Monday, September 11, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 4

Sorry that this recap is so late - I made a quick trip to NYC to see a couple of shows for New York Fashion Week. While the big Project Runway finale show wasn't one of them, I did get to see the team up between Mychael Knight and Korto Momolu. More on that in a separate post.

Episode 4 begins with Heidi and Tim strapping on backpacks to introduce the next challenge. Heidi is wearing the same black floral minidress she was wearing for the runway show in Episode 3, so I can only assume that this intro bit was filmed immediately thereafter. Otherwise, Heidi should have had time do something more interesting with her hair. This week's challenge is to design sleepwear for Heidi Klum Intimates new line of sexy pjs using textiles that the contestants create themselves by hand. Why the designers are always excited about the Heidi challenge are beyond me. For one thing, she's getting free labor. For another, the design is offered for a limited time. The PR designs are always much more interesting and intricate than the usual basic stuff that Heidi offers, so the production costs are likely higher. But she can only charge so much for the piece, because the price point should fit with the rest of her line. So if she's not making $$$, there's no point in putting the winning design into real production. And of course none of that cash is going to the person who designed the garment. Does anyone actually remember the winner of any of the previous Heidi challenges? Was it a launching pad to their success?

The way some designers react to things, I have to wonder if they've ever watched Project Runway in the past. Why are they always surprised that the very first challenge of the season starts within minutes of all the designers meeting for the first time? Why are most of them shocked and dismayed at team challenges, or unconventional materials challenges, or any challenge at all that is somewhat...challenging? Or are they directed to feign surprise/shock/dyspepsia?

Sorry for my aside (though you should be used to them by now)...back to the show. The inspiration for today's Heidi Klum Intimates challenge is to be found at the Empire State Building, where the designers will be spending the night. The backpacks that were distributed by Heidi and Tim contained rather sheer (cheap? Heidi Klum collection?) pajamas and a dossier of each designer's new model.

The designers are shown parading down 5th Avenue to the iconic Art Deco building while wearing their matching jammies. Ya know, I've been to NY dozens of times, and recently have been staying at hotels very close to the Empire State Building, but I've never been in it. Certainly not while in my jammies. I suppose I should rectify that situation at some point, but the $34 dollars it costs to ride the elevator to the top could buy a nice dinner, even in New York.
The Annoying Twins are freaking out over the idea of sleeping on the top of the Empire State Building. OMG! It's so high! Good thing they're only sleeping on the 86th floor, because being up on the top floor--the 103rd--would probably cause heart attacks. Lucky for them, there's no room for that sort of nonsense all the way up there.

The designers get a few minutes to sketch before sleepy-bye time. Kenya wants to do a romper using the motifs found in the ceilings of the ESB, but she's worried that she's never decorated fabric before. Michael is inspired by the Chrysler Building, which isn't the same as being inspired by the ESB, but it's part of the view so I suppose it counts. Kentaro was dinged for using black last week so he's vowing to decorate his maxi dress with neon colors.

Early the next morning, the designers are awakened by Tim, bearing paper sacks of breakfast sandwiches. Did they come from the Panera in the next block, or the Maison Keyser a couple blocks north? Were they still warm after the 86-floor elevator ride? Did Tim have to pay the $34? Inquiring minds need to know. I also would like to know how much bird poop they had to scrape off those sleeping bags by morning.

After breakfast, the designers head to the studio. They will have fabrics chosen by Heidi to work with, so a trip to Mood to visit Swatch is not in order. Besides working on patterns for their garments, the designers need to get started on fabric decoration as early as possible, in order for things to dry thoroughly. There are lots of paint items available, plus tools with which to make stencils and stamps--even potatoes. Good to know those elementary school art classes won't have been for naught!

The models have been switched for everyone again this week; Kentaro gets to work with one of the plus-sized gals. Rather than panic, he seeks fit advice from the two larger ladies in the cast, Samantha and Kenya. Samantha is shown suggesting how the armhole should fit so there's not too much side boob or cleavage, which is very kind of her. She understands that they can help each other out yet still be in competition. Kinda the way the Annoying Twins work, only not annoying.

Heidi comes in pretty early in the day to demoralize the group. She suggests that the Annoying Twins, who have been running around and chattering with each other all morning do more work and less talking. Heidi thinks Hairy's design might be a bit too basic. She's also not getting Baldie's desire to make a jumpsuit, because women have to go to the bathroom frequently during the night. If it takes too long to disrobe, a woman could pee herself. I have one suggestion: trap door.

Deyonté is doing something with wide mitered stripes that Heidi suggests could be a clown costume. Ouch. Also the angle of the stripes point directly to the vajayjay, which is always a no-no in Heidi's book. Kenya, who is struggling, is working on a piece that doesn't look like it could be sleepwear. It's too fitted and has no ease. Amy wants to put the NY skyline on the rear end of a pair of panties, which gets a no vote from both Heidi and Tim. Ayana's look is daringly sheer. She says there's no need to do a modest look for something that's only worn indoors.

After Heidi leaves and the designers stop crying in despair, they rework what needs to be reworked. Then the models come in for their fitting, which causes more reworking. Finally everybody gets to go sleep in their own pajamas in their own beds.

The next day, everyone is sent to the Cosmetics Your Mother Used to Sell Because Your Father Wouldn't Let Her Get a Job Outside the Home makeup studio and the Comb-overs by Donald Trump hair salon. Tim also advises them all to use the JC Penney accessory wall not the usual "thoughtfully," but "carefully." Or maybe not at all because isn't this a sleepwear challenge? Personally, I don't feel the need to accessorize the over-sized Orioles t-shirt I wear to bed, but perhaps I am missing out on a new trend. A new trend that I really don't care about.

Demi Lovato is guest judge this week. Apparently she's also a fashion designer because she's got a line of sports bras and leggings with Fabletics, a sports bra and leggings company owned by Kate Hudson. Hadn't sports bras and leggings already been designed decades ago? How does having her name on these things make Demi Lovato (or Kate Hudson) a fashion designer? Most importantly, I must ask WHY THESE THINGS ARE CONSIDERED FASHION?

The runway show is pretty decent. Well, it certainly could be worse. Pink-haired John Lennon, Kentaro, Michael, Deyonté, Baldie, and Kenya are pulled out of the line up while the rest are declared safe. The judges start on Michael's look, which is really stunning. They compliment the unique neckline, unusual strap placement, and Chrysler Building-inspired decoration on the bodice. They think this "Deco Cleopatra" look  is sexy, sophisticated, and expensive-looking.

Zac appreciates that Pink-haired John Lennon is wearing tighty whities under his frilly sheer yellow bloomers. As are we all. Heidi loves the print he created on his fabric, but the top is shabbily constructed and the shorts (not just the ones he's wearing) are not flattering.

Baldie's jumpsuit with a silver-on-silver print is really pretty nice, considering she made it. The judges used a lot of the same adjectives that they used for Michael: sophisticated, sexy, elegant. They also thought it could be worn out on the town with heels and a leather jacket.

Deyonté's look didn't seem like sleepwear to the judges The shape was "nothing," boring, and not sexy. It was definitely not flattering. He had a plus-sized model this week and he took an Omar the Tentmaker approach with his baggy pieces. And who wears a top and a long skirt to bed? A skirt? Really? And this man has slept with women before!

Kentaro also had a plus-sized model, but his flowy gown was obviously sleepwear and obviously gorgeous. Samantha had given him good advice about the placement of the straps and armholes (she could have taken the opportunity to sabotage him, but I have a feeling that she's just a really nice person) and the end result was adorable and charming, fresh, quiet, modern, ambitious, and happy.

Kenya clearly struggled through the entire challenge, which was disappointing. I think she's super talented and she's one of the designers I want to see in the finale. Heidi said she would pee her pants before being able to undo the hook-and-eye closure on Kenya's short jumpsuit. (Heidi must have a tiny bladder.) Kenya cries a little. Zac tries to be nice by praising the colors she used, though it really was kind of a hot mess.

Michael is declared the winner of this challenge. You can buy Michael's winning design at Heidi Klum Intimates.

Deyonté is out. He really looked to have some great potential after winning the first challenge of the season, but fizzled out pretty quickly after that. Too bad - I liked him.

Next week, the designers go on a road trip to a fancy house, but they don't get to sleep there.

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