An apology if I’m late to the Project Runway recap party, for those of you who come for that. I was participating in RJ’s Share Our Strength, Great American Bake Sale yesterday. Despite a certain “Hey guys, let’s put on a show” impromptu, we raised $700 selling baked goods at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. When you put together a group of food bloggers, foodies and cooking-as-a-competitive-if-not-blood sport women, and ask them to hold a bake sale, this is what you get: strawberry jam, strawberry with an infusion of mint from the garden jam, chocolate-chocolate-chip biscotti, pistachio-cranberry biscotti, framboise brownies, lemon sweet rolls, strawberry sweet rolls using the aforementioned strawberry jam, and a raffle basket of a full pan of the framboise brownies, a bottle of the raspberry wine secret ingredient all the way from Oregon, and the recipe (laminated so you can use it to cook), chocolate chip banana bread and rum-raisin/white chocolate chip/macadamia nut cookies, zuchini bread by the loaf or slice, double chocolate brownies and brown sugar cookies, spicy cheese crackers, ginger/apricot biscotti, mango-pecan rugelech, chai tea bread in mini loaves, key lime cookies, banana bread by the loaf or slice, wheat-free/oat bran muffins sweetened with maple syrup or agave nectar or honey, in various flavors, and donations by Dunkin’ Donuts and a brand new bakery in South Miami, Sweetness. And one of my quilts for the raffle.
Next year, of course, we’ll have time to really put something together. Back to your regularly scheduled Project Runway snark.
Heidi congratulates the remaining designers, and tells them they have $9K and four months to create 10 pieces. Mila and Jay will each show three, and one of them will continue to Bryant Park and the other will not. Tim gives everyone a pep talk and sets up the home visit segment. Mila says that she and Jay are both strong, but that she’s stronger. Jay says that he can beat Mila. Emilio is smug and Seth Aaron assures us that “Fuck A, I can win this.”
Three months later, we see Tim Gunn in Vancouver, Washington, where he will visit Seth Aaron and his family. He has a lovely home and a lovely wife, and lovely children, and lovely parents, and lovely photos of himself growing up next door to the woman he married. Amazingly enough, this much sweetness and light and Tim jumping on the trampoline in his suit does not make Miz Shoes nauseated in the least. It is testament to Seth Aaron’s skillz and engaging persona, as well as Mrs. Seth Aaron telling us that the children are on notice that if Daddy wins, they will all be in therapy immediately to deal with it. As for the purpose of the visit, Tim goggles at the sheer quanity of work that Seth Aaron has produced and tells him that he’ll never win with this collection. That as good as it is, it is just more of the same that got him to this point and he needs to stretch to find another level, something new and unexpected. Tim tells Seth Aaron that he can do this. Seth Aaron holds his head and says that half the money is gone and two thirds of his time, but he’s going to Listen to Tim Gunn. Tim leaves Seth Aaron some final words of advice: “Reflect. Slow and steady wins the race.”
Next, Tim is allowed to return to New York City, where he hooks up with Emilio and his two brothers. They all have the same speech impediment. They all sort of look alike, too. Emilio gets the winner edit of how his parents were poor immigrants and he grew up in the poor part of Harlem and blahblahblah. He is inspired by color and himself. He is using turquoise, mustard and red. He has made another one of his logo prints. He argues with Tim. He says nasty things about Tim and whether he can have any knowledge of what women wear, when he does not wear women’s clothes. And Emilio does? Is that what he just said?
Back to Los Angeles, where Tim will be forced to endure Mila’s company. She has clearly had a make over, as her hair is no longer black number one, but has some tone to it, and her bangs sweep to the side. There’s a softness to her face, too, as if she’s had a little help there too, or maybe it’s just that she’s stopped wearing that stark red lipstick. Either way, she lets Tim into a black and white house, with a black and white dog, with black and white photos on the white walls, and she talks about her inspiration: stark black and white shadows. It is her intent, she says, to introduce aubergine. Tim calls it matronly, and she asks the camera if he’s fucking kidding her. It is during this confession that she says that she does not want to lose to Jay and calls him something with two syllables and an opening F. It is beeped and Miz Shoes cannot tell if she has used a derogatory epithet connoting sexual identity or merely a vulgar verb/noun. Either way, it isn’t pretty and seems to indicate that the editors don’t like Mila any more than any of the other contestants do.
Finally, Tim heads up to San Francisco to meet Jay, his parents and extended family. Jay is doing a black and white collection based on samurai and geishas. He has introduced aubergine and a dark red. Tim holds up a sleeve that is made of tabbed segments on a band (think of a fish skeleton when you fillet a whole one). Where is this woman going in this? he asks Jay. I dunno says Jay. Tim calls it koo-koo. Jay says Koo-Koo Channel, girlfriend. There is gay hilarity. Then there is a Filipino feast. Jay cries and says that he just wants to be able to pay his hard-working (and long suffering) parents back for all they’ve done.
At last we return to New York City, where Mila is the first to arrive at the Product Placement Hotel with their trademark named sleeping furniture. She swans around the suite, pretending that she’s won. Next is Jay, who will also be staying there. They are roommates. How awkward. There is an attempt at reconciliation, wherein Jay is made to feel as though he is now Mila’s friend. Seth Aaron arrives, having taken Tim’s advice and made an entirely new collection. Emilio comes in and says that he made a new collection too, even though he would rather die than admit that he took Tim’s advice.
Morning! Workroom. Jay and Mila have to share a work table. Awkward. Tim looks better than ever. It ‘s his collar. He’s wearing a higher collar. It isn’t a Karl, but it’s higher and tighter. Mila and Jay have three hours to put their three looks together and send them out to be judged. Jay’s shin guards won’t zip up. Mila’s going to do a smoky eye. Does she ever do anything OTHER than that damned smoky eye? Hofuckinghum. With five minutes to go, Jay cries and Mila pretends to.
Our judges are only Heidi, Michael Kors and NinaGarcia. Mila sends out a sharp grey coat over a black and white, stripes and herringbone sixties shift. A horrible fish scale (black and white) paillot disco dress with an attached black patent leather dog collar, and something else black and white. Stripes. Bat wings. 60s. Jay puts out a purple tunic/minidress with black leggings and sculpted shoulders, a pair of pants with a silver top and a bolero in black that looks like football shoulder pads, but in a totally new and sorta hot way. A jacket and the thigh-high spats that he’s made out of that fish-spine technique over blood red leggings/pants. So hot. So innovative. So very, very, very hot.
Mila talks about her shadow inspiration. NinaGarcia and Michael hate her styling. It’s OK to be retro, they say, but make it a little modern by styling the models to look less like you. NinaGarcia says that separates are good, but this is just the same old same old, and she isn’t seeing anything new. If she had to put out six collections a year, says NinaGarcia, and all she uses is black and white, what could she possibly do? Michael likes the fingerless gloves she had made.
Jay points out his Samurai influence. You really pumped up the volume, says Heidi. Can I have that purple mini-dress, please? Michael Kors is totally stealing the gaiters. He’s finding them to be very hot. NinaGarcia says that the tailoring is impeccable, but the taste level… Nothing retro here, says Michael Kors, pointedly. Nothing but of its own time.
The judges have one last pass, with the designers off stage. Michael Kors says that this went to Jay. Heidi says that it went to Mila. NinaGarcia says she can’t decide. Michael says that Mila is nothing but retro, and all black and white. The only word he can use for Jay, though, is ungapatchka, Yiddish for all over the place patched together. Who do we want to see more of? Michael Kors looks so pissed when they say that they’ve made their decision, that Miz Shoes knew right then what happened: apparently the Powers That Be decided for NinaGarcia, because inexplicably, the win goes to Mila. Both NinaGarcia and Michael Kors tell her that they have one big tip for her: style young for Bryant Park.