By CJ Bomb
Well here we are, the final five. This is the last challenge before Fashion Week. It is a doozy to say the least. The only reality shows I watch are Project Runway and Top Chef. I rely on TT for all of my other recaps. I have a friend who works at Bravo who told me the first year they did Project Runway and Top Chef they tried to hire “personalities” as well as actual talented chefs and designers to “spice things up”. The producers quickly realized something. You cannot fake being a chef, nor can you fake knowing how to design clothes from patterns. So the producers have to pick wackadoodle challenges to make things more interesting. Sometimes they take it too far. Like tonight’s episode. Leslie and I both agree on this.
Heidi and Tim come out on the runway and Heidi tells the exhausted designers they are going on a trip. I can see the thought bubble in Rik’s head, Finally! Spain? Paris? Heidi proceeds to tell the designers in the saddest attempt at a Southern accent I have ever heard they are headed to……..Austin. Texas. Now before I get hate mail, let me say. I love Austin. Great food, great music, great people. High end fashion? Not so much. Laurence looks like she’s trying not to lose it, laughing, in her confessional.
The final five make it to Austin where they are sponsored by Best Western and meet up with Nick Verreos, who came in fifth on season two, has been a guest judge and was a mentor on that whole Project Runway: Under the Gunn fiasco. Nick introduces the challenge. Each designer is to create a high fashion look with Austin’s theme “Keep Austin Weird.” Not only is it to be high-fashion, it is an unconventional challenge!! Again!! Why fly to Paris to be inspired to design a beautiful gown when we can do something we have done several times before? And why not when everything is at stake? WTF? This is a gimmick challenge.
Leslie texts me that I have to explain the difference between high-fashion, couture, editorial and avant-garde. I write back, I really don’t think it matters anymore. The designers head to a fucking farm supply store and the Stubbs Barbecue tourist trap “country store” to buy a bunch of crap. The winner gets to go onto fashion week and 50 free nights at Best Western hotels which I think equals one night at the George V in Paris. Do I seem annoyed? I am annoyed. Leslie texts me, “Yee Haw!” I text her back, “More like Hee Haw.”
Over an outdoor BBQ lunch, Roberi tells Tim he wants him to skinny dip with them in the pool later. Roberi, I love you, but I still am getting over seeing Tim in shorts.
The designers have two days for this challenge. Erin has bought meal worms. You wanted weird and unconventional, right Heidi? She is making applique flowers (of course) with gold spray painted meal-worms and guitar picks. Rik and Laurence grabbed leather harnesses (of course) and are designing Jean Paul Gaultier looking dresses. Laurence is trying to push herself by using color. And birdseed. Did I mention how annoyed I am? Roberi ties knots when he is nervous so he is making a macrame “Anxiety Dress”. Cornelius is going to go with the flow and let all the materials speak to him. He scraps his first homemade print as it looks like a “moo cow.” Leslie texts, “Poor Cornelius, he never has a direction.” I text back, “FORESHADOWING.” He starts cutting up cups and creating flowers. When in doubt, applique, I guess. I wish they were designing gowns. Or anything else. Did I mention I am annoyed?
Tim comes in and announces there is a new “dimension” to this challenge. The designers have to come up with a conventional look to pair with their unconventional outfit. Everyone screams, FUUUCCCCKKK!!!” in their heads. Even the unflappable Laurence is flustered. They head off to Mood where they have $200 to spend. Leslie texts, “From Hee Haw to Mood, talk about a mood swing.” Ba dum-dum. Cornelius has gone from 0-100 on the anxiety meter as he pretty much wasted the first day trying to come up with an interesting concept. Roberi looks like he wants to cry and both Leslie and I want to hug him.
Erin: UC look: Tim asks he what the weird smell is. It’s the smell of gimmickry. He loves the flowers, but is worried the undergarment is too plain and the appliques will look like things “stuck on a sandwich board.” Erin is very smart and has picked a funky FABRIC to complement her UC look. She is going to make a fun jumpsuit so she can focus on her UC look. She scraps the UC undergarment.
Rik: UC look: Tim is worried he wasn’t ambitious enough, but on closer inspection of the breastplate made out of vinyl records and dog collars he changes his mind. It has a very Jean Paul Gaultier top meets Herve Leger bottom quality to it.Tim does not appreciate the boring simplicity of Rik’s very junior looking black and white tweed dress. It’s basic and doesn’t cut it. He tells him to amp it up.
Laurence: UC Look: Tim loves the look but wants to know if the strips of muslin on the pleated birdseed skirt she designed are going to be covered. She assures him she is taking care of it. For her conventional look she has chosen a mustard colored fabric for a dress. Tim tells her to just finish everything. She assures him she will. She says she is freaking out. I wish I looked like that when I am freaking out. I look more like Cornelius.
Roberi: UC look: Roberi is working feverishly on his macrame dress. At this point, his dress is very, very, see through. Tim tells him just to finish the knots and worry about filling it in thoughtfully afterwards. Cornelius helpfully points out that major skin on the runway is a no-no. For his second look, he has three fabrics he is going to make into one dress. Tim says he’s in a “mad panic” about this. Leslie and I simultaneously text “me too!!” Leslie then says, did he say tying nuts? I have had to rewind Roberi several times tonight as the more panicked and exhausted he becomes, the stronger his accent gets.
Cornelius: UC look: Tim is looking at the flowers made out of cups stuck on a basic dress and thinking, I saved you for this? Tim tells him to make his second look beautiful but not the star player of the two.
Last Minute Meltdowns
Tim says he’s very concerned for everyone. Well Tim, maybe you should have told the producers to go fuck themselves with this gimmicky last challenge.
Rik is now trying to start over with his second look and make it less boring. It’s not working. Cornelius is frantically gluing flowers all over his dress. He did make a beautiful jumpsuit. Erin has made a dress with a bottle cap bib top and a short flared skirt. Roberi, oh Roberi, with all the bandages on his poor fingers, is making a tube skirt so his model’s private parts aren’t showing. That rope dress is SHORT. He HAS managed to whip out a beautiful second look though. Leslie texts me that Roberi is making her anxious. I don’t want him to go home. I am anxious as well. Laurence is trying to finish her second look and is “making the best out of her mess.” Cornelius finishes putting in a zipper in the last 10 minutes and proudly says he thinks he’s going to win. Oh Cornelius, now I want to give you a hug. For being so delusional.
Heidi comes out looking like Mrs Roper’s ghetto younger sister. Leslie texts me, that’s a weird choice, she’s aged herself 20 years. Priyanka Chopra is the guest judge. I had to Google her. She is former Miss World and starring in the new Baywatch movie. Do we need a Baywatch movie? Whatever, because Georgina Chapman is there! Wouldn’t it have been nice to show gowns to the Marchesa designer? Cough, missed opportunity, cough…
Erin: Leslie: UC Look: Smurfette. Erin likes blue and yellow. She has figured out Erin’s inner cartoon character. This is Smurfette at the Emmys. Me: They wanted weird. Second look: Leslie: Cool vibe, but maybe too conservative. Me: Easy and flowy and have you seen what Heidi is wearing?
Rik: UC Look: Leslie: Herve Leger meets Hee Haw. Me: Love the reflections it creates in the lights. Second Look: Leslie: Just not refined enough, there’s no Rik in it. Me: Boring and Junior, This is a disappointment coming from Rik.
Laurence: UC look: Leslie: This look was matronly in the front and way sexy in the back, it’s not unified. Me: This is Laurence trying to step out of her comfort zone and I think it works. Second look: Leslie: WTF? This is not our Laurence. Me: This is a cool dress that wasn’t well executed due to time constraints.
Roberi: Leslie: UC look. This is amazing but worried it’s not high fashion. Worried that judges will think it’s high fashion on the high seas. Me: This is a very cool concept, I’m just worried he didn’t have time to take it far enough. Second look: Leslie: This is high fashion and fabulous. Me: This is high fashion and fabulous.
Cornelius: UC look: Leslie: Pinwheel city. Me: Student project. Second look: Leslie: Great look. Me: Fabulous proportions.
Picks for Fashion week: Leslie: Roberi and Erin and maybe Cornelius or Laurence for third spot. Rik to definitely go home. Me: Roberi, Erin and Laurence. Rik and Cornelis to go home.
Laurence: Nina called her UC look extraordinary and a great play between hard and soft. She loves the severeness of the back. Georgina loves the sweet silhouette with the naughty edge. Priyanka says she would totally rock the conventional dress. Zak says the UC dress is successful even if it is a little Xena Warrior birdseed. Zak. Don’t try to sound like Michael Kors. You sound like an idiot. Heidi was bored by both and didn’t hate, but didn’t love either.
Rik: Priyanka loves the UC look and thinks it’s just the right amount of edgy. Zak says it’s a basic bandage dress and his conventional look has no personality whatsoever. Nina says she could barely tell the difference between the two and the UC look lacked a sense of humor regarding the materials. Heidi says she neither look is memorable. Georgina says the UC look is beautifully made but the dog collars, “bring it down”.
Roberi: Leslie and I let out a collective sigh of relief. The judges love the macrame “anxiety” dress. Heidi says it is gutsy. Zak loves the ropework. Georgina says he has created something magical and beautiful even though she doesn’t like exposed belly buttons. Be happy that was the only thing exposed Georgina. Nina says that looking at the two dresses that they are so organic and polished, that they are two different pieces that obviously come from the same person….. well done.
Erin: “I’m really excited about the worms on my dress.” Not something I thought I would ever hear on Project Runway. Zak loves it. They all love the play on textures. Georgina says both are fabulous. All the women judges want to wear the jumpsuit except Nina who finds it boring.
Cornelius: Heidi likes both looks, but on closer inspection the judges find his UC look to be “sad”. Zak and Nina think it looks like student work. Everyone loves the jumpsuit though, and Nina says she would love to wear it.
The judges deliberate and then tell the designers that FOUR of them are going on to fashion week. Remember last week? When I said the four designers who named each other as their main competition? And no one said Cornelius? Well Roberi, Erin, Laurence and Rik are headed to fashion week. And Cornelius is not. You can tell he is trying to keep it together, even as Tim tells him he is a success just to make it into the final five. He isn’t happy. And I feel for him as I can’t imagine what it is like to get so close you can touch it and then have it yanked right out of your grasp. I wonder if they are going to auf ONE MORE DESIGNER right before fashion week. Everyone will be excited after Tim visits them at home, and then BAM, right when they get back to NYC with their completed collections another challenge will be thrown at them and the loser doesn’t get to contend for the big prize. Hopefully this won’t be the case but……. I see you producers. And I think you suck. Did I mention I’m annoyed?
Congrats to the winning designers! Do you agree with the judges? Who was your favorite this season? Which designer would you want to dress you? You know my answer. Laurence, girl, call me.