We open on the Atlas, where the usual suspects are doing the usual things. Suede is being an ass and interviewing in the third person that Suede will be clawing and scratching all the way to Bryant Park. As the boys head out, we see the final goodbye from Oompa-Loompa-Licious “I will miss youlicious” and I realize that against all odds, I will, in fact, miss the little orange troll. He was, in the final analysis, sort of sweet, if not deluded about fashion.
Speaking of delusional, Kenley is tossing her fascinator and declaiming to the cameras that she has NO IDEA how she ended up in the bottom two last week, because she was the only one who EVEN CAME CLOSE to being avant garde and she is the shit and everyone else is the pits. Flounces all the way to the Parson’s runway where we meet up with Heidi and the next challenge.
Heidi has special ladies for the designers to meet. Out come a bunch of middle-aged and none too stylish women. The designers begin to choke and freeze. HA-HA! sez Heidi, gotcha AGAIN!!! These are not the women you’ll be designing for, these are their mothers. You will be designing interview/work clothes for their daughters, each of whom has just graduated from college and is about to go out into the work place for the very first time. This is a Trésemme make-over challenge, and their hair will be done for them, too.
The magic button bag comes out and the designers and daughters are paired up at random. There is a $100 budget, a half hour to meet with the clients (both mother and daughter are the client) and two days to sew.
Kenley is delighted to discover that her girl (Anna) has just gotten a job as an accessories buyer, she delights in vintage clothing, and has no discernable taste: she’s JUST LIKE KENLEY!! Which means that Kenley is going to make another of her 1940’s frocks. In a ghastly floral pattern. Quel surprise, non?
Korto has confidence that she can relate to her model, because she (Korto) is a “hip mom”. Her girl is Megan, and she works in a bio-lab. She likes green. Jerell finds out that Caitlin is a designer, and is tall and thin and prefers to dress androgynously, just like him! It’s another match made in heaven. Leanne’s Holly is off to be an elementary school teacher, and she needs to look older than her charges. Her mother is a tough, critical bird and tells both Leanne and Holly that Holly wants a dress.
Avital is a photographer, and she wants Suede to make her something she can wear to work and then out to play: pants. Suede says that pants are not Suede’s thing. Avital does want something a little femme. Our last girl is Laura, and she’s working with Straight Joe. She doesn’t have a job, yet. She wants something that will suit the office, but still be sexy. She’s one of those.
Korto tells us that she’s going to pick up some “leatha” at Mood, and that now that Stella is gone, she, Korto, is the queen of leather. Suede tells us that Suede wants to find a Pucci-esque print, but in purple. Then Suede tells us that Suede DID find purple pucci print. Oh My God!!! Suede needs to find a new schtick before MizShoes finds out where Suede lives, is all Miz Shoes is saying.
We find out that Straight Joe’s first job was as a stock boy at Gucci, and that’s where he got bitten by the fashion bug. And then we have a commercial for Top Design, where former Project Runway contestants are involved in some form or another. I had the sound off, so I don’t know what way. Look! There’s Andre. And Sweet Pea, awww. And there is Jeffrey-the-Pinheaded-Shmoo, and even though I never thought it would, in a million years be possible, he is more heinous than ever. He’s wearing a mod haircut (and by mod, I mean fucking 1960’s Carnaby Street shaggy do) and has grown a porn ‘stache that looks like he stole it from Frank Zappa’s dead body. It is a particularly creepy sort of Fu Manchu. I am prevented from stabbing myself with my knitting needles by the quick reflexes of the Number 3 Surrogate Daughter. Pass the eye bleach then, child.
Back at Parson’s, Jerell is excited by the challenge and the girl he’s working with. Jerell’s first job was as a fry boy at Mickey D’s. He got lots of free food, and bad skin from working the fryer. I’m growing quite fond of Jerell. Suede is making a jacket first, because Suede does not want to make pants.
The clients come in for a look-see and Suede’s girl and her momma think that Suede’s work isn’t edgy enough. Straight Joe’s girl hates on the men’s wear pinstripes he bought. But it all fairness, it would look flawless on Tim Gunn. Kenley is so busy telling her client how fabulous her work is, and how utterly charming the raggy old fabric is, that we can’t tell how her client feels. But Kenley is happy, so all is right in Kenley’s world.
Jerell endears himself to me a little more by interviewing that Kenley can make a hell of a 1950’s dress, but that her talent starts and stops right there.
Leanne’s mother daughter pair aren’t happy with Leanne’s work. They are quite vocal and clear about that. Like, start over again, kind of clear. Suede is making a dress, not pants, and he is just going to sell it to his client, because Suede doesn’t do pants. (Doesn’t or can’t?)
Kenley then starts trashing Straight Joe’s suit, to his face. Jerell piles on a little, when Joe says that the girl can accent with pocket squares. Who the hell has pocket squares (other than Tim Gunn?). Kenley gives Joe a little rag of her floral and she and Jerell just fall over from the hilarity.
The girls come in without their Mommies, and things go better for the designers. Korto’s jacket, which is a sort of hempy/burlapy fabric, is tailored to within an inch of it’s life and it works over a green floral that has overtones of a Diane von Furstenburg wrap. Holly (without her mother badgering on about it) loves Leanne’s dress. Avital loves that ugly purple disco frock that Suede has made. It has braided straps across an open, asymmetrical back, and it’s snug.
Miz Shoes used to work in a commercial photography studio, did you know that? Yes. And I worked as the photographer’s assistant on shoots. Hauling equipment cases, tri-pods, light stands, reflectors, film bags, and camera bags. Let me just tell you right now, the only thing you wear as a commercial shooter is jeans. Or overalls. Or leggings and a giant shirt. You do not wear a fucking dress. There is no way you can scramble over the equipment, haul, tote, tug, carry, crouch and crawl in a fucking dress. Unless, to speak ill of the dead, you are Linda McCartney (nee Eastman) and you are shooting Warren Beatty while wearing a mini-skirt and you have chosen to go commando that day. Or so the old rock and roll rumor goes. Avital is no Linda Eastman, either.
Gather round! says Tim, and the designers all groan. It seems that they think that it is never a good thing when Tim asks them to gather round. But in this instance, it is merely Jeannie Syphu, the lead stylist for Tresemme, who is going to work with the girls on the hair portion of the make-overs. And guess what? The winning look will get a photo spread in Elle magazine. Whoo-hoo!!!
Now it’s time for Tim to do his walk around. Suede’s jacket is whackadoodle, to use Suede’s own word. The sleeves are not the same length, and the pockets aren’t even. And it’s fugly all the way around, but Tim doesn’t really go there.
Tim thinks that Straight Joe has made something for a lawyer, not a designer, but Joe says eh, a job interview’s a job interview, and doesn’t listen to Tim. There is a sudden out break of eye-rolling and sighing in the Casita des Zappatos.
Tim has nothing to say to Jerell except that the look is stunning and to be careful with the excess fullness in the jacket. Then he moves on to Kenley. He picks his words carefully with her, and tells her that it’s a cute enough dress (even though we’ve seen it before) but that maybe the tulle that is sticking out of the bottom about 5 inches deep all around could be NOT sticking out?
Kenley flounces into a confessional where in she says that Tim Gunn does NOT understand her design aesthetic. She is not gonna listen to that. She has never and will never change one damned thing for Tim Gunn. Hummph.
Straight Joe has daughters, you know, and he is on Project Runway to show them that you can live your dreams, blahblahblah. He also has an insight into the mother/daughter dynamic: it’s the 8th wonder of the world, he says. You will never, ever, ever get them to agree on anything. (Not true. Mummy had exquisite taste, and always bought me things that were divinely flattering and taught me how to dress myself to accentuate the positive. She was a fine clothes horse and the daughter of another, my Grandpa the tailor.)
Back in the dorms, Suede is waxing rhapsodic about his boogie nights dress to the other boys, and Kenley is holding court on the girls’ side with her wisdom and opinions about Suede: he’s a poseur. He has no talent. He has no right to be there. Suede’s particular problem, she feels, is his inability to bend his design sense to meet the challenges. “He can’t change.” A-hem. Miss Pot? I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Kettle. I think you’ll find you have a lot in common.
Joe’s girl likes the suit once she puts it on. So does Joe. That makes two and that may be the total number of votes for the pin-stripes. The fit is not flattering, to say the least. Kenley has given on of her fascinators to her client. Loud retching from the vicinity of the Casita des Zappata’s couch.
Jerell is wearing a huge acorn cap on his head. Or a bunch of dead leaves. Or a portrait hat made of velvet petals. I’m not sure. He says that Suede’s dress looks like 1992, and “that is going to work against you, my man.” I can’t stop staring at the thing on Jerell’s head.
Pop quiz: who said this: “I’m confident and I’m not impressed with anyone else’s work. I’m going to be in the top three for sure.” If you guessed Kenley, you probably find her as obnoxious as I do. On the runway, Heidi looks ravishing in a dark green Rami-of-the-Heavenly-Arms short, tight but not shiny dress. Our guest judge tonight is Cynthia Rowley. She’s wearing a necklace of leather oak leaves. She and Jerell must shop at the same forrest.
Straight Joe’s suit comes first, and again, the fit is awful. Leanne has made a cute little jacket to go over a darling little dress with a flippy skirt. Jerell’s high-waisted skirt and over-sized cardigan are amazing. Tilda Swinton would kill for this. Korto’s jacket is a masterpiece, and works nicely with the green print dress. Suede’s 1980’s disco dress and sloppy jacket, meh. Kenley’s poofy-skirted, tight bodiced same old same old is belted a wide pink belt that looks like the girl’s skin. Kenley says that it’s perfect.
Heidi calls up Kenley for the first review, and just laughs and laughs that Kenley has gotten herself a little “mini-me to dress.” I’m thinking that Heidi likes Kenley about as much as I do. NinaGarcia rather unenthusiastically agrees that in this instance, it is a cute look. Michael Kors says that it’s a case of the right dress and the right styling for the job of an accessories buyer.
Straight Joe’s interview suit does not go over as well. Cynthia asks why a suit? Miss Kors says that it looks like a 60-year old’s idea of what a girl should wear to an interview and Kenley loudly guffaws at Joe’s discomfort. Charming gal. The suit is just too clichéd, the judges all agree. They also agree that Korto’s work is solid and stylish and perfect for a 21-year old. Cynthia Rowley loves the jacket (as well she should) and NinaGarcia points out how well made it is.
Leanne isn’t getting the love from the judges, at all. They demand that the jacket come off, and then the dress is approved. They hate the jacket and call the look matronly. But Jerell’s androgynous separates are back in the love column. Cynthia finds the whole look perfect for the girl’s body type. There is much, much love.
And then there is Suede’s photographer. Michael Kors just about topples out of his director’s chair when he hears that she’s a shooter. Cynthia says if you want something that goes day to night in that profession, you need to go home and change your clothes. Woof. NinaGarcia just says that the awful jacket is the merest tip of the iceberg of the problems inherent in Suede’s work.
Jerell, Kenley (dammit) and Korto are the top three, Joe, Leanne and Suede are in the bottom. The judges allow that Kenley’s design worked even though it was looking backward, stylistically, but for who and what she was designing for, it was deemed appropriate. Korto’s work is (as always) perfectly tailored and expensive looking. Jerell’s is the perfect expression of sophistication for a 22-year old girl.
Over in failure-land, Suede’s look was from another decade. Leanne’s dress was frumpy, and Joe’s was out of a time-capsule from the day of “Working Girl.”
Korto is robbed of yet another win, and sent backstage with a “you did well, and you’re in”. Kenley is in and completely pissed that she didn’t win, and sweet Jerell and his acorn cap are the winners. Jerell is over the moon, and says that it’s doubly sweet because it’s two in a row. Leanne is in because she’s good. That leaves Straight Joe and Suede in the spot lights. Joe took a beautiful girl and aged her 25 years. Suede made something impractical, overworked and dated. Joe goes home to his wife and daughters, proving once more that fashion is no place for a straight guy. Suede gets to stick around and annoy us for another week.
Next week we hear Kenley say “What does Tim Gunn know?” Here’s hoping that’s the last thing she says before she leaves.