Aug 1, 2014

What Did We Learn From Project Runway This Week? Season 13, Episode 2

You know what I wish I had? A hotline that could connect me to Tim Gunn, for self-confidence emergencies. 

I need it too, like, every Wednesday afternoon, when I realize I haven’t accomplished enough of what I had hoped that week to feel good about myself. That’s when I am most susceptible to feeling defeated. 

Or, as my semi-drunk husband said last night while watching Episode 2 of Project Runway Season 13, I could use a positivity shooter called the “Tim Gunn” (Patent pending). 

Or maybe just a video loop of Tim Gunn sincerely saying kind, supportive things, like he did with Sandhya last night when she sought him out after being bullied by her teammates in the unconventional materials challenge. (I believe this was the first time Project Runway contestants had to use unconventional materials while also in a team — a double whammy of difficulty to be sure).

"I believe in your work 1000 per cent," he said to Sandhya. "You could win this entire season." It was what she needed in that moment, and I said to my husband: "If Tim Gunn talked to me like that, I would feel like I could do anything."

So I really thought she would shake off the icky experience of being bossed by Hernan and create something super cool. But boy, is it ever hard to stand up to a man who reckons he's the boss. That brings us to our first lesson:

Lesson No. 1: Never let a man who calls you “baby” tell you what to do

Half-way into the challenge Hernan (who has shown at NYC Fashion Week twice already SO WHY DOES HE NEED PROJECT RUNWAY?) decided their theme was "The gold era of Hollywood — we have film. We have gold. We have everything!"

My husband, who was working his way through a growler of IPA I brought home to turn a bad week around, voiced some doubt: “I don’t know if that’s a concept — that’s just a list of things.

Anyway, Sandhya had immunity this week so she just fell in line behind Hernan, who told her and Carrie they had to use his film treatment. I guess his reasoning was if they used the same materials, they would have cohesion.  

They may not have had cohesion, but the judges were unanimous in hating that their team's three dresses looked so similar. I thought the brownish red sheen of the film strips looked like cockroach casings (shiver). Sandhya's indeed was the worst of all — not surprising considering how she must have felt in those few hours she had to create this look.

Nina said they looked like three girls out of a music video and Heidi asked: “At no point did anyone think, ‘dude they all look the same!'?" (I love it when Heidi talks American!).

While the judges inspected the garments more closely, Tim dished on the team's power dynamic: “He was so intractable, that they just decided if you can’t beat him join him,” to which Heidi replied,  “We can always get rid of both of them!” (At this point, my husband and I started chanting, "DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!")

Meanwhile, backstage after their rough ride on the runway, Sandhya's teammates trashed her work yet again. Tapping into her super special Tim Gunn powers, Sandhya turned the other cheek — which I think will go a long way toward earning her the Tim Gunn Save (TM). I'm calling this one. 

So the lesson here? Be gracious. And nobody puts baby in the corner.

Lesson 2: More is more

The winning team used a whole lot of materials: bold lettering held together with zip ties, several kinds of tape, film, cording, straws...I'm missing at least six things. And though each look incorporated materials used in another, all of them were totally unique:

Nina applauded their mini-collection for the fact that it contained three different shapes: A-line, flapper, and body con.

Also, it just shows that if you throw enough stuff up on the wall, some of it will stick.

Speaking of throwing stuff up on the wall:

Angela dodged a bullet with her crumpled up snowflake dress thanks to this cool Cruella Deville-inspired number made entirely from straws:

My personal favorite was Samantha's garment made from DVDs and film strips:

 I know, I know. I'm not offering up anything instructive for those of us who create our own clothing. It's hard with the unconventional materials challenge to find truly useful tips. Other than the importance of taking a step back to see how your garment looks from across the room, I'm not sure there's much that's helpful here for home sewers.

What do you think? What was your favorite look? Did you learn anything this week from Project Runway?


  1. Ugh, if just once there could be a team challenge without someone bawling because the team isn't recognizing their amazing, precious specialness (STOP CRYING, SANDHYA) or someone dickishly throwing everyone else under the bus (that purple hair girl was absolutely disgusting)! It's like the contestants have never seen an episode of the show! The teams that listen to each other always fare better in the critiques! That was some seriously bad behavior last night... ick!

  2. I usually make it to episode four or five before I stop watching and just start reading the recaps… but this season. Ugh! i don't understand the judges rationale at all. I loved Samantha's dress - clearly the winner.

    1. How was that a dress? It looked more like a breaded curtain draped over a white muslin sheath. And where did that sheath come from? Did I miss that (I was altering several pairs of Latin dance pants while watching)???

    2. Oops!!! A million apologies!!! Yes Samanthas was a contender, my previous rant of the beaded curtain still stands, and I agree that the judges decisions were incomprehensible.

  3. That team was hot mess central from the start. I also thought that the team with Angela on it was in trouble since she was completely inflexible, too. Honestly, I can't take the crying.

  4. both of them should have gone home. i couldn't stop rolling my eyes at purple haired girl's blubbering on the runway... then her berating of Sandhya after was completely unnecessary. she was blaming the one person on the team whose ideas weren't used for their loss. i mean... what? (mind you, i'm not sure why the judges are so in love with Sandhya's work. i think her cultural/social message is completely valid, but... i don't see how it translates to clothing) and i really can't stand condescending jerks like Hernan.

    Samantha's was also my favorite, so i was surprised at the winning team. their outfits were completely unrefined and unfinished. fun, yes, but compared to some others, they looked like a complete mess.

  5. I totally disagree with judges' decisions this season. The first episode winner was an unfinished hot mess, tub Rit-dyed floral print with zipper trimmed sleeve caps! Really???? Beaded curtain dress over muslin sheath, the winner?? The losing team loses because they all used the same material for three different dresses, finished, and all well fitted? How many high fashion runway shows have you seen use the same outrageous silk print for a maxi, cocktail, and strapless dress? If that same couture collection would have shown a beaded curtain dress, or green cocktail dress with graded school looking fringe (and passed it off as part of my Native American influences), the designer would be laughed out of the rag business.

  6. I liked Samantha's very much BUT... the length of the skirt paired with those booties gives a weird proportion. Or it could be that I just hate shoes that cut you off at the ankle. When will they go away? At under 5 foot I can't even consider wearing them.

    1. I agree. I could never wear booties with a midi length. I am 5 foot 3...and I would only wear booties with a mini...or skinny jeans. They make your legs look shorter, I agree

  7. These recaps make me wish we got the episodes straight away and not like 12 months later! Damn you Australian tv schedules!
    Fashion college used to delight in giving us these kind of challenges. Less about having a decent looking outfit at the end and more about problem solving issues.

    1. It's 2014 — can't they figure out a way to broadcast PR in Aus at the same time? It's not like the tapes have to float there on a raft from America....OR DO THEY?

  8. PR is no longer about fashion, but is focused on ratings and drama. Some times I really don't know why I am still watching. This week I liked Mitchel's design best. Yes, it was a bit Barbie in Vegas, but I thought it was the most creative and well thought out.



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