Project Runway: now with even more temper tantrums and producer-contrived drama!
Previously: Makeovers were attempted. They were not successful.
The Challenge: The designers are shipped off to the Brooklyn Navy yard and paired up in teams of two. There are five storage units, and the teams have two days to make two cohesive looks made from materials found in the storage units. For some reason, we have to watch them bid on the storage units, which all contain different random-ass materials. But they don’t even get to keep everything in there – they have to physically take out of the units whatever they want to bring back to the workroom. Wait, then what was the point of using storage units to begin with? And what sorry, underpaid PA has to pack all this shit back up to take it back to the workroom? Oh, and then halfway through the challenge, they find out they have to make a third look, mostly out of Mood fabrics. Because there was almost a chance they would have had enough time to actually make something decent, so the producers felt the need to crap all over that.
Guest Judge: The wonderful Christian Siriano. Remember, from back when this show was good? I love that they introduced him as “designer Christian Siriano” instead of “Project Runway winner Christian Siriano.” A+ for Christian, for not letting them remind the world that he used to be on this show. It took him forever to be taken seriously by the fashion world because he was tainted by reality TV, and I’m thrilled that he’s finally getting the success he deserves. (See, dear readers? Sometimes I like the guest judges! They just need to stop asking non-designer reality stars and C-list actresses to judge.)
Team Amanda & Kini
Christian rightfully pointed out that whatever you might think of this outfit, this is what young starlets want to wear. This could have been plucked right out of the closet of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, or Emma Roberts. (Or at least out of their stylists’ closets.) Kini and Amanda made a strong team, and their work was far better than what the other teams managed to tack together. It wasn’t flawless, but they deserved their top spot.
I agree with Nina that this jacket would have looked infinitely better on Amanda’s look. But the soccer ball dress was a brilliant idea. This was the only team who really utilized the unconventional materials the way the judges wanted them to – by making them wearable, without making them look like fabric. No lampshade skirts that are impossible to walk in, and no upholstery fabrics that look like upholstery fabrics. Kini won for really paying attention to the transformation from unconventional materials to fashion, and I can’t argue with that.
AMANDA and KINI
I thought Amanda was fucking nuts when she wanted to use that yeti painting in their design, but you know what? She REALLY made it look like fashion. This was incredible. Weird yet tasteful, unconventional but wearable. This was some of the best work we’ve seen so far this season. (Not that that’s saying much, but at least it’s something.)
Team Sean & Char
The coat is fine. It’s not the greatest thing in the world, and I hate that you can see her hands poking through. Are those sheer pockets? Why? And Sean and Char should have known better than to use a done-to-death trend like sheer panelling and expect Nina’s head not to explode. Don’t get me wrong – Nina had her claws out and her fangs sharpened during this judging panel. She was ROUGH on these designers. But she wasn’t wrong to call Sean and Char out on their lack of innovation.
I don’t hate this, but there’s not a whole lot of design going on. It’s not as distractingly ugly as Korina and Emily’s collection, but it’s safe, basic department store clothes, and I just can’t get excited about that. (And don’t worry, I’ll get to the Korina vs. Char showdown at the end of the post.)
SEAN and CHAR
You don’t get points for using unconventional materials in a way that makes it impossible for your model to move. The pop of blue in back (which was Char’s idea) really saved this look, because everything else about it was either played-out or restricted the model’s movement to one-inch shuffle-steps.
Team Emily & Korina
I thought this was terrible. I don’t know why this team chose to pair eight million different textiles together, but the result is ugly and overworked. I also don’t give a damn about their bullshit story that this woman is like, living in a very fashionable tundra, or whatever post hoc justification they invented to explain all these hideous layers. This was marginally better than Korina’s, but only because it lacked the hat and cape.
Korina should have been eliminated for her attitude problem alone. There are a few hard-and-fast rules that apply to every single reality competition. The first one is, DON’T PISS OFF THE JUDGES. Don’t talk back. Don’t interrupt them. Don’t refuse to accept their constructive criticisms. These people aren’t reality TV judges because they’re actually the best in their fields – they’re judges because they want to constantly be told that they’re actually the best in their fields. Feed into their massive egos, or don’t bother auditioning. This is reality television, and you can either play the game or go the fuck home.
Yes, the judges were bitchy and borderline racist to call Korina out for going back to the southwestern well too many times. Um, do they even remember the season that they crowned Gretchen the winner? But Korina was an idiot to call them out on that insanity. If you want to make it to the finals, your job is to nod and smile, no matter what horseshit the judges throw at you.
Attitude issues aside, this cape is the ugliest effing thing I’ve ever seen. Korina’s biggest problem has always been that she chooses truly terrible fabrics. They’re always hideous, too difficult to work with in a short amount of time, or both. That problem was more of an issue here than ever before, and I’m not sorry to see her designs or her personality go.
EMILY and KORINA
Whatever, judges – I love this sweater. I thought this was the only look of their mini-collection that had even a chance of being worn by an actual human being. Don’t get me wrong – there’s not much design involved in a draped sweater and a pair of leggings, but at least I understood what Korina and Emily were trying to do here and who they were trying to design for. The same cannot be said for their prior two looks.
Char vs. Korina Showdown
The bottom two designers were pitted against each other and forced to make a look – any look – in a single hour. This was clearly strategically planned to make Korina’s overly-inflated head explode, and it worked. Char’s dress wasn’t innovative or particularly modern. But Char knew she had only an hour, and planned accordingly. She didn’t bite off more than she could chew, and she knew that what would matter here was not construction or even design, but color and general vibe. She picked a fantastic color, and made (with some serious help from Sean, without whom she probably couldn’t have achieved much) a dress with attitude. Korina picked shitty fabrics (like always), and channeled all of her anger into an uninspired dress.
Listen, I understand where Korina is coming from. The Tim Gunn save has been used only to protect darling personalities instead of strong designers, and that extra ten minutes just for Char last week was a big bag of bullshit. But the fact that this is a highly manipulative, increasingly contrived reality TV show is NOT CHAR’S FAULT. Korina spent the entire episode shit-talking the only contestant whom I’ve liked since day one, because Char refused to stoop to the level of constant bitchy sound-bites required by this show. Korina was definitely not going to win any points for that, nor for basically telling the judges that she doesn’t give a fuck what they think because she knows she’s better than Char.
To Char’s credit, she kept a professional demeanor and a smile on her face during the world’s most uncomfortable judging session. She let Korina roll her eyes, laugh, interrupt Heidi, and throw a temper tantrum. And when Char burst into tears the moment she got back to the designers’ lounge and just started scream-sobbing, “That was horrible,” that was the most raw and real moment this show has had in years. I got a little teary at that, and I stopped having emotions about any of these people sometime around Season 7. When Korina came back in and basically yelled at Char for already having gotten eliminated, Char still didn’t stoop to her level and wouldn’t allow herself to be blamed for Korina’s own mistakes. Of course, as soon as Tim came back into the room, Korina was all, “this is not about you, Char, please stop,” to make it sound like Char was the one being unreasonable, when actually Korina was just being a sociopath.
All of this was already more drama than I could stomach, but when the scenes from next week showed them bringing back eliminated designers are sewing assistants, AND Korina getting paired with Char, AND Korina (after agreeing to do this) yelling about how this is wrong and storming off the set… Let’s just say I have never been less excited for an episode of television, ever. Expect my next recap to have an ungodly amount of capslock and swearing.
Judges’ Top 2: Kini and Amanda
Diva’s Top 2: Kini and Amanda
Judges’ Bottom 2: Char and Korina
Diva’s Bottom 2: Emily and Korina
Next time: Contrived, producer-manipulated bullshit will make all of our heads explode in S13 E12 – Fashion Week: Who’s In and Who’s Out.