Project Runway season 15

EPISODE 1

Welcome back!  The Road to the Runway special is always run, right?  It gives you an overview of the designers and you might not remember who they all are, but a few things might ring a bell here and there.

 

It's a nice change to have all the designers meet up in one room, rather than in (obviously staged) locations around the city.

 

A few questions:

 

What does it mean to be partially Mormon?

Could that guy from Caracas (Roberi) be any cuter?

Those pink shoes that Nathalia had on - - were they fierce?

Is Linda the Peach of this season?  Or will she surprise me?

 

It's started already: one of the designers said, "I've never worked with unconventional materials."  Hello, have you never watched the show?

 

Tasha is flipping out a bit when they get to the workroom, and says she's having a "fashion fart."  Love that!  And Mah-Jing tells her to pray it off.  I am going to love them, to be sure.

 

Thank you, Just Fab accessory wall!

 

"Own the Bride of Tin Man."  Is there another show on television where you can hear this?  Alex seems a little Sybil-esque.  Half the time he's helping people in the workroom and pulling poor Dexter into the green room to talk through his roadblock, but then the other time he says that he's only there for himself and he will be ruthless and let nothing stand in his way.  Hm, don't know quite what to expect.

 

The take-away quote of the episode is about glitter: "It's the herpes of art supplies.  It spreads."

 

Hello Savannah Guthrie!  Love her on the Today Show.

 

TOP

I was surprised that Tasha was in the top, I thought her outfit was shapeless and dull.   Dexter seemed like he was going to have a nervous breakdown.  I wasn't wild for his dress, but I can see what they liked about tit.

 

Bravo to Erin for the first win, her look really was magically Muppetty (as Zac said).  There's also some justice in the other designers thinking her look wasn't good, and that she was taking too long.

 

ALSO NOTABLE

Nathalia.  Rik: very interesting that he showed the flip side of the Polaroids.  Linda; sweet, wearable. Kimber: so artistic.  Brik: wow.    Alex: very thoughtful.  Laurence; blah, no innovation.

 

BOTTOM

Brik is on the bottom?  I don't get that, I thought his look was brilliant.  The glitter is glorious, and the pants are beautifully fitted.  Roberti: too wacko, too much volume.  Nice that Heidi liked it so much.

 

Ian's dress was very flat, and Lord, he got so defensive on the runway, that is not good.  It must be so hard being the first one to go home.  Yikes.

 

EPISODE 2

A unique perspective from Cornelius early in the show: "Safe is better than going home - - but being on the top is even better than that."  Wow, that's so profound!  I'd never really grasped that before.  He's really a genius, and something of a philosopher.

 

NAWT.

 

Laurence twisted her ankle twerking?  I would love to see some video footage of that.  I would find it more entertaining than that sob story about her father cutting her off when he found out she was pregnant.  I know these things actually happen, but episode 2 seems a little soon to be pulling out the tears.  Have I become too cynical?

 

The challenge: make an outfit that could be worn by a number of women, different ages, different shapes, different lives.  Just Fab will sell the winning look on their website.

 

Their first trip to Mood and what a treat to see Swatch again.  He OLD!  And cute as can be.

 

Dexter and Cornelius seem to be having a fun time talking trash about each other.  Clearly they'll end up being put together on an upcoming team challenge!  Hello, button bag!  I have to say that I love Dexter and Cornelius annoys me.  He cements that impression by saying that he was put in the middle last week when he took Tim's advice.  So he's taking Tim's advise again this week and if he's in the middle again, he's going to be "pissed."  HELLO!  Then don't listen to Tim!  Own your work, do your thing, stand by your own darn decisions.  Alex was right when he called him Lady Cornelius from the Land of Shade.

 

Kimber kissed herself with the kiss of death when she said that she had plenty of time and everything would work great.  Hm!  Naturally that meant she would sew her top inside out (an epic stinky brain fart) and run out of time with her pants.  Love what she said: "Devil, you go back to hell!"

 

On to the runway.  Heidi's got her nightie on!

 

ON THE TOP

Alex's look was beautiful, very Balenciaga.  But the cropped top is to limiting in who's able to wear it.  It's a fabulous outfit but not a good execution of the challenge.  Erin's dress was so charming and full of spirit.  I loved seeing the dress being transformed in the critique, having the side panels snap together to cinch the waist.  Why didn't she do that during the runway show?  It would have had so much impact, she might have won.

 

Laurence's jumpsuit looks great, but I don't like the orange slice in the back.  Obviously the judges loved it all, congratulations to her.

 

ALSO NOTABLE

I would have put Jenni on the top instead of Alex.  I don't like a dropped crotch, but this outfit really made it work.  It was smart to do it in the neutral beige, it neutralized the high fashion element a bit.  Rik's mix of prints was cute, but the outfit only looks good on a size zero.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Kimber - - looks good, but again, the cropped top is a problem.  And the whole thing looks a little sloppy.  Brik totally missed the boat.  Love Nina's quote: "The only thing more unflattering than a knit dress is knit pants."

 

Linda, Linda, Linda.  The dress is lumpy and awful, the jacket is messy, it's not good.  She's got a lot to learn.

 

EPISODE 3

Ah how marvelous.  An infomercial for Transitions Lenses!  Who would guess that Project Runway could be so crass and commercial?  This show is full of surprises.

 

Mah-Jing's Father's Day call with his fiancee and daughter was so sweet.  Love that he was full-on sobbing but had his hand over his face.  To hide the fact that he was crying.  As if!

 

A few questions.  Brik: What was he thinking with that hair?  Erin: Is "sequinny" a word?  And Dexter: Who doesn't like Stevie Nicks?

 

TOP

Jenni: the flowers were interesting, but I can't believe the judges didn't mention those granny panties. Cornelius: more than anyone, his dress looked good in the daylight and in the black light.  But yes, that dart in the crotch was strange.  

 

The winner Erin: lovely, unique, expressive.  I would give her an edge over Cornelius because her design was more unexpected, and it was perfectly finished.

 

ALSO NOTABLE

Sarah: dull, like a French maid costume, she just needs a hat with a doily.

 

BOTTOM

Mah-Jing: "a forensic disaster!"  I felt bad for him, he knew how bad it was.  Rik: oh, that glimpse of buttcheek was not good.

 

Kimber went home.  Dull, that's the only word for it.  She's got a big spirit, I like it when people are upbeat when they go home.

EPISODE 4

Oh Lord that Aztec playsuit that Dexter had on - - I must have it!  I won't be able to wear it to work, but I could wear it to BAM, right?  I like that Erin isn't getting into herself.  That talent and ambition has been tempered by her Mormon humility.

 

Hm, this challenge has potential: not just a swimsuit challenge, but they're designing their own fabric.  Of course Heidi is appropriating the winner for her Heidi Klum Swim line.  Natch!

 

Happy birthday Swatch!

 

I've heard many nicknames for the vuh-jay-jay, but I've never heard "schnoo!"  I love that, will be using it daily.  Mah-Jing - - a denim bikini, with a denim cover-up?  Really.  Lots of problems in the workroom, and the critiques with Heidi were almost uniformly negative.  Very interesting to see Mr. Cocky Cornelius brought to his knees on this challenge.  He clearly has no idea what he's doing and no confidence to make it work.  Lots of worried designers, this could be a disastrous runway show.

 

TOP

Alex: I was surprised that Heidi liked the coverup, I thought it looked like a granny nightie.

Roberi: so chic.  I like Nina's comment that the print would work better in a larger scale.  The coverup is the winner in that look.

Rik: love that print, and a chic flattering cut.  I hoped he would be the winner, I was really impressed with his work.

 

ALSO NOTABLE

Erin: very Chanel Does Swimwear.  Cornelius: the print is a big nothing.  The suit isn't stellar but it's a whole lot better than it could have been.  Dexter: the mix of prints doesn't work for me.

 

BOTTOM

Tasha: dull and sloppy and unfortunate.

Jenni: ouch, Miss Piggy Meets the Golden Girls, and Granny Stripper!  Nina had a good point about the super-sporty cut of the top not working with the junior print.

Sarah: the print is not good, the design of the bikini is a miss, it's overall not good at all.  I thought she might be going home because she wasn't saved at all by personality.

EPISODE 5

Alexander fascinates me.  The Mary Kay guy walked out on the runway and I said, "Oh no."  That's a direct quote.  But very interesting concept for a challenge, a lot going on: the team element, the Mary Kay entrepreneurial spirit element, and that elusive what's the budget element.  And Jesus Lord, $5000 for each designer on the winning team.

 

But no, No, NO!  All my good mojo flew out the door when they started choosing teams.  TOTAL NIGHTMARE, total flashback to 3rd grade gym class.

 

OK, let's see the pitches, bitches!  Team Unity: Alex was so articulate, I could not have been more impressed with him.  Team Button Bag: Dexter was a little slapdash and clearly his team hadn't thought through the price issue.  But wow, look how it panned out!  The judges were not listening to the strength of the pitch, they were looking at the strength of the designs and ideas.  Hm.

 

Oh dear Lord, did Cornelius just call Mah-Jing "what's his name"?  I am shocked.

 

I'm sure you've noticed that whenever the previous week's episode is rerun before the new episode each week, the producers have taken 90 minutes and shaved it back to 60.  I haven't done an analysis of this, but it seems to me that the segment where they're getting the models ready for the runway could be summarized in about two minutes.  But am I talking out of my ass?  Yes.  Do I feel this is worthy of mention?  Probably.  Will I follow up and do an actual 90 to 60 comparison?  Doubtful.

 

I was sure that Team Unity would pull triumph out of the jaws of adversity.  I thought the House of Bouton collection was cheesy.  The pantsuit was ordinary and the embellishment looked like a sloppy afterthought.  The beige dress was a snooze.  The leather jacket was divine, the yellow coat was impressive.  I'd like it better with a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

 

Wow, Team Unity!  Have you ever seen so many people throwing themselves under the bus?  Alert the MTA, this is a public transit emergency.  The judges were right, the central issue was the pitch didn't match the collection.  And some of the pieces were pretty awful, most of all the Fred Flintstone top (brava Nina for that description).  The silver dress was cool with the sideways seaming in the front but yikes it looked awful in the back.

 

Dexter is the winner as the unnamed leader of the group.  And Alex is sent home, as the unnamed leader of his group.  I'm sorry to see him go, I like him a lot.  Such grace and poise as he left, he's a gem.

EPISODE 6

Zac Posen - - sixteen collections a year?  That is damn impressive.  Two other questions: since when does a bar have a CEO?  And did you see those silver trousers that Nina was wearing?  To die!

 

Mm, a cocktail dress.  With a $300 budget.  Sounds promising, no?

 

Loved Tim's advice to Tasha: don't bring the street to the cocktail party, push the cocktail out into the street.  He was right on about Nathalia - - oy, that fabric did totally read ice dancer.  And yes, Cornelius's dress was way too sporty and daytime.

 

It's been a while since I've transcribed something that a designer has said.  I need to transcribe something Jenni said in an interview: "B. T. dubs, let's just point out...this whole competition...I've been sewing with...NAILS.  Which is, like...super challenging."  Well then honey, cut your damn nails or take them off or whatever it is you need to do!  The long nails are not part of the challenge, why add that.

 

I have always loved Tim Gunn, but I loved him more than ever when he looked at the high glam hooded Dexter and called him Grace Jones!

 

Cornelius: still too daytime.

 

Brik: wow, gorgeous!  So well made and sharp and cool.

 

Roberi: that fabric is not appropriate for a cocktail dress, it does look like a rag rug.

 

TOP

Laurence: holy cow, that dress was smoking hot.  Impeccably made, unique, gorgeous use of the leather.  I don't see why it's necessary to have the back open like that, the dress would be just as sexy with a closed back.  It's the attitude that makes it sexy, not the exposed skin.  By far the best dress we saw.

 

Rik: beautiful, sculptural, a real show-stopper.  I agree with Zac that the zipper is ugly.'

 

Jenni: of course the judges would say that she had copied Erin with the embellishments.  That's essential for the drama.  I wasn't wild for the dress, it looked a little  wonky to me.  I was shocked that she won.  Erin is going to have a bird.

 

ALSO NOTABLE

Whoa, the judges were harsh with Dexter.  And he was so sure of himself.  Hm.  I would have put Brik in the top over Jenni.  I think they put Jenni in the top to pit her against Erin.

 

BOTTOM

Sorry, Nathalia.  Her first dress was better.  It was for an ice skater, but a high class ice skater.  The dress she ended with was sloppy and cheap looking.

 

Ouch, Erin!  She was so sure that she was one of the winners, it must have been very hard for her to be on the bottom.  Will she take this as a teachable moment and be humbled, or will she feel shafted?

 

I feel bad for Tasha.  She was clearly out of her element.  She's a sweetheart but maybe doesn't have the versatility to give what's needed on the show.  What a beautiful tribute form Mah-Jing.

EPISODE 7

I love how they started the episode, with the contestants on the roller coaster, screaming their heads off, then rewound to the real start of the episode.  Hm, how much do you think Universal Orlando Resort paid for this extraordinary product placement?  Love that Erin was clinging to Brik on the King Kong ride.  Girl, you can cling, but you won't get at his thing!

 

Can I say something completely off topic?  Thank you.  Why do the designers use plastic cutlery and eat from paper plates?  How is that thoughtful and sustainable?  Thank you.  One more question: has this season been underwritten by the denim industry?  Jeez, enough with the denim already.

 

I love Laurence - - love her work, love her attitude, love the fact that she doesn't create any drama or participate in any hair-pulls.  Dexter cracks me up with his checklist.  "All I have to do is finish the jacket.  And make the blouse.  And hem the pants.  And text my mom.  And frost the cake.  And finalize the seating for the White House correspondents dinner."

 

I wrote about everyone this week.  I might do that from here on out.

 

TOP

Nathalia: the bat-wing jacket is fabulous, the pants are OK.  She would have been smart to have done the T-shirt in a wacko unrelated print, the outfit needs a little zip.  But it looks like something I'd see on the Lower East Side and say, "Wow, that is FIERCE!"

 

Dexter: cool outfit except for the Minnie Mouse ears on the shoulders.  Yeesh.  The fabric has a strong military vibe, he should have done in that direction, maybe some tricked out epaulettes.  And with the judges, it was a little unclear whether he was in the top or the bottom.

 

Laurence: the jacket is totally "Beat It."  Zac was so proud of himself, saying it was "Kong-tastic."  I would have given the win to Nathalia, of the top three they chose (see what I said about Jenni below).

 

MIDDLE

Rik: Lara Croft, Tomb Raider?  Roberi: I don't quite get it.  Mah-Jing: too Ladies Who Lunch for a street challenge.  Jenni: LOVE IT!  My favorite, so cute, and still kinda tough.  Was surprised that she wasn't in the top.

 

BOTTOM

Erin: What On Earth.  That embroidery business is dreadful, and the exposed threads on the jacket look unfinished and not deliberate.  Love the shoes!

 

Cornelius: What I wrote was "OK, not dazzling."  But I saw it with different eyes when the judges started going through their list of construction and taste issues.

 

Brik: pants are very cool, but the top feels forced.  I would have loved to have seen an easy, breezy caftan kind of top in that fabric.  I realize that when I say "caftan" you don't think "street" - - you probably think "Jo Anne Worley." And thank you, Nina, for pointing out that the fit on the top is a disaster.  I'm sorry to see him go home, he's a sweetie.  But the work really doesn't cut it.  Love his closing comment: "Every door that closes, opens a window, at least!"  Um, OK.

EPISODE 8

Let's start off with a few questions: why were Rik and Roberi wearing sunglasses in their apartment?  Are they coke fiends?  Why do the designers always get so down about team challenges?  Do they not understand that if and when they have a career in fashion, it will involve working with other people?  And I'm sure this will be answered later in the episode, but will this pop-up shop thing involve their clothes on models or on mannequins?

 

Take-away quote from Roberi: "I am trying to create feelings, instead of trying to create...a sleeve."  Word up!  Hm, quelle surprise - - Laurence is making a leather jacket.  I never would have guessed.

 

Oh Lord, possibly the most middle school Project Runway moment EVER: Cornelius was on a team with Erin and Dexter, who are best friends.  He, of course, was feeling marginalized.  At one point in the workroom he said, "Why did no one tell me that I had a sticker on my ass that said $9.95!", and Erin and Dexter immediately jumped up and down, laughed maniacally, and high-rived each other.  I shake my head in disbelief.

 

A few comments from Tim's check-in:

 

Team Blue: Where's the wow?  And confining the color palette does not mean it's cohesive.

Team Red: Aren't they supposed to be red/violet?  Where's the violet?  But Tim has chills.  And whadya know, Cornelius actually had some good ideas.  Maybe Dexter and Erin should have been listening to him all along?

Team Neutral: Is this the Montgomery Ward fall/winter catalog circa 1979?  Look at Calvin Klein, Armani - - chic, sharp, timeless, fabulous, in neutral.  They have work to do.

 

Hm, I'm surprised at how much I like the color stripe in the hair from Sally.  Who decided that New York is the fashion capital of the world?

 

I love Kelly Osbourne so much.  I miss her on *Fashion Police*, but not as much as I miss Joan Rivers.  RIP, Miss Joan.

 

Smell the drama!  Team Neutral was the public favorite, but the judges chose Team Blue as the winning team.  And Team Red is wah wah, in the bottom.  This ain't gerna be pretty.

 

Sure enough, Erin and Dexter went off on Cornelius, I felt bad for him.  The blue collection was not my favorite, but the judges had some very interesting and informed observations.

 

This episode was such a roller coaster.  A few episodes ago Dexter was my favorite designer, I thought he was hilarious and wonderful, and that he did good work.  Then in this episode he became a hag and underperformed as a designer.  Cornelius had been the bully who turns into a weepy mess whenever anyone says anything against him, and then this week he became the marginalized and maligned member of Team Red.

 

I knew that Erin would be safe because the judges loved her coat so much.  But if she was taking the skirt that Cornelius made, and she had the idea of the pleated skirt, shouldn't she be the one to make the skirt?  Dexter's look was dull and lifeless, and I didn't think that either of the bullies should be rewarded.  Which meant that if Erin was safe, it would be Dexter going home.  The judges chose Cornelius for the auf, but then Tim used his Tim Gunn Save.  You can be SURE there will be fur flying between Dexter and Cornelius, though I hope they act like grown-ups and talk it out and call a truce.  We'll see.

EPISODE 9

The woman from AARP is the SVP of Brand Integration.  What the hell is brand integration?  Do I need to Google that?  OK I did: product placement is when you see a bag of Doritos in a movie.  Brand integration is when they're talking about Doritos in a movie.

 

Wow, this challenge is major.  The moms and friends and Ageless Laurence has her daughter, and holy moly on the prize: $25,000 for the designer AND $25,000 for the client.  I'm not going to go into how cute the moms are, because all of the moms are cute.

 

There was a challenge like this in season 3, and they mixed the designers up with the moms.  Remember Jeffrey Sebelia was so hateful and mean to Angela's mom?  Oh that was tough.  I'm glad they didn't go down that road this time.

 

Tim's consultations: Mah-Jing's look is promising but very ambitious.  I'm with Tim on Erin's look - - "Eesh!" is exactly the word.  That lace is not fashion forward, it looks like a flannel-backed tablecloth from 1981.  And thank you for calling her out on making another damn coat!  Rik's dress is very promising, the white stitching is so cool.

 

Mad dash to the runway, and a timeless quote from Nathalia.  She didn't have time to hem her jacket and she said, "I'm just gonna like leave it pinned and hope for the best."

 

ON THE TOP

Roberi: I'm not convinced about those two prints together, but the dress still works.  It comes across as special.

 

Mah-Jing: kinda great!  Nina hit the nail on the head when she called her badass.

 

Rik: oh wow that outfit was divine and looked phenomenal on his mom.  Also a perfect execution of the challenge, it really is something that will take her forward on her journey.  So deserving of the win.  Off topic, I like Rik more and more, I like that he's well-mannered, understated, and sincere.

 

IN THE MIDDLE

Laurence: a little off the rack.  Dexter's friend looked very edgy, very high fashion.  Cornelius: interesting idea, great fabric, but the fit is off.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Erin: oh no that is not good.  Zac had a great point, that it's a winter coat with a summer dress.  And let's face it, the lace is a horror.

 

Jenni's mom totally sold it on the runway and there were some interesting ideas, but it was a rather sloppy and the judges had a good point that it wasn't appropriate for her job.

 

Nathalia: shapeless, not flattering.  And the unfinished hem is unacceptable.  I was shocked they kept her and sent Jenni home.

EPISODE 10

Special guest on today's column: Richard!  He hasn't been watching this season with me, but he watched this week's episode.

 

Their reading of the note from Heidi was so America's Next Top Model.  I'm sure Tyra Banks made a call to her lawyers.  I was about so say she has them on speed dial, but that's so 80s.

 

That helicopter ride around Manhattan was kind of wonderful, right?  Interesting that the designers were all inspired by different things.  Of course.

 

Tim said he was doing his critiques on the earlier side because he wanted them to have time to "evolve."  I think what he's really saying is that they need a lot of help.  Which we knew already.

 

For real, Erin is doing ANOTHER coat?  Dear Lord.  Thankfully she got over that idea.  Cornelius's look has promise.  Nathalia had her critique with Tim and Richard said, "You know what her face says?  I'm listening to you, but I have no idea what you're saying."  Oh it was so hard seeing her crying in the sewing room later.  These people are under so much pressure.

 

Did Dexter just reference Jessica Rabbit?  Yes he did.

 

ON THE TOP

Mah-Jing: kinda cool.  Could have been a construction disaster, but he made it work.  I love that there's not a lot of skin being shown, but it's sexy and she looks powerful.  Erin: that ruffle!  Ugh.  She said, "I would definitely wear this dress," and Richard said, "To do the dishes, maybe."  I can't believe that the judges put her in the top.  I would have put either Laurence or Roberi in the top instead of her.

 

Cornelius: I love it!  My favorite by far.  Well made, thoughtfully designed, unique.  I love the pale grey, you know how I love grey.  Congrats to him.  Let's remember that every recipient of the Tim Gunn Save has made it to Fashion Week...

 

IN THE MIDDLE

Roberi: cute but too wearable.  Richard said it was Forever 21.  Laurence: not wild about it.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Rik: unfinished in the back, but I like the splatter.  I was relieved that he was safe.

 

Nathalia: too basic, badly made, not at all editorial.  I thought she was a shoe-in to go home.

 

Dexter: Richard said it looked like a pool cover-up.  I thought it just looked horrid.  And the Minnie Mouse sleeves are a total repeat of what he did before.  I have to transcribe but Nina said: "I did like your jacket for the Urban Jungle challenge that we did.  However, to see it again kinda misses the element of surprise.  And actually, the element of surprise is what you have up the sleeve that some don't.  That's your joker, and you already played this one."

 

I was surprised that they were BOTH sent home.  I think the deal-breaker for Dexter was the fact that his model was wearing her own underwear.

EPISODE 11

Arggh!  I wrote my column last night, about last week's episode, and the whole thing has flown into the ether.  I was having problems with Blogger and hoped (against hope) that all would turn out well.  In the future, dear readers, I will email the text to myself in such a situation...

 

A few things I remember:

 

For once I was happy to watch the recap of the previous episode, I had no memory of anything.  Not only did I not remember who won and who was auf'd in the previous episode, I didn't even remember who the designers were this season.  Bradon, Giordana?  I was clutching at straws.  Project Runway Fatigue Syndome, get me my meds!

 

Swatch was having a fit at Mood, what was in his Alpo.  And Tim Gunn on all fours.  Hashtag now I've seen everything.

 

I had a whole list of amusing hashtags in my column.  The only one I remember is about Roberi having a fit when he found out his model spoke Spanish.  Hashtag habla mi idioma.  I had to do a little Google research for that one (and it's probably still wrong).

 

I was surprised that Erin won - - I liked her dress, I thought it had a nice spirit, and it was interesting that it had a cutesie girlie vibe in spite of the fact that the model's boobs were out there for all to see (though her nipples were masked by the flowers).  But the back of the outfit was a bit nothing.  I was frothing at the mouth over Rik's dress, oh that was sublime.  Why in the world was he not chosen as the winner.

 

I thought Cornelius's dress was the bigger failure, in a choice between him and Mah Jing.  But now that I think about the two of them, it's sort of a toss-up.  Mah Jing, I love that man.  Was that the most touching runway farewell you've ever seen?  I don't think a designer has ever been shown making a big speech like that before, it was quite moving.

EPISODE 12

Is it too soon to be missing Mah Jing?  Five people left on the final challenge - - in the old days they would always eliminate two designers, but more and more they've been sending four designers to the finale.  We'll see how this goes.

 

AUSTIN!  I love me some Austin!  I've been there twice and will definitely be back at least a few more times.  Love the funky vibe of the city, love the food, love my friends there, love me some Lady Bird!

 

What a treat to see Nick Verreos, I have always loved him.  Again with the unconventional materials?  And they're shopping at the farm store and the music and BBQ joint?  Dear Lord, this will be all kinds of messy.  But why didn't they get Austin Scarlett to introduce the challenge?  Yes, he has the "Austin" connection, but he also won the very first unconventional materials challenge, the very first challenge in season 1.

 

I have a great idea for a challenge: do an unconventional materials challenge, have the designers choose their junk.  They get back to the workroom and Tim comes out with the Button Bag.  The designers then are assigned another designer's junk.  Now THAT'S a challenge.

 

Wow, Erin's idea, making flowers out of the guitar picks and meal worms.  Now that is freaking innovative.  And the extra challenge, having them do another look related to the unconventional look, using conventional materials.  Very interesting.

 

Yowza, Georgina Chapman was wearing so much makeup, it's like she was wearing a mask.  And ugh.  Heidi said right off that they're only eliminating one designer.  Such a copout.

 

Roberi: The unconventional look was very intriguing.  The conventional look was cute, but didn't seem to have much to do with the other one.  He's chosen as the winner, I think in a large part because the judges thought his conventional dress was such a success.

 

Erin: Two extraordinary looks.  Out of the park on both counts.  Wonderful what Georgina said: "I love this woman that you present."  Erin really does have a concrete sense of who her client is.

 

Laurence: I wasn't crazy for either look, neither one really hit the target.  The judges were split.

 

Rik: The vinyl shards are so incredible.  He made black really dimensional and brilliant.  The conventional look was made to work, but still looked a little ordinary.

 

Cornelius: The flowers were so sweet.  The jumpsuit was cute but not extraordinary and not. to my eyes, related to the other dress.  He was sent home.  Clearly he was the weakest in this challenge, and I was relieved that for the first time the Tim Gunn Save did NOT make it to the finale.  It's nice that they broke that pattern.

 

It seems remarkable that the final four all get along and are nice people!

FINALE PART 1

Of course Laurence has an incredible apartment.  And wow, the story about her father was so intense.  And made more intense by the fact that she keeps her cards so close to her chest, emotionally speaking.  Her collection doesn't look as high style as I would expect, but how can you really tell.  Very curious to see how it pans out.  And her son and daughter are so beautiful, of course!

 

Continuing with the "of course" theme, of course Tim would get a strike in his first throw at the bowling alley!  Wow, Rik's studio is so huge.  He seems to be in a tough place with creating cohesion, and he came up with the perfect solution with mixing it up.  Why don't they ever think of that on their own?

 

Erin is so lucky to be using a big professional studio, but what the hell?  Ten days left and she hasn't finished a single garment?  VERY curious to see how her cray cray collection comes together.  How sweet that her mentor is a freaking pediatric dentist.

 

Roberi is such a sweetheart, and his parents and boyfriend are so beautiful.  Will they come up from Venezuela for the finale?  And yikes, Tim was not encouraging.  What's he gonna do?

 

And they're back in New York.  Maybe Rik was being strategic, not participating in the guided tours through their collections.  Maybe he wants the other three designers to wonder what he's doing.  Or maybe he just has a lot of work to do.

 

Completely off topic: I will NOT be watching the Lifetime remake of *Beaches.*

 

Check-ins with Tim in the workroom: He doesn't seem to have confidence in Roberi.  He didn't have much to say to Laurence, which isn't a surprise, he was pleased with her work at their home visit.  He had helpful questions for Rik, I love the vibe of his collection.  He was relieved that Erin had actually constructed her garments.  It is truly cacophonous.

 

OK on to the judge demos.  Welcome to Michael Kors, but he was rather wooden in his schtick, yes?

 

Roberi: The pink cellophane skirt look is pretty but has no pow.  The second look, with the purple skirt, is also flat.  And the third look, dull, dull, dull!

 

Love what Nina said about amping up the luxe and beauty.  A quote from Nina: "These girls do not look happy."

 

Erin: Love the pink dress with the rattling gewgaws, it has design and attitude.  The middle dress is pretty, has a nice easy vibe.  And the third look is very cool.

 

The judges like some things and hated others.  We'll see what she does with all that.

 

Laurence: The overalls, really?  That's an opening look?  Cute, but no punch.  The second look, the pants have a little crazy crotch.  And the white look is pretty but a little flat (and you know how I feel about backless).

 

Michael hit the nail on the head with the beer garden reference.

 

Rik: I think the glasses are too wacko.  The black and white print is fabulous.  LOVE the pink and blue dress, that is divine, my favorite look of any of the four collections.  And the jumpsuit is wonderful.  He said it was too baggy, but I like that.

 

Oh God bless Michael Kors for giving a shout-out to Tammy Wynette with the eye shadow.  How considerate of the judges to completely remake the denim outfit for him.

 

Am I remembering correctly, that they didn't used to do this judges' preview?  I remember that it was sink or swim on the finale runway, with the exception of what Tim told them.

FINALE ULTIMO

My final column for this season comes direct from Wisconsin, where I'm visiting my wonderful mother.

 

Season 3 designer Laura Bennett had a Project Runway blog a few years ago on the Lifetime site, and she was amazed at how much more the designers are coddled than they were back in the day.  Back in the early years you'd be sent home to do your finale collection and Tim would make a home visit and offer his two bits.  Then you would fly back to NYC and show your collection.  Recently they've been given extra help, culminating in this season where they had three advantages:

 

1. They gave the judges a three-look preview, so the judges could give their opinion of where it looked like the designers were headed, and they had two days to make changes.

2. They were given an extra $500 and

3. Another trip to Mood.

 

Even Swatch was against them going back to Mood, he slept through their visit.  If I were Laura Bennett or any other early days designer, I would be rankled that the recent finale designers are given such huge advantages.

 

Anyway.  I don't wear cologne, but I am totally wearing Michael Kors: Cohesion when it comes out. Though I'll probably wait to see it at Century 21 and buy it at 80% off.

 

What was with those thigh-high shiny boots that Heidi had on?  Is she starring in a remake of *Barbarella*?  Which I would love to see, for the record.

 

I'll give my impressions of the four designers in the order in which they presented:

 

RIK

The judges loved the first black dress, they thought it was the strongest look in the collection.  I thought it was good but didn't have enough oomph to go first.  My favorite look was the denim romper, that was so cute and sharp.  I also love the red and blue dress and the white finale dress, very pretty.

 

LAURENCE

I did not like that coverall, the fabric looked so cheesy.  If you're doing a coverall it has to be done in some luxurious or whimsical manner.  This had neither luxe nor whimsy.  BTW, Neither Luxe Nor Whimsy is the title of the first album by the best band name of 2016: Sequinned Detritus.  I pulled that name out of a conversation I had with Katrin Talbot, Martha Fischer, and Bill Lutes yesterday, to those of you who know them.

 

ROBERI

His first look was very strong.  The collection had a great use of color and shine and a thoughtful mix of textures.  The purple dress was my favorite look in any of the four collections, that was sublime.

 

ERIN

Fearless high fashion, totally distinctive, it could only have come from her.

 

It seemed clear that Roberi and Erin would be on top, which turned out to be the case.  I liked Roberi's better, but understood if Erin would win.  My mom felt the same way, and added that she went into the finale hoping that Laurence would win because she likes her style, her behavior, and her story so much.  Her collection was a big disappointment.  Laurence didn't seem to see it that way, which is a little troubling in itself.

 

I was surprised that the judges put Rik in the last spot.  I think they gave Laurence added points for her work throughout the season.  Rik's collection was clearly the stronger of the two, if they only looked at what happened on the runway.  And BTW, the highlight of the entire season was seeing his mother and her two sisters sitting on the couch.  They are the cutest thing I've ever seen on TV.  OK, Sofia Vergara's son is cuter on those Head and Shoulders commercials, but Rik's mom and aunts are a close second.

 

I talked about Laurence already.  I imagine a lot of people are shocked that she didn't place higher, but she just didn't deliver.

 

I'm not surprised that the judges chose Erin for the win, over Roberi.  Karen Miller summarized it perfectly when they chose Leanne Marshall over Korto Momolu in season 5: they had the choice between art (Leanne) and clothes (Korto), and they chose art.  The same thing happened this season.  Some people would say that high fashion is art rather than clothes, because it represents an ideal, a vision, not something that you actually wear walking down the street.

 

Congratulations to all four designers, and happy New Year, everyone!  Let's hope that 2017 has wonderful things in store for all of us.

 

LOVE, Chris

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