By CJ Bomb
Hello everyone and welcome to Project Runway week four. My parents are safe and sound back home with minimal damage done. I hope everyone fared as well and if not, again, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I have to say, in light of this election, last week’s natural disaster and all the shit going down in the world, when Heidi announced that it was a team challenge my heart sunk. I‘m kind of done with negativity in general for now. That being said, I am now writing this with tears streaming down my face. Why you ask? Well read on…..
As I said it is the first team challenge of the season. Mary Kay has asked for two teams of six designers to design a mini collection and present their ideas to potential investors. Each of these investors has $1000 to divide up as they see fit between the teams. This is a new idea and I have to say I like it. I like that they have to present something cohesive up front and receive feedback instead of just hitting Mood and letting all design hell break loose. MJ is worried as he points out that everyone is talented, but that there are a LOT of egos. Always the problem in a team challenge.
Rik gets to pick first as he won last week and he chooses Alex. The dreaded button bag comes out and the teams are as follows: Team Unity: Alex, Rik, Roberi, Cornelius, Nathalia and Mah-Jing. Team Button Bag: Laurence, Erin, Dexter, Tasha, Jenni and Brik
They begin coming up with ideas and on team Unity (nice idea, sucky name) and Alex quickly takes the lead. They want to do a line for the “Empowered Working Woman”. Alex points out that this is one of the fastest growing demographics in the country and having been in this industry the longest he is ready to pitch to the investors. They are cool with it. Everyone agrees to a muted color palette of navy and black with only MJ having reservations regarding the lack of excitement in the designated choices. No one really wants to hear what MJ has to say and I have a terrible foreshadowing that MJ is going to get thrown under the bus. So does he, as he points out that four of these designers are roommates and two are best friends.
Over at Team Button Bag (sucky name, period) everyone is just throwing ideas out into the wind and talking about what they as individuals can make until my man Dex pipes up and grabs the reins. He speaks like he was born to pitch and points out how they need to solidify their concept, refine their palette and nail down their specific client. Everyone shuts up and stares. Tasha says what everyone is thinking, You talk like this and you “look how you look?” Who are you? Dex is now unofficially in charge and pitching. The man handled snakes, he can handle pitching investors.
The investors are….THE JUDGES! This is even better because the designers will get direction from the beginning from the people who determine who stays and goes. A Project Runway first! Alex pitches Team Unity’s collection and the judges don’t seem too excited. Nina points out that it is a saturated market. She asks how theirs will be different. Alex says that the finishes and details will make their collection not boring and unique. Team BB presents and sweet Tasha looks like a deer in headlights. Dex does a great job talking about the untapped demographic they are aiming to hit, fashion forward females in the tech industry. That certainly does sound like an untapped market. He explains that each designer’s unique background will contribute to a cohesive collection that will be both fun, yet serious and badass. Sign me up Dex!
I don’t know if that made much sense and I have a bad feeling it is about to become a train wreck but at least it sounds interesting! It definitely sounds a lot more interesting than Team Unity. Empowered working woman? Unless you are giving me a jetpack and a shield for deflecting man-splaining, I don’t know how “empowered” I’m going to get wearing something I could buy at Theory or Ann Taylor. The judges divide up their money and Team BB gets $2200 and Team U gets a measly $800. Alex is flummoxed by this decision and even Team BB is a bit shocked. Brik points out that because they have the resources the judges are going to expect a lot.
Over on TU they have decided to make their collection more interesting by using a very ugly print in each look. Everyone is working well together but poor MJ is getting the loser edit. They can’t pronounce his name and Cornelius calls him “what’s his name.” Project Middle School. MJ responds by being helpful and repeatedly asking everyone their opinion so that they are cool with his garment. Maturity? Wow. Well done, MJ. The team warms to him and starts treating him with respect.
Team Button Bag has become Team Bouton because it sounds better in Laurence speak. Let’s be honest, everything sounds better when Laurence says it. They have a bright yellow fabric and are using it throughout the collection. Color. Thank you lord. Laurence talks about how she is making a leather jacket. She was so proud when she got her first leather jacket years ago and laughs looking back now, saying in retrospect was hideous. I had that same leather jacket Laurence. I was trying to look like Kelly McGillis in Top Gun. I did not succeed. Everyone seems to be getting along well and helping each other out.
Tim tells TU that their clothes need to look modern and luxe because their color palette it so muted. MJ silently says “I told you so.” Alex is designing a silver tube dress. What empowered working woman doesn’t need one of those? Tim seems to be telling them to jazz it up, but they are responding by over-designing their looks. Have I also mentioned how much I hate the print they are using? Eighties, and not in a good way. But again, everyone working together well with respect. Am I in an alternate reality TV world?
Team Bouton proudly reveals their new name and Tim still thinks it is terrible. He thinks the collection is disjointed and one of the pieces is not for the girl they are designing for, it’s for her mother, or grandmother. Everyone promises him that they will shed the extraneous and make it all cohesive. He tells them to keep an eye on all the moving parts. Cornelius says it’s hot mess and it looks like someone “threw up.” Dude, have you seen your print? Team Unity has a LOT of disparaging things to say about TB. Statements like this frequently come back to bite you in the ass on this show. On Project Runway, confidence GOOD, cockiness BAD. Remember that future contestants.
The models come in and Team Unity is basically done. I could care less about most of it with the exception of MJ who has made a very cool top. Team Bouton has a lot to do and seems very disorganized. Laurence has made a jacket I want to reach through the TV and grab and wear every day. I would sleep in it. Brik and Jenni on the other hand, have made a dress that looks like it was designed by Kanye West. This is NOT a compliment. KANYE! IF YOU ARE READING THIS, PLEASE JUST STOP! It’s way too short, bland and it looks like pantyhose. Erin has made an Erin coat. Dex is all over the place helping. “I’m not made of magic!” he says. Yes you are Dex!
Heidi actually looks pretty this week. Seriously, what’s going on? Our guest judge is Sabrina Carpenter. That’s all I’m going to write about that.
Team Unity Cornelius and Rik: Black skirt, asymmetrical top, cropped jacket. Not bad, but not great. MJ: Cool cropped pant and a top I want to wear out with Laurence’s jacket. Nat and Roberi: Cocoon coat she dialed back from it’s original volume with his (ugly) printed pajama pants and a weird top. It’s not Roberi’s finest look. Rik: Silver tube dress, wonky in the back and I see every weird wrinkle.
Team Bouton Dexter: Love his embellished suit. Jenni and Brik: a flesh-colored mini-dress too short for even Heidi? Not good. Laurence and Tasha: I want this jacket. I don’t care who I have to kill to get it. It looks awesome against the bright yellow skirt Tasha made. Erin: Funky embellished mixed fabric coat. Statement piece. Whether or not you love this collection, it was at least interesting which is why I choose them for the winners and Laurence for the individual win.
WINNERS Team Bouton: the judges love everything except the Kanye dress. I was right, even Heidi thought it was too short. They thought the rest of the collection was fashion forward and fun. They loved that they used a bright color and thought the embellishments made the pieces special and unique. All the designers compliment each other and talk about how much they loved working together.
LOSERS Team Unity: the judges are confused by the direction the collection took as it in no way resembled their original pitch. Nina is at a loss. The fabric is for evening and the looks make no sense. Zak wanted the impact of some color and Heidi generously tells them it wasn’t bad, and they should be proud they managed to do so much with so little. Even though no one wants to talk at first, the stunned designers manage to say that they tried to redirect based on the feedback from the original pitch. Nina tells them they over-thought it.
Here is the part I hate on the team challenges. Everyone is always asked on the winning team who should get the individual recognition and someone always says me. Everyone on the losing team has to say who should go home. Most of the time some poor soul gets thrown under the bus and there is much anger and many tears (see Mean Girls episode, season 14).
Now TT might deservedly edit the heck out of me, but I’m just going to say this. My faith in humanity was a bit restored tonight. BOTH teams worked well together and helped each other out. A Project Runway first. There were no divas. The winning teammates each picked someone other than themselves to win, INCLUDING Erin who rightly picked Dex for being the de-facto leader. He wins and is crying while thanking them all. Each team member is receiving $5000 from Mary Kay and Dex will be featured in a spread in Mary Kay magazine.
Now, here is where I lost it. When Heidi asks the losing team members who should go home, almost every single one of them tells the judges that if it is their design that brought the team down, then they themselves deserve to be sent home. Cornelius, Nat, Roberi and Alex each took responsibility in a way I have never ever seen on this show. It was mature and gracious and just awesome. Everyone is crying, including me. Alex being the de-facto leader, is picked to go home. Tim comes out and says he has never seen anything this classy in the history of the show. Alex interrupts Tim and tells him that he tried out for season four and made it all the way to Tim. Tim told him he was almost there but needed to go back to school. It inspired Alex, who had dropped out of high school, to go back and get multiple graduate degrees and start a successful business. He was able to change his life and he is forever grateful. Now everyone is sobbing and my 14-year-old comes downstairs to ask why I am screaming “Save him Tim!!!” at the TV. Alas, Tim keeps his save, but Alex leaves with a level of integrity rarely, if ever, seen in the world of reality TV. And I am spent.
Did you watch? Did you cry? Tell us what you think!