Project Runway

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eck ruff, and the entire mid-section seems to be smocked, but I actually think it has potential. Tim seems to agree, or at least he's intrigued. He says it will be interesting to see how Mitchell pulls off these elements in 2009.

Next we have Qristyl, who tells Tim she has decided to change from her original inspiration, the Oscars, to the Emmys. Her dress... looks like something a parrot would wear to a gay bar. A cartoon parrot. To a gay bar in the cartoon tropics. It is bright purple, accented with a shirred ruffle in another bright, ridiculous pattern down one side. It's hard to say if it is constructed well, because the shine coming off the hideous satin has blinded me. She says she had intended to go for something dramatic. "You don't think this is dramatic?!" Tim asks, losing his perfectly balanced composure for a split-second. "Is it dramatic in a good way to you?" she asks, cheerfully. At this, Tim is momentarily struck dumb. His mouth falls open and he can speak no more. The effervescent Qristyl cannot help but notice. "You pausin' too long," she says. Finally, Tim breaks the spell this concoction has put on him and says he doesn't want her to ask him if it's dramatic in the right way, he wants her to ask herself. The poor man.

The models arrive for a one-hour fitting, and the energy goes through the roof. "This right here is what I want for everything that you do for me," Johnny can be heard telling his model who is giving him a sample walk. Ugh. Can the man refrain from cheeseballiness for one segment? Please. Over in Mitchell's corner, a tragedy is occurring. Allegedly, the sizes on his model card were wrong, and his dress won't fit the girl. In a show of solidarity, Ra'Mon's model tells him "you got this," and the models head out again. Ari then tries on her own dress over her clothes. Qristyl says in an interview that while it is "interesting," she's not sure what red carpet Ari was going for. It was nice of her to be that nice about it, since the thing looks like something a third grader would construct by cutting a hole in a sleeping bag and tying it at the neck.

Mitchell, meanwhile, is still tripping. Because his dress won't fit the model, he has nothing but a collar to work with. I am not really clear why he can't just rework it a little to fix it, but apparently it can't be done. When they return to work the next morning, he is in a seriously bad state. The only fabric he has left over is similar to pantyhose. "I'm in big trouble," he says. They must break to style the girls, and while everyone is getting hair and makeup done, he is stitching his poor model into what appears to be a set of sheer curtains, with nothing under it. "He's basically sending down a nude model," Nicolas interviews. "I think this is a first for Project Runway." Christopher, who I would like if only he would stop wearing his baseball caps sideways, KFed-style, stands by as Mitchell rattles off his drop-dead-last-minute design to stitch the model into some fabric dress and then cut it short. "Is that a good plan?" he asks. Christopher: "I think it's a... plan."

Makeup is liberally applied to all the other models in the next room while Ari literally rats the hair of her model into a tragic before-picture look like something out of a shampoo commercial. "I'm trying not to damage your hair," Ari says, ratting away, and the girl's face says it all. With 10 minutes remaining, everyone scurries around doing last-minute touches, zipping and sewing. Mitchell says he has a dress to send down the runway, but he's really worried about what the judges are going to say about his nude model. Perhaps they will tell her to go back and put a real dress on. Gordana's model looks like she could be Gordana's daughter. Tim comes back in and gives them the final push, and it's on to the runway.

Heidi looks superfabulous, natch, and comes out to give them the "you're in or your aut" speech, and introduce the judges, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. Oh, I am sure you've missed them. They look ready and willing to eviscerate. But, listen, none of this matters, because there is a guest judge AND THAT JUDGE IS LINDSAY LOHAN. Somehow this information had slipped past me in my, admittedly limited, preparation for this episode's viewing. So, when Lindsay strolls out with her extensions flowing in the breeze and her leggings in full effect? Well, what was I to do but scream? Her fake tan glowing like the red dirt caked on the side of my car, she emerges to the cheers of the contestants.

This is the part where I really hate that there are 16 designers, because I love dresses and feel like I have to say something about each one of them. There are some really interesting, if not beautiful, designs to be seen here. Really they can be categorized into The Good, The Eh, and The OH, NO. My favorite part is how it's all edited so that the most talented designers get the least amount of attention. I guess if they're really good they'll be staying longer and thus will be seen again in weeks to come, but it's a shame their work in this good challenge will get ignored. I mean, in six weeks they will probably be forced to use living fire ants to make swimsuits or something.

First out is Althea's dress, and it lands decidedly in the good camp. A satin-y, glamorous lavender halter number with a textured white bodice, fitted at the waist with sort of a cummerbund effect. Really pretty.

Gordana says that the only thought she has watching her short green sheath come down the runway is that she feels like she is good enough and belongs in the competition. The top of the dress is strapless and features a geometrical, 3D design. It is really interesting, and certainly a beautiful color.

Speaking of color, Malvin hasn't used any. His dress is some kind of silvery-white that is coming over the television looking to me like straight-up burlap. It's a short, sleeveless number with really well-designed pleating on the top. I am not doing justice to the design, really, because it's good, but... red carpet? It even looks kind of business-ish to me. Maybe for the Sundance Awards. Oooh, the Cable Ace! No?

Here comes the naked model. "It's not like stars haven't walked the red carpet half-naked before, or wearing sheer garment before," Mitchell says. "But, the minute she turns around is when things get a little bit iffy." On that first part, he has a point, but yes, when she turns around Nina Garcia's eyebrows lift one millimeter in shock as we all stare at the model's thong, plainly visible.

It's a shame it's overshadowed by Mitchell's naked lady, because Louise's dress is next, and it is really quite lovely. I am not sure why the trend persists that everyone has to have what looks like an enormous fabric corsage on one shoulder, but in her dress, it actually works. She says she's a little disappointed that the two-tone gray effect she was going for sort of got lost in the mix, but really, the dress is shaped very flatteringly and looks fairly skillfully sewn.

Christopher's creation is next, and he is so overwhelmed seeing his dress on the runway, he starts crying. Gentlemen of Project Runway, please pull yourselves together. I cannot go an entire season handing you virtual hankies. His dress is a short, voluminous confection of what appears to be a pink-ish tiered skirt and a textured, asymmetrical black bodice, cinched with a belt. It's nice and looks youthful.

Ra'Mon watches his gown go by now and it appears to have come together very well. It certainly fits the model like a glove. "Do I think they'll love it? Yes, I do," he says. "Because I love it." Clearly, his earlier confidence is undaunted.

Cutie Shirin's dress is next, and it is wonderful. She loves to make things that serve multiple purposes, and what she's done is concoct a skirt that is long enough and full enough in the back to function as a cape (covered on the underside with a sparkling fabric). But when the model drops the cape down, it seamlessly flows back into a skirt. I'm not explaining this well, and it may be something that, if worn on a red carpet, would receive mixed reviews, but it's so p

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