Sunday, September 29, 2013

Project Runway Season 12, Episode 11: Double Jeopardy

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!

This week, we learned a few things in real time.

Thing one: Ken is off his rocker.

Thing two: Helen alternates between being off and on her rocker.  

This season, the drama seems to come in layers, like an onion.

This week's challenge was the perennial HP make-your-own-fabric-pattern challenge and we learned a few things in Project Runway time.

Thing one: HP has totally abandoned the keyboard on its pad thingy.

Bradon checks out the new HP Karl Rove.  
Karl Rove: "Clearly, my namesake is inspired by my adept use of the whiteboard."
Thing two: Some designers figured out how to break out of the blocky pattern repeat during the HP challenge, which made me very very happy.

Thing three: This late in the competition is NOT the time to load the designers down with silly hoops through which they must jump.  This week it was HP muses....people who had invented something or were top in their field or may appear in future HP commercials.

What was the point of Alexander decorating the ugliest cake ever?
Thing four: I'm pretty convinced now that the show has crossed over with Breaking Bad because the judges were on something that compromised their ability to reason.

Skinny Pete: "You got a problem with my business?"
And finally, thing five: None of these designers have a future designing fabrics.

Let's dive in and take a look at the garments.


With all the over-the-top drama divas gone, things were getting a little too boring for Helen, so she decided to subject everyone to her creative block.

Helen:"See this design I drew?  It's a turd ball of epic proportions.  I'd need to start over but I don't know what to do."
Kate: "You're about to find out that I'm the wrong person to ask this week."
Helen: "See this pattern I designed?  It's a crime against humanity.  Call the UN Tribunal."
Helen: "I'm the WORST PERSON EVER!"
Dom: "If she ever lets me go, I'm calling security...."
I could see where Helen really struggled.  She designed fabric based on her artist who alters enlarged photographs.  How she got this pattern from that I'll never know.  The result looked a bit juvenile.

So she resorted to her comfort zone and pieced the fabric together with a cream material.

"I went for a minimalist look so that I could minimize my suffering."
From a distance, the pattern has an interesting shape to it.  The fit, unfortunately, is a little tight.  No mention of that from the judges, however....

Heidi: "It's PAAT-ri-o-tic!"
Nina: "You pieced the fabric with cream.  That makes it look vintage."
Zac: "Definitely vintage Americana."
Right!  Nothing says "vintage Americana" to me like an exposed midriff!

There's nothing overtly offensive about Helen's dress.  It's well constructed, even if the fit is a bit tight.  The shoulders and the midriff give it a sort of modern-minimalist vibe.  I'd give her credit for taking what could have been a very juvenile fabric, mixing her tears with the frustrations of her fellow designers, along with some cream fabric and coming up with a piece that "made it work."  Nina was right about one thing, the elements of this dress are horrible--the print, the cream fabric, the design.  However, all together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  What helped Helen immensely is that midway through the season, she steered toward very simple piecing that allowed her a lot of time for the neatest stitching on earth.  In the close up shots on this dress, the stitching was impeccable.  There wasn't a single pucker, even though she had to stuff her model into the dress.


Oh my goodness, we almost lost Justin this week.  The pattern was....interesting.  It involved bubble shapes and an "I love you" in sign language (which is featured upside-down at the top of this swatch.)

The dress, as he designed it, had too many elements.

"My muse was Miss America, who likes to wear very low-cut tops when she works with her charity organizations.  I designed this gown so that she's be a little more covered up on top, but also communicate "I love you" in sign language."
The judges were really harsh.

Zac: "You tacked those chiffon panels on at the last minute, didn't you?"
Nina: "Your pattern isn't very beautiful, but you still covered it up, which undermines the challenge."
Heidi: "Why did you make Miss America a gown?  That is so expected.  She really could have used a sexy dress."
The bodice really was the best thing he's done in the competition.  The skirt, however, was a tacked-on mess.  I really thought (and he really thought) he was a goner this week, but he ended up safe.  Why?  Because the sign language interpreter in the back knows karate and isn't afraid to use it.

"Keep fooling yourself. Why do you think Peter Som isn't wearing any socks?  He's overheated from the meth.  Zac's wearing a stupid ascot because you can't tie a proper tie on meth.  Look at Heidi, covering up her arms with fabric this week.  The L'Oreal hair and make-up room needed a SWAT team to make these people good on camera."

This was safe.
"That's cuz it's my favorite outfit.  Very meth-head chic."
Ohh....NOW I get it!  Thanks for clearing that up, Skinny Pete.  I was scratching my head all week about this decision.


Inspired by chocolate, Alexander designed some very interesting fabric.

Unfortunately, the actual scale was a lot larger.  Had it been smaller, he could have played with the diagonal stripes it created and it could have looked like chocolate ribbons.

Instead, he was inspired by the blocks and....well...

"It's sort of a play on words with my last name, 'Pope.'"

Zac: "She looks like a cult leader."
Heidi: She doesn't look sexy at all.  I would not wear this dress."
Nina: "It looks like you put white tape on the dress."
It was Death by Chocolate this week for Alexander.


What happened to Kate?
"You see, the first time you take it, you think you can do, kill cops with your bare hands, make a beautiful dress with lots of gathers in less than a day..."
No Pete, since I simply can't imagine the beautiful Kate as a meth-head, I have to blame her muse, who was a computer geek who founded some sort of crowd-source funding website.  Kate got all "geek chick" on us and started talking about hidden binary code.

Binary code.
Hidden under the dress. 

And this week, it was control-alt-delete for Kate.  I thought she was going all the way.  You thought she was going all the way.  It was a shock, but then again, so was this dress.


Bradon proved two things were possible this week.  You can make a chic pattern on an HP Karl Rove tablet thingy and it is possible to make a chic dress out of tacky tube top material.

Bradon's muse was a championship BMX biker.  He made a jacket that no biker would ever wear using a pattern inspired by an urban grid pattern.  But what took this look over the top was the tube top material dress he designed underneath.  All the judges adored it.


This week, Dom FINALLY got her due.

Very Alexander McQueen, however with her point of view of bright colors and a fresh, urban/tribal look.  Zac declared it "runway ready."  She was inspired by her muse who runs and organization that brings peoples of different cultures together and the unified elements of the dress reflected that nicely.  This was the clear winner this week and very well deserved for Dom, who continues to impress me, week after week.

We're down to the final five.  Next week, the final four are chosen.  Until then!


  1. The judges did mention that the fit was a little tight (for Helen).

  2. Yes, Heidi herself declared Helen's dress too tight on her model's hips.

  3. But it wasn't a big deal. Not like the cross that Alexander had to bear.

  4. Helen: "See this pattern I designed? It's a crime against humanity. Call the UN Tribunal."