Saturday, January 11, 2014

Project Runway All Stars Season Three Finale: The Interpreters!

This week at the UN
ALYSSA: Welcome to the United Nations headquarters in New York. You are here to meet the delegates from the countries of your heritage and interpret the spirit of those countries into six piece collections that will walk the famous UN runway four days from now.

Elena meets the delegate from Ukraine:

UKRAINIAN DELEGATE: People wear clothes in Ukraine. You’ll be a huge star.

ELENA: Sounds great.

Korto meets the delegate from Liberia:

LIBERIAN DELEGATE: It is very important that you come with me to Liberia right now!

KORTO: OK, slow down. Why don’t you buy me a drink first?

Seth Aaron meets the Delegate from Spain:

SPANISH DELEGATE: The most important thing in Spain is the earth. In fact, Spain is almost ninety percent dirt.

The designers are now super inspired. After some sketching time, the UN building is evacuated because one of the metal detectors is malfunctioning. The designers head off to Mood to buy fabric. 

Later that night, after the designers are snug in their beds, Nicole Kidman goes back to the UN building to get her flute. The building appears to be empty. But then, as she’s about to leave, she hears voices. They are speaking in a language that only a few people can understand.

“Repetition is reputation. It’s a double edged sword. The peplum story isn’t working. The teacher will not leave this room.”

What the hell?
Nicole doesn’t know what it means, but she’s terrified. She runs for her life.

The next day in the design room Nicole talks to Zanna Roberts Rassi, the Secret Service mentor who has been assigned to her:

NICOLE KIDMAN: They were speaking in the special language of Project Runway judges, so it was difficult to make sense of it, but I think they were talking about the international fashion icon Gayle King.

ZANNA: How’d you happen to be up there after hours?

NICOLE: I had to go back for my flute. We evacuated the building and, as you can imagine, it would have been very burdensome to take my flute with me.

ZANNA: Your flute? Of all the things a writer could make you go back for, why would it be a flute? I mean, even a violin would make more sense.

NICOLE: I know. But it was a flute. What can I do about it?

ZANNA: OK. So, you go back for your flute and you just happen to hear some people talking in gibberish that only a few Project Runway judges would be able understand?

NICOLE: You don’t believe me? You think I’m making it up? I’m scared and my mentor is someone who doesn’t believe me.

ZANNA: I’m not here to mentor you. I’m here to mentor the All Stars. My job, as it concerns you, is to investigate you.

NICOLE: We’re kepĂ©la. It means standing on opposite sides of the design room.

Zanna and Nicole don’t trust each other at first, but their relationship starts to warm up and they soon discover they need each other. They only have four days to solve the mystery of why in the world Gayle King would be the guest judge for the finale and who she will chose to win the biggest prize package in Project Runway history. 

Zanna Roberts Rassi and Nicole Kidman
Alyssa checks in with Zanna:

ALYSSA: So, Zanna, do you think Nicole Kidman is telling the truth?

ZANNA: I’d rather make the mistake of believing her than the bigger one of not.

ALYSSA: This is so important we will be giving you some assistance. Use whatever resources are necessary. The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, former All Stars contestants -- anything you need, it’s yours.

So Christopher, Viktor, and Jeffrey are sent in to help solve the case. At first we can’t decide how Nicole Kidman is mixed up in all this. She seems to be connected to all three remaining All Stars. One is her brother, one is her lover, and one is her friend. But does that mean she is part of the conspiracy?

NICOLE: I walked away from Parsons with nothing. No brother, no family, no lover, nothing. Just a belief that fashion shows at the UN can solve all the world’s problems.

After that moving speech, we are forced to endure tedious scenes of Zanna staring at Nicole, the length of the design room a physical reminder of the metaphorical distance between them. And then that distance disappears in an instant, when Zanna rushes over to save Nicole from an assassination attempt. Then Nicole is almost blown up on a bus. They head back to the UN for the fashion show.

ALYSSA: Like all thrillers, this one has a twist. The twist is that the voice Nicole heard was that of Zac Posen. He was talking with the other judges about who would win this season of All Stars.

That’s the twist? So why are there a bunch of scarves hanging behind you?

ALYSSA: Oh, right. I forgot about the scarves. The designers have to use those to make a seventh look. Now, let’s start the show. For the first time cameras are being allowed into the UN General Assembly room to record the Project Runway All Stars finale. Isn’t that exciting?

Well, I have no idea what that confusing statement means. Are you saying this is the first time cameras are being allowed into the General Assembly room, or are you saying this is the first time they are being allowed in to record this Project Runway finale?

ALYSSA: I don’t know! I’m reading a script! Stop analyzing everything I say!

Fine. Well, the show was impressive, considering the fact that the collections were created in four days. Seven pieces doesn’t really a collection make, though. It doesn’t really give the designer enough space to develop themes while providing the full range of a real collection. The judges are either going to complain that the looks are not cohesive or they are going to complain that the looks are just variations on a theme. There really isn’t a way to avoid that with these mini collections. 

Elena - This was my favorite collection. The judges complained that the looks were all the same and that there was only one silhouette. But I counted two silhouettes: her basic body-con silhouette and a fun trapeze shape. Perhaps the judges were hoping for three or four, but am I expecting too much to think the judges should be able to tell the difference between one silhouette and two? 

Korto - This was my second favorite collection. Her first dress and her palazzo-pant jumpsuit were gorgeous and there were a couple of other nice looks. If the whole collection had lived up to the best looks I would have picked her for the win. But there were a few looks I didn’t like at all.

Seth Aaron - While I thought this was a dramatic collection, it was my least favorite of the three. I happen to like crazy, non-commercial looks, as long as they are exciting and fashion forward. But I found this collection, on the whole, to cross the line into dated clown-clothes territory. The red coat was nice, though.

The judges, as expected, get everything completely wrong:

ALYSSA: Designers, this season you’ve created fashion inspired by the New York stock exchange, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Great Gatsby. You’ve been humiliated by Miranda Priestly and proven that Santa Claus exists. You’ve designed menswear and womenswear to be worn in the Hunger Games and you’ve permanently ruined the Sound of Music with your complete lack of acting ability. One of you even destroyed the earth on two separate occasions. All of this led up to our big finale, where you created looks based on your heritage and almost killed Nicole Kidman. So, after all of that, it is only fitting that we allow Nicole Kidman to explain the judging process to us:

NICOLE: Everyone who loses somebody wants revenge. But on Project Runway we believe that the only way to end grief is to go back on the show again. If someone is eliminated, several years of mourning ends with a ritual that we call All Stars. There's an all-night party beside a river. At dawn, the All Stars are put in a boat. They’re taken out on the river and dropped. The judges then have to make a choice. They can let them drown or they can swim out and save them. The audience believes that if the right designer is chosen, they'll have justice but spend the rest of their lives in mourning. But if they accept the winner that the judges choose, if they admit that life isn't always just ... that very act can take away their sorrow.

That sounds reasonable. I accept Seth Aaron as the winner. I just can't be super excited about it. Let's see if Nicole can accept the judges' decision:

ZANNA: How do you feel about the Project Runway judges?

NICOLE: I feel disappointment.

ZANNA: That’s a lover’s word. What about rage? Of all the people I’ve looked into since this thing started, the one with the darkest history with the judges is you. Their decision eliminated your ...

NICOLE: Shhh! We don’t speak the names of the eliminated. It's hard to remember that these were once good judges. That's not unusual for these guys. They all begin as liberators and 20 minutes later they're as corrupt as the tyrants they've overthrown. They liberated Project Runway from one of the most corrupt judging panels on earth, gave the audience hope, and were heroes. They need another name for what they are now.

Nicole Kidman is disappointed.
[Eric3000 would like to thank you for reading and apologize for the fact that this was the only UN-themed movie he could think of.]

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Project Runway All Stars Season Three, Episode Nine: Fashion Cents!

I have a hunch something exciting is going to happen in the ready-to-wear market this morning!

We open the episode with Isaac and Georgina being driven to work in their Bentley. They are having an argument:

ISAAC: How stupid these scientists are! The eternal question. There is no question. The answer’s obvious.

GEORGINA: I don’t care about heredity versus environment. I’m sick and tired of hearing about it. I care how much we get for our ready-to-wear looks.

ISAAC: Michelle Smith says to sell at four hundred dollars. Her charts say that’s as high as it’ll go.

GEORGINA: It’ll never get that high. Let’s sell lower.

ISAAC: Patience, Georgina. Let’s see if she’s right. This is a study in human nature.

GEORGINA: We’re about to sell dresses for four hundred dollars and you’re talking about human nature.

ISAAC: Money isn’t everything, Georgina.

GEORGINA: Oh, grow up, Isaac.

ISAAC: Mother always said you were greedy.

GEORGINA: She meant it as a compliment. We’re lucky to have these All Stars working for us, you know.

ISAAC: Hogwash. They’re a product of good environment.

GEORGINA: It’s got nothing to do with environment. With their genes, you could put them anywhere and they’ll come out on top. Breeding. Same as race horses. It’s in the blood.

ISAAC: I’m telling you it’s environment. We could make one designer the winner of this challenge and another designer the loser just through our random decisions.

GEORGINA: Are we talking about a wager? How much do you want to bet?

ISAAC: Shall we say the usual amount?

GEORGINA: Why not?

So, Seth Aaron gets set up with a beautiful design room and fabrics, the use of hair and makeup artists, an accessory wall, a car, and his own butler.

Christopher, on the other hand, gets arrested for theft, has PCP planted in his jacket, is dumped by his fiance, and, on top of all that, is also expected to make a dress that only has one zipper in it.

CHRISTOPHER: One zipper? Why is someone trying to ruin my life?!!!

Christopher is having some difficulties
The designers all have to make compromises for the ready-to-wear market. Seth Aaron has to give up his zipper, which is apparently made out of solid gold, Korto has to shorten her maxi dress, and Elena has to stick with her approved design. But Christopher is having the most trouble. He goes to the tennis club to seek help from the other designers:

CHRISTOPHER: Oh, good. There you are. Seth Aaron, Elena, Korto, I realize this looks completely awful, but I just wanted to assure you, my friends, that I am completely innocent. I’m going to fight this. Someone is out to get me and I know who. The important thing is that I can rely on you, my friends, as character witnesses. I’m going to be defending myself on the runway and I wondered if you could see your way clear to perhaps advance me a small amount of advice about this zipper issue.

KORTO: Frankly, Christopher -- and I think I speak for all of us -- I think it shows incredibly bad taste for you to embarrass us like this. You shouldn’t be asking us for help at this point in the competition.

SETH AARON: Yeah. Nobody wants to buy your heroin, here, Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER: It wasn’t heroin! It was PCP! And it wasn’t mine!

Time for the runway, with guest judges Kristin Chenoweth and Nick Cannon. Alyssa explains how it works:

Fashion is a commodity
ALYSSA: If you’re going to succeed in fashion you have to know all aspects of the industry. Last week you came face to face with real customers, now it’s time to delve into the true business of fashion: ready-to-wear. Let me explain to you what it is we do here. We are in the fashion industry. Fashion is a commodity. Now, what are commodities? Commodities are products, like coffee that you had for breakfast; wheat, which is used to make bread; or pork bellies, which is used to make bacon that you might find in a bacon and lettuce and tomato sandwich. Clear so far? 

ALYSSA: Good. Now some of you designers will be in the top this week and some will be in the bottom. Our job is to make the decision.

NICK CANNON: Tell them the best part, Kristin.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH: The best part is that no matter whether you are in the top or the bottom, Nick and I are huge stars and we're incredibly rich.

DESIGNERS: It’s sounds like you guys are a bunch of bookies.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH: I told you they’d understand.

Seth Aaron wins the challenge. Elena is safe. The bottom two, Korto and Christopher, will face one final challenge to decide which one will make it to the finale:

ALYSSA: Think big, designers. Think positive. Never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat. Fear: that’s the other guy’s problem. Nothing can prepare you for the unbridled carnage you are about to witness. The Super Bowl. The World Series. Pressure? Here it’s kill or be killed. Make no friends and take no prisoners. One minute you’re up, the next -- boom -- your kids don’t go to college and you’ve lost your Bentley. This is it. This is the last bastion of pure capitalism left of earth. Here, in the runway trading pit, you’ll be expected to take three of your old looks and transform them into one dramatic new look. Now, go kick some ass! 

Christopher and Korto enter the pit and manage to trade old looks for new looks. They buy low and sell high! Korto created a very cool outfit and Christopher finally showed the judges who he is as a designer. Unfortunately, one of them has to go. The room goes silent as we await the message from the U.S. Secretary of Fashion:

SECRETARY OF FASHION: After calculating the estimates from various judges, we have concluded the following: Korto is in and Christopher is out.

ISAAC: Pay up, Georgina. I’ve won the bet. We took a bunch of perfectly useless psychopaths and turned them into All Stars. And at the same time we turned an honest, hard-working designer into a violently deranged would-be killer.

GEORGINA: Here you go, Isaac. One dollar.

CHRISTOPHER: It was an experiment? The judges used us as guinea pigs? They ruined my life over a bet?

Sorry, Christopher. Korto will be joining Seth Aaron and Elena in the finale.

Looking good, Seth Aaron!
Feeling good, Elena!