Wow! You really know you’ve “arrived” when a world for which you would have had no respect in your own heyday reaches out to [mis]appropriate your movement for its own evil purposes. It helps that many of the contestants were born well after the fading of many of the iconic punk bands, so they are really to be counted on as the experts in parading punk down a runway.
The biggest hardship — to make them really understand what it might have been like to be a disaffected youth — is that they had to work (brace yourself!) in the basement of Mood. Oh, the humanity! It’s enough to drive a fragile manic-depressive to tears and cries of anguish. Oh, there you are Elena. What a totally brilliant idea to do what your model said and turn the jacket around for her to wear it backward. Now take credit for the idea and move along. The rest of us will be counting the times you accuse others of not using their own original ideas.
The designers meet Ms. Milano at the American Museum of Natural History, which is preparing to open an exhibit called “The Power of Poison”. While this includes a number of venomous insects and arachnids, several others among the collection that will serve as the inspirations to the designers didn’t seem all that poisonous to me. But they were icky and crawly, so we got to have little screams and contorted faces from many of these “professionals”. They sketch with their bugs, which later join them in the work room, still firmly in their glass containers. Oh yeah, and it’s the avant-garde challenge, so go wild.
After having won last week, Elena now draws attention to herself by “losing” her sketch while they are shopping at Mood. Surely this means a total disaster and the world is over! Cry it out, Elena! Rant and rave a bit, too! And Zanna Roberts Rassi really seems to be on a different wavelength from that of the judges. She advises people they are being too literal, resulting in changes that make the judges ask why they were not more reflective of their bugs. Because they were listening to the dizzy blonde “mentor”. And while we’re critiquing the cast…Ms. Milano had some kind of creepy mascara spill at the sides of her eyes that made me want to spit on a Kleenex and dab away, and then she reacted to Jeffrey’s hooded model by saying that the hood looked like it belonged in the bedroom…”Oops” Too much information!”
The contestants go to a hip and trendy bar! But yes, it turns out to be a challenge, as they find Ms. Milano there handing out the task. Each is to choose a creation by cocktail “architect” Yousef and then make — what else? — a cocktail dress inspired by it. At least one designer orders the virgin version of the cocktail, while others get tipsy and sketch crooked. But first some innuendo, as Korto’s drink has some candied ginger on the rim, and Jeffrey can’t stop himself from shouting out “Taste the rim”, which Korto does sensuously, then toasting Jeffrey as the next to choose. Viktor attempts to flirt with the bartender — er — cocktail architect (pictured below), but gets nowhere but tipsy.
When the contestants are told to wait outside Parsons for their ride, they aren’t expecting what rolls up: a classic yellow school bus. This turns some of them into children again, while Korto tells a cute story about how jealous her daughter will be (she wants to ride a school bus) and Christopher retreats into terrible memories of having been bullied. When they arrive at PS212 — an actual school — Ms. Milano is delighted to tell them that this is the unconventional challenge. Four minutes to full their provided backpacks with all of the materials they can find in a designated classroom at this arts-oriented elementary school. These are the usual type of school supplies that have nothing to do with fabric and everything to do with gluing and cutting things up.
Here’s where Elena shares with Viktor her idea of breaking up rulers into geometric shapes to adorn her dress. Viktor takes that further and ends up making a dress that almost looks like fur, there are so many slivers of ruler attached to the dress. We hear Elena complaining that it isn’t fair, that he stole her idea and took credit for it, maybe like she did with her model’s idea back in episode 1, when she won. She doesn’t make any official complaints, but you know it is stored in there for future tantrums.
The other notable moment comes when Isaac Mizrahi shares with the other judges that he feels manipulated by Christopher’s terrible memories of being bullied, which is completely fair. After all, who is going to stand up and vote for someone else’s dress in the face of such a compelling story?