Friday, October 6, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 8

I know you've all been on tenterhooks since last week, awaiting this recap with bated breath, and assorted other old-fashioned phrases expressing a sensation of anticipation. Or not. Perhaps you have forgotten that the fate of the Annoying Twins was completely in their own hands. They ended up in the bottom three, but as the judges could not tell which of them was responsible for the more egregious bits of their garments, they would be forced to battle each other in a fierce hour-long hairy-head-to-bald-head contest, with the winner saying a fond farewell to her loser sister. Rather than subject viewers to an extended episode last week, the conflict was to take place at the start of this week's episode. So when we join the show, we see Heidi--still seated with the other judges--banishing Hairy and Baldie to the workroom where they are to use the fabric there to create a look, one of which needed to be at least passable. And no helping each other!

Hairy tells us this is a "tiresome" situation, but she sets immediately to work, grabbing some blue fabric and scissors and draping a dress. Baldie just cries, her hot pink mouth opening and closing like that of a cartoon fish, tears streaming down her cheeks but not budging her industrial-strength mascara. She demands to see Tim, who steps into the workroom. Baldie concedes the competition to her sister, who is still working furiously, demonstrating that she deserves to remain.

There is still quite a bit of time left in their hour, but the Annoying Twins and Tim go out to the runway to find the judges and give them the news.

Tim seems somewhat choked up, guest judge Asia Kate sheds some actual tears, and Zac looks affected at the news that Baldie has volunteered to leave. Heidi simply says, "huzzah!" and Nina nods. It is done.

Meanwhile, the other designers are still sitting on those damn couches in the green room, wondering what the hell is going on and why it's taking even longer this week to make a decision.

The next day, the designers all troop into the workroom and take their places near dress forms that seem somewhat smaller than usual. Tim enters with Teresa Bossong, Brand Building Leader for Dixie, the company behind all of those annoying commercials for sturdy, environmentally unsound, coffee cups. They are there to present this week's overly-complicated challenge of many elements. The first element is important: the designers will be creating looks for "women on the go," which I assume means no housecoats and jammies. The second element of the challenge is relatively unimportant: these women are friends and relatives of Project Runway crew members (photographers, directors, producers, etc.). Third, this will also be a custom print challenge. Fourth, the winning design will be printed on a Dixie To Go cup, and the designer will get a $25,000 award. That last thing is the most important point of all, wouldn't you agree?

The designers are pre-matched with their client models, all of whom want a look for a different occasion, like a wedding or day-to-night or just to wear to feel beautiful. They get to brainstorm design ideas for 30 minutes, get 20 minutes to finalize their custom print, and finally take a trip to Mood for $150 of supplemental fabrics. That seems like a pretty big budget, doesn't it? This is a coveted two-day challenge, so there's plenty of time to get things right. Or, not, as the case may be. There are always issues.

Though this is a custom print challenge, Last Twin Standing's client model hates prints. This means Hairy has to think a bit to satisfy both the challenge and her client. Can she do this without consulting with her sister every 45 seconds? She has decided to use the print on one pant leg, making the other black. As for the top, she starts draping a blouse that to Margarita looks exactly like the top of her winning shirt dress from last week. It has an asymmetrical slash across the bodice, a high collarless neckline, and ruching on the sides. Margarita starts telling everyone who will listen and some who will not that Hairy is stealing her design.

When the fabrics come in the next morning, there are mixed emotions all around. Kentaro likes his bold hot pink and red stripe, but the material is stiff. He decides to use it to make a jacket for his client, who wants a look to wear to an Indian wedding. Michael is happy with his fabric, which is mostly white and decorated with a small motif of orange triangles and other shapes. Margarita, who has already gotten herself in a tizzy over Hairy's design, hates her own fabric. Hates that it looks tribal, that the colors are weird. She grabs a bottle of turquoise dye and re-colors her hot pink fabric to a more florid hot pink and aqua job that looks like the exterior of a Miami nightclub. Still, she seems happier with it.

Actually, the fabric looks almost exactly like the print on the cushions of a piece of rattan furniture my parents had in the 80s. I wish I had a photo of it to share with you, but you'll have to trust me on that.

When Tim comes in for his critique, he advises Kentaro that his look is too simple and not inventive enough. Batani's client, who is a breast cancer survivor, wants something colorful. Tim thinks the light denim dress Batani has made appears to be a "gray shroud," which is probably the most opposite of colorful that one can get. Luckily, there's some purple fabric, too, which is an improvement. Kenya's textile is a soft pink fabric with a pattern of stylized fireflies. Her customer is a 60-year-old first-time grandmother who doesn't feel like and certainly doesn't want to look like a granny. Kenya has created separates with peplums on both the top and skirt, but Tim doesn't think the upper one is such a great idea, and that it doesn't seem integrated.

After considering Hairy's design for a few moments, Tim tells her he's seen it before. We see Margarita in the background, waiting for a moment when she can jump forward and shout, "a-HA!" Tim continues that he's seen the look from Hairy before. Margarita is absolutely fuming.

Some time later, when Hairy is asking her for advice, Margarita ignores her before reluctantly giving a few thoughts on sleeves. It's completely childish behavior on Margarita's part.

At no time during the two days does Margarita suggest that Hairy is working on something that seems derivative of the winning look from last week. Meanwhile, Hairy has decided to change things on her own, moving the keyhole from a diagonal position to one at the center of the shirt, and adding similar slashes near the sleeves. At this point, especially in the solid black fabric she has chosen for the garment, it really doesn't look like Margarita's at all.

While Margarita is fuming, she keeps repinning and recutting her own fabric incorrectly. She ruins all of the gray she had planned on using for her dress and has to resort to using a not-quite-matching hot pink. She's embarrassed that she's created such a "Barney" looking outfit. I'd be more embarrassed about stewing over something that's not really my business rather than concentrating on winning $25,000.

Still, she fumes, and talks behind Hairy's back in Spanish with her buddy Michael. Now it seems that she thinks Hairy has a pair of pants hidden somewhere that she's using as the pattern for the ones she's creating. Which sure sounds like cheating to me. But if that is the case, why doesn't Margarita say something to anyone involved with the production?

The next morning, Tim comes in to tell the designers to send their models to the Kindergartners with Fingerpaints Beauty Lounge and the Oh Fuck It! Hair Studio and to use the JC Penney accessories wall "carefully."

This week's guest judges are Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Yolanda Hadid, mom to models Gigi and Bella, and Sophia Stallone, 21-year-old model daughter of Sylvester Stallone. Heidi comes out onto the runway and asks the assembled designers how the work went. Margarita suggests she had a bad time this week, and Heidi says it's a good thing she had immunity and can't be eliminated no matter how shitty her garment looks. And oh by the way, it's the last immunity, so she should really thank her lucky stars.

Hairy, Batani, Kentaro, Kenya, Michael, and Margarita are pulled out of the lineup as the top and bottom looks. Once the critique starts, however, it's hard to tell who's on top or bottom, as everyone gets criticized.

Batani's the print queen, but where is her print? It came out with a much larger spacing than she had intended, so she cut her tie-dye motifs out of the original fabric and combined them into strips on her garment, which, to the judges, seemed like an afterthought. Heidi thought the outfit looked like something one would wear to Coachella, hippy-dippy. My guess is that Batani's definitely on the bottom.

Zac was disappointed in Michael's outfit. The design, which was made to look like a Native American blanket, was ambitious, but he clearly didn't take his client's proportions into consideration. She was rather short and round, and those pants would work better on someone much taller. Not that pants made to look like a heavy wool blanket could possibly look flattering on any human. (Bottom.)

Kenya's top peplum was unflattering, yet the judges thought the top was otherwise beautiful, elegant, and classy, with exceptional detailing. The skirt was too tight, and the flounce at the bottom was a bit much. Still, can't decide if this look is on the top or on the bottom.

Kentaro's look was called "sublime." Zac was simply blown away. Heidi, on the other hand, thought the model appeared to be drowning in fabric. Nina disagreed, calling it 360° elegance. Kentaro said he was feeling like a new designer, after giving up his extensive use of black. Nina felt proud that she's seen Kentaro growing right there in front of her. They just love Kentaro, so I'm guessing this look was definitely on the top.

Heidi thinks Hairy's look is perfect, both chic and modern. The use of her giant black and white print is effective in the pants. Nina isn't blown away, and Zac thinks she's more creative than that. Yet, if Heidi likes it, it's on the top. Maybe.

Finally, the judges tell Margarita that her dress and jacket aren't quite working together. Zac likes the print though. Margarita tells them she was distracted in the workroom, but when pressed for information by Heidi, she says she doesn't want to talk about it or throw anyone under the bus. At this point, I'm pretty sure Heidi knows exactly what was going on in the workroom. I think that after Margarita indicated before the runway show that she had issues during the challenge, Heidi sent out some feelers to the crew to find out what had gone down. (Bottom?)

Why else would they give Hairy the win? Even after the judges took a closer look at the winning and losing looks, only Heidi was enthusiastic about Hairy's shirt and pants. It really seemed that Kentaro was going to be the winner, or maybe even Kenya, since her client seemed so very happy, despite the unflattering boobskirt.

Once Hairy is declared the winner, all eyes are on Margarita, though she doesn't get a chance to react. Michael steals her thunder by storming off the runway. He tells someone backstage that he's there to play fair, but this win lacked fairness. Tim heads backstage to see what's going on.

And the episode ends, just like that. We don't see who is eliminated this week, if anyone. If Michael leaves the premises, than he'll be the designer that is out. We can speculate that in next week's show he reveals something about Hairy cheating. Think back to all of the Dixie To Go commercials we've seen over the past 7 weeks. Doesn't the black and white cup used in every one of them look just like Hairy's design? Why would they want another very similar design? Will they take the win away from her?

Stay tuned....

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