Friday, November 3, 2017

Project Runway Recap - Season 16, Episode 12

We're getting down to the last few episodes of season 16, and not a moment too soon. Recapping is hard work--at the very least taxing to my brain--and I look forward to taking a break! But first, Episode 12.

The designers are in their rooms at The Box Hotel in beautiful downtown Greenpoint, Brooklyn, discussing the last challenge. It started with five designers and there are still five designers because Tim felt it was necessary to use the Tim Gunn Save™ on Margarita's shapely ass. Margarita now needs to demonstrate that she deserved to be saved.

Meanwhile, Kenya really wants a win. She wanted it last week, and perhaps deserved it, but a challenge win remains elusive. Not for Brandon, however, who is seeming less-humble and more "too big for his [poopy-pants]" with each passing week. He won the last challenge and wants to win again. Two consecutive victories would definitely go to his head, which is already full of straps and buckles and flowy noodles of fabric. Kentaro is feeling stupid because unlike Brother Brandon Who Can Do No Wrong, he's been on the bottom for the last two weeks. [Insert Sad Kentaro Emoji Here]

The designers are then seen on the runway set waiting for Heidi and/or Tim to emerge from behind the scrim. They get both this week. Heidi is wearing the kind of short sparkly dress that she is known for favoring. She's not yet what people might call "long in the tooth," but she's wearing something I stopped wearing when I was 10 years younger than she is now. But then I never did have her legs.

Suddenly, it starts "snowing" on the runway. Heidi twirls and encourages Tim to catch snowflakes on his tongue. He knows they're soap or feathers or some other fake shit and ignores her, but still manages to get some in his mouth.

 I half expected Heidi to start singing her "hit" song, "Wonderland." In case you've forgotten....

It's November in the real world and it should be chilly--the perfect time to watch a winter challenge. Only it's 75°F in Baltimore so it actually seems a bit odd to hear that the designers need to create "high-fashion winter looks that any fashionista would be thrilled to wear on a winter day." Strange though it seemed for the viewer, it was probably even more so for the designers as the episode was probably filmed in the spring.

Heidi leaves, but Tim stays to play chaperon. The designers are going on a field trip! They are off to experience the coldest place in New York, a gimmicky joint in the Hilton Midtown called Minus 5 Ice Bar. Everything in the place is made from ice--the walls, the seating, etc.--so to keep patrons warm, they offer parkas and gloves...for $22 per person! For $20 more, you can get two specialty "ice cocktails" to speed up the hypothermia process. To get the ugly fake furs that the designers donned, one has to pay $75, which also gets one a souvenir hat and a photo (the website insists this combo of useless future-dust-collecting souvenir tchotchkes is a $100 value), but takes away one of the cocktails. What the everloving fuck? People must do this, because there are two more of these joints in Vegas and one in Florida. Baltimore had one at some point, too, but apparently visitors to our fair city have more sense than to blow money on the opportunity to sit on an ice cube and "get piles."*

When I went to Fashion Week in February of 2016, it was about 5°C in NY, and I'm telling you, it was not fun in the least.

Tim doesn't bother putting on one of the coats, because he knows that scores of smelly tourists harboring bedbugs have already worn them. He leaves the designers to attempt sketching while wearing thick gloves and beats a hasty retreat in search of a hot cup of coffee.

The designers later thaw out at Mood, where they have $400 to blow on materials since most of them will want to make coats. Margarita is inspired by the ugly faux coats at Five Below Minus 5 and decides to use real fur in her design. She can only afford rabbit pelts, but loads up on them. As she's checking out, Tim announces that real fur is verboten. Project Runway is a "cruelty free" show, but apparently that only refers to animals and not to the way they torture the audience with contestants like the Annoying Twins. Time is up and they have to leave. Margarita seems fucked.

After the commercial break, Tim says that it's his fault that Margarita is short on materials and he allows her five minutes to find a replacement for the dead rabbits she was going to use.

Back at the workroom, we see Kenya in love with her fabric, a large-scale plaid clearly inspired by one of Herb Tarlek's suits (a character on the 70s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, for you young people), or an ugly 70s couch, maybe with some crochet pillows on top. I have flashbacks to my youth every time that fabric is on screen. Kentaro, on the other hand, is using some yummy-looking thick beige-y fabric that he thinks makes his jacket look like whipped cream. Brandon is working with waxed cotton, which is very heavy and crinkles easily. He's planning on distressing it and lining it with fleece.

The day is short because of all the shopping and freezing, but they have another full day for the challenge. The next morning? afternoon? Tim comes by to see what the designers are doing. He advises Kentaro to use the "whipped cream" fabric for his entire look and to forgo the lavender and screaming yellow fabrics he purchased.

Kenya tells Tim she's going for a classic look, and he advises her that it should be "Kenya Classic" and not merely "classic." The pieces going under her hideous plaid coat need to have some sort of innovation going on so that she can finally win a challenge. Brandon of course, Mr Can Do No Wrong, has exceeded Tim's expectations, so we know he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Except to Fashion Week.

Ayana shows Tim her long coat, which is hot pink on the top and black the rest of the way. She's contemplating putting white paint on it, but Tim looks at her like she's got three heads. She's got too much going on already, considering the coat also converts to a jacket. Instead, he asks her to splatter some black paint on a scrap of fabric, as a test. It's rather Jackson Pollock-y, but he likes it and advises her to go for it.

Margarita's lime green dress with fur cuffs makes Tim think of "Tippi Hedren in The Birds," a reference that probably went over the heads of much of the audience and at least a couple of the designers. He advises her to try something else. An all-fur dress? Why not?

The next morning, Tim tells the designers they have an hour to send the models through the paint department at Home Depot for make-up, and that they should use the JC Penney Accessories Wall "only through the lens of what you've designed." Whatever that means.

I initially thought this week's guest judge was Margaret Colin, but it's actually Katie Holmes, who is 20 years younger. I suppose keeping her daughter out of the clutches of Scientology took a lot out of her. Heidi is wearing her pajamas for the occasion, which are at least more attractive than that hideous top made of old foil gift wrap that she wore last week.

The judges are pretty complimentary to everyone. Are they all on top this week?

Zac thought it was nice to see a winter version of Brandon's trademark straps and buckles and crop tops (oh my!). His outfit felt both luxe and street and it all fit together effortlessly. There was a nice sense of proportion and texture, although he didn't need to make both the NFL apron-style belt muff and a fleece-lined shoulder bag.

Heidi said that an all-fur dress was tricky, but Margarita's worked. None of the judges were impressed with the way the dress was made in the back, but the coat was classic and impeccable. The "surprise effect" of the fur was "everything" to Nina. It seemed the judges were being nicer than usual. Perhaps they all partook of some "specialty ice cocktails" before the show. And when I say "ice," I mean "crystal meth."

Heidi and Nina both like Ayana's convertible coat, but thought the clown costume romper underneath was a bit costume-y and childish. Zac felt the coat was "fresh."  I thought it looked like she walked by a construction site and got splattered with roofing tar.

Kenya's ugly plaid coat had "attitude" but her styling wasn't high fashion enough. Each of her three pieces were nice individually, but perhaps didn't work together. And the high pants made her model's torso look very short.

They all loved Kentaro's look, which he said was inspired by his model, Meisha. It's very modern and sculptural, and Heidi thinks it's "heaven from head to toe." It's the "chic-est snow woman" Zac has ever seen, both sophisticated and youthful, which is a hard combo to manage.

Each of the designers are then asked why they deserve to go to Fashion Week and which two others they would want to go with them. Kenya cries as she describes her money situation, and Margarita seems a bit shaky, but the other three are fairly confident. Brandon and Ayana are the two designers that most would want to see at Fashion Week, with Kentaro getting a couple votes and Kenya getting one. Nobody wants to take Margarita, which she notices.

The judges manhandle the five looks before making their decisions. Heidi congratulates Kentaro, Brandon, and Ayana, telling them they are each going to NY Fashion Week. Surprisingly, Margarita is also told that she has a slot at FW, leaving Kenya fretting on the stage alone. We then see her walking into the green room, appearing quite sad, before she announces that she, too, will be going to Fashion Week! No doubt her tears were affecting.

The episode started with five designers and ends with five designers. We don't seem to be making any progress here. However, the promo for next week shows Heidi telling the five that they will each get $10K to create a 10-look collection, but only three of them will be going forward. Or in reality, only three of them will be in contention for the prize; they'll all show, with the addition of Michael, who left what? three weeks ago already?

I still maintain that the top three will be Ayana, Brandon, and Margarita. Guess we'll find out next week if I'm right!

* My mother always warned that if I sat on something cold, I'd get piles, or hemorrhoids. If your mother never warned you thusly, you are probably young.

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