Project Runway Season 14: Saving It For the Red Carpet

We’ve reached the last challenge before the finale, and with four contestants, and Tim Gunn Save™ still left in the tank, I’m pretty sure that the only mystery tonight (other than what the designers will actually make for the challenge) is which contestant Tim’s save will be used on as the excuse to send four people to Fashion Week. (As if the show hasn’t found an excuse  to show four of the contestant’s collections from Fashion Week for four out of the last five years.)

But first, let’s get to Tim and Heidi and their little red carpet set on the runway, and Tim’s airplane tickets to LA. Though the show only did one disastrous season in the City of Angels (plus one disastrous season of Under The Gunn, but that doesn’t quite count) the Weinsteins and Lifetime still want to use it when they can. Unlike the trips to Europe we’ve had in the past, this trip to LA isn’t a whirlwind montage. Most of the episode will happen here. Since this is a two-day challenge, and they’ll be staying at least two nights, the Branded hotel has been comped a 30 second commercial period with Tim Gunn and the contestants, for which they have paid with a prize package for the winner of 100 free nights’ stay at any of their hotels anywhere in the world. I’m sure someone thought that was an even trade.

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Amusingly enough though, the Branded Hotel isn’t cool enough for the designers to do their LA inspired sketching. For that Project Runway has rented one of those houses in the Hollywood Hills that functions as a reality show set piece (I’m pretty sure I recognize it from The X-Factor Season 1.) Much like the house and the hotel, the celebrity they’ve gotten to “inspire” them is also low-rent. If you’ve heard of Keltie Knight, it’s probably because you’ve been stuck in a waiting room somewhere that’s airing The TV Guide Channel, or something equally as banal. She hosts that show you don’t really realize considers itself a serious show, the entertainment babblefest The Insider.

After sketching poolside at the house, it’s off to Mood LA, to meet their own Swatch puppy, and shop with a budget of $400. The workrooms are at the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing. (All PR seasons held in LA have been hosted here.) Apparently Edmond really misses Merline, and starts challenging her usual phrases of encouragement to help himself along. It’s adorable.

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Tim doesn’t come around until Day Two. Let’s see how badly off track these guys are when he arrives.

  • Candice: I really like the crisscross sequined fabric, but the bodice doesn’t line up right on the dummy. Tim is too busy getting her to stop overdesigning to notice.
  • Ashley: I love her scaley fabric, but I am not certain about what she’s doing with it, or the terrible thing she doing with her silk bodice. Tim not only hates what she’s doing, he also hates Plan B.
  • Kelly: She’s created a really cool textile with thousands of triangles. But both she and Tim hate the skirt, so he directs her to make a jumpsuit.
  • Edmond: He also has two outfits, Plans A and B. Plan B is crappy fabric and overdesigned. Plan A has amazing fabric, but no actual design.

The production didn’t want to fly the models or the judges to LA, so there are no fittings until the morning of the runway after they’ve flown back to NYC. This means the designers try their pieces on each other to test them, and pray they’re making things the right length the first time.

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Speaking of length and fit, our regularly scheduled Ashley meltdown is being replaced this week by Edmond and a lot of scissor cuts, and Kelly and her panicking over the fit of her very tight pants. The question is, how will they look on the models come runway day?

The answer turns out to be not well. Kelly’s zipper doesn’t want to go up, and the pants are like super skin-tight. Ashley’s bodice is way baggy, and she has to put a strap to keep it from flopping down and exposing the model’s boob. Edmond takes scissors to the hem of his gown for a fourth time. Let’s see what the judges have to say, and who Tim will be saving.

Clipboard03Heidi is dressed like she thought she’d be in LA today. Zac and Nina are in residence. The guest judge joining them is none other than the only successful alumni the show has ever produced, Christian Siriano, who is also here to shill for his own Project Runway spin-off, which begins airing right after Project Runway Season 14 ends. Heidi reminds us that just because Tim Gunn Save™ exists doesn’t mean he is going to use it. (As If!) We all know at this point the AnthonyRyan Rule™ is total bupkis, no matter what Heidi insists.

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Candice: The only one to do a traditional red carpet look, it’s also the safest design on the runway. I mean, that’s what she was going for–showing she can not overdesign. But It’s also a little dull. Heidi calls it the “quiet” version of Candice, and notes the hem is a little short in the front. Zac and Nina are pleased to see her up the sophistication factor, but both admit that no one would be hounding the actress who wore it for photographs. She’s through to Fashion Week.

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Kelly: Well look at you, Ms Thang. Taylor Swift called, she’ll be wanting that for next year’s Grammys. The bodice needs a little editing–the structure of it makes the model look quite flat. But those pants are fab. And knowing she made that fabric herself out of layers of triangles and mesh only adds to the impressiveness. She actually says her idea was “Katy Perry VMAs.” It is *very much* that. Christian says all the work and detail she put into it won’t read in photographs, but he notes that unlike everyone else, hers is the only one on the runway that has zero fit issues. Nina is very impressed with Kelly’s growth. For once, I do not quibble in the slightest about the winner. Kelly deserved this, absolutely. And she’s through to Fashion Week.

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Ashley: That strap not only ruin the line of the gown’s bodice, but it also emphasizes how badly executed it is, and how saggy it’s making the model’s boob look. Also, the thing about this fabric that was cool about it, which was the scaling, doesn’t read at all. When you see it up close, the seams are awful. Christian finds a lot of things to like while prodding on the fit issues. Zac nails one issue with it: “This is good fabric for the runway, not the red carpet.” Heidi, of course, loves the cleavage. Much like last week, everyone is very nice to her face, but as soon as she’s off the runway, it’s obvious she’s bottom looks.

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Edmond: Holy Disco batman. Not saying I don’t love the fabric (I do.) But the ultra short mini mixed with the wings for sleeves are just so disco era Studio 54 it’s hard to see it as anything else. Heidi shrugs–she’s worn that dress. She’s been photographed in that dress. And the only reason she would be photographed in that dress is due to the fabric. Nina doesn’t want to admit her frontrunner stumbled this hard this close to the end, but even she can’t help but be disappointed, along with everyone else.

I’m not that shocked to see Ashley through to Fashion Week. I am a little shocked to see Edmond not saved at the end of this episode. But then again, he’s not sent to his workstation either by Tim. He doesn’t pack up. We’re left hanging until next week to see if he is (almost assuredly) saved.

Since we are left hanging, this Monday will not see us run Edmond’s Fashion Week line (though you can guess which one it is here.) Instead Monday will feature our regularly scheduled “Top Ten Overlooked Designs of Season 14.”

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