03 August 2013

PR12E03 Milwaukee Meltdown

Heidi woke up our Project Runway contestants and took them to Coney Island for “the” unconventional challenge, although you would be hard-pressed to not characterize the first episode (use the parachute as your fabric) as unconventional. It was time for a team challenge, and we were not to be disappointed in the unlikely pairings! Sandro & Sue and Miranda & Timothy were entertaining in the most uncomfortable ways, but we’ll get back to that, shall we?

First, what they had to do to get to the workroom with something to sew. Two stages: words and actions. In the words part, the teams of two had to give out samples of Yoplait frozen yogurt products (good sponsor recruiting, PR — totally unexpected!) and then record the words used by the “customers” describing their reactions to the products as inspirations for their looks this week. In the action part, they paid for unlimited access to all of the games of chance at Coney Island to win prizes that they would dissect for the material to make their look. Plenty of plastic and faux fur (skinned stuffed toys) with a dash of straw sombrero…very promising for those hoping for something wearable.

Let the drama begin! You might remember Sue as the designer who can’t really sew. I might not have mentioned this last time, but poor Sue is unfamiliar with the sewing machine, having prepared all of her looks that got her to the show by hand sewing them. No time for that here, so she is a non-stop litany of asking others to help her set up the sewing machine, and if she was hoping her partner might accommodate that little handicap she was wrong: Sandro was not having any of that. Of course, he expressed that in his most diplomatic manner (he doesn’t have one of those). One of the other designers called him “unreasonable” and “rude” for how he responded to Sue. I’ll give you rude, but is it truly unreasonable to expect a designer to know how to set up a sewing machine? Their model looked like her nether regions were gasping for air as she walked down the runway flapping the front of the dress as if to get some air down there. She succeeded only in making it stick out oddly.

By far the most uncomfortably entertaining conflict came with the Battle of Milwaukee. In this corner, Miranda, recently out of the army and armed with an unhealthy disrespect for her partner. In that corner, Timothy, dumpster-diving proponent of “sustainable” fashion, because we have to save the forests for the unicorns. They had constant disagreements through the process and ended up with a sad compromise and a faux, painted-over relationship that looked good during the runway show, but soon cracked. Miranda was spouting meanness in the sewing room and didn’t stop when Timothy walked in. He stormed out and went into a back stairwell with a stuffed unicorn (not a REAL one, because they are supposed to have cloven hooves, not be sparkly ponies with horns), and a card from his model from last week expressing her confidence in him. Tears, but enough affirmation to be able to return to the work room.

 Even the unicorn looks disappointed

For her part, Miranda reconsidered her meanness and had a few of her own tears as she choked out a few platitudes about how wrong she had been to say certain things. Oddly — or maybe predictably — she never uttered the word “sorry”. Probably because she wasn’t, really. In any case, at the runway show when Timothy leaned over and said to her “Did we just win?” you knew those were the hopeful thoughts of someone about to have a big letdown. When it was clear they were among the bottom two teams, Timothy unleashed his pent-up anger at Miranda for the judges to see, while she just shook her head and refused to fire back. But her head-shaking was noted.

The winning look, by Kate and Helen, was a fun, sculptural dress made of partly-flattened red straw sombreros, with a bunch of other things we don’t see giving it form and lining it. It was clearly the best thing to walk down the runway.

The runner-up, by Alexandria and Dom, was a monster reassembled as a dress. I mean, doesn’t someone own the rights to that monster look? The kitten being chased image below has been around forever. And whatever happened to the constant critiques of the judges in past seasons that a look was “too junior”? If this didn’t scream I’m six and going to a birthday party, I don’t know what does.

The judges’ outfits. I keep telling myself that this is where I want to focus — on all the outfits not being judged on the show that ought to be — but then I get distracted by the entertaining competition. Heidi is statuesque and beautiful, but she sometimes wears some odd things, even if she makes them look beautiful by draping them on herself. For me this time it was her low-crotch pants (worn at the runway show) that I really didn’t like. Luckily, you really didn’t see the low-crotch effect for long, as she wisely sat on her stool. Nina always looks polished and well turned-out, this week in a top that had both grommets and stripes but still didn't look edgy, only classy. Zac Posen seems only to wear rather conservative suits in luxurious fabrics with a tiny bit of whimsy in the ties. This week, pale suit and white shirt, but with a tie that had little light flowers on a dark background. I liked the tie so much that I didn’t even fixate on the gap in his teeth, at least not as much as I usually do. And guest judge Kelly Osbourne? Very understated, with the exception of that mauve hair that, judging from the length of the roots, she is trying to grow out.

A swipe back at last week’s guest judge, costume designer Eric Daman, who actually wore a blazer in the most ugly camouflage. I might have let that pass, but the beginning-of-episode flashback to last week featured him prominently, challenging me to comment on it. I do as I perceive I am told.

I have to say, though, that Zac Posen is really picking up the slack from Michael Kors in the nasty thematic comment department. He features prominently in my favourite quotes of the week:
  • ZP on the look of Alexander & Justin (“Red Hair” and the deaf guy): “It has kelp on the bottom, dorsal fins on the hips and seaweed on the bum.”
  • ZP again on the same outfit being deconstructed: “Can you take away her erasers?”
  • ZP trying to be cool to the model wearing the monster outfit: “You’ve got to do your rave dance.”
  • ZP on Timothy and Miranda’s outfit: “It looks like she sat on a pool toy and it deflated. There’s even a plug on her arm to make that happen.”
  • Sandro, demonstrating how evolved he his as a person (paraphrased): “When a woman listens to a man, it’s so cool.”
But by far the best statements came from Timothy as he packed up his space in the work room: “I totally still believe in unicorns. Oh my gosh, I won’t stop believing in unicorns. Ever.”

You go ahead, Timothy. At least we won’t have to hear about that any more.

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