Sunday, March 10, 2013

Project Runway Season 11, Episode 7: What the Duck?

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!

"We've got something quite fowl for you this week!"
Duck Brand Duct Tape (because people never pronounce the second "t" in ducT tape) sponsors a Duct Tape prom dress competition every year.  Hey, prom goers, there's still time to enter the competition for 2013!

"There are so many different colors, it's hard to choose..."
Let's take a look at last year's winner.

Wait--is this for a prom or for sneaking drinks into the after-Prom "cocktail party"?
I always pictured Prom something like this...

Tasteful dresses, still feminine, but not so short that you can't even sit down without exposing yourself.

How about one of the runners-up?

Yikes.  Clearly, they're trying to get attention.
OK!  Now, we're talking.  Each individual rose was made out of duct tape.  They chose the traditional grey for the body of the dress and suit.  It took 45 hours to you won't be seeing anything close to this on the Project Runway catwalk!
Our guest judge this week was was Chris Benz, designer for Anthropolgie.  How would he dress today's modern prom-goer?

Not bad, Chris, not bad.

So the design contestants were allowed to pick their own partners.  They had about a day to make the dresses, after which they would show them before high school kids, who whose vote, theoretically, would contribute to the final score...somehow.

"OK, students.  You'll have some time to look at the dresses and talk to the designers.  Then you'll have an opportunity to vote for the one you like best.  Pay no attention to fact that the ballot box sits right over the trash can."
This is what the students saw.

"So like, ok, like, how long did it take to, like, make her look totally like a washed-up Vegas showgirl?"
After the kids interviewed the designers, they cast votes for the dress they liked the best.


After they cast their votes, the designers returned back to the studio and had a few additional hours to make changes based on the feedback.

Say what?

Let me get this straight...the teens judged one set of dresses.  The designers went back and made changes and the judges's panel saw modified dresses.  Why bother to have votes?

Because the producers needed a plausible alibi for keeping a designer on.  Either that, or we as a people, have completely lost all semblance of taste.

Daniel & Richard

"I wanted it to look gold lamé" 

"Oh, it's lame alright."
Heidi and Nina, neither of whom went to prom in any decade, pegged this as a 1980's dress.  I don't know about that, but I do know that those ruffles are extremely tortured.  They are hovering between trying to be symmetrical but poorly constructed and trying to be asymmetrical and falling short.  To my eyes, this was the losing look.  But as we know on Project Runway, one day you're in, on account of your over-the-top personality.

Stanley and Layana

It's an amazing miracle that Stanley and Layana managed to get a dress down the runway this week.  For starters, they had to wrestle a Dalek who was trying to exterminate their model.

She almost didn't make it.

This could have plausibly won this week's challenge.  It was fun and fresh and it moved nicely down the runway.   

Michelle & Amanda

Oh, you could smell this one a mile away.  The two girls who get picked last for dodgeball.  The nerds.  The bad luck tiki charm who always joins the losing team meets the gal who gets blamed for the failure of others. 

Even when they went to the gym, none of the cool kids wanted to look at their dress.  Granted, they returned to the studio and fixed the wonky bodice, so the presentation to the panel was way stronger.

This week's winning look!  

The thing about this challenge is that the judges were looking for something fun with a distinct point-of-view.  Their vision was to make a dress for the punk girl to wear to prom.  She's unconventional, probably hated by half the student body.  Yes, they're likely channelling their own high school experiences.  The result was very fresh and modern.

The judges appreciated the print, which was in-scale and very skillfully pieced.   It gave Nina the excuse to go full geek and use the word, tessellation.

This is, like, totally a Nerdland dress!

 Patricia & Samantha

Every season, one designer manages to overstay their welcome.  Patricia is that designer.  We are told by Heidi that implausibly, because some girl said, "Oh my God, that's so totally Angelina Jolie!" that this won the vote at the high school.

I mean, I didn't see Jimmy Carter and UN observers overseeing the election.  I didn't see auditors from Price Waterhouse guarding the ballot box, either.  So I'm calling the whole high school vote completely bogus right here.

And on the other bogus part, when they got back, Patricia insisted that the back of this dress needed to flare out.  Daniel was right.

It was starting to look like Jiffy Pop.

"We designed a special print, then engineered a gradation effect..."
"We don't usually like short in the front, long in the back dresses, but our producers are telling us that we simply adore everything about this look."

Kate & Tu

Fowl!  I'm crying fowl!
"We just went to prom...I mean, we didn't exactly go together..."

This is not the most perfect dress, by any means, but did this deserve to be the losing look?  No way.  Yes, it was a bit boring and expected.  Using the denim tape didn't do it any favors. (This season, we have the curse of the denim, am I right, Amanda?)

Nina: "I grew up in Columbia and didn't go to prom, but I can tell you that girls don't wear prom dresses like that any more.
Heidi: "We do not have 'prom' in Germany, but I can plainly see that there is nothing modern about this dress."
Zac: "Did you two take too much AMBIEN last night?  What's wrong with you?  This is a standard prom dress!"
Nina/Heidi: "It is not."
Zac is right.  It is a standard prom dress, albeit, not in a standard color.  The closest I could come to was this.

I think had the color been different, the dress might have been more safe.  Anyway, yes, Zac Posen designed a line of prom dresses for Target.  So not only did he have to dabble in making a teenage girl look elegant, he had to do it on a price point.

This is how it's done, people.

Now for the fowl part.  Seriously, this was for the birds.

BOTH Tu and Kate were auf this week.  There was no previous mention of a double elimination.  In fact, they made each couple go through the kabuki of "who is to blame/who deserves credit."  There was just one winner this week.   So when Heidi said that Kate was gone, she said "thank you" as if she had been prepared to hear she was safe.  This was designed to add DRAMA and TENSION.  Even Tim walked in and matter-of-factly said "get out."  Tim didn't even give them his maudlin tone of voice.

Even if the color had been different.  Even if it had been the PERFECT DRESS, do you remember anything Kate or Tu ever said or did?  Project Runway is NOT FOR INTROVERTS.  And apparently, the franchise can't waste any more time on them.  Auf Weidersehn!

Next week, male strippers.  The network that brings us Jennifer Love-Hewitt as a hooker with a heart of gold, two southern belles who fit bras for a living and The Virgin Diaries, knows how to keep straight girls watching.


  1. Don't forget this is the network that brings us the new reality show about preacher's kids