Premature Evacuation: The Project Runway recap

Kooan, 2 minutes after he quit the show


Do you ever go to a dinner party and the hostess comes out and says, “Who wants a second piece of pie?” and everyone looks at each other, because taking a second piece of pie would sort of be piggish, but then one person raises their hand and gamely says, “I do!” and then suddenly everyone else is like, “What the hell. You only live once!” and the next thing you know, everybody has a second piece of pie?
Such it was last night on Project Runway. It was like once Andrea led the way, made it acceptable, within the realm of possibility to exit the show, the floodgates opened. Next Kooan decided to leave and then Nathan admitted he wanted to leave and I began to wonder if by the end of this little group convo, it was just going to be Tim, Christopher and Ven standing in a small circle, shrugging at each other.
At first, of course, everyone had to process the news of Andrea’s nocturnal departure—in the most judgmental way possible.
“I just don’t think it’s right to quit like that” – Buffi
“It was a poor example, especially since she’s a teacher” – Ven
“It’s kind of lame.” – Andrea
“She took the coward’s way out” – Gunnar.
“How could she do this to me?” – Christopher
Okay, so Christopher didn’t actually say that, but he basically did. Earlier in the show he admitted that he had pushed Andrea in front of a bus (a reality TV first? Many a contestant has claimed to be the pushee, but how many have admitted they were the pusher?)
Then he felt guilty and mopey and mournful about the whole thing—even more mopey and mournful than usual, which is saying a lot about Christopher, whose default state is “Adorable Melancholia.”
“It’s like a joke is being played on me,” Christopher said (mournfully). Yes, I’m sure that was Andrea’s intent.
Anyway, this was all the encouragement Kooan needed. You know those velvet paintings of crying clowns? Kooan is like that—except he’s an Asian guy with an Afro. But basically, he wants to be a laughing clown, not a crying clown, so he was all, “Peace out.”
(What was weird was how calm and resolute—dare I even say mature?—he was about the whole decision. Everyone else is crying and gnashing their teeth and Kooan is like, “My decision is final. Be at peace, my friends.” And then, just as he left, as if the weight of the whole series had been spontaneously lifted off his shoulders, he let out a chirpy, gleeful “Make it Work!” and he scampered off to Magic SuperFun Rainbow Land, or wherever the hell it is that he lives.)
Then Nathan also wants to leave. And this was when I thought the garment that is Project Runway was really going to unravel—leaving Tim Gunn and Christopher and Ven holding one long thread.
“Are the rest of you read to move forward and make it work?” Tim said, doing his version of a locker room pep talk.
“Uh, yeah,” came the response.
(I don’t know about you guys, but I was ready to run through a wall after that!)
Cooler heads did eventually prevail and the mass exodus was avoided.
Nathan stayed (and I’m glad because, although I can’t remember a single thing he’s designed, I love his personal style) and Raul came back. 
Cute get-up
“I’m back bitches,” Raul said. (Because that is the kind of sassy thing you must say when you’re on a reality TV fashion show. )
“You’re a lucky ho,” said Christopher. (Ibid)
The challenge this week is to create a look for a woman on the go that is stylish and fashionable and comfortable.
“Think about wrinkles. And the fact that you don’t want them,” said Tim. (He really is the Yoda of fashion isn’t he?)
So not too much drama in the studio:
Ven, for some reason, has a major hate-on for Raul, which I don’t completely get. It’s not like Raul is any kind of threat to him.
Christopher tried to help Buffi by suggesting that she take her useless hot pink toga/tunic thingy and make it a useless black toga/tunic thingy. Then he was mopey, mournful and adorably melancholic when she was offended by his suggestion.
On the runway, Heidi Klum came out dressed as Wilma Flintstone for reasons unclear.
Then she introduced the judges: MK, Nina, Hayden Panettiere and Rachel Roy.
This made me laugh because obviously Hayden doesn’t have the fashion chops to be a judge on her own. (Rachel Roy was the equivalent of the seasoned waiter tagteaming it with the “trainee” at a diner.)
“This is how judges sit, Hayden”
The strangest thing that happened on the runway was I found out that MK and Nina like Fabio’s personal style. I look at Fabio and think to myself, “I see you underneath all those layers of crap, Fabio. Somewhere, buried beneath that long beard and those do-rags and dashikis and hipster Tzitzis is a beautiful man. Groom thyself. ” And Michael Kors thinks he has fabulous style? (Whose teams are you on, MK? You disappoint me.)
Shave, remove 4 accessories and we can talk
(Another aside: How on earth is effin’ #TeamElena winning the fan vote on Twitter? I strongly doubt that members of Elena’s immediate family actually like her.)
So the Top 3 were Christopher, Dmitry, and my girl Sonjia.
And the Bottom 3 were Buffi, Fabio, and Raul.
I was actually glad that Ven, who did another one of his uber-tasteful, architectural designs, wasn’t in the Top 3. Yes, Ven, you are the Michael Phelps of draping. Now do something different, dammit!!!
And Sonjia wins! Sonjia wins! And Hayden Panettiere wants to wear her design and you can see Sonjia thinking, “Should I debase my design by letting her wear it?” (Just kidding. She was stoked.)
And Buffi is out. Darn it. I loved me some Buffi and her “an 80s vintage store barfed on me” style.
Buffi was slayed
But I knew they weren’t going to bring Raul back just to jettison him again. (Although really Raul? You thought the blue suede pumps and the hot pink clutch were a good idea to add to your already hideously cluttered get-up?)
I loved Buffi’s attitude in departure though:
“I’m going to be more crazy and tacky and glittery and colorful than ever.”
Or, in other words: Take your good taste and shove it, Project Runway!

Just For Women: The Project Runway recap

Kenley and Ven sharing a private moment. (Also pictured, Fabio)


Due to overwhelming and relentless peer pressure—mostly from members of my immediate family—I’ve decided to dip my big toe back into the recap pool this season.
Before I recap last night’s eppy, a few general observations from the first 2 shows.
Is there an official Project Runway haircut for guys now? Like some sort of reality TV military, except instead of giving you a buzzcut, they shave the sides of your head and give you a hipster pompadour, ironic beard optional?
It’s odd. But it only adds to the hilarious sense that Gunnar and Christopher—the Betty White and Bea Arthur of this season’s competition—are doppelgangers of each other. (Should those two just do it already, or what?)
Stray thoughts on some other contestants:
Kooan Kosuke seems less like a Project Runway contestant and more like one of those oddballs who auditions for American Idol and becomes a YouTube phenomenon for a few weeks.
The minute I laid eyes on Dmitry Sholokhov I thought: Somewhere, there’s a Russian Olympic ice dance team missing its ice master. Okay, close enough. The guy’s a former ballroom dancer. And straight out of central casting.
I love that Ven Budhu’s name is Ven Budhu because he looks like Buddha. But I was shocked that he’s only 28. I would’ve guessed 2,345 at least.
(Also, he’s obviously a talented designer—Lord knows, he’ll be the first to tell you—but he has that kind of tasteful, safe design aesthetic that Michael Kors and Nina Garcia always go for. Yawn.)
(Conversely, Buffi’s loud, poppy, Harajuku girl style stuff is exactly what the judges hate. Her time on this show is clearly limited. A shame, cause I love that crazy, leopard spotted beotch.)
As for Andrea Katz: She must have some photos of the Project Runway staff key party or somethin’. How else to explain how her button candy apron didn’t land her in the bottom 3? (Has anyone else ever designed an apron for Project Runway? What’s next? A dish towel?)
Oh Sonjia is my early favorite, just cause I love her blue hair and funky fresh style.
Okay, onto last night’s show:
God, there was almost something comforting when Tim Gunn announced, “The color of the Lexus SM vehicle you’re assigned to must be incorporated into your design.”
Don’t ever change, Project Runway. Don’t ever change.
So this week, the designers were paired up to make a gown for the Emmys.
This didn’t sit well with the Eastern European contingent.
“I don’t like to work with anyone.  Who does?” said Elena.
“When it comes to my work I’m a little bit of a control freak. But who isn’t?” said Dmitry.
It’s this kind of attitude that lost the Russians the all-around girl’s gymnastics medal at the Olympics, people.
The whole gown thing also didn’t sit well with Raul because, in case you hadn’t heard the first 45 times he told us, he designs menswear. (With his ouster this week, a short-lived “I design menswear” drinking game has gone by the wayside.)
In a cool twist, they were designing for former Project Runway all-stars. Nice one.
Here were the teams:
Buffi and Elena
Designing for: Laura
Christopher and Andrea
Designing for: Anya
Raul and Alicia  
Designing for: Mila
Gunnar and Kooan
Designing for Irina (LOLOLOLOL)
Melissa and Dmitry
Designing for April
Sonjia and Nathan
Designing for Valerie
Ven and Fabio
Designing for Kenley
Gunnar saw this challenge for what it was: A big fat trap.
“The hardest person to impress in fashion is a fucking fashion designer,” he noted, accurately.
That being said, probably the most disappointing thing about last night’s show was the fact that Kenley liked her dress. Because hell hath no fury like a pissed off Kenley.  Damn Ven and all his annoying. . .talent.
It must be exhausting to be Kenley
I also expected Irina to be more of a nightmare, but except for one brief moment when she almost brought Kooan to tears, she was pretty mellow. (Didn’t you get the sense though that she “helped” with the design? One minute that dress had a puckered butt line. The next minute it had a clever strip of flowy fabric in the back. I call shenanigans). (Also, cute get-up Gunnar. Did you recently take in a screening of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, by any chance?)
“I fixed this shit”-Irina
“For some reason I feel sad not happy,” Kooan said at one point. “I work well when I’m happy.” (If this whole Project Runway thing doesn’t pan out, Kooan should host one of those weekend TV shows that work really well both for small children and for adults on acid.)
It was also funny to see the likes of Anya and Mila in horrible dresses. They’re both so impeccable in their own personal styles and to see Mila galumphing down the runway in Raul and Alicia’s monstrosity, her bitchface set to stun, and boho chic goddess Anya, looking like a cocktail waitress at the HoJo lounge in 1976, well it was hard to take.
“I Hate My Life”
Speaking of Anya. . .yup: Christopher and Andrea blew it.
I definitely love Christopher, I think he’s talented and adorbs, but I also see him as super passive aggressive.
Have you noticed that nothing is EVER his fault? He’s always the one rolling his eyes and reacting to sassy Gunnar—while shooting him smoldering glares of lust-filled hatred—and this week, he “respected” Andrea too much to tell her to move her ass. Uh huh.
Yes Christopher, sitting and seething with resentment is always the most productive way to get things done. (And led to the inevitable battle royale on the runway—with tears, recriminations, pointed fingers, hurt feelings, the works.)
And oh God, could there be two less compatible people than Buffi and Elena? (Make that three less compatible people than Buffi, Elena, and Laura Bennett?)
Friends for Life!!!

Just looking at Elena, with her terrifying, humorless Soviet work ethic, makes me tense.
Also, what’s up with her hair? She literally looks like a different (nicer) person when she has bangs. The bangs are for the playful happy side of Elena. The severe pulled back style is for the crazed, prison-warden-at-a-gulag Elena. #TeamBangs
Runway time. And the guest is Krysten Ritter from Don’t Trust the B. . .oh, who am I trying to kid, she was Jesse’s crackhead girlfriend in Breaking Bad!!! Squee!!!
Not one of the dresses is a complete success, if you ask me.
I do like Kenley’s dress, but it’s too short for the Emmys.
I actually thought Buffi and Elena pulled it off with Laura’s dress. Who woulda thunk?
Totally thought Dmitry and Melissa were going to be in the top with that flowy Grecian goddess number. (Not my bag, but the construction was solid.)
So miraculously, Gunnar and Kooan are in the Top 2 (seriously saved by that choker—sorry, that Lord & Taylor accessory wall choker—if you ask me) along with Fabio and Ven.
It was pretty amazing how deftly Ven combined his aesthetic with Kenley’s.
As for Fabio, no one really knows what his aesthetic is. Probably a bad sign.
I truly think Fabio and Ven won because nothing better came down the runway. Not the most auspicious of showings.
Oh yeah, Raul got sent home, where he’ll open up a store called Just Menswear.
Next week: Shit hits the motherfreakin’ fan, people!

It Girl Happens: The Project Runway Finale recap


Final score:

Inspiration: 1
Perspiration: 0
The fact that Anya won Project Runway is really revealing, right?
First, Tim Gunn went to visit her in Trinidad to check on her progress and her progress was exactly, well, zero. (Except, possibly, a typewriter filled with the words: “All work and no play makes Anya a dull girl” over and over again.)
Tim was so flummoxed by this that he went back to New York and blabbed to Heidi Klum about it:
“Girlfriend, I went into her studio and there was just an empty rack where her collection was supposed to be.”
Shut the haustür!”
Then she showed her three piece collection—supposedly the apex of her work, mind you— and only one of the three pieces wowed the judges, so she simply junked the other two.
Then she went to Mood with the Tim Gunn bonus $500 and utilized the finely honed strategy of: “Whatever pops out at me, I buy.”
Then she essentially turned her Tim Gunn consultation into a concession speech (“Between you and I , I had a very rewarding experience but I know it’s not my best work. . .”) 
Then she created several new looks in 2 days and was literally sewing her grand finale dress on her model moments before Lincoln Center, much to Joshua’s continued dismay.
And then she. . .well, God damn it if she didn’t win Project Runway.
Oh and p.s.  . . she also won Fan Favorite, which I easily could’ve overlooked, since Lifetime chose to announce this major development in a tiny crawl that ran under the show. (I’ve trained myself to not read the Lifetime crawl, since they usually say things like “Coming Up Next: Army Wives!”)
How do you explain it? Especially when Joshua, Kimberly, and especially Viktor worked so hard, put in so much effort, planned so far ahead?
Bottom line: Life is unfair.
Anya may have had the least experience, she may have put in the least sweat equity, she may have the weakest construction skills, but she has that unmistakable thing called “It”—and so she wins (at life).
Because not only was her line gorgeous—it was. (That first dress was staggering, to borrow a Gunn-ism.) But the judges were right: She created a fantasy. I want to be that easy, breezy, Caribbean girl who wears flowy print dresses and walks barefoot in the sand whilst eating coconuts with my hottie fisherman boyfriend and listening to a steel drum band.
Or, as I put in my notes: “I so want to lose 20 pounds, 2 bra sizes, and live in Anya’s clothes!”

Okay, since I’ve devoted half this blog to wonders of Anya, let’s go over the other designers, huh?
We’ll start with Viktor. I’m glad he went out with at least one Sassy Catch Phrase That Will Never Catch On ™:

“Oh my Lord of the Rings!”

Followed shortly by another Sassy Catch Phrase That Got Screwed Up Midway So He Just Kinda Went With It ™:
“You gotta grab the handles right now. You gotta stir the . . . motorcycle!”
But I give the lad tons of credit for scrapping that créped, tiered grey dress that the judges (and I) loved—“It was too messy,” he said—in favor of some quilted black pants and a black top.
Viktor has an almost preternatural confidence in his own abilities. The man has balls. (Sorry, Anthony Ryan.) It will serve him well going forward.
As for his collection? I actually thought it was stunning, even the see-through looks that the judges were so meh on.
(Transparency, apparently, is a good thing in government, but not so much on the runway.)
If it were up to me, Viktor and Anya would’ve been last two standing, but it wasn’t up to me, now was it?
Next Kimberly.
I give the girl mad props for sticking to her Gunn(s) on the roped earrings and bracelets. That was a huge inspiration for her work and I personally liked them. However, her collection, which Michael Kors said was all about “exuberance, glamour and kickass attitude,” just didn’t move me. (He also said that her black shimmery gown was “killer diller.” I sooo want that phrase to make a comeback.)
That shiny, clingy sky blue dress? Just no. That generic tank top and cargo pants look with the “surprise! I’m a slut!” backless component? Wrong again.
I did, however, really love her bow-tied ivory top and high-waisted pant combo and, like Heidi, would liked to have seen more in that direction.
Finally,  Joshua:
Good lord people, those lime green shorts with the draw strings and the camel toe had no alibi. Seriously. . . I can’t even. . . (Nina claimed that she didn’t like them on the runway, but upon further reflection decided they were very editorial. Go with your gut, Nina.)
But I do kinda sorta get Joshua’s collection. It’s tackiness elevated to art.  . . or art filtered through tackiness or. . .something like that.
And I love how darling and conservative his father is. (He’s just got to be an orthodontist, right?) Puts Josh in perspective. Also, still hoping to see “Sibling Revelry” in production by this summer.
Here’s a few final thoughts on the show in general:

I almost felt sorry for Anthony Ryan, sittin’ there, minding his own business, thinking he had this “Fan Favorite” thing wrapped up. Sorry Anthony Ryan—left dangling again.
Corinne Bailey Rae in the house! Corinne Bailey Rae in the house! Squee! (“Put Your Records On” is one of my all-time favorite songs and I don’t care who knows it.)
But what the hell was Thomas Jane doing there? Seriously. Anyone. . .?
As long as cameras are involved, Jennifer Love Hewitt would go to the opening of a zipper.
“Although I don’t like his personality, I like Josh’s collection.” –Don’t change, Jay McCarroll, don’t change.
I’ve decided that Tim Gunn’s tendency to turn everything into a breathless collective question—How thrilled are you? How gorgeous was that? How excited are the 5 of us right now?—is his own version of Yoda’s inverted-subject speak. And I love it.
And, there you have it, folks. . .another season of Project Runway in the books.
Congrats to Anya for . . . getting to be Anya.
And thanks to all of you, for sticking with my blog all season. We made fun of the fug, we secretly loved Josh, we girl-crushed hard on Anya, we ugly cried, it became a part of us.  . .
Tune in next week when I start blogging the new season of Top Chef!

Grim Retail: The Project Runway recap

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 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.”
(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!
(“It’s major!”)
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.

Fanning the Flames: The Project Runway recap


Can anyone explain what the heck is going on with the Fan Favorite vote?

 Anthony Ryan is in the lead with—wait for it—48 percent (must’ve been his 9-9-9 plan: 9 patterns, 9 buttons, and 9-inch hem lines).
Anya is nipping at his heels with 45 percent.
Now, I’m no math major, but that leaves a mere 7 percentage points for the rest of the designers to duke it out over. And yes, Josh gets 1 percent; Bert gets 1 percent; Laura gets 1 percent; and poor Kimberly gets 0 percent. (In other words, Kimberly gets the exact same percentage points as Gunnar Deatherage, WHO NEVER MADE IT ON THE SHOW.)
Clearly, something is rotten in the state of  New Amsterdam. These are the kinds of leads that African dictators get in their elections.
But hey, why should I care about ballot stuffing if the producers of the show clearly don’t?
(Also, to the person who cares enough to ballot stuff a fan poll for Project Runway? The phrase “Get a life” was pretty much invented for you.)
So the show starts with Josh bitching about Anya’s lack of construction skills—again.
This will be a motif that runs throughout the entire episode (leading to something of a surprise twist at the end). You can basically assume that, unless I specify otherwise, Josh is off in a corner bitching about Anya’s inability to make a sleeve.
The designers get to go on a little road trip to Governor’s Island—where they’re told to seek inspiration for 3 distinct looks from anything on the island,  not necessarily the GIANT geometric sculptures on display. (It would awesome if one of the designers totally ignored the 800 pound sculptures and instead got their inspiration from a blade of grass. Doesn’t happen.)
To Mood they go and, I don’t want to alarm anybody, but OMG, they killed Swatch! Seriously, where has that little fella been the past few weeks?
Ever since the awesome Swatch/Tim GIF went viral (well in my mind at least) he’s been AWOL. (Thank you, Eric, for the GIF, which I can’t get to animate because I suck at the Internet.) (Click below if you want to watch it.)

If I don’t see Swatch in next week’s show, I’m putting out a Terrier Alert.
Back at Parsons, Tim breaks out the velvet bag of doom.
Laura literally gasps.
But it’s nothing to fear, just the cavalry, in the form of Bert, Anthony, Olivier, Becky, and some other guy I’ve never seen before. (I kid, I kid. . . it’s Bruce. . I mean Brent. . .I mean, Bryce.)
Kimberly gets to pick first and, thank God she picks Becky, because I don’t think Becky’s self-esteem could take another hit.
Then Viktor picks Olivier, because he could use a dose of Olivier’s patented enthusiasm and spunk.
Laura picks Anthony, hoping to bump up her 1 percent Fan Favorite vote through osmosis.
Anya and Josh are left. One will get saddled with Bryce.
There’s a kind of mock antagonistic moment between them that turns into an actual antagonistic moment (Josh to Anya: “You’re really getting aggressive”) and everyone sees it and it is awkward.
So Anya gets to pick next and she picks Bert, who is all smiles these days. (I’m actually beginning to suspect that his giant shipment of Paxil arrived at some point during the Project Runway shoot.)
Josh gets Bryce, who is picking up on all the bad jujus in the studio.
 “When I left, everybody was loving each other,” he says. “Now you can really feel the tension.”
To wit, Josh is STILL moaning about last week’s challenge: “I just had $20,000 taken away from me by a beauty queen. What was it? The beauty or the talent?”
(Yes, Josh, because a gay man and two straight women are totally seduced by Anya’s quixotic beauty.)
So people are doing what they do.
Anya is creating interesting, sophisticated, wholly original dress shapes that she has no idea how to sew.
Bert, who is helping her with construction, is flummoxed.
Their conversations, and this is just a paraphrase, go something like this:

Anya: You know how you see something in your mind and you have  no idea how to make it and then you start randomly sewing and  it comes out perfectly?
Bert: No.

Josh is adding unnecessary pieces of plastic to his designs, much to the delight of Kimberly, who is watching from her station: “Throw that plastic on. Do it! Do it!” she encourages. For Josh, as always, more is less.
Kimberly is her usual lovably-kooky-heroine-in-a-rom-com mess, designing 35 looks without any clear direction. Becky—in her capacity as the supportive, unlucky-in-love best friend who is always eating ice cream straight from the container—is concerned.
Laura is once again daring Nina to question her taste level with dresses that appear to be fashioned from six-pack-beer rings.
Viktor is having a sourface-off with Olivier.
Runway time.
Zoe Saldana is the special guest judge.
Out come the looks:
Okay, I loved one of Josh’s three looks. Can you guess which one? (Yes. Yes, you all can.)
Yeah, the cream and black mesh cocktail dress, pictured, is stunning—and Josh probably deserved to go to the finals for it alone.
However, I’m with Zoe: The evening gown looks like a metallic toga. And as for the casual look: How anyone could take a 5’9”, 100-pound model and make her look like Wonder Woman’s “before” picture in a Super Heroes Weight Watchers ad is beyond me.
Heidi questions his use of shiny fabric.
“Were you attracted to the lurex because it was nice and shiny?”
“Is that an assumption?” Josh asks archly.
(More like a profoundly obvious statement based on weeks and weeks of indisputable fact.)
Then we have Kimberly, who is inordinately proud of her “scarf outside the coat” look. You see, any Tom, Jane or Harry can put a scarf inside the coat. But this scarf? It goes outside. (This must be what Jonas Salk felt like upon discovering the cure for polio. )
Her metallic mini-dress, however, is great, despite the “goiter on the side.”
But her form-fitting orange top with peek-a-boob opening and metallic goiter-skirt is a bit slutty looking, if you ask me.
The judges no likey and Kimberly starts basically making a concession speech.
“This has been a great experience. I’ve learned so much. And I’m not upset by anything you guys are saying right now,” she lies.
“Are you giving your goodbyes to us right now?” Heidi responds. (The blunt sarcasm of Heidi Klum is an international treasure that truly needs more recognition.)
Next up Laura, with her “hey everybody: CIRCLES!” looks.
Zoe Saldana is impressed that she didn’t place one circle over each breast and another circle over the crotch. (When that’s the nicest thing you can say about a dress. . .)
Laura whipped up a skirt, like, 5 minutes before runway and she ain’t foolin’ anyone.
“It looks like you whipped up that skirt, like, 5 minutes before runway,” Heidi says.
The ironic thing is, I’d actually wear her baggy, crepey, crème brule-colored evening dress (the one all the judges HATED), but I can see that it’s:
a. Not fashion forward
b. Has NOTHING to do with the other two circle-gets-the-square looks. At all.
Next up, Anya:
Not a sleeve or a jacket or a non-flowy pant leg to be found, but three gorgeous, Anya-esque looks, accompanied by perfect styling choices. The black dress, in particular, is a showstopper.
Finally Viktor. Tasteful, wearable, saleable, blah-blah-blah-able.
“That’s how we do,” Viktor snaps, as his looks go down the runway. (A flair-up of his Seasonal Sass Disorder, obviously.)
Everyone lurves his looks, but thinks he needs to “turn up the volume” a bit. (Ya think?)
Now the fun part: Pick the other two designers you’d like to see accompany you to Fashion Week.
Josh picks Viktor and—in what has to qualify as a surprise in light of his nonstop bitching—Anya.
Kimberly picks Anya and Laura. (Girl power, FTW!)
Anya picks Joshua and Viktor.
Laura picks Viktor and Anya.
Viktor picks Josh and Anya.
So can I just say something slightly controversial right now? You know how Heidi is all about how “one or more of you will be out”? And you know how it’s always “one of you” and never “more of you”? Well, this time I think they should’ve just kept the top 3. Because it’s clearly Anya, Viktor and Josh and “the rest.”
And to that end, Kimberly wins the “Professor and Mary-Ann” consolation vote. (It’s a Gilligan’s Island joke,  Josh: Have Bert explain it to you.)
I mean, does anybody really think that Kimberly can win this thing?

So there you have it, folks. Laura, despite dreaming of this moment since she was 8 months old and her mother first lined her crib with the Barney’s catalog, is OUT.
Next week kicks off the finale.
Off to give Gunnar Deatherage my vote on the fan poll.