‘Project Runway’ recap: Starving Artist

09.07.12 5 years ago 3 Comments


Well, after last week’s lovey-dovey episode (No one goes home! Everyone hug!), it’s back to business as usual at “Project Runway.” That means some fighting, maybe some tears, a panic attack or three and, if we’re lucky, some ugly-ass clothes. If the mood at Atlas at the beginning of the episode is any indication, we’ve reached the point in the competition where nerves are frayed and no one’s getting enough sleep. The lucky designers are able to fuel themselves with rage and coffee. I’m pretty sure Elena’s bloodstream is mostly rage with a little caffeine sprinkled in. I’m not sure about Christopher’s caffeine intake, but he’s definitely pissed off for his own reasons. He’s just appalled they saved Gunnar last week. He wants him to go HOME. Really, he wants everyone to go home, as he’s tired of all this competing nonsense and he’s ready for Fashion Week. 

But before we can get to Fashion Week, it’s time for a silly challenge. Heidi tells the designers they will need to use their skills of negotiation this time around. Alicia thinks she needs to do something really, really dope this week. Maybe a starting point is to not call anything dope ever again for any reason. 

In the workroom, the designers see all this arts and crafts crap. Tim is there to greet them and tell them they are in for an exciting day! Oh, no. When Tim is bouncy and happy, it’s a warning sign. Do the designers have to panhandle to raise money for their designs? Oh, wait, close but not quite. They have to sell people “ugly ass bleep with glitter,” as Elena so aptly puts it. 

What do they think of this challenge, which is essentially about selling nasty T-shirts to soft New Yorkers (all both of them) and tourists? “Crazy,” says Dmitry, when he clearly wants to say “THIS SUCKS!”

Oh, and they’ll be working in teams of three, because if there’s one thing we know it’s that team challenges bring out the best in our intrepid contestants. Tim chooses teams from his handy button bag. Christopher goes first and gets Sonjia and his absolute favorite person ever, Gunnar. Christopher and Gunnar are equally horrified at the thought of having to work together, and Sonjia is just wishing she could disappear. Dmitry gets Elena and Alicia. In this case, Dmitry and Elena are equally horrified, while Alicia wishes she could disappear.

Melissa, Ven and Fabio are the last team. None of them want to kill one another yet, so they have an edge, I think. 

Everyone gets busy designing ugly T-shirts. As Sonjia notes, Elena’s team creates the most homeless looking T-shirts, which is saying something. 

Time to make some money! Whoot! The designers scramble out onto the street, desperately waving signs and basically driving away anyone who can walk faster than they can. Elena asks people to buy her “crappy T-shirts.” She does not have a future in sales. Anyway, Fabio says that selling T-shirts in New York City is kind of like selling umbrellas in the desert. In other words, it is not easy or fun.

But, weirdly, that changes. Maybe they’re just punchy or have heat stroke or something, but toward the end they seem to start having a good time. Even Gunnar and Christopher seem to be having fun. They all seem a little surprised to discover they have a marketable skill.

Time to count money! There is something about this that reminds me of the Girl Scouts selling cookies, or maybe a high school pot dealer counting his stash under the bleachers. 

$800.48 for Ven’s team

$684 for Christopher’s team

$500 for Elena’s team. I’m shocked Elena’s team made anything at all, really. I’m just wondering if we missed the part where a producer from the show walks up, buys a T-shirt for $500 while the camera man is using the bathroom, then fades into the crowd. 

With their money in hand, they get the next part of the challenge the following day. Each team must create two cohesive looks for fall, and one piece must be outerwear. Sonjia is so excited. She’s ALL about outerwear. 

Everyone runs around Mood and looks for fabric, then heads back to the workroom to argue. Actually, most of the arguing is just between Dmitry and Elena. Christopher compares them to Boris and Natasha on “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” which is so dead-on I can’t look at either of them without thinking of a cartoon.  

Tim time! First up he talks to Team Elena. Dmitry is making ANOTHER dress. But this one is different! It will have exposed darts! Tim rears back as if he’s been bitten by a scorpion or is being forced to shop at Walmart. Dmitry shrugs. Exposed darts are his thing! Quietly disgusted, Tim backs away and moves on. 

Visiting Ven’s team, he notices that Ven has made ANOTHER skirt with a fan effect. He suggests it’s the one thing in the collection that just looks weird. I think it also looks a little weird that the whole thing appears to have been washed out in the sun for about ten years. I’ve seen faded house paint that’s more spritely. Anyway, he visits our last team, Team Christopher. He’s worried that Sonjia is over designing. Meanwhile, Elena thinks Christopher’s trench looks like “an ugly-ass Snuggie.” Well, the theme for tonight’s episode seems to be memorable imagery I will never get out of my head. 

Runway time! And Fabio is dressed like a Goth Colonel Sanders.

Our judges are Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and… fashion designer Anna Sui. Love Anna Sui! 

Team Alicia/Dmitry/Elena

Look #1

I don’t dig the shawl at all. It looks like something I’d throw on my sofa. But the dress is beautiful… oh, wait. Those are the exposed darts. Not so beautiful to have stuff sticking out of your midriff and pointing to your boobs.

Look #2

What happened to Elena’s coat? It’s floppy and it looks as if it’s being pulled backwards by a barbell stuffed in the back hemline. The shirt and pants are okay, I guess, but  nothing special. I could get this at Sears. 

Team Christopher/Sonjia/Gunnar

Look #1

I do love this. The jacket is impeccable, though I’m not sure I’d wear it with this dress — the side panels just read a little sporty. That being said, I like what I can see of the dress. 

Look #2

This trench is a cool idea, but the fabric seems to be pulling around the belt. Minor detail, because it’s very cool. But I really love the dress. Both of these looks look modern, expensive, and perfectly tailored. 

Team Fabio/Melissa/Ven

Look #1

I actually like the jacket, but the shirt looks cheap. And socks with heels? Ugh. Very Forever 21. And no one looks good in a dirndl. They’ve actually SAID that on previous seasons of the show, Ven. Pay attention!

Look #2

I do not love the coat. It looks like a dog bed. The whisper thin T-shirt, again, looks cheap.

The winning team is Team Christopher/Sonjia/Gunnar. I get that. Michael thinks the camel-hair trench required a lot of work, and he likes what the dress underneath it is doing for the model. Nina loves the trench, and thinks all of the looks fit perfectly. Who should win? Christopher suggests GUNNAR. Gunnar does not swoon in shock at this occurrence, but I think he should. I’m about to swoon, because I cannot believe this is happening. Is up down? Is the sky green? What is going ON? 

Anyway, Gunnar would recommend himself for the win, but he doesn’t want to sound pugnacious. I don’t think that’s the correct usage of the word, Gunnar. Anyway, Sonjia pipes up and recommends herself for her super awesome jacket.

Next up, time to rip up Team Elena. Before the critique even begins, Elena starts tearing into Dmitry, because he only knows how to make a dress. Dmitry points out that Elena only knows how to make coats, so there. Kids, kids, no fighting! Yet! Wait for the nice judges to point you at the preferred targets and tell you when to begin! Geez!

Nina says Dmitry knows how to make a dress, but he makes too many dresses. She thought the shawl looked old lady and didn’t work with the dress. Nina thinks Elena’s coat looks like a mistake and that it looks cheap. Michael thinks it doesn’t look like it was made by a coat expert. Elena said she needed more time. Yes, Elena, the reason there are time limits is so that you can’t easily do well. Have you noticed that? 

Michael hates the shawl, he thought Elena’s coat was crappy, and Alicia’s top and pants were boring. Michael thinks we can see there was no teamwork. Anna Sui thinks joy and love needs to come through, not anger. Oh, Anna Sui, you so nutty twiggy! So, who should go home? Elena thinks Dmitry should go home. Dmitry thinks Elena should go home. Alicia thinks Dmitry should go home. 

On to Team Ven. Nina likes Melissa’s white jacket. But the shirt on Look #2 is too sheer and tight. Heidi didn’t like any of it except for the white jacket and the clutches. Michael thinks Melissa’s pants look like there’s room for a man’s, um, junk. Nina points out their group had the most money and made the cheapest-looking stuff. So who should go home? No one wants to say. Ven thinks Fabio’s jacket is the weakest. Fabio picks Ven. Melissa reluctantly picks Fabio. Anna Sui suggests that they were all too nice to one another. C’mon, Anna Sui, you can’t have it both ways! 

Backstage, Dmitry and Elena bicker a little more. 

The judges gush over Sonjia’s jacket, but Nina thinks Christopher’s trench is more interesting editorially. Not sure who’s going to win, but I think Alicia is going home. 

Sonjia is… the winner. That was one kick-ass jacket, I will say. I wouldn’t have been sad to see any one of this team win (which I can’t believe I’m saying), but it’s nice that it went to Sonjia, who is the least annoying. Except for that “drinkie drink” song she likes to sing for no reason. That’s a little irritating.

Melissa is in. Ven is in. Elena is in. Dmitry is in. So, that leaves Fabio and Alicia. Alicia is… out. 

Alicia feels she has so much more to give. Well, she may have wanted to give a little more to the boring pants and shirt. Can’t say this is a tragic exit, as I think if I saw one more tired menswear/overalls/lesbian chic design from her I was going to tear my hair out. But I will say I can’t wait to see Elena and Dmitry in the work room next week, quietly glowering at one another and spitting out insults that will now forever remind me of Boris and Natasha. Too much fun, really.

Do you think it was time for Alica to go? Were you surprised Christopher recommended Gunnar for the win? Do you think Dmitry and Elena are the Boris and Natasha of fashion and should just break down and start an ugly T-shirt line together by that name? 

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