Sunday, August 06, 2006



Previously on Project Runway: Doggies! Everyone but Laura was thrilled. Vincent fell in love with another hat. Angela made a big bag of Skittles. Laura and Keith clashed. Bradley had trouble. Katherine made a basic dress. Doggies on the runway! Keith didn't dress his dog and Heidi busted him. Uli won. Katherine got the boot, even though she had the cutest doggie outfit.

Man, the credits keep getting shorter. Put Tim back in!

Morning. Bonnie and Uli reflect on the departure of Katherine. They wonder if the women will have to merge households. Uli would prefer not to live with Angela. Angela feels the need to redeem herself. Unfortunately, she's talking about her performance and not her wardrobe. Could we please get straight to the makeover challenge? Jeffrey's lack of wins is making him feel unappreciated. Ah, it's not his fault for sucking; it's the judges' fault for not "getting" him. But, he observes, the judges love them some Keith, whose primary talent is ladling out the BS.

Heidi delivers the next challenge: It's the Banana Republic challenge, only Banana Republic has been replaced by INC, which is Macy's fashion-forward brand. Angela explains that INC is sold nationwide. Alison interviews that she immediately started thinking about ready-to-wear clothes.

Model choice is back -- but not in time to save Moon, dammit. (The producers think model choice is boring, so they don't want to have to keep showing it. Here's an idea: have it but don't show it unless something interesting happens.)

Toni is out. Alison looks a little guilty. It feels like there was a lot of changing up, but only 5 of 11 designers got new models. Heidi sends them off to get the challenge details from Tim.

Tim introduces Mehmet Tangoren, Macy's vice president for contemporary sportswear. (Who handles the antique sportswear?) Mehmet wants a three-piece look for INC. The INC customer doesn't have a particular age; she reads fashion magazines and wants the latest styles. Mehmet points out that INC is Macy's biggest line. Tim announces that this is another team challenge. Angela thinks this will be a chance to redeem herself. Still not talking about the wardrobe. The designers will pitch their ideas to Mehmet, who will choose four team leaders. Robert believes his Barbie background has given him good experience in making presentations. Mehmet passes out INC dossiers. Tim gives the designers 30 minutes to sketch. Keith claims that he "worked in the industry -- briefly -- doing menswear" so he thinks he knows what it takes to win. "Briefly"? Are we talking months or minutes? Bonnie thinks her Nike experience gives her an edge because she's used to a mass market. Angela is once again dealing with the need to sketch, which she doesn't normally do. She does produce a sketch this time, instead of just pestering Bonnie to pick her.

Tim leads everyone over to Macy's, where they get to make their pitches to Mehmet.

Mehmet announces the leaders: Robert for his sketches, Bonnie for her grasp of the customer, Keith for his colors and presentation, and Angela for her inspiration. Angela is thrilled. Everyone else is stunned. Kayne kindly interviews that she has yet to demonstrate "her great talent." Tim thanks Mehmet and it's back to Parsons. Jeffrey frets that Angela will pick him, which he'd hate.

The team leaders line up to pick assistants. Angela gets to go first. Wow, her stars are really aligned today. Jeffrey starts praying to every god he's ever heard mentioned. Angela picks Michael. Publicly, he's a good sport; privately, his reaction is a hearty "awww, da-yum!" Robert picks Kayne. Keith picks Alison. She interviews that Keith probably chose her for her sewing skills, since Keith doesn't really know that much about construction. According to Keith, he's the only one who does. Bonnie picks Uli, so another pageant gown team is reconstituted. Angela grabs Laura, giving her the Dream Team of garment construction. Her planets must be aligned, too. Robert chooses Vincent. Keith takes Jeffrey. He chose his teammates because they will follow through when he gives them directions, so he won't have to keep after them. Bradley feels like "the kid left out at kickball." Bonnie pretends to be happy with him, but she's worried about his time management after the last challenge.

Since this is a "real world" challenge, the winning design will be put into production and sold at Macy's. Robert interviews that he thinks the exposure would be a good thing. (He doesn't seem entirely convinced.) They will have 2 days but only $100. Tim gives the teams 15 minutes to talk things over before they go shopping. Bonnie's team cheers themselves. Robert talks to his team about making a dickey -- "Love it? Hate it?" Vincent clearly hates it. He interviews that he wasn't thrilled with Robert's ideas, but he'll just defer to the team leader. Since Robert specifically asked for feedback, I think Vincent is shirking. He's really not cut out for the whole teamwork thing. Angela explains her inspiration. Laura wants her to incorporate her color palette into the jacket. Angela interviews that she knows all the other designers think she's "way out of left field" but she just wants "to get past that." How do you "get past" the fact that she's utterly wacko? Keith is going to play to his team members' strengths. He assigns the pants to Jeffrey -- who interviews that they were very form-fitting and therefore hard to make -- and the top to Alison, since she has more experience with jersey. Jeffrey explains that he and Alison got the hardest parts of the outfit. Big surprise.

Shopping at Mood. "And they're off," Tim announces. Bonnie's team has trouble finding material in their budget. Michael shows a print to Angela, who flips over it and needs to hug him. Laura interviews that the team was happy with Angela's fabric choices -- "more appropriate for this particular challenge than the full-tilt boogie Angela quilted extravaganza of puff." Keith's team spent too much, so he wheedles a 20% discount. I don't know; after Kara Saun's shoe debacle in the first season, I wonder if the producers are inclined to be picky about contestants getting favors. Jeffrey interviews that he's not sure what, but something felt off about it. Keith interviews that he always breaks the rules a little, because he thinks he's right. Right about what, his fabric choices? Yeah, there's a moral stance.

Back at Parsons, it's time to get to "get cranking," as Robert says. Angela outlines the division of labor: Michael has pants, Laura has jacket, she has top. Laura and Angela discuss the jacket. Laura thinks it won't need a side seam; Angela trusts her.

Bonnie nags Bradley to get cracking on the pants. She's a little worried about him. Bradley feels hounded. Maybe she doesn't like the beard. He considers shaving.

Keith would like Alison's help with something, but she's pretty involved with what she's doing, so he says he can handle it. But then he tries to make her feel guilty. Oh, for heaven's sake. We've heard enough from Keith about his mad skillz, it's time to see them in action. Alison interviews that Keith's overwhelmed because he's never done women's wear before. Except for three recent challenges, one of which he won. I'm disappointed in Alison; I thought she'd be smarter than this. Jeffrey interviews that Alison did all the work on the armhole design. He has figured out the secret to Keith's success -- he makes basic clothes and he's charming. Keith summons Jeffrey to review part of the coat with him and Alison. Kayne describes Keith as "manipulating." It's not fair for him to stick Jeffrey and Alison with all the work. Keith is "ruthless" in his desire to win.

Work day ends. Kayne and Vincent are in their beds with the lights on. Kayne confesses to Vincent that he saw patternmaking books in Keith's room. Vincent responds that you just can't do that. Kayne interviews that all contraband was taken away when he arrived. A pattern book is an advantage because it's harder to construct things from memory. If Keith is getting to use pattern books, Kayne would like to be able to use them, too. Kayne tells Vincent that Keith warned them he was ruthless.

Kayne consults Robert, in the other apartment. Robert argues that it has been "explicitly clear" what's allowed. How could Keith think it was acceptable? Robert interviews that people weren't allowed to have resources to even the playing field. (I suppose they could give everyone the same resources, but that removes a lot of potential for people to crash and burn, so I don't see it happening.) Michael contributes that the contract is very clear. Robert says the matter should go to the producers; it's not the contestants' place to figure it all out.

Tim arrives at the apartment. He interviews that the rules are very clear, and fashion how-to books are banned. In a "separate incident" which happened off-camera, Keith left for several hours and used the Internet. So that's multiple infractions. Tim's visit takes place in the living room area, where Kayne and Vincent have the sofa beds. Keith sits on Vincent's bed; Tim sits on the floor (get the man a chair!); Kayne and Vincent are both present but Jeffrey is off in the bedroom, presumably sleeping. Tim outlines the issues. He finds it such a waste. Keith has to leave. Keith interviews that he didn't expect that outcome. It seems he's really not used to his actions having consequences. Tim says he has to leave right away. Keith simply says, "Okay." Tim interviews that the books alone are sufficient grounds for kicking someone off.

Keith visits with the guys in the other apartment; Kayne is there as well. Keith says he appreciates their feelings about the situation. Kayne asks if he understands it's his own fault. Keith understands that they're angry. "It's a competition," protests Robert. Keith lists how his reputation will suffer, like "Yes, yes, I'm being punished." He interviews that there's a lot of stress and sometimes people find scapegoats. And what is he being unfairly blamed for? Back in his apartment, Jeffrey finds out what's up as Keith packs. Keith interviews that he never used the books to gain "any unfair advantage." Because it was only fair for him to use them, what with him not knowing anything about women's wear. On a show that's all about making women's wear. He's disappointed he didn't get to go farther; he had more tricks up his sleeve. Yes, that would be the problem.

[A note on timing: The first workday of the challenge was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Over the weekend, the contestants shot promotional material and weren't in the workroom. It was during one of the jaunts for promo work that Keith ran off for several hours and then emailed the producers. So it seems the producers were notified about the books on or around Friday, and consulted with the legal department over the weekend. Keith was asked to leave Saturday or Sunday night. The discussions among the guys probably took place over the weekend, after the producers had been notified.]

The next morning, Tim gathers the designers in the workroom and makes the formal announcement that Keith was ejected. Angela looks stunned, but I'm sure everyone talked about it, so it can't be a surprise. Vincent interviews that Keith shouldn't have broken the rules -- "you do stupid stuff, you know, you're going to have to pay the price." Tim is sure this is very disturbing for everyone. Laura is "glad to see him gone," but without any kind of actual rejoicing. Tim says that Jeffrey and Angela will have to carry on without their team leader and make it work despite his absence. So it's almost lucky that Keith palmed off all the hard work on them.

Jeffrey interviews that he and Alison are going to have a tough time. He thinks Alison's kind of thrown by it. Alison tells Uli she's not sure how he feels. Uli gives her a hug. Alison interviews that the whole competition is stressful and Keith was the team leader. It's sad because he really wanted to win and now he isn't a part of it. There's a shot of her sitting in front of a window, perhaps wiping away a tear. Oh, hell no! The man is a lowdown cheating snake, and he got exactly what he deserved, so don't even think of feeling sorry for his sorry ass. Keep this up and they'll have to stage an intervention, and I'm sure Kayne has a huge collection of Dolly Parton songs that are completely on point.

Bradley thinks he found the solution to a pants problem. Bonnie jokes that if he's wrong, she'll take him down. Bradley interviews, "I'm a fish out of water. I'm a squid with no ocean. I'm an eagle with no sky." He's a French fry short of a Happy Meal. As he works, he foretells his doom.

Kayne thinks their outfit is too "flight attendant" but he doesn't see a way to fix it. Robert tries a patterned fabric for the collar but feels the white is "so fresh." Vincent asks if they can change it, but Robert says they can't. He interviews, "Vincent kept disagreeing with me, and I was like, you're entitled to your wrong opinion." Which is more than Vincent allowed Angela; he figured she wasn't even entitled to an opinion. Vincent brings up Kayne's "flight attendant" judgement and Robert declares, "Kayne has the taste of a love-starved hyena." Vincent isn't inclined to fight this battle. He's not going to say anything, but his face keeps speaking volumes.

Michael interviews that Angela loves "cutesy little details." She wants to add her "rosettes" to the jacket and pants. In the sewing room, Laura tells Michael that Angela is making her "grandma" thingies and Michael cracks up. Laura says it's not funny, because they can't make her stop. She interviews that Angela has a "very wacky design aesthetic." Michael is still amused and Laura tells him to wait until they're on the runway. Flashbacks to judges harshing on Angela's bad taste. In the workroom, Angela is trying out some "rosettes" on the belt loops. Michael interviews that he and Laura were both begging her to stop. Angela keeps trying to persuade Michael. He flops over onto the worktable and flails around like a recalcitrant toddler. Why haven't we been seeing more of him? Laura suggests using them as the buttons. Angela loves it. Crisis averted. Go, team! Angela interviews that the collaboration is working really well. It's just how she thought it should work. I'm not sure Michael and Laura have such a high opinion of things, but I am sure they're happy that Angela is listening to them.

With 2 hours left, Tim does his walkthrough. He's worried that the judges will see Robert's top and skirt as matronly. Vincent interviews that he thought Robert's design was plain, but it's what Robert wanted. In other words, it's somebody else's problem, not his. Go, team.

Over at Team Angela, Laura relates how she ran screaming out of the sewing room when she heard Angela was making "granny circles" again, but they "really like them as buttons." Tim agrees. Angela interviews that she led Tim "to the light." I think it's more Laura leading Angela out of the darkness. They're basically done.

Bradley's having a problem with the pants. Tim thinks they're "a little diaper-y." Uli interviews that the problem was more with Bonnie's wide-legged design than Bradley's execution. She's not worried, though. Immunity is good like that. Tim suggests steaming the pants. This is the first time I remember him offering a direct suggestion, although it's probably happened before.

Tim checks on Jeffrey and Alison, who are doing okay. Alison reports that they had talked over every step with Keith. Tim likes the belt loops on the pants. He thinks they're making excellent progress. Alison interviews that they're going to finish Keith's design and make it beautiful. I'm sensing some Dolly Parton in her future. Don't wait too long, Kayne. After Tim leaves, Alison tells Jeffrey that they're going to win. Jeffrey would like that.

Work, work, work. Time's up.

Bonnie and Uli visit Kayne and Vincent. Kayne interviews that it's still sad "to see someone go," even if he's a lowdown cheating snake. (He might not have phrased it quite so emphatically.) They wonder what Keith is up to. Jeffrey is happy with the outfit; he and Alison have a chance of winning, even without a team leader.

In the morning, Tim announces they'll have about two hours to prep the models. Since this is a challenge for a Macy's brand, he urges them to use the Macy's accessories. The models enter. Robert's team has a problem with the back slit of their skirt. Kayne interviews that is borderline "skanky." They close it up as best they can, which isn't all that good. It opens up very high on the thigh. Bonnie is still worried about the pants, since they're the "least interesting" part of the outfit. Camilla learns that Jeffrey and Alison had to complete the project by themselves. Jeffrey is really happy with the fit. Makeup. Hair. Laura interviews that Michael handled the styling. She thinks "Angela was a good team leader." Runway time! Bonnie's team gets Nazri into her pants and away they go.

Heidi comes out wearing some truly hideous black shorts, and that top isn't all that great, either. She recaps the challenge. Even though they ejected Keith, they're still going to boot someone tonight. The judges are Vera Wang (for Michael Kors, still), Nina Garcia, and Mehmet Tangoren. Showtime!

Sigh. I love the runway shows. The problem with team challenges is they don't make enough outfits. (Let's not talk about the lingerie challenge. Best to just pretend it never happened.)

Heidi calls forth Jeffrey and Alison, and Angela's team. They have the highest scores. The other teams can leave now, but they'll be brought back for interrogation later.

Heidi starts with Angela's team. Mehmet asks about the detail on the back of the jacket collar. Angela points out two of her "signature rosettes, which I'm obsessed with right now." Oh, great, now they're a "signature." Mehmet likes the proportions and the matte/shiny contrasts. Vera Wang loves the pink with the grey. Angela mentions her inspiration: the sun rising over the Empire State Building. Michael points out the lining of the jacket, which is the graphic pattern he found and Angela hugged him for. The judges all seem delighted with that little touch. Heidi thinks it looks good for only $100 in materials.

Heidi asks Alison and Jeffrey how it went, working without a leader. Jeffrey thinks they handled the situation really well. Mehmet loves the pants. Vera Wang finds them sexy, especially the vent and detailing. Alison points out that the fabric has a little stretch. Vera Wang thinks it's "hip, youthful and active."

Heidi informs them that the winning outfit will be featured in a window display at the flagship Macy's store. They'll have to go down there in the morning to see who won. Angela mouths "Oh, my God!" like this is the most amazing thing she has ever heard in her life. Which, if she had actually grown up in the quote-unquote middle of nowhere and not simply moved there, might have been true. But since she didn't, I'm at a loss to explain it. As the teams leave the runway, Nina spots the floral crotch inset on Angela's pants and is aghast. I wonder if she'll factor that into the judging.

The two bottom teams come out on the runway. Heidi asks to see Bonnie's outfit without the jacket. The tunic is about the same length as the jacket, belted high on the waist. The top is reversible, but that's never demonstrated. Nina is absolutely against cowl necks. She asks about the pants fabric; it's a wool crepe twill. Heidi thinks they're cheap-looking and Nina hates, hates, hates the fabric. She doesn't see anything hip. Bonnie explains that she was aiming for a more classic look with a broader consumer appeal. Uli chimes in about an older customer, and Nina argues that older customers don't want to look old. So, thanks for helping, Uli. Heidi thinks it's '70s looking. She asks Bradley about his contribution, and he has to 'fess up to making the hated pants. Nina asks how he feels about the outfit. He carefully answers that it's very similar to Bonnie's sketch. Vera Wang sums it up as "not as fun" as she would expect from this team.

Heidi asks Robert if his team was also targeting an older customer. Robert responds that he was thinking more classic and sophisticated. Heidi doesn't see the jacket going with the rest; Vera Wang agrees. Heidi asks to have the jacket off and look at the back. Vera Wang opines that back slits are always tricky with narrow skirts. Nina wants to know why none of them noticed the problem. Heidi observes that Vincent and Kayne are being quiet. Vincent says that the team leader was "passionate" about his vision and he was only too happy to help. Help him sink himself, sure. Kayne more or less agrees. Nina's disappointed; she wants to be wowed and this is boring.

They leave and the judges caucus. Mehmet likes the trendiness of Angela's outfit. Nina appreciates that it will work as separates. Heidi thinks it was expensive-looking. Mehmet likes the "synergy" of Alison and Jeffrey; he loves the pant. Nina agrees it was cool and modern. They're praised for overcoming the loss of their leader. Mehmet thinks Bonnie's outfit was outdated. Heidi could understand if they said they wanted something '70s, but how would that fit with the INC line? Mehmet and Vera Wang want some zip. Nina's stuck on the cowl neck and the ugly pants. Mehmet thinks Robert's team missed the mark. Vera Wang and Heidi don't see any cohesiveness. Nina finds it boring.

The bottom two teams return. Uli has immunity; she is safe. Kayne is safe. He pats Robert on the arm as he leaves. Vincent is safe. Bradley is safe. Robert was too conservative, from color choices to "odd" proportions. It was boring. Bonnie's outfit was not fashion-forward. The colors were wrong and the design was stale. At this point, I'm mentally begging them not to boot Robert. He's capable of much better, plus he's too much snarky fun. Bonnie's nice enough, but I never her saw her passing the midway point. Bonnie is out. Robert is safe. Bonnie gets her auf wiedersehn. She's bummed, because it has been a lot of fun. Tim says they'll miss her. She starts to cry a little as she leaves. Even though she missed the target, she knows she's talented and she's glad she had this opportunity. Well, I'm glad, too. She wasn't great, but she was good.

The next morning, the two top teams go visit the window. Angela's team wins and Angela freaks out. She feels it shows her scope. Well, hers and Laura's and Michael's. She's hoping for some validation with the other designers. Jeffrey's bummed. He wants a win. He wants to get back to the work room and get going on the next challenge. Hope springs eternal. Although seriously, he's a possibility. I don't see him as a finalist -- he seems a little limited -- but I wouldn't be too surprised to see him in the top six.

So, Angela won a challenge. Talk about your unexpected developments. And yet, I'm still not impressed with her as a designer. I'm much more impressed with her as a team player. She picked good people and she had the sense to listen to them. Laura and Michael both accepted that they were working with Angela's aesthetic and set out to make the best outfit they could under those constraints. Everybody kept the focus on the work and off the egos, which is how a team should work. Without Keith, Jeffrey and Alison worked the same way. I suspect they were a little too fashion-forward for a department store brand, though. Maybe for the juniors department, where things tend to be funkier. Interesting point: Neither Tim nor Heidi said the winner had immunity, although they didn't say that immunity was off the table. So what's the deal?

Bonnie's work showed the difficulty of translating a two-dimensional sketch into a three-dimensional outfit. They were also handicapped by their inability to find good fabric. Perhaps they should have gotten Keith to negotiate a deal for them. I'm not at all sure what happened with Robert's design. His sketches showed jackets with more of a trenchcoat feel, but the jacket he made was a lot more shapless. I don't know how a skirt slit like that could qualify as "boring" but the outfit did seem uninspired. I could see it going either way. I'm just glad it turned out the way it did; I'm not ready to get rid of Robert.

As for Keith, good riddance. I'm curious about what will happen to the schedule now that they're short a body. Three-hour finale? Two-hour reunion special? I'm not sure I could stand it.

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