E: Two of our quirkiest designers face off in the bottom two, fallen leaders in a challenge both old and new. The bottom made sense, and I end up feeling sorry for people who go home even when I think it’s the right choice. The top? Hmmm. There was quite a bit more drama on the model side, and not so manufactured as in the past. The proverbial reality show bus rolls into town; follow after the jump to see who went flying out of the way, and who got to watch the wheels go round and round up close.
Project Runway: This week we get our first team challenge, with requisite twists and recycled elements. Tim brings the designers to the Met and shows them truly glorious haut couture pieces from the Museum’s Costume Institute (always a nice way to spend the afternoon if you’re in NYC)legendary designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Balenciaga. The detail work really is stunning, and the black Dior ballgown? Wow. Really, truly wow. Seth Aaron shows his good taste by practically drooling over it.
Ahem. Okay. The designers are paired up to create a museum quality look inspired by the level of genius they’ve just witnessed. We did that last season, no? Not that it isn’t still a cool idea. And they have $500 to execute it – the biggest budget in the history of project! (Although I do wonder how much all those rolls of fabric from the first episode cost.) And they’ve got two days, too! Wow, what a perfect picture! The designers are ecstatic! Well, except for poor Jesse, who ends up with team leader Ping.
Half way through the challenge, Tim arrives at the workroom with the twist. As in the Art Inspiration challenge in Season 4, the teams will have to produce a “look for less” interpretation of the high end signature piece – but NOT their own piece, someone else’s. Ah, kiddos, you knew it couldn’t last. And you see the source of the original inflated budget – this outfit has to be made for a tenth of the first design’s fabric cost. One designer heads to Mood with $50, while the other works. I’m not sure I love this; I’m glad it’s a slightly new idea, but the two looks aren’t going to be cohesive at all, and that bugs me a bit. Tim cautions that they’re not to copy the other design, but remake it in their own style. On his blog he puts it this way: “they are designers, not design pirates“. Hee hee! Love Tim, anyway.
There’s minor drama in the workroom – nothing on the level of last season’s Epperson/Qrystal debacle, but still, pretty tricky. Mila thinks her partnership is perfect; Jonathan thinks he’s doing all the work (except the damn jacket she’a taken 2 days to make). Seth Aaron switches his designs up constantly, so when Anthony kind of puts him in charge of the second look, he gets about ten looks out of it. Including, if I may be so bold, a really lovely off the shoulder top that was about a billion times better than what they ended up using. Maya thinks that Jay is slacking off because he has immunity, and that the designs are all her. (It’s hard to tell, but the edit certainly favors her .) But oh, Ping and Jesse. Ping is used to draping things as she goes along, but Jesse needs a work plan and a timeline, and he needs Ping to focus. Despite voicing an initial desire to meld their styles (soft and drapey, clean and tailored), Ping won’t let him contribute, and her high end look is a typical Pingian explosion. Well, sorry. A Pingian explosion with a fitted bodice. She makes Brandise carry most of the dress. While I appreciate that movement on the body is her thing, that’s just silly.
Jesus, on the other hand, fuses his style admirably with Amy’s. For once we see why he’s on the show. They collaborate on a mermaid gown in a new fabric with a sort of origami overlay, and a fabulous high ruffled collar. You can really see Amy’s ethnic influences there, as well as old Hollywood glamor. Their second look (inspired by Ping) is a pair of harem pants and a tank top, which is also pretty cool; the colors blend it with the first, which is nice. They’d have made my top two. Expert Emilio tutors recent college grad Anna in construction. I wish I could have gotten a better look at the top of their grey cocktail dress, because I’m pretty sure the applique and bead-work was impressive, but it just didn’t read on tv. Perhaps that’s why they ended up in the middle? I liked their off the shoulder printed second look; it was flirty and sweet, though I don’t see the reference to Maya and Jay’s gown at all. Ben and Janeane (who shocked me by only almost wept in from of the museum exhibit) produced a snoozefest of a little black dress with a short jacket. I haven’t the faintest idea what they were thinking. Perhaps, again, you could see more work on it in person? The judges didn’t like it at all, so Ben and Janeane were fortunate that they liked other stuff less. (Their look for less was a sort of racing jacket and black skirt, based on Mila’s coat.)
The stuff that they liked less? Anthony and Seth Aaron’s voluminous black ballgown skirt with yellow bustier. Other designers opined that it was a great idea without enough time. I hated the color combination and the fussy details. And the judges hate their affordable version of Amy and Jesus’s nude/peach and black gown – they’ve done a nude pencil skirt with lace overlay and an unflattering black ribbon top. Also in the bottom two were Ping and Jesse (surprise surprise). Their second look was a simple throw away black skirt and grey top, utterly bland and uninspired. Jesse’s model Megan starts pursing her lips through the critique; when Heidi prompts her, she reveals that Ping was too busy figuring out how to drape the skirt/sleeve of the high end dress – and telling Brandise how to walk – to even look at the second look. I don’t know what that says about Jesse, that left to his own devices he made complete crap (although at least he didn’t use the fabric Ping bought that made Tim scream hooker), but you can see the judges circling Ping like predators.
On the happier side, we have Maya and Jay, whose ruffled column dress is stunning. Did you notice that Maya took the lead in explaining the thought process behind it? Their second look – a black cocktail dress with a swingy jacket, based on Janeane and Ben’s original – charms the judges as well. For $46, they say, you’ve produced something far better than the one they spent $500 on. Jonathan and Mila round out the top two; the judges don’t like their second look (a black and yellow baby doll halter dress inspired by Seth Aaron and Anthony – it turns out no fashion editor would look at a baby doll dress, did you know?) but they’re falling over themselves in admiration for Mila’s coat. She’s created a strong full shape with soft outlines, in black with a mod graphic white circle on each side and lined with yellow. Lorena wears it open over a simple white shirt and black skinny pants with a corresponding white stripe down the outside.
After deliberation, it turns out that Mila is the winner (looks like spending the entire two days on the jacket paid off, huh?) and Ping is left to weep her way home. I can’t say I disagree, though she does seem like a sweet (and certainly entertaining) person. Well, no. I don’t disagree about Ping, but I’m a bit astonished that the judges liked the coat so much that they’d give the win to Mila over Maya and Jay’s two fantastic outfits. Perhaps they couldn’t figure out who made what and just stepped away from the mess? Mila couldn’t be happier, because she won for a design that fully expresses her aesthetic; I’m happy for her, but that may end up meaning I don’t actually like her aesthetic.
Models of the Runway: Megan tossed Ping under the bus! Oooooh! Will Jesse reward her loyalty and pick her again, or will no designer trust her now? Megan has only been modeling for 3 or 4 months and – as the experienced girls Kristina, Cerri, Brandise and Sophia will tell you, she does not know how to handle herself. Of course, they really think it’s a personality flaw; her parents should have taught her better manners. Like not trashing people behind their backs on national television? Ah well. She is quite whiney, Megan. She got more upset about no one sitting next to her on the couch, God love her.
Lorena is the judges favorite again, and Mila says she’d be crazy to mess with the dream team. They do have a really nice synergy, don’t they? Brandise is certain that Jonathan will throw Monique over for her, but Monique gets snapped up by someone else, so it’s not the competitive showdown we were expecting. Jay doesn’t pick Kasey, even though she’s won him a challenge and landed him in the top again; thankfully she gets picked up by someone else. Jesse does indeed thank Megan for sticking up for him and keeps her. Sophia’s world weary attitude and hair spray allergy (right, on a model, that can’t be easy) wears on Jesus; not only does he go back to fave Brittany, but he calls Sophia out on the runway as difficult. When Anthony gets the last pick, its a toss up between Sophia and Sarah. Despite being one of or even the strongest walker, Anthony says Sophia’s rep precedes her. Sophia is happy to go home to her parents and boyfriend. She’s so over it all that it makes it really easy to be over her.
Alexis is – how shall I say nicely? – highly competitive. Next week’s previews show her trying to get Kasey to talk trash about bottom dwelling/big bottom-looking Sarah, and then saying that she (Alexis) will look bad because Kasey won’t join her in rudeness. Lovely. You’re looking unpleasant without any assistance, chickie. Should you really talk trash on tv if you can’t own it?