Sep 19, 2014

What Did We Learn From Project Runway This Week? Season 13, Episode 9

I'm breaking with form this week but don't blame me — the onus is on the producers of Project Runway for creating a challenge that not only featured children, it revolved around dolls. Dolls. Ugh. Seriously? (If you guys are running out of ideas, call me! I'm sure I can get my readers to spitball a few challenges that don't involve period-costume-clad $100 dolls).

This week's recap is not going to rehash lessons learned from the designers' struggles and successes (though let's get it out there: these people have no idea when it comes to adding closures to children's clothing, do they?). Instead we are going to do something fun, inspired by this recent Gawker ranking of Michael Kors' most biting bon mots over the many seasons in which he reigned as Project Runway's resident catty Cathy.

I know many of us have grown fond of Kors' replacement, Zac Posen, who often offers the most informed critique of all the judges. What he doesn't do, however, is sling zingers. (His best comment during this episode: "It feels like it's stuck in the shtetl in Russia").

So this week I'm inviting you to play a round of What Would Michael Kors Say? I'll start us off — with the help of my six-year-old daughter, because who better to judge clothes for children than a real, actual child? (Don't judge; she didn't stay up late to watch — we looked at the runway photos over a bowl of cereal this morning). Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

1. Korina

Me: Esther, the Wild Western jester 

Lucy: "That skirt looks like stuff you see at MoMath (the Museum of Mathmatics in Manhattan) — like, those tiles you arrange to make a pattern...I like it." 

2. Alexander

(Zoomed in so you could see the black center back zipper)

Lucy: "It looks like someone's buttcrack."
Me: What she said.

3. Amanda

Me: The cutest little girl at the couch factory
Lucy: "This has a lot of bright colors — like something (Oonabaloona) would wear."

4. Char

Me: Some reference to beheading that is totally innappropriate
Lucy: "The tannish color makes her look like a very cool American cowgirl. The little strings would go up and down while she rode her horse!"

5. Emily

Me: Frumpy goth lolita
Lucy: "She looks like a princess. I love it." (It should be noted that Emily actually has a children's line available on Etsy and it's very cute.)

The judges didn't care for Emily's look, but her model wins the keepin'-it-real award for these two runway moments:

6. Kini

Me: Eloise attending a "Yes vote" rally for Scottish independence
Lucy: "I want to be her. She looks like an American Girl. I want that jacket....(notices which designer it is) oh, it's Kini. Good. I was worried it was Sandhya."

7. Sandhya

Me: From the Shirley Temple toddler line "Lewdship Gollipop"
Lucy: "It's like a jumpsuit with a nice little tutu. (Pauses) It's a little kooky. (Sees that it's Sandhya's look) "It's hers? I hope she goes home."  

Sandhya from the back:

Me: "Snaps up the center back? How would you put this thing back on after going to the bathroom?"
Lucy: "It would take a long time....and your teacher would probably yell at you."

8. Sean

Lucy: "'s...nice. But that face looks like someone who is trying to be happy but it really uncomfortable." 
Me: "OK, but it's not Project Faceway."
Lucy: "Yeah... but I don't think she likes it." 
Me: "And it looks like you can probably see her underpants through that lightweight cotton."
Lucy: "Not good."

Did anyone take it personally when Heidi's critique of this look included a dig at homesewers? She said Sean's '70s San Francisco-inspired outfit looked like it was from a "McCall's Pattern Book...a sew-it-yourself kind of thing." Minus the vest (with its incomplete peace sign — which is actually the Mercedes logo, duh), I thought it did look like something many of us might want to make for the little girls in our lives, so maybe Heidi was right. BUT: how much would this jumpsuit have benefitted from a bright print, drapier fabric, pockets and a gathered cuff?

Got any zingers to sling? Think like Michael Kors and leave your suggestions in the comments below!


  1. HA! Your daughter needs to be a guest judge! :)

    I am SO DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY that Sandhya is gone. Toodles! Kini deserved that win! Now, how in the sam hell does he create perfect plaids and STILL finish before everyone else!? Crap!

    1. I think they should have asked Kiernan Shipka to guest judge this episode — missed opportunity! She's a little fashionista and close enough in age to the girls that it would have made sense over Elizabeth Moss (who I love but was probably disappointed to discover her guest-judging appearance was the American Girl Doll challenge)

  2. LOL!! Loved this post and all of your PR "What Did We Learn?" Yes, I caught the home sewer dig from Heidi -- not cool, but at least she knew about McCall patterns. :-). Many of the garments were way off base, but I always get a kick out of the challenges that involve children; they're just soooo adorable.

    1. It's true — I was also impressed that she knew the name of a sewing pattern company!

  3. I actually really liked Emily's --but then, I was a grumpy little goth kid, so.

    1. There's a little grumpy goth kid in all of us some days...

  4. I am glad Kini won. I too did not appreciate Heidi's comment about McCall's because she was implying it was a bad thing…but I was surprised she knew about the pattern company. It is not the first time I've heard derogatory comments about home sewers. I remember a reference once to Vogue patterns (in not a good light). Your daughter would have been a great judge! I will leave the Michael Kors comments to others….I am just not funny enough!

    1. I think she was mostly saying he should be striving for a higher level than that which is sewn by the everyday homesewer — which is true. Then again, there were more than a few outfits on that runway that I think McCall's wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole!

    2. AND McCalls would have enough sense not to put hooks up the butt and back of a child's garment.

  5. Take 2 designers, make 2 jackets/coats and dresses...take Emily and comparison. Time after time we have seen designers who claim to have their own line of knits/formal wear etc and when "their" challenge comes up and all the other designers are quacking in their boots...they fall flat...I think Kini can design for anyone and make the plaids match and still have time leftover...he is wonderful. Good bye to Sandya and her Pepto (A)bismol works of art.

    1. It's so true. You know when they set it up like that — "this is MY challenge" — that it's not going to end well for that person.

      "Pepto (A)bismol" — I could see Michael Kors saying that!

  6. personally i was impressed that Heidi even knew about McCalls sewing patterns! but i was all whoah... don't dis the mamas who sew for their kiddos. though to be fair, i cringe at a lot of the sewing patterns offered for kids. i have no zingers to offer, but i do miss MK. on the other hand it's always nice to hear ZP offer actual thoughts on sewing, level of difficulty, grain, etc. but yay! no more whiney Sandhya! how she continued to stand by the onsie she made was just sad... it was like a baby clown costume. no, no, no!

    1. Watching the episode, I was like, "Poor Emily, she's missing her sweet little daughter and all the while has to bunk with Sandhya, who acts like a baby."

  7. I think Lucy needs to be an official guest judge on PR! I don't think I have a very zingy personality, but I do miss MK's comments!!

  8. Several thoughts:

    (1) What was Tim doing, telling everyone NOT to use fringe? Hello, haven't you been watching this season? Fringe is, like, an automatic rocket to the top!

    (2) Korina's dress - I liked it, but I didn't get the Josefina vibe from the dress. Also, when they zoomed in on the yellow under-flap and the edges were raw and fraying? The horror!

    (3) Char's outfit - I'm glad she used the fringe, as it felt like her doll's character. But I'm sick of seeing that blue/orange print come up on PR challenges. Isn't it like, the fourth time someone has used that fabric (across all seasons)? I saw it at Mood LA - it is not cheap! Who's going to put their 9 year old in a $40/yard silk dress? Not me.

    (4) Emily's design - ok, I actually think the sweater is cute, and I could see girls liking that skirt, but WHAT was she thinking with the colors? I'm sorry, I know it is her aesthetic, but if you are doing one of the client challenges, you have to think about their brand and not your brand. Those colors are like the antithesis of the AG brand. Also, the face thing. What. Is. That? What child would EVER wear that for, like, more than 2 seconds being goofy? None. I think there was a lot of potential, but really this was some epic fabric fail.

    (5) Kini - HOORAY! His look was fabulous, and it was VERY Samantha. Also, I don't understand why everyone was so against using the provided fabrics? You are sewing for a company, with fabrics that fit into their brand. It's practically going to guarantee bonus points! Thank goodness Kini figured that out and went with it. No one else was even close. Side note: God I wish I could sew that fast.

    (6) Sean - why did you pick such sad fabric? Why? His whole - I didn't want it to be costume thing was silly. HELLO! This is for little girls to play dress up! You are creating marketable casual cosplay for kids. It IS a costume. A toned down one, to be sure, but still a costume. Embrace the costume. He totally should have used the AG provided fabric too - it would have totally changed the look to something much happier.

    (7) Heidi's home sewer comment - yeah, it was mildly offensive, but, on the other hand, there are some pretty fugly jumpsuit patterns from the 70s and 80s. Also, Project Runway is licensed with Simplicity, so, clearly, she is protecting her brand by calling out McCall's.

    (8) Sandhya's look - I've been watching long enough to know I'm not going to understand what she is thinking. I'm wondering how Tim feels about all this. He finally came out and said what everyone's been thinking all season, and then the judges finally jump Ship Sandhya? Kinda awkward timing. As far as her look goes, what was she thinking? The peplum onesie is something a baby might look cute in, maybe, but a 10 year old girl? And snaps down the ass? How could you even sit in that? I'm just going to come out and say it - you would think the designer who keeps whining about bullying would avoid putting her model in an outfit that practically invites it. How many kids are going to unsnap that poor girl's butt during recess? So many kids. And then they will torment her about it on facebook afterwards. I would have LOVED to have seen Michael Kors react to her outfits this season - he would have totally called out Heidi and Nina on the BS.

    Also, was it me, or did It feel like all the judges were trying to keep it polite because of the girls who were the models? It seemed like they were sort of biting their tongues a bit more than usual, especially when Sandhya sort of blew off their criticisms? Of course, we all saw how that worked out for her in the end...

    (Also, I love how I predicted Sandhya would win and she was sent home! My new prediction - Amanda will win! Oooh, let's see if that works too!)

  9. No zingers from me, but I do have a funny story. My DD used to watch PR with me when she was much younger. She is 16 now. I used to watch show in real time and DVR it for me to watch with her later in case of inappropriate content. I guess I missed a zinger the first time through. One outfit walked down the runway and Michael Kors made a crack "She looks like a streetwalker in that outfit.". I am wincing. My DD looks at me and says "Yea, she could sell newspapers in that."

  10. Oooh I'm so glad Sandhya is gone! Kini defnitely deserved to win.

  11. i have no zingers. i am just so deliriously happy that lucy understands my aesthetic. kudos, lovely child. you are obviously wise beyond your years.

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