Project Runway Recap: S8 E5

Drama, drama, drama! This week’s episode of Project Runway had more yelling, more tears, more bullshit, and more bitchery than ever before! I usually have no patience for such things, but instead of one stupid soundbite after another, people seemed to be genuinely going apeshit. So I loved every minute of it. But, unlike some bloggers, I’m not here to rant about how Gretchen’s a two-faced megalomaniac and her entire team was comprised of spineless jellyfish who gave up all their creativity and individuality to obey her every demand. I mean, it’s entirely true, but I don’t care. I’m here to talk about the clothes. So let’s start the show.

Keep in mind that Team Luxe (AJ, Andy, Christopher, Gretchen, Ivy, Michael C.) had multiple people working on the same look, so while everyone created something, no one except Ivy created every piece for any one look. Team Military & Lace (April, Casanova, Michael D., Mondo, Peach, Valerie) had each team member design their own individual look.

Team Luxe, Look 1 (AJ)

Design: A shiny shirtdress is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Didn’t someone already make a shiny shirtdress this season and get ripped for it? And didn’t someone make those horrible two-tone leggings last week and somehow get away with it? I just can’t support any of this. It’s just ugg.

Execution: AJ, whose design aesthetic is Heatherette meets Betsey Johnson (think cute cocktail dresses that are deconstructed and punk-ified), claimed that he was trying to prove to the judges that he could be tailored. Maybe that’s true, or maybe he got brainwashed by the Gretchen Regime, but either way, he did a terrible job. The way the shirt hangs in the back is awful. And who wants to wear a sad, droopy, wrinkly shirtdress? The point of something like a shirtdress is to be tailored, pressed, clean-cut and crisp. This is a disaster.

Styling: The neckerchief was a mistake. And, let’s just say it: neckerchiefs are ALWAYS  a mistake. That, paired with the barely-there makeup and sensible, boring hair, really does make her look like a flight attendant (a common problem on Team Luxe).

Team Luxe, Look 2 (Andy)

Design: Probably the best of Team Luxe’s collection (not that that’s saying much). Obviously it’s completely lacking in intrigue, sex appeal, modernism, and basically anything that would make any 21st century woman want to wear it, but it’s not as tragic as its sister looks. It’s just so depressing to realize that this was churned out by Andy, who is capable of so much more style and badassery than this look permits. The grandpa sweater is sort of so-ugly-it’s-cute, but it’s just head-to-toe blah.

Execution: Quite perfect, actually. Much better construction than that of his teammates.

Styling: Just as bad as Look 1.

Team Luxe, Look 3 (Christopher)

Design: Sometimes retro is a good thing, but sometimes the model ends up looking like someone right off the streets of 1974 instead of someone whose fashion is inspired by 1974. This, unfortunately, is a case of the former. Who on earth would want to wear those pants? And the proportions of the pants and the top are completely out-of-whack.

Execution: That crotch is funny. And I absolutely hate the back of the blouse.

Styling: Like a way uglier version of the original Charlie’s Angels.

Team Luxe, Look 4 (Michael C)

Design: Michael may have gotten thrown under the bus by his so-called teammates, but this is not nearly as bad as some of the whimpering idiots who claimed they had to babysit him during the process. Obviously it’s as boring as the rest of the collection, but at least it has a modicum of sex appeal and youth. It’s too little, too late, but it’s there.

Execution: Not sure if the hem at the back of the jacket is straight, but it’s decent work.

Styling: There’s just no sense to it. Nothing ties the top to the bottom.

Team Luxe, Look 5 (Ivy)

Design: Ivy was the only Team Luxe member who created the entire head-to-toe look, so she is fully responsible for the bag of garbage that is poisoning your eyeballs. The blouse is hilarious. And photo stills don’t quite do it justice, but when she walks, her boobs look absolutely ridiculous. No woman would want their tits to wiggle and wobble the way this poor model’s did. And the vest coat? Atrocious. Obvious from the beginning that it was going to be a disaster. The shorts are ugly, their proportion with the shirt is completely out of whack, and the leggings are just too much. AJ’s shirtdress was bad for sure, and perhaps he was more deserving of the auf-ing because he spend 100% of his time making one ugly piece, but this look was much worse.

Execution: Everything is shapeless, droopy, and sad. Perhaps that’s her intention? Fashion for the manic depressive?

Styling: I don’t have any new ways to say flight attendant/1970s/grandma, but throw them all in a blender and add a touch of “blind nun” and you’ll hit this look eventually.

Team Luxe, Look 6 (Gretchen)

Design: The shirt is sort of wearable. The back of the jacket is a mess and completely incongruous to the front. And I’m not sure why everything needs a zipper on the back of it, but I’m over that.

Execution: Amazing, considering Gretchen made EVERY SINGLE PIECE from EVERY SINGLE LOOK, right?! Ugh.

Styling: I’m getting nauseous from this.

Team Luxe overall: Awful. The judges were obviously right to put them in the bottom. And their comments were all true – it’s all matrony, the colors are terrible, and there’s a complete loss of individuality. It’s boring as hell, the proportions are completely unflattering, and letting Gretchen crack the whip was a mistake. I’m not surprised Gretchen manipulated the others into making her look go last, but who the hell decided the shirtdress should open their show? That was a rookie mistake.

The judges sent AJ home for his ill-fitting shirtdress, and that wasn’t a bad call. But Ivy keeps sneaking by even though everything she churns out is tasteless, boring, and poorly made. She won’t be around much longer.

But for those who thought Gretchen deserved to come home, or for those who felt the judges would send her home – sorry, kids. She may be a psychotic dictator with no soul, but she’s more talented than some of the chaff still left on the show, and more importantly (from the producers’ perspective), she’s good television. Expect to have her around for at least a few more episodes. Look at it this way – next week we get to see all the fallout as everyone from Team Luxe blames her for their problems! Who wouldn’t want to watch that?

Team Military & Lace, Look 1 (April)

Design: A huge step up from last week’s diaper – and the pants zip at the back, which is sort of a “fuck you” to the judges for hating on her zip-up panty. (I mean, the panty was awful, but I like April’s attitude.) And this vest is totally badass. I love the embellishments of gold metal and black lace – totally urban street-chic. And those funny little zippered embellishments on the bottom of the pants are a little out there, but definitely funky and cool.

Execution: I’m not sure if it’s a super-high pant, or she’s wearing something black under the shirt that tucks into the pants, but the height of the pant is a little strange for me. But that’s my only problem with the construction.

Styling: Finally, someone found a way to make Big-Eared Model look relatively normal! Very cool and flattering hairstyle. Purse and shoes are simple and perfect.

Team Military & Lace, Look 2 (Casanova)

Design: Casanova diva-ed out and lost his mind, but of course ended up winning the challenge with this fabulous look. It’s not my favorite of the collection, but “Most Improved” is worth a win, as far as I’m concerned. And this is a huge step forward from what we’ve seen from Casanova so far this season. That blouse is stunning, and the back in the blouse in particular made me squeal. The cap sleeve with the curve of the blouse is breathtaking. Sexy and youthful, but with a totally classic European vibe. And those pants are pretty damn killer.

Execution: I think the top of the pant is a little weak, which is why it’s covered by the blouse. But Casanova finally proved that he’s not all construction and no taste.

Styling: Digging the punk from the front, classy from the back hairstyle. The military-and-lace thing is really just a specific way of saying hard-meets-soft / gritty-meets-pretty, and this hairstyle falls right in line with that theme.

Team Military & Lace, Look 3 (Michael D)

Design: This absolutely, 100% deserved to win the challenge, but of course the producers wanted an underdog story, so Peach and Casanova had to come out on top. But for this Diva, nothing beat Michael D’s incredibly sexy lace dress. It feels like a combination of April’s look and Casanova’s look, which is exactly what a collection should achieve – cohesion, without boredom. And that back is beyond beautiful – it’s genius. Seriously. I didn’t have much of an opinion on Michael D before, but I’m officially a fan.

Execution: Flawless.

Styling: Great hair, great shoes.

Team Military & Lace, Look 4 (Mondo)

Design: This was androgynous, daring, a little weird, and incredibly stylish – just like Mondo! The vest-jacket thing is brilliant. I’m loving the little military details – the brass buttons, the ropes, the snaps atop the shoulders, they’re all adorable. And like a few of his teammates, Mondo understands the importance of DRAMA when the model turns around and you see how exquisite the back of the garment is. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but this is about as hipster-chic as it gets! And those shorts are so universal, any woman would rock them.

Execution: No complaints here.

Styling: I understand the idea behind the mustard yellow leggings, and if this were not a part of a collection, I’d excuse it. But I think it detracts from the cohesiveness of the collection way too much.

Team Military & Lace, Look 5 (Peach)

Design: One of Peach’s strongest, though this was totally overpraised. Casanova’s garment was a huge improvement over his past work, but it was also incredibly strong of its own accord. This garment is only fabulous in light of Peach’s past work – by itself, it’s nothing special. But someone between the ages of 16 and 50 would actually wear this dress! So that’s a victory. The top is very beautiful, but not quite as beautiful as some of the other lace blouses in the collection. And I can’t quite figure out how they chose that blue for the skirt. It’s very aged-denim looking, which isn’t particularly chic. But I like the military accents on the front, even if the buttons on the back were a mistake.

Execution: Pretty great from the front, considering Peach’s track record, but the back is a bit sloppy. The skirt does a weird pucker over the butt crack, and the lace on the blouse looks frayed in the middle.

Styling: God, I hate the hair and the shoes. But not so much that they actually detract from the look.

Team Military & Lace, Look 6 (Valerie)

Design: This was much better on TV than it is in close up, but I still love it. Again, I hate the blue they chose, and I don’t like the blouse underneath the jacket, and I think the leggings were totally superfluous. But I would KILL for that jacket and skirt. I’ve liked other garments better, but I’ve never wanted to personally own something on the show as much as this fucking awesome little jacket.

Execution: There’s something weird happening with that blue-and-black shirt. The construction there is a bit of a nightmare. But everything else looks nice.

Styling: Those shoes would be great without the leggings.

Team Military & Lace overall: Obviously deserving of the win. These six designers were the underdogs (zero challenge wins between them, while Team Luxe had 4), but they proved that all you need is communication and style to make something fucking great. The collection isn’t entirely cohesive – the first 3 pieces are a separate collection from the last 3, as far as I can see – but each individual look is very strong. And the styling is thoughtful and modern throughout most of the collection. But I’ll happily take a less cohesive collection with a lot of individual creativity and intrigue and style over a completely cohesive collection that’s boring as hell.

Thanks for reading, loves! And don’t forget to tune into the Democracy Diva Liveblog of the Emmys tomorrow night!

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