Welcome back to the runway, dear readers.
The Challenge: Menswear! In two so-called teams (that in no way resemble teams, since no cohesion is required and looks are judged individually), the contestants must design a rock-and-roll menswear look to be modeled by a member of The Sheepdogs. (4 band members, 2 “teams” of 4 designers, each “team” with one designer working on each band member’s look.) The winning look will be worn by the designer’s respective band member/model in advertorials in Marie Claire and Rolling Stone, and at a Rolling Stone event, whatever that is.
Guest Judge: The queertastic, deliciously flamboyant Adam Lambert, of American Idol fame.
The wood-like print he chose was beautiful, and did come off looking like mushrooms in an awesome (and totally appropriate) way. However, my good comments end there. He chose a good print, and then let it do all the work. The shirt has a wimpy collar and the silhouette is a little too feminine. The vest is really, really not my favorite, and those pants were in a bargain bin in 1973. The fit of the pants around this Sheep Dog’s ass is absurd. (Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.) And aside from the print, I find nothing stylish or modern about any of this.
ANYA (bottom 3)
It never would have happened because of producer influence, but Anya should have gone home for this. You can only slightly see the tear in the buttcrack seam of his pants, but by the end of the runway chat with the judges, his pants were split the fuck open. It was an embarrassment to sewing. And what bothers me more is that Anya knew from the beginning of the challenge that she was fucked, just as surely as she knew that the judges’
obvious bias in favor of the producer-approved beauty queen genuine interest in her work would pass her on through to the next challenge, no matter how awful her look was. And this was awful – not just the execution, but the design. Adam Lambert hit it on the head when he likened this outfit to an 8th grade production of Hair.
I don’t dislike Anya, but at this point in the competition, you need to know how to sew. And that’s it.
BERT (top 3)
Another embarrassment to fashion. I can’t even believe those pigtail braids happened – and that they were complimented by Nina Garcia, of all people. This shirt is shapeless, the collar is completely limp – it’s positively smocklike. I can’t judge the pants without seeing how they fit in the booty, but I daresay they look alright. However, that does not mitigate the hot disaster happening north of the waist.
JOSH EYEBROWS (top 3)
It’s positively tasteless, some of the trashiest shit I’ve ever seen, but Josh made his garments well and showed a point of view. Sadly, the competition was so worthless that those qualifications alone placed him in the top three. He needs to take out at least eight design elements. And I don’t object to a crotch zipper, but need it look so home-sewn? It looks like a patch with a picture of a zipper on it, for God’s sake. The brown back pockets are just terribly 70s; same goes for the embellishments on the sides of the pant legs. And that hippie wristguard thing is just atrocious. Furthermore, his sleeve is made of fringe. His sleeve. Is made. Of FRINGE.
KIMBERLY (bottom 3)
Kimberly’s look was better than Anya’s only because Kim’s didn’t literally fall apart at the seams on the runway. But holy shit, was this a mess. That Greg Brady bowling shirt was a terrible idea that Kimberly executed poorly. The pants look unremarkable in pictures, but I remember them looking like absolute garbage on television. I feel like Kimberly has some potential, but I’m not sure she’s a mature enough designer yet to really execute her vision.
I love how Laura called this a “blazer” when it is so clearly a woman’s pajama top with an ill-shaped collar stapled to it. And that silk scarf? It only enhances the womanly vibe of this look. The pants are okay, but they don’t fit particularly well. And I think the overall color combination isn’t working.
After Olivier spent half the show complaining about his “plus size” model, you’d think he would actually be listening to himself and thus consider his model’s size when making the garment. Apparently that was too much to ask of the wispy little flower, insulated from the dark, evil world of REAL PEOPLE and BODIES and THINGS THAT AREN’T MANNEQUINS. Anyway, the shape, silhouette and fit of this shirt clearly do not fit this man at all. And I loved Heidi for calling him out on those wimpy rolled-up sleeves, which she knew were hiding unfinished hems on the sleeves. The pants didn’t fit him well either, but at least he didn’t make a lopsided bellbottom like every other damn designer.
I’ll start with the bad: Can no one on this show sew a collar that doesn’t look like it’s crying out for help? Furthermore, this isn’t exactly groundbreaking. It was miles better than the rest of the schloch on that so-called runway, but let’s not obsess TOO much. He made jeans that fit well. He made a slightly wonky shirt in a nice print. And he made a pleather jacket that had a lot of beautiful handiwork, but seemed unfinished. Look at the bottom of the jacket, from the back – it just looks sliced off the roll of fabric, doesn’t it? But he made three mostly well-constructed pieces that worked as a look without being costumey. And sadly, in this era of Project Runway, that’s enough to nab you the win.
Now that there are seven left, I hope we’ve left these sorts of challenges behind. I want to see what these people are capable of when you let go of some of the more artificial constraints. I know it’s hard to constantly promote your many advertisers without a gimmicky challenge that limits the creativity of the designers. But if you want people to stop lamenting the downfall of your show, and if you want to defeat the rumors that there’s been little to no true talent on that show in years, prove us wrong. Stop these bullshit challenges and get them to make fashion.
Judges’ Top 3: Viktor (winner!), Josh, Bert
Diva’s Top 3: Viktor, Josh, Laura
Judges’ Bottom 3: Anya, Kimberly, Olivier (out)
Diva’s Bottom 3: Olivier, Kimberly, Anya
All photos courtesy of Lifetime.
Craving more Runway? Read all the Season 9 recaps here!