Saturday, August 31, 2013

Project Runway Season Twelve, Episode Seven: à la Mode!

We start the episode with a visit to the Mode accessory closet:

Oh, my God, Amanda! Could you just die?
Tim presents a quiz to determine the order that the designers will get to choose accessories for this week’s challenge:

Tim: “First, what is the most important fashion accessory of all?”

Pat Robertson: “Ooh, I know this one! It’s those special rings the homosexuals wear in San Francisco to spread AIDS!”

Ken: “That dude really knows his fashion history.”

Tim: “No. The correct answer is the shoe.”

Pat Robertson: “Are you sure? How do you spread AIDS with a shoe?”

Tim: “What are you doing here?”

Pat Robertson: “I’m studying up on homosexual culture. I like to stay hip and current.”

Tim: “Well, please let the designers answer the questions. Thank you.”

Here are some sample questions:
  • Who invented clothes? [Answer: Zeus. He was tired of the paparazzi making all those naked sculptures of Venus]
You are not leaving Mount Olympus dressed like that, young lady!
  • What country is home to the world’s ugliest hat? [Answer: Sweden]
  • Is black a color? [Answer: No]
  • What sold recently at Sotheby’s? [Answer: Could you be more specific?]
  • Can you really cover the entire sole of a pair of shoes with one partially-used bottle of fingernail polish? [Answer: This story sounds suspiciously like a load of bullshit]
  • Does anyone remember Morris Day and the Time? [Answer: Yes]
  • Why would any woman want to wear one of those slutty Pnina Tornai wedding dresses? [Answer: There is no correct answer to this question]
  • The New Look. It wasn’t really new or a look. Discuss. [Answer: It was really more “postponed” than it was “new” and it was more of a silhouette than a look]
  • Is Marc Jacobs a real person? [Answer: He is real as long as innocence exists in the hearts of children]
  • Jessica Simpson: alive or dead? [Answer: Who?]
  • True or false: while trying to find a way to feed his army, Napoleon Bonaparte accidentally invented the bustle. [Answer: I have no idea but it sounds delicious]
Ken is very proud of himself for knowing the answer to a question that is completely irrelevant to fashion history. I studied fashion design and we didn’t learn anything about Christian Louboutin when I was in school. 

Ken: “Oh, yeah? Well, when exactly were you in school?”

You know, I think we’ve spend enough time on this. Let’s move on.

The main problem with this challenge is that most of the shoes were not so great. So the designers were inspired by not-so-great shoes. So I guess they were successful. At making not-so-great clothes. If you see what I’m saying.

Bradon: “Please stop talking. I’m on the phone with my fiance and it’s very emotional.”

Bradon is having a very emotional conversation with his fiance.

Bradon: “I just said that!”

Let’s listen in, shall we? I can’t figure out what they are talking about. Bradon is crying. It has something to do with his dog renting a cabin in Big Bear. Can that be right?”

Bradon: “What is wrong with you?!!!”

OK, we’ll get back to Bradon after he has a chance to pull himself together. Let’s check in with the other designers. The excitement this week is that both Alexander and Miranda are making plaid pants. It’s almost too much excitement to fit into one ninety-minute episode. However, I’m actually more interested to know how much longer we will go on with two designers named Alex. Seriously, which is it going to be, Alexandria or Alexander?

Actually, it's Alexis now
That's cool. On to the runway, with guest judge Wilhelmina Slater, Editor in Chief of Mode magazine.

So, what did you think of the runway, Miss Slater?

Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but I was also disappointed with the runway this week. The best I can say is there were a few looks that were not completely terrible. The top three were Ken, Alexandria, and Helen. I don't really want to talk about Ken’s look. It’s just my personal taste, but I don’t think the world needs any more short, tight dresses with crap stuck on them. I know tacky dresses are totally the rage, though, so I’m not going to argue about it.

Alexandria was apparently a contender for the win. I can’t really judge the dress because I was too distracted by the ill-fitting thigh-high gladiator sandals. Ya is a gorgeous woman who would look good in almost anything. Except those sandals. They were clearly not made for a woman who is eight feet tall and weighs seventeen pounds. The knee pads didn’t even make it up to her knees. None of this is the fault of Ya, who is an excellent model; or Alexandria, who didn’t have the option of changing the shoes to something more flattering; or even the sandals, which were kind of cool and would probably look good on someone. I just don’t think this combination worked.

So that leaves Helen. I’m usually the first one to bitch about someone making a simple sheath dress, and I haven’t been a major Helen supporter, but in a sea of awful, her flawless look really stood out. The proportions on this look were complete perfection. Ankle boots with a skirt hemmed to the knee? That’s a risk. Getting this look exactly right took some skill. And, besides, ponchos are totally in right now:

Congratulations, Helen!
There were plenty of disasters to choose from this week. Poor, sweet Karen, bless her heart, misunderstood the challenge. Instead of being inspired by the shoes, she just remade the shoes in the form of a dress:

Karen's look
Fortunately for Karen, she was not in the bottom three. Jeremy picked Pretty Woman hooker boots and then created a look that made you think, “Well, that outfit looks appropriate for those boots,” and then the judges remind you why the outfit looks appropriate with those boots and then you go, “oh, yeah.”

Now back to Bradon, who really struggled with this challenge:

Bradon: “I used this draping method on the fabric because I think fancy foreign words will impress you. This week I used something called a Bolognese technique. You basically manipulate the fabric so that it looks like boiled spaghetti covered in a rich meat sauce.”

Bradon's look
Wilhelmina Slater: “If I ate lunch, now would be the time to lose it.”

Yeah, it wasn’t good. But obviously the judges are not going to get rid of Bradon or Jeremy.

So that leaves Miranda. Her look wasn’t the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen. But it was pretty bad. And as bad as it was, it was probably the best thing she’s made this season. It was time for her to go.

Suzuki St. Pierre: “Rouge alert! Rouge alert! In a shocking turn of events at the offices of Meade publishing, the weakest designer was just eliminated. I don’t know what you would call it, but in my business, we call that news, bitches! This has been Suzuki St. Pierre, reporting for Fashion Buzz!”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Project Runway Season Twelve, Episode Six: Troop Parsons!

Come on, girls!
In this episode Tim Gunn discovers that when the going gets tough, the tough go glamping, in Troop Parsons, a comedy about lifestyles of the rich and outrageous. Flamboyantly wealthy Tim Gunn has everything money can buy -- a drop-dead Beverly Hills mansion, a classic Rolls, furs, jewelry and designer gowns. The one thing he doesn’t have is his husband Craig T. Nelson, who’s leaving him for good. Maybe. Determined to prove he’s still the creative, energetic man Craig once loved, Tim throws luxury to the wind and becomes leader of the Parsons design troop. But how much can this chic cookie take before he crumbles? Is saving his marriage really worth trading Gucci bags for sleeping bags -- not to mention actually touching bugs? Featuring cameos by Robin Leach, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pia Zadora, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Allison Williams, Tim Gunn blazes new comic trails in this hilarious trial-by-campfire that leaves the wilderness wilder than ever.

When we first meet Tim Gunn, he is just a bored Beverly Hills housewife, with nothing to do but to shop all day. But deep down he just wants the same thing all women want: to prove they are good enough for their husbands. So he applies to be the leader of Troop Parsons. This episode of Project Runway is brought to you by Evian natural spring water, for some reason:

My God, this is like a scene out of Valley of the Dolls!
Tim: “Bring me some more Evian.”

Don’t you think you’ve had enough?

Tim: “Just bring me the damn bottle!”

Get out of bed, Tim. We’ll go shopping at Mood.

That's not even funny!
Tim: “Fine. I can do this. These designers need a leader. They are so self involved--Oh, shit, I broke a nail!”

Tim gets his camoflage suit tailored so it’s a bit more fashionable and then he takes the designers on a glamping trip, sponsored by Evian. Evian is better than water because it has naturally occurring electrolytes and other complete bullshit.

Don't worry. That can be fixed.
The designers have only a few minutes to pack for their glamping trip.

Too much?
You call this roughing it?

Eleven designers and one bathroom? Yes.
Most of the designers are relaxing but Alexandria goes off by herself. She’s under a lot of pressure because she was almost kicked out of the troop last week and nobody likes her:

Ken: “Alexandria turned on me. She reminds me of Judas. From the Bible.”

Oh, that Judas.

Ken: “By the way, I’m Christ in this scenario.”

Yeah, we get it.

Alexandria: “I need to prove that I’m good enough to be in Troop Parsons.”

Meanwhile, Miranda just wants to shoot people.

Is that asking too much?
OK, maybe this glamping thing isn’t working. Tim takes them to a new campsite and makes a call:

Tim: “Could I speak to Heidi Klum, please? This is troop leader Gunn calling. Well, could you please tell her that her recommendation for a campsite was totally unsuitable? There were no outlets and there was dirt and bugs and it rains there. So, anyway, we found a place that’s much more us, so if any of the judges call you’ll tell them we’re at the Beverly Hills Hotel? Thank you.”

Tim tells a scary story:

Tim: “It was a cold and rainy day in March. I went to Cristophe’s, where I usually get my hair done. Cristophe had mysteriously disappeared. And in his place was a stranger named Rinaldo. I’ll never forget him. His eyes were steely grey, very cold and his hands were like ice. He said I’ll streak your hair and I’ll give you a body wave. He worked very fast. And then, as he turned my chair around to face the mirror, I saw it...”

The next day the designers try to earn their patches. They go shopping at Mood, but they have a limited budget:

Tim: “I want to tell you a story about a man who lived right here in Beverly Hills and thought that money was pretty darned important. One day he went to Neiman Marcus for the linen sale and he got these fabulous duvets and shams and dust ruffles. At 50% off. 200 thread count. And then he went to pay for them and the salesgirl cut his credit card in half. In front of a lot of people.”

Designers: “Did you have to put everything back?”

Tim: “Yes. It was a nightmare. I thought I could never show my face on Wilshire ever again. But I was wrong. These things happen. They happen to everyone. And that’s why now I only use a GoBank card.”

Designers: “Thanks, Tim.”

To prove their worth the designers have to sell two thousand boxes of cookies and then create garments for a fashion show at the annual Jamboree. Tim makes his rounds in the design room:

I'll be blunt: I'm concerned.
Some of the designers are second-guessing themselves. Bradon doesn’t think he’s going to have anything to put on his model, Tim tells Karen her look is too simple, Alexandria is worried that the judges won’t appreciate her look, and Justin’s glue-gun dress is falling apart.

Designers: “We can’t do anything right! We’ll never get our designer achievement patches!”

Tim: “I have faith in all of you. This is the most excited I’ve ever been in the workroom. We can create our own patches. Come on!”

The rarely seen Project Runway rule book
First Tim takes the designers to Cristophe’s hair and makeup studio so their models can get makeovers and they can get their grooming patches.

Styling is so important
Then he takes them to the Belk Accessory Wall for their jewelry appraisal patches:

Tim: “...and that’s why the American Indian is responsible for the turquoise jewelry movement.”

Please remember to use the turquoise jewelry very thoughtfully
There are a few more patches to give out. For teaching us how to launder money and crush a revolution, Helen gets her patch in international diplomacy. For teaching everyone how to swear in sign language, Justin gets his patch in communication.

Tim has one more piece of advice for the designers:

Tim: “Never go to Reno, girls. The California community property laws can’t be beat.”

Designers: “Thanks, Tim.”

Now on to the Jamboree runway show, with guest judge Robin Leach:

Guest judge Robin Leach
Well, where are those designers?

Tim: “Sorry we’re late. My troop and I were describing the new fall fashions to the blind.”

OK, now we can start the show:

Robin Leach: “First up, Pia Zadora is smashingly sheathed in this season’s hottest style: the wilderness look! Alexander is in the top three with this.”

The fit is insane!
Robin Leach: “Next up, Dr. Joyce Brothers is clad in khaki for a lunch at the bistro or a walk in the woods. Jeremy is also in the top three for this look.”

This is a love letter to Jeremy's husband
Robin Leach: “But Alexandria is the culprit behind this khaki mania and this ensemble is the epitome of this season’s hottest trend!”

She took a big risk with this and it paid off!
Alexandria wins! Congratulations, Alexandria! 

The bottom three are Ken, Karen, and Justin.

Karen’s is just too boring. Nina can’t tell if the person is going to a rodeo or the first Thanksgiving:

Ken’s look is also bad. The fabrication is wrong and the proportions are strange. But he's safe. Justin tried really hard and at least he did something interesting, but the final look just didn’t work. Justin is out.
It's just overworked
Nina: “I know you've been waiting all season for me to say this, but it looks like a foaming vagina.”

Tim tries to defend Justin to the judges:

Zac and Nina are deliberating
Tim: “He took a risk and it didn’t work out. Don’t you have any tips to help the designers?”

Nina: “Here’s a tip: you can prance these little princesses through Beverly Hills all you want but you will never really be real designers. This troop of losers should have been disbanded long ago. I know it, they know it, and you know it.”

Back in the green room Justin says goodbye to the other designers.

Justin: “Nina was mean but she was right. It’s one thing to try to convince myself that I’m a great designer but to lead the rest of you into danger just to save my own pride would be criminal and I won’t do it. I want to say that I have loved our times together and I will treasure them always. But it’s over now.”
The designers form a friendship circle
The other designers aren’t having it:

Alexander: “Sorry, but a deal’s a deal. You can’t leave.”

Karen: “You wouldn’t let me run away, and we won’t let you, either.”

Ken: “Don’t you realize what you’ve done for us? You’re our inspiration and our friend.”

Dom: “You took a group of overindulged, unmotivated preadolescents and gave us a renewed sense of self esteem.”

Tim: “I have an important announcement.”

Oh, my gosh! I wonder what it could possibly be! Did Tim finally accomplish enough to win back the love of Craig T. Nelson?”

Tim: “No, that’s not it. I have decided to use my save and keep Justin in the competition.”

Well, duh!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Project Runway Season Twelve, Episode Five: Mad Designer!

[warning: there are some season six Mad Men spoilers in this post. But you've had months to watch it so I don't know what you are complaining about!]

Tim introduces the brand new 2013 Lexus SI sedan
The episode starts with the designers meeting Tim on Madison Avenue:

Tim: “I have good news and bad news.”

We already know you lost the Jaguar account.

Tim: “Well, then I only have good news! I managed to get us a meeting to pitch to Lexus! Come on, people, Lexus is the dream account! Everyone wants it!”

Ken: “I can’t believe you did this. You know what I had to do to get the Jaguar account! And we were just about to go public! You think you know what’s best for everyone. I am so mad right now.”

Tim: “But...”

Ken: “Excuse me, but I am still speaking so I need you to not speak right now! I have nothing more to say.”

So, anyway, this is a team challenge, which means a merger between the firms of Sterling Cooper Draper Price and Cutler Gleason Chaough. They’ll be creating garments inspired by the new Lexus SI sedan.

Tim: “Your looks don’t really have to be inspired by the Lexus. They can be, but it isn’t required. I think you should just do whatever you want. In fact, I think I’ll move to California and open a new West Coast Project Runway office. It will be an adventure. Did I ever tell you that I was raised by a kindly prostitute who would buy me Hershey bars if found enough money in her clients’ pockets? God, I love Hershey bars.”


This will be the highly anticipated conventional materials challenge. It’s the challenge we’ve all been waiting for and apparently it only comes once per season. They can finally use normal materials, such as place mats and shower curtains to make their garments. The creative teams get started on the pitches for Lexus. 

But before we get to that, Sandro drops by to say goodbye and give everyone closure:

Sandro: “I’m sorry, guy whose name I don’t remember. I shouldn’t have forced you to drive that Mustang when I knew you couldn’t handle a stick shift. But I had no idea that gay male nurse I recommended was going to marry your mother and then throw her off a cruise ship. Having said that, she did always love the sea.”

Now on to the results. Ken, Alexandria, and Sue are going with a pitch that is a parody of Roman Polansky’s recently released “Rosamary’s Baby.” The garments are as horrifying as the movie.

Sue, Alexandria, and Ken act out a scene from "Rosemary's Baby"
Tim: “Wait a minute. How much is all this going to cost?”

Sue: “Well, we need an extra ten thousand dollars, but it’s totally going to be worth it.”

Tim: “This makes me sick! This isn’t what the client wants! Change everything!”

Ken: “But we can practically taste that CLIO! I am so mad!”

Tim: “But...”

Ken: “Excuse me but I am still speaking so I need you to not speak right now! I have nothing else to say!”

They change everything and it’s still terrible, except for Alexandria’s, which is actually not bad.

Alexandria: “Thank you, I...”


The episode was just a series of things pissing off Ken. Sue and Alexandria went behind his back and set up a lunch meeting with the guy from the Avon hair and makeup studio; he hates all the wallpaper; and Roger Sterling took a four-year-old to see “Planet of the Apes.” 

Ken: "Who does that?!!! I am so mad!"

Ken is pissed off by this wallpaper
Despite all the screaming and the undressed model and Kate helpfully giving Ken the inside scoop about how in a team challenge the worst designer will be sent home (really?), this was all a foregone conclusion. Sue is out.

The other teams were not as clear cut. 

The creative team of Helen, Justin, and Dom created a really mediocre pitch:

Helen: “It’s a collection for the young and the young at heart.”


This isn't working
The creative team of Alexander, Bradon and Miranda came up with a better pitch:

Bradon: “The future is something we haven’t even thought of yet. We don’t even show the collection. Just music, people’s faces, all different kinds of people, looks of wonder. What could it be? Then, after a week, we finally show the collection.”

I love it! It’s so conceptual! Bradon is obviously going to win the challenge. Except he doesn’t.

The creative team of Kate, Jeremy, and Karen pitch something about how the Lexus reminds them of retro modern Great Gatsby and I guess it’s nice if you like that sort of thing. Jeremy wins the Lexus contract and he finally gets that CLIO award. Congratulations, Jeremy.

Meanwhile, Ken heads to Detroit to head up the Lexus campaign, but he’s not really enjoying it as much as he should be.

Ken: “They shot me in the face!”

Well, it was an accident. Don't be such a baby.

At least Ken wasn't run over by a lawnmower