Saturday, August 4, 2012

Project Runway, Season 10, Episode 3-Smells like Team Spirit

Greetings Project Runway fans!

Every two years, the world comes together to celebrate the spectacle of human achievement and there's nothing like a team challenge to showcase human achievement at its best.  These sorts of things choke me up, so I'm throwing it to Bob Costas for the play-by-play.

I'm Bob Costas and we come to you from New York, where the fashion world has gathered once again to crown its next champion.  Tonight, the designers participate in the pairs competition.  Andrea Kremer, at Parsons New School of Design, has more on tonight's event.  Andrea?
Thanks, Bob.  I'm really excited to be here.  Usually, I'm asking stupid questions of dumb athletes and sticking my microphone in the face of irate sideline coaches.  So it's a real thrill to be at Parsons where I'm sure I'll get full sentence answers from the designers.  
Tonight's competition started a bit strangely, with the designers traveling to South Seaport, a popular tourist location in New York City and also a fine place to stage a cheesy car product placement.
Andrea, I don't mean to interrupt, but aren't traditional Project Runway fans getting a little tired of cheesy product placements?  Last week, designer candy....this week, high-end luxury car companies trying to sell their commuter models...
We may never know the answer to that, Bob, because I don't ask probing questions, only annoying and obvious ones. Let's get back to the action.
Their coach, Tim Gunn, gave them the parameters of the challenge.  They drew keys.  The key that fit the car would give them the color they needed to use in the challenge.  It also determined who would pair up with whom.
An interesting fact about Tim Gunn....he used to coach in Washington, DC before moving to New York....
Why do you keep interrupting me?  Nobody cares!  So the designers have one day to create a red carpet dress for the Emmys.  Their client will be a former Project Runway designer.
Andrea: Alicia and Raul will have Mila Hermanovski.  I think this is a good match-up because they both do menswear and Mila loves tailored looks.
Bob: But Andrea, I noticed that Mila has asked them to do a gown and they agreed. That significantly raises the degree of difficulty for this challenge.
Andrea: That's right, Bob, but unlike gymnastics judges, Project Runway judges rarely take into account the degree of difficulty if the dress is horrible.
Andrea: Elena and Buffy have Laura Bennett as their client.
Bob: If I remember correctly, Laura is rather particular about tailoring and fit.
Andrea: That's true, Bob, so I don't know what she's going to do with Elena's "warrior princess" styling and Buffi's "Flashdance on acid" looks.
Bob: Fun fact...Dick Button actually saw "Flashdance" on acid!
Andrea: Bob, that's OFF the topic once again...Let's move on...
Andrea: Kenley Collins is matched up with Ven and Fabio.
Bob: She can't be more than 16, 17 years old...
Andrea: Don't let the peter pan collar and knee socks fool you.  She's close to 30 and was arrested for assault a few years ago.
Bob: Arrested for assault? She should meet my friend, Marv Albert...
Andrea: Gunnar and Kooan have Irina Shabayeva.
Bob: Neither the coach or the client look very happy right now.
Andrea: Bob, Coach Gunn is noted for motivating his designers to 'make it work.'
Bob: My buddy, Marv Albert uses that phrase as a pick-up line! 
Andrea: Sonjia and Nathan have Valerie Mahen.
Bob: I think you would look pretty good in that dress, Andrea.
Andrea: Bob, that's so nice of you to say!
Bob: Then, I could fix you up with my buddy, Marv Albert.
Andrea: LET'S move on...
Andrea: Chris and Andrea have Anya Ayoung-Chee, last year's winner.
Bob: According to Dick Button, Mondo was robbed that season.
Andrea: No Bob, Viktor Luna was robbed that season.  Mondo was robbed in Season 8.
Bob: Well, Dick was probably on acid while he was watching...
Andrea: Dmitry and Melissa have April Johnston, who has lavender hair.  I see they are choosing grey. I hope that doesn't wash her out.
Bob: Dmitry is from Russia, where he originally trained to be a model, clearly a more physically demanding sport than designing.
Andrea: I don't know about that, Bob.  You should have seen the glue gun injuries that Elena sustained last week...speaking of Elena, I've received word that she has left the competition area.  I will find out what's going on.  Bob, back to you.
Bob: Let's break away for a few messages.  When we return, Andrea Kremer will have more information on Elena.

Bob: We're back.  Before we left, Elena Slivnyak of the Ukraine, left the competition area.  Her partner, Buffi, seems to think it was because their client, Laura Bennett, made a comment about how difficult it would be to execute their design in one day.  Andrea Kremer is with Elena right now.  Andrea?

Andrea: Bob, I'm here with Elena Slivnyak who just walked out of Parsons.  Elena, do you think one day is enough time to finish your complicated design?


Andrea: The other designers say that you lose your temper a lot.  Is this true?


Andrea: OK...How do you even work with a designer like Buffi, who clearly doesn't come close to your taste level?  Doesn't that drive you crazy?
Elena: Why don't you f@$& off!
Andrea: Bob, back to you!
Viewers, we're getting reports of tension in the sewing room. Apparently Chris's partner, Andrea, took 6 hours to cut a dress pattern out of silk charmeuse.  My ties are made from the finest charmeuse, woven from the silk produced by worms that are fed a diet of organic mulberries.  They are sewn by expert craftsmen in Hong Kong who cut the fabric with laser beams.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to cut this fabric with a pair of scissors.  Here's Andrea with more.

Andrea: Chris, is it true that Andrea took six hours to cut the fabric?
Chris: Um hm.
Andrea: I'm hearing from the other designers that Andrea laughed when you suggested that she might go home this week.
Chris: Mmmppff.
Andrea: If the judges ask you who was more responsible for failing the challenge, are you going to throw her under the bus?
Chris: Andrea, f@$& off!
Andrea: Bob, back to you!
Thanks, Andrea.  I have to say that pairs competitions get pretty tense in these design contests.  This is shaping up to be no different than previous matches.  Join us later for judging. This week's guest judges will be my friend, Marv Albert and the legendary Dick Button, who will probably be on acid.

Thanks Bob!  I can hardly wait for that judge's panel.  I think Marv and Dick would have done way better than Krysten Ritter, who was completely unmemorable.

Frankly, when I heard that former designers were returning as client-models, I sort of got excited for the prospect of a mixed menswear/womenswear challenge.  Instead, we got yet another "make a pretty dress in a day" challenge and it showed.

Melissa and Dmitry

It was an elegant look and suited April Johnston amazingly well.  Still, the way the fabric gathered in the front was not the most flattering silhouette.  The back would have been much more dramatic had it been just a little wider and not so plunging.

Elena and Buffi

It was elegant and suited Laura quite well.  Kudos to Elena and Buffi for simplifying a very complicated design without losing the visual effect they were going for.  This was "making it work" at its finest.  I suspect the regular judges are getting tired of seeing those sleeves from Elena, however, this may be the most tasteful thing Buffi will produce this season.

Kooan and Gunnar

Gunnar spent the most time complaining about his client, but in the end, he should have gotten down on his hands and knees to thank her for beautifully wearing and walking this dress.  Michael Kors criticized the fabric, but I would argue that had Gunnar and Kooan not used bullet-stopping jersey, this dress would have taken hours to cut and sew and would have showed every wonky hem and seam from a mile away.  As it is, the dress is at least eight, nine different lengths, and we all know how they got that magnificent fit in the Irina's end, that is....the imfamous butt seam!  How cleverly they covered it up with the neck scarf!  Problem solved!  The judges never saw it so it was never an issue--in fact--it almost won.  Lucky, Gunnar!  Clever Kooan!

Sonjia and Nathan

From the runway, you can barely see the clever details of this dress.  The chevron panel in the small of Valerie's back is also replicated on the side, just above the waist.  It slims the waist and gives a little pop of visual interest in a dress that otherwise, looks like something you could buy at a high-end department store.  I think the standard design of this dress was why this wasn't in the running for the win.  Still, Sonjia and Nathan wisely picked sequined fabric so that they would have instant glamor without the fuss and heartache that everyone else went through.  I suspect they have a million finger cuts, however, but at least their psychic and physical energy is conserved for the next challenge.

But I'm left a bit cold at the judging this week.  I have to remind myself that the judges see these dresses in person, not on television.  On television, this was a far superior dress to Gunner's and Kooan's.  Unless it looked like a bad Spiegal Catalogue knock-off in person, I can't figure out why this one wasn't in the running for best and the white dress was.  The design of the white dress was not that innovative, either.  Could this be subtle body shape model bias working here?

Chris and Andrea

I have so many questions....why did they pick brown?  I don't recall seeing a brown car in the challenge.  In fact, I haven't seen a brown car since 1978.  Also, why did Andrea take so long to cut the fabric and why didn't Chris ask or offer to help?  Why was the fabric so bunchy at the top?  Why was the slit so high?

Chris was all tears and complaints during the judging.  I can't help but think during the more extensive session that the judges asked Andrea and him some of these important questions.  While Andrea might not be the fastest seamstress in the west (and to think...she taught design students!) Chris was also there the whole time.  In some ways, I suspect Andrea (and Anya) saved the dress from becoming a studded nightmare.  Chris has some Joshua McKinley tendencies locked deep inside, I suspect.  The irony is that Chris won the first challenge with a stunning evening gown and nearly lost the third one with a horrific evening gown.   If the fit had been less than flattering, one of them would have been left standing at the end with one of these two....

Raul and Alicia

I think Mila said it best in her blog.  The waistline was too high, so it didn't hit her at the smallest part of her body.   She looked like a shrouded pear.  She would have looked even worse had she not used some double stick tape and safety pins she brought with her to fix the bodice and hem!

It's hard to tell from the editing what Mila said to the designers.  Even though she suggested a gown, there is nothing wrong with creating pants for a red carpet challenge--in fact--Mila managed to do just that during her Project Runway season.

Raul and Alicia could have won this challenge had they used their creativity and played to their strengths.  Mila would have been the perfect client and confidant.  Either they didn't see her season and weren't familiar with her or they were so intimidated that they thought they had to do a gown for a red carpet challenge.  In any case, Raul was out, mostly because the judges probably couldn't remember his other two designs.

Ven and Fabio

Nobody wears a short dress to the Emmys!

Nobody, that is, except Heidi Klum...

OK....something a little less....hoochie.

There you go.

The point is that the shortness of the dress is not what makes it "evening" or "day-wear."  The dress is fine for evening.

Nice try, Fabio, with your "This challenge took me out of my comfort zone" attempt at convincing the judges that you were the real winner, but one look at the pleating and they knew it was Ven's design all the way.  Ven, enjoy your evening at the Emmys with Kenley.  Bwaahahahahahaha!

Next week, a designer walks away from the competition, but for now, I'm throwing it to you, Bob.

And we join Ven Budhu on the medals platform.
This is Ven's sixth medal.  In addition to winning last week's challenge, he won four medals previously at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Congratulations, Ven!  This is Bob Costas signing off from New York.  We'll see you next week for more Project Runway.  Until then, good night.


  1. Aside from just loving this episode, I was most stunned that none of these designers seemed to have ever seen the show before and all seemed totally clueless about their client/designer and her work. Honestly, people.

  2. Maybe they needed a dossier.

    I was secretly hoping one of the teams would get Chris March or Austin Scarlett. THAT would have been hi-larious.

  3. Austin actually tweeted that he would have loved to have been a "client" on this episode and would have asked them to make him something Liberace-esque.

  4. Laughed so much during this recap - loved the tie-in with the Olympics. I loved both Val's and April's dresses - would have picked the two of them for the top 2, instead of Irena's and Kenley's.

    I liked seeing former designestants come back. I even enjoyed Irena's "am I the only one who cares here?" and was irritated with Gunnar for wanting to slap her. Hello, she's WON the competition - and can sew - so to insult her by saying, "she just doesn't get my idea" is a bit presumptious, I think. ... or maybe I just hate Gunnar.