Friday, September 22, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 6

Greetings Earthlings! Welcome back for week 6! I gotta say, I found the whole beginning of this episode to be unnecessarily complicated and contrived. First we see Tim cavorting with the models at a "Model Brunch" on a roof somewhere. Like that's a thing. I am sure the models who do shows together always socialize and have brunch together, right? I know I loooove to spend time with people from work when I'm not stuck at the office, don't you?

Meanwhile, the designers are dutifully gathered at the runway, awaiting their next challenge. Heidi prances out in something that looks like a nightie from the former Mrs. Seal Samuel's Intimates Collection and announces that Tim is out eating avocado toast and a├žai bowls with the models. To prove it, she shows off a bunch of selfies allegedly sent to her just now by Tim, who is having the time of his life with his tribe of Amazons.

Heidi sends a few selfies to Tim in return.

When all of that foolishness is over, more foolishness begins: Heidi sends the designers packing to join Tim and the models, wherever the hell they are. By the time the designers get there, I guarantee there will be nothing left of brunch except for a couple spoonfuls of chia seed pudding and a half-eaten dish of shakshouka with a bit of congealing egg yolk in it. They may look skinny (some of them, anyway), but I've been around models at a buffet and those girls can eat.

Eventually, we get to the challenge: the models will become the designers' clients. The task is to develop a street style look that they can wear on their day off, one that they wouldn't be embarrassed to post on social media (using the hashtag #modelsoffduty). Models are all pretty young, so I imagine on their days off they normally wear things like Minions pajamas, sweatpants with some pithy phrase emblazoned on the ass, and "vintage" (read: holey) band t-shirts that they swiped from their older brothers. The stuff that college kids wear to the supermarket. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a model's "street wear" is far more fashionable and doesn't have last week's pizza stains on it.

First, the models choose their designers. It's a very back-in-school moment. The popular girls (the models) are selecting other popular kids (Kenya, Brandon) or their favorite pet nerds (Kentaro, Samantha), and shunning the zitfaced kids who eat their own boogers. Hairy, Baldie, and Ayana are the last three standing, which is not so surprising. Of the three, Baldie gets picked first, possibly because between the Annoying Twins, she seems to have the better ideas. None of the models wants to be stuck in long sleeves and a head scarf on their day off, yet Ayana gets chosen before Hairy. Poor Sian--who was stuck with Hairy last week--suffers the fate of the button bag and gets stuck with her again.

The pairings go like this:

Kentaro + Meisha
Batani +  Monique
Amy + Marsha
Michael + Liris
Brandon + Colleen
Samantha + Jazzmine
Margarita + Christina
Kenya + Sanita
Baldie + Janine
Lena + Ayana
Hairy + Sian

Once paired up, the designers and the models go off to take selfies in the streets of New York, talk about their impending garments, and do some sketching.

Baldie and Janine are coincidentally both wearing navy and black, and they both seem to like what each other is wearing. Baldie has the bright idea to basically do a mash--up of their two looks. A mash-up of their blouses, actually--she plans on making the exact pants Janine is currently wearing. Meanwhile, the other Annoying Twin feels that street wear is indeed in her wheelhouse and is excited to get to work on a giant sweatshirt. Yawn. Kentaro is very happy to be working with Meisha again, a fluent Japanese speaker with whom he bonded during the last challenge. His idea for her is to make her look homeless...but in a neat, clean, and stylish way. Margarita's client/model, Christine, is "peeing her pants" to be able to work with her. Perhaps Margarita should keep in mind that her garment will need to be roomy enough to cover a pair of Depends.

The designers are then off to Mood with $200 burning holes in their pockets, followed by the workroom where they will cut and sew until 1am.

Tim's post-Mood visit to the designers includes the models and a fitting. Hairy talks about wanting to be at the top of her game this week, but it almost seems like her own sister is sabotaging her. Every few minutes Baldie is calling for her help: should she cut the fabric this way? should she sew it that way? does this look good? can they consult on this other element? It seems that between the two of them, there is one competent designer. Baldie seems to have the best design sensibility, but Hairy seems to have all of the technical skills. I am beginning to think they were born conjoined at the head and one of them got more brains than the other during separation surgery.

After a rough challenge last week, Kenya is feeling good about herself and her design. Leave it to Tim to burst her bubble. She's chosen a dark green fabric that he is concerned might make Sanita look like a "long green bean." And is she making fashion, or just clothing? Sanita herself is not quite sure that Kenya heard her thoughts and desires when they were discussing design ideas.

Brandon, who has immunity after winning last week, calls his girlfriend Dina Marie to share "I love yous" and that sort of thing. We know he's not getting a loser edit, and he doesn't seem to be having issues or losing faith in his ability, so I'm not sure why we get this segment. Perhaps to affirm that he is a taken man? Earlier in the episode, in a confidential, he's asked whether he was crushing on any of the models. He wisely pleads the fifth, mentioning the GF. We had heard from two different models in two previous episodes that they all seem to have the hots for him. Were the producers trying to cause trouble? Does anyone know if he and Dina Marie are still together?

There are some amusing moments in this episode, mostly not involving the Annoying Twins, particularly one where Margarita and Michael start critiquing their own looks. He realizes his resembles "cheap Pocahontas cosplay," which at that moment it does indeed. Margarita is having fit issues with her pants (possibly because she remembered to allow room for an adult diaper). The two of them pretend to be Zac Posen; one delivers the spot-on line, "I didn't even bother to score it. I just wrote down, 'trash.'"

Ayana is concerned that her model wants to show as much skin as possible, which of course isn't her thang as a modest designer. So she makes a long peach-hued satin coat that would make a fine bathrobe. One of the AT's criticizes it as such, but as I agree with her, I can't be critical about her constant criticisms. Not this time, anyway.

Speaking of criticism, let us now pause for a commercial break introducing the new Project Runway line at JC Penney.

Argh. That is some hideous stuff right there (although there are a few passable looks). The shiny "track pants" on the left have a matching off-the-shoulder bomber jacket in the same lovely shade of puce. I can see a 80-year-old rocking it quite nicely. The metallic skirt on the right just looks cheap. And the crushed velvet dress. Ugh. The fabric looks to have come from re-purposed season 16 button bags.

The dress's lace-up front takes me back to when one of my younger cousins was hit by a car. Apparently the impact caused his guts to fall out; the doctors put them back and closed him up with enormous stitches. When I visited him in the hospital, I was shocked to see what appeared to be thick rubber shoelaces holding his abdomen together. If you don't believe me, do a google image search for "large abdominal stitches." Warning: you'll get some pretty graphic results, so if you're in any way delicate, just take my word for it.

I need a palate cleanser now. How about photographs of a cute dog?

So where was I? Oh yes, Day Two, and the designers are scrambling to get things completed. Baldie still needs to complete important elements, like a waistband and a zipper. She doesn't like doing those things, so Hairy charitably does them for her while ignoring her own work. Baldie is clearly the bitchier of the two, so perhaps Hairy fears her wrath if she doesn't help? I don't understand why she is so willing to work on her sister's design without insisting on quid pro quo.

Tim comes in and tells the designers they have two hours to send their client-models to their local Avon representative for makeup and to the JC Penney Salon in Flushing for hair.

I have to wonder how many stylists they have in the hair salon. I would imagine it took quite a bit of time to flat iron Christina's hair from it's natural ultra-curly state to the pin-straight 'do she wore on the runway this week.

Tim also admonishes everyone to use that damn accessory wall "thoughtfully AND carefully." Afterwards, the models need 15 minutes to be prepped for a photo shoot before going down to the runway. So runway prep isn't enough? I certainty don't take 15 minutes to prep before I take a selfie. Hell, it takes me only 20 minutes to shower, do my hair, and put on makeup and clothes in the morning before work. I can't imagine these attractive young women need more than 20 seconds to look good.

This week's guest judges are Marchesa designer and Project Runway producer Harvey Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, and some young singer named Kelsea Ballerini who I'm not even going to bother to look up because I just don't care.

The runway show isn't horrible, but it's not the best we've seen this season. Margarita, the Annoying Twins, Kenya, Kentaro, and Samantha are pulled out of the lineup as the top and bottom
.
The judges start with Hairy, and they ding her for using almost all black, apart for a bit of blue, telling her she needed a pop of color. The outfit was "crisply made" but wasn't a fashion statement. Heidi didn't like that the shorts were so short and showed so much butt cheek (which must have been visible from her vantage point, because I didn't notice any cheekage), yet she clearly has no such compunctions about showing her own underboob. Nina noted that Hairy's model looked pregnant, and nobody wants to look pregnant if they're not (and maybe even if they are).

Baldie, on the other hand, was praised for her design with adjectives like "classy," "chic," "expensive," "sexy," and "elevated." Zac thinks it's a great day-to-evening look for models rushing around between shows who want to go out afterward. It is an attractive look, but as it was basically what the model was wearing at the "model brunch," with the midriff and sleeves chopped off, it's also something we've seen before. And we'll see it again....

I was holding my breath waiting for what I knew would be harsh criticism of Kenya's look. "Debbie Harry meets Peter Pan meets 101 Dalmatians," was the first thing out of Zac's mouth. Astonishingly, he meant it in a good way. All the judges liked her outfit, which seemed dated to me. Like early 90s officewear, once women were allowed to lose the pussy bow and wear pants to work. The green color that Tim thought was a detriment was actually an asset in the judges' minds. They said the model had "legs for days," and a certain "je ne sais quois." Ok then.

They also liked Kentaro's design, a funky kimono-shorts thing over denim leg warmers that appeared to be leggings, and a cream-colored top that seemed to be made of a rather thick fabric (and which reminded Kentaro of mayonnaise). His look was "dangerous," "masculine," "crisp," "easy," and had a "Samurai edge."

Samantha's model shared her girly grunge aesthetic, so Sam made pretty much the same style of dress she herself has been wearing every week: full skirt with petticoat, fitted bodice, high-ish neckline. Samantha was a pioneer in the "Lolita" fashion movement, one of the many strange things that comes out of Japan but doesn't exactly make it to the mainstream. The judges felt her look was "verging on costume." They liked it better without the added vest, and Nina preferred the version that Samantha herself was wearing, which was in a gold fabric and somewhat more interesting. Still, it was the same dress.

Margarita received the final critique. The judges noticed the fit issue with the pants and felt the look was dated and not modern, cheesy, and too "Miami."

When the models came back out for the judges' closer look, Tim tells them that Hairy sacrificed some of her time to help Baldie, which is why her own look was kinda crappy. The judges said that was on Hairy, which of course it was. There are no rules against designers helping each other--we see it all the time. Kenya even asked for some help in the workroom this week. But when they are in competition with each other, designers shouldn't help so much that their own work suffers.

Unfortunately, this is not a lesson that Hairy learns this week. She's safe. Samantha is the one who is out. A shame--I like her. I would probably even wear some of the things she creates, but modified to remove the petticoats and lengthen the skirts. A-line skirts have always been most flattering on my frame, and I do find the vintage silhouette attractive. It does verge on costume (or cosplay) so it needs to be worn judiciously (like the JC Penney accessories). But there is room for a look like that here and there.

Kentaro is given the win this week for his rather groovy Samurai Mayonnaise with Denim Legwarmers. Well-deserved.

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