Sep 28, 2006

Project Runway After Party

Episode 11: What the Elle? aka, The Final Four
During the opening model elmination, Uli mixes things up by selecting Nazri to be her model for this week’s challenge, so Michael picks what’s-her-face.

At least Uli didn’t bust a Zulema and ask for a mafakin’ walk off.

The designers pay NINAGARCIA a visit at Elle, where she talks to them about the power of editorial and how fashion editors need constant stimulation, since apparently they’re all very bored and have seen everything at least once. Poor things. She also talks a bit about Elle magazine’s featured “First Look” section and how being featured there can give a designer some crazy exposure.

This season has been rife with twists and turns, and today’s episode was no exception. Heidi tells the designers that they’re not exactly committed to having a Final Three. So … does that mean a Final Two? Who freakin’ knows, right? [Except if you’re one of the diehard fans who’ve already seen all four designers’ OFW shows.]

This week’s challenge: To design a garment that best expresses who they are as a designer.

After 30 minutes of sketching and $250 later at Mood, the designers begin to work, thinking they have two full days to complete the garment. But of course, Tim comes in later and changes the rules. Their deadline now shifts to 5 p.m., and from there, they get one hour to shoot the models in the dress on the streets of Manhattan – and their pictures are supposed to tell a story. A mini-“First Look” spread, if you will.

Michael photographs at the Atlas. Jeffery photographs his model in Central Park. Laura photographs her model in an elevator, but then decides to hail a cab instead. Uli photographs her model (Nazri) in Times Square, at the subway station.

The designers are now tasked to write a “one sheet,” which basically consists of three words that describe their design aesthetic. How … how … “classroom” of them.

“As a designer, I am about …”

Laura – Glamour, elegance, confidence
Jeffery - Provocative, irreverent, romantic
Uli – Fun, life, adventure
Michael – Sexy, sultry, sensuality

Uli think’s Michael’s dress is slutty. Uli says it reminds her of a singles ad or phone sex line:

“I’m lonely, call me at 1-800…”

Jeffery thinks Michael dress is stupid. But then again, what doesn’t he think is stupid?

The winner of this challenge gets a “First Look” spread in Elle.

The day of the runway show, Tim lays it down – with a bit of a quiver in his voice, I must say – and reminds the designers that they’ll be held up to a higher standard and will be tightly scrutinized, looking forward to fashion week.

Everyone’s nervous, and Michael says it best:

“My insides are like porridge right now.” Slurp!

On to the final runway show!

Michael says his dress was so sexy, it even gave his white model “some ass.” Heh heh. Kors thought the weaving at the waist was pretty, but he seems underwhelmed. Heidi thinks it’s unflattering. The guest judge thought the large keyhole neckline was tricky, and I agree – ain’t no big-chested girl alive that could successfully rock that dress. Seriously. NINAGARCIA thinks that eveningwear isn’t his strength, and Kors thinks sportswear is more about what he’s about. Even his three words were essentially, synonyms.

Jeffery’s dress was pretty feminine, but I couldn’t help but think that it looked like a big poppy. As in the plant that opium comes from. And really, who wants to look like a human-sized narcotic plant? And who knew Jeffery was such a romantic? Apparently not the judges, as they found his garment to be “dowdy,” “too pretty,” “confusing,” “amateur,” “milk maid.” Apparently Heidi thought this dress was appropriate for the dairy farm.

Maybe in Germany, I don’t know …

Laura’s dress … NINAGARCIA expected more. Kors thinks she needs to expand on the concept of “cocktail” and “evening.” Editorially, they have “seen this dress before.” Heidi says she’d wear all of Laura’s dresses. Kors says he’ll scream if he sees another plunging neckline. NINAGARCIA seems to think it’s a phase.

Uli’s dress. The judges loved this dress. “You, but it’s a surprise from you,” said NINAGARCIA. Everything worked – down to the photo, which was her model jamming with some band they found in the subway station.

Why does the recurring challenge of “design a dress that expresses who you are as a designer” always seem to stump the designers season after season? And, if this is supposed to be a preview of their upcoming OFW collection, how could you possibly distill that down into one, single garment? To be honest, I think this particular challenge should be posed as the first challenge. It makes more sense to me. I mean, I’m no expert on the timing of the taping of this show, but I’d think the conception of the theme of their collection comes organically – I can see the merit behind this challenge, and the purpose behind it, but I think it forces a creative mind to commit to an idea prematurely.

But that’s just me.

Uli wins the challenge! (I’m glad we didn’t wager on this at work, otherwise I’d be out some cash, ha ha.) Good for her.

Heidi threw out the “one note” on Laura. But she stays in. “no plunging necklines!”

Michael’s “gamble” of a gown didn’t pay off.

Heidi tells Michael and Jeffery that they’re both in. So no decoy this season. Cool. If Michael got The Auf, I think I would have thrown a chair at my TV or something.

Yay! I don’t think I could have handled any of them losing this challenge, actually. Yes, even Jeffery.

Next week is the reunion, and it looks like Keith is trying to kill Heidi with his piercing stare.

“Uncomfortable, isn’t it?” he asks Heidi. That wouldn’t be the word I’d use ...


Cheryl said...

I don't understand why the judges want the designers to show them their POV then say no that's not your POV. I don't understand why PR wants the designers to do a dress that reflects their OFW collections in less than 2 days and with 30 minutes to design said dress. The one note designers are going to have an easier time because they essentially have been doing that for the past 10 challenges. Oh well on to Bryant Park.....

tiff said...

Michael was SO out if they hadn't done this twist...

I'm with you on your assesment of this challenge. It's not exactly fair.

But at least all 4 get to present at OFW. I guess that's all that matters.