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Project Runway Season 13: Finale, Part 2

We return to the Finale, already in progress. Kini seems to have forgotten that he has the speed skills to remake his collection, or perhaps the show is just desperate for some sort of drama. Either way, he makes lot of hay over the judges panning his collection last week.

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He is interrupted by Tim who recaps what the judges said, in case we forgot.  He then takes Char, Kini and Sean to Mood. Amanda is self-sufficient, and brought tons of fabric, since last time she showed a dummy collection she wasn’t allowed such last-minute luxuries, and declines to go.

As our designers sew and drape in a panicked rush, let’s take a minute to note that this is the second year running that Project Runway has tied their own hands. There’s a general sense that this Final Four is not very interesting, either fashion wise or personality wise. But there is an interesting story line here. Amanda is the first in PR history to show twice under their Fashion Week banner. If she were allowed to talk about this on camera, this could have made for a very interesting experience. Unfortunately, all she can say on camera was “It feels like Season 11 was my warm up.” Once again, the show’s adamant refusal to acknowledge the Dummy Collections on camera (despite every fan knowing they exist) and plenty of sites (not just mine) running them shoots them in the foot. I cannot understand why they don’t just drop the pretense once and for all.

Oh look, Tim showed up for the walk through. I suppose we should pay attention.

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  • Amanda: She’s looking to turn the long dress the judges said to cut last week into a tunic and a skirt. Tim tells her she’s in good shape and to stop over thinking.
  • Kini: He’s already turned his coat from last week into a minidress. He talks about making shorts and leggings in a quivering voice. Tim makes positive noises at him.
  • Sean: Having been first told by Tim to go total fringe, and then told by Nina that it can’t all be fringe, Sean is splitting the difference. He got a silk in that same bright orange as his fringe pieces and is making a non fringed draped outfit with it.
  • Char: Tim has already told her once to cut the fuchsia and turquoise garments, but she still has them on the table, forcing him to push them away like they are diseased. She does have a rather nice simple hoodie dress, which Tim pushes her not to over design. She also has a cheap looking gold lame, which makes Tim look ill. He has to raise his voice over her protests that she needs to think about what she’s doing.

Dearest Tim, you saved the girl. You broke the Fashion Week wall and forced her in. Your choice caused the production to push her all the way to the finale so we can see her collection walk. (Again, if Dummy Collections were acknowledged, this would not have been necessary.) You have led the horse to water. She will now do what she will do, because this is her design aesthetic. She’s not going to walk an amazing sound infused avante garde piece and blow you all away. You got lucky last year, and your emotional save also had that sort of creative genius in him. She doesn’t have that in her. Next time you save somebody, let’s do it because their designs are worth it, not because they have a nice personality.

The next day we have Name Dropping Hair Salon, and another round with the Product Displaying Make Up People. The Hair people should complain they got shafted.

We finally reach the morning of Project Runway‘s show in the Theater at Lincoln Center. We see what those of us who already looked at the lines know–Char loves the hoochie turquoise look, she doesn’t understand why Tim says not to walk it, and she’s putting it back in. Tim gives up. He gives up so hard, he lets her be totally unprofessional with the models having everyone switch outfits and orders, clearly to the professional models’ frustration. After all, time is up. Like last season, the best collection of the group, and the one that gets those few Fashion people who deign to acknowledge this show at all talking, won’t even be seen on camera. Might as well show what drama can be salvaged. Let’s have Amanda panic over some shoes.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: Finale, Part 2

Project Runway Season 13: Roman Inspirations

Our Top Four are all getting their lines televised at New York Fashion Week next week. They’re not even pretending someone might be eliminated, because then they’d have to eliminate Char. Instead everyone gets $9000, five weeks and a three-day trip to Rome to inspire them. Said trip to Italy is being sponsored by Best Western, so we have to sit through a commercial recited by one of their VPs before we watch our designers (and Tim) head to the airport.

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The trip to Rome is narrated by Tim, which is punctuated by the contestants oohing and ahhing. He also plays tour guide. There’s restaurant dinners, sketching in gardens, and a reminder of certain designer’s appointed story lines. Amanda reminds us she’s the redemption contestant. Tim reminds us Char never won a challenge. Sean, having moved here from New Zealand to be on the show, hasn’t even got a sewing machine to his name currently, and needs to use part of that $9000 to remedy this. There is a shopping trip to an Italian fabric store, but it is not mandatory to buy anything, so no one had to deal with unfamiliar units of measure with confusing exchange rates if they’re not comfortable with it. Amanda and Char shop. Kini doesn’t see denim, so doesn’t buy anything, while Sean frets about saving his budget.

With the Roman holiday over, we skip ahead to the Tim Gunn Home Visits.

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  • Kapolei, Hawaii: Kini’s studio is in his family’s garage. His pieces are almost all denim. The “Roman inspiration” is “Park Avenue Girl In Rome” which, meh. Tim loves everything. His family is very sweet, and throw a full-scale luau for the cameras where Tim gets lei’d.
  • Detroit, Michigan: We learn a bit more about Char, including that her mother abandoned her and her dad spent her childhood in jail. Her family assumed she was going to be a hairdresser, which speaks to the kind of limited imagination of possibilities that poverty causes. Her outfits are not hoochie, which is a major improvement. Her inspiration was how small and simple everything was in Rome, from the cars, to the food portions. (Not a bad takeaway.)
  • Nashville, Tennessee: Much like last time Amanda produced a dummy collection for the show, the pieces she’s produced for the runway are startlingly better than anything we saw her make during her run. Her “Rome” inspiration is negligible. Tim’s big warning is not to try too hard. She and her husband own a gorgeous 100-year-old arts and crafts home, which has a porch so spacious we never bother go inside. They also have an adorable ginger kitty.
  • Brooklyn, New York: Sean’s parents skype in from New Zealand prior to Tim’s visit. He shows Tim pictures their farm to express how middle-of-nowhere on the wrong side of the Earth it is. His Roman inspiration is the story of the betrayal of Caesar. There’s also lots of fringe. Tim is floored, but worries that there are two collections, and tells him his non fringe Ready To Wear stuff from the “prior to Caesar being stabbed” half of the collection should be cut.

With only a few days left before Fashion Week, the four return, to cattily judge each other’s work to the cameras. There’s consultations with the Product Displaying Make Up People, and model fittings. The big reason they’re here is to pick out a sampler set to show to the judges. Tim checks in during the model fittings to help them pick out which outfit to show.

Let’s head to the runway and see what the judges think of what their final four turned out.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: Roman Inspirations

Project Runway Season 13: Predictable “Out”comes.

This week finds Tim showing off the rooftop deck of the fine New York establishment which houses the contestants and the camera crews. The view *is* spectacular, even if it is marred by a VP of Lexus. Ah, the Car Branded Challenge. I’d almost mercifully forgot we did those now. Somehow the Car Branded Challenge is actually one based on pedestrians, the irony of which Tim does not acknowledge. “Street Chic clothing,” for those who treat a trip to the coffee shop as their personal catwalk.

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This is a two-day challenge with a $200 budget at Mood. The first day passes without incident, beyond spending an inordinate amount of time allowing the designers to dwell on Korina’s meltdown and bad mouthing her. That leads to the next morning’s twist: a second look they must create, from what they insist on calling “the last five losing looks.*” There is another trip to Mood with $100 to get supplemental fabric. The button bag determines the order in which they chose losing designs to work with.

*(These are not the last five losing looks. See below.)

Unbeknownst to them, they also just picked their assistants. So yes, Char picked Korina, before the girl ever walked into the room. Rather than give the cameras the snarky asides the show brought her back for, Korina remelts down and walks out. This is not the first time this has happened. On All Stars, after the judges baldly shoved AnthonyRyan in to the finale over Josh, the very next challenge, AnthonyRyan tried to pick Josh as his assistant, and Josh refused. Perhaps because Josh didn’t act out towards the production, there was no name calling or belittling by the others like there is here. He was just allowed to be among those not chosen as assistants, and didn’t earn an extra day’s pay for sewing. The show didn’t make a fuss about it.

Tim hurries off to get Char an assistant–which tellingly turns out to be Alexander.**

**Alexander was eliminated only two weeks ago. His outfit should have been one of the choices, not Mitchell’s. The producers knew Korina was a flight risk here and had a backup plan.

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Enough bullshit. Let’s hurry through Tim’s walkthrough.

  • Amanda: She took photos of graffiti and people making out. Her maxidress is boring. She has no ideas for her Fäde look. Next!
  • Emily: She’s making a hoodie that Nina will sneer at. She’s bored with Samantha’s dress. She’s going to be eliminated. Next!
  • Char: She took pictures of paper planes. Her street dress is over designed, and her Korina remake is underdesigned. Next!
  • Kini: He’s already done with his street chic look, so he can focus on Mitchell’s outfit. Tim tries to force him to remake the street look. Next!
  • Sean: His street design looks boring. His transformation of Sandhya’s look into an adult rock&roll girl will be a great idea if it works.

Emily’s not paying attention to Samantha’s outfit, so Samantha’s screwing things up. Sean’s ReDo looks very Sandhya. Did Char just tell Alexander how to sew something, much to his attitude problem? At least he didn’t melt down and give the producers someone else they need to villainize.

Day of runway, and I am over it. Let’s just get to the clothes.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: Predictable “Out”comes.

Project Runway Season 13: Stored Drama Wars

There is TyraMail HeidiMail this week, via branded devices, directing the contestants to meet Tim at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Turns out the warehouse Tim is stationed at has Pod-like storage units, which contain “all the materials the contestants need” to complete this week’s challenge. This is a Team Challenge, and the teams are responsible for two looks. Because of that, they’ll have two days.

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All they have to do is bid on the units. This is Project Runway: Storage Wars. There are five storage units and three teams, so two team will have an extra unit. To wit:

  • Blue Team: Amanda&Kini (Children’s Toys)
  • Purple Team: Emily&Korina (Couches, Fabrics)
  • Green Team: Sean&Char (Dresser, Suitcases)

They have 30 minutes to raid their units for everything they can take. Sean and Char luck out with the dresser being filled with clothes. The only designers who don’t have any fabrics to work with is the Blue Team. Day one passes without incident.

Day Two starts with Tim showing up to announce the dreaded “extra outfit” twist. The extra outfit will be made out of fabric, so there’s now a trip to Mood. One team member per group heads to out to shop. Upon their return, Tim does his Walk Through.

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  • Korina&Emily: Their first outfit has about one two many layers. But their second outfit is made from a chair cushion and looks it. Tim calls it “Spongebob Squarepants.” The third look is non-existent
  • Sean&Char: His jacket is clearly made from a packing blanket, but it’s better than Char’s which looks like it was made of trash. Tim is not impressed with hers. Their third look, also non-existent
  • Kini&Amanda: The reason Amanda bought the shitty storage unit is because of this psychedelic yeti painting, so that’s what they ran with. Having Kini is a boon, because they are the only ones with the third look halfway done. But Tim hates all of it, and calls one look “teenage hooker,” and says he calls their collection “amateur hour.” Ouch.

This is the second time Tim’s critique is coming too late. Last week, his insistence that Alexander start over with three-quarters of the time gone was bad enough. Now he’s basically doing the same thing to Kini and Amanda. The difference is Kini *really* *is* *that* *fast.* They re-edit, and he disappears into the sewing room and suddenly they’re back on track as the Models walk in. Emily loves her Spongebob look, and does not change it.

Day of Runway, and Kini is marveling at how it feels to be not done yet. Sean’s lampshade dress is impossible to walk in.

Let’s go down to the runway and see how these collections look.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: Stored Drama Wars

Project Runway Season 13: Making Over Plants In The Park

I hope everyone isn’t sick of branded challenges yet, because this week, when the designers meet Tim in the workroom, he’s got Luis Casco from the Product Displaying Make Up People with him. This is (naturally) the “Make Over” challenge. But instead of bringing in volunteers or superfans, or someone family members submitted without their knowledge, ProjRun is stealing a page from the All Stars version of the show and sending the designers out to Washington Square Park to find muses on the street in 30 minutes or less, who they then must convince to participate in a Reality TV Show. Clearly, there are people in this park who are producer curated, and the game today is “find the plants.”

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This is the second two-day challenge this season. The budget at Mood is $200. Sean has trouble identifying the plants from the humans in the park and runs crying to Tim. Amanda finds the one planted for her right away, which suggests someone told her where to look.

Once we’re done spending an inordinate amount of time with the Product Displayers in their natural habitat, it’s suddenly Day Two. It must be time for Tim’s walk through.

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  • Korina: She made one of her bomber jackets and she’s overly proud of it.
  • Char: She’s working in bright red. Tim looks ill at the shorts, and asks if they could be tasteful.
  • Amanda: The chevrons are not aligned. Tim stares at her like she’s blind when she asks if it’s really that noticeable.
  • Kini: He made two completely different looks since he had two days. Of course he did.
  • Sean: Tim says he doesn’t see any Sean in his outfit.
  • Emily: Her client is “feminine” so Emily is making “Feminine with an edge.” Tim loves it.
  • Alexander: His green plaid seems to have had a different fabric spilled on it. Tim calls it the most hideous garments he’s seen in 13 seasons.

Alexander frantically redesigns with only half a day left. The planted make over clients arrive. Korina’s loves her jacket. Kini’s client is concerned, but insists she trusts him. Char’s model is taken aback by how red the outfit is, but claims to like it. Amanda’s dress is too tight and makes the client look fat. Alexander’s client pities him.

Day of Runway, and everything is going fine until Char’s way-too-tight shorts explode when the client puts them on–which is right when Tim calls time. Tim–who needs this girl not to go home in shame, since he wasted the save on her–gets permission from the other designers to give her an extra ten minutes to repair the outfit. (He couches it as “not wanting the guest to be humiliated.”) The designers all acquiesce because no one wants to be an asshole in front of their clients. Why didn’t he give everyone ten minutes to keep working? Oh, right so the rest could sit around and bitch for the cameras about how Char’s getting “TimGunn Save’d a second time.” Points to Amanda for telling them all to shut up.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: Making Over Plants In The Park

Project Runway Season 13: She’s An All American Girl

The first time I saw a Pleasant Girl catalog, I was eight years old. It was 1986 and I was over at a friend’s house. I was instantly enchanted by the dolls, their stories, their clothes, their furniture, their world. I spent hours dreaming over those catalogs. I saved up my allowance–a quarter a week–to afford the magical fortune of $80 to buy one. My parents were so impressed when I reached $40 by Thanksgiving, they kicked in the other half. I bought Molly. I still have her, up on a shelf in my sewing room. So pardon me tonight if I fail to snark. Project Runway hooked into product placement this week that hits me square in the targeted demographic.

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At the American Girl NYC flagship store, Tim introduces Heather Northrup, who has been with the company 22 years (That would be since 1992, the year the company was sold to Mattel.) The challenge is based on the “matching outfits,” a big seller for the company. (My little sister and her Felicity doll had the same outfits–think early childhood cosplay.) The designers are to take your pre-assigned doll’s outfit and create a modern-day twist on it. This makes it so that when you dress like your doll for school, the other kids don’t wonder why you look like you’re from 1774. The assignments:

Matching fabrics are provided, but not mandatory. There’s also an $150 budget for Mood. They have thirty minutes to take their kid model’s measurements and sketch in the store. The kid models tell as much about the dolls as they can. I am pleased to see Amanda picks up an Addy book. Emily shoehorns in that Rebecca is the Jewish doll without making it too obvious.

Back in the workroom, those who don’t make kids clothes regularly make faces over the lack of darts and how much smaller they have to work. Sean starts making fun of the title of one of Julie’s books, “The Big Break,” until Alexander points out it’s about her parent’s divorce.

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Tim’s Walkthrough:

  • Sean: He’s making a 1970s jumpsuit. Tim says to cut the fringe.
  • Emily: Her knit top is so cute. Tim worries about proportions.
  • Kini: He made a Chanel style jacket. Tim hates it.
  • Amanda: Tim is shocked to learn Addy is a runway slave child. I had to pause the show I was laughing so hard.
  • Alexander: His “Great Depression” outfit is boring. Tim says it could have been bought at SpawnRUs.
  • Char: In her words, Kaya is “a horse riding little diva” which is one way to look at a Native American girl before the white men exterminated her race. Tim hates the fringe.
  • Korina: Her Mexican inspired outfit is pretty cute considering how much she whined about not knowing anything about kids.
  • Sandhya: She has the only “off date” girl–1812, when everyone else is a year ending in 4. (This is so Caroline’s story can be during the War of 1812.) But she’s completely missed that, and instead glommed onto the “boat” aspect of the story. The outfit is so inappropriate, I can’t even. Neither can Tim.

Char decides to ignore Tim’s fringe concern. The kid models arrive. Emily and Amanda seem to have been spot on with their measurements, while Sean is way off. Kini is having trouble deciding to cut the jacket or not. He hates the Samantha fabric provided, but feels like he has to use it. Korina starts to freak out she won’t finish.

Day of Runway and Sean is putting a peace sign on the back of his vest. Kini is finished, so he’s restyling Samantha’s hair. Korina has her kid model help finish the skirt. The Name Dropping Hair Salon seem excited to be working with little girls. The Product Displaying Make Up People keep the looks appropriately simple.

Let’s go down to the runway and see how these outfits turned out.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: She’s An All American Girl

Project Runway Season 13: There Will Come Soft Rains

We can all relax now. Fashion Week has come and gone, and everyone left on the show is a winner. (For a spoiler free sampler of they showed, click here.) Perhaps that’s why Tim and Heidi meet the contestants with the TVs of Celebrities Who Cannot Bother To Show Up in the Runway Studio? No. These TVs are here to show off themselves–they’re the idiot Curved TVs. (Curved TVs! Because 3D turned out to be the short-lived fad you thought it would be!)

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Somehow in their commercialize blathering about how great these gimmick TVs are, Heidi and Tim turn “wacky fad in televisions” into “Avante Grade challenge.” Just go with it. It’s an easier jump to make the connection between the gimmicky TV and Project Runway‘s gimmicky concept: The Rainway. At least it’s a two-day challenge, and the budget is decent–$300.

During sketching, everyone takes their inspiration from the rain….except Sandhya, who is taking her inspiration from television when the channel is on standby. At Mood, more than one designer buys heavy clear plastic fabric.

Kini promises that he won’t be done by the end of day one. Fäde is uninspired (perhaps because his clearly top looks have been ignored in favor of the embarrassing shit Amanda has been putting out.) There is quite a bit of side-eye going on, but the mood in the workroom is more relaxed than it has been in weeks.

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Let’s get to Tim’s Walkthrough.

  • Kini: His “pencil skirt” with the exaggerated hips mimics an semi-closed umbrella on its point. Tim is wowed.
  • Sean: His outfit is currently all white, but on his work table are boxes and boxes of dye. His idea–put the powdered dye in the dress so when the water hits it, the colors run. I am wowed.
  • Emily: She’s got a sci-fi armor look going. Tim says “don’t go too R2D2.”
  • Amanda: She’s making hieroglyphic eyes. Tim points out her red pupil looks like a period stain.
  • Alexander: He’s painting his clear plastic fabric with purple floral shapes. Tim shrugs.
  • Char: She has a black plastic boa like piece that’s all hard ruffles. Tim shrugs.
  • Fäde: He’s talking about a “power” button, but what he has is a play button. Tim is stunned at how boring it is.
  • Sandhya: Her jumpsuit made out of rainbow stripes is something, but her plastic covering with the silver pinwheels is something else. Tim is concerned.
  • Korina: It looks like a superhero outfit. But she has immunity, so whatever.

With all this time, we sit through the designers partying it up overnight, Korina remaking her outfit from scratch,  and folks to call home in order to be walking ads for technology. (There’s also a really embarrassing ad for the break room refrigerator.) The models finally come and go. Sean starts loading his dye, only to discover it starts dying the fabric without being wet. Kini points out he should have loaded it with paper shields and pulled the paper at the last minute.

Day of the Runway Show, the contestants are ferried out to Brooklyn, where the Rainway is set up. The Name Dropping Hair Salon and the Product Displaying Make Up People were also ferried out. Amanda suddenly wonders if her outfit will melt in the water. Dude, you’re only thinking of that NOW?

Let’s get to the runway and see what kind of trainwreck results.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 13: There Will Come Soft Rains