look that complements the nine on display.  The dress will have to retail between $200.00 and $300.00.  The winning look will be displayed in a window along with its nine fellows, and it will be sold on Lord & Taylor’s website.

The designers will have the traditional thirty minutes to sketch, but there will be no trip to Mood.  Lord & Taylor will send them materials from their own supplier, JS Collection.  As the contestants sketch, Gunnar decides to make a Little Black Dress similar to Jay’s dress.  Christopher notes that there are only two gowns in the collection and decides to contribute a third.  Dmitry decides to make a cocktail dress to go with the seven already there.  Elena, by contrast, has no clue what to do.  She’s used to making avant-garde pieces, not commercial outfits.  Project Runway usually has at least one designer of her stripe; they think of themselves as artists first– and businesspeople not at all.  Unfortunately, if designers expect to make a living, they have to learn to balance artistry with commercial appeal.

Back at Parson’s, the designers find that JS Collection has already delivered the fabrics and trimmings that they’re supposed to use.  Elena realizes that she is going to have to rethink her plans as the materials she’d hoped for aren’t there.  Tim tells the designers that they have until 11 p.m. to finish.  Sonjia tells us she’s nervous and less confident than usual because of last week’s trip to the bottom.  While she’s right to be concerned, as the show has reached a point where more than one trip to the bottom will get you sent home, she shouldn’t psyche herself out to the extent she is.  Gunnar, on the other hand, is excited by the challenge.

Christopher notes that most of his fellows are making cocktail dresses, which makes him even more determined to deliver a gown, as it will stand out.  He’s also using his shredded material technique, despite his worries that the judges might ding him for using it again.  (He’s used it in two other challenges, if memory serves.)  Elena worries that her usual style won’t fit Lord & Taylor’s aesthetic.  Some of the other designers debate over how long a cocktail dress should be:  to the knee or not?

Ven is going to do his rose-on-the-chest thing again.  He also tells us that men are stronger designers, but women are more practical.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, and he starts with Gunnar.  He likes Gunnar’s look and advises him to trust his gut.  Alicia tells him that her work is inspired by Chanel.  Tim thinks it looks like armor.  He notices Sonjia’s nerves and tries to calm her down, warning her that she’ll give herself a “psychotic breakdown” if she tries to second-guess the judges.  Fabio is making something with an exposed zipper and Tim likes it.

Elena is working on a black dress with cut-outs in the back.  When Tim warns her that it might be too expensive, she bursts into tears.  She’s struggling and not used to making clothes for a mass market.  She’s afraid even her simplest work won’t be simple enough for Lord & Taylor.  Gunnar goes over to try and comfort her.

Next up is Dmitry.  He tells Tim that his dress might look expensive, but it’s actually cheap to make.  Tim is pleased to hear that and he likes how the dress looks, too.  Tim likes Christopher’s gown, but worries that the shredding technique might be overdone at this point.  Melissa worries about the brocade she’s using.  Tim advises her to see how it moves.

The models come in for their fitting.  Melissa dislikes the results so much she decides to scrap her dress and start over.  Elena notes that the women seem to be having more trouble with this challenge than the guys are.  On that note, it’s time for everybody to go home.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  Practically everybody is making some version of a cocktail dress, except for Christopher who is working on a gown.  Melissa decides to stick with her brocade and design the rest of her dress around it.

Tim sends in the models, who go to hair and make-up.  Melissa is still frantically working on her dress.  Sonjia breaks down crying, and Tim tries to reassure her.  He tells her that he likes her dress and advises her to channel her “inner winner.”  Then it’s off to the runway, where Heidi introduces the guest judge, Bonnie Brooks.

Fabio is up first.  He made a sleeveless black cocktail dress with an asymmetrical skirt.  In the back, it has an exposed zipper and harness-like straps.  Melissa made a sleeveless bronze cocktail dress with an asymmetrical skirt.  There are side cut-outs below the arms exposing the breasts a tad, and the back is completely bare.  The neckline is straight and the bustier is made of some stiff material that can stand up on its own.

Project Runway Season 10, Ep. 6 – Real Women and a Real Jerk

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to work in teams to make collections suitable for a professional woman.  More specifically, they had to make a collection suitable for a professional woman who reads Marie Claire.  The designers also had to do their own photoshoot.  Team 6 won the privilege of having their photoshoot published in Marie Claire.  Melissa won individual immunity while Raul was sent home.

The next morning the designers get up.  Dmitry tells us that he really wants to win a challenge– and that he’s starting to lose confidence in his abilities.

On the runway, Heidi greets everybody and then tells them they are going to have different clients.  A group of men and women troop onto the stage, and Heidi explains that they are not the clients, but the friends of the clients.  These people all have a friend they believe is in dire need of a make-over.  With that news, Heidi sends everybody to the workroom to see Tim.

Tim starts off by introducing the designers to Johnny Lavoy, a hair stylist.  He and his team have been working on the models’ hair all season.  He explains the challenge is a hair and clothing makeover.  The designers, of course, will provide the clothes, while Johnny and Co. will do the hair.  Part of the challenge is to make sure the clothes and hairstyles complement each other.

Tim explains the rest of the rules.  They’ll have thirty minutes to talk to their clients, thirty minutes and $150.00 to shop at Mood, and the usual day to complete the challenge.  The designers don’t get to pick their clients, as they’ve already been randomly assigned to them.

Sonjia gets Amanda, a tomboy who likes sweatshirts.  She describes herself as “short and pear-shaped.”  She also dislikes shopping.  She and Sonjia eventually agree on a dress.  Elena’s client is Jenna, who wants something colorful– and is wearing a top that could just about make one’s eyes bleed.  Christopher meets Kate, who wants a jacket and a dress suitable for work.

Ven gets Terri, a mother of four who wants a “business casual” look suitable for the office.  Ven is not at all happy to meet her, and sneers, “You know these women have wide waistlines and hip lines.”  Excuse me?!  Have you looked at yourself lately, pal?!  You’re no skinny Minnie, either, buster.  He goes on to add that he’s used to designing for models.  It figures.  Every time Project Runway does a “regular person” challenge, there’s always at least one designer who balks at having to make clothes for somebody who isn’t five feet ten and rail-thin.  In Season 9, Olivier actually needed an education concerning bra sizes because he was so flummoxed by his client’s sizable chest.

Dmitry’s client, Angela, tells him that she likes comfortable clothes with contrasting colors.  Alicia gets Martina, who wants something that will help her meet a man.  Melissa’s client, Kandace, asks for a dress.  Nathan’s client, Lian, is an R&B singer who wants something sexy she can wear on stage.  She’s delighted to hear that Nathan has a musical background himself.  Fabio’s client, Ko-Rely, is an androgynous woman who doesn’t want anything too sexy.  Gunnar gets Kim, who tells him that she’s nervous and excited.  Gunnar tells us that he thinks this could be a fun challenge and that he likes designing for the average woman.

The designers then head out to Mood for their traditional thirty minutes of shopping.  Fabio has decided to do color-blocking and hunts down as many shades of gray as he can.  Ven tells us that buying fabric for a plus-sized woman is challenging.  Dude, get used to it.  The average American woman wears a size 14.  Nathan tells us that his client wants a form-fitting dress with an exposed midriff and cut-outs.  Oy.  He’s got my sympathies, for the judges are not going to like that at all.

Back at Parson’s, it’s time for the clients’ hair makeovers.  Melissa thinks her client would look good with red hair.  Ven thinks Terri needs more volume in her ‘do.  Fabio asks for an asymmetrical bob for Ko-Rely.  Tim pops in to tell the designers they have until 11:00 to finish their looks.  Ven whines that Dmitry has a thinner client than he does and goes on about how “unfair” that is.  Act your age, not your shoe size, Ven.  You’re 28.  Act like it.

Gunnar talks about his younger brother.  They’d had a strained relationship until the latter joined the military.  Fabio takes time to call his lover, Jason, and to say hi to their calico cat.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Nathan, who tells him about his client wanting an exposed midriff.  Tim shudders when he hears this and warns Nathan against vulgarity.  Christopher is making a jacket and dress, while Elena is working on a high-waisted garment.  Gunnar tells Tim that his client, Kim, had asked for something bold.  Tim approves of his efforts.  Ven tells us that he thinks Gunnar’s construction skills need work.  Whatever, pal.

Fabio shows off his color-blocked dress and Tim seems to like it.  Sonjia is making a draped dress.  She’s a bit worried since her client, Amanda, is shorter than her usual clients.  Tim agrees she will have to watch her proportions.  Ven, still upset, tells Tim that he’s never made clothes for a “real woman” before.  He goes on to say that Terri has no shape and no sense of style.  He calls her “plus-size,” and Tim tells him that size 14 isn’t really plus-size; it’s “on the cusp.”  Tim then adds that clothes can provide an “optical illusion.”  That means that the right outfit can make a heavy person look slimmer.

Alicia has been cheerfully working on her look and Tim is surprised by the pink fabric she’s chosen as it’s not her usual style.  Last up is Dmitry, who is making a blue dress.  Tim thinks it might be too conservative.

With that it’s time for the clients to come in and try on their duds.  All of them have their new hair-dos.  Fabio and Elena’s clients are both pleased with their new outfits.  Alicia’s client loves the pale pink dress she’s made.  Nathan’s client likes the color scheme he’s chosen for her look.  Ven does compliment Terri on her new hairstyle– and then humiliates her by having her try on a bunch of belts, all of which are too small for her.  Oh, come on!  Belts come in sizes, too.  Try checking them beforehand, idiot.  Ven then complains that the accessories are all too small for Terri– whiles she’s standing right there.  Jackass.  Gunnar speaks for everybody by DRing that Ven is being rude to his client.

The following morning, the designers get ready to leave their apartment– and Ven is still complaining about his client’s girth.  He complains during the prep time, too– and Terri tells him that he’s embarrassing her.  Christopher tells us that he thinks Ven is being very rude.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judge, Alice Temperly, an English fashion designer.  With that, it’s time to start the show.

Nathan made a mini-dress out of shiny, royal blue satin.  He wove strips of the satin in a diagonal pattern across the front.  The shoulders and long sleeves are made of a translucent black material that looks a bit like pantyhose.  The dress also has black panels down the sides.

Project Runway Season 10: Pretty as a Picture… Or Not

Last week on Project Runway, Andrea and Kooan shocked their fellow designers– and a good chunk of the country– by quitting.  Raul was thus brought back into the competition.  The designers also dealt with the week’s challenge:  Design a look for Michael Kors, who asked them to make a day-to-night outfit suitable for a woman “on the go.”  Sonjia won and Buffi was sent home.

Next morning, Gunnar tells us that he’s sorry to see Buffi go, but acknowledges that’s part of the game.  Melissa, who has seen all of her roommates leave, moves in with the remaining women.  In the guys’ area, Raul and Christopher talk about having each other’s backs.

At Parson’s, the designers tense up when they see Heidi carrying the black velvet bag.  Rather than tell the designers what their challenge will be, Heidi calls Nina to the stage.  Nina then tells them that Marie Claire has recently produced a spin-off magazine, Marie Claire at Work, which is, of course, dedicated to fashions for high-level professional women.    As the designers have already guessed, the challenge will be a team challenge.  Cue the groans and muttering.  Everybody has somebody that they do not want to work with.

Each team will make a collection suitable for a female executive.  The designers will have until 11:00 p.m.– and they need to be completely finished, as they will also do their own photoshoot first thing the next morning.  Nina tells them that their designs not only have to be suitable for a professional woman, they also have to be “editorial,” which means they have to photograph well and look good in a fashion magazine.  The winning team will have their photos shown in Marie Claire at Work.

As the last week’s winner, Sonjia gets to pick her first teammate, and she chooses Elena, citing her technical skills.  Heidi reaches into the velvet bag and draws out Nathan’s name.  He’ll be on the opposing team and gets to pick his first teammate, Ven.  The usual schoolyard pick’em proceeds, with Raul being left for last.  He’s livid about this, of course, and he’s also angry that Christopher didn’t pick him.  Christopher tells us in a DR that he didn’t pick Raul  because he knew that he and Ven don’t get along and decided that Raul would do better on a Ven-less team.  (He also probably didn’t want to deal with the drama that usually results when designers who dislike each other wind up on the same team.)

In the end, Sonjia’s team consists of Elena, Melissa, Dmitry, Alicia, and Raul.  Nathan gets Ven, Christopher, Fabio, and Gunnar.  Sonjia’s team, which has one extra person, will be responsible for six outfits and have a budget of $1200 to spend at Mood.  Nathan’s team will make five outfits and have a budget of $1000.  Tim tells the two teams that there will be no leaders, and he promptly dubs them “Team 6” and “Team 5,” based on the number of designers on each team.

The two teams then get their traditional 30 minutes to plan their strategies.  Sonjia wants to avoid trainwrecks by having everybody work on their strongest pieces.  She will therefore make a couple of skirts, Dmitry and Melissa will work on dresses, Alicia will make pants, and Elena and Raul will make tops.  Raul protests, saying he’d rather make pants, as he thinks that’s his strength.  He’s apparently forgotten about last week’s disaster, when he made pants that were several inches too small.  The others haven’t, and eventually overrule him, with lots of shouting and drama.

Over on Team 5, Nathan thinks they should use a fall theme with appropriate colors.  In fact, Team 5 decides to call their collection, “Fall in Color.”  They’ll use black, white, jewel tones, and prints.  Team 6, on the other hand, is having trouble picking a theme.  At Mood, while his teammates search for fabrics in the agreed-upon colors, Nathan tracks down such necessities as thread, buttons, and zippers.  Team 6 is so disorganized that they actually leave a bag behind– and it’s the one containing the wool that Elena had wanted for one of her tops.  She ends up using some jersey instead.  She and Raul both (loudly) proclaim their displeasure at having to work on a team, and at one point, both of them stalk out of the workroom to sulk elsewhere.  Over on Team 5, Gunnar feels that Nathan, Ven, and Christopher are calling all the shots and he hates it.  He especially hates that Nathan questions his aesthetic.  Eventually, Elena and Raul cool off enough to get back to work.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, and he starts off with Team 6, who have gotten a surprising amount of work done.  Sonjia explains how they’d divided the labor.  He likes Raul’s ruffled black shirt and Dmitry’s dress.  Elena worries aloud that one of her pieces is too plain, and Tim assures her that it’s not.  In general, he’s pleased with their progress.

He isn’t as happy with Team 5, who have accomplished significantly less, and don’t have a lot on the dress forms.  They are using a lot of silks and bright colors, and Tim warns them that too many bright colors can look “clownish.”  He also cautions them that lace can look “matronly.” He especially dislikes a purple skirt with black lace on it.  He exclaims, “Olé!” upon seeing it and adds that it looks “costume-y.”

After Tim leaves, Gunnar decides to scrap his skirt and make a dress instead.  He adds that he’s not going to listen to his teammates any more.  Um, in the real world, kid, you don’t have that option.  You have to listen to your clients and co-workers.

Over on Team 6, Sonjia wants to know when Raul will finish his shirt, so she can make the accompanying skirt and have it go with his shirt.  When he basically blows her off, she gets annoyed and decides to make the skirt anyway, and let the chips falls where they may.

Elena and Melissa notice that Ven, Christopher, and Nathan all like to use silk chiffon.  They call them the “silk chiffonnies,” and comment that silk chiffon may look nice, but isn’t the most practical material for office-wear.  Elena then jeers at Dmitry for incorporating navy blue in his dress, demanding, “Who wears navy blue anymore?”  Dmitry responds that she should have said something during the caucus, since it’s too late to change colors or fabrics now.  He DR’s that he bets Elena’s attitude probably causes her problems.

The models come in for their fitting, and Melissa notices that her dress doesn’t fit.  Christopher is dithering over whether or not to belt his jacket.  Ven informs us that Gunnar has no taste.  Dmitry tells us that he thinks Ven is a “one way monkey, I mean, one-trick pony.”

By the time Raul finishes his vest-like top, the models have already left, so he gets Elena to try it on.  She calls him “Eddie Munster,” and notes the vest is shapeless and lacks darting.  (Darting or darts is a line sewn into a garment like a blouse or vest to make it more form-fitting and to give it shape.)  Before going home, the designers grab the accessories they plan on using at the photoshoot.

The next morning, it’s off to the photoshoot.  There,  the designers are told that they will have three hours and will have to choose three photos for the judges to examine.  While the models get dressed and made-up, Elena drives everybody nuts by ordering them around, prompting Nathan to DR that Team 6 seems a little tense.  During Team 6’s shoot, Elena and Raul argue about whether to use props or not.  Elena hates the props and thinks they’ll distract from the looks, while Raul argues that the judges will expect them to use the props and might penalize the team if they don’t.  Given that the designers were specifically told about the props, I suspect he’s right.  (If I’d been present, I’d have suggested a compromise:  two pictures with props and one without.  That way, the judges can’t ding the team too badly for not using the props at all.)

Eventually, both teams do their photoshoots and select their pictures.  Then it’s back to Parson’s, where the models go to hair and make-up again.  Then it’s off to the runway, where Heidi introduces the guest judge, Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief at Marie Claire.

Team 5 is up first.  Nathan gets the ball rolling with a pair of white slacks and a black and purple print top with only one shoulder.  It’s nice– but I can’t think of too many offices where that type of look would fly.  The pants could work, though.

Christopher made a white shirt and a black jacket with mid-length sleeves.  He then made a knee-length, pleated skirt.

Gunnar made a knee-length black skirt trimmed with the black and purple print.  He also made a white top that shows too much skin for the office.  It’s sleeveless and has a cut-out in the back that makes wearing a bra impossible.  Unfortunately, Gunnar’s model is large enough up front to need a bra, and the front of the shirt looks baggy.

Fabio made a short black and white dress with color blocking.  It also has short sleeves.  He also had the model wear a turban-like headdress made out of the black and purple print fabric.

Ven made a knee-length white skirt and a sleeveless black shirt with — surprise! — his trademark sculptured pleating on the front.  It’s nice and looks suitable for the office, but he really does need to come up with another trick or three.  One trick ponies usually only get so far.

Team 6 is next.  Melissa is up first and she sends down a sleeveless royal blue dress.  It has an exposed silver zipper diagonally going down the back and a large cowl neck collar.  It probably wouldn’t work for a banker or a lawyer, but an artistic type could probably pull it off.

Elena and Alicia teamed up on the second look.  Alicia made brown pants, while Elena made a black shirt and a matching jacket.  They livened up the look by having the model wear royal blue pumps and carry a clutch of the same color.  I can see somebody wearing this to the office, although I’d suspect they pick shoes with a lower heel.

Sonjia and Raul worked on the third look.  Sonjia made a knee-length, royal blue pencil skirt.  Raul’s contribution is a sleeveless striped black top with ruffles going down the front– and ruffles generally don’t work that well for an office look, especially if the woman has large breasts.  A professional woman who wants to be taken seriously isn’t likely to choose clothes that emphasize or exaggerate certain parts of her anatomy.

Elena and Alicia both worked on the fourth look.  Alicia made a pair of black pants, which look fine for the office, while Elena made a black with massive, poufy shoulders that make it look like a cross between a biker jacket– and a costume from Medieval Times.  I can’t think of any office where that look would fly.

Dmitry made a short, color-blocked black and navy-blue dress.  It’s sleeveless and has a small v-neck collar.  It also has an exposed zipper and triangular cut-outs in the back, which means a woman would need a jacket or a sweater if she actually wore it to work.

For the last look, Sonjia made a knee-length draped skirt out of striped black fabric.  Raul made a black tank top out of what looks like leather.  For the office?!  Is he for real?!

After the show, Heidi explains that the teams got exactly the same scores.  Both teams had some great looks– and some not-so-great looks.

Team 5 will face the judges first.  Ven tells them that they wanted to use black, white, and prints.  Heidi calls Team 5’s looks chic and sophisticated.  She also likes their fabric choices.  Nina’s favorite piece was Christopher’s skirt, while Michael liked Fabio’s look.  Joanna thinks the collection looks easy to wear.  She also likes Ven’s outfit.

Nina, on the other hand, dislikes Nathan’s draped pants, saying they look too “soft” for a corporate woman.  She calls them “pajama pants.”  Heidi dislikes Gunnar’s outfit and thinks it looks cheap.  In a blatant attempt to stir up drama, she then asks the team who the weakest link is.  Fabio tries to dodge this trap by naming Ven, whom he acknowledges is the strongest competitor and isn’t going to be sent home.  Everybody else, including Gunnar, names Gunnar.  The normally cocky Gunnar didn’t think much of his own efforts this time around.

Then it’s Team 6’s turn, and they explain how they’d divided the labor between them.  Sonjia tells the judges that the idea was to have everybody play to their strengths.  Nina loves Melissa’s dress, calling it “editorial” and a “showstopper.”  She also likes Alicia’s pants and appreciates the fact that she made them different widths.

Michael also likes the blue dress, but hates the ruffles Raul put on his top.  Heidi agrees on both points.  Joanna likes Sonjia’s royal blue skirt, but hates Raul’s ruffled top.  Heidi likes Dmitry’s dress, but Joanna doesn’t as she thinks the cut-outs in the back would make it inappropriate for work. On the other hand, she does like Elena’s big-shouldered jacket.  Perhaps jokingly, she says it would be a good look for a lawyer, and Heidi responds that she’d be scared of a lawyer who wore it.  When Heidi asks who the weakest link is, both Elena and Raul are mentioned.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Melissa made a dramatic and wearable dress.  Fabio’s look photographed very well.  Christopher’s outfit looked modern and powerful.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Elena is obsessed with huge shoulders to the point that her looks can be unflattering.  Her more normally proportioned jacket, though, was both flattering and work-appropriate.  Raul’s two tops were simply horrible.  Gunnar’s blouse was unflattering and poorly cut.

As for the photoshoots, both teams did a good job overall.  Team 6 crafted modern and polished photos.  Team 5 had a good work scene in one photo– that unfortunately obscured some of the clothes.  Ooops.

Nina then announces the winner of the photoshoot:  Team 6.  Their photos will appear in an issue of Marie Claire at Work.

Heidi then announces which designers are safe.  Alicia and Christopher are both in, and Melissa is the winner.  Fabio, Sonjia, Ven, Dmitry, Nathan, and Elena are all in, leaving Gunnar and Raul in the bottom.  Raul is out, which means Gunnar is in.

Next week:  The contestants have to make clothes for plus-sized clients.

Project Runway Season 10: On the Go or On the Run

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to work in pairs to make a red carpet look fit for the Emmys.  They also had to make their frocks for actual clients, who were all former Project Runway contestants.  Ven won by pleasing the loudly enthusiastic Kenley, while Raul was sent home for saddling Mila with an unflattering black dress.  The next morning, Buffi and Melissa wake up to find that Andrea has disappeared in the night.

Christopher, who doesn’t know that Andrea has departed, worries about facing her at Parson’s, as he thinks he may have crossed a line during last week’s judging.  Kooan DR’s that he doesn’t feel good, and Gunnar notes that he’s unusually quiet.

The designers then leave their apartment to meet Tim at Michael Kors’ new store on Madison Avenue.  It’s huge and filled with everything a fashionista could want from clothes to accessories to make-up.  The designers are suitably impressed.

Tim informs them that Andrea has left the competition; neither he nor anybody else has had any contact with her, but the folks in production believe she’s all right.  The designers are shocked and disgusted by this news, as they know that thousands of people try out to be on the show.  At least one comments that Andrea, a teacher, is setting a very poor example for her students.  Michael comments, “Fashion’s not for sissies.” and Tim urges the designers to “bounce back” from any mishaps.

Michael then describes this week’s challenge.  He starts by describing the type of client he wants them to have in mind:  “a woman on the go.”  She’s a work hard, play hard type who needs chic clothes that are practical and versatile.  He advises the designers that textiles will be vitally important; they should avoid anything that wrinkles.  It’s a one-day challenge, and they will have a budget of $150.00.

The designers then have the traditional half-hour to examine Michael’s goods and sketch.  Several of them talk about Andrea instead.  Tim tries to keep everybody on task by urging them to think about a typical day for their “woman on the go.”  Fabio wants to make a dress with a black and white print, while Melissa wants to make a black dress.  Gunnar plans to make a skirt using several different shades of brown.

At Mood, Buffi is drawn to pink fabric, while Dmitry is having trouble finding any fabric he likes.  Fabio notes that Kooan seems quiet and distant.  Christopher indulges in more breast-beating and blames himself for Andrea’s departure.

Back at Parson’s, Kooan has an announcement:  He’s quitting.  At first, some of the other designers think he’s joking, but he’s not.  He really wants to leave.  Christopher begs him to stay, and Nathan says he understands that the pressure of the competition can be tough to deal with.  He admits that he’s been tempted to quit himself, but refuses to do so.

Tim stops by to announce that Andrea has sent an e-mail saying she’s fine and out of the competition.  Kooan then tells Tim that he wants to leave, too.  He adds that he “needs to find his own way” as a designer.  The constraints of the challenges are apparently not for him.  Tim at first tries to talk him out of it, but Kooan won’t change his mind.  Tim then escorts Kooan out of the workroom.  Sonjia comments that designers need “tough skin.”  Buffi notes that people are “dropping like flies.”

Tim then returns and jokes that he’s afraid to make any more announcements, lest somebody else quit.  He then announces that Raul has been brought back.  Raul is delighted to be back and DR’s he’s confident he’ll win.  I’d say that’s doubtful; the only returnee to make it very far was Chris March, way back in Season 4.  Most returnees have short stays.  Ven DR’s that he’s not at all happy about this development, since Raul complains constantly.

Tim then comes back to make his usual rounds.  He starts with Dmitry who is making a black dress with a single seam.  Tim  is suitably impressed.  Fabio is planning a leisure outfit including a jacket.  Tim, noting how short the dress is, warns him to mind his proportions.  He calls Ven’s look “fascinating” and warns Gunnar not to over-design.  When Elena shows off a bulky-looking jacket, Tim warns her that the judges have seen the football player silhouette before.  He warns Buffi not to over-design.

Christopher confesses his fears about ending up in the bottom again.  Tim suggests his look may actually be too dressy.  Tim warns Nathan to mind his proportions.  Upon learning that Melissa is making an outfit with four garments, Tim comments that she has a lot of work to do, and lets her get to it.

After Tim leaves, the models come in for their fitting.  Fabio discovers that his dress is indeed too short, and Buffi (rightly) deems her own dress to be shoddy.  Melissa is worried because she hasn’t finished sewing her garments.  On that note, it’s time to go home.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  Buffi frets about her look.  Raul DR’s that he shouldn’t have been sent home; Ven disagrees.  Christopher then suggests to Buffi that she should use some black chiffon instead of the coral fabric she’s got, and she angrily blows him off.  Rude, yes, but I can sort of see where she’s coming from.  First off, they’re in a competition, so why would he be helping her?  Wouldn’t it be in his interest to just let her crash and burn?  Second, Buffi prefers to use lots of color in her designs.  Using a lot of black would go against her so-called aesthetic.

Tim sends in the models for their final fitting and Raul discovers a serious problem:  His pants are way too small.  They’re not even close to being able to close.  Somehow he’s missed the mark by several inches.  As the models go to hair and make-up, Dmitry tells us that he considers Christopher serious competition.  Buffi tells us she has never used chiffon or jersey before, apparently hoping the judges will give her an A for effort.  Just as Tim is calling everybody to take them to the runway, Raul finishes his pants– and then grabs some accessories.  He hadn’t taken the time to pick them out before.

On the runway, Heidi talks about her disappointment in the two quitters.  She then introduces the two guest judges, designer Rachel Roy and actress Hayden Panettiere, who is probably best known for playing Claire in Heroes.  She apparently has another show coming out.  No, I don’t know why she’s a guest judge either.

Sonjia is up first.  She made a long-sleeved, knee-length dark gray dress.  In the front, it has an asymmetrical collar with a knotted effect on one shoulder.  In the back is a small v-neck.

Alicia made a white shirt with mid-length sleeves and put leather elbow patches on it.  She also made gray knee breeches.  I’m guessing it’s “casual day” at her client’s office.

Melissa made an outfit consisting of black leggings, a long-sleeved black tunic, and a black hoodie.  She put a wide gray collar on the tunic and then added a scarf.   It looked as if she’d decided to make a fall or winter look.

What was Buffi smoking?!  She made a mini-dress with black and purple zebra stripes and then topped it with a coral smock or toga or whatever.  It might work for a trip to the beach, but not as a day to night look.

Fabio made a black-and-white print mini-dress and paired it with a kid-sized black jacket with mid-length sleeves.  It’s cute, but impractical, as the jacket would be utterly useless on a chilly night– and the overall look really only works as nighttime wear.  The dress is way too short to wear to the office.

Gunnar made a sleeveless dark purple turtleneck top.  It’s long enough to qualify as a tunic, but a lot more snug.  It’s also open in the back, so his client would need a jacket to wear it to the office.  He also made a knee-length skirt incorporating several shades of brown and off-white.  He used a thin belt and a dark green clutch as accessories.

Nathan made a sleeveless, knee-length mustard-colored dress and attached a short cape to it.  He attached some embroidered gold and purple detail to the neckline and added a purple clutch as an accessory.

Dmitry made a sleeveless dark grey dress.  There’s strips of material criss-crossing the front, like a set of bandoliers.  The dress also has a cut-out in the back, which means its owner would need a jacket or something in order to wear to the office.  Dmitry also gave the model magenta shoes with 3- or 4-inch heels.  His outfit is a good night-time look, but would need a jacket and different shoes to work as a daytime look.

Ven made a sleeveless, tan knee-length dress with a single shoulder.  He put his usual pleats down the front, but they’re softer and less sculpted than usual.  What looks like gold trim is actually a gold zipper.  In the back is a small slit, and another gold zipper.  It’s another dress that works better as nighttime wear than anything for the office.

Raul made a pair of gray pants, a sleeveless light gray shirt with a loose collar, and  some kind of hybrid of jacket and vest made from black and gray print material.  It’s obvious his accessories are last-minute additions.  The big silver belt isn’t bad, but in what universe do royal blue shoes and a magenta clutch go together?

Elena’s look consists of a big gray jacket– think David Byrne’s oversized white jacket from the 1984 movie, Stop Making Sense.  She also made a brown shirt and skinny black pants, and used sunglasses and a big gray handbag for accessories.

Christopher made a knee-length black dress with an odd train hanging down the right side.  He also made a child-sized black leather jacket with mid-length sleeves.  It’s well made, but I don’t get this trend for kid-sized jackets on grown women.  I prefer jackets that might actually keep me warm on a chilly night.

Heidi then calls Gunnar, Ven, Nathan, Alicia, Melissa, and Elena.  They are safe and will move on to the next round.  It’s the other six who will have to face the judges.  The safe designers gather backstage and try to guess who will be in the top and who will be in the bottom.

The judges start with Sanjia, who tells them her look is for a busy woman.  Heidi and Michael both like it.  Nina calls it “conservative, but sexy.”  Rachel Roy notes that it could even work if worn reveresed, probably because of the asymmetrical collar.

Next up is Fabio.  Michael says he’s surprised by the structured look of his outfit.  Rachel notes that Fabio’s personal style is quite idiosyncratic and wishes it showed more in his design.

Christopher tells the judges that he made his look for a married working woman.  Heidi thinks he did a great job and Hayden loves the jacket.  Rachel deems it a good day-to-night look.

Buffi simply wanted to use prints and colors.  She then demonstrates ways to belt the look in order to make it more versatile.  Hayden likes the colors, but Heidi thinks the outfit looks cheap and that the colors clash.  Rachel dings Buffi for depending on the belt.  Michael (rightly) comments that the toga looks like a hair-dresser’s smock.  Worse, when the judges ask Buffi to raise the toga to give them a better look at the dress, they find a poorly-sewn hem.

Raul calls his look “his interpretation of a suit.”  Michael says he’s “confused.”  Hayden hates the crotch of the pants.  Nina thinks the jacket is too long.

Dmitry tells the judges that he loves dresses.  Michael thinks it’s the best-made garment of the evening.  Heidi likes it, but doesn’t consider it a “wow” dress.  Nina praises the simple design, and Rachel thinks it’s good for evening wear.

The judges then have their chat, starting with their favorite designers.  Sanjia made a great day-to-night dress that looked “effortless.”  Nina considers Christopher the most editorial.  Dmitry’s dress isn’t glamorous, but it’s well-made and he chose good fabric.

As for their not-so-favorites, Fabio simply made a boring dress.  Buffi is “hiding behind kookiness” and her dress makes no sense.  Raul bit off more than he could chew and has editing problems.

Heidi then calls the designers back in to announce the judges’ decision.  Christopher is in and Sanjia is the winner.  Hayden tells Sanjia that she would love to wear her dress to a red carpet event.  Sanjia, of course, is delighted.

Dmitry and Raul are in, leaving Fabio and Buffi in the bottom.  Buffi is out and Fabio is in.

Next week:  Another team challenge.  Plus, a photography session.

Also, Laura Bennett from Season 3 has a blog chockful of insights on the show.  Find it here:  This week, for example, she discusses the two quitters, and goes well beyond the self-righteous line “Fashion’s not for sissies!”  For instance, losing designers are sequestered in their own version of Losers’ Lodge, so they can’t spill the beans about anything on the show.  Andrea knew that– which is why she 1) bailed in the middle of the night, and 2) didn’t contact production until

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.


Project Runway Season 10: Designers in a Candy Store

Last week on Project Runway, 16 new designers descended on New York City to contend for $50,000 worth of technology from HP, $100,000 from L’Oreal, a fashion spread in Marie Claire, and a new Lexus.  Their first challenge:  Select an already-made outfit that reflected their aesthetic and then make a companion piece for it.  Christopher won and Beatrice was sent home.

The next morning, the designers get ready to face the day.  Lantie’s shocked to have been in the bottom and Ven’s upset he didn’t win.  Then it’s off to the runway, where Heidi tells them to meet Tim at a “sweet location,” which turns out to be Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is owned by Dylan Lauren, the daughter of Ralph Lauren.  She will also serve as a guest judge.

As most of the designers have guessed, it’s the “unconventional materials” challenge.  They will have a budget of $250.00, but since Dylan is giving them a 50% discount, they actually can buy five hundred dollars’ worth of candy.  They have the traditional 30 minutes to pick out stuff, and they will have a day to come up with something.  While shopping, Ven sees a wall of jelly beans that reminds him of stained-glass windows and decides to incorporate that image in his look.

Back at Parson’s, the designers sketch and then get to work.  Buffi weaves candy ribbons into a textile for her look.  Elena decides to make a warrior woman look with shoulder pads made of pina colada twists.  Tim pops in to tell everybody they have until 1 a.m.  Gunnar and Christopher snipe at each other and Gunnar tells us that Christopher is threatened by him.

Alicia is making a one-shoulder garment, while Sonjia of the blue hair is using jelly beans and blue gummi sharks in her look.  Buffi decides to cut corners somewhat and use a colorful umbrella from the shop for a circle skirt.  She uses a hammer to smash the umbrella apart, causing Ven to say that she’s too noisy.  Lantie tells us about how she went bankrupt when the economy crashed a few years ago.

Andrea talks about how she was born on Halloween and plans to make a “Victorian candy clerk” outfit.  Kooan is using Twizzlers to make a sweater.  Ven notes that part of the challenge of an “unconventional materials ” challenge is to make something that looks both wearable and as if it were made from conventional materials.  He also tells us that he knows he’s good.  As proof of that, he graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and won several awards while there.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and starts with Nathan, who has made a rigid skirt out of what looks like sour balls or some other hard candy.  It weighs twenty pounds.  Christopher is working on a dress, and Tim calls his plans for the finished product, “ambitious.”  Raul is working on a bodice and trying to make it look like actual fabric.  Tim approves.  He is similarly pleased with Melissa, who has made licorice whips look like black leather.  Tim notes that Elena has a lot of work left to do.  He also points out that using color might be a good idea in a candy challenge.

He stops by Sonjia, and is impressed with her turquoise bodice, saying it looks as if it’s made of sea-glass, rather than candy.  Ven talks about his stained-glass window idea and Tim likes what he sees so far.  He notes that Fabio has a lot of work to do.  Buffi shows him the textile she’s been weaving.  Gunnar shows Tim the checkerboard textile he’s making out of licorice pieces.  He will use candy black hearts for decoration.

Next up is Dmitry, who wants to know when the models are coming in.  He has a candy fringe, but he doesn’t want to attach it to his skirt until he’s sure that the skirt fits properly.  Tim tells him that he doesn’t have time to waste just waiting around and urges him to attach the fringe.  Tim notes that Kooan and Lantie also need to watch their time.  Andrea shows Tim the dress she’s made out of candy dots on paper– and he hates it.  He calls it “sloppy” and “craft-project.”  Not surprisingly, she decides to start over.

The models come in for their fitting– but they find that only a few designers have clothes ready for them to try on.  Among these are Dmitry and Sonjia, who are both relieved to find that their items fit.  Lantie decides to start over and make something out of some umbrella fabric.  Buffi makes a bird’s nest out of cotton candy for her look, and then adds a bird.  Towards the end of the day, Elena burns herself on the thigh with a glue gun, prompting Christopher to rhetorically ask, “Why are you wearing hoochie shorts to work?”  (He’s right:  Glue guns and exposed skin are not a good combination.  I also don’t know too many places where short shorts are considered a good look for a professional.)

The following morning, the designers get back to work.  Elena’s leg is still hurting her.  Kooan and Buffi both discover that cotton candy makes a lousy textile, as their pieces have melted.  They quickly make replacements.  Tim then sends in the models for their final fitting.  While some get into their outfits, others go to hair and make-up.

On the runway, Heidi re-introduces the guest judge, Dylan Lauren, the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar.  Then it’s time for the show.

Gunnar is first, and he made a cocktail dress.  He used black and white licorice twists to make a checkerboard pattern on said dress.  Sonjia made an aqua and white cocktail dress out of jelly beans and almond candies.  She used the gummi sharks to make a collar.  She also made a small flat hat.  Melissa made separates:  a black mini-skirt and a short black tank top.

Nathan made a 20-pound, multi-colored, and rigid skirt out of pastel-colored hard candies of some type.  He also made a turquoise and white bodice.  Andrea made a long apron out of candy dots.  She also made a multi-colored bustle out of umbrella fabric.  It looks as strange as it sounds.  Alicia’s look is just as strange.  There’s a white bikini top made of some sort of hard candy, plus green and orange over-all shorts with just one suspender.

Elena used every pina colada licorice stick in the store to make a cream cocktail dress with short sleeves and big shoulders.  Apparently, Elena’s not that handy with a glue gun, since her dress is shedding licorice sticks as her model walks.  Fabio made a sleeveless blue cocktail dress.  Dmitry made a beaded black cocktail dress with red and yellow trim.  The skirt has a red and black fringe.  Kooan made a garish, multi-colored cocktail dress that has an abstract pattern on it.  Like Elena’s look, it’s shedding candy.

Christopher made a black, white, and purple cocktail dress with thin stripes in a zigzag pattern.  Raul’s look is schizophrenic.  From the front, it looks like separates consisting of a green skirt and a sleeveless blue top.  From the back, it looks like a blue and orange dress.  Buffi apparently ran into time problems, for her top is consists of yellow, pink, and orange candy ribbons woven together, while her skirt is made of pink umbrella fabric.

Lantie’s dress is made of multi-colored umbrella fabric.  The only candy on it are some hard candies used to make the yellow flowers decorating the skirt.  Er, Lantie, in an “unconventional materials” challenge, the unconventional material isn’t supposed to be an afterthought.  Ven made a sleeveless, pastel cocktail dress with a stylized flower design on the front.  The various colors are separated from each other by distinct black lines, creating the stained glass window effect Ven was aiming for.

Heidi then calls Gunnar, Elena, Ven, Sonjia, Lantie, and Buffi.  They will have to face the judges, while the others are safe.  Andrea is very happy to be safe.  Her fellow designers guess that Sonjia and Ven will be in the top.

The judges start with Buffi, who simply wanted to use fun colors.  She calls her look “Carrie from Sex and the City.”  Heidi thinks she over-accessorized and that the model looks like a five-year-old.  Michael agrees and says that Buffi’s look is more “Toddlers and Tiaras” than anything else.  Nina thinks the styling is atrocious.  Dylan likes the shirt, but not the skirt.

Sonjia had wanted to a water theme for her look, so she’d grabbed the gummi sharks and any other white or aqua candy she could find.  Heidi likes the dress, but not the hat.  The other judges agree that the dress is great.  Dylan appreciates the fact that she used more types of candy than anybody else.

Lantie tries to defend her look, but the judges don’t buy her pleas of not having enough time to make anything– not when several of her competitors managed to turn out nice outfits in the time allotted.  Michael says she seems to be more of a decorator than an actual designer.  Ouch.

Ven talks about his stained-glass window idea.  He’d used rock candy for the pastel designs and licorice to outline the panels.  The judges love it– although Dylan wishes he’d used more types of candy.

Elena had used pina colada Twizzlers for her look.  Heidi doesn’t think the result is pretty, and Michael comments that the dress takes “all the joy out of candy.”  The dress is also boxy and obscures the model’s shape.  Nina says she understands Elena’s desire for cohesion, but adds there’s a difference between cohesion and being in a rut.

Gunnar likes lines and had also used licorice pieces for his look.  He’d used them to create the checkerboard pattern on his dress.  Heidi praises him for creating his own print.  Dylan likes the fact that he’d also made accessories out of candy, like a bracelet made from gumballs.

Afterwards, the judges have their chat, starting with the three they’d liked.  They’d liked Gunnar’s use of accessories and think his look is “on trend.”  Sonjia used the most types of candies and made a charming, beautifully executed dress.  Ven made a gorgeous dress with great colors. Dylan says that her favorites are Sonja and Ven, and that she can’t decide between them.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Lantie had whined about time and Buffi had made a hideous dress.  Elena is arrogant and had made a dress that looked “like a cardboard box.”

The judges then call everybody back to announce their decision.  Ven is the winner.  Sonjia, Gunnar, and Elena are safe, leaving Lantie and Buffi in the bottom.  Lantie is out, which means Buffi is in.

Next week:  It’s a team challenge.  The designers work in pairs and meet contestants from past seasons, including Anya, Irina, and Kenley.