by Todd O'Dowd
It’s week three of Project Runway, week three of the l’etoile weekly Project Runway viewing party at moto-i, and week three of cheering on local fashion designer Raul Osorio as he works his way through this compe….
…. Did any of you hear that? It sounded like a stuttering engine. Well, must be something off in the wind…
Anyway, before we get to the dramatic events of tonight’s episode, let’s all hop into a Lexus and read this scintillating interview Mr. Osorio did for a certain local fashion site.
And now that the de rigeur moment of shameless self promotion is out of the way, let’s get to the bullet points. We have a lot of ground to cover today: old friends paying a visit, unseemly seams, unhappy clients, unhappier designers, and the first team challenge of the season, so let’s….
… There it is again! I can’t tell if it’s a stalled engine or… music??… Weird…
Anyway, on to the bullet points!
* The fourteen remaining designers arrive to find Tim Gunn, a man who looks like a slightly off Tim Gunn clone, and a bunch of Lexus cars. The challenge is that the designers, in pairs, will hop into the car and meet a special client, for whom they must design a red carpet ready look using the color of the Lexus that they rode in. And the clients are these women:
Please welcome back Anya (Season 9 winner – designed by Christopher & Andrea), Mila (Season 7, third place – designed by Alicia & Raul), Irina (Season 6 winner – designed by Gunnar & Kooan), April (Season 8, fifth place – designed by Melissa & Dmitry), Valerie (Season 8, seventh place – designed by Sonjia & Nathan), Laura (Season 3, third place – designed by Buffi & Elena), and Kenley (Season 5, third place – designed by Ven & Fabio).
* It was refreshing to see that some of the returning designers hadn’t changed in terms of personality. But it did cause me to have flashbacks to the various seasons in question (and to think about their outfits). It was also sad to only see one designer from the years the show was on Bravo (the first five seasons).
* Unintentional Comedy Moment #1: While listening to Anya talk about what it took to win the show, someone at moto-i said, “Just sew two pieces of fabric together into a caftan and belt it.” Which caused another member of the local commentariat to reply “Or just be a beauty queen and release a sex tape.”
* Unintentional Comedy Moment #2: Kenley proclaiming “I’m young! Hip! Fresh!” While wearing an outfit from the Lucy Van Pelt collection.
* The teams return to the workroom and it’s interesting to see the relationships emerge. Fabio and Ven work well together but Fabio was working within Ven’s guidelines. Gunnar and Kooan was as strange a strange team as it sounds, but in the end Kooan let Gunnar call the shots.
* Side note: Why is it that every time Gunnar appears, I just want to throw something at the screen?
* Then the drama kicked into high gear with Christopher trying to defer to Andrea and she just blithely working away on her skirt (which took her twelve hours). Meanwhile, Buffi (and everyone else) is slowly realizing that Elena is psychotic. It was frankly horrifying to watch.
* Unintentional Comedy Moment #3: I don’t know who told her this was a good idea, but when she wears her hair down, Elena looks even more psychotic.
* But all of this drama is nothing compared to the drama Raul and Alicia had with Mila. Now Mila’s complaint about their fabric (a wild red and black print) had some validity; if they weren’t careful, it could have looked “too daytime.” And I was worried that our man would be ….
…. There’s that music again! Why does it sound so familiar?!?… CHOOM chic chic CHOOM chic chic….
* Anyway, it’s Runway Day and things are looking up. Elena and Buffi have calmed down. But Irina notices an issue with the zipper to the dress, and gets testy when her designers aren’t attending to it. “Do you want to fix this? This is your project. I’ll go out there like this, even though I’m embarrassed.” And the shocking thing is that Gunnar is giving her attitude. I’m surprised she didn’t just haul off and say, “Listen twerp! See that wall with the nine photos of the previous winners. Who’s picture is at the top right? And where’s your headshot in the mix? That’s what I thought.” (On a side note, my guess is that the girl can’t help it – not only was she trained at Parsons, she was one of Tim Gunn’s last students before he left Parsons to work for Claiborne. In other words, she was taught right.) Meanwhile, Mila is completely shell shocked over her look, and not in a good way. Raul said it best: “She doesn’t look happy. She’s just here.”
* Runway Time, with Heidi, Michael, Nina, and guest judge Krysten Ritter. Since there are only seven looks (which can be seen on Lifetime’s website) I’m going to critique each one pretty quickly:
- Ven (Winner) and Fabio – While I can see why it won (the color and silhouette are extremely flattering for Kenley’s figure, the pleating work in the bodice and skirt is lovely), I’m not sold on it for the win since it’s a cocktail length dress. It might have won me over if it hit the floor.
- Nathan and Sonjia – I liked the use of the gold fabric, and keeping the shape simple thus letting the fabric do all of the heavy lifting. And props to a proper fit in the bodice.
- Gunnar (2nd place) and Kooan – While the dress is dramatic and they picked the right white to compliment Irina’s skin tone, the dress feels like it obliterated her natural curves. The bigger sin is that the dress was carried by choker they sewed onto it.
- Dmitry and Melissa – Oddly enough, if I had to pick a winner for this challenge, it would have to be this dress. Not only was it draped beautifully, not only did it look appropriate for the challenge, but it looked like something the client would actually wear in real life.
- Buffi and Elena – Well, I guess it’s true; combativeness can indeed lead to an interesting collaborative result. It actually looks great and well made, but the downside is that it made Laura slightly frumpy (a fact that wasn’t helped by the unfortunate hair styling).
- Andrea and Christopher – Sadly, it looked cheap and vulgar. The slit was awkward, the hem was uneven, and the back didn’t flatter Anya. If anything it felt like a poor riff on Daniel V’s dress for Iman in season 2.
- Raul and Alicia – I hate to say this, but the dress was not good. It felt shapeless and sad and lacked any sort of precision that Raul at least is known for.
…. CHOOM chic chic CHOOM chic chic CHOOM chic chic CHOOM chic chic …..
* So Ven wins the challenge, and he gets to go to the Emmys. With Kenley. Which begs the question: That’s a win???
* Unintentional Comedy Moment #4: Christopher and Andrea passive-aggressively trying to blame each other for being in the bottom.
* Unintentional Comedy Moment #5: Michael Kors chiding Alicia and Raul for not staying true to their aesthetics. While I can agree with that sentiment, it was made out that that was the reason they were in the bottom, which I have to cry foul on; there have been many designers in the history of the show that have stayed true to their aesthetic that have been eliminated.
….CHOOM chic chic CHOOM chic chic…. OH! I know what that sound is! It’s the “execution music” when they’re about to announce who’s out! And sadly, that person is Raul (which led to a pained outcry from the assembled at the screening last night). While I can understand him being in the bottom for the problems his look had, I think the reason he got eliminated was that he wasn’t willing to throw his partner under the bus. And if that’s the case, that’s a damn shame. Auf Wiedersehen, Raul. You did not deserve to be played like that. (Watch Raul’s exit interview here.)
* But all of this is upstaged by the cliffhanger at the end of the episode: Andrea is missing! It seems she disappeared in the middle of the night. Which lead the assembled to wonder what the hell is going on. Guess we’ll have to watch next week.
* Quote of the night: Raul saying, “It’s not over till I say it’s over!” As Maritza Ramirez pointed out, they’ve brought contestants back in the past (Vincent and Angela in season 3) when designers have quit the competition. Plus, Raul posted an intriguing status update on Facebook following the screening:
I can’t remember if it was said during the show or during the screening, but it’s true: it’s not over for #teamRaul. Not by a long shot. There’s still the fan favorite competition, so click the link, follow the instructions, and let’s help our friend win!
And speaking of things not being over, our weekly viewing party at moto-i will continue. So I expect to see you all next Thursday. Screenings begin at 8 pm, but get there early to nab a choice seat. #teamRaul lives on!