Recap: ‘Project Runway’ – ‘Fashion Headliners’

09.18.09 8 years ago


So, another day, another challenge on “Project Runway.” And even though last week seemed a little blah with everyone hugging their incredibly sane and normal models in what seemed like a 60-minute Zoloft ad, I think this week will be a whole lot bloodier and, thus, more fun. First, we have Meth Head Johnny moaning about the emptiness of being in the bottom three, which makes me think he might start filling up that hole with a hole not of non-prescription drugs procured from the helpful entrepreneurs on Skid Row. Then, Irina has to take some shots at last week’s winner, Althea, as she thought that little black suit of hers looked like ass. Finally, Nicolas declares that Johnny doesn’t deserve to be on the show. So, claws out before we’re even five minutes in. Tonight is gonna be gooooooood.

[Full recap of Thursday (Sept. 17) night’s “Project Runway” after the break…]

Time for today’s challenge. Heidi drops a hint about “black and white,” and Ra’mon literally has an “OMG, I’m sitting next to Madonna!” level freak out. I don’t know what he’s thinking, except maybe that he’s making a dress out of old Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney footage, but girl, calm the hell down. You’re on Lifetime, it’s just not going to be that good.

Tim escorts the designers on their field trip to… The Los Angeles Times. Yay. Tim and LA Times reporter Booth Moore inform the designers they have to use paper for their designs. Nicolas is appalled, and I’m sure everyone else is, too, but there’s not a lot of time to complain because they have 3 minutes to grab up all the papers they can, and these days, what with the newspaper industry sinking like a stone, I’m sure there aren’t a lot of copies available except what goes out to old folks’ homes and schools that can’t afford books.

After everyone drags their papers back to FIDM, Tim decides it’s time to educate the designers on the history of paper clothing. No, I am not making that up. Did you know the first paper dress was created in 1968? Did you care? No, you did not. But Tim can read the phone book with his little glasses perched at the end of his nose and it’s still somehow friggin’ whimsical.

Christopher is going to make a newspaper dress with newspaper feathers, which looks like a crapload of work. Althea doesn’t know how to work with paper. Nicolas doesn’t know how to work with paper. But Gordana is almost done with her dress, so apparently they did wear paper dresses in Eastern Europe, yet another reason I am so very glad I did not grow up in an Eastern Bloc country.

Shirin is making a dress with an origami-style skirt. And we learn, as she’s making it, that she never shuts up. Ever. And she tends to make squawking noises not unlike a diseased Afflac duck or maybe Gilbert Gottfried. Logan is amazed that such a tiny woman can be so noisy. I’m amazed no one has chucked a sewing machine at her head. Nicolas says her 11-year-old behavior makes him feel old. And I say, no, that’s your bad soccer mom hair, Nicolas.

Johnny is doing a dress that he says looks like large scale origami. I think it looks like a lot of crap. He decides to paint it with fabric dye. Nicolas thinks it looks like wrinkled paper with pig’s blood on it. This does not bode well for Johnny.

Ra’mon is very excited about the paper. He’s thinking about cubism and… wait for it… origami. Could we stop with the origami, people? Louise is making a headline dress. Seriously, could all of you stop being so literal in your inspiration? It’s paper, we get it.

Time for Tim to come in and hold his chin and nod, yay! Gordana tells him she’s making two dresses, one of which will say “Time to Change” in big letters on the front of it. Um, okay. Tim thinks the political statement idea is ho-hum, as it probably reminds him of those Frankie Say T-shirts and gives him horrible flashbacks to the club scene of 20 years ago, while he likes the other dress she’s making just fine. Tim tells Althea he’s disappointed by her dress, but who cares, she has immunity. Tim tells Irina to go ahead and make the trench coat she wants to make. 

Then we get to Johnny. Tim’s face squinches up like he just ate bad salmon. He is woeful. He thinks Johnny’s dress looks like a crafts project gone awry. He thinks it looks like kindergartners made it. He thinks it looks like the origami birds attacked the dress. This makes evil Nicolas toss back his head and cackle. Okay, it’s ugly, but you don’t have to be a bitch about it, Carrot Top. But, sadly, Tim is right. Johnny’s dress is all kinds of sucktastic.

Johnny starts over.

Tim likes Nicolas’ trajectory, but warns him not to get too costume-y. Tim thinks Christopher’s dress could be a show stopper. He doesn’t weigh in on Shirin’s dress, but that’s probably because she was too busy screeching like a parrot.

Irina is making her shawl collar coat. Nicolas is flashing back to his very inspirational youth with the punk kids in the East Village, and we discover that Nicolas is, indeed, a big lame poser, as his musty old picture of himself being a punk in the East Village reveals him to be exactly like any geeky suburban kid hanging out at the mall in Hoboken. If I didn’t hate Nicolas before, I definitely hate him now.  He probably listens to Nickelback and thinks Black Flag is roach killer.

Meanwhile, his nemesis Johnny is starting to panic. Irina is worried about her model moving and tearing her coat. Shirin is worried about her model’s dress falling off on the runway. I cannot wait to see every single model waddle down the runway like they’ve just crapped their pants.  

Johnny is worried. Johnny starts telling his model her dress was not ruined by Tim Gunn’s withering gaze but, in fact, a steamer that doesn’t seem to exist. Nicolas is steamed about the non-existent steamer. Johnny starts doing a crossword puzzle. Christopher is annoyed. Shirin is annoyed. I think all the designers would kind of like Johnny to just hurry up and resume his meth habit, because they’re over him.

Johnny, because he really likes his little fib about the steamer, tells it to Ra’mon and Logan after they’ve gone back to the apartment. Logan knows it’s crap, but neither he nor Ra’mon have the heart to say, hey, we know addicts are
good liars but we’re not entirely stupid.

Meanwhile, Althea, Christopher and Nicolas recall that Tim described Johnny’s fashion disaster as “birds attacking a dress” then, swear to God, laugh like the evil stepsisters in “Cinderella” or a trio of Bond villains or something. Seriously, I expect devil horns to sprout from their foreheads and flames of pure malevolence to burst from their bedsheets. When we finally cut to commercial, I’m almost relieved, because the stink of commercial sponsor greed feels purifying in comparison.

But when we come back, it’s more Johnny-flavored haterade in a big ol’ pitcher. When everyone leaps once again on the Johnny bashing bandwagon, Epperson, being a wise old soul, points out the guy is still on the show for a reason, inspiring Nicolas to retort, “Yeah, comic relief,” which is admittedly pretty snappy even if it’s as nasty as a lint covered candy bar.

Luckily, Johnny doesn’t care what the other designers think about him, which means he has great self-confidence, is fully delusional (see previous fictional steamer), is hitting the meth again or all of the above.

Time for hair and make-up, whee! But before Tim will release the designers, he has to point out that it appears some of them have stalled and it’s time to rally. Which is fine, I guess, but really I think I’m just waiting to see who cries into their dress and has to use it as a big, very rough Kleenex.

Gordana is feeling confident, and why not? Her dress looks like a dress and not, say, origami. When she says no one will realize it’s made out of paper, well, she’s not full of it or delusional, which I can’t say about everyone in the room. Sorry, Johnny.

And can I just say this is going to be the LOUDEST runway show ever? I mean, what’s next, an all corduroy episode? A tin foil apparel challenge? Suits made out of Wheat Thins and popcorn?

Because Althea hasn’t already shown herself to have a forked tongue and heart of ice… oh wait, she has… she decides to start taking swipes at Irina’s outfit by whispering to Ra’mon. In front of Irina. Irina is not amused. Althea may have immunity, but she may not live long enough to enjoy it. Just saying.

Not only will this be the loudest runway show, I think it may go down in “PR” history as the bitchiest one, too. Johnny calls Nicolas’ dress stump rock and dinosaur chic. Meow.

Runway time! Put in your ear plugs! Our judges are Tommy Hilfiger (who has a new collection exclusive at Macy’s Heidi tells us, for no reason, really, except it’s either written into Tommy’s contract or Lifetime has a gun to Heidi’s head), Marie Claire’s Zoe Glassner and Eva Longoria Parker. Because… oh, who knows, Heidi might as well say “Our B-list celebrity with no fashion experience other than wearing expensive clothes picked out by her stylist for today is…” because there’s just no reason not to be honest.


This is a cute enough strapless dress with an asymmetrical hemline mirrored in a detail at the bust. It definitely doesn’t look like newspaper, but by no means is it exciting.


What with all the crazy stripes and the petal skirt, the model kind of looks like a big, skinny beetle.


Maybe it”s just because the model is so clearly working it, but I kind of love this crazy ballgown. The shredded skirt looks like feathers (so Alexander McQueen, so maybe last year”s finalist Kenley Collins will rip this off). The only issue I can see is that the bodice doesn”t move with the model, but I think it”s supposed to look like armor so maybe that”s okay.


The origami detailing on the back of this outfit is pretty amazing. Ra’mon also knocked out a cool, unexpected print for both the top and the bottom. Sigh. I want to hate Ra’mon, but he’s just too good.


With the big geisha sleeves, full skirt and obi-esque belt, this outfit is a tough call. It doesn’t move with the model as well as some of the other, more fitted outfits do, but the Asian inspiration gives the stiffness of the dress a context that makes sense. I have no idea what the judges will say about this one.


This isn’t hideous, but it’s not good, either. It kind of looks like a bunch of cocktail napkins glued together into a minidress.


Although I get the impression that Gordana gets raked over the coals for this from the promo, I don’t think this is a bad little dress. The pleated skirt is flirty and it seems to fit the model very well.

Carol Hannah

Awesome. A big, ruffled red carpet gown in orange. And it’s paper. Love it. You go, Carol Hannah. Even if you really ought to shorten your name. It’s not like there are so many Carols in the world you need to strap on the Hannah so we can sort you out. Jennifers, yes, Lisas, yes, but Carol? Get over yourself.


This feels kind of like something Leanne Marshall, last season’s winner would do, and actually, um, did, but not with paper. I wish Shirin had done something to cover up the newsprint, because boy oh boy, this girl really looks like she’s wearing the Calendar section, and that’s not something I need to see twice these days.


I know Althea was rolling her eyes at Irina’s winter coat, but really, it’s damn cool. Was it easier to execute than most of the other outfits? I’m thinking yes, and that may be Irina’s downfall. Plus, I think anyone who let the newsprint stand out deserves points off. Don’t these guys know how to dye stuff by now? Hell, even I can bust out the Rit, come on. But the shawl collar is kinda gorgeous.


Even though she’s a great, big bitch, she sure can design a dress. The exotic-print, the spiral design, the cool detailing at the bustline, this one’s damn good.


I love the skirt on this one, but the little wood shavings at the neckline, I’m not so sure about.

Heidi calls Johnny, Nicolas, Christopher, Althea, Gordana and Irina. Everyone else can leave the runway.


Eva Longoria loves it, because she wears dresses like this all the time. That’s all she says because, um, that’s her design knowledge in a nutshell. Tommy thinks it’s pretty genius and the execution was well done. Zoe loves the detail work and would totally wear it if it wasn’t paper. Very tree-ist of her.


Zoe thinks the top is very architectural. Heidi was a little bored, because it’s so wearable and real looking. Eva said her only fault was that everyone else was so amazing.


Eva was blown away, Tommy thinks it looks Coco Chanel meets St. Laurent meets Givenchy in the 60s and 70s, but he doesn’t like the Scotch tape in the back. Zoe loves the dimension, while Heidi loves that she played with the paper. Tommy thinks it’s the new alternative to fur. Look for paper collars at Macy’s next season, everybody.


Heidi thinks it looks slapdash and that basically he outfitted her like a hooker with the red patent shoes, which is true. Eva hates the pointy neckline, but Zoe liked the retro 80s print and felt Johnny was trying to take her somewhere she was willing to go.

And then things start going off the rails. Oh, no.

Johnny starts explaining what the other dress looked like, saying, uh-oh, it was all kinds of Dior. Really? Dior did bloody, wrinkled paper? I missed that season. Nicolas, being pure evil, rolls his eyes and laughs. Heidi, because she loves making designers get their bitch on, has to go and ask Nicolas what his deal is. And, of course, he tells her. Pulling out his snottiest fashionista voice, declares Johnny’s first dress was not Dior, but was actually a red mess, which I guess is now this season’s take on hot mess.

Wait, I just have to write all this out. Because it’s just too good.

Johnny: Thanks, that’s sweet (I want to rip that Danny Bonaduce hair of yours out of your skull, bitch)

Nicolas: One of Tim’s comments was that it was attacked by birds. (Why don’t you go O.D. in a back alley? I don’t want your bloated corpse stinking up the apartment, fatso).

Johnny: Thanks, Nicolas, why don’t you just throw me right under the bus? Jerk. (I am going to cut him while he sleeps).

And that concludes our bitchfest for this evening. Next up, Nicolas.


Yay, the judges rake him over the coals! Tommy thinks it doesn’t look punk. Zoe thinks she looks like a cockroach. Ha! Ha! Eat it, poser!


Heidi loves the big full skirt. Zoe loves that the bodice is like armor and yet her hair is soft. Eva thought it didn’t look like anything else and thought the skirt looked like feathers.

Chat time! They, of course, loved Christopher’s dress. Eva thought it was creative and she had no idea how she’d make the bodice. Because, um, she’s not a designer? Heidi thought Althea’s dress had some structure. Eva liked the way it accentuated the body. Eva starts moaning thinking about Irina’s coat.

Then, on to the looooosers. Heidi didn’t find Gordana’s dress exciting. Zoe thought it was safe. I still don’t think she’s going home. Eva didn’t like Nicolas’ dress at all. Heidi thought it was tacky. Tommy says it wasn’t punk. Zoe says Johnny’s dress felt like a save. Tommy thinks he wasn’t telling the truth about his first dress, but he thinks he’ll get it together.

So, looks like that bitch Nicolas is going home! I love instant karma.

Oh, look, it’s commercial time and, what’s this? A L’Oreal commercial starring Eva Longoria Parker? So it was Lifetime that put a gun to Heidi’s head. And then a Macy’s commercial. Starring Tommy Hilfiger. God, I’m feeling woozy from all the product placement, aren’t you?

Finally, we’re back from commercial, not that you can tell. Irina is the winner of the challenge, so Althea can suck it.

So, who’s going home? C’mon, don’t let me down, Heidi.

Gordana is… in.

Heidi insults Nicolas and Johnny, as expected, then announces that Nicolas is… in???? NO! No, no, no. Yes, Johnny sucked, but he wasn’t evil. Delusional, yes, short on talent, yes, but he seemed nice.

Johnny is out. I can’t believe I’m sorry to see the meth head go, but I am. And, of course, he has to tug at my damn heart strings by talking about how getting auffed from the show is harder than kicking drugs, and, with his lip trembling, says how much he wanted to go to Bryant Park but, sniff, he has to accept this means there’s something bigger out there for him, which I’m guessing is a blowing his per diem on crack, but maybe I’m just being negative.

As Johnny walks out the door, Tim is surprisingly cold. He’s usually kind of huggy, or makes a sad frowny Muppet face, but this time he just keeps his hands busy with his watchband. The minute the door hits Johnny in the ass on his way out, Tim starts burbling to the designers about how appalled he is by Johnny’s big fib on the runway, which gets Nicolas all excited and cackly.

Your time is coming, Nicolas. That’s all I’m saying.

Do you think Johnny deserved to go? Did you like Irina’s coat? Do you think Nicolas is a total jerk?

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