Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Runway Episode 5: Wait, Don't Go!

Everyone agrees: It's far easier to dress a stick-figure model than one who is close to normal weight. And any time Project Runway trots out the non-model models, it's going to be interesting.

Usually, it's heightened by the inclusion of the designers' relatives; doing double-duty as a heartstring-puller.

Here, in a nod to real-women's bodies, Project Runway brought in as models real women who had lost significant amounts of weight. Some of these women lost more than the equivalent to a whole person! One now-petite woman had lost 160 lb!

While the clothing design drama had one spectacular failure in Steven, overall it was ho-hum. Recasting the clothing from the women's favorite outfits at their heaviest was an interesting take on the challenge.


Allowing the designers to go to Mood and buy fabric that amounted to all they needed to construct a new garment was totally not in the spirit of the challenge. Jillian, Steven, I'm looking at you two!

The tension built at the start of the episode when Jack's health issue became the focus and sadly, he decided to quit the show to seek medical treatment rather than risk his health. For surviving 17 years with HIV, I have to give him credit for putting what's important - his life - ahead of a reality show. I wish him well.

Chris's Second Act

To keep up the level of challenge, that meant the return . . . of Chris! I'd sensed he was a positive, funny presence on the show - and this was confirmed in the earlier opening getting-ready-for-the-day segments when Sweet P declared her sadness over his departure and comic spirit.

But Chris had to take on Jack's model and her clothing, and so he was already behind and had to work all night to get his outfit completed. Awakening when everyone else traipsed in the next morning, Chris looked a little worse for wear but at least his garment was complete. The sash was an awful, coral-lipstick red, and matched the kick-pleat at the back of the skirt. Michael Kors and his French hooker circa-1950 comment was nearly right - really, she needed fishnets and a kooky hat or beret to complete the kitschy look.

That Chris squeaked by with his dignity (barely) intact made me jump for joy. The top he made was fitted and worked for the model quite nicely. Ditch the sash and the kick-pleat lining and she'd be good to go.

They Did it Their Way

Steven had the most challenging "favorite outfit" to start with; a bright-white wedding dress, made of flammable polyester, yards of lace and sequins, sequins, sequins.

But he would have none of it, save for a bit of the white for some Audrey Hepburn collar and cuffs that looked more like a matronly maid's outfit than an dress designed to make a newly svelte woman feel sexy.

And that's the same issue I took with Jillian, ignoring the old outfit and using other materials to create the look. Cuing off of her model's red shirt, she purchased similar red fabric and created a dress, using only a thin strip of black from the old outfit to make piping down the front of the dress. Grr.

Why didn't the judges call them on this? The challenge was to use the clothing as the fabric, and fill in the gaps for notions and trim from Mood.

Others didn't do much with the old clothes; I also had a problem with Christian's merely taking in the jeans and hacking them down to capris. But the top really did look great and his model seemed pleased.

Runway Rehash

That Ricky made it through to the next round - despite the flowing waterworks, and donning gold heels to test-drive his garment's fit - was another good moment. His model really strutted her stuff like this was an outfit she would have picked out - bravo!

What was going on with Victorya's dress? The top faux-bustier looked strange.

Elisa's tiered look was just B-A-D bad. She's going to bump up against her limitations very soon.

Kit's dress was sweet and modern.

Kevin's outfit should have won the challenge - it fit perfectly and his model came alive when she wore it. His tailoring background makes his creativity come alive . . . and I think he's only scratched the surface in terms of showing us his capabilities.

Rami's dress looked good, but I don't recall what he was working with from the start. Again, his model was energized by the outfit and she looked like she was having the time of her life.

Sweet P's dress looked pretty, but she makes me nervous with all her skittering around the work room. Is she just wearing heels and taking bitsy steps? Hopped up on caffeine and adrenaline, trying to make it work? She needs to do some meditation with Elisa each morning and chill.

And then there's Steven. He of the colorful commentary; if Bravo has any sense, they'll mix it up and keep him as an observer. Or else we'll be left with Christian's trash talk fabulousity.

I'm sorry to see Steven go, but I was starting to suspect he'd be one of those under-the-radar types whom producers thought was worth keeping around a while for his pointed observations and excellent setups for each scene. But all season long, the cameras didn't get that close to his work. With the exception of the challenge where Marion took the fall (and rightly so, for his Pocahontas dirty-from-the-basement ragamuffin getup). Or was I the only one who noticed this?

Chris, you've been given a second life on this show. It's your chance to redeem yourself and burst out of the boundaries you've set for yourself. Clearly, you have the personality, I hope you just relax and tone down the costumey effects and you'll last a while longer.

At this point I'm going to start making my top three predictions (and doing so this early on means I'm sure to have to revise in the coming weeks, but here goes:

Project Runway Season Four Finalist Prediction

1. Kevin
2. Rami
3. A toss-up between Christian and Jillian with Jillian getting the edge since I'm sure producers will want a woman to make it to the finals.

Who do you think will make it to the Final Three?

Previous Project Runway Posts
Addicted to Project Runway? Well, me, too... So read on!

Episode 4: Chris Gets Crossed
Episode 3: Three-Car Pileup
Episode 2: Of Designers and Potatoes
Episode 1: Project Runway Redux


Kitty said...

I agree with your picks. I like Kevin's style. Both he and Rami are strong picks, but Kevin is a tad more classic.

This time for some reason, Christian grew on me. His bitchy little remarks were funnier than usual.

I think that was a tough challenge. Steven made a poor call - why not make a dramatic white blouse and sash with a frilly front? He should've known better.

It's too bad. I will miss him!

Spandrel Studios said...

Yes! Totally agree with your Steven comment - for some reason I think he just had it in his mind that frilly just would be too over-the-top... but something about his model told me that would have been fine with her!

I think Christian is probably just being mouthy for the sake of screen time. That, and he's sooo young. To have that much creativity and vision at 21 is pretty impressive.