E: Reality shows are always hawking new episodes as The Biggest or The Most Shocking or The Most Difficult, Like, Ever. Project Runway really did outdo itself this week, though. The task? Create a look for Heidi to wear on the cover of Marie Claire. For real? A major fashion magazine cover for an unknown designer? Are you kidding? For once, the hype is real. Wow.
Project Runway: Tim takes the designers to the Hearst Building. I’ve never seen it before, but wow! What a glorious bit of architecture that is! It’s a bit of a modern cathedral, with amazing expanses of twisted glass. So cool. I feel a bit like Betty Suarez making her way into Meade’s corporate headquarters.
Our challenge is introduced by Marie Claire Editor in Chief Joanna Coles, a sophisticated, gorgeous Helen Mirren type; she’s polite, and not unkind, but you know immediately she’s a woman of substance with a keen mind and steel spine. Or at least, as substantive as someone who runs a fashion magazine which bows to industry and perpetuates the national/international suppression of women (through negative self-esteem) could be. She lets them all know that though Marie Claire usually features cover looks by Dior and Versace, in April of 2010 Heidi will wear one of their dresses. They are knocked over.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but you’d think that for the most important challenge they’ve ever had they’d give the designers more than 9 hours. Does Marie Claire want a half-assed look on the cover? You’d think they’d give extra time in order to get really lovely, meticulous product at the end. They do get $150 for supplies, which is nice, but I can’t help but think that the show would be invested in the designers doing as well as possible. Coles is the guest judge, as she should be.
Anthony: Anthony for the win! The exuberant Southerner – who woke Jay Nicholas by telling him it time for Bible study and then pretending to whack Jay with his bible – wanted to show the judges he was listening to their critiques. This time, he managed perfectly adding volume while giving Kristina a sexy, form fitting silhouette. He ran folds of fabric down a single strap, and had a lovely horizontally folded skirt. And that aqua! What a glorious color! I’m so excited for him, I really am. It’s very hard to describe, but it was unique and very flattering and you can see it on the cover of the April Marie Claire. Wow!
Ben: Ben is a close runner up with a fantastic wrap dress with solid shoulders, a wide belt, a stunning peekaboo back. It had a sort of forties meets kimono vibe , while being completely modern; his aim was a modern, hopped up Madame Butterfly. I thought the saturated color scheme (deep teal, bright yellow and a shiney, textured reddish brown ) would be an 80s comic book disaster, but he pulled it off. Perhaps the judges decided it was too casual for a cover, but it was my favorite by a mile. This is the first time I’ve looked at any of his designs twice, but wow, I loved it. The vile frizzed out crime perpetrated on Lorena’s hair was another matter.
Emilio: Rounding out the top three we have Emilio with a flirty little red dress with a threaded detail. The judges felt the beribboned straps were too junior, and Emilio obliged them by cutting them right off Brittany’s body with the scissors he just happened to have in his pocket. Wow. We haven’t seen that one. The judges love the new look, but still hold the sleeves against him.
Maya: If she’d had more time, Maya would have made the ruffled collar of her short grey, cream and peach dress more exuberant. That would have been a good call. It had the faint suggestion of a wrap – the skirt was pieced to look like side panels swept away from an overskirt. Interesting, but Maya’s designs, at their best, take more time. She thinks the colors flatter Megan, but I don’t know. Better than Mila’s wreck with a similar palette, anyway.
Amy: Do you remember her burlap gown, with the layered hankerchief hem? This is a similar design – a print with blacks and red and blues, a strapless empire waist, an enormous flower near the right shoulder, and a massive, fluffy tiered hankerchief skirt. It’s a bit like Holly got swallowed by a koosh. I think it was cool that she took a risk using a print (when Coles told them that doesn’t often work on a cover shoot), but to me, the silhouette was maternity.
Seth Aaron: The rock and roll aesthetic is back with a slick, fitted grey pantsuit. Very very slim fit – it’s the female version of what Nick tried to put Daniel V in back in season 2’s make over challenge, only with slightly puffy sleeves. He’s going for Angelina Jolie here, and definitely not Hilary Clinton. I thought it looked great on Valeria, but a pantsuit seems an odd thought for a cover shot. I guess it’s nice to see someone thinking outside the box. He thinks it will sell more copies of Marie Claire than anything, ever. Coles and co did not agree.
Jonathan: A ROMPER? Honestly? I don’t care how flat your seams sat, dude, or whether it moved like butter. (Actually, that’s not true. That comment intrigues me. Isn’t the expression that something moves smoothly like a knife through butter? Does his butter move on its own?) It’s all very grey and yellow and totally (thanks to his model Allison for the apt observation) Farah Fawcett. Not to mention extremely short. I know Coles said the details should all be on the top, but I doubt she meant that the outfit should actually end at the crotch.
Jay Nicholas: Talk about voluminous – Jay took an off-white fabric (nubby? ribbed? it had some sort of texture to it) and produced a romantic strapless gown with an empire waist. The skirt is high in the front – above the knee – and falls back to a lengthy train. There’s a single strap with romantic, fluffy, vaguely floral ruffly things on it. Nice dress – much better fitted than Amy’s, I thought – but the train was the thing, and that’s wasted on a cover shot.
Jesse: The basket weave bodice detail of this deep teal cocktail dress does weird, lumpy things to Alexis’ non-existent waist. Otherwise, we have a very pedestrian, very cleavage baring dress. Whatevs.
Mila: I actually liked her color blocking when the pieces were laid out on the cutting table, but the colors on Brandise? Blech. It didn’t work, and once they were under the lights even Mila knew it. The beige WAS the color of a hospital bandage. Nice one, Michael. And yes, Nina, the pattern pointed righted right at the wearer’s crotch. I’m not terribly sorry to see cocky Mila take a tiny knock. You know she thought she was up there in the top.
Janeane: The judges loathed her bridal seamed oyster-colored cocktail dress with a floaty ocean inspired bolero. I liked the dress well enough (though I was not a fan of the weird rise in the hem) but the bolero? Uck.
Anna: Poor, sweet Anna. We have a challenge that calls for a dress by it’s very nature, and what does she do? She decides to branch into casual separates, making striped shorts, a sweet blue floaty tank and a shiny silver vest. Her looks is cute and well-made, and the judges appreciate that she made separates, but it’s in no way formal enough for the cover of Marie Claire. I could see Heidi wearing it to take her kids to Gymboree, maybe. I mean, I don’t buy fashion magazines, but I do go to the grocery store, and I know that’s not what they look like. Seventeen Magazine, maybe, but not a grown up mag like Marie Claire or Glamor or Vanity Fair. I’m really sorry to see her go; she was adorable and she made some cute clothes.
Models of the Runway: Cerri has only ever worked with Anna, and assumes she’s out. She doesn’t think she fits anyone else’s look. Cerri wishes that Anna had thought more outside the box for the challenge, but honestly, isn’t the issue that she wasn’t in the right box?
Unlike Anthony, Alexis hasn’t been reading her Bible. Or boning up on her musical theater. If she had, she’d know that telling people you had dreams about them getting incredibly fat won’t endear you to them. Really, girl, what were you thinking? Clearly Megan would rather represent famine than prosperity! But no, Alexis doesn’t have the example of Joseph or his techniccolor dreamcoat in her head, and so she creates a big drama storm. (I don’t doubt that there’s a way to convey this information that makes it funny and not mean-sounding, but Alexis doesn’t have that gift.) The rest of the girls correctly diagnose her as an attention seeker.
Joanna Coles swoops in to give the models a photo shot; they’re supposed to show their personality through accessorizing and posing in the same blue oxford buttondown. Brandise (who begins by apologizing for not being pretty) and Alexis (sexpot) fare the worst; Monique and Allison are the best. The designers get this information, but it doesn’t really inform their choices. It’s only in the very end, after all, that photos will matter, and you need a good walk to get you there. I think both Alexis and Brandise get picked before Allison and Monique, although they do all get picked. Much to the chagrin of the group, anyway, who were hoping that Alexis would go home – especially after she was called out for skanky photographs.
At the end it’s Cerri and Kasey left on the runway for Mila to choose from. Really, none of them fit Mila’s aesthetic, but I can see why she’d pick Cerri as marginally edgier. But oh. That sucks. As Cerri puts it, it had to be Kasey. Kasey is the glue that holds all the other girls together. And, of course, I thought she was the prettiest, but perhaps that means she’s too conventionally pretty for the modeling world. Boo. Alexis interviews that she’s glad Kasey’s going home because it will negatively affect house morale, and no one will want to be there. Right. This from the girl with the mascara smeared face, weeping because no one likes her. Get out of the damn kitchen, Alexis. You don’t have the stomach to be as Machiavelli as you wanna be.
Before leaving you, I have to give a big squeal of delight for next week’s challenge – dressing 4 year old girls! I could not love that more. And no, it’s not because I’m a mom. Ahem. Not just because I’m a mom. It’s a totally new challenge, it’s not easy, it takes them totally out of their comfort zones, and it’s going to be insane. I cannot wait.