This post is part of a new weekly feature wherein I recap all the lessons I learned from this week's episode of Project Runway. Please comment below to add any lessons you picked up that I may have missed!
This season, however, has already thrown all our expectations out the window with the weekly teams challenge motif. So why wouldn't they also do a second unconventional materials challenge, this one involving the use of duct tape (I just had a GREAT idea: how about a whole season of unconventional materials challenges? Producers, if you run out of ideas, here are a few suggestions: bottle caps, unfinished knitting projects, leftovers (food, not fabric), and the entire contents of my purse. Call me!).
Before we get to the lessons we can learn from this week's episode, "A Sticky Situation, " let's talk about how our Project Runway sausage gets made.
I’m always obsessed with the interviews that are cut into each episode — and the fact that they are often shot well after the moment at hand. You can tell by what they are wearing and how their hair is styled in the interviews whether they are shot that same day...or perhaps the next...or maybe even after they were eliminated (look for red rings around the eyes)! Yet the producers/editors need to maintain a certain level of suspense, so the clips they choose are often vague...or kind of red-herring-like in that they lead you to believe a certain designer is in danger of being eliminated when, in fact, he/she just won.
And they do a good job of it. Rarely can I tell who was eliminated by the content of the interviews smattered throughout the show (the exception being poor Matthew, whose sad "You can achieve anything if you believe in yourself" refrain was a dead giveaway he was getting auf wiedersened).
However, it seemed clear from Kate's ceaseless tirade of cattiness that the 22-year-old Midwesterner was speaking in white-hot seething hindsight.
“It's a Queen of Hearts costume. Nobody wore a costume to prom!”
"Nobody at my school would have been caught dead in zebra print and flourescent pink at prom!!"
"Layana gets her way with everything!!"
"Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!!"
Poor Kate. Her offense was clearly after-elimination defensiveness. But I think the producers gave us that one because this episode did have a major surprise in store: a double elimination!
It was truly sad that Tu went down with Kate because if you look at his portfolio on the Project Runway website (don't judge me for the amount of time I spend on that web page; I am performing a public service here!), you will see he is so much more than Kate's happy sidekick, which brings us to ...
Lesson 1: Just because someone speaks louder doesn't mean they know better.
This lesson has nothing to do with design, garment construction or sewing, but I think it's an important reminder. Tu is from Thailand, and has never been to a prom, so he acquiesced completely to Kate's whims. She did, after all, go to prom, like, yesterday — as she reminded us all a dozen times throughout the episode. However, though she's the youngest contestant, who presumably should know what it is teen girls want to wear, she made something floor-length — and in navy (seriously, what is up with all the navy this season?):
The judges, Nina in particular, hated it. And she was baffled: “You had 38 colors and prints to choose from... and you chose navy??!" (Did you know duct tape came in 38 colors and prints now? Product placement!).
I wish we could have seen what Tu would have done. I think the fact that he has no reference for American prom culture would probably have made for a much more interesting take on it. (And therein lies the major drawback of this "team challenge" concept!).
I still can't decide what dress I disliked more, the above Oscar-don't, or this drop-waist disaster by the two eldest contestants, Daniel and Richard:
|Truly Outrageous? (Truly, truly, truly outrageous?)|
Lesson 2: Quit while you're ahead.
Tim Gunn called this number a winner during his midday critique — before the randomly placed ruffles were added to the bottom third of this dress.
Poor Daniel and Richard: it seems they really brought out the worst in each other, and they proceeded to stink up what could have been a sexy little dress any 17-year-old would love to sneak out of the house in.
I only mentioned their ages above because Heidi jumped on it: she asked Richard when he went to prom and he mumbled under his breath, "20 years ago." (In response, Kate was probably thinking "I was in diapers 20 years ago! I'M THE ONLY COOK IN THIS KITCHEN!! Why does everybody hate meeeeeeeeeeee???")
"Well, it looks like it's from 20 years ago," Heidi replied. In his defense, Richard said their design inspiration was John Hughes' movie "Sixteen Candles." (Though we see them earlier saying they wanted a Beyonce look. Hmmm).
|Now that's an awesome prom dress|
Lesson 3: If you can't find a print you like, make one!
Unfortunately for Michelle and Amanda, who wanted to make a punk-inspired prom dress, there was nothing that fit their aesthetic among the 38 different types of duct tape (at one point the camera panned to show us the rolls upon rolls of duct tape, including some printed with smiley faces and hearts. Seriously, Project Runway. Smileys and hearts?).
So Michelle busted out her mad math skills and made an oversized houndstooth pattern in two variations using three colors of duct tape. Did I mention that Sour Grapes Kate hated it? So did the teenagers who voted on their favorite garment at an awkward gathering in a highschool gymnasium.
But what do they know of fashion? The judges (and I!) loved it. They were also mad for Patricia and Samantha's ombre-effect print, which Patricia painstakingly created using three colors of duct tape:
But what of Stanley and Layana's dress? I couldn't make sense of this:
The judges loved it. I can't wrap my head around what looks like a weird breastplate with an armscye that nearly dips to her waist, making it look oddly apron-like, with a bow that looks like it was squashed at the bottom of your Christmas wrapping stash. The lesson here: there's no telling what the judges will like.
What did you think? Did you learn anything this week from Project Runway?