Monday, July 31, 2006


Going to the Dogs

Previously on Project Runway: Miss USA requested a gown. Angela wasn't inspired by Vincent. Vincent wanted Angela to stand three feet away from him. Malan's gown was wooden. Runway show. Vincent had a horrific experience; Angela didn't like the dress. Miss USA gave the win to Kayne. Malan got the boot.

Hey! Who took Tim out of the credits? Put him back right now!

Morning. Kayne comes perilously close to showing us whether he sleeps in the nude. He's thrilled to have immunity because he can send anything down the runway, but of course he's not going to pass up any opportunity to make something fabulous. Robert tells Bradley how he's really becoming aware now that someone will be gone every few days. He thinks Malan was a good roomie. Katherine doesn't think Malan deserved the boot, but she wasn't responsible for the dress.

Heidi still has her hair parted to the side. I wish she'd stop that; it's freaking me out. The next challenge involves designing an outfit "inspired by one of fashion's hottest accessories." Tim will provide the details in the morning. Hey, model selection is gone! Kayne stays with Katia, because he's no dummy, so Moon is out. Like hell this is a competition for the models. A competition means your performance has some influence on the outcome. Moon didn't even model the dress that got Malan auf'ed. I bet one of the designers would have been happy to snap her up. Boo!

Back at the apartments, Kayne tries to get his roomies to guess the accessory. Bonnie interviews that everyone was trying to figure it out. Uli suggests a belt or shoes. It looks like Uli, Katherine and Bonnie are hanging out in Kayne's apartment, while Alison is visiting Michael and Bradley. Michael hopes the challenge will really let them strut their stuff. Bradley thinks the judges want to see some versatility. Michael is eager to get to it.

Morning again. It's six in the morning, and Laura finds a note slipped under the door. Robert reads instructions from Tim to meet him in Central Park. Laura reads the directions to the park. She guesses they'll be working with horses, although she doesn't quite see them as fashion accessories. Nonetheless, she's wearing riding boots and pants as they head out. Laura gets a merit badge for packing. I bet if she were invited to a state dinner followed by a hoe down, she'd have the right outfit. Kayne and Vincent interview about the general uncertainty. Uli was hoping for a nice brunch with Tim. Cool idea. No such luck.

Everybody stands around waiting in the cold. Finally Tim arrives, wrangling a small herd of adorable little dogs with as much aplomb as can be managed under the circumstances. Bradley, Kayne and Jeffrey are all delighted. Tim presents the group with their inspirations. Each dog is wearing a blanket with its name; the designers can choose whichever ones they want. Laura is less than thrilled; she doesn't have the emotional energy to invest in an animal (what with five kids and all). Uli is delighted with her little pug Einstein. If she were a dog, that's what she'd be. Jeffrey thinks everyone picked their canine counterparts, especially Keith, who interviews that he's into rarity, so a rare dog was the thing for him. Bradley tells Alison that he's really not a poodle person. Fortunately, Alison is, and Stanley the terrier looks more like a Bradley dog. So they swap. Laura has her dog in a handbag -- "So I don't have to touch it," she confesses to Tim. She didn't actually pick her dog, she just got the one that was left over. But hers is so cute and happy-looking. I guess they were all pretty darn cute. Tim rounds everyone up for the walk back to Parsons.

Workroom. Tim lays out the details of the challenge: Use the dog as an inspiration for a story about its (female) owner -- who she is, what she's up to -- and design outfits for both owner and dog. They have 2 days and $150 to work with, and there's a half-hour sketching period. And go!

Robert tries to get Chanel to sit still long enough to take a picture. Sophia keeps standing on Laura's sketch paper. Bradley studies Stanley. Alison's idea for Pepito's owner is a fashionable world traveler. She's clearly getting into the whole narrative part of the challenge. Robert wrangles Chanel some more. Angela tries to get Pattycake's attention for a picture. Angela describes her owner as the British headmistress of an art camp in Paris named "Jubilee Jumbles" (how do you say that in French?) and she's throwing a birthday party for Pattycake. Angela's wearing a plaid cap. If only she had worn it while working with Vincent, perhaps they would have gotten along better. Perhaps he would have made the hat his inspiration for the pageant gown. Robert wrestles Chanel some more. Keith's dog is hairless and elegant; he doesn't want to dress her in anything more than a collar. "Please don't make me make something stupid for Morgan," he whines. I think the "stupid" part is entirely under his control. Laura slides Sophia off her paper. Robert tries to snap a picture. Vincent is fitting a bracelet crown on Lil' A's head; the terrier growls. Katherine gets a high-five from Tallulah.

Tim summons everyone to go shopping. The people at Mood are delighted that "everyone" does not include the dogs. Which would have been hilarious, but then they'd never be able to shop there again. Alison goes for linen, silk and leather. Uli wants colorful prints. Kayne scores a Missoni print with giant, flowing ribbons of color. He shows it off to Laura and Robert. Robert displays a pink plaid tweed "like Jackie Kennedy and Barbie all rolled into one." Laura says her tan tweed is so "tasteful" compared to theirs, and Robert sighs, "Oh, Laura, always mistaking taste and style." She laughs. I think she meant "tasteful" in the sense of "quietly classic," as it's used by the "don't draw attention to yourself" crowd. Kayne interviews that he was miffed about the taste comment; he told her, "Yours is vanilla and mine is Rocky Road." Not Tutti Frutti? That Missoni print is so not chocolate.

Back in the workroom, they have six hours until quitting time. Katherine says she's never done a dress like this; most of her work is sportswear. Well, why not make sportswear? Tallulah looks like she's up for something active. Katherine feels the need to prove herself. Angela got silk taffeta in a spring color because Pattycake was born in the spring. This story of hers is very detailed. I think she's waiting for someone to ask her if she writes children's stories, so she can be all "modest" about her "talent." Robert's story is that the owner is a "Park Avenue princess" who needs someone to care for her dog while she's in rehab. "I have this thing about stories: I hate them. I think they're stupid." Go, Robert!

Workety work work work. Keith is worried about Bradley's time management. Bradley's original idea had construction issues, so he's adjusting. Then he decides to just start over. He tells Alison that the next day will be busy, but he'll manage.

Yet another morning montage. Michael compliments Bradley's eyewear. Vincent expects work to continue until the last minute, as usual. Jeffrey thinks designing for a dog is no different than designing for a person -- you just come up with something that suits the client. All the designers have their own styles; he just likes his the best. That's certainly more temperate than his previous "remedial BS" verdict.

Vincent chortles with Jeffrey over his dog outfit, which includes a little white cap. It's nice that Vincent enjoys his work. I think all the other designers are making sure they have a clear path to the exit, just in case he finally snaps. Vincent thinks most people aren't paying enough attention to the dog outfit part of the challenge; the two outfits have to go together. In the sewing room, Katherine asks Bradley how it's going with the rethink. He expects to be okay if there aren't any problems. Vincent announces that Bradley's birthday is the next day. Jeffrey wonders if he'll get booted on his birthday. "That's all I'm saying," he weasels. Vincent figures Bradley will have a party somewhere else. He and Jeffrey find this obvious observation amusing. Keith hopes Bradley won't be out, but he's taking far too much time. Keith figures even his original, flawed vision couldn't be any worse than what Angela's doing. It's like "a big bag of Skittles."

Keith goes around looking for a sewing machine. Laura interviews that she's been having problems with Keith for a while. She and Michael talk about Keith using a machine which they've apparently configured. They go see Keith. Laura doesn't need the machine but Michael does. Keith thought Michael was okay. Laura says, "I'm just trying to protect my man." Well, maybe your man should stand up for himself a bit. Laura interviews that Keith's starting to get mean. Keith walks out of the sewing room, not wanting to hear any more about it. He interviews that Laura is a "bad mommy" and he had a "good mommy." Why is Keith suddenly three years old this challenge? Bradley interviews that "there's some spiciness going on." He's just trying to stay out of it so he can finish.

Tim comes through with 2 hours to go. He visit Katherine, who is going to make a little hoodie for Tallulah that coordinates with her dress. Tim is worried that her dress is too simple. Katherine proposes making a hoodie jacket, so the model will match Tallulah. Tim likes it. Next is Uli. Tim was worried about her fabric choices at Mood, but now he's reassured. Alison has Pepito's jacket ready. Tim is tickled that she used the same closures for both dog and model. Tim praises Keith's dress, but is worried that he's just making spats for Morgan. Keith says he has such a clear picture of this woman in his head, and she doesn't dress up her dog. Because Keith doesn't want her to. Tim's worried that he's not completing the challenge. Keith thinks that part of the challenge is "lame." Too bad. Suck it up. Angela has spent time foofing up the inside of her vest. Tim thinks it's going over the top. Tim is a master of understatement. Uli is worried about Angela's outfit, too. Bradley shows Tim what he's gotten done. Tim's brow furrows. So not a good sign. He confesses to Bradley that he doesn't "get it." Bradley explains that the top is reflecting Stanley's shagginess, but Tim thinks the artistic intent won't matter if it doesn't look good. He thinks it needs to be redone. Bradley is deflated.

Tim leaves with an hour to go. Alison interviews that there was a frenzy of work. Uli appliques the words "Hi Ladies" to Einstein's outfit as a message to the judges. Keith advises Bradley to just knock out an A-line dress. Bradley is feeling some stress. Vincent interviews that Bradley "likes to jump off bridges and find things as he falls." Bradley moans to Keith that his outfit is horrible. Keith thinks the skirt is fine. Bradley raises the possibility of not finishing, but Keith says he can't. I'd be happier about Keith's display of camaraderie if I didn't think it was mostly motivated by the desire to see Angela booted. Bradley interviews that he'd rather forfeit than show something he didn't like. Bradley is fried. It's his birthday and he's planning on quitting. In the workroom, he wraps a tape measure around his neck and feigns hanging himself. "That sucks."

Oh, for heaven's sake, this is the fourth friggin' montage of people waking up. Enough already. Keith is still worried about Bradley, who figures he's probably screwed. Katherine and Bonnie agree that they don't want Bradley getting the boot on his birthday.

In the workroom, Tim announces that the models will arrive in an hour, and then they'll have two hours to get everything done. He wishes Bradley a happy birthday and asks how it's going. Bradley is scrambling. Tim doesn't want to ask about "poor little Stanley," but he does. Stanley has nothing to wear. Tim leaves Bradley to work. Robert interviews that Bradley is rushing around as we see Bradley rush around. More predictions of doom.

The models arrive. Clarissa skips over to Bradley, who gives her the bad news that she might not walk. She says, "I really don't want to go home." Bradley realizes that he's not the only one with something at stake, and that motivates him to push through. Hair and makeup happen. Alison voiceovers that she really wants to win because she's passionate about the challenge. And it does seem right up her alley. Clarissa whispers to the makeup guy that her designer isn't finished.

Tim announces that the other models are arriving. The human models (most of them already dressed) walk in with the dog models. The designers cheer. Einstein rests his head on Uli's chest. I'd say they've bonded. Uli's feeling pretty confident. She's mixed two wild patterns, which is what she does at home, and she's happy with it. Javi strolls with her dog. Laura coos over Sophia as she and Katie try to dress her. Laura interviews that Sophia was actually very patient about getting dressed. Oh, look, it's Laura's rib bones again. Vincent is ecstatic with the hat on his little dog. Keith thinks his chances are good because both his dog and his model are stunning, and he's talented. Katherine interviews that she worked on a jacket for her outfit, but she needed to finish the dog jacket and ran out of time. She tells Tim, "I don't think it needed it." Bradley uses the blouse he already had, but with a lining, and manages to whip up a collar for Stanley. He says "I'm happy with it" with almost no expression. He's interested in the judges' comments. Tim summons everyone to the runway.

Heidi does the in/out spiel and recaps the challenge. The judges are Vera Wang (subbing for Michael Kors again), Nina Garcia and Ivanka Trump. I'm not sure how they picked her for this challenge, except that she probably knows a lot of women with purse dogs. I'm sure she'll make a fine judge, but "make an outfit for the modern businesswoman" seems like a better fit.

Lots of updated classics in the line-up and several examples of excellent tailoring. I guess the doggies were quite inspiring. There aren't a lot of bad outfits to choose from, and easily half-a-dozen contenders for the top spot.

Heidi summons: Alison, Bradley, Keith, Angela, Katherine, Uli. As soon as Heidi called Alison, I knew this was the top/bottom group. Thanks for giving it away, ham-fisted editors. Kayne, Robert, Bonnie, Michael, Vincent, Laura and Jeffrey are safe. Alison is the only one of the remaining six who looks confident.

Heidi asks Uli about her story. Uli's woman isn't afraid of color. She went to a party last night; today, she got up at noon and now she's going to meet her friends for lunch and then shopping for more "fabulous clothes." Ivanka gets the story; I suspect it describes most of her high school class. Heidi approves of the fit and the mix of patterns. Vera Wang observes that pugs tend to come across as butch, so she likes the twist of a feminine dress. The judges ask to see it without the jacket and admire the back. Nina calls it playful.

Heidi asks Katherine for her story. There's not much narrative, just a modern, sporty woman who dresses up on occasion, such as brunch with friends. Heidi likes Tallulah's outfit better than Amanda's. Ivanka calls the dress wearable but thinks she spent more time on the doggie hoodie. Katherine says she was going for clean and simple, but Heidi thinks a designer should try to wow people. Nina asks about the hem, which looks layered but a little uneven. She thinks the execution was lacking. Insert shot of Tallulah whining dejectedly.

Alison's client is an Oriental woman who travels "religiously" with her dog, and is in New York as a buyer at Fashion Week. There's a shot of the dress without the jacket. The collar is a V-shape meeting a band that circles under the arms. I still can't see how the bodice connects at the waist. Vera Wang asks about the model's hair, which echoes the poodle's poof, and Alison confirms it was intentional. Ivanka and Vera Wang appreciate the effort that went into the presentation. Heidi finds the whole look modern and chic.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Heidi comments that Angela's model must be going the same place as Angela (they're both wearing balloon skirts). Angela lays out the art camp/puppy party story. Heidi asks the ages of the students; Angela picks six to twelve years old. Heidi thinks the outfit is awfully revealing for someone working with kids. Nina's not getting the whole story. That's because Angela left out an important plot point -- she's wearing an outfit her students designed for her! Honestly, what artsy six-year-old wouldn't love that skirt? Vera Wang appreciates the draping of the skirt, but thinks style is a problem.

Bradley's turn. Stanley is fussing and Heidi scolds him. It's seriously hot. TiVos around the world prepare to get very tired of replaying those three seconds. Bradley scoops Stanley up and explains that his client is an architect who "appreciates simplicity and structure." He sounds like he's making it up, but I think it's just his delivery. Vera Wang loves the color combination. Nina likes "the play of volume." She asks to see a profile view. The back sags lower than the front, so it looks sloppy, but Nina loves it and could imagine putting it in her magazine. Okay, not that Bradley's outfit doesn't have its good points, but I really have to wonder if the judges know it's his birthday.

Keith's woman is "modern, sophisticated and elegant" and doesn't dress up her rare dog in "baby doll clothes". That doesn't tell us where she's going or what she's up to. So much for having such a clear picture. Heidi gets into the lack of a dog outfit. A whole line of designers and models look a little pleased to see Keith called out. Keith protests that the dog has been styled, but Heidi reframes the work as "accessorized." Nina loves the dress, but she's disappointed about the dog. Keith claims to have made "many, many" outfits and to have struggled with the decision -- again, so much for his "I have such a clear picture" claim. Heidi asks how they're supposed to judge an incomplete. Keith says he made the sash. Heidi gets up to examine it -- Morgan is wearing a bracelet and Keith made a fabric sash to hold it closed. So technically, the dog is wearing something he made. Keith claims to have spent a lot of time on "that." I hope he means the dress, or that's just sad.

The designers are sent away while the judges deliberate. Heidi starts with Bradley. Nina liked the silhouette, and Ivanka finds it the most original. We see Bradley looking like he's on cloud nine. Heidi and Nina both like Uli's use of color and pattern. Ivanka observes that she really thought about the dog. As for Alison, Ivanka says she's the only one who had the whole look. Nina agrees that the styling was great. Heidi thinks she showed vision. Vera Wang thinks they all love Katherine's doggie hoodie, but not the dress. Nina doesn't see creativity and Vera Wang would have liked better sewing. Nina hates Angela's outfit. Vera Wang appreciates the construction but the styling was bad. Ivanka sums it up -- her model looked like a streetwalker. Heidi thinks Keith was "standoffish." Ivanka wants to call his bluff on making four outfits for Morgan. Nina grants that his clothes are impeccable and well-presented.

The designers return. Heidi announces the winner off the top: Uli gets immunity. She thinks that's the best part of winning. Alison looks pissed, in a soft, pretty way. She's safe, too. Bradley is safe. Heidi tells Keith he might have won if he had done a dog outfit. He's safe. He can't understand why he didn't win, since no one else had any kind of execution. Well, except for Kayne and Michael and Laura, and that's just for starters. Shut up, Keith. Katherine is scolded for lack of inspiration and poor execution; Angela has poor taste. Angela is safe. Katherine is out.

She's a little shocked with the results. This dress had the most inspiration of all the things she has done. But it's best to go out on a high point. Well, as high as a loss can get.

What does Angela have to do to get booted? She was a crappy partner and now she created a crappy outfit all by her lonesome. So why isn't she already gone? And Keith didn't complete the challenge and was an ass to the judges. Meanwhile, Katherine created a nice (if ordinary) dress, and she outclassed the field with her doggie outfit. Don't tell me that had no inspiration. And why wasn't Vincent up before the judges? If we're going to boot people for uninspired outfits, I'd put his well before Katherine's. That dress had absolutely nothing going on. I just don't get it. I never expected Katherine to do better than mid-field, but she didn't suck. And the first rule of judging, at least in my book, is to get rid of the sucky people first. So, between this week and last week's boot of Malan, I am most displeased.

Did the judges get the win right? There are many excellent candidates for the top three and the win. Sadly, Bradley does not number among them, although his outfit had good points, but Alison and Uli were both top contenders. It could easily have gone either way, and either way I'd be okay with it.

Overall, though, a pretty sucky episode: no Tim in the credits, Moon gets booted for no good reason, too many wakey-wakey montages, it's hard to see the clothes on the runway, Vincent gets another free pass and Angela lives to create another ugly outfit. It's a darn good thing they had all those cute little doggies or I'd have been throwing stuff at the screen.

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