07 October 2013

PR12E12 Butterflies and Cocoons

This episode started out — after the revisiting of the previous episode — with Heidi demonstrating a little cultural slip that was quite hilarious to a juvenile such as me. She was talking about the enticing prospect of making it to New York Fashion Week as a “sausage dangling in front of” the contestants. Germans, it seems, prefer sausages to carrots.

Another outdoorsy adventure! This time to the Sweetbriar Nature Center [it is American, so I misspell “centre” deliberately] Butterfly House. Helen is thrilled, because the fact that she has a butterfly tattoo means that this challenge is tailor-made for her! She should have learned by now that a bold prediction at the beginning of the episode is not a good sign for a contestant, and in any case it does not keep her from having her usual crisis of confidence, much to the annoyance of her fellow contestants.

So which corporate sponsor will this episode feature? None other than l’Oréal Paris itself, with consultant Billy B. on hand to hawk — you might be anticipating this — l’Oréal’s new Butterfly Mascara! It will be the avant-garde challenge, to be inspired by butterflies.

We immediately see a few of the contestants latching onto particular butterflies…Alexandria to a dark butterfly, planning to use its sadness, Justin to an albino butterfly, because it was an outsider like he is (being deaf and gay) and Helen to the Monarch butterfly, because it is “lux as hell”. Meanwhile, Bradon doesn’t even sketch, because he would rather look at the butterflies.

 Then they’re off to Mood, with a suggested budget of $500, which they all apparently compete to exceed. Dom $628. Bradon $984. Alexandria $992. Helen $1,057. And the winner, with a grand total of $1,167: Justin.

We are treated to another dazzling display of limited vocabulary on the part of the contestants as Alexandria tells us that this will be the final challenge that deciphers who is going to fashion week — I believe she meant decides or determines, but I guess neither of those sounded fancy enough. This reminds me of another failing of Kate that I neglected to mention last week… She spoke of her decision to participate in Project Runway a second time as being an indication that she is “mildly sadistic”. Now I think she probably meant masochistic, but then again, she might have been speaking of the pain she inflicted on the rest of us…

Tim’s critique gives contestants their usual consternation or encouragement:
  • Dom explains her idea is based on the fact that different butterflies crossbreed. She is going to crossbreed prints by mixing them together. Time gives her a look that she has a lot of trouble interpreting.
  • Helen is transforming her Monarch butterfly “lux” into an orange gown inside a black cocoon of a coat. We see Bradon call it Halloweeny and I suspect he isn’t the only one, as Helen freaks out and bursts into her [now] usual tears. Bradon mumbles something about drama and Tim exhorts her to “get out of this conundrum” and “rally, rally, rally”.
  • Alexandria shows her idea for a dark and tattered cocoon-like gown and Tim likes it, calling it “goth-like”.
  • Bradon shows what he has been playing with — giant fabric folds and the silk “noodles” he spent all of the previous day hand-sewing — and Tim passes through a “do you really need them?” phase before becoming a believer.
  • Tim calls Justin’s fabric “inexpensive-looking” and Justin’s face falls as I gasp aloud.
This is followed by a lovely set of comments on each other’s looks, once they are all done:
  • Dom on Justin’s: “My favourite!” (Hey! Where’s the cattiness?)
  • Justin on Alexandria’s: “Kind of creepy.” (That’s more like it.)
  • Helen on Bradon’s: “Kind of like an alien shopping bag.” (Whoa, sister, it is the avant-garde challenge!)
  • Bradon on Dom’s: “Fabulous. A little worried it would be Priscilla Queen of the Desert, but it is Paris runway chic fabulous.”
  • Helen on Helen’s (guess nobody else wanted to say Halloweeny again): “They want avant-garde and I am giving them another practical evening gown.” (‘Cause nothing says “practical” like an evening gown?)
Just when we think they are almost all done, they enter the workroom the next day and their mouths fall open. Overnight, some mischievous elves have rolled in all of the losing looks that have led to different contestants going home. What could it mean? Another Project Runway first, of course: two challenges will walk the runway…the avant-garde one and then the “Make it Work” challenge of selecting one of the loser looks and re-making it into a winner! They all select, reserving the drama for Justin, who tearfully selects his own losing look that led to Tim Gunn using the save on him earlier in the season. “How brave” all the others agree.

We have a little aside where Alexandria loses her calm emotionless state and dissolves into tears, needing to go Skype her “Camp Couture” kids for a shot in the arm. Either these contestants are delicate flowers or the contest is a gruelling psychological drama meant to break down all but the most hearty of designer wannabes. The prospect of the former amuses me a bit, but the latter makes me feel uneasy about the entertainment habits.

We meet the judges: Zac, Nina, Heidi and guest judge Emmy Rossum, an actress and singer who I don’t recall hearing about, but she has been in a number of films and TV series I have heard of, so…my bad. They actually separate the two challenges for the runway walk, avant-garde first, rescued look second. The two models of each contestant then join them in turn for the discussion. As usual, the positive comments are boring, the nasty ones are more fun.

  • Nina calls his avant-garde look the best work he has done all season (there were actually delighted gasps when his model took off her coat on the runway)
  • All agreed that he had been brave to choose his own rejected look to salvage and that he had done an excellent job on it. Emmy wanted to wear it!
I thought it was worth showing two views of Justin’s avant-garde look so you could see it with and without the coat part. In my opinion, that white dress of his was amazing and the coat had a black version of some of the same rather intricate work. Infinitely more dress-like than Bradon’s. But I’m not the guest judge, am I?

  • Zac calls her avant-garde look a “carrot in the grater” and then tries to adapt an actual adage for the reworked look (of Kate’s from last week) by saying “simplicity is next to godliness”. Sigh.
  • Nina’s contribution is “pumpkinfest”

  • Heidi and Emmy both love her avant-garde look and how non-literal an interpretation of a butterfly it is, but Heidi hates the reworked look (of Miranda’s plaid), calling it like a punk costume. She does like the pants, though.
  • Nina calls the avant-garde look a “butterfly stuck in a spider’s web” (she repeats this whenever anyone is listening), but gushes about how “now” the reworked look is.
  • Sourpuss Zac doesn’t like either of them, but can’t think of any clever putdowns either.
  • Nina hails two “spectacular” looks, with the avant-garde one being new and interesting from every angle.
  • Heidi shouts “Halleluiah” and proclaims his avant-garde look to be art.
  • Zac says he went gaga for the look, and that Gaga would wear it (and then chuckled at his own cleverness). The reworked one (of Sue’s placemat dress) was hailed as “really cool”, although I would add that he would have been eliminated from the unconventional materials challenge if he had used as much actual fabric as he did on his rework.
  • Nina loves her exuberant use of colour and Heidi loves how she plays with the volume.
  • Zac makes the grande geste and proclaims “The World of Dom” adding that he “sees a brand”. He goes on to refer to the reworked outfit (of Jeremy’s Air Heidi look) as “emotional clothing”. It’s a good thing we’re coming to the end of the season, as our judges seem to be grasping for anything new to say!
  • Emmy wants to wear the coat from the avant-garde look…and she tries it on at the close-up.
All the contestants are asked why they deserve to move on and which two others they see going with them. Four out of five name Dom, three name Justin, two name Bradon and one names Helen. Nobody chooses Alexandria, so she is rather upset when they get back to the waiting area. Helen, who has spent half this episode [and a number of others, too] in tears, tells her she shouldn’t be upset, because after all she has made it this far… Save it, Helen.

The conclusion is less than clear. Well, Bradon gets the win (that’s clear) and Dom also gets the first class ticket to New York Fashion Week. Then we get to the other three and we are expecting tears and drama. But the judges are nothing if not non-committal, or maybe it’s generous. The remaining three will each prepare a collection, but they will compete with each other for the final spot at New York Fashion week.

Who wants to bet that more than one of them will join the other two for the finale?

No comments: