I decided to check in with “Project Runway” this week because the two other shows I now recap on Thursday nights (“Scandal” and “The Vampire Diaries”) are in reruns, and boy, I’m glad I did. This week is the duct tape (or, to be brand specific, Duck Tape) challenge, and better yet, the assignment is to make friggin’ prom dresses. I love this idea, and I’m hoping the designers go nuts with it. These days, duct tape (or, really Duck Tape) is available in all kinds of crazy prints and patterns. Not where I shop, of course, because I would buy some. Not sure where I’d use it, but I would find a use for zebra print duct tape in my house because it is just too awesome to stick under your sink.
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Heidi drops a hint to the designers by walking onto the runway with Fred the duck on a leash, which terrifies Tu but is awfully cute to everyone else. I keep waiting for it to scream, “AFLAC!” Wrong brand, I know, I know.
Even though this seems like a fun challenge to me, the designers seem to have a desperate fear of teenagers. Patricia fears them. Samantha dislikes them AND prom dresses. Layana thinks teenagers just want to expose themselves. Why the hate, designers? I suspect everyone was mercilessly picked on in high school. Anyway, they learn they will be working in pairs to create a dress in less than a day.
Because he won last week, Stanley gets first pick. Richard is sure they’ll stick together, but no, Stanley chooses Layana. Richard is hurt! They worked so well together! And they did, but Stanley likes to mix things up. Richard, he didn’t break up with you, calm down. Picking continues.
Kate picks Tu.
Michelle picks Amanda
Richard picks Daniel
That means Patricia and Samantha are stuck with one another. Samantha is not happy. It’s either going to be awesome or horrible and ridiculous, she says. I get the impression she’s thinking the latter.
They are allowed to examine all the piles of Duck Tape, and Richard insists on hoarding all of the gold. It’s a very Rumpelstiltskin moment. It gives Layana a chance to whine, because we know she loves to whine. She wanted gold! It would have looked so nice! Stanley tells her to move on. He wants hot pink. Layana doesn’t LIKE pink. Layana never comes right out and says no to something, but wheedles in a breathy voice until she gets her way. Layana is starting to bug me.
Elsewhere, Kate bullies Tu. He thinks they work well together, but really, she just tells him what to do in a nice tone of voice. Kate likes this arrangement. Kate, having won a challenge, is now insufferable.
Patricia’s doing another weird ass fabric, which worries Samantha. But I’m sure the judges will love it, because they think Patricia is the second coming. Or she has blackmail photos of everyone. I just don’t get it.
It turns out that gold theme isn’t exactly working for Daniel and Richard. Daniel thinks their dress looks like a baked potato. They come up with some new ideas, and it does look better… right up until they put this dated ’80s ruffle on the bottom. Oh, oh my God.
Tim time! Tim Gunn wanders through the workroom and scowls. If he ever gets Botox, he won’t be able to do this job anymore. He loves Stanley and Layana’s dress. But he think Patricia and Samantha are making something for the bride of the tin woodman, and they’re not working together. He tells them they have wrapping paper, not a dress. Uh-oh.
He thinks Daniel and Richard have a wow, but I’m not so sure. He wants Michelle and Amanda to finish, because they may have been overly ambitious. Tim thinks Kate and Tu’s is boring. Kate is shocked! Because her dress is the only good one in the room! I think Kate went to high school at a convent, because she’s simply appalled by everyone else’s dresses. They’re so loud! And young! And they look like they might be made with duct tape! WHICH IS THE POINT. Kate is in her 20s but acts like she’s ready to join AARP. If St. John or Talbot’s is ever looking for a new designer, she’s got the job.
Teenagers! The designers and their models head to a high school gym which is filled with real teenagers who know nothing about fashion but know what they like. Amanda and Michelle are worried when no one seems to like them very much, but I still think their dress is amazing. But then, I don’t see a single punk rock kid in the crowd. Why did “Project Runway” end up with a group of kids who look like they have absolutely no interest in fashion or style? I mean, beyond what they find at Forever 21?
Back at Atlas, there’s a small amount of bitching. Not much, though, as everyone seems to genuinely like the competition… except Kate. She hates Amanda. She thinks Amanda needs to GO. I think Kate needs to go, go figure.
It’s time for the runway. Heidi announces that the teenagers have spoken, and the winners are… Samantha and Patricia. Seriously? Okay. I didn’t love their dress, as it looks like a spent cocoon, but whatever.
The judges are Zac Posen, Nina Garcia and designer Chris Benz, who has charming pink hair. The winner will have $5,000 donated to Autism Speaks in their name. Which is, I’m sure, nowhere near as good as a car or, like, cash. I mean, really. A charitable donation? Why not give it to bullying, as I think, having watched this episode, that’s a theme that resonates with a lot of these designers. This is kind of a jerky prize, in that the winner doesn’t even get to pick the charity.
Michele and Amanda
I love this, though I think the jagged piece of the bodice might have been more effective if it had been pinned down to show off the contrasting pattern. The cut-outs are cute but cause some sag. Still, it’s pretty awesome. It isn’t Halloween to me at all, so Kate can suck it.
Stanley and Layana
I like this, too. Love the bow, love the panels on the skirt and the use of the zebra print. This is just cute and ’50s and fun.
Richard and Daniel
This is boring to me. I like the lacing, but the silhouette? Gag me with a spoon, so to speak. I think people wore this EXACT same dress (sans Duck Tape) to prom in the ’80s. Even the wrist corsage is dated to me.
Kate and Tu
The model can’t move very well in the mermaid cut. Who wants to go to prom in something they can’t move in? It looks so old lady, even for a red carpet dress. And the color… it’s just old.
Patricia and Samantha
I still hate this, really. The blue and silver just look awful. Patricia thinks she looks like a praying mantis, and she means that in a good way. There isn’t a good way to look like a bug.
First, Patricia and Samantha. Heidi thinks it’s great. Nina thinks the back is great. She loves the back closure. She thinks she’s channeling Katy Perry. Does Nina know who Katy Perry is? Seriously, this is not Katy Perry. Chris thinks girls could use this as a format to create their own prom dress, Huh? Why? Zac loves the textile at the bottom. Of course he likes the textile. Because it’s Patricia, and these people are in some sort of bizarre delusional haze about Patricia. He thinks it’s fun. I don’t care if Zac says he’s been to prom; this isn’t cute.
Next, Kate and Tu. Tu admits he went with Kate’s idea. Heidi doesn’t think it’s any fun. Chris thinks it’s old-fashioned and square in a bad way. Nina thinks long is old-fashioned. She thinks the teal is a serious, matronly color. Kate points out it’s a denim pattern. Nina doesn’t care. She can’t imagine a teenager would want to look this way. Zac thinks long can be cool, but there’s no fantasy in this. Zac and Nina argue about prom. Heidi can’t decide whether Kate should go home for designing this ugly thing or Tu should go home for not speaking up. Kate! I pick Kate!
Stanley and Layana are next. Nina loves the bracelet, the bow and the styling. Heidi thinks this girl is modern, fashion-forward and cool. But the original duct tape underskirt isn’t her favorite thing. Chris loves the references.
Michelle and Amanda. Chris loves it. He thinks it’s modern and fun. It’s every high school fantasy people have. Zac loves the shape and loves that they referenced a pattern they found in duct tape. Still, he thinks the side cutouts were hard on the model. Nina thinks it’s Gwen Stefani. It’s definitely a cool girl. Heidi is into it. She thinks it moves like a real dress.
On to Daniel and Richard’s ’80s Oscar statuette nightmare. Heidi thinks it looks like it’s from 20 years ago. The back doesn’t line up. Zac thinks the bust doesn’t look great and the side detail is hidden by her arm. Chris it looks like old clothes. Nina thinks they went from heroes to zeros. She thinks it looks one dimensional. That’s what you get for hoarding the gold, Richardstiltskin!
Stanley and Layana…. are in. Michelle and Amanda win! Michelle wins! Though Michelle has gotten a little whiney, I love her aesthetic, and this dress was awesome. She’s glad the money is going to a good cause. I’m glad Michelle can finally say she’s gotten out of the basement. Now maybe she’ll stop complaining about everyone else.
Patricia and Samantha are in. Okay, it’s not horrible, but I don’t love this the way everyone else seems to. Yes, the way Patricia attacked the tape is interesting. But she is so focused on textiles she doesn’t seem to know anything else.
Richard and Danielle are in, but barely.
I want Kate to go home so badly, simply because she was so snotty about everyone else. Tu is out. Oh, no! He hugs Kate as she cries. Oh, no!
Wait, they’re both out! They go backstage, and Tu tells everyone not to cry, it’s a happy moment! Really? How is this happy? Anyway, it was time for Kate to go. I would have liked to see what Tu could do, but given the team format, he was always going to be too nice to let his aesthetic stand up, so I guess he needed to go, too. But still, waah.
Next week, the designers have to dress the Thunder from Down Under. You know, the guys in the billboards you see in the Las Vegas airport. I kinda can’t wait for that one. Can you?
Do you think it was time for Kate to go? Did you like the Duck Tape challenge? What did you wear to prom?