Friday, December 07, 2007

Project Runway Season Four, Episode 4: Blast from the Past!

America, start praying for Steven . . . now. I don't know why we should do that; I'm just the messenger.

Steven: "You have no idea how hard it is to constantly come up with new ways to say, 'ooh, another scary challenge; whatever shall we do?'"

I understand.

Before we start the program there is an advertisement for a new Project Runway product:

Heidi: "Do you ever find yourself wishing you smelled like one of the designers after running around Mood and lower Manhattan on a hot summer day and then working in a stuffy, crowded design room for 16 straight hours? Do you ever think, 'I wish I could get that feeling of having Nina Garcia tell me I'm a disappointment or Micheal Kors tell me I look like Bea Arthur'? Maybe you've just wanted to have me say 'auf wiedersehen' when you're so exhausted you just want to punch me in the face. Well, now you can get all that in the privacy of your own home with our new Project Runway fragrance that smells like tears and Chinese food! it's called "Tootie" and it's available at!"

On to the show:

Last week Carmen was sent home:

Nina: "This is unacceptable."

Well, that's what I thought but you're the one who voted her off."

Nina: "No, I meant her outfit was unacceptable."

Oh, right.

So, as the winner last week, Jack chooses to switch to Ricky's model:

Nick Verreos: "OH, MY G..."

Shut it, Nick! We're sick of hearing about it!

Nick: "But that bitch stole..."

Nope, we don't want to hear it!

Nick: "But..."


Ugh, I don't know why he has to show up every time someone takes another designer's model. The winner gets to pick a model; it's not a big deal. OK?

Ricky: "I still think Jack's a bitch."

Heidi: "This week you are going back to the design room where you will meet some old friends."

Hmmm . . . old friends . . . it's going to be something old . . . what could it be?

Oh, it's Nina Garcia!

Nina: "If Heidi calls me old one more time I'm going to rip that weave right off her head!"

Wow, I sense a little tension there.

OK, seriously, the "old friends" we are meeting are supposedly outdated fashions. I question whether "70s flair (or is it flare?)" or poodle skirts are really that out of style at the moment but certainly shoulder pads and cut-outs should be outlawed.

One of the outdated styles is overalls. Jillian, who is supposed to be updating these styles, is actually wearing overalls:

Jillian: "Isn't it ironic?"

Well, it's kind of funny but I'm not sure it's ironic. As usual we turn to the expert:

Alanis Morissette: "I don't know! Leave me alone!"

There you have it, folks.

Everyone's name is drawn and they pick some hideous style and then Tim tells them to play dodgeball to determine teams. Everyone tells us how they ended up with exactly the teammates they had wanted their entire lives. Awww.

The teams are:

Chris, Steven, and Sweet P.
Ricky, Victorya, and Elisa.
Christian, Kit, and Jack.
Jillian, Rami, and Kevin.

Then Tim delivers the totally crappy news that they need to pick their own leaders. This is not a democracy, Tim! They can't pick their own leaders! This can only end in disaster!

Really, it's one thing to have leaders determined by some contest (such as presenting the best sketches) because that person earned both the opportunity and the responsibility of leading the team. But when a team just randomly picks a leader, that person is going to end up bearing all the responsibility without gaining any advantage. Let's see how they play this:

Steven and Sweet P: "Chris, you should be the team leader so you can get blamed for everything."

Chris: "OK."

Ricky: "I'll be the team leader."

Victorya: "Sure, we'll call you the 'team leader.' But we all understand I'll actually be in charge, right?"

Ricky: "Of course."

Elisa: "I don't understand the concept of 'teams.' Can't we all just work together as one big universal team so we don't have to compete with each other? War is not the answer, people."

She makes a good point. OK, so it's settled: Ricky is the leader. Except that it's really Victorya.

Now for a special segment that I hope will be a regular feature of the program. I like to call it "Ricky Lizalde: Weirdo Whisperer."

I'll set the scene: non-team leader Victorya is telling Elisa what to do:

Victorya: "So, I want you to lower the waist and move this seam over here. Got it?"

Elisa: "I don't understand this technical sewing terminology."

Ricky: "What Victorya is trying to explain is that you need to follow your bliss to the land of magical ponies."

Elisa: "Oh. Well, why didn't she just say that?"

Aaaaand . . . scene.

That was fun. Now back to Victorya not understanding the she agreed that Ricky would be the team leader:

Victorya: "I don't want to be a big, bossy cow."

Well, that's too bad 'cause apparently you are one.

Victorya: "I really wanted to ask Ricky why he wanted to be the team leader."

But you didn't.

Victorya: "Well, I just assumed that he would want to do everything my way. I don't understand why people don't want to do things properly. Everyone is being so difficult."

Ooh, come back from the kitchen everyone! It's time for the Saturn commercial!

Nick Verreos: "I'm here in this fabulous Saturn driving to my favorite inspiration spot: Decades 2!"

Cool! I think I read about that place in the New Yorker! The guy buys used designer clothes from celebrities!

Nick: "You think you're better than everyone because you read the New Yorker."

Shut up! Do not!

Now for the new Bravo quiz segment. There is way too much crap going on; just give us the show! Anyway, did you know that the French make all their dogs wear skirts? I think that's what it said. The French are so silly!

And by the way, Bravo, you can't make someone a supermodel. You have to be BORN a supermodel!

Back in the design room Steven is doing a pretty spot-on Santino impersonation:

Steven: "Designers, I'd like to take you all to the Red Lobster."

Kevin is pulling a magic rabbit out of his ass. I wonder how that got there.

Christian loves his look. Quelle surprise.

Ugh! One more stupid survey before we get to the runway: What outdated fashion trend do you still wear? Well, I'm sitting here wearing a unitard and fuschia leg-warmers so I can't think of a single thing.

Oh, god; now what? Oh, Tim is doing an advertisement for Parsons. Isn't this whole damn show an advertisement for Parsons?

Finally: the runway! The guest judge is Donna Karan.

Jillian's team (with Rami and Kevin) had to update a poodle skirt, overalls and "70s flair (or flare)." They did a really good job. They gave "70s flair (or flare)" to the overalls, which worked nicely. They updated the poodle skirt by giving it a higher waist. The collection was very cohesive. They win. Congratulations!

Christian's team (with Kit and Jack) had Zoot suit, pleather, and fringe. The only thing I see of the inspiration is the pinstripe fabric. Apparently the pleather is in the accessories, which is a real cop-out and I don't really see the fringe. The look with the pencil skirt and the vest is really nice; I think Kit made that one. But one nice outfit and hardly any of the inspiration? I thought this collection was a failure. But it wasn't the worst so they're safe.

Chris's team (with Steven and Sweet P) had shoulder pads, dancewear, and baggy sweater. It was pretty godawful. I didn't really understand Steven's outfit; it looked like a shiny karate uniform. Chris's was so bad. It's easy to say, "well, what could you possibly do with shoulder pads?" But the truth is he could have done something with big shoulders that didn't look like this. In fact, in the first episode of the season Christian made a jacket with huge shoulders that wasn't to everyone's taste but it looked kind of fresh. But Chris's looked as dated as the look he was supposed to be updating. The problem isn't that it looked "costumey," which wouldn't necessarily be a problem for a runway show; the problem is that it looked like a costume from a bad production of "The Women."

Sweet P, on the other hand, made the best outfit of the night! She updated the baggy belted sweater look to an adorable little dress. You could absolutely see the inspiration but it looked completely fresh. And the fact the Donna Karan liked it will not dissuade me from saying it was my favorite look! In fact, I'm going to say it's my favorite look so far this season! Too bad she was on that team because I think she could have won the challenge this week.

Ricky's team (with Elisa and the real team leader Victorya) had neon, cut-outs, and "underwear as outerwear." Oh, Ricky. Ricky, Ricky, Ricky. What the hell was up with that collection? They should have really done "outerwear" and made winter coats out of bras and panties. I guess I get the basic idea: neon satin was supposed to cover the neon inspiration and the underwear inspiration. The problem is they looked like neon nighties and they were hideous.

Except for Elisa's. She sent her model down the runway naked to represent one giant cut-out that has gotten out of control and swallowed the whole garment:

Elisa: "If I didn't know that I did that I wouldn't have known that I did that."

You didn't do that; I just made it up. No, unfortunately she made a little black satin garbage bag decorated with brightly colored Pillsbury sugar cookies. For some reason the judges liked it.

So it comes down to Ricky and Chris. Once again, Ricky gets a reprieve. Sorry Chris; we'll miss you!


mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

Where to begin commenting on that hysterical post. Nina Garcia and the old comment, the ironic comment, and the "weirdo whisperer" Oh my, what a great way to start a day, with so much laughter

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I am really enjoying your spat with Uncle Nick.

Ms. Place said...

It's obvious that when the designers act as team leader they place themselves in jeopardy. Victorya didn't volunteer, but she wanted to be a boss any way, so she used Ricky. Pah. Combined with her bad design, she should have been aufed. I feel that at least Ricky tried to act with some diplomacy, much to his own detriment.

You made this episode seem funnier and more interesting than it really was. I was rather bored with it myself. (In contrast, Project Runway Canada Season 1 is rather riveting.)

And, yes, some fashion trends should be banished for life. In my opinion, it should be almost all the ones that the designers were forced to use. I was very disappointed that Chris was aufed. His design was not the worst, so this is my question: What were the judges thinking?

Moi ;) said...

Except for Elisa's. She sent her model down the runway naked to represent one giant cut-out that has gotten out of control and swallowed the whole garment

OMG. You have me ROFL............. Good one, Eric!!!!!!

Laura K said...

I liked Sweet P's the best too! I voted for it in the BPR poll before I watched the episode and I was surprised that it didn't have more votes!

Also, I hate to say this, but I liked Elisa's the least. Of course we know from prior experience (EVERY SEASON SO FAR) that the producers/judges always keep the crazies. So Elisa is safe - at least I hope so. She is crazy in a good way. Also, IMHO, her model didn't help her....

Kanani said...

I'll miss Chris as well. He was real. He did his work without drama.
I'm looking forward to seeing Sweet P's collection in 2008.

Elisa manages to put together something that holds up for those few seconds on the runway. But how much longer will her artistic vision be able to cover up that she has a total lack of craftsmanship?

(btw.... fun pics of your remodel. keep going. I know it's a drag.)

Anonymous said...

But, the thing is, Elisa does have craftsmanship. It's a deliberate "hand-crafted" (sculpted) look. At least, that's what I understand from this art book I just got (Rapture: Art's Seduction by Fashion). They devote quite a few pages to her.

The text made my brain hurt and is too complicated for me to understand or explain, but it was interesting to see her sketches, etc. (VERY Artworld.) Basically, her clothing has evolved from costumes for performance art pieces to fashion for the public and it's sold in some galleries and high-end boutiques. She makes each piece and her customers demand that it's signed. (I wonder how much her work goes for.) She's quite known and successful in that world.

So, naked model walking her runway has probably been done!

I'll bet she wouldn't seem like such an oddball in a Belgian design competition, but America? Forget it.

It's a cryin' shame she didn't get to demonstrate all the ways her polymorphic dress could be worn. Her (paraphrasing) "I wouldn't have known I'd made it if I hadn't known I made it." makes lots of sense.

She's my fave and I hope she kicks ass before she's aufed.

-- desertwind

PS - Eric, I just read your tutorial at BPR! Did you study or teach design? You're a research librarian, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Crap. THAT was long and confusing! My brain really hurts now!

Bitten dress: It's a cryin' shame she didn't get to demonstrate all the ways her polymorphic dress could be worn.

Cutout dress: Her (paraphrasing) "I wouldn't have known I'd made it if I hadn't known I made it." makes lots of sense.

-- d'wind

eric3000 said...


My undergraduate degree is in fashion design. That was a long time ago but I do remember a little bit about the experience. My graduate degree is in art history and I work as an editor on an art history research database. I do actually work in a library but I'm not really a librarian.

Thanks for the info about Elisa; I had read elsewhere that she was an installation artist but I didn't really know anything about her work. I think she's interesting and I look forward to seeing what she can do but so far I haven't really liked any of her garments.

Laura K,

It was really hard to judge a winner here because of the group aspect of the challenge. If you are judging on the collection then I think Jillian, as team leader, clearly won; but judging on individual garment then I think Sweet P was the best. So I think in the BPR poll people were voting on collection.

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Kanani said...

I haven't liked Elisa's garments out either. I understand that her vision is very conceptual, sort of a Rachel Rosenthal of the fashion world. Either you get it or you don't.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree, Eric. I do wish Elisa's fashion was as strong as her art. Loved her little capelet, though because it's strong enough to stand on its own without a lengthy artese justification. And, it's cute!

I know quite a few fine artists and love design and objects, but, I'm afraid, I just don't have the background (or patience!) for the Art language.

Funny: my niece is a Lit/Art History university research librarian & museum curator and, sometimes I've just got to tell her "Woah! I just thought that book was a good read."

-- desertwind

cb said...

the mental image i have now of you in a unitard and fuchsia leg warmers will probably be with me until my death.

why doesn't anyone hate VictorYa & co's "collection" as much as I do? it looks like cheap-ass dance recital/ice-skating costumes. it looks like something *I* would make (quality, not design), and i can't sew for beans.


Polgarra said...

It made me kinda sad when Elisa said (quite happily) that she never would have guessed she made that dress. And I totally didn't get Kit,Christian and Jacks collection. It was like my eyes refused to understand the images. This it was urban camo or something I saw from the corner of my eye. Grrrr