Because of travel schedules, I was unable to recap the first two episodes of this season. But they were good! Weren’t they good? I mean, there was some cracked-out judging in the second episode (sorry, I thought Olivier’s dog bed and woodchip thing was way overpraised, and didn’t Fannelle’s “dated” color scheme remind anybody else of GRETCHEN’S WINNING LINE GAAAHHHHSMASH) but overall: I was ready to give the new season a solid grade of GOOD.
And then I come back to recap…whatever that was, last night. A runway outfit for stilt walkers. FEATURING KIM KARDASHIAN. Who the fuck did I piss off upstairs, you guys?
So. Thoughts on the challenge:
1) Stilt walkers are only a couple degrees’ difference from clowns. Therefore, terrifyingly unnerving. I ran out of wine and moved on to straight scotch just to keep my wits about me. Thus, this recap is actually being written the next day because all the notes I took last night are useless, and appear to be written in a sort of all-caps pig latin.
2) While I get where the challenge inspiration initially came from—design sketches do indeed mimic those proportions a lot of the time—it really didn’t translate well for the runway. The logistics of walking in stilts limited everyone to basically, one certain kind of pant design, since the girls couldn’t walk in long dresses. So…MAYBE, instead of making a big deal over this being the first! outdoor! runway show!, they should have ditched the runway altogether and done an editorial photo shoot, so they could play with the extreme proportions without having to worry so much about the walking.
(That also would have solved the problem that the stilt-walkers weren’t runway models but seemed to be trying to APE walking like runway models, which resulted in a lot of bad, early-rounds-of-America’s Next Top Model forced-sexy stomping. BY CLOWNS AAAAHHHHH BRING ME A BLOODY MARY.)
3) This was a stupid challenge to throw the “YOU HAVE ONE DAY” time limitation at. That already guarantees that half the entries will be glue-gunned garbage, putting it on top of the bizarre stilt-walker bit meant EVERYTHING was gonna be garbage.
Plus, was this episode heavy on the whiny asshole butthurt drama or what? Bert, who emerged as my early most-favorite in the first episode, completely destroyed whatever goodwill he hadn’t destroyed during last week’s immunity-based hissy fit. He was a total jerk to Viktor, and every scene with the two of them sent my nerves further climbing up the wall. I know people like that, who argue with every word and comment and observation out of your mouth because they’re just that defensive about everything. Dude’s like a walking Rage Comic.
Anyway. The theme of the episode was Team Challenge is Challenging. Dysfunction was everywhere. The Piperlime Accessories Wall was all but completely ignored. Thoughts on the teams:
Anya and Olivier: I like Anya. I do. My husband likes her hair, and spent 20 minutes trying to convince me that I could pull that look off. I get the sense he’s starting to fuck with me, a little bit. I do not “get” Olivier, from the spelling of his name to his ever-shifting accent to his design-student-type styling quirks involving eyebrows and lashes. These two were heralded as the “dream team” which should have signaled a Loser Edit, but since every look (EVERY. LOOK.) sent down the runway was basically warmed-over ass on a stick, they managed to skate through in the middle with a sad, elongated and watercolored sack.
Cecilia and Danielle: I…oh my God. This was a top three look.
This. Was a top three look. I thought it was HIDEOUS. Like, one of the ugliest things I’ve seen in a long time. The hair…well, obviously the hair was horrific, but combined with the chintzy bedazzled grandma-wear outfit, this poor model reminded me of Cameron Diaz’s landlady from There’s Something About Mary. I get that chiffon is hard to work with and the judges had bigger fish to fry than a hairstyling misstep, but SERIOUSLY. I had this mess pegged as bottom three for “old-looking” and “blah” and “I’m getting a neck rash just looking at that shirt.”
Kimberly and Becky: Becky seems like she might be too nice for this show, and Kimberly is too over-confident in her design talent for this show. Together, they put together a costume-y costume based on a collarbone tattoo. The fact that, when it went down the runway last night, I actually thought that I liked it just goes to show you that you can totally develop Stockholm Syndrome in 45 minutes or less.
Anthony and Laura: This look had the best movement and impact on the runway, hands down. I don’t really agree with the judges’ assessment that you could whack off the extended length and still have a great look (so was that the point of this challenge? not to actually create something larger than life and fantastical? just…make clothes, but taller?), because the individual elements were actually kind of meh, not to mention beyond derivative. I mean, there’s like, ILLUSION NETTING on this thing. They made a Gucci knock-off with a couple extra feet of fabric on the bottom.
It was very nice of Anthony to cede the win to Laura. I think he’s one to watch, along with Anya. Laura, Miss I Came From An Upper-Class Background, is also probably kind talented or whatever, but is coming across as an uninteresting snob. NEXT.
And now, the “losers.” I am using quotes because, really, there are no non-losers here. Including us. (And grammar, apparently.)
Josh and Julie: Julie reminds me of Kristy from The Babysitters’ Club. I think I might just call her that. She seemed like she was trying really, really hard to be a good teammate, and Josh was all fake-y nice to her face but then all ”OMFG can you belieeeeeeve I have to work with this?” eye-roll-y to the camera and other designers and I did not like that very much. Dude, stop glueing sparkle-y shit on to other shit and picking out crackney fabrics and ALSO wipe some of that slap off your smug face, because this outfit was not all Julie’s fault.
(Some of it was even the model’s fault, what with the way she kept whipping that sad little matador sleeve around like she was trying to fly off the runway like an old-time-y air-travel attempt.)
(Also, Nina: “It looks a little circus.” OH YA THINK? THE MODEL IS ON GODDAMN STILTS, WOMAN.)
Bert and Viktor: Worst. Team. Ever. I can’t even talk about Bert any more. I can’t believe Viktor stayed so relatively quiet on the runway and didn’t point more fingers in self-preservation, because dude. The fabric! The nitpicking! The snobbery! The “that’s Elizabethan and not Victorian and you should read books and I know more than you and you never let me finish!” “Okay, so finish.” “Well…now I’m done.”
Gah. Stabby. It’s never a good idea to give up and cede control to an overbearing teammate like Viktor did though…sometimes these dysfunctional pairings do manage to produce something amazing despite the drama. This was…not one of those times, but Bert should have been the one standing on the stage in the bottom two for this horrible, horrible look.
Bryce and Fallene: So here we have a know-it-all-y, recent design school grad paired with a self-taught, artsy-crafty hairdresser. Oh, Button Bag. YOU SO CRAZY. At first, it is easy to blame Fallene for everything — she failed to produce a useable top, after all — but on second viewing, it seems like Bryce was basically henpecking a tired, unnerved person from the start, making her doubt her skills and feel in over her head, when a little bit of encouragement would have gone a long way. Plus, the shit Bryce produced wasn’t so hot either. A tutu. And…stilt-leggings. The ballet/Black Swan idea was okay, I guess, since nobody seemed clear on whether the judges wanted “avant garde costume” or “wearable clothes for your everyday 10-foot-tall woman.”
And then came Grain-Gate 2011. I admit, even I know that fabric has a grain and that you need to pay attention to it. But sometimes cutting off grain can be a deliberate design choice that works. Maybe it wouldn’t have worked in this particular instance, but MAYBE Bryce should have backed off poor Fallene for 30 seconds and stopped treating her like she managed to score a place on Project Runway without ever having sewn anything in her entire life, grain or no grain. But no, he so thoroughly rattled her that she spent forever on a top that didn’t work and left her no time to correct it, thus making her the easiest target for elimination on the runway. It’s like he was expecting them to be the bottom from the get-go, and wanted to line up his own safety net. Using Fallene’s body.
That said, Fallene seemed very sweet and nice but was not at all cut out for this competition, so I’ll consider this a mercy aufing.
(And yes, Kim Kardashian was completely useless as a judge, but…that’s not really surprising, right?)
NEXT WEEK: Design a look for NINA. And try not to pee yourself in fear while doing it.TOP POSTS