ETV: Project Runway and Models of the Runway – Sew Much Pressure

E: This was a week of such bizarre turns and shocking reverses that I’m suffering from reality show whip-lash.  What just happened?  Seriously, did that just happen?  Bras – and contestants – flew all over the workroom this week.  Massive spoilers after the break!

Project Runway:

Immediately, we hear how much the other contestants miss Anthony.  We, the audience miss Anthony.  We miss his chatter; the man is like a fountain of quotable quips.  We miss his sense of fun.  We miss his honesty in telling Jay that he looks like a gay Christmas ornament.  (Seriously, men and t-shirts with deep v necks?  Very bad idea even when they aren’t neon.)

Heidi teases the team that they’re going to have to please a very difficult and opinionated celebrity client. Tim delivers the challenge of the week; create a red carpet look for – Heidi!  You can’t tell me that they weren’t a little disappointed.  Later Heidi makes a round with Tim in the workroom to critique the gowns mid-process.  This is their second challenge designing a frock for Frau Klum.  Doesn’t that seem suspicious? When it comes time for the runway judging, Jessica Alba shows up, making me wonder if she wasn’t originally intended as the judge, but couldn’t make it for the workroom visit so they subbed in Heidi at the last minute.  They subbed Heidi in for another Victoria’s Secret girl in Season 1’s lingerie challenge (small wonder they’ve never tried that debacle again) so it wouldn’t be without precedent. I’ll have to look into this.

While everyone else is silently, intently sketching, Maya sits around looking thoughtful.  Then she leaves, and the camera repeatedly pans to her name tag on her dress form.  In a few minutes, Tim brings her back in and they drop the bombshell.  Maya just quit.  No!  Maya, don’t do it!  She’s just barely out of school, and she’s come so close to the end, but fears she’s not ready to make a collection she can be proud of.  I understand Maya’s reasoning.  I think if she’d gotten different feedback from the judges, she wouldn’t have left, but they never let her win, and they keep telling her she’s derivative.  I think she came with more confidence in her personal vision than she left with, and that makes me a bit sad.  It may have been a very smart thing for her in the long run – a sort of Daniel V moment, where she understands she needs to purify her vision as a designer before revealing it fully to the public.  She’s committed enough to fashion that she wants to do it right, to represent herself to the best of her ability, and clearly the judges have made her feel (perhaps rightly?) that she can’t do that now.

So I get it, but, uck.  I’m going to miss her clothes.  Why couldn’t Jay have decided he needed to quit?  Geez, has anyone ever decided to quit before?  People (one person?) have left due to health issues, but yikes.

And, as with Chris March, the last contestant eliminated is ushered back in.  Surprise!  It’s Anthony!  Am I psychic or what? He’s bright and bubbly and overjoyed.  “Hell, who wouldn’t want Anthony back?  I like him.  So should you.”  Oh, we do, Anthony.  We really, really do.  Here’s the thing, though.  I do want Anthony back.  The workroom was unutterably dull without him. But oh, I just don’t know what to say from a design point of view. I feel quite disloyal saying that I prefer Maya’s clothes, but Anthony’s personality. The designers are sorry to see Maya go, but they’re thrilled to have Chocolate Pudding back in the work room.  Well, Mila (who perhaps was closest to Maya) can’t concentrate, but generally everyone’s thrilled.

WOAH!  Valeria changed her mind, and Cerri’s back too!  That’s so crazy!  Ugh, and due to the structure of the stupid model show, we won’t get to see it happen.  I hate the constraints of that damn show.  Anyway, Seth Aaron is freaked because his dress totally depends on the tailoring and now it’s tailored for the wrong person.

As if that weren’t enough, Heidi’s visit has thrown even more designers for a loop.  Poor Jonathan has been laboring intently on his cutaway fabric thing, and Heidi hates it!  Tim tells him it’s a great chance to show his versatility.  He’s wrecked.  During a critique of Jay’s gray bustier top (which arranges for the boobs to be too far apart) Heidi flashes him, and straight men everywhere weep with envy and fury at the wasted opportunity.  Anthony ends up with only an hour of sleep.  Heidi’s critique has freaked Mila out.  That would have been a more meaningful bit of information if we’d seen the dress or the critique.  We didn’t see it, right?

The Top Two:

Can I just say how sick I am of Emilio winning?  This is three challenges in a row (even if he’s split two of them) and four over all, as he’s quick to tell us.  I wasn’t an enormous fan of his sequined gown; the fit was impeccable, yes, and cutting the sequined fabric on the bias made it look like glinting metal, but still.   Maybe I just didn’t like the little foofy embellishment thing, or maybe it seemed to simple (although yes, I appreciate the intense understructure it took to make it look so smooth), but it didn’t wow me as it wowed the judges.  Heidi wants to wear it.

Jessica Alba, on the other hand, wants to wear Anthony’s dramatic flowing gown – half white, half black, with asymmetrical panels, a high slit, great movement and a mostly bare back.  To my taste this was the clear winner, and I’m so pleased Jessica Alba picked the dress up.  You could tell she really wanted it, which was pretty adorable.  And Anthony was utterly blissed out.

The Bottom Four:

Seth Aaron makes his first appearance in the bottom (sort of) with the “vampire” dress he created for Cerri.  I can’t help but wonder how this would have looked on Valeria.  Their coloring is similar, but Valeria is super tiny, and perhaps all the ruching in the overlay wouldn’t have looked so fussy and unflattering.  I do feel like he might have adjusted that; heck, we didn’t see the ruching until the gown ended up on the runway.

Nina has the best bon motte of the night; she tells Mila that her ill-fitting cocktail length gown looks like something one of the Housewives of New Jersey would wear.  Snap!  Some of the detailing is nice, particularly the gold stripes meandering down the back, but the straps aren’t constructed to properly show off Kristina’s cleavage. That’s sin number one in the Book of Klum.  (Looking cheap is sin #2, in case you were wondering.)

Cleavage is an issue with Jay‘s cocktail length gown as well; he’s created terrific detail on the bodice, but no support for Brittany’s chest so the top folds unappealingly.  And Heidi is all about making the boobs look right!  He violates another of her pet peeves; he’s made a bubble skirt of twisting vertical ruffles, and despite her warning that it would make the wearer look fat, he leaves them on.  And they do add volume to Brittany’s (perfectly flat) hips and butt.  “I guess I like a big butt,” Jay shrugs.

Which leaves poor pale Jonathan, who created not one but two entirely new dresses in the eleventh hour in the hopes of pleasing Heidi.  She’s admired the draped top on his first gown, and he tries to replicate this.  The back is lovely, but the front is a hot mess, it’s all too short, and the beige color is just sad.  Yes, this time I agree with the judges, and so does Jonathan.  He knows he didn’t have enough time to fix things the way Heidi wanted, and he’s actually quite resigned to being auffed.  I like Jonathan, and the back was really pretty, but this was the right call.  I’m sorry to say it, but it was.

Models of the Runway

Jonathan may not have been surprised to go home, but Brandise is furious about it.  Her loudly stated opinion is that at least half of Jonathan’s dress looked good, whereas Jay’s looked unflattering from every angle.  She seems to be trying to provoke Brittany, who simply fumes silently. Lorena is not so silent, and starts defending Jay just as loudly, when she’s really defending Brittany, who won’t do it herself.

Later Heidi has her little chat with the girls, during which time she bad mouths Maya, saying she left because she couldn’t take the pressure.  I don’t think that’s quite fair; either she was ill-informed or just doesn’t bother with nuance.  She congratulates Lorena for saving Emilio’s gown.  I’m not quite sure where Heidi found out about this, but it turns out that Emilio was planning sleeves and an open back, and she talked him into the strapless construction which got him the win.  Damn.  No wonder he’s not switching it up anymore!  While it does kind of surprise me that he’s taking direction from her, he’s won every time he’s worked with her now.    And it’s clearly a partnership.  Lorena is stoked – and that is just the sort of backstage detail I’ve been hoping to see.  (NOT an infomercial for hair care products, thank you very much.  God bless the dvr.)

We find out later the details behind Valeria’s departure, and this too is the sort of thing I like to see.  When she had her agent turn down DKNY, they said they really wanted her – so much that they doubled what they were going to pay her. And that was already quite a nice sum of money, it seems.  So, wow.  Seth Aaron tells her to go, and so do the girls, but everyone will really miss her.  Huh.  That all turned into this really nice negotiation tactic, didn’t it?

Brittany and Lorena know they’re safe.  The other girls are not as certain.  The model calculus is this: if Anthony uses his win to take Kristina back, then Seth Aaron will likely keep Cerri (the last blond standing) and Monique will go home. If Anthony keeps Monique, then Seth Aaron and Mila will duke it out over Kristina and Brandise, and Cerri will be out, again.  It’s interesting; Anthony has made his preference for Kristina plain, but it looks like he can do calculus too, and perhaps from gratitude for his win, picks Monique.  Seth Aaron takes Kristina, and Mila takes Brandise, and Cerri is the cheese that stands alone, again.  Damn.  Not surprising, but a bummer for viewers who like their models feisty and entertaining.

11 comments on “ETV: Project Runway and Models of the Runway – Sew Much Pressure

  1. MMGF says:

    Will miss Maya, but love getting Anthony back. (Boy, though, did the editing trash her for leaving, huh?) Can’t stand Emilio, and am obviously missing something, because I do NOT love his work the way the judges seem to. Jay’s not very good either, and I was with Brandise – I thought Jonathan’s was at least somewhat nice, whereas I didn’t think Jay’s was at all. Mila and Jay seem to kind of be free-falling lately, after such strong starts, huh? Anthony’s dress was the clear winner for me, too. Nice way to return to the competition! As for the models, I don’t get the appeal of Brittany at all. She is actively ugly around the mouth when she smiles. I guess it’s just Jay’s connection to her. Cerri’s great, sorry to see her go *again*. And I feel like Monique’s just sliding along through, while if I were on the show, she’d be my very first choice every single time. Weird.

    Also – did you find it odd that the challenge was to design a “red carpet look” and so many designers did dresses so short? I didn’t understand that. It wasn’t like they said, “Design a red carpet look for the Grammys” or “Design a look for the VMA’s.” I was surprised.

    • E says:

      Oh, I totally agree – some red carpets are clearly more formal than others, but when the public hears red carpet, we pretty much think full length gown. Probably a false perception on our part, although I’m not sure how Jay’s dress wasn’t criticized for being informal while Mila’s was.

      I think Jay’s connection to Brittany is almost completely personal. That was one of the few interesting moments of the model show, when she talked about being completely secure in his regard, while earlier in the season she always panicked over elimination.

  2. Crystal says:

    Loved it! I love that Anthony is back and I LOVED his dress. 🙂

    • E says:

      That was Anthony’s best, and most surprising, dress of the season. Completely awesome. And wow, does the man make good tv. How much would you love to go out to dinner with him? I swear, some of these people could make money just renting themselves out to parties, they’re so lovable. 😉

  3. Krizzzz says:

    I loved the way Anthony left the show (“I still have breath in my body”) and I love the way he returned. =)

  4. Hayley says:

    I really wonder how much of Maya’s leaving was encouraged by the producers.

    • E says:

      You do have to wonder, considering how Anthony is much, much better tv! On the other hand, I’m sure they also want the fashion street cred of having really good designers do the final shows. (Granted, they had 10 of the 16 designers at Bryan Park – I think 7 decoys was a little much!

      This interview with her makes it sound very impulsive. I definitely think that the closer it got to Bryant Park, the more freaked out she got by the idea of going there and not producing something that could make her a national reputation and then never getting that chance again. And that’s a good point, but who says she’d get the chance anyway? Maybe it would have been better to fail than not try.

      • Hayley says:

        Ahh–that article gives a much clearer picture. While the producers must’ve been thrilled at the drama of bringing Anthony back, it sounds like Maya’s choice was a mature, if spontaneous, decision. (Also, given her complaints of “a little man behind the curtain” spurring one of Nina’s comments, it doesn’t sound like she was encouraged to do this by any producers.) She seems like a very smart girl who is much more concerned with her long-term success than anything that would simply be a flash in the pan. (Which also means she would have done really well and had a chance at winning! Ah well, I wish her the best! …Now who do I root for? This season it’s so hard to find a favorite.)

        • E says:

          You know, it kind of astounds me to write this, but I think I’m going to be rooting for Seth Aaron. I like Anthony a lot as a person (as far as what we see, of course, which gives the illusion that we know people we really don’t know) but as for the clothes? Some I love, some others – meh. Jay is the same way. Mila has a strong aesthetic but I’m not in love with the mod thing. Emilio sometimes wows me and sometimes gives me the creeps. At least Seth Aaron has a consistent point of view, and is generally fun, and also seems to be a stand up loyal guy.

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