Thursday, February 14, 2008

Project Runway: Artistic Inspiration

We're nearing the finish line, the one that will take the winning designers to their shows in Bryant Park during Fashion Week. Which means that out of the five remaining designers, 2 are going home.

Heidi told the designers they were going on one last field trip, meeting Tim at 5th and 82nd. There he stood, in all his satorial splendor, on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Btw, if you ever go to New York for the first time and want to appear "with it" DO NOT refer to the Metropolitan as "the Met". That sobriquet is reserved for the opera).

The designers had the museum to themselves (lucky) and were given digital cameras and one hour to tour three exhibits and seek inspiration. They were allowed access to the Greek and Roman statuary, the European paintings gallery and the Temple of Dendur (an actual Nubian temple that sits in all it's hugeness in it's own room). The temple was magnificent. Jillian expressed an "almost spiritual" experience gazing upon it. Chris, on the other hand, said, "Look! Joan Rivers carved her initial in here when she was a little girl". Oh, that Chris.

Most of the designers spent the bulk of their time with the paintings. But you know where Rami was? Sure you do. Mr. Drapey McDraperson spent all his time in the Greek room, snapping shots of the statue of Aphrodite.

Back at Parsons, the designers had 1 hour to sketch, then got 30 minutes and $300 for fabric at Mood ("thank you, Mood").

Christian was taken with the painting of a Spanish nobleman for it's "Zoro" like quality. And as is his way, he began confidently cutting and stitching like a mad thing. Sweet P had been inspired by a rich painting of a peacock, while Jillian found something called "Master of the Argonauts", with lots of detail and action that moved her to create something "edgy".

Chris was working on a gown based on some portrait of a rich lady with a big dress and Rami told us (over and over and over) that he is "extremely passionate" about draping. Really, Rami? I hadn't noticed. He also opined that while the other designers seemed to be going "over the top" with their artistic interpretations, he suggested that his vision was not intended to "make noise".

Jillian noted, appropos of nothing, that Christian spends a lot of time monitoring the work of everyone else and she's really tired of him. Well, sure.

When it came time for the models to be fitted, P's didn't show up and she was more than a little concerned about that.

Midway, Tim came in with a "special guest", the guy who heads up the Loreal Paris hair and makeup room, where the models get gussied up. The purpose was for him to "consult" with the designers on the makeup look for their models. Yeah. Whatever. Listen, they've done this before and a) there is nothing "special guest" about this guy...they see him every frakking week and 2) he doesn't "consult". He tells them what to do. He annoys me.

Chris finished his outfit and decided to take a nap. He naps a lot. Christian was snarky about that.

The Gunn Review

When Tim arrived and learned Chris was napping, he was put out and went to find him. When asked what he was doing in the lounge Chris told him he was finished. "Finished?" Tim declared. "You're never finished!" (meaning, of course, that when you have time to spare on a project you should use the time to assure every jot and tittle is dealt with). Chris insisted the design was done but when Tim saw it he said that it wasn't refined enough. Chris again argued that he was completely satisfied, to which Tim replied, "Well, you own it...I'm worried". We don't like when Tim is worried and Chris usually does a much better job of listening. I guess he was really, really tired.

Sweet P got the signature furrowed brow and finger on the lips accompanied by a "talk to me". (You never want to hear that toward the end of the day). Tim felt that her dress was a little "meh", that the peacock inspiration needed to be more apparent and that the overall look should be more "exuberant". (Tim likes that word. I love hearing him say it).

Jillian's work was deemed "gorgeous" and Rami's "stunning", although Tim expressed concern that it wasn't exactly "fresh", what with it being more draping, as per usual. He noted that he didn't want to hear Nina say, "I've seen this before".

He stressed to all the designers that this was their last competition and they needed to really wow the judges. "I want you to send Nina's shoes flying!" he declared. That would be fun, wouldn't it?

The Runway

Day of the runway show, Christian is primping because he wants to look "extra fierce". The good thing was that I gleaned some tips from him on the effective use of a flat iron. Thank you, Christian.

Jillian started obsessing about her inability to get things done on time (she had finished a gorgeous jacket but was having trouble with the dress) and said that she really wanted to win because she is tired of sitting in a cubicle serving someone else's vision. (Which made me think, "Hi, Jillian. What's happening? We need to talk about your TPS reports"). To make herself feel better (I think) she opined that Christian's "collection" was "a little marshmallowy". Then her steamer stopped working and she was frantically trimming up the hem of her dress.

Chris was very happy with his look, although it was terribly, terribly reminiscent of the couture look he did earlier and that concerned me. And Rami, God bless him, raved some more about draping. "It's what I do," he owned. Sigh.

On the runway, Heidi congratulates all 5 for getting that far but reminds them that 2 will be cut and she wishes them luck. Guest judge was Roberto Cavalli.

Christian had treated his design as a collection, giving thought to how each piece could be used in other ways. Which goes to his mad skillz, for sure. It also had his POV all over it. I personally thought that the shirt was fab but that overall it was a little too much.

Talk about costume-y. But the judges were positively plotzing over it, won over not just by the way he riffed off the original painting but the fact that he considered the practical applications of each piece.

As I mentioned, Chris' design borrowed too much from one of his more recent successes. It was big and costumey and while there was nothing essentially wrong with it, he could have mixed it up a bit.

Cavalli said it was the most artistic of all the designs, but then, he hadn't seen Chris' work before. because Heidi, Nina and Kors were totally on his case for the reminiscent thing. Nina got downright testy about it.

Jillian's design was possessed of a completely awesome jacket and a rather silly dress.

The judges loved it. Kors admired that she gave the appropriate nods to her inspirational painting but then went off page and created something that did "great things" to the model's body. Nina declared, "You keep me surprised". Not exactly shoes flying over the runway, but Nina likes to be surprised.

Sweet P's dress was just sad.

Is this reading "peacock" to you? Is it reading anything except "harlequin on The Strip"? No. I didn't think so.

The judges were slightly more kind, acknowledging that P creates decidedly wearable dresses (the fit is nice) but that what she does is strictly commercial. They were looking for a lot more oomph and P failed to deliver, for sure.

Rami delivered, if the package you were expecting was draped.


"Of course!" Kors exclaimed. "Where else would Rami take his inspiration but from the Greeks?" Nina noted that she thoroughly expected drapes from him. "We know you can do this," she said. "We want to see you design out of that box". Predictability. The kiss of death.

While the designers chilled in the lounge the judges compared notes. Heidi called Jillian "ballsy" (not the word I would use, though I do love her designs). Christian's work was summed up as "emotional clothes that can be worn in real life". They really like that he achieves that balance between stunning design and marketability. Sweet P was praised for her commercial vision ("not that there's anything wrong with that") but never being able to quite take it to the next level. Chris "has drama in his blood" and Rami was ranked as "technically good" but not a risk-taker.

Christian picked up his 3rd win of the season and was complimented for having a "strong point of view" throughout the competition. Jillian, who has only won once but never, that I recall, been in the bottom ranking, was safe. And Sweet P, darling, soft, tattooed P, was out. Although she did get a "we believe in your talent". There was some soft weeping. Even The Gunn was a little varklempt.

Down to 2 and the air is thick with tension. Clearly, Chris should be safe and one-note Rami should be out. But noooooooo. The judges are deadlocked. So rather than auf'ing one, they both get to stay. BUT, and this is a big but, only one will make it to Fashion Week. They are to go off and design their collections. Before the big show, each will show the judges their 3 strongest designs and then the judges will eliminate one of them.

Bit of a shocker, I suppose, but there it is. I'll bet you if Chris had not used that safe ruffled collar thing and pulled something equally clever out of his bag of tricks it would have been way easier for them to let Rami go. But really, who knows how the minds of these judges work?

Next week will be the big reunion show, which I will only recap if there's something really crazy that goes on. It will be good to see some of the other designers again, especially Kit and Kevin. Who both totally deserved to be in the final 3.



Blogger Anne opined...

Flat iron tips? The boy did work in a salon, for goodness sake.

I'm glad Chris gets to stay!

Can you figure out which belongs to whom here?

February 14, 2008 10:54 AM  
Blogger hello, my name is danny. opined...

i like big buts, and i cannot lie...that this week's episode was pretty damn great for a penultimate, or is it still a pen-penultimatge episode?...before bryant park.

that's just so mean to do that to chris and rami, but i can't wait to see what they might still have up their sleeves. so to speak.

February 14, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger sfoofie opined...

I started to leave this big long comment and then realized I could just BLOG what I was thinking..So check it out

February 14, 2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

I liked sweet pea but the outfit she made was blah. I am really cheering for Chris. Mr. Drapery is getting boring with his stuff. Good review. ralph veedore zane.

February 14, 2008 12:52 PM  
Blogger David Dust opined...

Poor Sweet P.

Click here for DavidDust's Project Runway recap.

February 14, 2008 1:20 PM  
Blogger Dant opined...

So if Kit and Kevin should be in the final 3, who should be out, Jillian or Christian?
Even though the editing has been set up to have us dislike him, Christian clearly is the tops. For me, his look most clearly connected with the work of art.
Love Jillian too, but the "I don't have enough time!!" whining is getting tiresome. Love how Christian is always the first finished.

February 14, 2008 3:39 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

I am commenting without reading, because last night's episode is on my DVR and I'll be watching it tonight. I'll be back.

February 14, 2008 6:05 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

I think I figured it out, Anne...even though I don't really like looking at the collections before the finale. Still....

Agreed, Danny. It will be especially interesting to see if Rami has anything up his sleeve besides more frakking drapes.

I shall check it out anon, Sfoof.

I know, Sageweb. The P was most easily the designer I'd most like to hang with on a regular basis but man, she really bollocksed this one. Pouty lip.

I'll miss her, Mr. Dust.

Dant, Christian obviously deserves to be in the final 3, no question. I suppose I could live with Kevin not being (because Jillian really deserves it, too), but he certainly should have stuck around longer than frakking Ricky.

That's some kinda loyalty there, Red.

February 14, 2008 7:10 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

Okay, so I have a question: do Kit and Kevin totally deserve to be in the Final 3 on merit or do they deserve to be in the Final 3 in place of two of the four who might still make it?

By the way, the ending totally sucked. Rami should have gone home.

However, Fashion Week was last week at Bryant Park, sooooo ... I have a hunch that all four of them actually showed at Bryant Park, but that the final episode will be edited in such a way as to make it look like only three of them were actually there. In this way, even the folks who were there watching have to tune into Bravo two weeks from last night to see who is auf'd.

Clever, those TV people.

February 14, 2008 7:50 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Red, I think both Kit and Kevin were stronger than Ricky or P (much as I love her). Whether they would have survived to the final? But they sure shoulda been in last night's episode.

And yeah, Bravo has done that fake out designer showing thing before. Because otherwise, what would be the point of the finale, right?

February 14, 2008 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I'm calling Christain The Gay Blade from now on. And lay off my husband, Red. pft. (shivers...oh he could drape me any day. Drape his arm across my naked, heaving, love spent breasts...drape his leg over my quivering thigh...)
I'll stop.
I will also completely understand should you choose to remove this comment.

February 14, 2008 9:49 PM  
Blogger TWISI opined...

stop hating on Rami, he is HAWT!

February 15, 2008 7:06 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Hat & Twisi, I'm sorry, but pretty is as pretty does. I've never forgiven him for being so unnecessarily mean to Sweet P. He showed his true colors. He is not worthy of either of you.

February 15, 2008 8:31 AM  
Blogger Dant opined...

Christian's gay??

February 15, 2008 2:40 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

(wipes laughter snorted coffee from keyboard)

February 15, 2008 4:16 PM  
Blogger ArsenicJulep opined...

Because Fashion Week always happens before they air the final episodes, they have to let four people show and then choose the winner from those; otherwise the secret would be out immediately. While Rami wouldn't be my first choice of guys to hang out with, I think the show is extremely unrealistic in criticizing him and other designers for having a consistent, recognizable look. Herve Leger (Katherine Heigl in Feb. Cosmo) has been doing fitted, brightly-colored ace-bandage dresses for years, but they sell like hotcakes. Ditto for Badgeley Mischka's silk taffeta and beaded numbers, or Missoni's zigzag sweaters. No one knocks Van Gogh for the troweled-on paint, or Piet Mondrian for the primary colors and rectangles. I bet Rami becomes Heidi's newest source of red-carpet outfits. What woman doesn't want to look like Aphrodite?

February 19, 2008 3:50 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

AJ: It's so funny you should mention that...I was considering the very thing just last night. Hi, Coco Chanel?

But I guess for me there is a difference between a POV that is recognizable and strong but has some play and variation within it (Christian) than knowing for a certain absolute fact that if Rami made it, it's gonna be draped. That's not a function of editing or was the look he sent down time after time after AND while I'll grant you that every woman would like to look like Aprodite and someone like Heidi would rock that look, it is not a look that is going to flatter every shape. And one must think of the ready-to-wear implications.

February 19, 2008 7:06 AM  

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