Episode 9: Couture du Jour
This week’s challenge was for the designers to create a couture dress. Did you know that you need to be licensed by the French government to be a couture designer? Neither did I. Ah, Project Runway, how you continue to teach me things about fashion that I never knew ...
Anyway, so the designers have to design and construct a couture-ish dress, by hand. In two days.
Jaws dropped all over the place.
Catherine Malandrino says she’s going to throw a party for the gowns. Oh, and the designers too. At some undisclosed location. Will Dick Cheney be there?
But first, they chill at the hotel and then have dinner with Tim Gunn. In Pah-ree.
“I’m excited to be in Paris, but I’m even more ecstatic that Angela’s gone,” Jeffery says. I couldn’t agree more. If I had to watch another episode of her and her spazziness …
We see shots of the designers and Laura’s sternum walk through the streets of Paris. (Aren’t your boobs supposed to get bigger when you’re prego? I’m just saying.) It’s their first relaxing, proper dinner together. They all toast to Jeffery’s first win.
The next day, the designers take the Metro around town to soak up all that French inspiration and end up at the Sacre Coeur. Tim gives them 30 minutes to sketch.
Vincent tells us that his background training is in couture dressmaking, which leads us to think, ah, finally, now we'll get to see why Vincent made it on this show in the first place. We also find out that haute couture is yet another thing that turns him on. I swear, Vincent talks just like how I would imagine a creepy, sleazebag fashion photographer of questionable scruples would talk. I keep expecting him to tell his model to make love to the camera or something. But I digress.
Kayne shares his sketch with Vincent, who declares,
“This is couture.”
You know, as if to say, yes, Kayne, you FINALLY got it right this time. Thanks, Mr. Couture.
The designers are off to Reine, a fabric store, in which they spend about 300 euros ($375 US).
Jeffery sets a goal for himself: To be the first designer in the history of the show to win a challenge while having immunity. With that yellow madras plaid? Bon chance, man. Make it work!
I think Uli’s freaking out about the whole implication that she’s a one-note, so she doesn’t even choose a print this time.
“That’s really something,” Uli says.
As the designers drape, drape, drape, Laura’s got something to say about everyone’s dress, and she’s not afraid to share. Especially with Kayne. Is this her strategery? Is she psyching out her opponents and playing upon their insecurities? Or is she just being catty?
“Kayne definitely has some Vegas tendencies going on.” Laura says.
Okay, maybe a little of both.
Jeffery, on the other hand, says Kayne’s dresses are very “prom.” I think Jeffery prides himself on how good he is at being a jerk.
Meanwhile, back in the Land of the Lost 401k, Vincent is determined that the dress he creates will be the epitome of haute couture.
“Vincent is like a legend in his own mind,” says Laura.
Indeed, sistafren. Indeed.
Then! Vincent busts out with some Daniel Franco moves, in which he works a little bit on the dress form, steps back, touches himself, asks others to touch him, and then keeps working. Basically, just basking in his own eccentricity and wasting time. It’s all too much for me to handle. I curl up in the fetal position during the commercial break.
Back at the hotel, we find out that Jeffery has some bizarre attachment to his cordless shaver. That’s just gross. All those shaven hairs flying around the hotel room. Nasty. That’s just like someone cutting their toenails on your couch or something. So. Punk. Rawk.
On day two, Michael’s worried about the time crunch, and Laura thinks this is the only chance she’s got to impress the judges, so she’d better make it big. Kayne’s dress is not working for Tim. The boning worries him. But Kayne loves it. Oh, a designer’s dilemma. Listen to your artistic voice, or listen to Tim Gunn?
Laura’s worried that Kayne’s going to get kicked off, and she doesn’t want to see him get hurt.
Jeffery could care less. “Nobody’s going to buy that. Unless it’s Halloween.” Rowr!
Vincent’s critiquing Michael’s handmade ruching, while Jeffery tells him that’s what Malan was trying to do. You know, with all Mr. Haute Couture Embodied talking about how Laura’s dress looks like something from the Creature from the Black Lagoon, what the hell does his dress look like?
Who knows, because it’s not even finished yet. At this point, it’s in a bunch of pieces waiting to be sewn together.
Laura’s starting to feel the effects of her pregnancy; the fatigue, the swollen feet. I have this feeling Laura’s interest in the competition is going to wane as her pregnancy advances. (But then again, don’t they just shoot for 32 days? I mean, does your body change that much in 32 days? I’ve never had a kid, so what do I know?)
The next day is Catherine Malandrino’s party. But first, they have three hours to finish their dresses.
Shocker. Vincent’s dress still isn’t even done yet! Looks like someone spent too much time worrying about everybody else’s dress, declaring "couture" and "not couture" all over the place, and all without the special license from the French government! Tsk, tsk.
The models come in. Vincent’s still got to hand-sew the hem, but he doesn’t have time, so he busts a Santino and glues it instead.
Michael’s model is a super heffer, so he has to take the dress in about FOUR sizes.
Off to the mystery location! It’s a boat on the Seine. And as the designers and models walk to the boat, some fool threw eggs at them. The egg splattered on Michael’s dress! I’ve officially put a mob hit on that fool.
Just kidding, officer. Carry on.
Malandrino arrives at the party, wearing some stunning retro-inspired dress, and she and Tim toast to the designers.
She mingles among the designers and their models, giving them props and some very constructive feedback. The woman deserves a job at the UN. Check out the diplomacy she engages in as she critiques Vincent’s dress:
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen shoulder pads on a couture dress.”
Heh heh. Same here.
So Vincent, apparently wising up to the fact that his “couture” gown is a piece of merde, completely changes the conversation and starts trying to up Malandrino, telling her she’s stunning, and a vision, etc. I think he even kissed her hand. His accolades really become so cloying and transparent that even the rest of the designers stop their conversations and just stare at the spectacle, mouths agape.
“Are those your shoes?” he asks Malandrino. (They’re not.) Is he like, trying to distract her from The Ugly?
Then he starts asking for her honest opinion about his dress whether it’s modern or dated. The best she could come up with was that it was “interesting.”
To me, the dress itself was very plain. Not “classic.” Plain. Home-sewn. Not well executed. And couture was, according to Vincent, his strength? In what parallel universe?
Jeffery got “audacious” with his choice of cotton for a couture gown. You have to hand it to Jeffery. He’s certainly not boring.
I kind of liked the corset bodice on Kayne’s dress, with its slightly asymmetrical lacing in the back. I don’t think it looks too “Vegas-y.” And I didn’t mind the fact that the boning showed through. But Kayne sure loves his flowing skirts, doesn’t he?
Laura’s dress, the black, long-sleeved, deep-v (of course) column dress with the big, puffy, Elizabethanesque collar, was very dramatic, very edgy.
Uli’s dress looked like an Uli dress, but in a non-print. But it was sexy and feminine and well executed.
Back in New York, the designers get two hours to re-fit their American models. Most of the dresses have to be let out to fit the American models. Laura’s puffy collar wilted. Vincent uses more glue.
On to the runway!
This week’s judges: Richard Tyler, NINAGARCIA, Heidi, and Michael Kors.
Vincent thinks that the cut in the back of his dress is “unlike anything anyone’s ever done before” (seriously, where does he get this stuff?). Laura’s ruffles fell flat during the flight back to NYC. Kayne still loves his dress.
During the judge’s deliberations, they go over Malandrino’s comments. All Malandrino wrote on Vincent’s card was “No, no, no, no, no, no.” Heh heh. Bring this woman back for Season 4, please.
Jeffery wins. “Fresh, new, hip, colorful, fashion forward. Couture,” Heidi says.
Vincent gets the Auf. Finally. Justice prevails!
And again with the “cashing out the 401k” during the exit interview. Why couldn’t he just freakin’ roll it over into an IRA instead of deal with the massive penalty? Oy. Enough with the 401k already. Put it in an annuity and get on with it, for crying out loud.
Michael, Laura, Kayne, Uli, Jeffery are the five designers left. One more week, and we'll have our four Fashion Week designers. My picks for Fashion Week: Michael, Laura, Uli, and Jeffery. No idea who'll be the decoy, though. It's hard to tell at this point. But I will say, anyone who gets The Auf from here on out is going to be painful to watch.
And yes, even Jeffery.