Saturday, August 19, 2006


Garbage In

Previously on Project Runway: The designers had to modernize a fashion icon. The models exploded out of the gate. Nazri scored Pam Grier for Michael. Katie didn't score anything and got stuck with Cher, of whom Bradley was ignorant. Jeffrey and Angela argued. Jeffrey pouted about inexperienced contestants messing it up for the pros. Laura shut Jeffrey down. Heidi wore tablecloths. Runway show. Michael got the win and the TRESemmé ad, so no immunity for him. Great, we're not even through the previouslies and I'm once again worried about Michael getting booted. Bradley was out.

Morning. Michael makes sure Robert is awake. He's proud to have gotten through five challenges. Winning a challenge just makes him want to win another. Kinda like potato chips.

Over in the other guy apartment, Vincent mourns the departure of Bradley. Who, while fundamentally sane, still probably had the best chance of understanding what Vincent was talking about at any given moment. He interviews that the judging is subjective and therefore unpredictable. He reminds us about the cashing in of the 401(k) and the risk he's taking. But he feels good about making it to the final three, with his talent and skills. He doesn't mention his string of bottom three performances.

Alison shows Uli how much anti-stress stuff she has used. So Uli has moved in with the other women. At least she's bunked with Alison instead of Angela. And it's off to Parsons we go.

Heidi's dress today is made from a whole different era of tablecloths. Is this someone's idea for a collection? She brings out Nazri and Katie for Michael to choose between. Or, if he wants to switch it up, she'll bring out all the models. Michael naturally stays with Nazri, because she had the good sense to score Pam Grier instead of getting left holding Cher, so Katie is out. Laura is bummed. Heidi asks if they're ready for the next challenge. Angela is the only one who answers. I guess the others aren't ready. Heidi tells them they have had it easy so far, and again Angela is the only person talking. Michael interviews that it hasn't been easy. Heidi is sure that the previous season's designers had it harder. And yeah, this group has had nuthin' but 2-day challenges so far, so last season was harder. Alison interviews that they were all rolling their eyes. Heidi warns that the next few challenges are going to be tougher. Robert interviews that they're so stressed already, they just can't see how things can possibly get tougher. Guess again, designers. See these stress levels? They go to eleven.

Heidi goes away without providing any details, which kind of makes the whole "it's going to get tough" threat not quite so scary. Tim will provide the challenge details in the morning.

That would be at 5 o'clock in the morning, when Tim goes knocking on doors to collect the designers for a field trip. And no open-toed shoes, he warns. Vincent wonders if they'll have to dig something up. Alison tells Laura, "It's a good thing you have on your riding outfit, in case it's horses." She's so naturally sweet, you can barely even hear the snark. Downstairs they load up into a van and hit the road. Alison interviews that everyone was trying to see where they were going. Looks like New Jersey. Alison reports she was humming the opening theme from The Sopranos. Laura interviews that the weather stinks and "New Jersey looks as awful as it ever did." Which means that this matches the worst she has ever seen it. As opposed to "New Jersey looks as awful as it ever does," which would mean "New Jersey sucks." A gross slander, of course; only parts of New Jersey suck. Like this part.

They pull up in front of a big warehouse. Robert describes it all as a "strange nightmare." Laura narrates the trip onto the loading dock and up to the huge garage door that awaits them. Tim announces that the site of their new challenge is just inside. Everyone anticipates. The door rolls up and -- it's trash! Jeffrey is psyched. Kayne clarifies that the mounds are made of "recyclable materials." Whew! Much more sanitary. Robert reports that his reaction was, "Shut up! I don't want to work with [moue of distaste] trash."

Everyone is wearing yellow hard hats, yellow reflective vests and safety goggles. Even Tim. It's not quite as adorable as Tim being swarmed by a herd of little puppy dogs, but it's close. Tim announces that the next challenge involves creating a garment from the recyclable materials around them. He introduces Michael Coz of [sponsor] for the educational portion of the field trip, which I'm skipping because I got dragged to a sewage treatment plant on a grade school field trip and still kind of resent it. Otherwise, though, education is really good and you should totally have some.

Tim finishes with the challenge details. Michael uses "think outside the box" to describe the challenge, but I forgive him. And off they go. Uli hauls away at a never-ending strip of mylar. Laura thinks she can make a fur trim out of shredded documents. She interviews that the only stuff resembling fabric were giant plastic bags for peanuts. Jeffrey scores a Martha Stewart magazine. Kayne is collecting plastic caps. He explains that he "grew up white trash" and often went dumpster-diving with his sister. "Spent my whole life in the trash can," he beams. Uli guesses that "fashion people" don't recycle. Vincent plans to make art out of trash. What a novel idea. Alison is feeling inspired by the chance to work in something other than fabric. She liked the "ransack your apartment" challenge, too. I wonder how her friends feel about inviting her over now. I'd start to feel nervous if she admired any of my stuff.

Tim calls a halt and they all drag their bins over. Michael beatboxes as he waits to leave. Laura is inspired to roll with her homie until Michael begs her to stop. I want to see Project Michael 'n' Laura.

On the way home, they stop at an art supply store to get the stuff they need to turn trash into something wearable. Kayne explains the 15 minute and $25 limitations. Jeffrey gets acrylic paint for staining newspaper. Tim stands at the Information booth to summon the designers over the loudspeaker. He looks good there. They should do that every show. Actually, Tim should just go into random stores and make announcements over their loudspeakers. I bet people would shop more if there were a chance they'd get to hear him.

Back at Parsons, they have 10 hours to finish their garments. And finally the hammer has dropped! Angela interviews that it's going to be a "pressure cooker" of a challenge. Kayne lists all the various materials being worked; it will definitely be a challenge to get their creative juices flowing. Alison plans to make a skirt with striped paper. She explains that with a short challenge, you have to keep track of each step of the plan and there's no room for error. (Oh, hello, Foreshadowing. How've you been?) Angela is working in patchwork. Michael is letting his materials speak to him. In the creative sense. Not literally, the way Vincent does. Speaking of Vincent, he likes to let things evolve. "I don't own the future, I don't go there. I just let it come." Ah, the stand out in the field and wait to get hit by lightning approach to the creative process. He stands at his table and grimaces at his materials. I'm forced to wonder about his fiber intake. Now I hate the editors for making me think that. Laura worriedly interviews that Vincent is wacko and ready to crack. We see him grimace some more, and Laura grimaces in response. Her face does not make me think of fiber, thank goodness. Her face makes me think she'll be constructing a tasteful but sturdy straightjacket in her spare time, just in case.

Robert and Kayne have only "two seconds" to spare for dinner. They decide to "trash-talk" someone for entertainment. They wind up choosing Laura. Robert actually gets in most of the zingers. Refreshed, he heads back to work. Apparently it's beat up on Laura night, because now Jeffrey interviews that he's terribly bored by her dress and he hopes the judges "send her to the guillotine." See, it's not enough that they auf her now; there has to be actual bloodshed. "Another high-waisted skirt," he drones. Let me think -- coat, evening gown, suit with pencil skirt, Angela's pantsuit, Hepburn pants. Nope. He's confusing what she makes with what she wears.

Six hours to go. Everyone manufactures frantically. Alison describes how she was happy with her striped paper assemblies until she started to sew them, and they turned on her. Robert declares that he loves to recycle: "Plastics. Paper. Ex-boyfriends." Kayne interviews that everyone is worried about the deadline because they've always had longer challenges. Alison describes to Laura how she's changing gears. She had a "freak-out moment" when her striped paper idea went awry. We see her try it on as a skirt and it looks like a hamburger box. So now she's working with blue and cream paper, crinkling and sculpting. She interviews that she has to be done when the clock runs out. She has to be done because she needs to stay: "Designing clothes is my life."

Kayne fits a giant skirt around his bodice. It has a huge painted flower and lots of "decorative" bottle caps. Uli thinks he's crazy. Laura interviews that Kayne's dress was a "dog." And we know she's not fond of those. Kayne interviews that he just kept adding stuff and "it ended up looking like a toad exploded all over it." Kayne tells Michael and Laura that it's awful and Laura agrees. She interviews that Kayne is in danger of getting booted. Kayne tells the others he hopes he doesn't get the boot. I confess, I like Kayne's giant flower. It's like an enormous day-glo Georgia O'Keefe. That flower on a crisp white gown would be gorgeous. Of course, paired with trash, it's not so effective. And maybe it's not so much that flower I like so much as the idea of a ginormous flower all over a dress. Something to file away for the next challenge.

Jeffrey is excited for this challenge. He likes working with newspaper; he has newsprint on his pants. I'm pretty sure his pants aren't made out of newspaper, though. He interviews that he's sure he's going to win.

Michael posts his Pam Grier outfit in the winner's gallery while Laura and Angela cheer. He interviews that when he auditioned for season 2 (hello, panelists, what were you thinking?), he wrote a little affirmation on a slip of paper: "I will make Project Runway and I will win Project Runway." He found the paper today in his wallet, so he's fated to be there.

Vincent has made his dress and now it's time to decorate it with trash. The process is like painting a picture. Laura interviews that she doesn't care for Vincent's dress -- it's just a white strapless sheath with garbage glued to it. Vincent studies his dress; it reminds him of a party dress. He's sure he won't be out.

With 1.5 hours remaining, Tim does his rounds. He's usually a little earlier. Maybe he was taking a nap. Or announcing that the store will be closing in 15 minutes and shoppers should bring their final selections to the registers. He's knocked out by Uli's braidwork. Jeffrey also gets encouragement. Then there's Vincent. Tim asks what it is and Vincent says he doesn't know. Wait, he doesn't know what he made? Vincent says it looks like a happy party dress. He kinda likes how it's "avant-garde." Tim is making his frowny face. However, he manages to make a helpful comment, observing that the decoration is only on the front of the dress, so it's one-dimensional. Well, two-dimensional shape-wise, but in terms of inspiration, "one-dimensional" covers it. Sigh. It's very professional of him, but I'd really rather he let Vincent hang himself.

Michael explains the pieces of his outfit. Tim loves the corset but the skirt seems plain. Next stop, Alison. She has a sculptural dress in the cream-colored paper; she thinks it will look nice on her blonde model. Tim asks if she has the "zaftig" model and Alison clarifies that she has Alexandra. She's on the large side. Hang on. This is the same Alexandra that Michael put in a body-hugging tweed dress for the doggie challenge? This is what they consider a large woman? Alison explains that she and Tim were both trying to figure out how to cinch the waist and keep it modern-looking instead of matronly.

Kayne's dress has Tim a little freaked out. He apologetically calls it a craft project. Kayne absorbs the hit like he was expecting it. He proposes taking off the bottle cap circles. Tim agrees. Kayne goes on to ditch the entire skirt while Tim applauds. Robert interviews that he was worried about Kayne. At this point, Kayne is just trying to come up with something that won't get him booted. He has 1 hour to come up with something. All he has left is mylar. He shows the new skirt to Uli: "I've made a fairy costume."

Alison interviews that she's stressing. She explains that the judges want good construction. Right now she's just winging it.

And the day ends. The guys drag themselves home with their hard hats and vests. Michael and Robert complain about the paper detritus left in their footwear. Kayne is just hoping to escape the boot. He wishes Tim would have come around sooner. Dude, you knew it sucked before Tim got there. Why wait around for confirmation? He interviews that the only way he'll win is if the judges are on crack. Sometimes I wonder what the judges are smoking, so he has an outside chance. Michael tries turning out the light with the Clapper, but it hasn't been installed yet. It never hurts to make friends with the production crew.

Morning. Laura persuades herself to get out of bed with the promise of coffee. She's sleeping in her shirt, but the pants are not her riding pants. She's sure she's safe -- it's a well-made dress that will look cute on her model, plus there's the joke on the butt. More designers wake up. Vincent is sure he's safe, too. So now the editors have successfully muddied the oracular waters. Off to Parsons again.

Tim gives them the 2-hour warning; models are imminent. Uli wants to know if Alison has tried out the dress on Alexandra, but Alison knows it will fit. Designers wrestle with the problem of getting clothes made out of trash onto their models. Hard to put a zipper on one of those babies. Laura apologizes to Camilla about something. Danielle looks unhappy as Robert fiddles with the back of the dress. He interviews that working with non-traditional materials is a problem because not only are they lacking in give, but they don't hold up well. Everyone is hoping their clothes won't fall apart before the runway show.

Hair and makeup. Laura interviews that Kayne's and Alison's stylings were "painful." Amanda has wild hair and jade green eye paint randomly applied; Alexandra is sporting a giant Minnie Mouse bow made of lighter blonde hair. Laura calls it "frightening" and I'm inclined to agree. I blame massive sleep deficits. Amanda, Kayne, Camilla and Laura sit around waiting; Amanda isn't dressed yet but Camilla is wearing a jacket over her dress. Kayne is sure he's in the bottom three but he hopes he's not out. Laura asks how he chose the green for Amanda's makeup and he blames stress. Laura tells him she often worries/wonders about his choices. Considering they're on opposite sides of the aesthetic spectrum, I'm not surprised. Kayne snipes that he often worries about her character "and that's worse." Well, yeah, escalation is pretty much worse by definition. Robert would have just drawled something like "That's because you have no taste" instead of getting all personal. But Laura just laughs, because mere bitchery has no chance of even denting her deflector shields. Camilla's worried she might be in the midst of a slap fight. Kayne rehashes that he's won a challenge and he was in the top three last time. Laura compliments his Marilyn Monroe dress. Kayne says there's no reason to worry about him, and he's not going to put up with being "degraded" on camera. Dude, why sign up for a reality show?

Tim warns that they have five minutes to showtime. Much fussing with garments ensues. Alison explains that Alexandra has a straight torso with no waist -- okay, that I'll believe -- so it's difficult to get the dress to cinch in. She tapes it closed and warns Alexandra not to tear it. Vincent trims the excess length off the bottom of his dress and has Jia walk. He thinks it's a huge art canvas, which gets him off, and I don't want to think about any more of Vincent's bodily functions, especially in the workroom. He then likens the dress to a child's drawing. Okay, is it art or is it kid stuff? One or the other, it can't be both. And button your damn shirt. Just way too much of Vincent this week. Please boot him.

Heidi has normal clothes and giant, messy hair. She recaps the challenge and introduces the judges: Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and "celebrity stylist" Rachel Zoe. Okay, I see. Heidi wanted to have more hair than Rachel. I guess she's entitled. Showtime!

Heidi summons Alison, Kayne, Laura, Vincent, Michael and Jeffrey. Angela, Robert and Uli are safe. They go away and the remaining models come out.

Heidi starts with Michael. He explains that he imagined his materials as different types of fabrics. Rachel likes it -- chic and not too avant-garde. Nina loves it, too; she likes the plastic as a wrap. Michael thinks he took the right approach to innovation; he can imagine "a really cool girl" wearing it. Go, Michael! Of course, he won last week, so he's probably in second place.

Vincent describes his materials -- the plastic sack, the paper, the confetti. Michael is not happy that Jia couldn't walk. A mini-dress would have worked better. Vincent states that the dress "turns him on." Gah! MAKE HIM STOP SAYING THAT! He's proud of it. Michael and Nina exchange looks of disgust. Nina calls it bizarre; Vincent says that's what he likes. It's artsy. Crap, he's got that whole "turned on" voice going. Boot him, boot him, boot him! Nina calls him on the whole walking problem and Vincent 'fesses up in a normal tone of voice. Michael is like, it's great if it turns you on, but she has to be able to walk. Heidi chimes in that she appreciates his innovation and his fearlessness. Don't be nice to the crazies, Heidi! They just turn all Daniel Franco on you.

Thank goodness, we've moved on to Laura. She used a peanut sack, crate strapping and magazine paper. She mentions that she liked the words on the bag -- and here Camilla turns around without even being prompted -- so she pleated it to create an "elegant joke." For everyone who thinks Laura plays it safe all the time, I just want to point out that humor is risky. Rachel loves the dress. Heidi thinks she has a signature style. Michael loves the flower; her work is impeccable.

Kayne explains how he wasted his time with bottle caps and had to come up with a whole new skirt. His idea is that she just went through the recycling plant and has emerged from a bout of rolling around in a dumpster. Nina thinks it's a bad costume. Kayne admits to being short of time and just making a bad decision. Rachel throws him a bone by calling it very intricate, especially for last minute work, but he needed to restrain himself. The judges all join in condemning the over-the-top styling. Michael feels this has "stepped over the boundary of taste." Hey, Kayne, this would be a good time to tell them how you won't be degraded on camera.

Jeffrey describes how he used different types of paper. It moves, and Marilinda can move around while wearing it. Nina finds it innovative but still wearable. Rachel thinks it looks like fabric. Michael observes that it's the only dress that showed any movement on the runway. Well, other than a gentle swaying, yeah. He loves the silhouette and the trompe l'oeil belt. He describes it as "ugly/beautiful," which he sees as Jeffrey's aesthetic direction. Jeffrey agrees.

Alison explains how she sculpted the yellow paper on the dress form, letting it "do what it wanted to do." Maybe that's the problem: she should have bossed it around a little more. You're the designer; show that paper who's in charge! Heidi thinks she made Alexandra look "huge." She also gets a Minnie Mouse vibe from the hair bow. Alison says she was trying for a fun look. Fun, good; cartoon mouse, bad. Rachel advises that she has to think about making her model look good. Michael is surprised that a woman designer would make another woman look that bad. So, if a guy had presented this design, what? They'd figure he hated women and shrug it off? I'm not buying this "you've betrayed your fellow women" thing. Heidi asks to see the back again. She complains that she can't see any innovation; it's just "stuck together." Michael compares it to a crumpled dinner napkin and a paper brioche.

Heidi sends them all away. They start with Laura. Rachel says she loved it, but in a completely flat voice. Nina agrees. Heidi thinks Laura is chic and would wear the clothes that she makes; Michael agrees. Rachel and Nina have more enthusiasm for Michael's outfit; they're both ready to wear it. All the judges appreciate his thoughtful approach and explanations. Rachel calls Kayne's dress a pinata. Heidi has never seen such craziness. Nina comments on the sudden slide from last week. Michael hates it, but observes that Kayne does have good construction. Michael likes Jeffrey's paper-over-muslin draping; he and Rachel ooh over the belt. Heidi likes his bold colors. Rachel calls it "smart" in the sense of being intelligently made. Vincent's turn. Michael describes Jia as walking in a refrigerator carton. Nina calls it an explosion and a bad science project. Heidi points out that he likes to "push the envelope a little bit." Heidi, Vincent doesn't even know there's an envelope. Finally, Alison. The judges are almost at a loss for words. Michael calls it a "nightmare" from "head to toe." Heidi asks herself if she would rather look like "a fat Minnie Mouse" or "slim and long."

The designers return. Laura is safe. The win goes to Michael. Holy cow! He thanks the judges. Heidi tells him they were all impressed and dismisses him. He interviews that he didn't expect back-to-back wins. There's a little party in the waiting room when he announces his victory. Jeffrey just missed the win; he's safe. He interviews that Michael's clothes are "the equivalent of diabetic food -- there's no flavor." Thanks for saving me from feeling sorry for you, loser. Kayne squeaks in. He's vastly relieved, as are the other designers in the back. Vincent is thrown a bone for his "creativity," but his dress was "stiff and over the top." Heidi informs him that "there's a fine line between innovation and insanity." Alison's look was completely unflattering, and it's worse because she's a female herself. Alison gets the boot. Vincent sadly blows her a kiss before leaving. I think Alison is stunned. I'm stunned.

Uli gives Alison a great big hug. Laura goes after Vincent: "You call that a <bleep>in' walk?" I guess Vincent was describing Jia's motion as a walk rather than the feeble struggles of a trapped animal. He has moved from the chair beside the door to the corner of the couch, so something happened since Alison got back. Vincent wonders who "axed" Laura to open her mouth: "Why don't you put some Harry Winstons up your nose?" Good for you, Vincent; that almost made sense. Kayne chides them to put aside the bickering so they can enjoy Alison's last few minutes with them. She and Jeffrey have a big hug. Alison interviews that she won't fade away.

Short stuff first: Both Jeffrey and Michael had strong entries, so I could see it going either way. But Jeffrey sucks, so the way it turned out makes me happy. Uli could have just as easily been in the top three instead of Laura.

Now, then, on to the boot. I don't think you need to invoke a producer conspiracy to explain this one: Heidi had a powerful hate on for Alison's dress. And for some reason, she feels kindly inclined toward Vincent. Maybe he has threatened to sue them for discriminating against crazy people if they boot him. Maybe she's just sorry for him. Whatever. I think it's pretty clear that she led the charge to boot Alison.

I would have booted Vincent. While his dress was long and slim, it wasn't particularly figure-flattering. Also, I think he should get docked for the black halter; the bow at the neck definitely looked like fabric and I doubt that came from the accessory wall. Meanwhile, Alison had some interesting construction and the skirt was actually quite nice. I think the hair-bow really did her in; going for a "fun" look was a mistake. "Fun" and "cute" are just code words for "don't take me seriously." Also, she should have stuck with her plan of mixing the blue and cream paper; the different colors could have helped her create the illusion of shape.

How did Kayne escape the boot? I don't think he was saved for his colorful character and I don't think he was given credit for his past wins. I think his plan worked -- he squeaked by on the merits of his fit and construction. His dress fit much better than Vincent's or Alison's and he had some nice details. It was an ugly dress, but recognizably a dress.

So now Vincent has officially passed Angela in the What the Hell Are You Still Doing Here? sweepstakes. I don't know what I'll do if he makes the final four. I can't boycott the show, after all. I suppose I could threaten to boycott the sponsors, but I don't shop at Macy's anyway. Maybe a protest at the runway shows. Assuming anyone would notice amongst all the bustle. If they don't boot him next week, I am seriously going to need therapy.

The other bad news is that I had figured Alison for the top six, and now it looks like either Jeffrey or Angela will make it in. (Vincent now has to be considered a possibility, but it's just too depressing.) I'm not happy with Angela after her relapse of bad taste this week, but at least she doesn't suck.

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