Previously on Project Runway, Ven Diagram revealed himself to be a sizeist bully and all around asshole. (see what I did there: a ROUND asshole…because he’s so LARGE. How’d ya like it now, VennyVenny 2 by 4?) Miss Gunnar was given the redemption arc, Flavio Flav the win and Nathan the door.
Morning has broken over Manhattan like an egg yolk, and we see Boris ironing his shirt while wearing it. In Soviet Union ironing board is you. Miss Gunnar is applying his eye liner and Mini MiCo dreams of the day when the penthouse will be his alone. In the girl’s dorm, they talk trash about the Chiffonies and men in general. Sanjay suggests the girls plan their next act of sabotage.
Heidi announces a field trip to Fifth Avenue, specifically to the flagship Lord & Taylor, where they meet Tim Gunn and Bonnie Brooks, President of Lord & Taylor. The challenge is this: to create a look, representing the 10th season of Project Runway to go into production as the 10th look in a capsule collection of cocktail/evening dresses made by other designers from other seasons. And not necessarily the winners from those seasons, either, as my personal favorite of the past, Korto Momolu, is one of the names in this collection. Those dresses are shown in a flash as we hear the details of the challenge. No budget, as the materials will come from the manufacturer. One day. Must be able to retail between $200-$300. Winner to get immunity and their dress featured in the 5th Ave windows. Hours of carefully scripted testimonials by the designers follow, wherein each of them hit the required number of buzz words the required number of times. MizShoes brain goes a little numb.
Gunnar knows who the L&T client is. He is going to merge his AESTHETIC (Take a shot) with Jay McCarroll’s AESTHETIC (Take a shot) to win. Mini MiCo is going to make a simple gown, having figured the odds (7 of the existing pieces are cocktail dresses, there are only two gowns). Ballet pink top and a black skirt, he’s just going to make the best darn gown ever! And adorkably recognizes that he sounds like a tool. Boris is going for simple and sleek, because it is what he does. Simple and sleek is harder than ruffles, he says, because every mistake shows. Natasha begins to wind herself up to provide another evening of f-bombs and rising, barely restrained hysteria. AESTHETIC (Take a shot). She cannot possibly do clean, sleek and commercial. Blondie AESTHETIC (Take a shot) is going to do an asymmetric hem. Sanjay has lost her mojo. Mini MiCo is going to use his signature trick of shredding and layering, realizing that since this will be at least the third time in 7 challenges that he uses it, it is going to be a classic case of on his sword or with it.
AESTHETIC (Take a shot) Natasha is cranking herself up. This is not my challenge, she wails, over and over. I can’t combine my vision with Lord and Taylor! My brain hurts! Gunnar loves the black sequined lace enough to marry it. More of the scripted whoring for L&T, not that there’s anything wrong with that. MizShoes prefers the high class whoring of Lord & Taylor to the low class whoring of our old sponsor Blue Fly and their naked anorexic stank. Oh, it’s our first shot of VennyVenny 2x4 this episode. Mini Mico thinks he has this in the bag with his pretty gown. Natasha continues to lose her shit. Sanjay loses her shit. Blondie says eyes on the prize. Crunchy Granola is thinking a low-waisted Chanel. Miz Shoes is thinking Thoroughly Modern Milly in something that looks like purple shiny denim. Honey Badger don’t care. Lots more losing of shit among the contestants and then VennyVenny 2x4 says that he’s thinking about the customer (only in sizes 0-2).
Natasha says the the show is rigged in Miss Gunnar’s favor, what with all these make a pretty dress challenges. She is just full of teen angst. She tries to talk herself into just doing wearable. Trash talking. Johnnie Chiffonie. Everyone throws down on Mini MiCo for using the same technique over and over. Tim comes in for walkies, and immediately loves Miss Gunnar’s LBD. Crunchy Granola’s dress is looking Joan of Arc, which she says she prefers over a stupid old princess dress any day. Honey Badger don’t care. Sanjay still can’t find her mojo. Flavio Flav is doing an LBD with a racer back and a visible zipper. He thinks it could wholesale for $50-60. Tim is pleased that he’s thinking about costs. Flavio says well duh, Tim, it IS part of the challenge. Natasha loses her shit in front of Tim, screeching that she can’t design for the proletariat. Tim gives her a Pep Talk ™. OMG! Nobody like me. Miss Gunnar gives her another pep talk. VennyVenny2x4 AESTHETIC (Take a shot) (Miz Shoes may have to stop the game before she passes out on the floor or switch to shots of espresso.) Boris says Ven is his biggest competitor. Of course he is. He’s at least twice the size of Boris.
VennyVenny2x4 is doing another origami bust. Mini MiCo says it looks like a 13 year-old’s holiday dress. Sanjay rolls her eyes. Boris’s dress is gunmetal grey with an interesting neck line. It’s gorgeous. Tim is concerned with the manufacturabilty of Mini MiCo’s gown. Natasha is over the shredding. Mini MiCo acknowledges that this may be his downfall, but that if he wins, he’ll be known for the technique. Blondie is doing a freestanding high neck with an asymmetrical hem in a bronze brocade. She is unsure. Tim tells her to start over if she’s that unsure. It’s a disaster. The clock is ticking. Oh noes. But her model comes in and loves the fabric, so she is going to press on, regardless.
Models come in and everyone is confident. Honey Badger still don’t care. AESTHETIC (Take a shot) Sanjay’s made a sheath dress with a bustle/peplum. Blondie is taking her dress apart and recutting. It’s a car wreck. It’s a disaster. It’s drama in the workroom. It’s the next day and Flavio Flav is artfully arranging a wreath of flowers in his hair. Really. Miss Gunnar is practicing spontaneously bursting into surprised tears when they announce him the winner. Hubris, much? Tim comes in to flog the Lord & Taylor accessory wall. Mini MiCo gives the best confessional ever regarding Natasha’s design: “It expresses her personality exactly: trying to be sweet but then crazy bitch. Who puts a harness on a baby doll dress. I don’t get it. I don’t wanna get it. I don’t like her.” Designers are losing their shit left and right. Sanjay’‘s dress won’t go on over her model’s hips. Sanjay melts down. Tim gives her a Pep Talk ™ and tells her to channel her inner winner.
Runway! Heidi is wearing a full-on Jessica Rabbit micro dress (which she later refers to as a hot pink disco ball, thereby denying Michael Kors the honor). Bonnie Brooks is the guest judge. And first out of the gate is Flavio’s LBD. Blondie’s brocade is so tight you can see her model’s belly button (it’s an innie). The stiff bodice is badly fitted and there is plenty of side-boob. The asymmetric hem is ridiculous. The stand-up boatneck with the bare back looks like a standard-issue Star Trek Original Series space vixen dress. She thinks that it’s different enough to stand out. Miss Gunnar’s LBD is perfectly made and fitted and cute and simple. He thinks that is is short, shiny and tight enough to win Heidi’s vote. Natasha sends out her version of an LBD. The skirt is cute, but the top? It’s this weird pierced harness. In the front you can see the cobalt blue lining and the boobs are coming out from either side of the center bib/harness like melted versions of Madonna’s ice-cream cone gun turrets. Or, you know, maybe that’s just the effect of the princess seaming.
Mini Mico’s backless little gown. (It really is pretty.) It looks expensive and classic. Crunchy Granola’s dress is different. Sanjay’s LBD looks ok. She only sees her mistakes and thinks it could get her sent home. VennyVenny2x4’s LBD with the origami bodice. Snore. Last is Boris’ little gunmetal sheath. It has exposed boning or something that looks like boning. It is gorgeous and MizShoes anticipates buying it when it joins the collection.
Ven, Boris and Sanjay are safe. Are you fucking with us, again, producers? Really? Boris is SAFE??? Sanjay is thrilled. VennyVenny2x4 isn’t pleased, but who cares. Boris is peeved. Why is he in the safety lounge? Why? Out on the runway, Heidi is saying that there were 4 tops and 2 clear bottoms. Flavio? Tell us about your dress. Yes, please do, Flavio Flav, because even on the hi-def screen, MizShoes can see no details at all. It’s a stretch crepe with a stretch tulle over. Suitable for all body types says Heidi. Bonnie says she’d wear it. NinaGarcia would wear it. He’s one of the four.
Mini MiCo puts it right out that he knew using the shredding was a risk, but thought it was right for the challenge. He has one of the highest scores. MK loves that it looks like separates. The judges tell him that yes, it was appropriate here, but do not ever use it again. Ever. He hears the warning. NinaGarcia calls it elegant and sophisticated. It wouldn’t work on everyone, but it would be a great addition to the collection. Blondie got one of the higher scores. Dark glamor. MK says her asymmetrical hem sucks and he’d like to put a bell on the end of it or cut it off. It’s a winning dress says Bonnie, but you could never mass produce it.
Gunnar proudly declares his dress suitable for any generation of Lord & Taylor clients. But, no, say the judges, your score was one of the lowest. It’s TOO expected. They already sell that dress in any price point. It’s mother of the bride. It’s perfectly made and fitted, but that isn’t the point. It’s not original. It’s done to death. Gunnar’s head explodes.
Natasha has put a modern twist on a classic. She has one of the highest scores. She completes the evening’s meltdown with a Sally Fields’ You Like Me. The judges put up her marks: 10 for teen angst, 10 for redemption arc, 10 for bullshit producer manipulation of the outcome. Michael Kors calls this her shining moment. Crunchy Granola says she put her own spin on Chanel. Michael Kors tells her, no, she put her own spin on a girls’ field hockey uniform. Not sporty enough, not dressy enough, not slutty enough, not anything enough. Heidi gives a strange lecture to her about her attitude, but once more, Honey Badger don’t care.
Mini Mico would complement the collection, Flavio’s was versatile, Blondie’s wouldn’t sell, Natasha wasn’t scary for a change, Gunnar was boring, Crunchy Granola didn’t try hard enough, but she had a good idea. And. One will win, one will be aufsie daisy. Mini MiCo wins. Miss Gunnar is not happy. Flavio says that he’d be happy to make one of his dresses for Bonnie, anyway. Natasha is in. Blondie is in. Crunchy Granola is in, and that means Gunnar is out. WTF?? Really? Boris is not happy for that. But wait! PSYCH!!! Gunnar can stay. Luckily we had two designers bail early in the season, so we can continue Gunnar’s redemption arc.
Next week: teams, and there’s trouble in the Eastern Bloc as Boris and Natasha Come To Blows.