Ryan on the Runway: PR 20, ep 9
A Project Runway first - - the challenge is to do whatever they want. The runway show was being held at Four Freedoms Park. The title of the episode was "Freedom" so clearly they were emphasizing the theme of Freedom, but there's something liberating in having limitations, right?
I thought of two references. Are you familiar with Anne Sexton, the great American poet? Look up her poem "Her Kind," my favorite poem of all time. I have ridden in your cart, driver! I know it by heart, it's such a powerful poem. She often wrote freestyle without any structure and only felt like the poem really came to life when she had to (I believe her phrase was) force it into a form. She had to take her ideas and make them adhere to a set pattern of meter and rhyme and unexpected things came to the surface, things that wouldn't have happened if she hadn't given herself that structure.
And you know I'm a composer, right? A few years ago I wrote my first (and so far only) piece for chamber orchestra. It has an incredibly rigid form, so much of the piece was dictated by the structure I had invented - - but it turned out really well because, as I like to say, I feel that I do my best painting when I'm painted into a corner. Most intriguing of all, from an outsider's perspective it just sounds like beautiful, interesting music, you have no idea that there's any kind of form at all.
Having said all that, if I were one of of these designers, I would give myself a challenge. Like make a beautiful bridesmaid dress. The judges would see the dress on the runway and have no idea it was a bridesmaid dress, they'd just see a dress. Unless you were dumb enough to do it in apricot polyester, with a sweetheart neckline and a big bow in the back. I'm sorry, you're out.
I love the Sisters Circle of Korto, Kara Saun, and Laurence. I love that they support each other and believe in each other. Though you imagine that would get kicked to the curb if the competition required it! And across the room we had the three gay men (Bishme, Prajjé, and Rami) and Brittany. Does Brittany feel like the Representative of the Dominant Culture. "Hello, cisgender heterosexual able-bodied presumably college-educated white girl, so nice to meet you!" Target on her back? I feel like she's a White Girl in Danger! Here's the title song from the dazzling hot mess off Broadway show I saw earlier this year:
Christian visited the designers in the workroom. Kara Saun told him about her non-profit, the Fashion Fairy Godmother. The organization supports foster care kids, they act, write, and produce their own short films. They showed clips from a fashion show at the Union Station homeless shelter, little girls in full fairy princess gear walking down the runway. Wonderful, right?
Prajjé was doing a look inspired by an entity from voodoo, Zambala, a snake goddess in all dark green. Could go either way. He cracked me up when Christian walked over to him. Prajjé was focused on his task, cutting a piece of paper. Christian said, quietly, tentatively, "Hi..." Prajjé said, "Do you have an appointment?"
Prajjé noticed Brittany doing a halter bandeau top and said it was ripping off what he had done for the 90s challenge. Um honey, do you have a copyright on the halter bandeau top? I don't think so...
Rami's look was inspired by his difficult childhood in Palestine. He was doing a red carpet gown, total Oscar moment, as a representation of what he was not able to experience as a child. Bishme was doing a symphony in brown satin ruffles, he didn't feel that brown got its due on the runway. Korto was doing a robe, a signature piece for her, in a stunning fabric. Laurence was doing a leather jacket with a long skirt. Christian had talked her out of black leather at Mood and she bought a divine purple leather instead. It was all very intriguing.
Christian did a walkthrough as the designers were wrapping up, doing final fittings before leaving for Four Freedoms Park. I agreed with him - - I was concerned about Kara Saun's look with the cape hanging off the back of the jacket. Cut off that bizniss, let it be a jacket. It's pink and light blue and covered with feathers, that is PLENTY.
Christian had said when he announced the challenge that it would be outdoors, rain or shine, so of COURSE it would have to be raining. I think the designers finished their work and were sent to Bushwick for four days until the producers got the rain they were waiting for. What do you think the designers were watching during those four days in Bushwick? *Friends*? *Squid Game*? *My Favorite Martian*?
Why was there no guest judge? Was it the rain? Guest commentator Waldorf said this about the rain: "Why the actual frig would they go on with the show in the rain? And the lights were so bright that Nina and others had to wear shades? I mean, the lighting may have been awesome in person but it was terrible for tv. I felt like I couldn’t see any of the finished designs well. Bad move Bravo. And that is an oxymoron. "
Guest commentator Statler said this: "I understand the runway was in the evening and the lights were bright, but the sunglasses on Brandon and Nina were a bit distracting. With that said, I was amused every time Nina slid the glasses down her nose to provide a judgmental glare towards the model. She was reminiscent of every nosy neighborhood 'Karen' watching the new multi cultural gay couple move into the house across the street." One more hilarious snark from Statler: "Brandon was wearing his stretch jeans and over sized sweater to come out in the rain! Had he mentioned Tater Tots, he would have he would taken top spot as everyone's favorite Aunt from the Midwest."
ON THE TOP
Bishme. Very ambitious. I love that the chiffon train was hanging off of a baseball cap. Elaine said it was "Met gala ready." Nina said, "You deliver FASHION." Waldorf said this: "Bishme had an incredible look. Except the ball cap. Does that thing say ‘Beloit Sky Carp’ on the front? And Elaine wanting it for her wedding? Die she marry Shohei Ohtani?"
Rami. Gorgeous, and totally on brand for him. Thank you, Mimi, for taking down the umbrella. Brandon applauded him for choosing such a challenging fabric and handling it so expertly. Nina identified it as being cut on the bias - - she said, "Cut on the bias, it's driving me insane!"
Laurence: I'm so relieved that she fixed the problem with the skirt, it looked good. Brandon said, "Where in the hell did you learn to cut a skirt?" She got teary on the runway talking about being pregnant at 16 and the family trauma connected to that. But at the same time she was accepted at Parsons and became the designer we see today.
Waldorf said this: "With Anna gone, someone had to cry. Thanks for taking one for the team, Laurence. It was a touching story. They all have touching stories. Except maybe White Girl in Danger. I feel like she could’ve grown up in Waunakee with a pastor father and teacher mother. "
IN THE MIDDLE
Korto and Brittany were in the middle. Statler said this: "Korto’s bitterness is starting to wear on me. She has gone from funny and sassy to sour and resentful. If she loses, hide the scissors and cutting tools.
"Brittany copying Prajee’s 90’s look was obvious, whether intentional or not. As the 'mentor?' shouldn’t Christian have flittered over to Brittany and questioned it? But, the real crime was the overall look. I think the Golden Girls wore that same tracksuit in the episode when they joined a gym. And, Blanche wore it better."
ON THE BOTTOM
Prajjé. I was not into it. Dark green is my favorite color but that's a whole lot of dark green. Elaine felt it didn't feel fresh, Nina felt the proportions were the biggest problem.
Kara Saun. Too dragadelic. I would have loved to have seen the jacket with a pair of jeans. Thank you, Elaine, for saying it would have been better without the train. The model took her jacket off back in the studio and the dress underneath was so pretty. Nina applauded her for taking risks and doing something major.
The winner was Bishme. Kara Saun was sent home. I would have given it to Prajjé. If we give them Brandon's litmus test of which one could you see walking down a runway, I would give it to Kara Saun. Her exit was graceful and she left little notes for the remaining designers. I felt like she might have won the whole season but this week was a big misfire.
Statler said this about Kara Saun and her design: "It was great to Liberace and Big Bird's love child walk the runway, thanks to Kara Saun’s design. Unfortunately, it sent her home, though she left with her head held high and with class."