by Todd O'Dowd
Greetings l’étoile readers! It’s week 6 of Project Runway, the sixth week of us cheering on local designer Raul Osorio as he competes to win the fan favorite competition (by tweeting #teamraul), and the sixth week of our weekly viewing parties at moto-i.
What? Just because Raul’s not in the show doesn’t mean that we have to stop cheering on his quest to win the fan favorite competition and a cash prize of $10,000. So we encourage you to vote frequently and vote often.
Okay now on to business… and that business being the world of real women’s fashion.
•In a twist that sounded like some extreme version of What Not To Wear, Heidi announces that each of the designers will be competing in a makeover challenge for a real woman as nominated by a close friend of theirs. And all of the designers react in varying degrees of horror (“Do we have a choice?” asks Dmitry) in the indignity of having to make a garment in one day for a person who isn’t a sample size.
•Side note: As I was discussing the episode with the various attendees at tonight’s viewing it hit me; why don’t they go all in and have the designers make a garment that must be flattering for a plus-sized retailer (a la Lane Bryant)?
•Once the consults get under way it’s interesting to see most of the designers make the best of it (with one notable exception, which will be discussed in a bit) and seem excited to try their hand at giving the client what they want. Gunnar, in particular, seems well equipped for this challenge; with his background in making custom pieces for private clients, he knows how to approach client relations. And while I could detect a little bit of producer manipulation in an attempt to redeem Gunnar, he was genuinely sweet with his client and it reflected in the final garment.
•On another side note: Fabio’s video conference was slightly shocking. Not because of his boyfriend, but that his boyfriend looked so conventionally normal that it was slightly jarring and not at all what I pictured.
•Meanwhile, several of the designers clearly struggled with this challenge. Sonjia was on the right track with her ideas but was clearly struggling with trying to make proportions work for her client. Nathan’s client, an “up-and-coming” R&B singer, wanted an exposed midriff but still remain classy at the same time.
•But all of this is but a prelude to Ven’s piss-poor attitude throughout the challenge. From badmouthing his client to the other designers and Tim, to making cracks about the belts being too small for her, it was a nightmare. Literally every single designer in the room was looking at him sideways in response to his shoddy treatment of the client.
•Runway time and mostly the looks are a little lackluster. I give credit to both Elena and Alicia for creating flattering looks for their clients. They, along with Melissa and Christopher, are safe.
•As for the top three: Dmitry’s chic aqua dress was stylish and really flattered the figure and coloring of his client. Gunnar’s rapport with his client came through resulting in a lovely black empire-waisted cocktail dress that encouraged his client to really sell it on the runway. But Fabio takes the win with a deceptively simple gray on gray color blocked dress that really accentuated all of the great features of his tomboyish client while still feeling like something she would actually wear. Well done, Fabio.
•As for the bottom three: Sonjia’s blue dress was a good idea in theory, but the proportions were off (the skirt was too short and the knotted fabric in front sat too high on the client’s body). Ven’s skirt is praised by Nina, but the turquoise top is unflattering and the pieces do not work well together. Then the judges lash into him for his issues for designing for (gasp!) a bigger-figured woman, which leads to the client’s friend having a breakdown on the runway. Nathan’s look is a hit with his client, but it draws Michael Kors’ ire not only for the construction choices he made but the fact that he couldn’t commit to either street wear or stage wear.
•Unintentional Comedy Moment of the Night: When Heidi said that Nathan’s dress made his client look like “a hoochie mama.” Michael explained to guest judge Alice Temperley that it means “a tart.”
•In the end Heidi teased that more than one designer was going home but in the end it was just poor Nathan, which is a shame as (a) his clothes were, for the most part, impressive and competent, and (b) it really should have been Ven going home in response to his behavior.