Sunday, October 2, 2011

Project Runway Season 9, Episode 10: Sew 70's.

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!

I know what you're thinking...the Seventies...didn't we just do that last week?  Oh, no...we did the grungy, seeds and stems Seventies last week.  This week, we are doing the "Sophisticated Seventies."  Very different.  Think Catherine Deneuve and Lauren Hutton.

So this week's challenge was to produce a look that captured "the sophisticated 70's."  The winning look would be featured on

Last week, we saw Oliv(i)er fall during the menswear challenge, even though he specialized in menswear.  This week, the question was whether that 70's bon vivant, Bert, would mop the floor with the competition?  Or would the old man go down in flames because he's trapped in the 70's time machine?

First off, this week's drama...

Episode 10 will forever be known for "Moneygate."  You know the drill....a fashion designer who insists on wearing funky clothes that don't have things like pockets,

stuffs the money envelope into her ill-fitting top and proceeds to lose it at Mood Fabrics somewhere near the chiffon.

And then, the producers feel so sorry for her that they create a second challenge where this time, they hand out big safety pins so that the designers can pin the envelopes to their clothes.

Frankly, it's it's one of the things that frustrates me about the show.  Some details are necessary--rules, materials, design choices.  And some details, like budget, can be adequately taken care of by giving designers an account at Mood.  It's 2011, for goodness sakes.  Put 'em on a tab.  Tell them ahead of an interesting twist....change it when they get to the counter and watch them quickly go into prioritization mode!  Hmm....I think I have a great idea for next season's challenge....

We don't need the overt producer manipulation.  Bunim-Murray, please go back to pulling strings behind the scenes!  It's not all about you.

However, bigtime kudos to the BEST CELEBRITY JUDGE EVER: Olivia Palermo, socialite, TV reality show personality, model and Piperlime's 2011 Celebrity Editor.  I prefer to think of her as a fashion robot, developed in the Piperlime Laboratories, who sets trends and determines what we all will be wearing because these will be the only clothes we can conveniently buy online.

The Oliviabot 4000: Capable of 95,000 e-commerce data algorithms per second.

Let's get on with it...

Kimberly Goldson was safe this week with a pants suit that perfectly captured the go-go 70's.  You could almost see Patty Hearst walking around in this.

Although her top would have been better fitted.

And Kim's second look was nice enough, but it's a shame that Tim talked her out of the midi skirt because I don't remember pencil skirts as being very 70's.

Moving on.... Laura Kathleen declared herself a 1970's aficionado.   She loves big prints, bright colors and long skirts.  Slam dunk, right?


The chevron top really clashed with the loud print on the bottom.  The Clash of the Prints was too much to allow the judges to focus on any design details....

like this Y-shaped racerback.

The second look was just too conventional.

So nice of the judges to give some thoughtful observations about how people like us shop on line.

"The black chiffon simply won't translate on line."
And for those of you who do not know what the heck Nina is talking about, the Oliviabot 4000 provides a helpful explanation.

"Research at Piperlime Labs indicates that consumers are less likely to buy black outfits when they are shown against a black background."

Next up was Viktor, who seemed to knock one out of the park this week.  Really, what's more 70's than a pantsuit?

Stunning.  Made in a day and a half.  Judges couldn't deny that this was evocative and updated.

"A safari jacket from the 1970's was my best friend when I was a child."
His companion look was just the thing a woman would need to go from day to evening.

Michael Kors was amused by his color coordination with the models...his snakeskin shorts...

and his snakeskin bow tie.

But the Oliviabot 4000 crushed Viktor's hopes and dreams.  We found the secret footage on the Lifetime cutting room floor.

"The Piperlime factories in Sri Lanka charge $0.08 per inch of seaming.  At those prices, this garment would cost $450 before we factor in fabric.  We only budgeted $10,000 for this cross promotion.  Any attempt to make this compute will cause my circuitry to crash." 
So that left the judges to fumble around for lame excuses like how "the snakeskin took the sex away from the suit."  Really, Michael Kors?  Snakeskin can do that?  Why, just 10 seconds ago, you were lusting after Viktor's snakeskin bow tie.  Which is it?

 Bert Keeter remembers the 70's well.  He was there.  He lived it.

Laura, "So Bert, did you get your Halston job at Studio 54?"
Bert, "No,"

"I got it in the balcony...third row."

Bert also chose the best inspiration--the Charlie perfume ad from the 1970's featuring Shelly Hack and the incomparable Bobby Short.

Kind of young, kind of now...
Kind of free, kind of wow!
Kind of matronly and trashy at the same time!  Admittedly, it stood better than it walked.  It left Nina wondering why she liked the shorts so much and Michael pontificating about how much women love to bare their shoulders.

But it was Bert's second, Ali McGraw inspired outfit that captured the attention of the Olivabot 4000:

"The lastest statistical analysis at Piperlime Labs shows that women are looking for simple, neutral dresses.  This design could easily be produced at $11/garment.  The addition of metal pieces at the end of the rope belt ($0.03, by my calculations) brings the luxury of the piece up a notch, allowing us to charge 10 times the price!"
Unfortunately, the producers managed to re-boot Oliva during a break and clear her cache.  These words were never uttered again when the judges deliberated.

So, do I even need to tell you who won the challenge?  I guess the least I could do is help you figure out why.

This is what Anya managed to produce with $11 worth of fabric and dyed muslin.

Pretty keen, no?  Well, it wasn't exactly 70's and those pants were looking a little rough.  So with help from the producers by means of a second challenge, here's what Anya was able to do for $50.

So much better.  A classic, 70's maxi dress with an evocative print.  It was this week's winner and Heidi's favorite look--so much so, she bought one and wore it this week.

But during the announcement of the winner, the Oliviabot 4000 blurted out something the producers didn't quite expect...

"My programmers at Piperlime Labs simply cannot pass up the profit margin on Bert's two-toned dress.  Bert's dress will also be produced for Piperlime."

Which leaves us with our last two.  Once again, this week, we saw a Tale of Two Joshes:

Dear Josh, "Working Girl" was 1980's, not 1970's.
"Everyone's a CRITIC!  How was I supposed to know?  I wan't even BORN in the 1970's!"

 Ahem....did we not see you doing research on your HP computer?

Josh, you're so busted.
But the fact of the matter is had this been an 80's challenge, the critique would have been the same:  too much going on upstairs, too much going on downstairs.  Speaking of downstairs....

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, those paaaaaaaaaants!"

Really, Josh?  Why are the pants so bunchy?  Did you think you were dressing your stilt model from earlier this season?  Oh and look how off that seam is.  I would comment on the shoes, but just in case the Oliviabot 4000 has wormed its way into my processor, I don't want to risk the blue screen of death.

Why didn't Josh go home this week?  I think his second look completely saved him.

So despite Nina's protestations to the contrary....

"It's Swatch, isn't it?  That mangy mutt chased you down the 'ugly fabric' row at Mood Fabrics again, didn't he?"
Josh lived to see another challenge.

Which leaves us with Anthony Ryan.  When he thinks 70's, he thinks of flower children and hippies.  Anthony, that's the 1960's.  By the time we got to the 1970's, National Guardsmen and Nixon had crushed the hippies.  

This week's psych-out was delivered straight to me.  I thought Anthony Ryan was going to crank out a jacket with the chevron fabric and totally nail this challenge with a one-man tribute to Gloria Stivic.  He stopped short with just a vest.

"A search for 'vest' in Piperlime under 'women,' will result in only 24 garments. Most of them, this season, have some sort of fur."

But that's not what lost if for Anthony Ryan.  This lost it for Anthony Ryan:

Perhaps Anthony Ryan could have saved himself with his second look.

Perhaps not.

"Every morning for breakfast, I eat granola that I made from a recipe in Ewell Gibbons' cookbook."
Who's Ewell Gibbons?   You'd know this if you grew up in the 70's!

It was a real shame to see Anthony Ryan go this week.  It really moved Tim to the point of tears.  

Well, friends and neighbors, that's it for another episode of Project Runway, Season 9.  I'll be back to recap next week's challenge, which will be for the birds.

If you plan to watch, you have to drink one shot for every reference to Alfred Hitchcock.

1 comment:

  1. Excuse me, I need to go gnaw on some twigs and Grape Nuts now.