Friday, September 15, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 5

For this challenge, the designers met Tim at Lyndhurst Castle. Until they arrived, Tim was forced to make small talk with two pretty young girls named China Anne McClain and Dove Bar Cameron, who are promoting Disney's latest piece of kiddie drivel "Descendents 2." Dove and China (the names together could be a shop selling posh wedding-related crap, or maybe a restaurant in Baltimore, where names must include "and" or "&") like most Disney kids, are singer/actors. Ugh. "Singers" of course means that they perform derivative, second-rate, R&B stylings and pop schlock and either will or have already performed on a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

So the intro to the challenge is a little confusing. The designers must take inspiration from the sequel of a made-for-tv live-action feature about the offspring of cartoon villains--Dove plays the daughter of Maleficent, and China is the daughter of Ursula, the delightful part-cephalopod baddie in The Little Mermaid--and also the fabulous gothic revival building in front of them, but they cannot make costumes. To make things harder, each designer must create something that is either "good" or "evil." But not costumes! I suppose they should be thankful that they weren't also treated to a special viewing of Descendents 2 (in which Dove wears a purple wig and China channels Bill Nighy's Davy Jones) to assist them in not making costumes.

As Michael was the winner of the last challenge, he is tasked with assigning the other designers their good or evil theme. Being as both seem equally difficult (no costumes!), it's not an opportunity to sabotage his enemies or assist his friends.

After 30 minutes of sketching, which seems to happen primarily outdoors, the designers pile back onto the bus for the hour-long drive back to the City and Mood, where they have $300 to spend. What with all the tarrying in Tarrytown, not to mention the 2-hour-plus road trip, the designers get (almost) two days to complete their garments.

Watching the designers at Mood this week is interesting, as one can see how fabric choices really affect the final design. Kenya falls in love with a textured burgundy material, but there's less than four yards of it in stock. She buys it anyway. Michael falls for a black and gold lace, which could end up super tacky (I'm not a fan of lace), but he thinks it's evil without being traditionally so. Hairy Twin has armfuls of filmy pastel-colored material, which immediately rings alarm bells, at least in my head. Good alarms, in that she might get herself aufed for making a princess costume.

When the designers get to the workroom, they find that "evil" designers are on one side of the room, and "good" designers are on the other. The Annoying Twins have opposing designations, so they are separated. Which may have been completely intentional. Not separated, however, are Brandon and Kentaro, who have started to call each other "brother." They have gone beyond simple bromance to an actual familial relationship. It is so effing cute. Kentaro is like an innocent elf. He is so full of joy and goodness. Brandon has that calm zen thing going on. They are a perfect couple. Yes, I realize Brandon is straight (not sure about Kentaro), but that doesn't mean that he can't have a spiritual relationship with another man.

Margarita is having a crisis of faith, for no good reason. Perhaps the pressure of so many consecutive challenges is getting to her. She is designing for a full-figured model for the first time, but that shouldn't throw her off her game that much. She goes into a room by herself and calls her parents. And cries. The dreaded "loser" edit. I'm hoping it's a red herring, because Margarita is a pretty strong designer and she'd have to make a real piece of poo to get thrown out this early in the game. But I may be wrong.

The next day, Tim comes in to check on things. He finds Brandon's work to be unexpected because it doesn't have that typical eveningwear look. Hairy Twin is making a fairy princess costume for a four-year-old. She doesn't want that, but with the materials she's purchased, it's hard to come up with anything else. Tim gives her the evil eye and moves on. Michael has let his gold and black lace take over, and the result is rather matronly. Amy is working with a light-colored fabric with a bird pattern on it, but with the pink dress and grey velvet "Erte-style opera cloak," the effect is very Barnum & Bailey.

Ayana's look includes lace and colorblocking in all the myriad shades of baby poop. Kentaro charitably calls the yellow color she is using "curry powder." Pink-Haired John Lennon's outfit is still in the muslin stage, but Tim is finding it gimmicky so the entire concept gets scrapped.

Baldie is working on a dress that is half leather and half not and says, "this is me." So maybe we're not just working with two Annoying Twins of them may have multiple personality disorder. Kentaro is using two very similar shades of pink, which look to Tim as though one of them might be a mistake. Though Margarita is having doubts about herself, Tim seems to like her burnout velvet dress a lot. He does not, however, like Samantha's usual meticulous, layered, intricate work. He calls it a "big craft project," which hurts her feelings. I personally do not like it, although I do appreciate her "aesthetic." It will be interesting to see if she can transform it into something more attractive.

On Day 2, most designers are well on their way to finishing up. Except for Hairy, who needs Baldie's assistance with the top of her dress. She actually needs assistance for the whole thing, which more than halfway through the second day of the challenge still looks like a kindergartner's wet dream. Pink-Haired John Lennon is also having some serious issues and is just starting to cut fabric for his redesign.

The next day, Pink-Haired John Lennon's look is still barely underway, and Hairy has received overnight inspiration for the top of her cotton candy nightmare. Tim comes in and advises the designers to send their models to get made up with "Get A Grip" eye primer and "Give 'Em Gel" eye liner in the "Aren't We Punny" beauty lab and have some hobo on the street do their hair because Lifetime couldn't find anyone to sponsor their salon. He also suggested that the designers "avoid costumeland," while using the JC Penney accessories wall.

Meanwhile, the twins are running back and forth from the workroom to the sewing room, which Kenya just looooves.

They are also throwing some shade. Baldie opines that Kenya's look is "oxblood mariachi band," and Hairy suggests that Brandon's design "literally looks like a napkin tied around his model's body. It's a smock with sleeves and side boob." Sam's "looks like poison ivy. It has a lot of green and a lot of texture...and it looks kinda like a hot mess." It is completely fine that the Annoying Twins say these things because they are such great designers themselves.

In no time, the designers are called to go down to the runway.

The Disney black-and-white cookies are judging this week, no surprise there, along with the usual gang, Heidi, Mean Nina, and Zac. The show starts off with Aaron's toilet paper pinata, at which Zac looks simply horrified. Amy's looks like a Disco Mary Magdalene (tell me it doesn't). Ayana's modest baby poop and yellow dress isn't as horrible as expected, but it's not pretty. The rest of the show is decent enough, with a few exceptions. Pink-Haired John Lennon, Brandon, Michael, Kenya, Hairy, and Samantha are top and bottom, and it's pretty obvious who is in which category.

Heidi starts off by calling Brandon's look a "modern straight jacket" with "peek-a-boob" and a bunch of other comments that seem negative, but she actually loves it. Zac calls him out for making another shirtdress-type garment and suggests that he may be a one-trick pony.

Hairy's dress is "Cinderella on her day off," and a cliché. Nina is bored by it, and we all know that it's very dangerous to bore Nina. Zac feels he doesn't know her as a designer yet. Really? All she's done so far is filmy pastel confections, none of which are particularly interesting or modern. She's been safe all along.

Heidi lists all the multitudinous elements of Kenya's design--ruffles, cuffs, open back, etc.--making them seem negative, as she did for Brandon. But she also loves it. It was "risky" and excellent work.

Samantha says she was inspired by poison flowers and poison fruit, and one can see that in her gown. But she gets dinged on the ugly bottom section, which is flat and boring and looks like an afterthought. It seems too short and a bit dingy. I think the dress would have been better as a mini than as a gown with a flounce.

Michael's lace dress is roundly praised. It's sexy, shows a good amount of cleavage, and the fabric is actually pretty amazing, despite being lace. Michael says he didn't do much cutting, he just let the fabric do all the work. It's impressive, and a nice change from the original matronly look we saw in the workroom.

Dove has to say something nice, so she compliment's Pink-Haired John Lennon's sense of personal style. I guess she has always wanted to be a flight attendant or something, because that's what he looks like today (tell me he doesn't). Otherwise, the judges are seriously hating on it. His model is so pretty, with a great figure, and she usually has a big smile on her face, but she seemed so sad in this. Heidi tells Pink-Haired John Lennon that this is not "Project Kindergarten," which is mean, but deservedly so.

It's no surprise that P-HJL is out this week. Though Hairy and Samantha didn't make anything particularly good, their designs were still much better than this poorly-made streamer-festooned (they are actually supposedly fly-fronts, flies from pants) mess. What was surprising was that Brandon won the challenge. Not that his design wasn't good, but that he had just been called a one-trick pony who only made shirtdresses. And Kenya's pantsuit was so nice, as was Michael's gold lace gown. But I'm ok with it, and I'm sure Brother Kentaro is, too.

Next week: Er...I wasn't paying attention. I could barely stay awake last night. I'm sure Lifetime will run lots of previews in the interim.

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