Friday, September 1, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 3

I'm happy to report that episode 3 was much more entertaining than episode 2. While the Annoying Twins were (indeed) still annoying, there was less focus on them this week. There was plenty of other drama though. The good kind, involving fashion, and not over-the-top personalities or lying or back-stabbing or any of the other childish stuff that adults do when they are thrown in a room full of other people and submerged in a high-pressure situation like a reality competition. Or the White House.


Heidi is attempting to teach Tim how to dance. She tells him to "shake his booty," but he's not altogether sure what part of the body constitutes his booty.

They jump behind the runway scrim and their shadows tell a story that makes the assembled designers laugh. When they emerge, Heidi and Tim present the next challenge, which is to create a fashionable look informed by dance, movement, and innovation. For inspiration, they watch the new animated movie, Leap! conveniently open in theaters right now and possibly one of the reasons the season started so late this year. The movie was released last Friday, the 25th, and it was important for the PR episode to run at about the same time. (If the season doesn't seem to have started late to you, take into consideration that Fashion Week starts next week and the PR show is slated for the morning of September 8th, a week from today. And there are still how many designers left? Yes, it looks like the finale will once again be an anonymous show that will have the designers introductions added digitally after the fact. But I digress. As usual.)

After the movie, members of Hiplet, a troupe of dancers that do hip hop dance en pointe, do a demo. While I know there are people who are excited about this mashup, personally I think it needs some work. Hip Hop dance is amazing. Ballet is amazing. The two together appear to me to be ballet with lots of arm waving. And "Hiplet" (pronounced "hip lay") is quite the awkward bi-lingual portmanteau. But I'm sure it will be super popular and they'll make a movie and a Broadway show about it and the Bolshoi will incorporate it into their repertoire and people will say I was wrong and mean to criticize. But everything needs criticism--how else do we know when things need to be improved or changed?

The designers get 30 minutes to sketch right there in their seats by the runway before spending $200 each at Mood. Margarita tells us she's inspired by the traditional Puerto Rican dance style called Bomba and the ruffled costumes women wear while doing this dance. Kintaro is inspired by classical ballet, sans hip-hop, as he played classical piano since the age of 3. He plans to do something Swan Lake-ish. Kudzanai wants all of the colors that Mood has to offer for his African-inspired design, which by the looks of the piles of stuff he's purchasing is based on ancestral clown vomit.

Back in the workroom, the first line of business for the Annoying Twins is to drop an entire box of straight pins on the floor and scurry noisily like angry squirrels to pick them up. On a calmer, gentler note, we see that Mexican Michael and Puerto Rican Margarita have bonded because of their shared language. Plus they both seem to be kind and gentle people. This is one of my favorite things about creative reality competition shows (the only kind I watch), the moments when, instead of table flipping and under-bus people-throwing, contestants find common ground and bond. 💜

Deyonté has purchased several fabrics in a fabulous shade of chartreuse, which happens to be my favorite color. I am picturing an end result that is beautiful and flowy, with a long skirt that has lots of movement. But before we get to see his vision completed, Deyonté drives the sewing machine needle down sideways through his finger tip. It's bad enough that the medic has to come and bandage him up, but there's also blood on the sewing machine. Which Deyonté wipes off with a tissue? Hey, producers, it's blood! Shouldn't there be some hazmat team around to do clean up when this sort of thing occurs? The designers use the same sewing machines regularly, but think of the models who might have to wear bloodstained clothes. Not saying that anyone has anything communicable, but why take the risk?

Meanwhile, the Annoying Twins are running around like the proverbial headless chickens. Baldie is dying her fabric in a separate room, but before she gets that far, she knocks over a table. The floor is slick, so both twins take turns falling down as they run around. Is running part of their process? Or are they disorganized? or just not linear thinkers? Not only are they racing about like toddlers after too many cookies, they're calling to each other every few minutes, "hey, pumpkin, can you come look at this?" for help/critiques/moral support/just for shits and grins. Note to the producers: Next time you have twins as contestants, make sure they're Siamese. There will be half as much running around, and no need to shout for your twin's attention as she is literally right there.

Quite the opposite of the Annoying Twins is Brandon, who seems very zen. The designers have started teasing him about it, how he gets in the zone and can ignore everything around him--including direct questions--while he's cutting and sewing. It's really a great ability to have, especially when you're stuck in a room with Baldie and Hairy.

Tim comes in for his critique, which doesn't seem to have as much of the usual hand-to-chin contemplation (though there is some of it). He's in love with almost everything. Kenya's patterned suit is "smashing," Michael's dress and cover-up are "fabulous," Samantha's black dress with many textures is "quite magnificent," Amy's convertible jumpsuit/sweater is "remarkable." He even doesn't hate what the Annoying Twins are doing, but he tells Hairy to stay away from Red Bull and Coffee and Baldie that perhaps she's a tad too literal in her interpretation of the dance portion of the challenge. Tim seems to like pink-haired John Lennon's jumpsuit idea, but doesn't want it to be a "puu-puu" platter of different treatments. When he gets to Margarita and listens to her explanations of ruffled sleeves and ruffled skirt, he tells her he's afraid it's "full-on costume," which it absolutely is. Ayana has a "lot going on," and Kudzanai's design with its fringe and feathers and gee-gaws, is "a lot of look," but overall, Tim "couldn't be happier" with the work so far.

The designers who received criticism rework their looks a bit. Margarita decides to turn the bodice of her bodysuit around, so the revealing open back becomes a midriff-baring front. She keeps the ruffled sleeves but tones down the skirt. Ayana got dinged for her fabric choice, so she uses the reverse side, which is more subtle. But Kudzanai is going full steam ahead with his cacophony of colors, textures, and trim. When the models come in for a fitting, the part of it that he has assembled looks like a bad arts-and-crafts project. Nobody is getting a "loser edit" this week, but I start feeling that something is up with Kudzanai. Either the judges will hate his look, or fall in love with it, as they sometimes do with absolute bullshit.

Margarita is also having issues with blood, only not her own. Her outfit is still pinned together during the fitting. While undressing, one stabs the model, who bleeds. Did I mention Margarita's outfit was all white? Cotton, no less. I have to wonder if she's going to resort to splashing red paint on her look to make the blood match, or if she will be able to hide it. Speaking of blood, Deyonté is in pain, but needs to finish his dress. It looks terrible on the model; it's too short, which makes her legs look very very long, which only emphasizes that it's too short. Pink-haired John Lennon's model has a longer torso than he allowed for, so he has to recut parts of his jumpsuit. Brandon's model is happy that she's working with him because, "all the girls are kinda like in love with him." It's the zen.

The next day, everyone gets time to finish (mostly) as models are sent down to the Ding Dong! Avon Calling Studio for makeup and The Ratings Are So Low Nobody Wants To Sponsor Our Hair Salon to get their hair did. And let's not forget accessorizing with baubles from WalMart Claire's Boutique JC Penney!

The guest judge for this week is 14-year-old Maddie Ziegler, formerly of Lifetime's Dance Moms, dancer in Sia videos, author, model, fashion designer, and star of the movie Leap! I only know her from the videos for Chandelier and Elastic Heart, which were impressive, considering she was 11 or 12 when she made them. She is such a good dancer, one can almost ignore that Shia LaBeouf was in the latter video. The runway show is pretty good, some garments are really pretty fab, but there can only be three top and three bottom looks and they are:

Top: Batani, Margarita, and Brandon

Zac wasn't into the metallic material in Batani's butterfly-esque caped outfit, but he liked the look overall. The judges felt it flowed nicely and really fit the dance theme. Everyone felt Margarita's was dramatic, crisp, and fashionable. They loved the spirit and the little pop of color (not from the blood stain, but from a bit of red on the bodice and on the underside of the skirt. They thought turning the bodice back to front was very smart fabrication, and they even liked the puffy sleeves. But Brandon's layered shirt dress blew them all away. It was well made and creative. Other adjectives used were chic, cool, modern, and lyrical.

Bottom:  Deyonté, Kentaro, amd Kudzanai

Poor Deyonté's injury didn't get him any sympathy for his poorly-made and ill-fitting dress. The skirt was too short, the waist came up too high and looked uncomfortable. The proportion of the hi-low hemline was way out of wack. Additionally, the entire bodice was pinned closed because he didn't have time to sew it shut. Not to mention that it did nothing good for her boobs. Kentaro got dinged for not having a good "runway impact." His interpretation of the dance aspect of the challenge was a bit too literal, and it seemed as if he didn't make enough of an effort. Especially when it turned out that the back of the skirt was open, like an apron. Kudzani, on the other hand, made too much of an effort. Zac thought he was overly inspired by the children's movie, what with all the colors and fringes and feathers. It was like a pinata exploded. The construction was ambitious, but a mess. Maximalism to the max. I think the dress itself, without all the shit on it, could have been interesting for an athleisure challenge, as it reminded me of an oversized sweatshirt with extra details. Alas, this was not that kind of challenge.

It was no surprise when Brandon was declared the winner, as they positively salivated over his dress. Also not a surprise was Kudzanai's aufing. What did kinda surprise me was that Tim didn't say his usual, "we're going to miss you/I'm going to have to tell you to pack up your workstation" lines. It was basically, "bye!" Strange, because Kudzanai seemed to be a nice, quiet, hard-working guy and Tim even seems to like the schmucks. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, huh?

Next week: the designers get to sleep with some guy named Al Fresco at the top of the Empire State Building!

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