‘Project Runway’ recap: ‘Welcome Back (or not) to the Runway’

08.02.12 5 years ago 7 Comments


So, this is the episode in which (spoiler alert!) the Mass Exodus of Season 10 begins. Consider yourself warned. And don’t get too attached to anyone on this episode. The person who heads for the door is, if not the last person I expected to sneak out in the middle of the night, perhaps not one of my top candidates. I guess designing Emmy dresses for former contestants is enough of a double whammy to make anyone insane. Okay, not anyone. I mean, this is a TV show, not brain surgery or search and rescue. It’s really not too much to expect someone to hold on to their crazy until they’re forced out, honestly.

Anyway, the sniping begins in earnest before we’ve even reached the first commercial break. Raul thinks Ven is a one trick pony. “You can’t always just make pretty,” he sniffs. Really? I like pretty. Pretty is good. Would he prefer ugly? Freaky? Nasty? Some other also-ran for the seven dwarves? Raul worries me.

But we’ll have to get back to that issue later (and we will), as it’s time for Heidi to speak to the designers for about 30 seconds. I have a question; why does Heidi even bother to film this segment? If the designers just met Tim somewhere, we really wouldn’t lose anything. I know we need to make this show stretch for an hour and a half, but I’d be okay with more workroom drama or longer shots of the runway. Nothing against Heidi, of course.

The designers, after having filmed this useless segment, go to South Street Seaport to see Tim. It’s the Lexus challenge! Yes, they’ll be creating for a client who feels great empathy for their current situation, hint, hint. Gunnar hopes it’s Heidi. She’s like a living Barbie doll! But no, Gunnar, that’s not the challenge. This is the Lexus challenge, and I’m wondering if they have to create really steering wheel covers or something, because this sponsorship makes no sense whatsoever. Oh, wait, here’s the angle! The designers are each assigned to a LEXUS GS. Whatever color it is is a color they must incorporate into their outfit! Wow, that is the most awkward product placement ever.

A Lexus rep steps forward to tell us about the GS. Plug, plug, plug, blah, blah, blah. In a moment, the designers must get in a LEXUS GS to meet their clients! Look at all the LEXUS GSes! Gee, what a nice car to drive to Brooklyn! Which would be equally accessible via subway! But whatever!

Oh, and they will be sharing their LEXUS GSes because they are working in teams of two. The designers are wary, as I guess no one wants to be paired with anyone who sucks. And how do they find out who their partner is? They will both have keys to the same LEXUS GS! Key which will need to be returned to the production team as soon as possible, as no one gets to keep these very nice cars.

Time for everyone to press their key fobs! Christopher gets Andrea. He’s thrilled! He can learn so much from her! He respects his elders! They head off to Brooklyn and meet… Anya, the winner of season 9. Anya is so nice, there’s no way this could go wrong, right? Right? RIGHT?

Sonjia gets Nathan. She thinks it’s a good marriage, and so does Nathan. They get Valerie from season 8, who seems very committed to going grey but is happy and smiley and so glad to be working with them.

Elena is saddled with Buffi. Elena is horrified, but surprise surprise, Buffi isn’t thrilled, either. Their victim will be Laura from season 3. Buffi notices her animal print dress and figures, hey, kindred spirit. I don’t have high hopes for this partnership, as I am concerned Elena will spontaneously try to eat Buffi’s face in a fit of frustration or perhaps cut off her own ear, just because. Sorry, but Elena is dangerously high strung.

Ven discovers he’s stuck with Fabio – Ven is worried. Fabio isn’t the worst designer on the show, according to Ven… but let’s just say Ven does not think Fabio is anywhere close to the best. Their model will be… Kenley, the crazy loudmouth from season 5. Kenley is so  happy to see them! She’s so excited! If they didn’t know better, they’d think she was fun and bouncy and not insane at all!

Dmitry is paired with Melissa. Dmitry is… glad! I didn’t think that was on his list of options. Go figure. They get April from season 8, which is perfect, as it’s a big Goth lovefest for these three.

Raul is matched up with Alicia. Considering he’s a guy and Alicia can only design overalls, Raul hopes their client is a guy. It isn’t. It’s evil Mila from season 7. I’d love it if they designed a big, crazy Cruella de Vil outfit for her, wouldn’t you?

Gunnar is paired with Kooan. We see no reactions from either of them, which is odd, as I’m sure Gunnar hates Kooan because Gunnar is largely unhappy with everyone. They get Irina, the winner of season 6. Irina is very… particular, so I think Gunnar and Kooan have a real challenge ahead of them.

Problems bubble up almost immediately. Irina wants to wear white. Gunnar suggests he add in some black.  “Don’t make me look like a checkerboard,” she says with a smile that could be used as a weapon in a martial arts movie. Kenley HAS to have her crinoline! I think Ven would rather eat dirty underwear than design with tulle, but he nods and smiles. Fabio can tell Kenley’s a little bit difficult. Raul admits to Mila he’s never made a gown. She nods and silently hopes he gets hit by a car before he makes something she has to wear in public.

Off to Mood! Gunnar says he’s a controlling bitch, then proves it by motoring around the store grabbing what he likes without any input from his partner. He doesn’t even know if Kooan has seen the Emmys! Dmitry and Melissa decide, reluctantly, to go with silk charmeuse. Charmeuse is about as easy to work with as cotton candy or plastic wrap, but it’s the only thing they could find that would work with April’s sort of pinkish-lavender hair.

Back in the workroom, the pairs don’t seem to want to kill one another. I have to think this peaceful work environment will not last long, of course. Ven says he’s easy to work with — unless the other person is incompetent. Apparently, he thinks Fabio is incompetent. But on the bright side, Fabio also seems very easy going, so as long as he does what Ven wants him to do, Ven will let him live. I’m assuming.

Tim Gunn time! Oh, and the clients will be joining in the critiques. First up, Kooan and Gunnar talk about their sheer and solid gown. Irina looks doubtful, but says if they’re confident they can complete the dress in time, they should go for it. Kooan wants to know if he can go even more sheer. Irina says she doesn’t think so, which is her nice way of saying, “LIKE HELL,” and Tim jumps in quickly to say he thinks it would be vulgar. Gunnar hates Irina, and I’m pretty sure Irina hates him. Gunnar pouts. He wanted Kenley!

Buffi thinks Melissa and Dmitry are a winning couple, and they are working together quite happily. April loves their shiny dress, and Tim does, too. I want them all to go to one of those Smiths fan conventions. Afterwards, they could get matching tattoos.

Alicia tries to convince Mila and Tim the top she and Raul made does not look like beachy crap. But Tim and Mila think it looks like beachy crap. Mila suggests they use less of the wacky black and red fabric. Raul likes it! But, if she doesn’t (sigh, sadness), he’ll use the black, boring stuff they bought, just in case. I actually like the crazy red and black stuff, but considering they cut it up into a crappy little handkerchief top, I think that’s out.

Kenley loves what Ven has planned. She’s so happy! Kenley is oddly nice. Sonjia and Nathan’s outfit is good with Valerie, which I expected. Valerie seems excited about the sequins. It’s sparkly!

Anya has some notes. She suggests a covered front and an open back. Andrea thinks this is great! Christopher is in a panic. They can’t do it! It isn’t going to work! Andrea is cool. Everything’s fine! Pull something out of the trash and pin it on the dress! Perfecto!

Laura thinks Buffi and Elena are being overly ambitious, and Tim suggests they’re making it harder than it has to be. Elena begins panicking. “I’m CALM. DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN, PLEASE!” she says in her best mass murderer voice. Elena storms out of the workroom. Buffi  wants to walk out, too. I’m not sure if she means walk outside or leave forever, though. Don’t give up, Buffi! You’re fun, even if you have questionable taste! Elena doesn’t understand! Why are they getting so little TIME! THEY NEED MORE TIME! Elena is VERY ANGRY. Christopher thinks Elena sometimes acts like she escaped from the woods. I think that’s an understatement. I think she sometimes acts like she just crawled under a barbed wire fence and hasn’t eaten anything for two months. Elena says no one says thank you and please in Ukraine. SHE IS DRIVEN!

Buffi wants five minutes to eat. Elena says there’s NO TIME! I think Buffi is afraid of Elena, and I don’t blame her one bit.

Meanwhile, there’s Christopher and Andrea, melting down completely. Andrea takes a looooong time to do anything. Christopher can’t yell at her! She’s his elder! He’s a respectful person! But Andrea does not seem aware that this is a timed challenge. She screws up and laughs. Christopher wants to kill her. Andrea seems completely unaware of this. Christopher, talk to the woman. You don’t have to be a jerk, but just say something. Geez.

The client/designers come in, and almost everyone seems happy. Sort of. Irina does NOT like the weird, poochy butt on her dress. Hey, Kooan, hop to it! Fix this weird, pooch butt! But Kooan is sad, not happy. He can’t work when he’s sad! Irina thinks she’s the only one who cares that she looks like a car wreck. Gunnar cares! He cares enough to be bitchy to Irina, and that just shows us he’s committed. He hates her, but he’s committed.

Time for the runway! Our judges are Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge, Krysten Ritter of the sitcom on ABC with James van der Beek in it.  

Buffi & Elena
Client: Laura
This isn’t bad. I think it might be a little slapdash, but I like the idea. I’m a little shocked, really, that Buffi and Elena were able to send anything down the runway at all.

Christopher & Andrea

Client: Anya
Slit is way high. The top is gaping oddly. This is really, really bad.

Ven & Fabio
Client: Kenley
No jewelry? No belt? No accessories? And a taupe shoe? Still, nice dress. Very well made. But the whole thing completely disappears.

Melissa & Dmitry
Client: April
Love this. Love, love, love. It’s modern, it’s different, and it looks expensive. There are some fit issues across the top half. April is not a busty broad, but this needs a little help.

Raul & Alicia
Client: Mila
So boring. So funereal and weirdly cut on top. Just… ugh. And what’s with her hair? Mila looks old and worse, tacky.

Gunnar & Kooan
Client: Irina
Ah, they hid that ugly seam in the back with a scarf. Smart. This looks… pretty good. Shocking. I suspect it doesn’t look so good close up, however.

Sonjia & Nathan
Client: Valerie
I like it. Valerie looks like a TV exec at the Emmys. Which is the best you can expect for someone rocking grey roots like that.

Nathan & Sonjia, Elena & Buffi, Dmitry & Melissa are all safe.

Elena thinks she would have been the top if she’d been paired with someone with better skills. Elena should just shut up and be happy, honestly.

Fabio & Ven and Gunnar & Kooan had the highest scores. What? Gunnar & Kooan are at the top? Seriously? With that butt seam? Andrea & Christopher and Raul & Alicia are in the bottom.

In the back room, Andrea says she thinks she and Christopher got along well. Andrea couldn’t believe she was getting so worked up over a dress! She giggles. To his credit, Christopher doesn’t hit her and just says he really didn’ t think it was funny. Andrea blinks. This is news to her. Which is exactly why he should have SAID SOMETHING.

Ven talks first. Heidi thinks it looks expensive and it could work at the Emmys. Kenley thinks they made something perfect. Kenley is a fan! Go figure. Nina loves the length. Krysten doesn’t agree about the length. Not that she’s been to the Emmys. So, why did they pick Krysten this week? Michael says it won’t get raves, but it’s both Ven’s aesthetic and Kenley’s style. Fabio thinks he deserves the win, because he had to try harder. Ven points out the dress is a result of his technical background and it looks like his work, duh. Fabio just got the make-up done and sewed a few seams.

Gunnar blathers about the white dress, and Kooan admits he was outside of his comfort zone. Irina thinks the sewing skills were subpar and isn’t shy about saying so. Still, Heidi thinks it’s an eye-catcher. She would wear it instead of Kenley’s dress. That’s because she hasn’t looked at it closely, honestly. Nina likes the necklace. Krysten likes her exposed shoulders. Michael thinks they really understood the client. They understood what she liked to wear, maybe, but neither Gunnar not Kooan seem to have a clue about  how to deal with a real, live client. Kooan thinks Gunnar should win, because he couldn’t make the dress without him. Aww, Kooan.

Judges, listen to Irina — that white dress is held together with spit and a prayer! And has an ugly butt seam! Not that I think Ven deserves the win, necessarily. He seems to keep making this circular pleat design, and the judges usually ding people for crappy accessorizing. This was bland to the point of disappearing.

Raul & Alicia talk about their black mess. Mila admits there are some fit issues and doesn’t think it’s flattering. She wishes they’d done something with tailoring. Raul thought they had to make a gown! Heidi thinks it’s really boring and the fake hair is awful. It really is. Krysten thinks it was a missed opportunity. Nina thinks Mila usually looks modern and cool, and they made her look frumpy. Raul refuses to throw Alicia under the bus and says the blame is 50/50. Heidi presses. Well, who sketched it? Alicia points at Raul. Yeah, someone always buckles.

Christopher & Andrea are up. Christopher admits it’s horribly made. Anya, trying to be nice, thinks they were too ambitious. Nina thinks it looks dated. Krysten thinks it looks like a Halloween costume. Michael thinks the slit is old fashioned. Christopher points out it took Andrea twelve hours to cut the skirt. Michael is very disappointed. Christopher says Andrea wants to go home! Andrea does not accept that. She points out that he screwed up the cowl neckline. Christopher doesn’t want to point fingers, but he can’t believe he’s standing here right now! He’s so upset! “I want this so bad!” He was so excited to work with her! He can’t even wrap his head around what she was doing for 12 hours! She’s very embarrassed having to defend herself. Bickering ensues, but soon it’s time for the judges to deliver a verdict.

Alone, the judges compare notes. Michael admits Gunnar & Kooan had fabric issues. But everyone liked the silhouette. Michael doesn’t think Ven’s dress is memorable, but it’s chic and expensive looking. Heidi wouldn’t wear it. But Krysten’s worn that dress, so she likes the silhouette. Michael thinks Anya looked like the girl handing out awards at a really lame awards show. Nina thought the dress was cheesy. Krysten questions Raul and Alicia’s taste. Nina thinks Mila should have stopped the badness. I think Mila was, amazingly, trying to be nice. Sort of. Or at least let them fail on their own terms.

Ven… is the winner! Wow, kind of surprised they’re giving him two in a row this early on. It was nice and it did look expensive, but was it my favorite? No. Kenley has her date! Fabio is in, as are Gunnar & Kooan.

Christopher is… in. Andrea is… in. Alicia and Raul are on the block. Alicia is… in. Raul is going home. Aww, poor Raul. Raul thinks Alicia should have gone home as well, since it was a 50/50 split. Yeah, until she fingered Raul as the sketch artist. He will continue to design, but he hates the red carpet. Next time, Raul, make a women’s tuxedo.

And now, a quick hint of our first Disappearing Designer. Melissa and Buffi get up the next morning and discover that Andrea is gone. They heard her get up in the middle of the night, but to leave? Now? When she escaped the ax? And actually FOUGHT to stay in the show? Buffi and Melissa don’t know what happened to her. But I think we do. Andrea said “screw it” and went home. I’m disappointed, as I’m not sure what went wrong with Chris but I actually kind of liked her weird apron outfit from the candy challenge. She had a unique vision, and now she’s gone. And if the promo tells us anything, it’s that more designers are about to waltz out the door. Sorry, Lifetime — I see clip shows ahead to fill out the season, or at least a few non-elimination legs. Let the crazy begin!

Why do you think Andrea left? Did you think Ven deserved the win? What did you really think of Irina’s dress? 

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