Sunday, August 18, 2013

Project Runway, Season 12, Episode 5: The Pursuit of Imperfection.

Greetings, Project Runway fans!

Can't you just see the excitement?

We can't, either.

This episode was really hard to follow.

First, the designers got picked for teams of three.  Then, they were given a car that was pre-programmed to take them to three different places.

The three places were a housewares store,

a wallpaper store, and a grocery store.

Each team was to choose at least two of the stores for their supplies.  They had one day and a suggested budget of $1,500.

The teams had to present three cohesive looks drawing some sort of inspiration from the car.


"What do you mean, 'Whatever?'  This is a very important part of the challenge.  Our luxury car company is putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into this TV show that you watch week after week."
Nice try, baldy.  Once the producers decided that the third unconventional materials challenge was going to be a team challenge, it wouldn't matter how many silly rules the designers had to follow.  The team dynamics would predominate the bulk of the show.

And the producers knew that, so they threw the three most annoying and difficult people to work with together in the same team.

Ken, Alexandria and Sue
Tim: "I sense some tension here."
Alexandria is passive-aggressive and Ken is just plain aggressive.  Sue, on the other hand, would like lots of time to hand sew her pretty dresses, please and thank you.  It's hard enough for her to sew material, let alone unconventional material.  The parachute challenge practically made her cry.

So Ken decided to bully the other two.  Sue broke down and Alexandria clammed up.  The result was horrendous.  Sue didn't finish her dress, so the model locked herself in the bathroom with a needle and thread and made the producers wait until she felt she could emerge with her dignity intact.  Somehow, the producers have gobs of time for Ken's silly diatribes and no time to show what I'm sure was a nervous Tim pacing back and forth in front of the bathroom saying, "This is an unprecedented situation.  She needs to emerge from the bathroom this instant!"

The costumes for the Japanese 80's New-Wave Revival Band are in!
Why does everybody think that in the future, women are going to be piling hair on top of their heads?  For all we know, in the future, women will be bald with head tattoos.  In the future, we can be pretty sure they won't be wearing placemats duct-taped to their bodies.

In the end, it was all about the choices each team member made.

Ken chose to spend his energy and time arguing and berating his team members, rather than try to work as a team.  In the end, it worked out for him, but barely.  At what cost, you may ask?  Alexandria hates him.  Sue is nonplussed.  What if she returns to help at a later date?  Ken has burned some bridges.

The other designers probably don't trust him either.

Furthermore, at the end, he found himself duct-taping the skirt together because he had run out of time to sew it.  Since he said, half-way through that he was going to do his own thing and not help anyone else, what he spend his time doing?  Talking smack in the confessional room to the cameras?

"I can my own way."
When Sue said that on the runway, Heidi rolled her eyes.  Zac stifled a giggle.  I could have swore that I saw Nina mouth "Like hell!"  In any case, I'm done with the whole "I don't know how to work the commercial machine" storyline.  As I said previously, this is NOT selling Brother machines, which should be the whole purpose behind sponsoring the show, right?  Ask the bald guy above who markets  luxury cars.  He'll tell you what moves product!

The luxury car featured this week led everyone to believe you could pre-program destinations before ever getting in the car.  Maybe, the car even drives for you.  I'm not sure about that, but it could happen.  What I do know is that nobody got into the car and said, "Ooo....a LUXURY car.  How do you start this thing?"

So let's remove that stupid handicap.  Run the designers through a machine tutorial before the show starts.  Have the manuals lying around.  "I never worked a commercial machine before, but this one is pretty easy to figure out, once you get the hang of it!"  THAT will sell Brother machines.  And if a designer wants to be intentionally stupid, have another designer wave the easy-to-read manual in front of his face and yell, "Read the damn manual, you stupid oaf!"

Sue's bigger problem was that had she stayed, she would have been destitute.  She spent close to double every suggested budget in the competition and ran her team's bill up unnecessarily.  Now that she's auf, maybe she could spend some quality time with Frugal Timothy, who could teach her a thing or two about economy.

Sewing skills aside, Sue had another big problem.  She was on the show to "show people what she could do."  That's not exactly how you are successful at Project Runway.  In the end, you have to answer the brief put before you.  You're not in your own little world trying to make your statement pieces.  You have judges to please.

But what swamped this team was that they were so caught up in their drama that NOBODY MENTIONED THE DAMN CAR!

That was the worst sin of all.

Kate, Karen and Jeremy

I didn't see a lot of cohesion in this collection, nor did I see a lot of good workmanship, either.  It's as if the judges were scoring the teams over the individual designs.

Nina: "This team took their inspiration from the luxury car that is sponsoring our show.  This may not be important to the casual viewer who can't keep up with our silly, complex rules, but it is important to our producers me."
OK, Nina....I believe you can really see the inspiration for the car in the outfits.  And I also think that if you lied down for a few minutes with a cold compress on your head, those hallucinations would go away.

That's a pretty pedestrian offering from Kate, this week.   The side panels were embellished, clear shower curtains.  I think it borders on tacky.   Perhaps Nina saw the side windows of the luxury car.  As a matter of fact, those look like my side windows after a 12-hour trip in car with my kids in the back seat.

Karen has yet to meet a waistline she cares to accentuate.  Why start now?  The judges raved on and on about this sack dress to which al sorts of seeds and rice had been affixed.  Come to think of it, this does look like the back seat of my car after a 12-hour trip with my kids....

Jeremy's dress had cups that were as poor fitting as Helen's were two challenges ago.   The peplum is off and the stuck-on glitter and whatever else it was looks pretty cheap.  This, however, is the winner this week.  Why?  Who knows?  My car is grey and I've got that same strip along the bottom, but it's not stuck-on glitter and who knows what else.  It's actually a combination of bugs and road tar.  I really should get my car washed.

Bradon, Melissa, Alexander

Melissa's entry, while a bit staid, is very well fitting.  Also, note how Melissa simply explained to both of her teammates how to work with wallpaper so that it was sewable...and then offered to quilt the fabric for everyone!  That's how you do teamwork.

Alexander upped the ante by attempting pants.  considering that these are made out of wallpaper quilted to muslin, these are amazing. I'm sorry.  Let me repeat myself.  It was an unconventional materials challenge and HE MADE PANTS THAT LOOK PRETTY GOOD.  The judges used to give points for effort.  Not this time, I guess.  Perhaps if he had fashioned the collar to look more like a hubcap...

Bradon's dress made out of packing material and wallpaper was pretty spectacular and the most outstanding outfit on the runway.  Why this team didn't place first is beyond me.  Maybe if they had affixed grilles to the front of every outfit... or explained that the square print in the wallpaper was to mimic the maps that you would no longer need now that you have a luxury car with a next generation GPS navigation system that can drive you to where you need to be, whether you know how to get their or not.

Helen, Justin and Dom

They really tried and of all the looks out there, these had the most potential to me.

Justin made pants as well.  They had an unfortunate fit.  The other unfortunate thing was that they chose a white material to compliment the red wallpaper.  The result fell flat for all the looks.  Except for the interesting hem shape and the fitted waist, there's nothing interesting about the top.  The hot pepper trim (I sure hope the model --and Justin for that matter-- did not get contact dermatitis from the peppers) looks more like jewelry and less like a trim.  perhaps if he had been able to trim the hem of the top as well....nah, never mind.  The judges were on snorting new car fumes back stage or something.  Maybe the bald guy from marketing was off stage with a bullwhip.....  They would have never noticed this team.

Dom's dress featured interesting stalactites that she said were inspired by the sporty lines of the affordably priced luxury car.  Those are berries around her waist.  I'm sure the model's elbows were pink by the end of the day.  Those were likely inspired by the crevices in the back seat of my car, which are now filled with gummi candies from a 12-hour trip with our boys.

And Helen was clearly inspired by the airbag technology that has saved so many lives on the road.  The little berry/flower embellishment is a tribute to those lives lost before airbags were put in cars.

Actually, I don't know what inspired Helen to make this outfit and she didn't say.  Perhaps this was the only thing she could do with the weird material.

What have we learned, if anything?  In the challenge, always remember who's sponsoring the show....and I need to clean out my car.

Until next week, thanks for stopping by!


  1. Kate's struck me as pure streetwalker wear, but the judges evidently didn't see it that way, and some commenters on other boards even felt that Kate was robbed of the win. Go figure.

  2. I was too lazy (and tired after a 12-hour trip) to pull stills from the show, otherwise I would have shown the full-on side view with those sheer panels. Had anyone actually worn this at an event, it would have ended up on TMZ.