By CJ Bomb (and Leslie)
We are getting to the end people. Leslie and I were able to actually watch this one together at her house with a bottle of wine and some laundry to fold. This has a been a long interesting ride and we would like to thank you for taking it with us. Who knows what is going to happen to Project Runway as one of the (now former) producers is a gigantic disgusting sex offender and Nina is leaving Marie Claire magazine to take the helm at ELLE, a higher end publication. No JCPenney wall there. We did see a preview for All-Stars which must have already filmed before the Harvey news broke with Georgina judging, so who knows? Let’s just enjoy what we have right now, shall we? Apres moi le deluge…as it were.
We join the designers on the runway where they are terrified something has changed and they are going to be given yet another challenge. Nope. Heidi, looking radiant in her Swiss Miss outfit, tells them they all have $10K to go home and create 10 looks for the runway, HOWEVER, when they return they will only be showing a preview of TWO looks to the judges because only 3 designers are guaranteed a spot to show real collections at Fashion Week. She tells them to “show us everything you got….and Bring it!” I turn to Les and ask how the hell they are supposed to do that with two looks? We are annoyed. We know they have done this before, and at the very least they aren’t springing this on them when they return, but two looks? Les remembers three. I do to. What the hell Klum? The designers are all nervous as they all believe that everyone is very talented and unique. It was actually nice. I tell Les that this is a new concept for a reality show; hire nice talented people and let them do their thing without trying to intentionally create drama. I like it. Off they go back home.
Ayana is based in Salt Lake City. Tim arrives with a big bandage on his head. Les and I are very concerned. Apparently he took a fall that required stitches. We need to wrap him in bubble wrap as nothing bad can ever happen to Tim. I don’t think we could take it. Ayana looks like a Muslim hipster in her Fedora. We meet her mom and learn that Ayana is one of 11 (yikes!) and got married very young, then divorced. She has been through a lot and Project Runway has helped fill a void in her life. She’s not as scared anymore and is ready to take risks. She went to upstate New York to be inspired and came away with a collection that evokes nature elements: water and earth. The dresses are cool, in a Little House on the Prairie way, and she has some sporty things in there too. Tim loves it but tells her to watch her lengths because she doesn’t want to wind up with an ice skating outfit for some of the tops. We like where she is headed. Ayana really was the dark horse this season. Love it.
In Atlanta (yeah ATL!) we see Kenya at her studio on the West Side. The West side is a an industrial area that has become hip with lots of artists and restaurants and shops. It’s our Brooklyn. I tell people I live there to seem cooler than I am. My friend Jen always rolls her eyes at this and says the west side of Buckhead doesn’t count. It totally does. Kenya is stuck and needs Tim to come save her. Les and I say that every day. Tim arrives and tells her that her collection of silhouettes is great. He likes the beading but is underwhelmed by the color. He says it’s somber and worried it’s going to be a snoozefest. We love the beaded trench, and everything is very classy, but we are worried that this won’t be exciting enough for the judges. They head to Kenya’s uncle’s house where Tim meets all the women in her family who proceed to try and fatten him up with good southern cooking. They are all very proud of Kenya and very affectionate and loud, like most southern families. It’s very sweet.
Out in LA Kentaro is facetiming his family in Japan and Les points out that this is a very different family vibe from what we just left. Kentaro’s family is very proud of him and says so in a very reserved, somewhat robotic way. “Your efforts are impressive.” We need to get him to the ATL. He tells Tim that his collection is reflective of classical music and that there are many layers and shapes to what he is doing. Tim is confused as he thinks the clothes look like they come from 3 different collections and tells Kentaro he needs to do “one sonata, not ten.” Kentaro tells Tim he gets bored if it’s too cohesive. Tim tells him that cohesion doesn’t need to be boring. Les says “Goodness gracious, has he not WATCHED the show?” Cohesion is very important. He plays a composed piece he says was inspired by his collection. We had to pause the show to check out the piano. It’s encased in red leather. As he finishes Les comments that the piece is very dark. In a sharp turn into David Lynch territory, Kentaro tells Tim he was inspired by a dead cat that he found and buried and then put his ear to the earth and this is what he heard. Les asks, did he say DEAD COW? Doesn’t he live in LA??? And I lose it (we’ve had more wine at this point) and we rewind it to make sure he said cat. Cause cat makes TOTAL sense. And cow would just be weird. The look on Tim’s face is priceless before he says, “wonderful” and backs out of the room slowly.
Tim heads to San Juan to see Margarita wearing a bright red sportcoat. It is a gorgeous day in San Juan. This is six weeks before the hurricane hit and it is awful to realize how much of what we are seeing was destroyed. Please, everyone, if you can donate in some way, do so. These people have YEARS of recovery ahead and our thoughts and prayers are with them. Margarita’s parents are very proud and they tell Tim that she auditioned 9 years ago, but waited until she was really ready and that this is her time. He collection. WOW. Lots of color. She was inspired by her couch from the 80’s. Better than a dead cat? She designed the print which Tim LOVES, but she has added all of these gold rings which he hates. He thinks it cheapens it. It looks like low rent, slutty Missoni. He tells her to take the “girl off the beach and put her on the NYC streets”. Good advice.
Out in San Francisco we meet Brandon’s girlfriend Dina who is adorable. She is a designer as well and I can just see some producer thinking, “OOOOH! Let’s hire a couple next time! Think of the potential drama!” They met because they were sharing a studio and they have a similar design aesthetic. He says she encourages him and she says she thinks he is pushing boundaries with his silhouettes even though she thinks he shows too much skin. Brandon is totally different with her there. He is chatty and animated. He says that he is a very loving person and his collection was inspired by the friends and family he loves because it makes him happy. Are those flamingos? Les asks, is that a flamingo toile? (is it the wine?) Yup, flamingos. He has used a home fabric and done all these funky cool shapes with an unexpected fabric. It’s weird but it works and Tim thinks it is smashing and he’s crazy about it.
Back in NYC
The designers have a sweet reunion (it really is nice how they like each other) and they return to the workroom to pick their final 2 looks to show and check out each others stuff. Everyone is very complimentary of each other’s work. Kentaro is very impressed by Ayana’s work and Margarita is floored by Brandon’s collection. She has a moment of clarity and uses the word “tacky” to reference her own collection. Everyone is a bit blown away by Brandon and Kenya decides she’s coming for him. Ayana loses it a bit, as she is overwhelmed. Why is she crying? SOMEONE GET TIM!
Tim tells Margarita her looks are compelling and alluring and he wants to see more. His mind is blown by that bomber jacket? How hard did he hit his head?? I ask Les if I’m drunk. That jacket is not mind blowing. It is head exploding. Les thinks it’s all costumey. Cruise ship costumey.
Kentaro is worried about showing looks that are too similar. Someone get this guy a dictionary and highlight the word COHESION. Tim explains cohesion via attitude and vibe. He still doesn’t get it. That blush dress though is giving us LIFE.
Brandon tells Tim he is going to put Liris in different outfits and based on what she likes the best, choose that. Tim basically says; Excellent! Perfect! Whatever you choose is awesome! The other designers are now panicked as they know they are competing for 2 spots. Les asks what I think and I tell her that I know people who aren’t into the innovative aspect of fashion will not get Brandon, but the judges will. In my mind, he’s one of the best designers they have had come down the pike in a long time. Christian Siriano good. I know I will get shit for that, and I really don’t care. Reading last month’s W Brandon’s looks would have fit right in with the artistic youth oriented looks they were showing. It like when someone looks at a Cy Twombly painting and says, I could do that! It’s fine if you don’t like it, but no; you can’t do that.
Kenya is overwhelmed and even though we love the black dress she has, we wish she would have gone with another piece that was a little more exciting. Tim tells her that her other looks are youthful and her black dress looks like their mom. Her put a beaded overlay on it. Normally we agree with Tim, but we are not so sure about this.
Ayana has chosen the two Little House on the Prairie dresses and Tim tell her she needs to show the more youthful, sporty element of her collection. She’s not sure, but as Margarita says…..TRUST THE GUNN. Les looks at me and I am already on my phone getting us t-shirts made made 5 seconds after it comes out of her mouth.
Ayana asks Kentaro to help her and Margarita says “ShAWWWWWWNEEEEE…” They all burst out laughing in a much needed release. “CLAAAAAAAAAIIIIRE…” At least the twins were good for something in the end. The models come in and everyone has a sample size model and a curvy model. Margarita has her curvy model in a bathing suit? And the bomber jacket? Kentaro’s flowy dress is STUNNING. Kenya’s model is having boobie issues in the black dress. Ayana has gone back to the dresses. Everyone is tired and second-guessing themselves.
Kentaro and Brandon need an Odd Couple style sitcom. Ayana has gone BACK to the looks Tim encouraged her to use. Can we just all agree that we need to drop JCPenney next year? Please? Why is Kentaro making his models look like samurai??
Heidi is tuning in virtually as she is out in LA working on a different show where two Brits, a German and a bald former game show host decide who in this country has talent. Les points out her belt is a bad eighties relic. I point out that it is pathetic and disrespectful she’s not here.
Brandon describes his work s “Flirty and romantic with a little hip hop”. We LOVE one outfit, but don’t like Liris’s top. Les loves the top Margarita did and somewhere Charo is coveting the pants. I’m thinking Love Boat. I’m thinking “Cuchi! Cuchi!” We hate the second look. That jacket gives me a headache. Kenya’s looks are pretty but muted. She has the opposite problem. We are worried for our girl that the judges will be bored. Kentaro’s flowy look defines ease, his white look defines forced. We want Ayana’s pants sooooo much. We don’t love the shiny top.
Our picks are the same. Brandon, Kentaro and Ayana with Kenya as a wild card.
Zack loves Kenya’s pearl cover-up but thinks the dress has major fit issues. Heidi was surprised and not in a good way as she thinks it is all over the place and not exciting at all. Uh-oh. Nina thinks the fabrics are beautiful and luxe, but there are major problems with styling. The focus was on too many things. Tim didn’t do her any favors suggesting overlays.
Heidi loves the ease of Ayana’s color palette. Nina loves the juxtaposition of distressed and refined and the combination makes it feel luxe. Zack says he’s intrigued and wants to see more. Ayana knows she’s headed to fashion week.
Kentaro says his inspiration was a Japanese dried lake. I ask Les what happened to the dead cat? Maybe that was just for the music? Tim’s face is a picture. Heidi thinks the white look is “questionable” but she loves the blush look. She says it’s not cohesive. Nina loves the color palette and that the dress was “casual, but not” but warns him not to get too conceptual reg the styling. It’s too cold and takes away from the clothes. Zack doesn’t know where it’s going, and if it’s going in the direction of the white dress, it’s not enough.
Nina says Brandon does a female version of himself and it works. She is in love with the balance of proportion. She thinks there is too much going on in the second look, but she is in love with everything else. Heidi loves it and can’t wait for the rest of the collection. Zack doesn’t love Liris’s outfit but we know Brandon has the second spot.
Zack tells Margarita her print is on the cusp of being hideous. Heidi likes the loud print (shocker). Nina says that even though there is no lack of exuberance and attitude she needs to think of these looks strategically so it’s not off-putting. They tell her she needs to be more NYC and less Miami.
Ayana and Brandon are immediately picked as we knew they would be. Kentaro is then picked even though he hesitated when telling Heidi he was ready (pretty sure that was a language thing Heidi). He is relieved. Kenya and Margarita are left on the runway and we are holding hands hoping for a fourth spot for Kenya………..and they give it to Margarita.
Kenya is crushed. We are crushed. And we don’t get it. Kenya, if you are reading this, we think you are awesome and can’t wait to see what you do next. We want the beaded coat. Call us. We will have wine and hang out. You don’t have to go far, I live on the West side too!
Les and I discuss which looks we would pick if we had to choose from and entire collection? First and Last? Similar or different? What would you do? Hope everyone has a great weekend and we will be back for the finale. If you are looking for a way to help out Puerto Rico check out Americares.org. Amazing organization. Xoxo, CJ and Les.