Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Avant Garden

Previously on Project Runway: The designers had to make prom dresses. Kevin didn't feel like hemming. Christian's spirit was nearly broken by his 17-year-old client. Victorya won. Nina scolded Christian for blaming Maddie. Michael didn't like Kevin's hem or how old his teen client looked, so Kevin got the boot.

Christian is still pissing and moaning about his horrible experience. All his time in the bottom three has reminded Ricky that he needs to buckle down and impress the judges. Any time now. Parsons! Heidi brings out the models and they all have wackadoo hair. The designers will have to create an avant-garde look based on their model's hair.

And with that, the two gawkiest walkers are finally dismissed.

In the workroom, Tim reviews the challenge. Since their assignment is "ambitious," they'll be paired in teams using the button bag o' randomization. Each team must choose one model to work with, and one person per team must be the designated sacrifice, er, team leader. They'll have $300 and two days. And the teams are:

Christian is psyched with his partner, since Chris does lots of crazy costume design. Chris has learned from previous experience and suggests that Christian take the leadership role, putatively because of his experience with Alexander McQueen. Christian whines but gets into it. They go with Marcia, who has the more "elegant" hair. Kit and Ricky choose Marie, because her hair reminds Kit of a bird's nest. Their concept will be "nesting." Since it's her idea, she's the leader. Sweet P defers to Rami as team leader "because my mind doesn't naturally go to the avant garde." Sam will be their model. Rami's idea is "hard and soft." Jillian and Victorya are civil but neither one will back down. Finally, they toss a coin substitute and Victorya gets to be in charge.

Mood. Shopping accomplished. Back to Parsons and down to work. Kit's "nesting" concept involves a girl in a garden wearing aprons to "represent layering." As opposed to just being layers. Chris uses wires to construct a frame for a neck piece. "I'm trying to build us a cell phone tower so we can call out," he jokes. Sweet P wonders, "How about if it takes us to Elisa's planet?" "Didn't you know?" Chris banters. "Elisa left me these instructions." Ha! I miss Elisa. She would have had fun with this one. Victorya and Jillian are going punk. Jillian worries because they both have trouble managing their time. Meanwhile, Rami tells Sweet P, "So, why don't you put it on the dress form and try to put a French seam in the center front, okay?" Like she's hopeless, but he's willing to let her try to help.

Sewing, sewing, sewing. Rami complains that Sweet P is slowing him down because he has to keep helping her, not that we see her ask for help. Sweet P interviews about all they finished in the first day, so they're ahead of schedule and what is Rami all stressed about? Rami is sure he's going to take the blame for any team "dysfunction." So far, he pretty much deserves to.

Morning. Sweet P worries about Rami's attitude. The designers get back to work. Sweet P wants more drama, maybe with a bustle, but Rami's gonna do what he wants to do. Tim gathers the designers for a "special announcement." "Gettin' scared of special announcement," Jillian murmurs. With good reason: The designers have to create a ready-to-wear look inspired by their avant-garde look, to be finished tonight. They manage not to throw up from sheer panic. One person per team will shop for 15 minutes with $50. The designers caucus. Sweet P suggests navy, like their pants, for a daytime look, but Rami doesn't think navy says "daytime." Rami seriously needs to unclench. He wants a sketch, but Sweet P doesn't really work that way, and Rami's just not in a trusting mood right now.

Kit, Christian, Sweet P and Jillian zip through Mood. They get back with 12 hours to work. Tim lets them have the models for a fitting. Sweet P thinks Rami has falafelized the bodice. Jillian mopes that everyone else is so close to done, plus Victorya has immunity. Christian teaches the models how to work it. Jay Alexander lives in fear. Rami declares that he is "entitled" to know when Sweet P will finish, as she assures him that she will, in fact, finish on time. He nags her some more, and then interviews that she's being "defensive." Sweet P cries a little from stress and Lea comforts her. She'd be better of bitch-slapping the prig. If he's worried about time, he should set deadlines and make sure they're making good progress, not nag her for completion estimates.

Tim brings in Nathaniel Hawkins, the lead hair stylist. He's going to help them "translate" the avant-garde hair style into an everyday style for the ready-to-wear look. Also, the winning team will get a TreSemmÈ ad in Elle. Consultations with the ready-to-wear models happen.

Tim checks in with Team Fierce. Their avant-garde look is "staggering" but he fears their ready-to-wear skirt is "cheap." Christian disagrees and declares his willingness to tell the judges so. Listen to Tim, you little twerp! Team Nesting is heading into costume territory; they need to "have it be exuberant." Team RamiRamiRami is doing Rami when they need to deliver the unexpected. "You have not seen me do corsets, Tim," Rami protests. Because his body of work defines what is avant-garde. Tim is worried. Rami "explains" that they "think differently." Sweet P thinks they work differently. She interviews that Tim's concerns about the Rami-ness of their dress has nothing to do with the way they work, other than Rami is being a control freak. Team Unbridled Emotion is worried about time, of course. Tim loves their avant-garde look and urges them to get things finished.

Time ticks. Jillian must have made a mistake, because she has a mini-meltdown at the sewing machine. Victorya and Jillian both have to finish their avant-garde pieces and haven't even started the ready-to-wear dress.

Morning of the runway show. Sweet P worries about Rami's mood again. Jillian gets going on the ready-to-wear dress. She interviews that she'll have to move "like the speed of light" to finish. I just can't wrap my brain around a zippy Jillian; it simply won't compute. Tim sends in the ready-to-wear models, since the avant-garde models are already getting their hair done. Hair. Makeup. Fitting. Last-minute touches. Tim gathers the designers; Victorya and Jillian are last out the door, of course.

The guest judge is Alberta Ferretti. Show time!

Rami, Sweet P, Kit and Ricky have the lowest scores. They have to go away with the judges fawn over the top pairs. Chris and Christian collaborated on their design, which used 45 yards of organza. "Just to let you know," Christian confides. Alberta calls it a couture dress. Michael raves over the avant-garde look but the skirt in the ready-to-wear look "a little bit of a throwaway, let's be honest." Christian agrees. Way to defend your skirt, twerp. Nina thinks they could be on a cover. Victorya explains that they were going for a punk mood with equestrian styling. The judges get the coat off and turn Jacqueline around; the pants are totally baggy (not that the judges say anything) and the top has some blue gingham strips slanting back and forth, sort of building a bustle. The judges love the top, and Nina thinks their dress is "cute." Jillian jokes that they really had three looks.

Now for the spankings. The judges love Sweet P's little dress, which Michael deems "more forward-looking than the avant-garde dress." Nina wants to see Rami do something other than draping. Alberta needs more volume from the corset gown. Michael gets a closer look at the pants, which are baggy in front. Sweet P explains that she wanted something bursting out the back of the gown. Rami says their clashing styles "took away from the loudness." Uh, no. Rami designed the corset dress exactly the way he wanted. Alberta pans Kit's dress as "a little Scarlett O'Hara, but in a cheap way." Michael thinks this is Scarlett using bedsheets instead of drapes. Nina wouldn't consider the look for an avant-garde shoot and has nothing good to say about the ready-to-wear dress, either.

The judges rehash. Chris and Christian had a "remarkable" avant-garde look and showed good teamwork. Heidi observes that they blended their styles. Nina loved all the pieces that Victorya and Jillian made; Michael thinks they'd appeal to lots of women. The judges are ready to see something other than draping from Rami, and aren't buying his excuses about Sweet P. They love her dress some more. Kit and Ricky weren't avant-garde and used cheap fabrics, but Michael and Heidi are impressed that they created a hoop from scratch. Nina declares the ready-to-wear look "amateur."

The designers return. Christian gets the win and immunity. He and Chris are safe. Victorya and Jillian are safe. Ricky is safe. Before Sweet P? Huh. Sweet P is safe, like there was any question. Rami gets blamed for his team's dysfunction, just as he predicted. Kit was fashion-backwards. Kit gets the boot. Rami is safe. Kit has no regrets because she doesn't believe in them. It's her loss and the show's loss that she's leaving, but she got lots of friendships out of it.

Right winner? Jillian's coat was a major contender, and the judges liked all the pieces that Team Unbridled Emotion produced. But overall, they weren't quite as forward-looking as Chris and Christian's fabulous layered extravaganza, so the decision makes sense. Also, they were the best collaborators; their look is clearly a product of both their viewpoints. Team Fierce could have locked it up by putting just a little effort into their skirt. A softer skirt made of two, possibly three, tiers would have enhanced the connection to the avant-garde look and gotten them out of secretary territory.

Right loser? As tired as I am of seeing Ricky skate through again, Kit was the creative leader of the team. Although I must say, Ricky's little ready-to-wear dress was rescued from complete nothingness only by Kit's weirdo fabric choice. Kit's problem wasn't that she was too conceptual, it was that she chose a concept that doesn't translate well visually. How are the judges supposed to get from "calico hoop dress" to "girl in garden" to "bird nest hair" to "nesting"? She would have been better off being more literal with the "nesting" idea and getting tangled and twiggy. I wouldn't have minded had they booted Ricky, but I can see the logic behind Kit's ouster. However, I suspect Sweet P's adorable dress saved her and Rami from the bottom rank. Kit was off-base, but she went for it. Rami's corset dress was same old Rami and the navy pants were a very lazy attempt to be edgy. They also had the worst team dynamic. Sweet P can get along with a challenging teammate -- she worked with Elisa, which was a definite mismatch in terms of work process -- so I think the blame for their dysfunction really belongs to Rami. He was clearly running scared throughout the whole challenge, and his way to deal with it was to turn into a control freak. Why do stressed people think that trying to control everything will reduce their stress? (Because they don't reason well under stress.) He's not a bad person, but he needs to learn from this experience.


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