Friday, November 10, 2017

Project Runway Season 16 Finale, Part One

Uh boy. I spent two hours of my precious time watching this episode last night and the only good thing that came of it was finding out that there is a new season of Project Runway All-Stars coming up. Two. Fucking. Hours. And for the bulk of the show we watched the designers wring their hands over which two looks they were going to send down the runway for judgement. I'm going to be really hot if next week's finale is also two hours long, because the runway show itself takes 15 minutes and who really cares about the minutiae that goes on between Zac and Nina and Heidi when they "deliberate" on who wins? It's clear to me at this point that the winner is going to be Brandon, even though he's going to send a collection of pastel jammies down the runway. There is zero tension in the show anymore, as far as who's gonna win? who's gonna be auf'd? is concerned. Gone are the days when winners were a big surprise, even if the win elicited a lot of head-scratching. I'm talking Chloe Dao, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and Gretchen Jones. I could tell from the very first episodes of season 15 and season 14 that Erin Robertson and Ashley Nell Tipton were going to be the winners. Ok, so this season I felt that Brandon was going to be one of the first eliminated because he had not designed women's wear before, but by his second win, I was pretty sure that he was the favorite. I'm not saying he's not a good designer. He's fine. He has his POV. Don't know how many women over the age of 22 would wear his straps and buckles and not look a little silly though (my blog, my opinion). There were so many strong designers this season, so many that could win. If Brandon wins, I'll be very annoyed. #teamayana

So the Final Five, who have been the Final Five for about nine weeks now, meet on the runway set for one last time before dispersing to the four winds. Heidi and Tim come out from behind the scrim to tell them that each of them will be getting $10K to create their collections, but not all five of them will be moving on to Fashion Week. Translation: all will be showing, but only three are guaranteed eligibility to win the whole shooting match. (I know. A horrible term to use in this insane gun-happy day and age.) Saying "only three are guaranteed" doesn't necessarily mean that the other two are out. To help the judges pare down however many people are going to Fashion Week, each of the five remaining designers will first show two looks that represent their collection.

Now, me being a sensible person, I would have kept this in mind the whole time I was working on my collection. The two representative looks would be priority. They could actually be the glue that keeps the whole thing cohesive. But noooo...we have to see a good hour of the designers mixing and matching garments, making their models take things off and put other things on, until they find two looks that they want to send down the runway. But that comes later. First, Home Visits™.

The designers leave NY for home; five weeks later, Tim comes to check in on them. He starts off with Ayana in Salt Lake City. She seems a little down because she's quite a bit behind. Apparently while she was in NY filming the first 92 episodes of the season, her apartment got flooded by her upstairs neighbor's leaking waterbed or some such tragedy. Cleaning up took time away from sewing. Before Ayana takes Tim to the petri dish that is now her apartment, she introduces him to her mother and randomly, to her friend Jax. When he discovers that her mother, also named Ayana, popped out 11 children, Tim quips, "your mother's been busy." Maybe just a little.

Only two of Ayana's fully modest outfits, inspired by a trip to her hometown in upstate New York, were complete. For the most part, Tim liked what he saw.

Speaking of Tim, you may have noticed that he was sporting a ginormous bandaid on his forehead. Surely there were more fashionable ways to hide his boo-boo?

Let's go back to "fully modest" for a second. Ayana's outfits tend not to show any skin, or hair, but they can be extremely form-fitting, as do the clothes she herself wears. How modest is that really? How is the obvious curve of a breast or ass more modest than the exposure of an elbow or an ear? Just putting that out there, and I'm sure someone will attempt to explain it to me.

Rather than sticking to the West Coast homes of two of the other designers, editing has Tim travel back east to Atlanta to visit Kenya and her band of rowdy sisters, cousins, and aunts. Tim, sporting a smaller bandage, checks out her sand and sea-inspired collection first and says though he likes her silhouettes, her sandy palette is a "snooze-fest." He suggests that she add a deeply saturated color to give it a punch.

Tim says he wants her to win, and of course Kenya feels the same way. She feels Tim's suggestions have given her a second wind, so they retire to her uncle's lovely home. There they enjoy a soul food feast of goodies like macaroni and cheese and cornbread with Kenya's grandmother, mother, and various aunts. The ladies tell Tim they eat this way every week, and he'd lose his nice figure if he did. No doubt.

Editing takes us back to the West coast to visit Kentaro, whose collection was inspired by classical piano music. To use a musical term, there's some definite dissonance going on. Tim, once again sporting the large bandaid, thinks Kentaro's pieces appear to be from three different collections.

He suggests that Kentaro think of the collection as one sonata, not ten sonatas. But Kentaro doesn't want it to look cohesive. He doesn't want it to look like the same thing over and over, because he would get bored. Unlike his brother Brandon, who obviously doesn't share the same misgivings about repetition.

Kentaro then sits at the piano and plays a little ditty he's composed for his collection. He tells Tim that he was inspired by finding a dead cat in the road. After he buried the cat, he put his ear to the ground and that's what he heard. Not sure what dead cats have to do with his collection, but artists are weird. Tim, to his credit, doesn't roll his eyes or call the men in the white coats.

No sushi and ramen lunches for Tim, he's going waayyy east now to visit Margarita in Puerto Rico. Remember back when PR was still on Bravo and he had to drive from location to location in a Saturn Sky Roadster? He'd have some real problems doing that this season, unless he had a car that flew. Margarita and Tim walk through Old San Juan, which at the time was still beautiful and colorful and not devastated by hurricanes. She takes him to meet her parents...

...then to see her collection, which was inspired by her colorful childhood and the fun house in which she grew up. She created a pretty fun textile based on the patterns of her family's old sofa, but also some tacky-ass crochet fabric with brass rings woven into it, possibly inspired by one of her mother's 70s macrame experiments.

Tim tells her to jettison the hideous stuff because it looks cheap, and that her collection would be a "sinking ship" if she included it. She should take the girl off the beach and put her on the street, whatever that means. She might get hit by a car if she does that.

Finally Tim goes all the fuck back to California to meet Brandon and his girlfriend Dana for breakfast in the park. The big bandaid is back, so we know that Tim actually did all the west coast trips at the same time, which makes sense. But apparently not for Lifetime.

After yogurt and granola, Tim goes to see Brandon's collection at his studio at the awkwardly named Academy of Art University. Brandon's collection appears to be finished and every look includes a piece made from shower curtain fabric printed with pink flamingos. I shit you not. From a distance, it looks like twee baby flowers in pastel colors, but up close, it's worse. I guarantee the judges will climb over each other to compliment it. Girlfriend Dana is like me--she is not a fan of the print. In addition to the flamingo fabric, Brandon is using materials in other pastel hues, most notably an apricot leather which seems an insult to the animal it came from.

It all looks like children's pajamas that got caught in a parachute. I know some of you out there like it, or pretend you like it, or think you should like it because it makes you hip, but I. Don't. Get. It. Tim, predictably, loves it.

Back in NY, the designers reunite at their new shared apartment before heading off to the workroom. Comparing garments, we see Brandon and Kenya are using a similar palette, but while Tim was crazy about Brandon's, he thought Kenya's was a "snooze-fest." Hm. Tim comes in to remind everyone that they need to pick two looks, which he assists with. From what I could tell, he guides them to pick one good look and one somewhat batshit look. He then tells them not to overthink things before he leaves and the "muse models," aka the ones from the season, come in for their fitting.

After a lot of hemming and hawing and changing their minds about their two looks, the designers finally get to send their models for hair and makeup. This whole process wasted about 45 minutes of my precious time that could have been put to a better use. Like sleeping.

There are only three humans at the runway show, Zac, Nina, and Tim. Heidi has reverted to her natural form, a robot consisting of a giant monitor on wheels that is wheeled onto the runway in order to give the usual pre-show spiel/judge intro. She's in LA tending to something or another, possibly being groped by Harvey Weinstein, but promises to be in NY for the big show in two days. Models walk the runway. Time for the critique.

The judges ask each designer for their inspiration and why they chose the looks they sent down the runway. To their credit, nobody responded with, "uh, Tim told me to use this one."

Kenya had a major fit issue, particularly the black dress that threatened to let her model's girls loose. The looks were "luxe" but styling was a problem. Neither needed the extra cocoon of fabric worn on top. Personally, I'm not sure these two looks were the best choices to represent the entire collection. Actually, I am very sure they were not the best choices. They were unoffensive, but didn't leave me wanting more.

Heidi loved the ease of Ayana's garments, and the color palette. There was a nice juxtaposition of distressed and refined. Ayana was one of the ones going back and forth between the looks that Tim suggested and others that she liked. She stuck with Tim's picks, which ended up being a good idea.

One of Kentaro's looks, a white outfit that appeared to be sprouting a black tulle tumor, was "questionable," but the other was super-sophisticated and expensive-looking. Other comments suggested that he was trying to hard, and was too conceptual. Also, his clothes "have no soul." Ouch. He should have told them about the dead cat that played music to him from underground. The styling, with the harsh eyebrows, was a bit wackadoodle, and made the models look unattractive.

As expected, the judges were in ecstasy over Brandon's more feminine color palette. Surprisingly Zac spoke up about the top Brandon put on Liris, saying it looked sloppy, which it did. I thought it looked like something a baby should wear. The other look also was a bit juvenile to me. But again, I. Don't. Get. It.

Finally, Heidi thought Margarita's print was just on the cusp of being hideous, it was loud and out there...but she liked it. Heidi knows from hideous, as she wears enough of it herself. She loved the "bom-ber" jacket. There was no lack of exuberance and attitude in the two pieces, but Zac didn't like the shorts, which were a little floppy and sloppy-looking. Both looks were very "resort." It was suggested that she keep the collection in NY rather than on the islands, which echoed Tim's off the beach and on the street comment. Why is it that they want people to have a POV, but suggest they change it? Margarita is not from NY, she's from an island. I don't recall fellow island resident Anya sending anything other than colorfully-patterned sleeveless maxi dresses down the runway, yet she won. Such bullshit.

The judges ask each designer once again (they asked last week, too) why he or she should go to Fashion Week. Each gave his or her own particular reason, but Kentaro seemed lost. The critique made him unsure of his work, or at least unsure he should go on to the next step.

After sending the designers to cool their heels in the green room, the judges agree immediately that Brandon and Ayana should be going on in the competition. When the designers are brought back out, Heidi tells them that FOUR will be going on to Fashion Week. Kentaro and his unenthusiastic mumblings seemed the most likely to be eliminated along with his tulle tumor, but the only person not going forward was...Kenya.

Fuck that shit. I'm pissed.

Next week: another probably 2-hour time-waster to tell me that Brandon is the winner.

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