Sunday, January 20, 2008


The Candy Man Can

Previously on Project Runway: The designers recycled the clothes of women who lost a lot of weight. Jack had to withdraw for medical treatment. Chris returned to applause. Steven drew the wedding dress. Christian won. Elisa was scolded for not representing her client, but Steven got the boot for his French-maid-at-a-funeral not-much-of-a-wedding-dress dress.

Morning. Kevin now has his apartment to himself. The rest of the guys chew over Steven's dismissal. The women ponder what kind of curveball they'll be thrown next. Sweet P interviews that she's happy to still be in the mix, so I start saying my goodbyes. Off to Parsons!

Heidi comes out with dark red lips and slicked over bangs. It's kind of like a cartoon version of Gwyneth Paltrow. Not loving it. Time for a model mix-up:

Ashley and Christina are out. Ashley is bland, but Christina is cute and doesn't deserve to be going this early. Heidi declines to divulge any details about the challenge; instead, they'll go on an early morning field trip. You know what that means -- Tim Gunn waking up sleepy designers! Which he does, at the not-really-scandalous hour of 6 a.m. Kit is embarrassed to be in her PJs and braless in front of Tim. Chris wants to know where Tim's footie pajamas are.

The designers gather downstairs and traipse through New York after Tim, eventually arriving in Times Square. Specifically, the Hersheys store. Yay, chocolate! Jillian, of all people, is bouncing up and down. Elisa is delighted with the "magic, magic, magic" of candy, but Christian is (as usual) so over it. They get to use anything in the store as their raw materials. No budget, just five minutes to grab up whatever they want. Fortunately, the store has pillows and stuffed animals and other branded foofaraw, not just candy. They'll have one day to work. The designers scramble to get their goods. Chris has actually made clothing from food, so he knows better than to mess with it. Jillian has trouble dragging her Twizzler haul out of the store.

Back at Parsons, the designers have 13 hours to finish, so they dig into their materials. Jillian is the only one working with candy. Sweet P murders some stuffed bears. Christian unwraps a bazillion Reese's peanut butter cups. Chris is going op-art. He interviews that "real food is not practical." Jillian frets that she's going to ruin her scissors cutting all the Twizzlers. Rami wants to keep his project manageable. Elisa is using her daughter Calliope as inspiration. She interviews that she was hit by a car in London and had serious head injuries. Being the show is a way to make up for lost opportunities. Kevin is making something wearable. Christian finishes early and goes around critiquing everyone. He interviews that the other designers "don't have a real direction because they think about their things so much." Shut up, Christian. Kevin is ready to "off" him. Sweet P isn't happy with her dress. Christian recommends major editing, but she starts over.

Tim time. He urges Victorya to forsake the bland and "take it further." Tim thinks Rami has made an outfit for Jillian, who agrees that she would wear it. Elisa is attempting to channel Gretel, but Tim wants more exuberance. Jillian is having time management issues; her materials turned out to be "tedious" to work with. Tim thinks Sweet P's new skirt is too reminiscent of paper products, so she starts over once again. Tim warns them that they won't have much time in the morning, so they need to finish tonight. Workety-work montage. Chris finishes. Instead of picking on everyone else, he goes off for a nap. Jillian frets as time winds down. Sweet P tries to rally her as they head home.

Morning. Elisa hopes to get through the challenge safely and make it to the final three. Now I have to worry about her, too. Jillian continues to fret about candy falling off her dress. Back to work! Models. Fitting. Jillian stresses. Chris feels for her. Lauren helps her sew Twizzlers on. Hair. Makeup. Designers worry about damage to delicate constructions. Jillian is last out the door.

Hersheys will auction off all the outfits for charity. Guest judge is Zac Posen, that little cutie. Show time!

Ricky, Christian, Kit and Kevin are all safe. Zac and Michael love Rami's construction; Michael thinks it really captures the spirit of a candy challenge. Elisa was hoping to evoke candy without using candy, but Heidi and Michael find it dull, not joyful. Zac and Nina like the sexy, playful attitude of Jillian's candy outfit and Michael calls it "adorable." However, he doesn't believe Victorya's claims that she would wear her ruffled apron dress. Heidi is getting "Dairy Queen." Zac finds Chris's dress too staid, but Michael (knowing his background) thinks he made a smart choice to edit himself and Nina is ready to put it in the magazine. Sweet P gets dinged for being boring; she mentions starting over as an excuse for not showing much effort.

The judges recap. They've worried about Chris's taste level in the past, but not this time. Rami wowed the judges with his construction. Jillian also impressed them with the only edible garment. Elisa gave "sad" instead of "avant garde." Victorya wasn't inventive with her materials. Sweet P was also boring.

The designers return. Chris is safe. (Yay!) Rami gets the win and immunity. Jillian is safe. Victorya is safe. Elisa wasn't playful. Sweet P was boring. Sweet P is safe. Elisa is out. (No!) She thanks the judges for an "amazing" experience. She feels "fortified" by her time with the other contestants. Tim gives her a big ol' hug.

Right loser? Elisa's outfit was disappointing, so I can't argue against her being in the bottom three. I'm just not sure I can be objective about her dismissal. Sweet P is a perfectly nice human being, but Elisa is more interesting as both a person and a designer. She was at least trying to create something with a point of view, while Sweet P didn't aspire to much more than a finished garment. Victorya had a bonkers dress, followed by a bonkers runway presentation and a bonkers runway defense, but the ruffles did convey a sense of fun and whimsy. I'd be quite willing to sacrifice Sweet P in order to save Elisa, but I'm not 100% certain the outfits justify it.

Right winner? Rami's pleated skirt and strappy bodice were simply stellar. I loved it from the moment I saw it. Chris also did excellent work, but I think Ram surpassed him. So the judges got this one right, at least.




Previously on Project Runway: The designers teamed up to combine bad trends. Steven was assured Chris's jacket would be smashing. Ricky suggested not fighting, but Victorya wasn't on board with that. Jillian won. Team Ricky had bad teamwork. Chris got the boot. (Sob!)

We interrupt the usual mourning of the departed with a health bulletin: Jack suspects he has another staph infection. And off to Parsons we go! Heidi brings out the models. No, not those models. Out walks a woman in an over-sized bridal dress. Several other women follow, all wearing clothes that are too big. Steven suspects they're relatives of the designers, except he doesn't recognize any of them. Heidi reveals that the models have all lost a lot of weight; they're wearing their favorite fat clothes. The models introduce themselves and reveal how much weight they've lost. Given that the lowest amount lost is 45 pounds, the designers are all thoroughly impressed. Heidi assigns them the challenge of making new outfits from the old favorite clothes. Kevin is psyched but Christian is skeered. Demonstrating that the producers can occasionally learn from past mistakes, Heidi assigns the models to the designers using the handy-dandy button bag o' randomization:

Steven is less than thrilled to be dealing with a wedding dress, which he figures to be the kiss of death. Man up, dude.

Workroom. Tim reports that they have until midnight to work. He reads off a whimsical note that Chris left, so we can wallow in the misery of his departure. Back to the challenge -- the new outfit has to be something for everyday, but express the designer's point of view. They get 30 minutes to consult with their clients. Victorya interviews that "the rules are completely different" for non-model-sized women. Say what? Kevin and Elisa are enjoying the challenge. Christian's client has a whole bunch of "I won't wear" rules that he has to accommodate. Steven is basically stuck; sequined, beaded, lace-covered white polyester satin isn't translating to daytime wear. Now I really want a make-over-a-bridesmaid-dress challenge. Maybe next season.

The designers get $10 and 15 minutes at Mood to supplement their raw materials. Jillian buys matching fabric; her client's shirt is too piece-y to deconstruct. Well, then use the pants instead. Steven buys black stretch cotton to make the outfit; he'll use the wedding dress as trim. Basically, he panics and bails on the challenge.

Back in the workroom, the designers settle down to work. Jack is still having problems with his face, but the treatment will require leaving. He interviews that the problem isn't related to his HIV status, since his immune system is functional. This leaves me wondering how on earth he's picked up two drug-resistant staph infections when pretty much everyone gets through life without getting any. Jack makes a call to his doctor and then talks to Tim. They come back, and Jack announces that he has to withdraw. Everyone hugs the guy with the drug-resistant staph infection, which kinda freaks me out. These are some serious germs, people! Treat them with respect! Jack is, of course, very sad, because he worked so hard and he loved meeting everyone. And I am, of course, very sad, because it's a tough break for him. This is where I would normally insert good wishes, but it turns out he's healthy and dating Dale from Top Chef season 3, so we know he's okay.

The remaining designers perform the ritual mourning of the departed as they work. Ricky puts on some high heels with his client's jeans, purportedly to see how the jeans will look with heels, but he looks really comfy in heels and spends a whole lotta time posing in front of the mirror, so I have doubts. With six hours on the clock, Tim is ready to send the clients in for fittings. But first: Chris returns! There is much rejoicing. The designers are happy to see him, too. Chris is taking over Jack's client, and he can work through the night to catch up with the others. The clients arrive. Pinning and chatting ensue. The clients leave. Chris wishes he had Steven's wedding dress to work with. So does Steven.

Tim comes in for a review. To Christian: "So how fierce is it?" Tim approves of the Christian-like qualities in the look. Tim wants to make sure Elisa is working with her client's style as well as her own. Steven is "very courageous" to discard so much of the original material. Tim wants to make sure that Chris avoids the costume trap with his nautical inspiration. He advises making decisions early, while Chris still has a functional brain. "'Cause I've made more bad decisions at three o'clock in the morning than I can list," Tim confesses. Steven demands names as the designers enjoy the chance to tease Tim. Frantic workety-work montage. Christian finishes. Sweet P wonders if it's "against the law to kill a twelve year old" but Chris thinks he hasn't made it to twelve yet. At midnight, everyone but Chris heads out.

Morning. The designers return to find Chris snoring on a sofa. Steven is in the weeds. The models arrive for the model routine. Fittings. Hair. Makeup. Ricky gets all teary about how he transformed Penny through fashion. I think Penny did most of the transforming; Ricky just changed the clothes. Kevin pitches in to help Steven, who resorts to fabric glue in desperation. Ricky also seems to be lending a hand, as well as Victorya. Steven seems about ready to stroke out from stress. Show time! Guest judge is Patrick Robinson, head designer for The Gap.

Steven, Christian, Chris, Kevin, Jillian and Elisa are held for questioning. Everyone knows that Elyse loves Kevin's outfit, but Michael is over the leggings. All the judges think Tracy's outfit doesn't suit her personality, like they know her so well from the thirty seconds she spent on the runway. Michael has the more pertinent objection that the outfit chops Tracy up into multiple horizontal bands. Jillian gets called out for making the dress out of new material, but all the judges like the dress. Steven also abandoned most of his source material, and the judges are disappointed with such a somber transformation. Christian is praised for incorporating his vision with his client's tastes, making something commercial but still fashionable. Patrick thinks the red decorations on Chris's skirt distract from the "beautiful" top, but Chris figures Silvia needs the punch of red to match her personality. Michael calls it a costume for a "hooker with a heart of gold."

The judges rehash. Kevin's model was loving the way she looked. Christian nailed it. Jillian's dress was great, even though she tossed the original shirt. Elisa didn't reflect Tracy and chopped up the body. Steven's dress was just disappointing; they were all looking forward to something fabulous. Chris was costume-y but they like the top. So I suspect he'll be safe.

The designers return. Jillian is safe. Christian gets the win and immunity. Kevin is safe. No, I like everyone in the bottom three! Chris is safe. (Whew!) Steven is out. (No!) Elisa is safe. (Whew!)

Right winner? I don't have any issues with Christian's outfit, and I do with Kevin's and Jillian's outfits, so I agree with the winner. I would have put Rami in the top three instead of Jillian, though.

Right loser? Steven went into a panic and stayed there. It turns out Laura was hoping for a dress that she could wear at a renewal of her vows. I think Steven should have brazened it out -- made that dress and then described it as "suitable for church." If you can make cocktail and party dresses for an "everyday" challenge, why not a nice church outfit? Since Steven likes classic lines, do a nice dress or skirt and shell, and then a fancy jacket. If you go with simple separates, it's easier to argue that you can mix the pieces into other everyday looks. Of all the other creative ideas out there, I like the lingerie suggestion the best. I figured Chris was safe because the worst parts of his outfit were easily corrected -- just remove some of the red bits and hike up the skirt a couple of inches -- and the result was at least nicely finished. Elisa's look wasn't classic enough for everyday Tracy or daring enough for Tracy's wild side, and the layers weren't flattering, so she was a contender for the loss. But she tried, and Steven didn't, and that's why I can't justify booting anyone else.


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