Now that Project Runway had dispensed with the selection process in, “The Road to the Runway,” (the first hour of the premiere), it was time to get cracking on the first real challenge. Typically, the designers have a very, very short window of time to conceptualize, design, create and fit their outfits. For some, the stress of this time limitation is the spark they need to “just do it,” for others, it destroys them. Of course, for us, the time constraints and resultant meltdowns translate into fascinating television – and perhaps better TVgasm recaps.
Throw in some scantily clad models, Heidi Klum, Heidi Klum’s “bump,” and an intriguing mix of personalities vying for the $100K, car, and Banana Republic contract – and you have the makings for another great season of the show.Unfortunately, it appears that they have changed one of the cooler twists from the original season. Regarding the models, there is a great ancillary contest happening along with the designer one the show focuses on. The models are fighting for a lucrative gig with Elle magazine and each week, the remaining designers get to pick their model. Since there is one less designer each week, one model is also eliminated – they are judged by the contestants on their shape, walk, attitude, and punctuality. One model last season, the fabulous Morganza, allowed her drug problem get in the way of her opportunity – and her televised crash and burn could have filled part of A&E’s “Intervention.” (A wicked disturbing show, by the way.)
I always dug that little side contest – and it also insured the models would simply be models and not try to be reality TV breakout stars. Just as last season, the 16 models walked out for the pajama party with Heidi in their little black slips and the designers chose who they wanted for the next (as yet) unknown challenge. The models this year seem to be true runway models and none of them really get me excited. You can check them all out on the Bravo website. This picture of Tarah’s ever-so-slight cameltoe will get you there easily enough.
Santino got to pick first (he chose Heather, for what it’s worth) and then everyone else was randomly chosen to pick. Raymundo was last to pick and he chose my early fave, Maria. The two leftovers were given the customary cold auf Wiedersehen’s and then Heidi broke the bad news. This year, the model chosen initially by the designer were stuck with each other all season. Weak… I have no idea why they changed this rule, but who knows… maybe it’ll become clear later. Speaking of “models” and “later,” Raymundo learned that his model, Maria, quit the show right before she was to show up and be fitted. Was being picked last so monumentally crushing to her that she couldn’t take it anymore? Nah… Since I dug her from the get-go, I’m going to assume she got a better gig than “Project Runway.” Right? Maria, email me and let me know. I’m here for you.
The designers then retreated to their living quarters for the first time – the Atlas Apartments. Nice. Roommates were already assigned and instead of fixating on superfluous inanities like ridiculous pools in the living room or cumbersome phones, this show focused on the designers getting to know each other. Turns out that Nick’s dad is a Greek diplomat. Santino is fixated on those airbrushed fantasy/unicorn/stardust tee shirts you find at county fairs and on the backs of Wal-Mart patrons – especially the ones that eat the hot food there. And the black girl is a bitch.
Sigh. Yet again, another young black woman on yet another reality-ish show is yet again a bitch. Or, worse, is being edited as the bitch. Zulema, whom I liken to ANTM’s Miss Jay (and that’s a dude, by the way), squawked such gems as, “I don’t believe in fairness,” while she bogarted far more than her share of closet space. The good part about this is that I don’t have to “believe in fairness” while recapping the show – I can bust on her to my heart’s content and not feel badly about it in the least. Bitch.
Daniel Franco bonded with Raymundo over Daniel’s Rasputin t-shirt. “Who’s that?”
“Rasputin,” replied Daniel, “He was like the Merlin of Russia.”
“Really? Marilyn Monroe? I love her!”
Verdict: Raymundo the gay Mexican son of the disapproving father – not smart. Which isn’t necessarily a hindrance if the boy knows how to design. That would come later; first, everyone had to get dressed for a party. They were told to wear an outfit that expressed who they were and that Tim Gunn would be there to outline the next challenge. Tiny little Chloe Dao (seriously, the girl can’t be over 4’10″) rocked a little jersey dress while her Asian sista, tiny little Diana Eng, wore her prom dress. Hmmm, seems kind of a strange choice but she explained, “I read science magazines, never fashion ones.” I respect that, I really do, and boy am I pulling for my little Engster… but something tells me that ignoring the fashion industry will not serve her well in a contest all about the fashion industry. If she fails on the show, I’m sure there’s plenty of rap stars who would love to have Hi-Def flat screens sewn into their shirts or NBA players who would enjoy little monitors on their sneakers.
At the party, Tim gathered everyone together and asked – hey, wait a minute. A reality show scene with free booze and no one was falling down drunk or acting particularly retarded in any way? Gimme a second so I can recover…
Sorry. At the party Tim asked the designers, “How far will you go for fashion?” Nods and sheepish smiles all around. “For the next challenge, you will use the clothes off your back to fabricate your design.” Of course, Tim said it with such perfect enunciation and ease that everyone took a second to soak it all in. Tim is transfixing – he could tell you, “You suck in every way; you are a hideous creature, you reek, and your lack of any discernable skills will render you impotent and destitute throughout your pathetic life,” and you wouldn’t be pissed. Such are the mellifluous tones and words of my good man, Tim Gunn. Bang-bang. (Andrae even attempted a Tim Gunn impression but gave him a British accent even though he has none.)
Zulema as Eddie Murphy as Flip Wilson as Geraldine
Totally interesting challenge. Little Chloe only had that little blue jersey dress whereas some of the guys had layers of shirts and jackets and stuff. Santino was a bit bummed about having to destroy his “favorite” leather coat. Dude, it looked like the covering of my grandmom’s ottoman – after resting her corn-and-bunion-covered feet on it for the last 45 years. Kirsten was even more upset – she was wearing some ugly silk scarf of her deceased grandmother’s – chopping that up would prove nearly impossible, she said.
The designers were only given 9 hours to chop up and reconstruct their clothes into a runway-ready outfit. Jesus. I’ve dated some women who take 9 hours to decide what to wear for a night out. And these people have to deconstruct jeans and jackets, design, and reconstruct a dress in what amounted to a normal workday. It was all about invention and innovation.
In the workspace at Parsons, each designer approached the task in a different way. Emmett simply stared and thought for 2 hours straight. Zulema immediately started cutting away at her gold fabric with no plan. Kirsten was still waffling about using her stupid little scarf – a “Napoleon scarf,” whatever that means. Santino got over his reservations and cut his coat to pieces. Everyone worked fast and furiously and some found time to goof on their competition. Regarding Kirsten’s rather lame shreddeed t-shirt and skirt, Andrae and Raymundo expressed mock concern.
Weirdo Guadalupe also flitted about, picking everyone’s brain and offering her advice. I don’t know what it is yet, but Lupe freaks me out. She reminds me of, like, when you’re on one of those cheesy “haunted house” rides and your little car goes through a black curtain in the dark and an animatronic scary little gnome pops out of nowhere and you kinda laugh off your surprise and fear. Yeah, that’ creepy little gnome? That’s Lupe. And what are the chances someone named Lupe would be, well, loopy?
Tim showed up to offer his sincere advice. He, too, had some reservations about Kirsten’s weak design but she forged ahead. Andrae explained his concept – reconstructing his jeans and jean jacket into a “chipow” (or whatever) – some sort of traditional Chinese dress. Hey, Eng, does this guy have any clue what he’s talking about? Beside the material in the dress itself, Andrae explained how that outfit was “part of him,” and rambled on about something to do with his failed boutique and life’s crossroads and things like that. What are you gonna do about it, cry?
[Of note: I just read Tim's Take on the show's website and he had this to say, "Andrae attended the party dressed in vintage denim: a 60's jacket and 70's jeans. Using a quilting method, he transformed them into a qipao, a traditional Chinese dress (which I know by another name, Cheongsam)." So we now just learned some new stuff, but can we adopt the Cheongsam as TVgasm's official dress? I mean, it's get Chen, it's got gasm, what more can we ask for?]
The deadline came and Tim showed up and wielded his heavy brand of justice. “Do not touch anything!” Daniel Franco begged a bit to continue because he had perhaps bitten off more than he could chew with all his tailoring. Everyone would have a little time the next day before the runway show, but the vast majority of them were really cutting it close. I guess you could say, ahem, they were, “Cutting it close the hem.” Errr, or bias. Or seam? Shit, I really should layoff the sewing humor – it’s a narrow field.
The next day everyone reconvened at Parsons and Tim arrived looking even more dashing and dapper than usual. Looking smart in his suit and tie, Tim explained that they had 2 hours to finish up, fit their models, get them made up, and be prepared for the runway. And Tim wasn’t dicking around – his suit and mien told me so. Then again, Tim never dicks around. I’ll say it again: Tim Gunn, bang-bang.
The fitting sessions are great – booty, boobies, flat stomachs, all that good stuff on full view. Perhaps a bit too much as Zulema’s sweater dress thing would have been great for the next Girls Gone Wild video, but not “Project Runway.” Her model’s ass was nearly fully exposed to the world and unfortunately, her model was a bit pasty and apparently enjoys pastries with her pastiness. Damn, girl, time to do some squats… sheesh. Before you yell at me, keep in mind she gets PAID to look good and nothing else. So if she doesn’t have her shit together, I can point out what EVERYONE was thinking upon seeing her jiggly white ass, “Mmmmm, I could really go for some KFC mashed potatoes right about now.”
As the final minutes ticked down, I learned that sometimes models get their faces literally sprayed with makeup. I’ve seen less foundation laid down for houses! *Rimshot* Tim was pacing around those who apparently weren’t going to make it: Daniel Franco and Andrae. Both had ambitious designs and now it was hurting them. Daniel finished up and did a pretty damn good job to my uncouth eye. Andrae, however, was freaking out. Nothing like a reactionary emotional dude like Andrae, with sweat dripping from his brow, trying to beat the deadline while big bad Tim Gunn stoically stood there in a Jack Benny stance carefully questioning the logic of the design. Andrae almost, but not quite, was about to cry. Oh Andrae, let it out!
Andrae got a little help finishing from Emmett – who is so serious he makes Tim look like Carrot Top – and it was time to hit the runway. Same judges, except this week the were joined by the “Legendary” Nina Von Furstenberg, whom, I do believe, first created the wrap dress. (Take THAT all you “rit” dye and “bandeau” people!) And so, the judging began.
Andrae’s model worked the runway and the dress held together. She did some unfortunate Magical Mister Mistoffelees impression at the end of her walk, but Andrae seemed to have directed her to do that. Everyone more or less did a decent job – Chloe’s revamped dress immediately jumped out at me as did Nick’s reworked minimalist outfit. Christ, I can’t imagine turning a jacket into a skirt – and a good-looking one at that. Then Miss Badunkadunk sauntered out in Zulema’s crappy little minidress. Zulema had mentioned that she’s seen hootchies in her ‘hood wear shorter dresses on the street. Um, yeah, Zulema honey, they are called “PROSTITUTES” and they are selling their nasty asses for what’s called, “MONEY.” Either that or she lives on the lot where all rap videos are filmed.
After some deliberation, 6 designers (3 highest scores and 3 lowest, but not mentioned who was who) were asked to stay on the runway: Santino, Zulema, Daniel Franco, Kirsten, Andrae, and Chloe. Yay, Diana Engigmatic will continue on! Shazbot! The judges once again loved Santino’s work which he’s beginning to expect each week. Regarding Zulema’s ass dress, she defended it saying, “It is what it is.” I HATE THAT. People are using it as some sort of reasoning/excuse these days and IT IS NOT.
Anyway, the judges liked Daniel’s design this week, but my man needs to chill. I’ve seen heroin addicts jonesing for a fix hold it together better than Daniel Franco. Kirsten got blasted for not using her stupid scarf and everyone loved Chloe’s cute little dress as well. Heidi even said, “If I didn’t have this bump, I’d wear it right now.” Oh sweet, sweet Heidi, you’d look great in it even with your belly. God, by the end of this show she might make me into one of those guys who digs pregnancy porn. At least I know where to get it, right EdHill?
I couldn’t really get too deep into pregnant porn thought as before I knew it, Andrae’s lip was quivering like a leaf. Yes! A meltdown! Through his tears and simpers, he tried to explain how the task was about transformation and he’s transforming – yeah, transforming into a 3-year-old girl. This display left the judges confused prompting hard ass Nina to ask, “Are those happy or sad tears?” They all regarded his breakdown as a weakness and Kors even said, “I fear for you.” As if that weren’t harsh enough, there was Santino and his model laughing at Andrae. Which is exactly what I would have been doing – so even though he looks like he just finished a LSD laden motorcycle trip through South America and he’s a bit of a cocky dick, I still like him.
Santino laughs with his model while Andrae changes his tampon
The judges convened to decide the best and the worst. Nina said that Santino was “spectacular and in control,” but they all also gave Daniel and especially Chloe props. After calling the designers back up, Zulema was chastised but given a pass, Daniel was lauded but dismissed and the winner is… Chloe! Santino was bummed and said, “They just didn’t want to give me two in a row.” He was laughing when he said this, so the editing was a bit shady, but I’ll accept that. If he’s really like that, I can’t wait for Diana Eng to design a dress that shoots laser guided poison darts at his testicles. She can do it, y’know – and would too.
So it was down to Kirsten and Andrae the crybaby. Even though his was a blithering, unprofessional whiner, Heidi looked him up and down and declared in her sweet draconian way, “Andrae. You are EEN!” At that, he did a full forearm dramatic eye rub and skipped off into the backstage area. I would think my TVgasm brothers (J-Unit and B-Side) would track him down so he can never wear his, “I’m so LA” shirt again, lest we think all men in LA are such simps.
So yes, boring Kirsten was booted for her lame cut up tee shirt and skirt. I have no true affinity for anyone other than Diana Eng and Heidi so I didn’t really care, but I really thought Zulema should have been given the boot for her booty dress.
Kirsten’s losing dress (left) and tiny winner Chloe with her winner (she likes asses too!)
What say you?