Project Runway Recap: S8 E12

This episode proved definitively that the heyday of Project Runway is behind us. Everything about this week’s episode, from the overly dramatic, scripted soundbites to the illogical and unreasonable judging, reeked of producer influence and behind-the-scenes pressure. Either that, or the judges are hitting their crackpipes harder than Amy Winehouse. But regardless, this was an episode full of disappointments. Let’s start the sad, sad show.

ANDY (Inspiration: Central Park)

Compared to the garbage on the runway, this wasn’t a bad entry from Andy. But it wasn’t what I consider worthy of the penultimate challenge. Andy has done this dominatrix, mixed-black fabric and a single black glove thing repeatedly through out the season but somehow he gets applauded for his strong point of view and interesting use of black-on-black, while April is lauded as a one-note. Really, judges? Why is Andy allowed to recycle his ideas, but not April?

Furthermore, what the hell about this dress evokes Central Park, exactly? I’m not sure how he got to this dress from that inspiration. If I were in the judge’s circle, Andy would have snagged the #3 spot based on his entire body of work this season, and maybe #2 based on this challenge alone. But that’s just proof of the lackluster designs in this episode and this season overall. I think Andy is a decent designer, but not a great one, so he scores a spot in the finals from me only by relative talent.

Oh, and kudos to Michael Kors for his totally spot-on Robert Palmer music video reference!

APRIL (Inspiration: Brooklyn Bridge) – Eliminated

Did this look like some of April’s other work? Yes. But aside from the use of black and a general dark princess vibe, the only look of April’s that this garment really looked like was her resort look for episode 7. The rest of her designs could probably be in the same collection as this, but they don’t actually look significantly similar to this. Even her resort wear is only similar in the use of cutouts, not in the silhouette. I don’t think this is the most wearable or flattering gown, but I respect April for doing her own dark version of a ball gown, and I think she had some beautiful ideas. She’s been my second favorite designer throughout much of the season, and I think she’s an incredibly talented woman. You can see her creativity and unique vision shine through this garment, and that’s much more than I can say for some of the finalists. For this challenge, she’d have taken my #3 spot – and I would have only let three on to Fashion Week, because I’m a bitch like that.

GRETCHEN (Inspiration: Lower East Side)

It was a pleasant surprise to hear the judges finally critique Gretchen instead of blindly praising her, but of course she still made it to the finals in spite of this bullshit outfit. This looks better in photographs than it did on television, but as one of the judges put it, this garment reeks of off-the-rack. It’s just inappropriate for what is allegedly a design competition (though I’d argue that it stopped being one when the show left Bravo for Lifetime) – it’s boring, cheap-looking separates that lack cohesion and vision. To put it simply, it’s clothes, not fashion.

I’ve never hid my hatred for Gretchen and her hippie-disco-granola aesthetic, but this was laughably bad, even for her. And most glaringly, this has literally nothing to do with the Lower East Side. This is further from the LES than Andy was from Central Park. Gretchen ranks #4 out of 5 on my list – no Fashion Week for you in Diva Headquarters, Gretchen.

MICHAEL C (Inspiration: The Statue of Liberty)

I prayed that this would look better in photographs than it did on television. I prayed that it was a mistake, or a prank, or I went temporarily blind while this look went down the runway. But my prayers have gone unanswered, because this is still the textbook definition of a hot disaster.

Let’s begin with the slit. If I can see the curvature of your ass, your slit is too high. I’m sure you could see this model’s fire-crotch from a certain angle. And the back? My friends and I literally gasped with horror when she turned around. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a model’s back look that ugly before. I didn’t even KNOW a dress could make your back look fat until I saw this look. But leave it to Michael to know absolutely nothing about what’s tasteful or what looks good on a woman. Furthermore, you’re doing a high slit, backless, and borderline ass cleavage? How is this a brilliant design when far more modest looks have been deemed “slutty, slutty, slutty” by Princess Kors? And can I add that there is nothing more cliche than a) taking your inspiration from the one New York landmark that IS ALREADY WEARING A DRESS and b) designing a solid-color, plain draped dress “inspired by” (re: copied from) Lady Liberty’s toga. Seriously, this was the best idea in your bag, Michael? Are you kidding?

Is the draping aesthetically pleasing? Sure. But is this dress in any way complex, creative, original, thought-provoking, daring, or high fashion? Not even close. And if this show is going to reward barely skilled copycats over designers with talent, vision and originality, then my days of recapping, and my years of devotion to Project Runway, may be over.

MONDO (Inspiration: Brooklyn Bridge)

Another adorable and chic entry from Mondo, who would have taken my #1 spot. But honestly? This disappointed me a little. If anybody stayed in their comfort zone and stuck to their own aesthetic on this challenge, it was Mondo. He just can’t get in trouble for it because what he does really always does feel fresh and new and exciting. But this resembles more of Mondo’s past work than April’s dress resembled her past work. No doubt that this dress is totally fierce, but I wanted Mondo to surprise me and show us something he’s never done before. I wanted him to show the judges that he wasn’t resting on his laurels and his three consecutive wins and generally favored status to get him through this challenge – I wanted him to pull out all the stops, and he didn’t. But the boy knows how to mix prints and how to style, and he’s got his finger on the pulse of what’s modern and stylish. And for that, he deserves to show at Fashion Week.

So now it’s your turn to decide who’s in and who’s out!

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

Project Runway Recap: S8 E11

Alright, let’s just say it: This episode SUCKED. Remember last week, when the judges finally bitched out the contestants for making clothes instead of fashion? Well, in their omnipotent brilliance, the producers decided to water the design competition down to activewear, which is about as far from last week’s “THIS IS A DESIGN COMPETITION!” as you can get. I don’t know what was sadder – the fact that having your sweatpants sold on amazon.com was supposed to be a reward, or the fact that Heidi Klum has an activewear line on amazon.com. But you know what was sad? Everything in Heidi’s collection, and everything the contestants designed. Because, guess what? No one gives a shit about activewear. Or Heidi as a designer. Or the eliminated designers who returned to make drama, and I guess some clothes.

Yes, Ivy took this challenge as an opportunity to accuse Michael of cheating – in the workroom, of all places, and in front of other people – and then went to each other individual designer to gossip about it. I wouldn’t put cheating past Michael C, but I think if the designers had really caught him cheating, they would have called him out when it happened just to get him thrown off the show. Why wait until weeks later when no one can do anything about it? That’s just not good strategy. He probably did cheat, but I think the ladies are lying about having seen the alleged boob tape first hand. I think the other models saw it and tattled to the other designers, who knew that without firsthand proof, the producers were not going to give a shit. But 90 minutes of bad designs and Ivy’s bitterness? Ugh. Anyway, expect my comments on the individual looks to be brief, because there’s nothing interesting to say about clothes that aren’t interesting. Let’s just start the fucking show.

ANDY – Winner

Andy’s 1st look was a moderately cool sweatshirt and a boring pair of leggings. Cute by soccer mom standards, but not particularly fashionable.

Lord, do I hate those pants. And I know over-sized is a look, but this just looks sad.

This is the look that won Andy the challenge. Comfortable but sexy with a little style to it. I like the skeletal vibe, but I agree that when paired with the other looks, it gets a little Halloween-y.

APRIL – Top 3

This looks better in photos than it did on television, but I still think it looks too much like a robe. I love the piece on her left shoulder, but I hate the way the fabric hangs on the right one.

Awful from the front – in fact, one of my least favorite looks from this episode and one of April’s worst this season. But the back of that jacket is darn cute.

If you took away exposed zippers and giant panties, I think the models for half the garments made this season would be walking down the runway naked. Here’s another case of the granny panty, paired with a shirt that has absolutely no design to it whatsoever. April, don’t let me down, girl. You’re funny and kind of a bitch and you curse like a sailor, and you’re talented beyond your years. Don’t fuck this up!

CHRISTOPHER -Eliminated

The judges finally stopped staring at Christopher’s beautiful face long enough to realize that he hasn’t made anything interesting yet this season, and so our favorite cutie has finally been cut. I can’t say he didn’t deserve it – these looks were dreadful and his track record is less than excellent. And this look is ugly, ugly, ugly.

The top half screams tween at a mall, the bottom is just insane. I can’t imagine the woman who’d want to wear this (and that includes women who shop for activewear on amazon.com).

Probably the ugliest dress in the world, but you know what? It’s totally hipster-ugly-cute enough to be my new favorite sleep shirt. And who doesn’t want to take Christopher Collins to bed with them? (Sorry, Nate!)

GRETCHEN – Bottom 3

I didn’t hate this nearly as much as the judges, though I agree that it’s a bit of a hot mess. I actually thought the skirt-over-biker-shorts concept was kind of clever and sexy, if a bit impractical. The rest of the look is garbage, which was surprising. Everything Gretchen makes looks like activewear that should be sold on amazon.com, so I can’t believe she fucked up this challenge so badly.

Maybe this what caused the judges to hate on Gretchen’s so-called 80s dance party collection, but I kind of liked this look. Cropped tops are back, at least in the Spring 2011 collections, and while I don’t think Gretchen was necessarily prophetic in creating this little cutoff tee, I still dig it. I’m not sure why all her pants have to have bibs on the front or back, but these were less offensive than most of her previous creations. And I like the shoes.

Dreadful. A bathrobe over a glorified towel over tacky leggings. As wrong as wrong can get.

MICHAEL C – Bottom 3

The episode aired days ago and I’m still personally offended by how ugly these pants are in fit, cut, and color. Who wants pants that mimic saddlebags? And the slouchy top and sweater are so depressing. But clearly the styling was the cherry on top of this pumpkin pie (forgive the mixed metaphor). The judges were right to point out that all the giant, clunky belts and shoes and the stick-straight hair are, like, totally over.

More ugly pants. More ugly sweaters. I don’t think I can take much more of this.

Michael could have thrown twenty belts on this and it still wouldn’t have hid the fact that it’s a complete piece of shit and fits like a cardboard box. AND DID YOU NOTICE THE EXPOSED ZIPPER? I think Michael’s collection angers me more than Pretty Christopher’s, because Michael is so unlikeable and Christopher is as loveable as a mini Australian shephard puppy (shout out to Chloe, new puppy of Jill, the Diva’s old roommate), but I still think Christopher deserved the auf’ing. But if Michael’s not next to go, I’ll eat my hat.

MONDO – Top 3

Let’s get ready to MONDO! I knew the judges were never going to give Mondo four wins in a row, but his looks far outshone Andy’s. The top is beautiful and trendy, the leggings are super-sexy and a great fit, and the headband says, “Try as you might, you can’t edit down MONDO, BITCHES!”

Another funky shirt, cute leggings (great color and GREAT length – that middle-of-the-knee hit is unique and flattering), and another fabulous, Mondo-riffic headband.

And this blouse really is where activewear meets fashion. You really could wear that to yoga and still look bangin’ walking down the street. The hair is laughably terrible, the headband is my least favorite of the three, and I pity the designers for having such an awful selection of shoes to choose from, but in spite of that, this was a pretty great entry from future Project Runway winner Mondo Guerra (at least, according to this Diva).

Please check out my Red Carpet Predictions from the Spring 2011 Collections! I’m taking all the most fabulous gowns from the latest runway shows and predicting which of your favorite celebs will be wearing them. It’s so good, it got plagiarized!

© Democracy Diva, 2010.
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