Project Runway Recap: S12 E10

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So a picture of a man-child in a facial mask ironing his jorts on the brink of a complete emotional breakdown must be worth a few million, right? 

The Challenge: Eight Project Runway “superfans,” who are probably the eight most endearing people to ever appear on this show, show up to the workroom to receive makeovers from the contestants (but mostly from the Loreal hair team, who did all the heavy lifting in this episode). Ken looks like he’s going to vomit when the ladies walk in, and confesses, “I’ve never sewn for real women before.” Really? Because I’ve begrudgingly spent the last ten weeks watching you sew clothes and then put them on human females. But the fact that he and the Lifetime team consider actual clothing consumers as some sort of unfamiliar exotic species says pretty much everything we need to know. (And don’t worry, we’ll get to his temper tantrum meltdown later.) Anyway, the designers are thrilled to have two days to create a new look for their superfan clients. And most of them were supremely psyched to work with people who had such love for the show

Guest Judges: Designer Erin Fetherston, who injected the judging panel with a much-needed dose of youth and coolness, and Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts Rassi, filling in for Nina. I like Zanna, but she’s no Nina Garcia when it comes to judging bitches.

Bottom 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Alexander had a great concept, but bit off more than he could chew and ended up not being able to finish his look. His construction is usually pretty close to perfect, so it was tough to watch these poorly sewn garments come down the runway. His client had a metric ton of attitude in the best possible way, and he really did try to give her what she wanted. But it’s worth noting that even a not-remotely-finished look from Alexander is miles better than some of the other shloch on that runway (Ken, I’m looking at you.)

Bottom 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I don’t know why everyone hated on this look quite so hard, or why everyone considered it “matronly.” The judges have been in the fashion industry way too long if they think that a job interview outfit should show more skin than this. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love this or anything, and I think it was a bit on the dull side, but everyone I know could use a skirt like that. And the back of that jacket is beautiful, though I’m not sold on the front.

Top 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing when the judges over-praised this makeover. This client came in looking 20 years old, and left looking twice that age. The judges called the hair Mia Farrow, but I thought it looked much more like Kate Gosselin. We can blame the Loreal team for all of that, but Bradon is to blame for this really disappointing and equally overpraised dress. I thought this was awkwardly proportioned, boring, and not nearly as flattering as a good little black dress should be. This look slid into my top three by default, but the judges acted as if it had some measure of brilliance to it, and it most decidedly did not.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

That shrug was one of the most hideous, depressing pieces I’ve seen on this show in a long time. And the dress isn’t much better. I feel like I’ve seen designers use almost this exact print before, and equally without success. The construction is okay at best; it’s just not nearly as strong as so many of Dom’s previous looks.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Now this was some fun television to watch. When this little nerdy flower of a woman walked into the workroom with her frumpy clothes and 80s hair, I knew there was a total knockout hidden just below the surface. The hair transformation was truly remarkable – so thanks, Loreal, for helping Helen win this challenge – but to see this lady strut down the runway with such confidence was actually really sweet. And this is the first thing Helen has made this season that I’ve actually loved; she’s won almost half the challenges at this point, but this is the first win that I agree with. It’s a fabulously executed, classic red carpet gown, draped beautifully and fit to perfection.

Top 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The way Justin incorporated his client’s signature into his design was nothing short of brilliant. Sadly, it was literally the only interesting thing about this look. In fact, it’s the only interesting thing he’s done all season. He’s a sweetheart, but I actually can’t believe he’s still in this competition.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Peter Pan on a grown woman? Never going to work. And those cut-outs in the back are absolutely horrific. The judges need to put down their Kate-flavored crack pipes and realize that this girl sends some truly awful crap down the runway.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Now, let’s discuss the most disgusting temper tantrum ever thrown by a so-called adult in television history. Alexander and Bradon are moving in with Justin and Ken, because when half the people in the competition get eliminated, some shuffling of the living arrangements is required. This is obvious and self-evident to everyone on earth except Ken, who for some reason has a huge problem with this change. After what must be a 14-hour day in the workroom, Alexander and Bradon show up with their suitcases in tow, and Ken literally refuses to let them pass through the hallway into the room. He just stands there, in his face mask, ironing his jorts – that’s right, IRONING his JORTS – and refuses to move, blocking their path completely. Because he’s A COMPLETE AND TOTAL CHILD. Alexander did exactly what I would have done after an extraordinarily long and exhausting day, knowing that there was no talking to Ken when he gets like this – he simply knocked Ken’s iron and board out of the way and moved on in anyway. Ken and Tim acted as if this were some horribly inappropriate move, and while knocking over hot irons isn’t a great idea in general, I can’t imagine anyone doing anything differently under the same circumstances. Anyway, Ken starts to completely lose his mind, and we meet Megan the Talent Coordinator, who with utter resignation and exhaustion in her voice, begs Ken to calm down. (It was actually hilarious how monotonous and deadpan her voice was; like she has had to talk Ken down off a cliff every single night since this season started and couldn’t even fake enthusiasm for it anymore. That poor, poor woman.) He screamed – in her face – that he’s not about to change his living situation for nobody.

The next day, Tim tells Ken he saw the tape of what happened, and actually uses the words, “You had a temper tantrum,” which got a round of applause from me. After a let’s-sit-down-and-talk-about-our-feelings-because-this-is-Lifetime meeting, Tim says they’ve decided to put Ken in his own room. Because rewarding children for their out-of-control temper tantrums is always a great idea, right? (Actually, I can’t fault the producers for that move – they knew he wouldn’t be staying in the competition another night anyway, and it was the only way to get him to shut the hell up for a few minutes.)

Two paragraphs I’ve dedicated to Ken’s absurd tantrum, and yet once again, his so-called fashion is barely worthy of commentary. He’s a less-than-mediocre designer with a borderline personality disorder, and I’m glad to see him go. But not as glad as I was when I heard the glee in Tim’s voice as he ordered Ken to the workroom to clean up his space. Never in the history of Project Runway has Tim Gunn sounded so happy to utter those words.

Judges’ Top 3: Helen, Justin, Bradon
Diva’s Top 3: Helen, Justin, Bradon
Judges’ Bottom 3: Alexandria, Alexander, Ken
Diva’s Bottom 3: Alexander, Kate, Ken

© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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4 responses to Project Runway Recap: S12 E10

  1. Yeah, and there was NO HUG with Tim Gunn when Ken left, either. Although I think Tim would have gone with it if Ken had shown any interest, because Tim is professional. I’m going to have to go back and watch PR dvds and see if anyone else left without a Tim hug. I think even Viktorya Hong, season four, winner Christian Siriano, got a Tim hug, although she disdainfully said, “No group hug” when she left, which was literally the only way to leave with dignity when the remainder of the cast eyed her with hostility from their position on the couches and showed no signs of moving.

    Okay, Justin is sweet. His dress was okay and his model looked comfortable in it, and at my age, that’s a big thing. Alexander was completely thrown off his game and in addition to designing something a bit complicated for the time allowed (two days may not be enough with an elaborate design) I think he was coping with ongoing issues with Ken. Ken has tweeted that they had to “talk him into staying four times” which apparently he thinks shows something about his character- and it does, but not in the good way. I think a lot of stuff with Ken has been edited out, as it was with Viktorya Hong.

    Alexandra’s outfit just was not flattering to her model. I agree the back of the jacket is interesting, but I wouldn’t want to go to a job interview in a jacket that makes me more attractive as I leave. Also, isn’t she some kind of art expert? I would expect an art expert to wear something with a bit more taste. That is something Alexandra should have talked over with her. I know they don’t show all the discussion, and can’t, but the designer should be asking, “what kind of an outfit do you want, and where will you go with it? How revealing or coverup do you want? Is there any part of your body you want to camouflage? What colors do you absolutely hate, and what colors make you feel good? Stretch or nonstretch material?” And I think there was some conversation but I’m betting those superfans did what I would do, mostly just feel, “design something, and I’ll be a good sport about it if I hate it.” Because as superfans, they would know that there’s always somebody in the Real Woman challenge who doesn’t like what they’re given to wear.

    Bradon’s was adequate and Dom should have thrown away that shrug. Any shade of beige or tan or brown is NOT going to be flattering for most women. And with that blue and grey toned print, brown was going to be a flat note. Kate’s outfit was just BAD. Ugly and unflattering. Ken’s dress could have been better if he hadn’t used that awful shade of green, and if the contrasting, curved lines had been better placed and been done on the back too. Oh, and if you sew leather to fabric? You have to know what you’re doing or the contrast is jarring and pulls on the fabric. He would have done better to have sewn a base dress, and then just top-stitched (or hot glued, for that matter) his embellishments.

    And once again, the designer with the tallest, slimmest model wins. Although the lace edging on that bodice made it look low-budget, IMO. And the judges loved that. I wasn’t crazy about the hairstyle they gave her, but they were limited because it was cut from the top of her head- but that hairstyle is going to be hard for her to maintain at home. She’s never done anything with her hair, and they want her to learn how to style that? Not. Gonna. Happen. She’ll hate that hair in six weeks, and cuss out those stylists until her hair grows long enough for her to ignore again. Or maybe not.

    • democracydiva – Author

      The lack of Tim Gunn hug says everything, doesn’t it? And I didn’t discuss it in the post, but yeah, it’s definitely not coincidence that anytime there’s clientele on the show, the client whose body type most resembles a model’s wins. I used to think it was just because the designers only know how to construct for their model’s proportions in such a small amount of time, but there’s definitely some producer/judging bias going on there too. I actually liked the lace edging on the bodice – I think it made it a little more cool and funky, less stuffy, which I think made it more wearable for this particular person.

  2. katnap

    I know I’m totally in the minority, but I liked Dom’s dress (agree that the jacket was sad). Here’s why – I thought it fit very well and the print was very thoughfully placed. The turquoise color was on the bodice and near the hem, calling attention to the superfan’s best assets, while the beige predominated on the stomach and butt areas, making the eye skate over them. Too often, clothing designers and manufacturers place the brightest part of a pattern or color block over the stomach, which is what many of us want to de-emphasize.

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