Thursday, August 07, 2008

Project Runway: The Olympic Challenge

I was going to say something like "going for the gold" but then I figured there would be 412 titles using that theme so I didn't. This week The Neighbor and NOM and I were joined by another co-worker of theirs, who we will refer to as Cookie Monster Girl because she made this killer dessert for us involving nearly-baked chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. She also does a spot on Forrest Gump impersonation, but this isn't about us. Much.

To begin with, we were all happy to see our little dolly Kenley but it bears noting that we still don't think she should have won last week. She stuck with her model, Shannon, (dig me, remembering a model's name).

Our designers head off on a little field trip with The Gunn, all a-goggly about the adventure laying ahead. Piled into the van they try to figure out where they are going. I thought I heard Suede say that "Suede loves the Bronx". But they don't go to the Bronx. They go to Washington Heights in Manhattan, to the Armory Track and Field Center, a behemoth of a sports facility. As they stand, dwarfed by the Olympian size of the building, who should come speed skating up to them but my all time favorite Olympic athlete, Peggy Fleming Apolo Ohno!

(By law I am required to love him, because he's from Seattle, but I would love him anyway. And I'm rather proud of the way he's grown up. He's become very poised and, dare I say it, borderline elegant, the legacy, no doubt, of his award winning stint on "Dancing with the Stars".)

Apolo tells the designers that they are to create a look for the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games, which he describes as "the Olympians' version of the catwalk". The Gunn explains that this is the moment to present the image of the US to the rest of the world and adds, what I did not know, that there is a long and illustrious fashion history connected with these looks. If you say "opening ceremonies" to me I immediately picture phalanx upon phalanx of athletes in track suits, sometimes with jaunty hats. But no. In fact, Ralph Lauren designed the "look" for the '08 games. There is a museum at the Armory where the designers will have an hour to look for inspiration from Olympic ceremonies gone by and make their sketches. Oh, and just for the purposes of this challenge, they will confine themselves to designing for the women.

Aside from the fact that Apolo Ohno is going to be the guest judge, I do not find myself thrilled by this challenge. Sportswear, I'm afraid, makes me yawn. I do not wear sportswear, for one thing. I am not a sporty girl. I also rarely watch the Summer games because Apolo's not in them. The Neighbor loves this challenge, but NOM is with me.

The trip to Mood to spend our $150 is more interesting than usual. First, we learn that Scary Stella does not limit her fabric love to leathuh. She also is a fan of fur. (She tells us that her look is going to be "bold-progressive-aerodynamic" and that she's thinking "gladiator". She's also working with black fabric. Know why? "Because black is cool").

Daniel, (who I originally wrote in my notes as "some guy") is already in the weeds. He found no inspiration in the museum and is wandering around Mood looking ever so lost. But we don't really care. 4 weeks in and we can't identify him by sight? He's going to be gone sooner rather than later.

Kenley seems to annoy Korto by questioning the fabric choices of others. Korto snipes to the camera, "Don't worry about me...worry about that plaid you're picking up".

Keith has pissed off Terri because he co-opted some of her fabric while at the cutting table. Let me tell you, the ill impression Keith made on us last week persists. He is not nice. PLUS he's arrogant. Oh, how we hate that.

Back at the work room, the designers talk about their varying degrees of athletic experience in youth. (Stella did modern dance. LeAnne was a cheerleader. Someone played football...perhaps manly Joe the token straight guy, but I don't remember because I was thinking about how completely unsporty I was in high school. Although I think I got a good grade on the square dancing unit).

Other workroom highlights:

Blayne goes on and on about his inability to get to a tanning booth and how he's wasting away because of it. I personally think he's actually beginning to take on an almost life-like hue at this point but he is, Jerrel reminds us, "tanorexic".

Someone asks, "Stella? Why are you making yours black?" and Blayne tosses off, "Because we're in a depression?"

Joe bitches, at length, about the fact that Kenley and Daniel are having too much fun. Terri and Jerrel also complain about Kenley's laugh. This does not ingratiate them with me. I love Kenley.

Korto tells us about being a refugee from the civil war in Liberia and how America is the place of second chances. It could have come off as a "cue the Sousa, unfurl the flag" moment but she was sincere and it was sweet and I just hope America can live up to the promise Korto sees in her eyes, so to speak. (Obama 08).

Tim's Walk Around

Joe, who I have now begun to dislike, is making a skort. Tim says, "Well, by definition that says 'athletics'". He also thinks Joe's use of red and blue trim is "witty". Whatev.

The Gunn tells Blayne his look is "a little Sgt. Pepper", to which Blayne replies, "I don't know who that is". Tim sighs and says, "Oh. Gawd. Youth". But then there was a reprise of the whole "hollah" debacle from last week and some cookie lodged in my throat as I screamed out for The Gunn to resist the forces of evil.

Jerell has got a whole lotta nonsense going on. Tim is concerned that it could "look very Lucy Ricardo" and questions whether muscly, athletic women would be thrilled about an outfit that is employing horizontal stripes. (I think they would, because it would spare them from going around all day saying "Here are my massive thighs. Fear them)."

Boring-and-not-remotely-surreal Jennifer is all droopy because she barely survived last week and was clearly wounded by the "matronly" critique. Now, Tim says, she's gone the other direction and done something "too junior". Poor, dull little pudding. He tells her to "ramp it up" but the frightened look in her eye tells me that is beyond her powers.

After The Gunn removes his sartorial splendor from their sights, we are treated to a few workroom dramas:

Daniel appears to be coming unglued. He's back and forth on his design, he really isn't inspired, there's concern about the way the blue of his fabric will read from the runway. Kenley is worried about him. She also counsels him that the red bolero he's made for his dress makes the outfit look too super hero-y and so he leave it off.

Joe, who I now have decided to hate, becomes completely unglued because Daniel is using "his" machine. He went on at great length expressing his annoyance and displeasure and muttering like Gollum about Daniel rethreading "his" machine with red when clearly he, Joe, had it loaded with white and why doesn't Daniel pay attention and "oh, it's all abut Daniel" and then, to camera he actually has the frakking audacity to say there is too much drama because there are too many queens. Really? Too much drama? Pot, did you need Kettle's number or is it on your speed dial?

Meanwhile, I'm thinking that many of the looks are interesting but dated. Korto agrees with me. I eat some more cookie stuff.

The Runway
Korto: very, very nice indeed...wide leg pants with a sleeveless vesty thing...mostly white...very smart.
Suede: perfect for a cheerleader; Olympic athletes, not so much.
Joe: sadly (because I now definitely hate him) very cute. The skirt part of the skort looks a little like a flag but overall a very sporty look.
LeAnne: enjoyable; the neckline looks like it's swathed in medal ribbons.
Daniel: oh, dear. This says "TWA" not "USA".
Jerrel: this look refers to America on at least 2 levels: he used red, white and blue and I believe we were, in fact, the inventors of Looney Tunes. This is a 1940s cartoon woman come to life and not in a good way.
Stella: do not hate this but don't see it being remotely appropriate for the intended purpose. Too black, too much belly button (which, The Neighbor pointed out, might offend a host nation).
Keith: the top is cute, the bottom is some froofy weirdness that looks diaperish.
Terri: another chic, sporty outfit. NOM and Neighb liked it more than I did (they were entranced by the blazer while I was put off by the weird scarfy business at the neck) but it was certainly far more suitable than...
Jennifer: who made a very cute, sweet, darling little dress. Unfortunately, it had absolutely NO relation AT ALL to the stated challenge.
Blayne: nice pants, weird the shoulder, for one thing, and I didn't really like what he did with the trim. Too whoopsy doodle for the occasion.
Kenley: cute dress, totally her POV, love the plaid...oh, wait...just remembered the point of the challenge...

The Judging
Our top 3 are Terri, Joe and Korto, with Jennifer, Daniel and Jerrel bringing up the rear. So to speak.

Apolo says Terri's colors would read very well. Kors dug it's "Lauren Hutton vibe" and Nina was impressed with the versatility of the ensemble.

Heidi told Jennifer that she "didn't see America at all" in her design, Apolo didn't see "pride" and Nina came down with a harsh "It almost looks silly".

Joe's outfit gets mostly raves. Apolo likes that it would really show off the athletes' physique, Nina was impressed with the sporty, athletic details. Kors liked it overall but thought the skirt was too long. (I told you it looked like a flag).

Daniel, oh, dear...poor, forgettable Daniel. Apolo dissed the fact that it had nothing athletic about it, Nina dismissed it as having "no relevance" to the task and Kors got out one of his signature bon mots: holding his judging card before his eyes he said, "Where is she from? The Republic of Cocktailand?" That was mean. It made Daniel cry.

Korto came on claiming her desire to leave the past in the past and make something for "now". The judges agreed. Nina said that dressed in her ensemble the US would have "a very chic team". Heidi posited that athletes would feel very proud in it. Apolo raved that it looked "comfortable, very '08" and declared himself a "big fan".

Apolo tried to be nice when responding to Jerrell's hot tranny mess, calling it "definitely unique" before regretfully adding that it didn't seem to have anything to do with the Olympics. Nina pronounced herself completely "puzzled" and rendered pretty much speechless. Kors just called it plain "meshugana".

The Verdict
Our judges are sober this week. The high scoring looks are praised for being sporty, sophisticated and athletic, all fine representations of the Olympic spirit. Likewise, they hate the low scoring outfits for all the right reasons: Jerrel is too costumey, Jennifer too prim and Daniel...well, as Kors said, "If her sport is drinking it's a good dress".

We hold our own little vote: 1 for Terri and 3 for Korto to win, with a split decision on the loser between Jennifer and Daniel (although I really want Jerrel to lose because I don't like him, his outfit was stupid and he was dressed in some whicky whack homage to Peter Pan that simply does not inspire confidence in his design sense).

The winner was Korto ("About freaking time," she later said and we agreed) and the loser was Jennifer. Frankly, any 3 of the bottom looks were deserving of aufing. I like to think it's because the judges knew that they sent the wrong designer home last week and luckily, Jennifer delivered another "miss", allowing them to make amends. Because trust, if Jennifer had gone home last week when she should have, we'd have been well shod of Jerrel last night.

All photos courtesy of Bravo.



Blogger sageweb opined...

Okay I no longer like Blayne I am sooo over him. And Joe is an ass. Poor little Daniel he looked like a scared puppy dog. His dress was awful tho.

August 07, 2008 3:46 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann opined...

"muttering like gollem..." I almost chocked on my ice cream cone. Yes, I eat ice cream in the afternoon while reading your blog.

Are you going to watch the Olympics? I think I'm not. Partially for boredom and partially as a political statement.

August 07, 2008 4:20 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Sage, yep, yep, yep and yep.

KA: I'm with you on the Olympics...although I may tune in to the opening ceremonies just to see what Ralph concocted for the athletes to wear!

August 07, 2008 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Fast-forwarded through the entire episode. I think I'm over this show.

Plus, it's not like I can blog about it when everybody knows they should just come here for the best recaps ever.

I'm poking you now.

August 07, 2008 11:00 PM  
Blogger Doralong opined...

"Daniel appears to be coming unglued" Honey I really don't think the edges were ever glued to begin with on that boy.

And as much as the Duchess usually annoys me I laughed till I cried over "Where is she from? The Republic of Cocktailand?.. I'm sorry Cuz, but that was just priceless!!

August 08, 2008 3:49 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

ROFL: Peggy Flemming! Priceless. I'm a Dorothy/Mary Lou fan myself.

August 08, 2008 6:55 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

JP: you're sweet. Poke poke poke.

Cuz, and you know what's really funny? I just remembered Daniel is the one who make the cup dress in the first challenge. What happened?

That's because you're younger than moi, Anne.

August 08, 2008 10:56 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

Maybe you're older, but not by much. Peggy's OK, but not my favorite.

August 08, 2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous elise - All Or Nothing opined...

Can you believe Nasty Stella stays safe, week after week, with her cheap skanky crap? It is getting infuriating.

I love the recap, though :) Mine's here

August 08, 2008 1:21 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

My guess, Elise, is that Stella will survive until all the obviously weak designers are gone. She's the weakest of the strongest, if ya know what I mean, and then there will be a massive revolt by the judges of her one-note leathuh rock 'n roll look.

August 08, 2008 2:11 PM  
Blogger Cliff O'Neill opined...

- "This says 'TWA' not 'USA'."

Spit out my soup over that one!

And, yes, I am growing to really dislike Keith. And Joe is ... such a douche. Wow.

You're wonderful, as always!

August 12, 2008 6:50 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Thanks, doll.

August 12, 2008 5:05 PM  
Blogger Anne opined...

Hi Lorraine, I hope this shows up in your email box and not just get lost down here in your blog somewhere. Your wish might come true. If you remember, I went to SF a couple months ago and you suggested seattle. So I suggested seattle for the next round of testing and it's been approved. So sometime between now and mid-october I hope to be coming out your way! Shall I bring pie?

August 15, 2008 6:40 AM  

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