Project Runway season 11
PR 11, episode 1
Isn’t this going to be a fun season? I was a little skeptical about the whole teams concept, but I think it’ll give a rush of adrenaline to counteract the PRFS (everyone say it with me: Project Runway Fatigue Syndrome). There are lots of different ways to create a team, I hope they’ll be inventive that way. This challenge, for example, didn’t really smell like a team challenge - - everyone worked independently, but they were judged as teams. They didn’t have to create a cohesive collection, for example. I’m sure they’ll be doing that in a few weeks (bring on the back-biting).
Did you watch Road to the Runway? I find it helpful in trying to keep the personalities straight. Plus it’s always good to see Mondo. Are they going to give him his own show, or what? Laura Kathleen is looking a little over made-up and her hair is sort of Farrah meets Jessica Savitch. Not in a good way. And Seth Aaron, dear Lord did he seem cranky in the footage they showed. Sullen and fed up with the whole enterprise.
Zac Posen! Could he be cuter. Loved his advice about how it only takes one hole to sink a boat. Richard thought maybe he got that expression from his grandma. And Nina is marvelous, as usual. That woman does not mince words, and I love her for it. Christian did a great job as guest judge, he’s not so taken with his cuteness as he used to be. His hair also seems to be less fierce (which is appreciated).
Daniel is adorable, and that suit was sublime. The neckline, the sleeve and pant length, the execution of the peplum, it was all so well done. It caught the spirit of New York City. He’s one to keep your eye on.
Kudos to Patricia. It seems that everyone had written her off as being too craft-based, probably also too old and too fat. I guess she showed them! The dress was cute and distinctive and had that wonderful touch of surprise with the royal blue reveal. It also took a hell of a lot of work, yet didn’t seem at all overworked. I hope we hear some more ululations from her, that was a high point of the episode for me.
I have no idea why Richard’s black and grey dress was in the top three, I didn’t like it at all. I thought the black side, with the bare arm, made the model look misshapen and bulbous, like she had a tumor. Remember the challenge a few years ago when Heidi had them making outfits for her activewear collection? This looked like one of those, only not good.
ALSO NOTABLE: GOOD
Tu’s outfit was fantastic - - I was afraid he was going to give us The Kooan Show and not have the talent to back up his quirkiness, but he really showed it this week. Beautiful, unique, very high fashion. Ben’s dress was lovely, such gorgeous movement. Stanley’s blue-silver jumpsuit was a knockout. A touch of Crazy Crotch, but a strong look overall. I would have put him in the top three over Richard, definitely. Matthew’s schoolgirl outfit was awfully cute. Samantha’s navy dress was intriguing, I’ll be interested to see what else she does.
ALSO NOTABLE: BAD
Joseph Aaron’s multi-paneled grab bag of a dress was too weird. He would have been in the bottom if he’d been on the losing team. Michelle dress was just plain baffling, with all those straps and bags hanging off it - - it was like a Campfire Girl at a cocktail party. And the combination of the blue lining on the skirt with the pleat in the front, that didn’t work for me. It was like she had a blue cooter.
James’s outfit was a snooze, and the blouse was very badly made. He’ll be going home soon.
Maybe I’m too far out there, but I liked Cindy’s dress. It didn’t have anything to do with New York, and yes, the checkerboard waistband didn’t really go with that muted print, but for some weird reason I thought it worked. It would have been stronger if she’d found a contrasting print for the waistband in a color scheme that was harmonious with the other print. But I liked it. I would have put Michelle in the bottom instead of her.
Did you notice how Emily had a totally inflated view of her talent and fabulousness in the Road to the Runway? She was sure she was winning the whole season. Could she have been more wrong. It’s pretty bad when you feel bad for the model, having to wear such a hot mess. Nina pinned the tail on the donkey when she said that in ten seasons she had never seen something with such bad construction. And she’s seen plenty of donkeys!
The highlight of the episode was the montage at the end of highlights from the season, that was hilarious. Kristin Davis, Susan Sarandon, and the Divine Miss M as guest judges - - it’s going to be a fun season.
PR 11, episode 2
My beloved readers - - my apologies for being late with this. Friday completely got away from me.
A few questions.
The same teams again? I hope this won’t be the pattern of the whole season, or the winning team will keep winning and the losing team will dwindle down to nothing. Is that entertainment? I think not.
What is with Benjamin? He seemed so cute and lovable on the first episode, and he’s revealed himself to be a total bully. Paging Gretchen Jones.
How hot is Susan Sarandon? She’s a total GrILF.
Stanley’s outfit was OK, but nothing special. And I’m with Zac, I don’t get the low crotch - - I don’t think it’s attractive and it doesn’t look comfortable. Joseph Aaron and Richard’s black and white outfit for the ball boy was very sexy. I could have done without the text-covered patch pockets on the pants, they looked like potholders to me. But I love the top, and the harness was brilliant.
Daniel and Layana’s outfit was so sweet. They really thought about its function, and added some design elements that made it funky. I love the curvy back and neckline, but I think the neckline would have a lot more impact if it were done in another color. You can’t really see the curvy detail when it’s black against black. Royal blue, maybe? Plus it’s a kind of look that would adapt to lots of different body types. Daniel, how darling is he - - giving the win to Layana since he won the previous challenge. One final question before I more on: How can Susan Sarandon not know the word “skort”?
IN THE MIDDLE
Amanda’s little black dress was ordinary and WAY too small for a standard-issue waitress. Michelle’s safari dress was just plain weird.
ON THE BOTTOM
You probably won’t be surprised, but I LOVED the kilt! I thought Benjamin and Matthew might have won! You should know (if you don’t know already) that I own two Utilikilts, so I’ve totally drunk the kilt Kool-Aid. I might be making a batch later this week, stop by! I said to Richard:
ME: I think Susan Sarandon might be surprised by how many guys would love to wear a kilt.
RICHARD: I think you might be surprised by how many guys would definitely not.
Putting that issue aside, I can see why the judges would have problems with the outfit. The flap in the front was goofy. I would have put the words vertically, on the pleat panels. The tank was cool, I don’t think the doodles would have been a problem if the flap hadn’t been there. And yes, that circle cut-out in the back was not a good idea.
Cindy and Benjamin - - what a misfire. The jacket was lovely, but so wrong for the challenge. They would have been safe if they’d done that outfit in a print or some funky color, but it was too subdued.
James’s outfit was a trip to Dullsville. I think it was Sarandon who said, “There’s nothing about this outfit that indicates that he’s a server.” He looks like a beach bum. I’m glad it was him who went home - - Cindy and Benjamin’s outfit was not right for the challenge, but at least it was well made and had some design going on. James’s outfit was very Ocean Pacific.
PR 11, episode 3
Really, the same teams yet again? It’s not fair - - clearly as long as they keep doing this, the same team will keep winning and the other team will keep losing. Especially since they’re losing one person with every episode. They should change the name of this season - - instead of “Project Runway Season 11: Teams” they should call it “Project Runway Season 11: Kick a Dead Horse.”
Why was this challenge so challenging? The winning look was the only one that was a success. Is it really so hard to make a dress for Heidi? Here’s what *I* would have done: a Courrèges-inspired trapeze dress in pink and black, some clever color blocking, maybe abstractly working in the strappy design of the bottle. Show it with some gold jewelry, and Christopher Ryan, you are the winner of this challenge! Now I just have to learn how to sew.
Benjamin, Benjamin, Benjamin. At first he was stealing Gretchen’s routine and being a tyrant, now he’s putting on the Josh, weeping while telling his compelling backstory. Who will he ape next?
Chris March: he’ll fall asleep in the green room, snoring loudly.
Vincent Libretti: he’ll spout on about his couture skills, then finish the hem of his gown with a hot glue gun.
Kenley Collins: he’ll start sporting fascinators, will later swing a cat.
Stella Zotis: he’ll become a specialist in leathah, will date a guy named Rat Bones.
Johnny Sakalis: remind me who that is?
One more comment before I move on to the runway: Joseph Aaron talked a bit about how he wants to create his own fabrics and be avant garde. The photo they showed had a model wearing a dress made out of what appeared to be a latch hook rug depiction of King Tut. Now I have seen everything.
Daniel’s dress was nice, but the color was a little lackluster. Why didn’t he do it in a rich pink? And Richard thought the slit in the front was open too far. I liked what Patricia did, but thought it looked a little crafty. It’s a brilliant idea, and would really deliver if she had more time and money. Kate and Layana clearly had this in the bag, their gown was gorgeous - - and they were so worried earlier in the episode about the pink. They resolved that issue very effectively. But I agree with, was it Zac (?), who said that the corset lacing in the back was a little sketchy. I wonder if Heidi will redo that, a la Mondo’s polka dot gown.
IN THE MIDDLE
I thought Samantha’s dress showed some promise, but the nude cut-out wasn’t quite right, it looked a little off. And Richard’s dress - - she was pooping ruffles!
Matthew - - again, to quote the Kors, “Slutty, slutty, slutty!” I’m disappointed that Cindy was sent home. I thought her dress was fine. Yes, the fabric wasn’t the right choice (or the right pink), the fit wasn’t particularly flattering, and the cut-out in the front didn’t deliver “sexy”, but it was a well-made dress and was pretty from all angles. Benjamin’s dress was a total disaster. Nothing good about it. Really, if Heidi had those two dresses to choose from, she would NOT choose the one with the droopy boobies.
Clearly they kept him because he’s more interesting - - Richard said, “He’s cute, he speaks with an accent, he’s temperamental. What’s interesting about her? She’s middle-aged, a little dumpy, and she’s director of a funeral home.” There’s a disclaimer at the end of every episode that says that the producers of the show have the final say in who wins and who loses - - I have a pet theory that the judges choose the top three and bottom three, and the producers choose the winner and the auf. Would love to know the real story on this.
Have a super weekend, stay safe!
PR 11, episode 4
First off, Richard sends us this article about the fashion week finale - - don’t worry, no spoilers!
The episode started with a brief glimpse of the designers in their sleep clothes - - did you notice Daniel’s fabulous Almodóvar pajamas? They were spectacular!
What was with that weak sauce Glade scented candle product placement. I’ve never seen anything so crass and commercial on PR. I’m greatly disappointed in them.
Thank GOD they switched up the teams a bit. I was surprised that the Dream Team didn’t choose Daniel, since he seems to be the prize pig so far, and also has a reputation for being a helpful teacher in matters of construction. And why was the team listening to Benjamin? Who died and made him boss, as we used to say in the 80s. But they appeared to have made the right choices - - I think Stanley was eager to assert himself, and he did a great job choosing a Dior theme for their collection. And Layana was second from the top, her dress was divine.
The other team would have been wise to come up with a theme before they started designing. Duh. Maybe they could have used Michelle’s idea of Crazy People in Unrelated Mental Institutions, it would have had more grip than their pasted-on Decades idea. The judges saw right through that, thankfully.
Why on earth was Benjamin building a freakin’ loom and weaving his own freakin’ fabric. That is ridiculous. Did it reflect in something spectacular and distinctive on the runway? Not so much.
I adore Bette, was thrilled that she was a guest judge, and thought she did a wonderful job. But did we need the blogger? As my dear friend Karen Miller has said time and again, we do not need two guest judges! If the guest judge is an SDJ (starlet du jour) who is clueless without a seeing-eye dog second guest judge, then that’s an indication that the SDJ should not be a judge on Project Runway. We shall not speak of this again.
Something interesting happened on this episode, it’s happened before and is always a head-scratcher: all of the footage in the workroom led you to believe it was going to be a hot mess on the runway - - only to reveal that things turned out really well! I think we can give credit to the editors.
I thought both Layana’s and Samantha’s dresses were extraordinary. I liked Layana’s better because it was prettier and more wearable - - but Samantha’s was more innovative, which I guess was the point of the challenge. Plus it did that hard vs soft thing they were looking for. Brava to both of them. It seems ironic to me that Samantha got some ideas from her coworkers about her design and she ended up the winner - - but Amanda got ideas from her coworkers and they all said it was traumatic and proof that she’s a loser. Please.
IN THE MIDDLE
Kate’s dress was gorgeous, it had a pretty shape. Matthew’s dress was cool, beautiful construction on the bodice. Stanley’s dress was sweet, the workmanship of the leaves was impressive. Tu’s outfit was killer - - plus it was separates, which usually puts the judges in a swoon. Richard and Michelle’s dress was fantastic - - they might have been the winners if they had been on the winning team.
ON THE BOTTOM
Bette hit the nail on the head re: Amanda being thrown under the bus - - it was contagious. One person said, “Amanda should go home”, which clears a path for everyone to say that. Thank you, Nina, for saying that whatever happened in the workroom, it was NOT reflected in the dress. The dress was good. I would have put Patricia and Joseph on the bottom. Both were sloppy and shapeless. But I knew they’d put Amanda and Joseph on the bottom, and then send him home. This way we have the drama of Amanda being scorned next week. Oo, the fur is going to fly!
Speaking of next week, there was a teaser at the end of the episode - - Tim said to the designers in the workroom, “Heidi and I want to see you all on the runway in ten minutes.” What could it be?
PS - - That line I used earlier, “We shall not speak of this again”, is one of my most oft-quoted movie lines. It’s delivered in a frosty manner by Leslie Caron in *Damage*. ROBBED of an Oscar nom, that one!
PR 11, episode 5
Hello! My apologies that this is a few days late, is has been crazy nutty around here. So here goes!
HOORAH that they abandoned those tired teams. I hope they do something fresh every week from now on. The possibilities are well, not endless, but numerous.
Did Tim Gunn really say "a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll"? And did he know the source of that phrase?
Am I the only person who had never heard of Miranda Lambert? Is she all that? And/or a bag of chips? And since she's so zaftig, why didn't they bring in some zaftig models? Wouldn't it be good for designers to design for plus-size models?
ON THE TOP
Richard really pulled the rabbit out of the hat, making such a wonderful dress without having had a lining only a few hours before. What was he thinking? But snaps to him for ingenuity. Make it work, indeed! Amanda's dress was gorgeous, she and Richard both had a brilliant idea with the fringe - - but his had the edge because it had sparkle. And Benjamin's gown, how gorgeous was that. Beautiful shape, beautiful movement, just plain beautiful.
IN THE MIDDLE
Samantha's proportions were off. Tu's dress was a strange mixture of too much, yet not enough. Kate's dress was OK but the skirt was way too heavy. And Patricia's dress, yikes. The fringey part on top had nothing to do with the bronze little dress underneath. Not good.
ON THE BOTTOM
I thought the top of Daniel's dress was lovely, I didn't think that crinkled effect created too much volume. The skirt, though, was a big misfire. Nina hit the nail on the head when she said it was a cross btw a napkin and a tablecloth. Not what one wants on the red carpet, Daniel! Michelle's dress was ruined by the linguine bib (thank you, Zac Posen), but the denim skirt wasn't a good idea either. And Matthew, I feel bad for him. Sweet guy, and he knew he was being sent home. That dress had no impact. It would be perfect for one of Miranda's backup singers.
PR 11, episode 6
Hey darlings! Again I’m late getting this out - - I was at the NY Philharmonic Thursday night hearing *Carousel*, gorgeous performance. Richard and I watched PR Friday night, over Chinese food! What could be more delightful.
Some of the designers seemed to be a little flummoxed, having to make clothes for alte kachers. Is it really so far outside the box? Are they really only able to make clothes for 20-year old girls who are six feet tall and weigh 85 pounds? If so, please pack up your knives and go home. Oops, wrong show.
Michelle has really come to the forefront, hasn’t she? What a wench! She’s spending so much time criticizing others and saying what a bunch of losers they are, it seems to have escaped her that she was in the bottom two and has yet to even break the top three, let alone get anywhere near winning a challenge. I predict a big hair-pull between her and Patricia, soon.
Praise Jesus that the clients and designers were matched up randomly, I can’t take it when they choose their clients and the largest woman is chosen last, that is too degrading. Rachel Roy always does well as a guest judge. And Joan and Melissa were marvelous! Joan always delivers, she is such a scream. I was impressed at how articulate Melissa was. Richard thought they must go to the same plastic surgeon, they both have that feline look. Hey, they’re mother and daughter, they SHOULD look alike! Even post op.
ON THE TOP
I’m getting a little weary of Daniel. Or is it just his moustache. His pantsuit was just fine - - the design details in the jacket were appreciated but the whole look was a bit off the rack. I wasn’t crazy for Richard’s look. I think Heidi loved it because she’s going to steal it for her activewear line. Stanley’s lady looked so FINE! First off, she is a fine looking woman - - and the outfit he did for her was stellar, breathtaking. A bit of crazy crotch, and the pants could have been a smidge longer, but the booty was fantastic. And very ambitious for the timeframe they had.
IN THE MIDDLE
Ouch for the team of Michelle, Layana, and Patricia - - I bet Patricia is watching her back now, that was harsh, how the judges said that the other two were very strong but she was lousy. Her outfit was pretty bad. That wrap made me wonder what was going on underneath it. Did she lose her blouse? Was she nursing? I loved Samantha’s leopard skirt, and the blouse would have been cute in another color and without that goofy boxy sleeve. The bow at the waist, please.
ON THE BOTTOM
Kate’s outfit wasn’t so bad. I think either Tu or Amanda should have gone home. Amanda’s dress was just plain ugly. We hear over and over again that the fabric choice was the biggest problem, which was clearly the issue here. That was the best-looking abstract print she saw at Mood? And what she did with it, blech. Especially that tuck in the back of the skirt, it’s like she sat on a piece of gum. I was sure that Tu signed his own pink slip when he confessed that the dress was being held together solely by the belt. Not a solution, not by a long stretch! Hopefully this was just a bump in the road for him, he’s done good work earlier this season. Benjamin is cute, but I can’t say I’m going to miss him. I was getting a little tired of that “I was in an abusive relationship” routine. I’m going to tone down this expression - - take your poop or get off the pot. The dress was too tight, but the style was cute and his adorable client loved it. Isn’t that worth a little something? Amanda’s and Tu’s clients were clearly none too thrilled.
PR 11, episode 7
That duck was so cute! And Heidi was so at ease with him, I wondered if she grew up on a farm. She didn’t.
Check out that weblink - - Heidi Cloom?
I didn’t appreciate Michelle talking about Richard and Daniel and saying, “I already know they’re going to be in the bottom.” I turned out she was right, but still. And another thing - - looks like Stanley made the right choice, hm, choosing Layana over Richard.
The high school visit was cute. I know I would have plotzed if Tim Gunn and Project Runway came to MY high school (but then PR would have had to have been on TV when I was in high school). I wonder if one of those high school kids is going to end up on the show? Wouldn’t that be a marvo thing to include in your submission video? Do you suppose PR is still going to be on the air in 5-10 years?
ON THE TOP
I thought Stanley and Layana had it in the bag. Their dress was so cute, had the right spirit, and used the tape in an inventive way. The black and white was cool, the petticoat was cute, and I LOVED the bow around the waist. Heidi put it perfectly - - you want to be friends with that girl.
Michelle and Amanda’s dress was very good. Zac was right about the brain work that goes into placing the houndstooth, that was impressive. My concern is that it shows a little too much flesh for a high school girl. Am I a square? Amanda’s high school anxiety meltdown was hilarious. Do you think the producers staged that bit in the gym, with no one talking to them, to heighten the drama? Am I a cynic?
I can’t believe that Patricia and Samantha got the most votes from the high school kids, I didn’t like their dress at all. Jiffy Pop, indeed. Way too sci fi, and the way the top was sewn onto the bottom was cheesy. I bet Samantha was shocked more than anyone. Is Patricia officially the person no one wants as their partner?
ON THE BOTTOM
Richard and Daniel’s dress started off looking good but yeesh with the ruffles. So Christian LaCroix, so early 90s! Not a rockin’ look. Plus the color was a little dull. I’m starting to wonder about these two, they’re all over the map.
Kate and Tu - - a double elimination, can you believe it? We’ll be down to eight next week, this season is flying by. Their dress looked more red carpet than prom, and the floor length is too mature for a teenager. The eyeroll from Nina, when Zac said the length wasn’t the problem - - and then he practically snapped a Z in the air, saying that he’s dressed more girls for the prom than she has. Do I sense some strife between “Strike a” Posen and La Garzilla? Anyway, back to Kate and Tu - - I think they still would have been sent home if it had been short, the whole dress looked flat and dull.
Have a super weekend, everybody!
PR 11, episode 8
Why did no one use the phrase Blunder from Down Under? It’s so obvious, it was screaming through my brain. One other question before we move on: I’m so tired of those Feria commercials for ombre hair. Am I alone thinking ombre hair is gross and stupid looking?
I liked how the judges chose the teams for this challenge. I’m sure they were guided in their decision by the producers, who had listened to the behind-the-scenes commentary by the designers. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
I’ll say this about the strippers: they’re charming, some of them are handsome, and they’re all built to kill - - but they are not the greatest dancers.
Bravo to Stanley for taking charge of his team and doing it in such a quiet, respectful, authoritative way. And he was crafty to choose a task that gave Patricia some fabric manipulation to do. Throw that girl a bone! It was amusing how the other designers were amazed to see her spending all day on that one shirt, but when that’s all she’s given to do, why shouldn’t she spend all day on it?
I thought it was a little funny that Layana was asking Stanley for advice, when he was on the other team, and wasn’t surprised that it was brought up on the runway - - but you know, that’s between her and Stanley. Stanley would have every right to tell her, “You’re on the other team, I’m not helping you out”, but he’s too gracious for that.
The meltdown from Richard when he talked with his friend, wasn’t that tragic. It could happen to any of them. And it’s not just about the anxiety he was experiencing on that one challenge, it’s all the pent-up anxiety from the weeks leading up to it.
Two funny remarks:
Amanda: strong personality = bad listener.
Michelle re: Patricia spending all day on the shirt: “Holy shirt!”
I was surprised that the judges didn’t say a word about how effectively or ineffectively the clothes came off. One team made horrible-looking clothes that came off easily, the other team made OK-looking clothes that hardly came off at all. That grey shirt never did come off! This seems to me like an important element of the challenge, and it wasn’t addressed.
The giggle attack from Nina was so adorable. It reminded me of Michael Kors’s giggle attack during the female wrestler challenge in season 4.
ON THE TOP
How scandalous that there was no winner! A PR first! Richard thought the black trench coat made the guy look like a lab technician at the morgue. I thought Patricia’s woven shirt was kinda cool. Michelle’s look was the stand-out in the whole show - - the whole look was cool, and she thought about the performance, with the hanky and the zipper. Stanley’s suit wasn’t so marvelous, but it was Brooks Brothers compared to what the other team did.
ON THE BOTTOM
One horrid look after another. But I give them a few points for easy removal! The Aussies were so game, bless them for not being demoralized, as we all were, on their behalf. How can Richard not know how to make a shirt? Zac said it - - where is the collar stand on those shirts? I didn’t know that term, and certainly don’t know the first thing about making one, but I can assure you that EVERY shirt I’ve ever worn has one. No excuse for that. Clearly this was another personality-driven auf: Richard is better TV, so Amanda is sent home. Honestly, which was a bigger disaster, her pants or his shirts?
PR 11, episode 9
Heidi looked so fine in that grey leather coat dress at the start of the episode! She’s really turning it out this season. Do you suppose it’s because she’s single?
There were so many funny quotes this week. I’ll give a snarky follow-up comment in brackets.
Richard: “Lord and Taylor is so luxurious. I feel right at home.” […in my black tank top, leopard jeans, and baseball cap studded with nails.]
Daniel: “Who doesn’t love Joan Collins?” [Anthony Newley comes to mind.]
Tim: “I’m gonna leave you now. Reluctantly.” […because you’ve all got your heads up your butts!]
Michelle: “If Daniel were to go home, I’d feel sorry for him, but I don’t really care.” [No snarky follow-up comment needed.]
This is another non-team challenge. Stanley was being a bit of a bully in the workroom, and I loved Patricia giving him the stink-eye. I was perturbed by Daniel’s meltdown. It seems everyone is completely over the team challenge, and he’s starting to crack up, poor petal. One more thing before we get to the runway: it was so good to see Swatch again!
ON THE TOP
Michelle was clearly the winner. Wonderful use of color, interesting mix of textures, and an effortless design, perfect for mass production. But her design didn’t really address the rose tribute aspect of the challenge - - I guess the judges chose to overlook that. Did you notice that the final product in the window had a finished edge on the panel in the front? It was unfinished on the runway and looked a tad sloppy. Plus it looks like the finished product no longer uses leather, it probably drove the price up. Here’s the dress:
It’s sold out, at $259 - - not bad. Don’t you think they’d have some mention of Project Runway on the website, or Michelle, instead of just calling it JS Collections?
I liked Daniel’s dress when it came down the runway, but the more I look at it the less I like it. I don’t like his signature shoulder, I don’t think that’s pretty. And the one design element that I thought was distinctive, the slight diagonal drape from hip to hem, that wasn’t fully resolved (as they say on the show). The skirt was bunched up a little here and there. Not good.
IN THE MIDDLE
Patricia may have hated being paired with Stanley, but she was lucky, because her outfit was not a winner! I wrote two words in my notes: NO SALE. Stanley’s dress was lovely, beautifully crafted, but way too ordinary. It needed to be done in a print, or with some kind of design detail. Did anyone else think of last season’s rose expert, Ven, aka Origami Rose?
ON THE BOTTOM
Layana appears to be the only designer who really thought about the rose aspect of the challenge, and maybe that’s a good thing, because her print was a horror. Though I was thrilled to hear Nina use the word “mumsy” (it’s been a while). And I didn’t care for the leather touches, I thought they were too heavy for the fabric, and for spring. And why a long dress?
I liked Richard’s dress, it was beautifully made and had a catchy design - - but it is more or less a rerun of his first episode design, in black and pink instead of black and grey, and long. And Bonnie Brooks, the Lord and Taylor guest judge, hit the nail on the head when she wondered where you would wear it. It’s too long for the day, too evening for the beach, and yet not evening enough for evening.
Sayonara, Samantha. That dress was a mess. Very cheerleader. The colors didn’t go together, the ruffles were bulky, it went up too high in the sides, the cutout was too cutesie - - too many things going on, and not all of them good.
PR 11, episode 10
I loved this episode. I liked that the designers were told to be inspired by the works at the Guggenheim, but they didn’t have to model their looks after specific pieces. And the avant garde look with the ready-to-wear knockoff is always a good test of creativity working hand in hand with practicality.
I was a little put off my Tim Gunn having to do that infomercial for the HP laptop/tablet. It’s so below him! But I was even more put off by Richard saying that Patricia is “essentric”. He needs to learn how to pronounce that word. And I got a grin, was reminded of our beloved Dmitry - - Stanley said that Daniel was a one-trick pony, but didn’t he mean a one-way monkey?
I love Rachel Roy! It’s a shame that I keep wanting to call her Rachael Ray. Ms. Roy can be a fill-in judge anytime.
ON THE TOP
I knew Stanley and Michelle were going to be in the top as soon as they were announced as a team. I thought they both should have been named winner, which they did twice in the Seth Aaron season - - Stanley and Michelle really had their work split down the middle, and they worked together so effectively. I agree with the judges that Stanley’s dress was more successful than Michelle’s, but Stanley’s dress was made with fabric designed by Michelle. I think they had to choose one winner since this was the kind of prize you can’t really split down the middle. Richard thought Stanley’s dress was a little too voluminous, but I loved it, I thought it was a sweet shape that made an interesting dialogue with the somewhat dark and downer print. I didn’t care for the avant garde look - - the coat was cool, and the hand-painting on the train was OK, but I didn’t think the flat olive fabric made sense with the black-painted bubble wrap. Loved the use of bubble wrap, though!
IN THE MIDDLE
I thought Layana and Richard should have been on the bottom, her look was a much bigger failure than Patricia’s. I think we all thanked God that Layana stopped work on that chicken coop, but her final dress looked like it was made by a 6th grader. Too much going on, and the HP fabric didn’t really do anything, it could have been any fabric at all. Plus her loony behavior and inflated view of herself are getting so tiresome. She was making no sense on the runway - - basically she was accepting that Daniels’ outfit was stronger, but she should get half the credit, or full credit!, for his work. What a leap of logic. Daniel’s outfit was lovely. I love what he did with the HP fabric, that was clever, and the jacket was beautifully crafted (though you know how I feel about his signature shoulder).
ON THE BOTTOM
Patricia’s outfit had some interesting elements, but they didn’t quite all work together. I was crazy for the white veil, and thought binding the arms was an interesting idea. I thought the middle section of the dress looked a little sloppy. Actually, the whole look was a little sloppy.
I have so much to say about Richard, I need a new paragraph! He spent all day making that ugly black bracelet? And the model didn’t even wear it! His outfit was a disaster. How could he justify doing basically nothing all day, saying he can’t make anything until he knows what Patricia is going to do? The technique on the skirt could have been cool, but clearly he didn’t know what he was doing. The top was totally ordinary, and not well fitted. I am so relieved that he’s been auf’d, he was tap-dancing on my last gay nerve.
Five people left. Clearly Stanley and Michelle will be in the final three, but who will be there with them? Will it be The Moustache, The Ululater, or Layana la Loca?
PR 11, episode 11
Hello everybody! I’m writing from the Milwaukee airport, I just spent a wonderful long weekend with my mom and my brother Patrick. Had such a nice time. Mom and I watched PR on Friday morning, I don't think she'd ever seen it before. It took us an unusually long time to watch because I kept pausing it to tell her about previous challenges, both from this season (the Duck Tape challenge, the male stripper challenge - - she was sorry to have missed that one) and from previous seasons (I will not shut up about Chloe, winner of season 2, and her resolute sense of her talents and capabilities in the context of the challenge).
I'm sure the designers were thrilled to hear that they were no longer doing a team challenge. But WAIT! You still have to work with someone, so don't get too comfortable. It was funny when they announced the challenge, because Layana and I had the same reaction: who the hell is Jordana Brewster? The answer: she's an SDJ (starlet du jour).
They've made a trip to Hearst HQ every season for the last few seasons, but this time we had the unprecedented delight of seeing Nina in the daylight! And she did not disintegrate into a pile of dust, like some people had predicted. I LOVED Nina's 10-point checklist. Clearly some of the designers should have been taking notes (hello Michelle!).
My mom had the most impressive observation in the workroom - - Kate's skirt had a side zipper, and it wasn't zipped up all the way, so you could see her blouse peeking through the gap. "This is the woman you want designing your clothes? I don't think so!" That's a direct quote from Anita.
ON THE TOP
Stanley is such a bully! But hey, it works for him. The judges certainly didn't notice the bullying on the runway, all they saw was the finished product, which was well made. I didn't really care for his look, I thought it was shapeless, frumpy, and fatally lacking in wow. He should have had the model take the jacket off at the end of the runway, I thought the outfit had more oomph when you could really see the blouse. The judges loved that he made three pieces, so why not really show all three pieces?
Layana's top was gorgeous, but I don't think it had anything to do with the skirt. I would have loved it if she had made a simple skirt out of the same blue leather, that would have made more sense.
ON THE BOTTOM
Mom liked Daniel's outfit. I did not. The shoulder thing was goofy, I agree with Zac that it was Star Trek (though I see Nina and Heidi's point that it was Easterish). The gap at the midriff was bad. Showing it with shorts rather than a skirt or pants have it some much-needed edge, but the top was not good. But as I said to Mom, it could have gone either way! The judges could have hated it or loved it.
Patricia's look was so Becky Home Ec-ky, I hated it. The dress itself was pretty (if not particularly well made), but the feathery decoration was so cheesy looking. I thought her look was a failure on every level, and was amazed that she wasn't sent home. Plus it always seems like a pink slip moment when the designer starts their explanation by saying, "I really struggled with this."
Michelle! I'm going to go full tilt Wisconsin and say WTH - - what the heck! I LOVED her outfit, I was sure she was going to be in the top. It was cool, it was well made, it had attitude - - but ya know, she did exactly what Nina told her not to do in her 10-point checklist. She made a T-shirt and pants. They were unique, they expressed her point of view as a designer, and I think they would photograph well, but still, it's a T-shirt and pants. Which Nina specifically said not to make. Do you think maybe the producers could have posted the 10 Commandments in the workroom? But then that would have spoiled all the fun.
The cliffhanger with Michelle was pretty exciting, but they can't really send her home, can they? Did you notice when they did the sneak peek at next week they didn't show a single shot of her, so we don't know whether or not she's sent home? Plus, let's remember that they sent Kate and Tu home in one episode, so it makes sense that they'll need to keep someone on one challenge, or they'd end up without enough episodes for the season. Tune in next week, when all will be revealed!
PR 11, episode 12
Nina Garcia is so full off wisdom! Her take-away comment for this episode: “Fashion is not art. Stores are not museums.” I might stitch that on a pillow and send it to Marie Claire HQ.
Richard was eager to be quoted in today’s column, he felt a little jilted after the take-over by last week’s featured star, my mom. So here’s the shout-out to Richard - - Heidi handed out the plane tickets and he said, “I’m sure they’re flying stewardess class.” HA!
I felt a little bad for Michelle - - her fellow designers are in European capitals and she’s on a Hop On/Hop Off bus in the RAIN, going through the Lower East Side. With Tu. But I get the feeling that they’re building her up to be the winner of this season. All this up and down, it’s a lot of drama. We’ll see if I’m right. None of us expected Gretchen to win in the Mondo season! There’s no telling what will happen. But it does seem like it’s between Michelle and Stanley, no?
I wonder how they chose the partners for this episode. It appears they were going for generosity rather than animosity. The European capitals were fun, and must have cost a fortune! It can’t be cheap to send camera crews all over hell, or hire locals.
Daniel needs to stop crying. Pull yourself together, sweetheart. Plus did you see his curly mop of hair in the preview for the next episode? Yeesh, what a look.
ON THE TOP
Richard didn’t like Stanley’s dress, but I thought it was gorgeous. I wish it had been done in another color, though - - imagine the same dress in a rich purple, or even dark grey - - with the black sequined lining. Richard was also bothered by the zipper, and I’m usually completely against that big honking silver zipper look (see my column, seasons 6 through 10), but somehow it worked on this dress. Bravo to him. I also loved the veil. But did it have anything to do with London?
Michelle pulled the rabbit out of the hat. The look, on the whole, was stunning, it had a serious New York vibe. The breastplate was spectacular, the quilting was flawless. Love the straps in the back. I liked the shape of the dress, but the fabric was too heavy - - Heidi was right, it was too much like a blanket. And adding the grubbiness to the hem was an interesting idea in the abstract, but not so good in the execution.
IN THE MIDDLE
What was Daniel doing at the Jo-Ann Fabrics of Berlin? Don’t they have a first-class clothing store anywhere in Berlin? If they don’t, why didn’t they send him to another city? Anyway, his white pleather jacket ended up looking pretty darn cool. Gorgeous movement in the skirt, and the boots were one step short of Hooker, but they worked in the context of the whole outfit. The overall effect was Valkyrie’s Day Off. Ho jo to ho.
I’m trying to decide whether or not I agree with Samantha’s description of Patricia: is she “one fly bitch”? I can’t think of another PR designer, from any season, who inspires such polarizing opinions, and just from me! I disagree with myself! So often she does something inventive and thought-provoking, but just as often she does something inventive and nausea-provoking. This might be the sign of a true artist, but please see Nina’s comment above. Let’s break down this week’s outfit: the pants were a throw-away, the collar was awful (it made me think of the drapey thing they put on an actor while applying makeup) and the jacket was beautiful. But thank you, Nina - - it had NOTHING to do with Paris.
Layana. I wrote one word in my notes - - “horrid!” Exclamation point included! The piecing together in the jacket was interesting, and gave it a Spanish vibe. I hated the collar, and the pants were ordinary. But the sleeves! What on earth was she thinking. The blouse actually looked pretty when she took the jacket off, and it had a flamenco vibe. What if she’d done something clever and devised a closure on the sleeve, so the cuffs would stay in, and had the model walk to the end of the runway, take off the jacket, and liberate the cuffs. That would have been better. Not good, but better. We can all expect to see her whiny entitled ass on an upcoming season of PR All Stars. She and Christopher Palu will be in a showdown for Most Whiny/Most Entitled.
PR 11, finale, part 1
My dear friend Frank sent me this article about season 8 winner, the lanky Miss Gretchen Jones:
My favorite bit: “Jones says that her most recent collection was inspired by and ‘pays homage to American folk singer and human rights activist Joan Baez’s album *Any Day Now*, comprised of only Bob Dylan songs, as well as Joan Didion’s essay ‘Where the Kissing Never Stops”, in the book *Slouching Towards Bethlehem*.” Just the sort of explanation that would get an eyeroll from Miss Garcia!
I forgot to mention in last week’s column how frustrated I was that they’re sending four people to the finale - - but it turns out they weren’t! I’m glad we have a final three.
Let’s take a little trip down Memory Lane. Here’s what I said about each of the final four - - these are all from my column on the first episode:
“Kudos to Patricia. It seems that everyone had written her off as being too craft-based, probably also too old and too fat. I guess she showed them!”
“Daniel is adorable, and that suit was sublime. The neckline, the sleeve and pant length, the execution of the peplum, it was all so well done. It caught the spirit of New York City. He’s one to keep your eye on.”
“Stanley’s blue-silver jumpsuit was a knockout.”
“Michelle dress was just plain baffling, with all those straps and bags hanging off it - - it was like a Campfire Girl at a cocktail party. And the combination of the blue lining on the skirt with the pleat in the front, that didn’t work for me. It was like she had a blue cooter.”
Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose - - the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The home visits are always a delightful intrusion for the viewer, yet Tim is so gracious and well-mannered. My two favorites ever: Seth Aaron’s, when Tim went on the trampoline, and of course Laura Bennett’s, when her toddler handed Tim a piece of fossilized turtle poop.
Patricia’s mother was so sweet, and her environment is so stunning. I haven’t been to New Mexico since 1987 (when I was visiting you, Karen Miller!), maybe it’s time for a return visit? Her collection looked like it could go either way. Michelle’s father, mother, and brother are all so good looking - - her husband, not so much. Her collection looked very cool. Two words for Daniel: THAT HAIR! His sister is lovely, and I was thrilled to hear Tim trot out that monkey house analogy, which I’ve been using for years (since he used it on Chris March re: human hair used as a trimming). Daniel is a chronic interrupter, and that annoys me. His collection looked well-made but not fashion-forward. And Stanley - - love his apartment. You know that West Hollywood is as gay as baked Brie. His niece is pretty and very sweet, but again, what is with the hair? His partner is a charmer. His collection looked way too vintage.
Nice that they brought back some helpers, but were they really a lot of help? I did not recognize Amanda, I love her dark hair (though the ombre ends are barfous). And I loved Heidi’s Brigitte Bardot eye makeup - - she is workin’ it!
Michelle would be the clear winner if this had been a challenge. Her three looks had the most variety and yet were the most cohesive. There was a lot going on with that first look - - the sweater, the blouse, and the chaps - - but it wasn’t too much, it all worked together in a cool way. I love the putrid color in the second look, that burned curry color. I’m not 100% sold on the ruffle at the hip, but I love the vest. The look, on the whole, gives a nice balance of high fashion and wearability. And I am CRAZY for the coat with all the handbags! I disagree with Nina, I thought it was witty and unique. You know I love the models doing something on the runway, and how rarely that happens - - even just taking off a jacket. Well, wouldn’t it be cool if Michelle had a model remove a handbag and pass it on to the next model, who would clip it onto her outfit? Anyway, the coat was very cool, and I hadn’t noticed the detail on the pants until Nina brought it up. She DOES need to make a blouse for that girl, and the hair and makeup needs to be rethought.
Patricia’s first dress was very pretty, and the scarf was very pretty, but they didn’t work together, and the earrings and necklace with it, it was all too much. I wasn’t wild for the horse hair coat, but I can see why someone else would like it. It would be a good choice for a violinist, I suppose. I loved the blue dress. I thought it was perfect with the big silver coins and was afraid when she said she was going to put sequins on it, but the sequins really work. I have my typical this way/that way Patricia feeling about the hat. I love it and I don’t get it.
Stanley’s looks were beautifully made, but had very little punch and no youthful vibe at all. I love the tailoring on the jacket in the first look, and the fabrics are gorgeous. Very luxe. The dress was horribly boxy, not flattering at all. The gold fabric is too heavy, it made me start to scratch myself - - it looks like upholstery fabric. I loved the two-piece dress, and really loved Nina’s suggestion that he put the top with something else and the skirt with something else. And clearly I know nothing about fashion, because I wasn’t aware that the moment was over for a zipper going up the back of a skirt. The black jacket with that two-piece dress seemed like a stab at funky. Fruitless.
Daniel. He’s given $10,000 and all that time, and these are the three looks he’s showing them? Overwhelmingly underwhelming. The first look was way too reliant on the hat for his effect. And the proportions were off, the jacket seemed too small and too open in the front. The second look was a total throwaway. There was nothing special about the sweater - - it reminds of what Miranda Priestley said about Andy’s sweater in *The Devil Wears Prada*, it looks like she fished it out of a bargain bin at some tragic Casual Corner. The pants were meh. The gown was very pretty, and beautifully draped, but nothing special, and so similar to everything we’ve seen from him all season. He’s another candidate for Biggest Problem on a Future All Stars Season.
I thought I should give you a warning - - I won't have a chance to watch the finale until Friday night, and will write my column on Monday morning. So please no emails tomorrow saying, "Can you believe ___ won?" or "Can you believe ___ came in last?" or "Can you believe the piece of caca ___ sent down the runway?"
PR 11, finale ultimo
Congratulations to Michelle - - I thought she was very deserving of the win. The final three worked out just like I thought it would. A few observations before we get to the runway: it cracked me up that Patricia called Nina a “right wing conservative”. Ha! Nice of PR to give them $500 and a final trip to Mood, I bet the designers from previous seasons with they’d had that. Did you catch the check-in with Dmitry during a commercial break? I love him, he is so sweet, and Heidi totally rocked that dress! Patricia’s kids are so cute. And what on earth was Mondo thinking when he got dressed that morning? That yellow fez! Richard said, “He looks like he’s going to McDonald’s for his birthday party.”
I was shocked and stupefied by Stanley constructing garments backstage before the show. Obviously so was Tim Gunn - - I don’t ever remember him talking to the camera like he did when he said he’d never seen anything like it on 11 seasons of PR. For SHAME! What on earth was Stanley doing in California all those months? Let’s get specific: the jacket that the judges called him out for, saying they noticed the hem was wavy and it looked a little slap dash - - that jacket had a very generous cut, I imagine it hardly even needed to be fitted on the model. There was no reason why he couldn’t have completed that jacket in California and done little tweaks in NYC. He did such good work over the season, he’s the only designer this season to have had three wins, also the only designer never to have been in the bottom two. But I think he’s someone who performs well under pressure and was sort of unmoored when he was sent off on his own.
But apart from that, his collection was not impressive. I had one thought when he was showing it to Tim in the workroom: “Stanley, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but Babe Paley has passed.” And Richard noticed his penchant for selective hearing - - when he showed the gray beaded two-piece dress to Tim, he said, “Nina loved this”, and Tim had to say, “That’s not what I heard her say…”
The first look, the black outfit, was very underwhelming. That’s not a knockout first look. The gold dress with the peplum was improved, but still looked heavy. The yellow coatdress was OK. The two-piece gray dress was gorgeous, but really would have been better if it had been split up. The sequined dress was gorgeous but looked a little wonky in the construction. I hated that enormous purple baby doll dress, it was way too full. The white dress with the gold sequined design was a knockout. A couple of his dresses had a Watteau back - - this is a style that has a piece of fabric hanging off the back shoulders, hanging free down the back. Honey, this style was mumsy when it was in fashion, in 1720!
Her collection was very hit or miss. I loved Kors’s description: “an art teacher on an acid trip.” The first few looks (the pink dress, the velvet blouse and pants) didn’t work at all, they looked heavy and dead. I loved the backless blouse with the full trousers, that was cool. Heidi was right, the hand-dyed yellow and grey dress was very cool but the red blouse underneath it ruined it. The little dress with the feather-printed skirt was much improved over the previous episode. I liked the mega gingham jacket with the black leather shorts. I still don’t like the horse hair jacket. And I love that blue sequined dress more than ever. Most impressive, I wasn’t bothered by her horse hair toupees - - they worked in the context of the whole show. I don’t think Patricia is made for mass production - - I would love to see her get a few high-profile personal commissions. She’s an artist and can really deliver.
I loved her collection. Not all of it, but hers was clearly the most cohesive, the most consistent, and also somewhat wearable. I have a little bit of a problem with the first few dresses and the short boxy pleat along the front of the skirt. That looks a little funny to me. I thought the neckties were cute, but can understand why the judges would think that was a little twee. And how ironic that Tim told her to take out the bleeding heart sweater, and she didn’t, and it’s the one piece the judges loved most! I loved the coat with the three bags, I thought that was witty and sharp. I wasn’t wild for the final gown, and wish she hadn’t chosen that for her muse model. Michael Kors is right, there’s no need to end the show with a gown. Brava to her, I can totally see Michelle being picked up by some edgy store.
I’ve updated my PR grid and have pasted it in below. My friend Claudia said the funniest thing when I sent this the last time - - “You will never be out work.”
Thanks for playing!