Friday, October 20, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 10

Now that the Annoying Twins are gone, this recap should be fairly short and sweet. Ok, maybe a tad sour, 'cuz that's just how I am. But there's not much to complain about anymore, so I think things might be a bit more pleasant around here for the next couple of weeks. Or not.

There are six designers remaining - Ayana, Brandon, Kentaro, Kenya, Margarita, and Michael. All talented. All potential winners. Of course only one of them can win all those lovely monetary prizes and sewing machines and cars and shit. All of them showed collections at Fashion Week this year. What? Don't believe me? Check out this post, which includes photos of every garment from the six Project Runway collections that were shown at Fashion Week in September. Last season, the show also included the final six contestants, and their collections were presented anonymously to the audience. Considering NY Fashion Week was at the beginning of September, over a month ago at this point, when 12 designers were left on the show, I'm thinking they did the anonymous runway thing again (and will edit in the designers thanking their moms later). But why allow six to show when, with anonymity, the top three would do? Do the top three designers have such distinctive styles that they'd easily be guessed? Take a look at the link above and see for yourself.

The challenge this week seems slightly less complicated than in previous weeks, though the designers first meet Heidi on the runway set for a cryptic admonishment to "be careful." Then they rendezvous with Tim elsewhere for the actual challenge. He's with Brian Bolain, General Manager of Product & Consumer Marketing for Lexus USA. Three Lexuses loom in the background. (Lexi?) No matter the manufacturer, they are three ugly SUVs that look just like every other SUV out there. Honestly, I don't understand the need to drive such behemoths. (It's a real riot to watch people in my narrow-streeted neighborhood try to park those things, though most of them couldn't parallel park a Fiat 500. Even my dog stops to watch the hilarity of people parking around here.) Bolain blathers on about the 2018 Lexus for a few minutes before they get to the meat of the challenge: make something fashionable with the unconventional materials that are hiding within the vehicles. Apparently, part of the blather included information about Lexus' dedication to safety, therefore the materials in question were created with safety in mind. They include not only seat belts, but also caution tape, helmets, knee pads, fire hose, reflective vests, traffic cones, etc. The designers have three minutes to grab materials, after which they bypass Mood and go directly to the workroom where they have only the rest of that day to make something fashionable. Or at least not completely hideous.

The workroom is filled with junk. Margarita thoughtfully inventories the many many items she dragged out of the SUVs, utilizing one of the now-empty tables behind her personal workstation. Kenya hasn't picked up many items at all. She seemed to have a little trouble moving back and forth from the cars to the barrels in which she was to deposit the items she was selecting, so she basically has a rubber life raft and some seat belts (plus whatever bits and bobs she had stuck down between her boobs) with which to work.

After playing with some bungee cords, Michael gets bored and goes off to call his sister, Julia. They talk about another sister who has just had surgery, and a bit about how Michael needs to stay in the competition. Julia cries because she didn't realize she missed her brother until she saw him. A little while later in the episode, Kenya calls her Mom for a chat. So one of these designers is most likely, possibly going home. Or maybe this is just something to fill the episode since there's no other drama to speak of.

Brandon is a bit lost with all the unconventional materials. He's got a rubber life raft, and he's using that to make a skirt. But what to use for a top? He's wrestling with a space blanket, a large, shiny, aluminum foil-like square of very thin mylar used to prevent hypothermia, but that just looks like a disaster. He asks Brother Kentaro to consult with him, as he needs ideas. Meanwhile, Kentaro is working with fire hoses, cutting them open and sewing the strips into large panels with which he's making a skirt for his model, Liris. He says he can't make it too short, as she has a lot of "chunk in her trunk," "trunk in her chunk." Brandon corrects him, "junk in the trunk."

Ayana is working on what she is calling a ballgown, with a sleek almost leather-looking top with bold padded shoulders and a mosaic of broken reflectors glued to it. She's planning on making a voluminous skirt of orange plastic barrier fencing. It could be amazing, or a real mess. Margarita, likewise, has really embraced the whole "unconventional" theme by turning knee pads into boob covers and red barricade tape into a skirt.

After a commercial break in which we see Brandon's Dixie cup from two weeks ago, Tim comes in to critique what has been done so far. He thinks Ayana's has the potential to be very chic. Kenya, who has settled on making a black dress, is prompted to "turn up the volume," though she is hamstrung by her lack of usable materials. A shame she wasn't able to get more seatbelts. Remember that amazing seatbelt coat that Korto made way back when?

Michael has been working on a bondage get-up with blue bungee cords. He's also made a cute bralette out of bright blue straps that he plans on putting under the bungees. Tim thinks they are two different outfits and advises Michael to go with one or the other. I think he should immediately throw them both in the trash and start over.

Kentaro tells Tim that he's lucky to have snatched all the fire hose, because it's like fabric. Tim concurs. It is like fabric. That's not really in the spirit of the challenge, is it? Brother Brandon is still trying to figure things out. Tim says he appears to be "flummoxed," which is a great word that we should all try to fit into a conversation now and again. (Instead, we--meaning you--are probably going to continue using words like "epic," and "literally" often and incorrectly). Tim reminds Brandon that he usually concentrates on silhouette, in other words, stop trying to make that crinkly foil crap work. Brandon thinks his look is "beautiful," even though the Mylar is so thin, it's impossible to sew, and keeps tearing when he attempts to put it on his model.

The next morning, the designers still have plenty to do during the hour that their models shop at Duane Reade for Great Lash Mascara, Lee Press-On Nails, and Dippity Doo.

Kenya and Ayana both have issues with their garments at the last minute, with zippers breaking and sleeves falling off, but they fix things as best they can and head to the runway.

This week's guest judge is someone named Carly Chaikin who is on "Mr Robot," one of the many shows I don't watch. She speaks with an incredibly annoying vocal fry, which makes my throat hurt just to listen to her. Why is it so hip to sound disaffected? Isn't upspeak bad enough?

The runway show is good. So good, Heidi says, "we love everything." After grumbling by Nina and Zac, she modifies her statement to "well...there's nothing we hate."

Since there are only six designers left, they all stay on the runway.

Brandon's look is critiqued first. He totally gave up on the mylar and instead made an interesting swing top from the yellow reflective vest he had been wearing and part of the life raft. He used the rest of the raft to make a skirt. Both pieces are cute, chic, and festooned with only a few of Brandon's signature flying ribbons of fabric. Zac adores it, and appreciates that Brandon was forced to play with color and texture.

Michael's bungee horror was up next. The bandage skirt and bungees squish his model's butt into unflattering shapes, and the bralette seemed ill-fitting. Nina said this look was "not one of her favorites" and that his model looked like a backup dancer. Vocal Fry said she looked "hookerish," and Zac was just disappointed. It didn't seem like Michael put as much work into his garment as the other designers did.

Kenya's dress was a bit of a hot mess in that it appeared to be lopsided and falling apart, but the judges liked it. Heidi thought it was cool. Zac liked that Kenya had painted over her materials, which gave them shine and texture. The judges praised the wide-hipped silhouette (though the model didn't seem particularly enthused about that), which they declared dramatic.

Ayana's ball gown was over the top, "hot," and "bold," though Zac felt the top was a bit outdated and cliche. The judges felt that Ayana's model looked like she was "on fire" which was what Ayana was going for. Vocal Fry went crazy over the pieces of blue reflector at the throat, which she felt pulled the look together.

Margarita's look, with its knee pad bustier and helmet shoulders, was praised for its "super-hero vibe." Other adjectives thrown her way were "innovative," "graphic," and "inventive." She was also applauded for her "wonderful" use of the materials. Maybe a tad Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles though. Zac opines that after all these weeks, with all the different looks that Margarita has presented, he still doesn't understand her design aesthetic.

Why Kentaro styled Liris to look like Pocahontas, we'll never know.The judges weren't thrilled with this at all. They thought it was kitschy and looked like a Native American costume, or a doll. Surprisingly, Margarita didn't think Kentaro was stealing Michael's Native American-inspired look from the real woman challenge of a few weeks earlier.

I figured that Brandon or Margarita would win this one, since they seemed to garner the most praise. Instead, that distinction went to Ayana, despite the "cliche" top half of her garment. Kentaro and Michael were the only two on the bottom this week, and I imagined both would get to stay because Tim had not yet used his Tim Gunn Save™. Both are good designers, and Michael had just won a challenge. But at this point in the game, nobody is safe. Michael goes home, and Tim doesn't show any real grief when he sends him to the workroom to clean out his station.

Next time: It's Pastry Week! No wait...wrong reality competition.....

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