Robert gets aufed (finally) for being boring, and a million souls cry out as one: how in god's name can a man who has designed for Barbie be so consistently boring? How is it even humanly possible?
Vincent wins a challenge (and the fan sites blaze with the fury of a million stars, all in super-nova) with a simple, tasteful black & tan sheath dress.
Jeffrey proves himself to be the most loathesome thing ever, beating out Santino by a TKO in the second round.
The challenge was simple: design an everyday ensemble for an everyday woman. Despite the fact that most of the viewers were duped into thinking this meant Martha Stewart, the everyday women who showed up were the designers mothers or sisters. Cute. Very cute. Most of these women are large. Really large, even if they aren't tall.
They aren't allowed to break into family pairings, since that would make things way too easy. Out comes the velvet button bag, and the fun begins.
Michael chooses Robert’s sister, Teresa.
Laura chooses Jeffrey’s mother, Pam, noting that she's doing it just to annoy Jeffrey, and who could argue with that reasoning?
Vincent chooses Uli’s mother, Heidi, who speaks little to no English, but that won't shut Vincent up for a nanosecond, and they seem to bond anyway.
Angela chooses Laura’s mother, Lorraine, and I think for the same reason that Laura chose Jeffrey's mom.
Kayne chooses Michael’s mother, Pamela.
Uli chooses Kayne’s mother, Judy.
Robert chooses Vincent’s sister, Patricia.
Jeffrey is left with Angela's mother, Darlene. They both look thrilled.
I need to digress here for a moment. Tim Gunn makes a big deal in "Tim's Take" on the Bravo site that Vincent won with Heidi, who is tall and slender and model-like. He (and pretty much all the other Vincent-haters out there, which is to say 99% of the Project Runway viewing audience) just rips on this fact as making things far too easy for Vincent. He (and pretty much all the other Vincent-haters out there, which is to say 99% of the Project Runway viewing audience) totally ignores the fact that Michael's model, the boring Robert's very un-boring sister Teresa, is not only willowy, but she is also very pretty, very young and can walk the catwalk like a pro.
Nobody out here in TV land is bitching and moaning that Michael had it easy, although there is a little grousing that maybe he should have won. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, people.
Before anybody gets to work, everybody saunters off to Tavern on the Green to have a little brekkies and meet the guest judge, Michael Kors' mom. She doesn't seem to be as orange as her son, but they are wearing the same clothes, or at least the same jacket. Michael has on jeans and Mom has on something else. Black trousers? A skirt? Who cares. They also look alike. Totally.
There is champagne, and this leads to two discoveries about our contestants. Laura is pregnant with her sixth child (which prompts one of the funniest lines ever to come out of her mouth: something to the effect that nobody is EVER ready for their sixth child, but at this point, what the hell, she'll just toss it on the pile with the others) and that Jeffrey is a "recovering alcoholic".
That explains a lot about Jeffrey's atrocious behavior, but not all. That comes later, when we find out that he's also an ex-junkie and a co-dependent mama's boy. And an odious bully, cry baby and total asshat.
Anyway, after a lovely brunch where the mommies do what mommies do best: embarrass the bejeebers out of their offspring by dragging out the childhood photos, we follow the gang back to the workroom to confab and sketch and the first smell of trouble comes wafting out of Jeffrey's corner. He starts with the bitching and the moaning about having to design for a "real" woman and how he just can't fathom the plus-size woman and what is up with their proportions and wahwahwah. Note: Jeffrey's mother is another slender woman.
Sketching. Shopping. Commercials. Sewing. Back come the guest models and there is a total breakdown of civilization as we know it when Angela's mother, in response to a direct question from Tim, allows as how she's not completely thrilled with Jeffrey's choices in fabric, or maybe even his design.
This sends Jeffrey into the kind of inappropriate fury that only an alcoholic junkie can summon up. He attacks Darlene with all the snarling nastiness we have come to expect from someone who admits to being Santino's friend. He hisses, he spits, he bullies, he makes the woman cry. And then, sensing that perhaps this behavior isn't going to play so well in the heartland, he sends his own mother in to smooth things over. AND SHE GOES OFF TO DO IT.
Can you say enabler? Can you say co-dependent? Oh, Jeffrey just gets a little defensive sometimes. He doesn't mean it.
Woman, that sort of covering for his lousy ass and not making him take personal responsibility for his actions is what enabled him to become a homeless junkie in the first place. Once again, I am speaking from personal knowledge. I have the Artist Down the Street and her 18 year-old junkie son to watch and learn from, not to mention any number of friends and loved ones in my own past.
Well, it all just goes on and on from there. Jeffrey responds to her unhappiness by making something that Michael Kors refers to as Comme de Garçon goes to Amish country. Frankly, I think that Michael had to work long and hard to come up with that, and it is nowhere near as brilliant as the paper brioche or the Appalachian Barefoot Barbie of last season. In point of fact, the editors could have left that particular bon mot on the cutting room floor, and it would not have been missed, nor would it have made it to the extras on next year's DVD.
Vincent refrains from making too many goofy faces, and despite the language barrier, comes up with a totally elegant day dress for the totally elegant Heidi-Uli's-Mother. Heidi-the-host asks Heidi-Uli's-Mother (in German, and boy does her face light up when she gets to use the mother tongue) how she feels about the dress, and H-U-M responds in kind (complete to the lit-up face) and H-T-H tells the rest of the judges that H-U-M loves her dress. We got it, even without the translation. I wish I spoke German, because I sort of wonder if that was really the question or if it was "So... Is he really completely insane, and was it torture to work with someone with only one foot on this plane?"
Michael Knight made a tidy little shirt dress for Robert's sister, and he made it completely reversible, because, he explained, she's a business woman who travels a lot, so the thought was to give her two dresses in one. This guy is a freaking brilliant, brilliant designer. Not to mention that he can construct that kind of garment in one day.
Laura makes one of her usual silhouettes, which, unfortunately doesn't work quite as well as could be hoped on Jeffrey's enabling mother.
Angela takes Laura's mother a woman of clean elegance and style (apple? tree? as we say in the hood: ain't no denying who that one's mama is) and turns her into a fringed piano scarf with an ugly purple shoulder bag. Lorraine gives it her best shot on the runway, and does nothing to prevent us wanting to poke our eyes out. At least there are no "signature fleurchons" (No. I am NOT going to let that go, ever.) anywhere to be seen. That doesn't mean that they aren't somewhere in there, hiding.
Robert makes two tents, one in scarlett and one in black, throws them over Vincent's sister and calls it a day.
Kayne mutilates Michael's mama by tossing her in a pair of capri pants just one or two shades lighter than her skin. This makes a short, round woman look even shorter and stumpier, and it isn't a flattering color, either. He also must have cut them a little off, because walking from the dressing room to the end of the runway has left her with wrinkles that look like she's been sitting in the center row on a cross-country flight on a budget airline. There is some sort of peach top which Kayne has unwisely accessorized with a strand of peach pearls. Nina announces "Matchy matchy" and Kayne's blood freezes, thinking this is his particular ticket to ride...into the sunset.
Uli makes a wonderful outfit for Kayne's mama. It is flowy, it is colorful, it fits and Kayne's mama struts it down the runway with the express intent of embarrassing Kayne to tears. Can I say that I like Kayne's mama?
There is a lot of debate in the fan forums about how Uli should have won, and I can see their point. But I can also see why Vincent won. It fit her body, and it fit her style. It was a timeless, very Euro-centric look from someone who normally can't get anyone to see what he sees. Maybe the fact that Heidi-Uli's-Mom couldn't understand a word Vincent said actually helped their working relationship.
In any event, despite the fact that it made Tim Gunn cry a little, Vincent won and Robert went home. In what was the most disturbing scene all night, Jeffrey sobbed like a little girl against his mother's bosom over Robert being sent home, because, he said, Robert was a nice person and these other people are not.
Knock, knock. Mr. Pot? it's Mr. Kettle here at the door for you.
Posted by Miz Shoes at August 24, 2006 09:36 AM
I think that Michael should win. Or maybe Uli. I thought this was a pretty awesome episode. Lots of drama.
Posted by: Marcia at August 24, 2006 02:23 PM
I loved this episode! I've always said that I want to see these designers create something for *real* women, not just some stick figures. It was interesting to see how poorly the ones who had the larger "models" did. I think it's very telling that they had no clue what to do with a woman's curves. I want the outfit Uli designed for Kayne's mom! I dread to see how high the bidding's gone by now...
Do I need to say that the Shmoo's behavior was completely inexcusable from just about every perspective possible? I guess anything I could add would be superfluous.
Posted by: RJ at August 24, 2006 11:01 PM
Great recap, and your site is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, darling!
Posted by: theprgayboys at August 24, 2006 11:52 PM
Keep in mind that there's a lot of editing on PR, and I think Angela's mom was being a huge baby about getting her free outfit totally her way. She comes across as someone who talks behind peoples(who she has prob w) backs. Clearly she wanted an unattractive color pallette and a jacket which is unrealistic for 1 day; because she didn't get her way, it's off to whine to Tim. At least Jeffery told her to her face that she was unreasonable, and the fact that she wanted her whole body covered in a dark color screams that she's insecure about her body's shape.
Posted by: ash at August 25, 2006 01:22 AM
What a brilliant episode ~ brilliant and cruel to an extent, since the producers had to know the women would be very ordinary indeed, and that some arch enemies would be sorely tested. Yum.
And didn't Vincent rise to the occasion? First by being so gracious to Uli's Mom; and certainly by winning with a well-executed and sophisticated design. But also by chastizing Jeffrey for being such an ass to Darlene, who did absolutely nothing to provoke him except say she wasn't crazy about the colors. My GOD; get OVER yourself.
The judges were far too generous about that hideous purple patchwork piece of puke Neck Boy put that poor woman in ~ "I see you in it..."?! says one (Heidi?) Yeah, me too. See above re:puke.
And his mother telling Darlene, "He's under a lot of pressure..." Oh, gosh. That's OK then. 'Cause, y'know, it's not like any of the others are. But then, they don't have that whole homeless-alcoholic-junkie thing to burden them. Jeff's so f*ing special. Spare me.
Michael impresses me more and more. Thoughtful, creative, well- considered designs, backed up by personal character and warmth. Plus, he admits to being a mama's boy. The guy's adorable.
I can't go to Tim's blog or the fan sites; I'm afraid I'll never get anything done again. (Case in point; is this a comment or an entry?) Sorry ~ just love your reviews!
Posted by: Gigi at August 25, 2006 04:54 PM
This is the first time I've visited your webpage. Well, you rock! You are witty and incisive. You put it all so well and definitely have evil Jeffrey figured out. With that pseudo-rebellion look and rage, he really is such an open book, isn't he?
And I totally agree with your opinion on his mother being an enabler. Certain personalities need strong guidance when they are young - a parent who can be both loving and tough. Not a doormat.
Posted by: Marie at August 26, 2006 02:04 AM
Heidi-the-host asked Heidi-Uli's-Mom how she felt about the dress. Mom-Heidi responded, "I like it very much. It's comfortable, fashionable, and fits well."
Doesn't anyone in blogland speak German, at all?
Posted by: Susinok at August 26, 2006 07:35 AM
I know what I forgot: Although my Yiddish isn't proficient by any stretch, I did understand Heidi-The-Host asking Heidi-Uli's-Mom, "How do you feel in the dress? Do you like it?" and H-U-M responding something to the effect of "This is very comfortable and I like it very much. He did a good job." I know, I know. What I wanted her to say was: "What's up with the 12 layers of fabric he wrapped around my stomach, accentuating my middle-aged middle? And the collar that doesn't go all the way around the back?"
Uli's outfit was up to $333 and Vincent's was up to $60 the last time I checked. What does that tell you?
Posted by: RJ at August 26, 2006 11:15 AM
It tells me that Vincent's outfit is more conservative than Uli's which would be contrary to the audience that watches PR.
Tim said in his podcast that Jeffy's Mom did a LOT to improve the situation. I suspect that she had also tried to get him to behave better, but it may not have been good footage.
Whatever's going on, at 30-whatever, he's really got no excuse for not being able to instantly have a disgruntled client on his side and believing in his ability. It only takes a minute or two of turning on the charm and emphasizing that he's doing his best.
I reiterate what I've said on other posts, that Uli was the only one (besides maybe Laura) who wasn't fairly afraid to touch the client and the only one with a spectacular fit on her model.
How would you feel if someone's Mom or sister thought you were getting fresh?
And I think MK is a little out of touch from modern times.
Harry Potter, Hon.
Meet your new Hogwart's Professor!
I actually loved Vincent's outfit:
The neckine in the back was a classic wide V, and showed off a pretty neck.
He took a little risk with the ruching in the back, and with a little more time, I think he could have found the balance between hip rumpled give and fabric bunchy problem.
It was a good idea there, even if the execution was imperfect.
There was also a circular buckle-like accessory in the front that was also classy, and if it had been 2 inches higher, would have made her look much thinner.
The collar had the effect it really needed to have, which was to add some refinement to the outfit while drawing attention to H-U-M's best feature, her pretty face.
The hemline was perfect for her figure and had a refined european look to it, and the back fabric looked just modern enough and yet solid enough to be believeable on a real human woman.
I still thought Uli's was wonderful, and I thought she should win, although I admit that I'm bored with her using so much tan. At least with Vincent the tan was a useful contrast.
I thought Robert got a raw deal. Seriously. This was Jeff's turn to fly.
Posted by: Somebeach at August 26, 2006 12:23 PM
I really liked this episode. It was nice to see them working for someone other then the stick models their used to. I remember somone (can't remember who) saying that it's going to be different not making an outfit for an "ideal" model and I remember thinking "I always thought clothes on stick models seems to lode it's luster abit." I'm not saying that all thin models look dead or anything, it's just that you need an animated face when any shirt you put on is just going to hang on a curve free body (and I'm a size 2 so I know).
I though ol' Jeffy was way out of line. He didn't even want to try to make Darlene look good. From the beginning you could sense his "I don't want to even try to make somthing for somone bigger and not edgy," attitude. I think that it shows weakness as a designer.
Posted by: Starr at August 28, 2006 12:20 AM
EXCELLENT RECAP! Thank you!
Posted by: Diana at August 28, 2006 12:21 PM