Friday, October 17, 2008

Project Runway: The Women

The bad news is that The Neighbor was in Reno, with someone who doesn't have cable. The good news, MAB came to my house and we got to watch the finale on the big screen. The other good news is that we had chili dogs for dinner. We also watched the debate. Good thing I didn't get the "Joe the Plumber" drinking game memo. I'd have not had a clear head for the big moment, our PR5 finale.

We firmly believe that the designers in the finale are the most deserving. We reminisce about how much we had liked Kenley at the start. It makes us sad that now she annoys us so much.

Each designer will be showing 10 looks so they begin with model casting. Lots of skinny girls walk. Notes are scribbled. Mean things are said about Kenley but it's really quite boring.

Tim comes into the workroom to "get a sense of your collections". He is still very concerned about Kenley's creepy use of rope. Creepy is my word. What Tim says is that he's afraid "the rope strangles the organic nature" of her designs. She disagrees completely. (What a shock. Not). She says the rope stays, end of discussion because "my word is final". She also goes on at length about how the judges keep accusing her of creating knock offs of established designers. "Four times!" she bitches. "I'm sick of it!"

Tim walks away. He is making exactly the same face my priest makes when a cell phone goes off during mass.

Tim doesn't seem super enthused by Korto's line, bothered by her tendency to "overwork" pieces. He tells he that she needs to "stand by her collection". (Now I have Tammy Wynette in my head).

LeAnne asks Tim if she should lose the pants she's designed to go with a cute, wavy vest. She's concerned about all the last minute work involved but Tim is pleased that someone is showing pants and urges her to keep them. I dislike the word "pants".

With a "work hard, I know you will" and a Sarah Palin air kiss, Tim leaves and everyone gets back to work. Korto, in a moment of certifiable insanity, decides to chuck her wedding dress and 2 other looks. This means she has to create 2 entirely new pieces by the next day. MAB doesn't understand why she didn't just rework the icky bridesmaid's dress. I guess Korto thrives under self-induced drama pressure.

It's the finale and there really isn't that much to do so we have to endure 2 infomercials. First with Collier Strong the makeup guy, with the designers predictably cooing their love for everything he suggests and a similarly boring hair episode. Whatever. Don't care. Poo.

There's a little bitching: Kenley thinks LeLe's collection doesn't have enough color, LeLe describes Kenley's look as "Holly Hobbie". There's a flurry of activity making little fixes, attaching buttons, sewing bits onto models and avoiding the puppy poo dropped by the little dog of one of the models. Eeeew.

At the last Gather 'Round, Tim announces the sequence for the show: Kenley, Korto, LeAnne. He tells the women that he is "so incredibly proud", there are hugs and kisses and then we have the obligatory designers-walking-into-empty-tent-and-being-daunted-by-length-of-runway-and-realization-that-they-really-truly-made-it-to-Bryant-Park moment.

Each designer is given a passel of interny types to help with all the back stage craziness. Korto is thrilled, Kenley is dismissive. She'll do it herself, thank you. That's how tugboat children do it.

LeLe had a dress which overnight became too big for the model and so frantically switches it with another girl. Damn models and their purging right before the show.

Just watching the clothes backstage both MAB and I have a moment where we confess that we want to like LeLe best but think it might be Kenley after all.

The Runway

Jlo was supposed to be the guest judge but she fell off her heels or something so Heidi gets to announce her replacement. It's...wait for it....THE GUNN! Whoo hoo! How fitting and apt and appropriate, no? Seriously, the man mentors these people all along and then ends up in the cheap seats at Bryant Park? Damn skippy he should be right there next to Kors and Nina. Plus, he pledges to put whatever personal feelings he has toward the designers on "a metaphorical shelf" so as to ensure his objectivity. Please. Like anyone could question his integrity. Tim Gunn is perfect.

Kenley does have a gulpy moment with this revelation, however. "Are you kidding? Maybe I should have improved my attitude". Geez, Kenley, ya think?

Kenley introduces her show to the throng, which includes the parents whom she never sees. It is pure Kenley, that's for sure. Some of the pieces were very fine...her hand painted fabrics are lovely but MAB summed it up best with an "It didn't blow me away".

MAB also thought that the colors in Korto's collection were very pretty and some of the shapes made us say, "Oh, that's nice" but again, we neither "oohed" nor" ahhhhed". Not even once. Perhaps the most charming moment in the show was when Korto brought her little girl up on the runway for the final walk.
LeLe had a very pretty collection. Her wave inspiration was all over the show, lending it cohesion, and she also had the smarts to show lots of options: short and long dresses, skirts, pants, short shorts. And in this case there were a few exclamations of "I love that".

Therefore, we decide that LeLe must be the winner. We like LeLe. We like her overall aesthetic, the charming pieces she's shown all season. We like her collection very much. But, we also note, there was nothing in it that made us gasp with amazement, no "OMIG!" as the next breathtaking thing came down the runway. This show didn't leave us feel stunned the way Christian's line did. We even realize that former "losers", like Laura Bennett, had been more impressive. And that's when we admit what we've hinted at all season: this one just wasn't that spectacular. Even those designers we disliked paled in comparison to the villains of previous seasons (Santino anyone?). Whatever enthusiasm we have for LeAnne is really born only of the fact that she is what is left and we like her best of that short list. But do we love her? Will we rave about her for years to come? Will we say "oh goody" when she makes an appearance some other season the way we did with Laura and Austin? We don't think so.

The Judging
There is praise during the judging. All the designers have clear POVs, you knew even without introduction whose line belonged to whom. Kenley gets snaps from Kors for her hand painted fabric, her "charm and spirit" (I think he meant the clothes). The Gunn loved her "impeccable construction" and overall concept but Nina made yet another knock off reference.

Kors applauds Korto's ability to allow her heritage and background to inform her designs without becoming costume. Nina loves the effortless cohesion of her line and the beautiful colors. Heidi, however, suggests that she had too many ideas in one garment and Nina agrees that it wouldn't kill her to "hold back" a little.

Kors found LeLe's workmanship "divine", The Gunn loved her vest and pants ensemble and Nina appreciated the fact that she showed so many diverse pieces. The biggest concern was with all the "petals" as Heidi called them. (They were wave patterns) and Nina agreed it all seemed a little "one note". (MAB and I hope that they are going to balance that against the rest of her work: sure, she had a decided theme for the Bryant Park show but it's not like she'd done "wave patterns" all season).

Each designer is given an opportunity to pitch themselves. No one said anything particularly unexpected. There was passion. Tears.

Summary Judgement

Kenley has a cohesive look and a fit that is like couture. LeAnne makes complicated clothes look easy and is also praised for using sustainable fabrics without making clothes that look like "granola". Korto is celebrated for being able to dress many different sizes of women.

And then, with very little fanfare, Kenley is out. She's told "we believe you have a bright future in this industry" (although they think she needs to take a fashion history course first). She cries in the arms of her tugboat daddy and mom.

We get the obligatory tension building musical "dum dum" as the camera pans the tense faces of LeLe and Korto and then Heidi announces, "LeAnne, you're in".

Whoo hoo! Ok, not as big a "whoo hoo" as last season for Christian but whoo hoo nonetheless. LeAnne is a sweet thing with a terrific eye and I will look forward to finding her things on Bluefly, or wherever. And while MAB and I may not feel the same overarching passion for LeLe we have felt for other designers in the past, we are charmed by her once again when her final words to the camera are, "One hundred thousand dollahs, the drinks are on this brothuh".

Never forget that LeLe is just a little bit street.

Though this season may have been a little lackluster, I'm already looking forward to the next go and am very happy to have my Tim Gunn bobblehead to amuse me in the interim.

Make it work, people.

My thanks again to Bravo for not calling the FBI whenever I borrowed their pictures; a shout out to the new friends who came to read my recaps and a big wet kiss to the terrific folks Blogging Project Runway, especially Tbone, king of the Recapalooza. Muuuah!



Blogger sageweb opined...

Great recap! I was glad Kenley didnt win..I hope next season Rocks!

October 18, 2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Thanks, doll. And me too...pretty much no where to go but up.

October 18, 2008 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Methinks you are going to have a long wait for the next season...

October 18, 2008 10:59 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

I'm so glad to see this, I've been checking hourly since Thursday, great for your blog stats, not so great for my heart. I was afraid you'd gone to Reno and didn't come back.

my POV:
1. Leanne needed to explain this was the "Wave" collection so Nina wouldn't worry about a one-note wonder.
2. Leanne needs a haircut. A good one.

October 18, 2008 11:23 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Maybe a year. Unless the Weinsteins get over themselves. Sorta like waiting for frakkin' BSG.

Sorry about that, Anne. Work has been CRA.ZEE. I'll go in with you on salon fees for LeLe.

October 18, 2008 3:51 PM  
Blogger Cliff O'Neill opined...

I fell off my chair at the observation that "Korto thrives under self-induced drama pressure."

I was pretty sure I heard all of America scream, "Ya think?!" when Kenley made that "I should have had a better attitude" comment.

Oh, and I have now developed a crush on Kenley's dad.

And, lastly, LeLe is just a little bit street. Just not "hip-hop" street. Word!

Great recaps, darlin'!

October 19, 2008 5:15 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

I hope you didn't hurt yourself, Cliff. I also hope the cold is all gone. I also hope you stop by once in a while before season 6. Just 'cause you're good peeps. (See, I'm a little street, too. Word).

October 19, 2008 10:00 PM  
Blogger Cliff O'Neill opined...

But of course!

October 20, 2008 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Polgarra opined...

I totally agree with you about how ,for me, Kenley went from likable to despicable. I remember defending her when they were annoyed by her laughing. When she picked out the ugly fabric for Lipstick Jungle. But now I feel so deceived.

Thank you for your recaps, they were always a joy to read.

October 20, 2008 10:14 AM  

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