Last night, Project Runway aired. Today, I am posting the recap. Wonder of wonder! Miracle of miracles! Okay, enough celebration. Let's get to business.
"Go Big or Go Home" gave us one of Project Runway's most troublemaking traditions: the team challenge. And not only were the designers paired up and given the task of designing together, but they had to design for a model on stilts. And not only that, but they were finally going to have a public runway show! Outside! With real people watching! So they're really trying to shake things up a bit, aren't they? I fear the day Heidi Klum says, "Okay, guys, just make a classic outfit for your regular models, using any inspiration you want, and we'll give you two full days and $500. To Mood!" I'm pretty sure Bert would keel over out of sweet relief. And everyone else would just be lost. "You want us to just... make... clothes? Out of fabric? With the proper resources and time?"
Anyways, there were the usual obstacles designing in pairs, as some had never spoken to one another before, and others just bickered like the worst of feuding teenagers. Let's go team-by-team.
ANTHONY RYAN AND LAURA
Okay, I already want these two to go to fashion week. Can they just skip the rest of the competition and go straight to the Final 3? Please? Firstly, they're both good designers. They turned out what was easily the best piece of the show last night - and they did so without any drama. That's what makes me love them even more - they're not completely boring personalities (everyone remember assy!) but they don't rely on being a dick to be entertaining! They worked efficiently together, and did what they needed to do. And when it came down to taking credit for the piece, Anthony Ryan offered it up to Laura, even though he had earlier voiced that he wanted to finally win a challenge instead of taking second for the third week in a row. I like you, Anthony Ryan!
As for their design, perhaps the only drawback, as Nina pointed out, was that it was slightly referential. Which I get. And if I can see where it's slightly referential, you know it's not referencing an obscure corner of the fashion world. But it was still very clearly the showstopper of the runway show, with a clear point of view and solid execution. I loved the choice to do a pant as well as a billowy skirt - it seems a waste to have a stiltwalker and not make some killer pants, but having that movement was fantastic as well. The best of both worlds!
CECILIA AND DANIELLE
So, this team could also be called the "Why the Hell Don't I Remember These Two?" Duo. I felt bad; but as soon as Heidi called out Cecilia and Danielle's names I immediately said, "Who?" But this has been rectified, because now I know that they both work well with chiffon, and have a difficult time articulating fashion-forward hair arrangements to their stylists!
In all honesty, I didn't really love this ensemble as much as the judges did, and I can't really figure out why. So I'm not gonna put a whole lot of time into my defense. I will say, though, that those pants moved amazingly and I'll take the judges' word for it when they say that the ladies succeeded marvelously with the chiffon. Of course, when I think "chiffon" my brain mostly goes to lemon chiffon frosting, and also maybe that girl group that sang "One Fine Day." But apparently it's also a difficult fabric to work with, and Danielle and Cecilia pulled it off! Even if their hair choices almost ruined it. (Seriously, I used my finger to try and cover up the model's head so I could judge the ensemble fairly. And I still had a hard time.)
KIMBERLY AND BECKY
Apparently, Kimberly and Becky had barely spoken to one another before this challenge. Uh-oh. This could either be a non-issue, or a kiss of death. And luckily, since they both seem to be mature adults capable of tackling basic surmountable problems, they merged together splendidly. I loved how they simply realized that Kimberly makes great pants and Becky makes great jackets - lo, an outfit! And indeed, it was a great pair of pants and a pretty great jacket. Although I think I personally would have liked it more if it had two sleeves on it instead of one. Kimberly claimed the jacket seemed a little "Star Track-looking," which only endeared me to her more. But the judges seemed to be okay with the sleeve asymmetry, and only Nina pointed out she didn't care for the asymmetry of the collar.
OLIVIER AND ANYA
It's really hard not to root for Olivier and Anya - and this is coming from someone who didn't think Olivier deserved the win last week! I still think he's an interesting designer, and I was looking forward to see his collaboration with Anya, who has a unique point of view. Well, they didn't really pan out into genius, as Anya admitted that neither of them thought it was their best work. But it was enough to skate them through the middle ground and avoid having Kim Kardashian try and articulate what she didn't like about their skirt. (It was mostly that it looked like a Monet painting, which is a bit kitschy.) The top was interesting in its construction, though, and I think that bit of design fancy helped move them through.
If I were being honest, though, I think I preferred Anya's actual day-of-runway outfit more. That big-sleeved tapestry-looking structured shirt was insane! I was feeling it. As for Olivier, I can't understand him without subtitles, which I can't comprehend because last week he said he was born in the States and grew up in London. Was English not his first language, though? So now I just have a guilt complex for not being able to understand a word he says. I'm sorry, Olivier! Also, why is there an extra i in your name that does not apparently give it the French pronunciation? I'm so confused.
JOSH AND JULIE
Oh, man. Josh and Julie. Where do I even begin? I supposed a good place to start would be with Michael Kors' astute description: it's like "Rocky Mountain Woman" and "Bedazzle and Glamorous" came together. But even despite these opposites, Josh and Julie had a pretty harmonious relationship - matched even by their own clothes! Josh wore green, Julie wore the complementary color red, but they both were wearing stripes. I wonder if they planned that.
In any case, Josh and Julie came together to create a matador look that came off a bit more circus-y than they'd intended, which is kind of a shame. The matador concept is really interesting, but between the cartoonish embellishment on the jacket, the cartoonish pants, and the way the model was swinging her arm around like a drunken sailor, I couldn't really see the sophistication in it. Imagine if they'd taken "matador" and done a really dark and dramatic interpretation - it would have been amazing! But alas, Josh wanted to bedazzle, and Julie let him. In the end, though, it was her idea, and she gracefully accepted responsibility.
BERT AND VIKTOR
Speaking of gracefully accepting responsibility... no, wait, there's no transition here. Because both Bert and Viktor tried to distance themselves from the garment that they both created, claiming it would have looked better if they'd done the whole thing. I don't get it. The top was clearly Bert and the bottom was clearly Viktor, and they both looked clearly ugly. Who wants an iridescent green-magenta shimmer skirt? Not I! And Bert's design choices really do seem to be rewinding to a strange conglomeration of the 1980s and the 1890s. I don't quite know how he does it.
And it wouldn't have been so bad if they were adults about their differences. They bickered the whole time, about whether or not Mae West wore pants, or about who wasn't listening to whom, and who was the more confused teammate. Ugh! If anyone wants a coherent play-by-play breakdown about Bert and Viktor's conflict, you will not find it here. I couldn't bring myself to engage in their insanity, and it didn't help that the Glee ladies' Marie Claire cover was framed on the wall behind their workstation. My eyes kept going to that anyways (so pretty!) and then listening to Bert and Viktor's squabbling became even easier to ignore.
But honestly, how much douchier could these guys have gotten? Bert claimed that he would have made a "knockout" if he hadn't been "encumbered by Viktor." Okay, buddy. You may not have had iridescent pants, but you still would've had tapestry fabric from the dollhouse re-creation of a French chateau. And Viktor! Viktor openly acknowledged that his "heart dropped" as soon as he got Bert - in front of Bert! - and then badmouthed him the whole hour, only to try and squirm out from underneath their design when it became a real possibility he was going home. Ugh! As far as I see it, both halves of that outfit were seriously assy, and Viktor and Bert showed their asses to boot. Moving on!
FALLENE AND BRYCE
Oh dear. Poor Fallene. I was so happy to see that she had stopped crying from the previous challenge, but it really doesn't bode well when one of your contestants bemoans not feeling like a designer and actually says, "I wish I had my soul right now." There was no saving her - although she did make a really cute hairpiece. It's hard to see where Bryce and Fallene's design fell apart, although I think it may have been around the time that Fallene didn't cut the fabric on the grain. In all, though, Nina Garcia proclaimed that it was simply the beginning of a good idea, and Kim Kardashian said they hadn't really done anything in the execution.
And who was going to take credit for the undercooked designs anyway? Fallene did nothing but the hairpiece, but she also screwed up to the point where she felt she let Bryce down. Oh, Fallene! She is clearly not built for reality TV because she's just too self-effacing. Although the crying helps her case. Regardless, I'm relieved to see Fallene go because I think another challenge in this competition would have broken her completely and that would have been too much for me to handle. Farewell, Fallene!
So, another designer exits, and we see a few designers' true colors. On the whole, I didn't really loooove any of the outfits, but maybe that's a result of the partnerships. And did anyone else find the models' stumbling stilt-walks to be really distracting? I saw such wild terror in their eyes! Regardless, I am, squarely on Team Laura! Team Anthony Ryan! Team Anya! And maybe Team Olivier and Team Kimberly - I want to see more. Especially when next week's challenge has them designing for Nina Garcia. Oh my god. I cannot wait.