Friday, February 15, 2008

Project Runway - Part Eleven

This week's challenge was perhaps the one with the most potential to produce garments that had the "wow" factor. In theory, anyway. The designers went on a field trip to one of the biggest and best museums in the world: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In a mere 45 minutes they had to find inspiration in either the Greek and Roman galleries, the Temple of Dendur, or European paintings. What an incredible amount of source material to work with encompassing thousands of years of fashion!

Not at all surprisingly, we see Rami in thrall of Greek and Roman statuary in all their draped glory. The other four designers preferred to take their inspiration from European paintings. But why did nobody choose the Temple of Dendur? It would have been a smash hit, don't you agree?


After time for sketching and shopping, the designers commence to sewing. Tim breaks in to share the exciting news that makeup artist and former Westworld robot Collier Strong will be helping them with the very important makeup decisions for this challenge.

After hair and makeup consultations, the designers continue to toil on their latest masterpiece. Rami is doing the expected and draping something purple-y he no doubt thinks is mauve-lous. Chris appears to be crumpling up yards and yards of dark gray fabric; I'm not sure if he's using it or throwing it away until he starts tacking it onto his dress form. Christian whips out various frilly bits and prances around the room in them like the prize pony he is. Jillian battles her inner time-constraint demons. And Sweet P cuts various shapes out of multicolored fabric. I can't get myself excited over any of it, because it seems like I've seen it all before.

The best part of the whole episode came when Sweet P's model, who was many hours late for her fitting which of course made Sweet P a nervous wreck, says "I'm sending confidence and peace." My husband then quipped, "and I'd like to send that model a pizza." That "slimming voodoo" worked by Sweet P during the denim challenge has persisted, and Lea is beyond stick-thin.

Yawn. Sorry, but I am bored just thinking about this episode. Apart from the little bit of friction between Christian and everyone else, nothing new happens. The amazing opportunity for genius has been squandered by designers doing what they've been doing all along. Even Chris bored himself enough to need a nap.

Finally the ordeal of sewing is complete and we get to see the completed designs on the runway. It was apparent that Michael Kors also had a consultation with Collier Strong, as he was wearing suspicious amounts of blusher.

Roberto Cavalli was the guest judge, and he was a wrinkly bag of mess. Why do male fashion designers - people who seemingly should care about appearances - tend to look sloppy and unkempt? Or, like Michael Kors, wear a boring uniform of jacket and jeans that could have come from The Gap?

Rami: Yawn. How predictable. Lovely, of course, but certainly no stretch for the Drapery King.

Jillian: I really liked this combination of flirty gold dress and sombre black jacket. I think it was an apt interpretation of her chosen subject matter, and very well executed. Brava, Jillian! (You should have won this, rather than One Note Wonder Boy.)

Chris: I was excited for Chris when he chose the painting he did, but I thought he would go for a huge dramatic portrait collar rather than the crumpled ruffle rip off of his winning dress with Christian. He really disappointed me, particularly after seeing what he could do at Bryant Park.

Christian: Of course he deserved the win, but hasn't anyone but me noticed that he does the same damn thing week after week after week? And would using a color really kill him? Fierce, but costume-y, and her legs look like screwdrivers.

Sweet P: Sorry, but I knew this would be the end of Sweet P from the moment she revealed her peacock inspiration. I knew she wouldn't have the balls to take it as over-the-top as she needed to to stay alive in this competition. And the crazy-lady feather hat really sealed her fate.

But one other designer was supposed to be eliminated this week, to leave us with three finalists and one decoy. We all know there were two decoys at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, so who were the lucky ones in competition for the big prize? Christian and Jillian, definitely. But in a weird twist, Rami and Chris tied. It was deemed that they should both produce a collection and present their best three to the judges as a tie-breaker, the winner of which will be the third and final contestant eligible for the "chance of a lifetime." I really hope it's Chris, but I think Rami probably could trump him with three looks from his collection. In any case, we'll find out in a couple of weeks.


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