Sole Searching. Normally I would roll my eyes and not even bother to comment on a dumbass, punny title like this franchise is so prone to using, but I’m not allowed today. Why? Because, while watching this episode, I became physically aroused far, FAR more often than I normally do watching reality television. The only explanation I have is that shoes are, by far, my favorite accessory. The only time I don’t find browsing maddening and cruel (why go to a store to look at shit you can’t buy? Doesn’t the world make you feel bad enough on its own?) is when I’m plopped right in the middle of the Nordstrom’s shoe department. I float through that indoor meadow of excessively gorgeous footwear like I’m walking through an art gallery. It’s both calming and tantalizing all at the same time, and it wasn’t until I watched this episode, GLUED to the television like it was the series finale of “Mad Men,” that I realized I might have some kind of fetish.
Remember the first time you watched porn without realizing what it was, and got all squidgy in the underplaces without realizing what THAT was? Welcome to my experience – read on!
Previously… the contestants had to search through old storage compartments and make jewelry out of the trash they found. Some were successful:
Some were not:
And the wrong person went home:
Not this guy.
The remaining 11 designers will compete for $100,000 from EBay Fashion to start their own line, a feature in InStyle, and a year of free runway hairstyling from John Frida. I don’t know why I skimmed over these prizes last week, because they’re fucking weird to me now. A hundred grand is a hundred grand, but is everyone else looking at EBay Fashion, like, say, Amazon Fashion, were such a thing to exist? Random… Seems like it’s a far more obvious choice to use, say, BLUEFLY or… what’s that other company that’s coming to mind for no apparent reason? Oh, right, PIPERLIME. It’s not like differentiating themselves from Runway is top on PA’s priority list.
And free runway styling for a year? Obviously that must be hard to come by for beginning designers, but I think there’s something to be said for getting the audience just as excited about the prizes as the designers are. If I were a jewelry designer in a contest and one of the prizes was to have a little elf cut all my jump rings (VOCAB WORD!!!) for a year, I’d be excited, but my lawyer accountant parents and writer sister would probably smile and nod while physically unable to give a flying fuck.
(Insert my fake excitement here)
Okay, on to the relevant part – shoes the episode. The designers get ready to head to Studio NYC, and Nicolina continues to put a big fat reunion foot in her mouth by badmouthing Brian (who said that despite the fact that she was annoying, he liked her) some more. She tells all of her roommates, not to mention the audience in an interview session, that Brian’s look was made out of hardened vomit with a shitstain glaze and she can’t believe he’s still here. It proves to me that Nicolina’s taste level is on par with her ability to not look crazed 24/7 that she’s not saying jack about James’s Mess.
I just close my eyes, click pause and this is what comes up 90% of the time.
Everyone heads to the Runway, and Mims enters in a dress that’s way too fucking formal in a leather black number for whatever time in the AM it happens to be. But, when she asks how she looks and bends over so everyone can have clear and unobstructed access to her ass for kissing, the designers rave and applaud. Somehow this is thought to be an appropriate segue into the challenge. The black dress is the canvas this week, and the designers head to (unnecessary drumroll, please) Crystallized – the Swarovski Concept Store! Eva’s there with Richard Chai, a designer who won Swarovski’s Menswear Design Challenge recently. And frankly, his entire presence is sort of irrelevant once we find out what the challenge is – take a piece from the showroom and let it inspire two additional accessories – one of which must be a pair of WOMEN’S shoes. Dick literally has one line of intro before Eva takes over telling the designers they have ten minutes to pick a piece. I feel like Queen Frostine would have been a much better spokesperson for this challenge.
Good Sir, you are not wearing ONE thing that is shiny. Please move aside.
Everyone runs around grabbing stuff, interviewing that they’re totally overwhelmed with the choices. I’d be totally overwhelmed with kleptomania because making off with ten or twelve pairs of earrings seems like it’d be pretty cinchy in all the hubbub. Alas, no thievery is attempted, and everyone heads back to the studio to await further instructions. Eva blithely (please look forward to many synonyms for “sedate” when I describe Eva’s delivery) informs everyone that they’ll be provided with all the materials necessary to make shoes because they’ll be tasked with not only the design, but the construction of their shoes. Nicolina is leery that it’s the second challenge and already they’re all being tasked with making shoes, and James (shoemaker) rightly surmises that if he goes home on this challenge, he’d better switch careers.
Because of the difficulty of the challenge, the designers are getting two days to work, starting right then. Haha, like extra time ever does anything on these shows but allow the contestants more time to second guess themselves.
Since we didn’t get a good look at the store, now’s the time to check out what pieces so inspired everyone. Except for James. He picked something that inspired his shirt.
I just don’t know how I feel about jewelry that could triple as a weapon or a stained glass window.
Nina’s taste, while good, is starting to reveal itself as a little narrow. She seems to inhabit the metal stick end of the spectrum, but I looooove Kelly’s pick:
My neck wants to go to there.
But she keeps insisting that it’s a Grecian look and that a pair of gladiator sandals would go really well with it. It’s not that I don’t disagree, but the model will not be wearing a toga, so I feel like the judges are going to see a massive disconnect walking down the runway…
Brian’s over in his corner just awesoming the shit out of everything. His inspiration is this oversized crystal shard ring, and he’s decided to make wedges using sculpted clay and massive crystals all over them. He uses the clay and crystal wedges to form a mold, out of which he will make the actual shoe. It’s just… fucking cool. Why? I don’t know, exactly. A) because that shoe’s gonna be frigging dope and B) because the person making that shoe could pass for an Old Tymey blacksmith. I like contrast.
Keep it coming…
Oh, and remember last week how I likened Rich’s beard to the lead singer of Poison’s? Wrongo. It was Anthrax. And that shall be his name. He explains what goes into making the as yet undescribed shoe he’s designing and reiterates that shoemaking is HARD. Like I said in the minicap – menswear of accessories. I would imagine it helps, though, to have molds available that are tailored to the models sizes…
As for James, he’s busy eliminating some competition, telling Kelly she should ABSOLUTELY try to do something she’s never done before. Of course she agrees. WILL THEY NEVER LEARN???? She interviews that she wants to take a risk, and if she can pull it off, the shoe will be “SICK.” Yeah, IF. On these shows, you don’t really want your prospective outcomes to be either “WIN!” or “FUG!” For her gladiator sandal, she’d like to create a stacked wood heel that she’s seen in magazines and whatnot. Near as I can tell, it’s a heel made out of Jenga pieces if you didn’t stack them in a lattice.
Labor intensive and ugly = out.
As far as I’m concerned, Kelly’s at strike two – strike one was interviewing that she was “going to win,” and strike two is attempting a risk for the second challenge. Good luck!
Nicolina observes that everyone is starting to go to James for advice on shoemaking because it’s such a precise and difficult process (there’s math), and she’s shocked he’s helping everyone. She’d have been the bitch of the century and not helped anyone. She deftly avoids the fact that, as of yet, no one’s asked her for help, because she exists in a constant state of panic.
I dub thee, “Panic Room”! She’s not even saying anything. That’s just her face.
There’s another montage of everyone sawing and molding and gluing OH MY, and it’s time to visit Kelly. Guess how she’s doing!
It looks like she’s taking a break for some much needed aura cleansing.
She’s running out of time, realizing that making her heels was harder than she thought, and Madea discreetly advises her to 86 them for the good of her look. He tells her that she’s the artists and she can’t let a heel she won’t be able to properly execute anyway kick her out of the competition. She agrees, and leaves having spent the entire first day on an element she isn’t going to use. A mistake made by so many of the eliminated…
Ooh, and now it’s time for the montage that made me TINGLE. First up is Madea, who’s sewed a bunch of silk ribbons together for the sole of his shoe.
I want to pet them.
He also grabbed some ballerina ribbon for the model to use in lacing the sandal up her leg or at her ankles. There’s something about ankle ribbons that makes me want to walk around outside in daisy dukes and pose like Betty Grable every time I hit a stop sign. TINGLES.
And Brian, BRIAN spent all day yesterday making the molds for the black resin that today is going to become the wedges for his shoes. There’s something impossibly amazing about the fact that he’s not even using the Swarovski crystals on his shoe – just the mold.
And as much as I can’t stand James’ taste, watching him stitch six different kinds of leather together knowing that at some point that soft, supple material will wrap itself around a dainty foot makes it seem that all is right in the world. Unfortunately, the final product will not. Sheamless feels similarly. She and James spend about five minutes licking each other’s faces in mutual love – she begs him to make her a pair of shoes, and he coyly whispers that she’s his favorite size. I’d think it were super-squicky if I didn’t think that I’d ask him the same thing and jump up and down if he said that I was his favorite size. One thing I will object to is both of them claiming to love each other fo REALZ, y’all. They could pass for Gretchen and the Pocket Gay at this point. Also, three days. You’ve known each other for THREE DAMN DAYS. Stop acting like you’ve both found a soulmate because I’m willing to bet that the first time you’re paired together on a team challenge that shit’s gonna go down the drain faster than Kelly’s commitment to a single idea.
Look! A stiletto!
Kelly’s decided to go with the premade stiletto heel the designers were given instead of her wooden heel idea. Until Eva shows up, that is! It’s so fucking awesome. I think everyone just decided to fuck with Kelly this episode, because once Kelly explains to the mentor what her previous idea was and the fact that a stiletto will be taking its place, Eva just can’t believe it. With hours to spare, Eva recommends that Kelly recommit to the wooden heel, and Kelly totally does it! Love. This is the point at which I started to think that Eva might just be an easy, breezy, evil genius. She says not one damn word about the heinous yellow pleather that is supposed to go with the burnished metal “Grecian” choker, but takes time to encourage Kelly to attempt the nearly impossible ugly heel. I think James and Madea might even be in on the whole thing. It’s so fantastic.
Oh yeah, totally make those. Have you thought about affixing a few hundred tiny crystals to the sandal straps? What? You have plenty of time!
Oh well, at least Kelly’s not all bug-eyed and weepy like Panic Room. Speaking of whom…
Remember last week when she wasted a bunch of time at first then had a breakdown? Time for the breakdown! I guess she shouldn’t have wasted her first day laughing at James for being a decent human being because when Eva arrives to mentor, Panic Room has fug shoes and a bunch of crap she’s planning to glue onto her already ugly inspiration piece. Trying to break into the mosh pit that is Panic Room’s brain, Eva stops the explanation in the middle and reiterates that the shoes and other accessory must tie back to the inspiration piece. Instead of taking this constructive criticism with a positive attitude and channeling some Chanel and stripping off a piece of crap or two to showcase the necklace some more, Panic Room fucking panics.
David’s picked some silver rope lights as his inspiration, and while he has a story about the woman who would wear those rope lights (there’s also mention of a flag in there somewhere. Yeah, I don’t know.), his shoes are far from completion. In her infinite inferiority to Tim Gunn, Eva advises him to finish the shoes because they are required. Thank you, Eva. You are excellent at reiterating instructions.
And that’s the end of the mentoring portion of our episode. Eva exits and Christina Caruso echoes my sentiments with a half-hearted “Thank you…” to Eva’s back.
Patricia Fields is MY mentor. Who the fuck are you, again?
Panic Room apparently did need Eva to remind her that the shoes must be finished because as soon as Eva leaves, Panic’s tears arrive as she lists all the work she has yet to do. What’s that work? Oh, not much, just making the shoes and the extra accessory – like, the whole challenge. Aww, need some help?
David makes a ring and a cuff in addition to his shoes, so his ambition is actually paying off, even though his model’s going to look like Hermes, Winged Messenger of the Gods.
At least on her arm.
We get a glimpse of James’ shoe, and I can’t think of much that’s worse until he makes a gold headband that’s going to make his model look like Artemis, Fleet-Footed Huntress of the Gods.
At least on her head.
When we return, it’s the day of the runway show, and Panic Room is replaying Episode One. She’s gotten some sleep and she’s embarrassed at breaking down and wasting time the previous day. Or she might have been badmouthing Brian some more. I’m not really sure. My ability to comprehend words disappeared when I saw this:
Put a cigarette in her mouth and that’s my Aunt Joanie, teats and all.
At the studio, everyone is putting the final touches on their looks and James is making a damned gold cuff, too! It’s like Kelly’s continued inaccurate use of the word “Grecian” has infected the room and everyone thinks the black dresses are going to SURPRISE TWIST turn into togas with 20 minutes to spare. Or maybe cuffs are just in, right now. I don’t really follow trends.
The models visit briefly, head to hair and then it’s time for the Ruuuuuuuunway!!!! But not before Eva gets in one last mindfuck. She hits up Madea right before time is called and tells him that his earrings are totally unnecessary. He immediately throws them away, but he doesn’t have a second accessory now. What does he do? Send his bitch out to the Runway hoping the crystals he’s sewn on the dress itself will count for accessory number two and he won’t get sent home on a technicality. If it weren’t for Kelly’s broke-ass sandals with Jenga heels, I’d have already kissed him goodbye, but this shit could still get interesting. Commercial!
Back to the runway! Here’s where my fetish took a break. As cool as it was to watch people fawn over and make shoes, the finished products look a lot like Barbie heels in many cases. And not the nice, thicker plastic ones, but the crappy, thin plastic ones that never stayed on her feet.
Everybody’s sort of look like that or worse, though, so it’s probably just a case of the materials provided. Still, disappointing. Let’s see the rest!
Oh, sidenote, though, Nadja Swarovski is the guest judge.
Where the hell were you at the store?
There’s not much I wouldn’t do for some dark, green velvet…
Nina: Ooooh… In a good way…
Diego: Boring, ugly shade of purple, but ain’t nothin’ wrong with a slingback.
Madea: Bad dress, GREAT shoes, AMAZING RIBBONS.
David: Winged. Messenger.
James: Oh, for fuck’s sake.
Shea: Ugh… I like it.
Wait – never mind! Neck tail negates all that was good about that look!
Christina: Makes me think of Ironman.
Kelly: Oh Gooooooooood…. It’s worse than I thought.
Also, this happens:
Brian: I don’t like this nearly as much as I thought I would. Also, the earring? It’s a single earring. I hate that lopsided bullshit.
Nicolina: Ugh, I like it. I wish my personal feelings toward the designers would hurry up and start manifesting in their designs. So much more gratifying…
C’est tout! The judges, Nadja, Kenneth, Ariel (Foxman, editor of InStyle) and Mims, all seem to have worn the same slightly concerned look on their faces for the entire show, so they’ve been pretty hard to read. No outright laughter, though, so I’m not sure how they feel about Kelly.
David, Panic Room, Madea, Brian, Kelly, and James. James is up first, and Mims loves loves loves his shoes. So does Nadjia, but thank GOODNESS for Ariel Foxman. He calls James out on the “Xanadu” headband and the lame, copycat, overdone cuff. I still think James is going to win, though, considering his shoes are the only ones that don’t look like they’re going to fall apart.
Madea pulls some positive reviews, scoring Nadja’s and Kenneth’s endorsement, but disappointment from Mims that he didn’t complete the whole challenge. She is decidedly NOT convinced that the jewels he added to the dress count as an accessory, though Nadja disagrees.
Know what else Nadja and I disagree on? Whether or not it was a little gauche of Panic Room to add another necklace to embellish the Swarovski “inspiration piece.” Anyone else think that’s treading on thin ice to not showcase the sponsor’s piece…? Anywho, the judges love her boring-ass shoes, and it looks like Panic Room is safe to birth a litter of kittens for next week’s challenge, too.
David launches into an entire slam poetry goddess narrative when it comes to explaining his look, so if it looked good at all before, now the judges are totally confused. Ariel tells David that the whole thing is full of conflicting pieces, and Nadja and Mims agree. Mims even goes so far to call David’s shoes cheap, which is kind of lame considering all the shoes look pretty dicey…
As for Brian, he’s strongly in the middle. Everyone is totally impressed with the shoes, but they call out the “simple single earring” as lame and not simple at all. He also made a totally unnecessary clutch that looks pretty cheap. Can’t say I disagree, but I definitely want to see more from him, and he’s my early favorite to make it to the finals.
Finally… Kelly. It’s a damn bloodbath. First, Nadja informs her that the necklace is not, in fact, Grecian, but Victorian. Additionally, why Kelly would think that yellow, pleather, ROMAN gladiator sandals would go well with the necklace is beyond the entire panel. Finally, it has escaped no one’s notice that the Jenga Heels were less than functional. The earrings she made, however, are GORGEOUS. Mims and I agree on this one, but I’m betting it’s not going to save Kelly or her incredibly confusing taste…
Aaaand I’m right…
Aaaand James wins. With those fugly ass shoes, he wins. Not surprised, but NOT happy. I don’t hate him as much as I did last week though. He helps people without being an asshole and he looks like he could be Yeardley Smith’s little brother. Therefore, until he’s eliminated (three weeks, max), he shall be called Lisa Simpson. If Sheamless weren’t already Shaemless she’d be Ralph Wiggum.
I ated the purple berries.
See you next week, Folks!!!