Okay, there’s no way to write this sentence without coming across as insensitive as hell, so I’m just going to spit it out: The key to success on this season’s Project Runway is clearly having a dead loved one.
Remember when Anthony Ryan’s testicular cancer was the show’s big tragedy? Now that seems like small balls compared to the rest of his castmates. (Yeah, I know that “small balls” isn’t actually an idiom, but it would be funny if it was!).
First, his missing testicle was trumped by Josh’s dead mother.
Then, toward the end of the season, we find out that Kimberly lost HER mother when she was just 17. Damn girl.
Now, in this, the penultimate episode of the show, we discover that both Viktor and Anya have lost their brothers. I mean, what the hell, people?
I guess it’s not that surprising. Inspiration is often born out of tragedy. But four-out-of-four finalists having a deceased loved one? (If there were Project Runway prop bets—Off-Rack-Betting, if you will—I’d say the “four dead loved ones in the finals” bet would yield a big payday.)
Anyway, enough with the doom and gloom. It’s The Mixed Up Files of Mr. Timothy Gunn week on Project Runway, always a treat.
First he heads out to White Plains, Maryland. (I would like to point out at this moment that I live in Maryland. In fact, I am the editor of the region’s largest monthly magazine. . .and yet I have no freakin’ clue where White Plains is. . . Hold please. . .The Google box says it is in Charles County, near Waldorf. Some serious Blair Witch Project shit out there.)
So I love how Project Runway always embraces the obvious in their pre-home-visit montages. For Kimberly’s rustic home, we see a goat. For Anya’s Caribbean home, we see coconuts and fish being cleaned. If any of the designers lived in Alaska, we’d definitely see some moose and Sarah Palin. Texas? An electric chair.
Turns out, Kimberly is a transplant from pre-hipster Brooklyn so she wants to pay homage to her old ’hood by doing clothing for the “transformed urban girl.” A huge part of this line is Salt-n-Pepa style giant earrings and bracelets. I only mention this because it comes into play later.
Then we meet Kimberly’s sister and her best friends and they are a lively cheerful bunch that I would very much like to hang out with (but not enough to go to White Plains, Maryland, mind you.)
Next, to Trinidad to meet up with Anya.
. . .Cue the coconuts, fish, and beaches. (The fact that they managed to not play Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” during this montage showed remarkable restraint.)
We meet Anya’s kid brother Yves, who is, like, 15 going on 45. “I’m glad that people now see the talent, more than just the beauty,” he says of his sister. Make that kid the Caribbean spokesperson for NOW—stat!
Then we hear the sad story of Pilar, her brother who died at 18. Anya actually has a tattoo of his name on her forearm. Sigh.
Off to her studio to see her “progress.” And I put progress in quotes, because she hasn’t “made any.”
She basically just went shopping. She’s got her fabrics and. . .that’s it.
(This would be like if I had a 10,000 word article due and all I did was buy a dictionary.)
“Where are the garments?” Tim asks, not getting how dire the situation is.
And what follows is one of the most awkward critiques in the history of the show, with Anya hemming and hawing out a response. (Actually, some real hemming might’ve done her some good. . .)
“Where I’m not so clear is shapes and, you know, the actual garments. I’m a little bit behind in terms of construction,” she finally spits out.
(Also, the Miami Dolphins are a “little bit behind” in the NFC East and Newt Gingrich is a “little bit behind” in the Republican primary polls.)
Tim raises his eyebrows in that classic Tim way and basically tells Anya to get her shit together.
“It’s time,” he says. “And you don’t have a lot of it.”
Next up, New York to meet Viktor and his rosy-cheeked, slightly square, rugby-shirt sporting beau, David. (Not what I was expecting AT ALL.)
Viktor lives on the fifth floor of a walkup.
“Grandpa needs a rest,” Tim says, after he schleps up the stairs. Heh.
So, as mentioned, Viktor’s collection is dedicated to HIS dead brother. . . (I don’t know how much more of this I can take. )
Tim likes it a lot, especially Viktor’s tacky-as-hell, Grand Ole Opry meets Evel Knievel white leather jacket (just me?).
Then he gives Viktor what proves to be bad advice: He tells him that the jacket alone is not a wow moment, he needs to create another showstopping look to go under the jacket. (Later, Heidi, MK, and Nina are all: Yeah, a black t-shirt and a pair of leggings would’ve done the trick. )
Next stop: Lunch with Joshua and his gorgeous sis McKenzie. So yes, if you’re playing the home game, his sister’s name is McKenzie McKinley. WTF, mom and dad? (Thank you, JED for that observation.) (By the way, I smell a reality show—Sibling Revelry?— for those crazy raven-haired kids in the not-so-distant future. )
Also, when Josh was younger, he was a jock, and had long hair and looked like Apolo Ohno. So there’s that.
Josh’s critique is hilariously awful.
Tim Gunn basically hates everything.
The print is “gimmicky”
The print is “gimmicky”
The skirt is “sherbety”(“I do love a good sherbet,” Josh says. “But do you really want to wear it?” Tim counters.)
In case Tim wasn’t perfectly clear earlier, the print is “one of the homeliest textiles I’ve ever seen in my life. “
The dress “makes me want to weep.”
The dress “makes me want to weep.”
(But besides that, how’d you like the boat ride, Captain Ahab?)
Josh responds to this news in comically over-the-top fashion (I actually LOLed when he screamed during his confession.)
“I mean, I’m crazy right now,” he says. “This print is the major, major focus of this collection.”
Moving right along: Three weeks later, everyone reconvenes at the gorgeous penthouse suite of the Hudson Hotel in New York.
It is, to borrow a Joshism, “major.”
(By the way, how is it that Christian Soriano’s “fierce” became a catch phrase that swept the nation, but Josh can’t get “major” to stick? Discuss among yourselves.)
The contestants need to show their 3 most representative looks to see who makes it to Bryant Park.
To the studio, where Viktor is wielding his white leather jacket like a weapon of mass intimidation. It’s working.
“That jacket is major,” Josh sighs anxiously.
Tim comes in
He basically likes Josh’s collection but isn’t totally sure who his customer is.
He wants to marry Viktor’s looks and have their babies.
He’s passionate about Kimberly’s “edgy Brooklyn urbanite” but feels her looks are a bit scattered.
Then he makes his way over to Anya, and basically tells her to surrender all hope. You see, she has retreated to her comfort zone and there’s not a wow moment in the bunch.
Anya’s little lower lip begins to tremble and I just want to hug her. (And this is BEFORE I found out that she was the victim of a sex tape scandal! Why am I always the last one to know these things?)
Whoa! Could Anya actually be the one who doesn’t make it to Fashion Week? Oh, the dramah.
Runway day. No guest judges: Just the Original 3, as it should be. At this point, do I really care what some random B-Actress-With-a-Clothing-Line has to say about things?
Let’s go through the collections:
What I thought: I must say, I loved it. Okay, I hated the “Johnny Bravo” jacket, but loved the grey tone sheer dress that went under it. And his mirrored top was both original and way cool. For once, a little sass from him might have actually been justified. (And, of course, there was not a double air snap or an “I do what I do” to be found.)
What the judges thought: Mostly they loved it, but felt that he needing some better editing. “We told you to turn up the volume, but you didn’t have to go all way,” MK says. (Schizophrenic much?)
What I thought: Yes, her one amber striped dress was pure perfection. But the bathing suit and the gown were both seriously meh. I’m gettin’ nervous here.
What the judges thought: Loved the one dress. But the rest was not easy breezy enough. The shoes look like something a bad news anchor would wear. (Side note: Does bad footwear actually affect one’s ability to read the news? Hmmm.) The gown looks tortured. Ruh roh.
What I thought: I hated her bright blue, hot pink and gold color scheme. And that bubble skirt had no alibi. But the shimmery gown was pretty hot.
What the judges thought: They liked the vibe and the point of view, but felt the looks were too heavily accessorized. They think she should lose the roped bracelets and earrings—only the lynchpin for the whole collection!—and MK thought that the cobalt blue pant blending into the cobalt blue shoe created a “club foot,” rarely a desirable look.
What I thought: Left to his own devices he. . . put a seatbelt on one of his girls, did a semi-dull little black dress, and a slutty in the front, sluttier in the back gown. All in all, worth moving on, but hardly spectacular.
What the judges thought: Hated his dress in the back, but loved the tailoring on his jacket and his overall styling. Ironically, Mr. I Never Met a Feather Boa or Leather Corsage I Didn’t Like actually did the best job accessorizing out of the bunch.
The general consensus is the boys stepped it up and the girls
Moment of truth:
Joshua you are. . .showing at Lincoln Center!
Viktor you are. . .in!
So it’s down to Kimberly and Anya.
Kimberly you are . . .showing at NY Fashion Week!
Does this mean Anya is going home? I don’t know if the show is getting overly predictable or Heidi’s poker face is not what it used to be but somehow I was never truly worried. (Were you?)
Aaaaand Anya. . .is in as well!
So Anya goes back stage and Joshua is just so glad that the four of them get to advance together. It’s so beautiful that they went through this process together and they get to stay together for their final moment of glory as a foursome.
Ah, who am I trying to kid? He is totally PISSED.
“I’m confused all around,” he says. “I thought it was going to be 3 of us going.. . . I don’t think Kimberly or Anya’s critiques went that well. I don’t think either of them should be going. This isn’t fuddy duddy dress up.* This is NY Fashion Week. A critique like that I don’t think it worthy of taking it to the main stage.”
But how do you really feel, Josh?
As if to emphasize what a whiny little ingrate Joshua is being, Tim Gunn comes back stage and is positively kvelling.
“So how happy are the five of us?” he gushes.
(Not as happy as you think Tim Gunn).
Next week’s finale is going to be MAJOR.
*No, I have no idea what that means either.