Tag Archives: project runway designers

I really fell off the recap wagon this season (yes, AGAIN) because it was just not good enough to write about. Although it was a better season that we’ve seen in a long time, I just couldn’t muster up the snarky comments and the will to CARE enough to recap the rather boring (or downright ridiculous) challenges.

Instead, I offer up to you a concise little recap of the Season (picking up where I left off after Episode 6), with my feelings about the finale/winner/decoys.

Episode 7: The Lord and Taylor PR Capsule Collection

Another nod to the ‘omg-its-season-10-of-PR!’ crap they’ve been slinging at us all season, this challenge had the designers compete to join 9 other looks representing each of the prior 9 seasons in a capsule collection for Lord and Taylor. Actually this was a good challenge as it forced them to work within constraints that are realistic for most designers: budget, price point, manufacturability and fitting your own aesthetic into a larger brand. WINNER: Christoper Palau, who wasn’t yet annoying me at this point. OUT: No one.

Episode 8: Sell crap on the street that has nothing to do with the 2 Fall looks including outerwear that you will make in teams of 3. (Even typing that description makes me mad.)

In this episode they made the designers go out and embarrass themselves on the street for money, which they made surprisingly large amounts of in a short time – smells like Producer influence as I cannot imagine anyone being willing to pay 20.00 for even a fraction of the stuff the teams had made. Anyways, it seems designed to set up whichever team made the ‘most’ money to fall from grace when they didn’t produce a good mini-collection compared to teams with less money. Smell that? Yeah, me too. WINNER: Sonjia Williams (for her adorable coat, a well deserved win.) OUT: Alicia

Episode 9: Design your Own Print

Ahhh, the product placement episode! Oh, wait, they’re all product placement episodes now aren’t they. Le Sigh. Anyways, its always fun to see the designers get really artistic with the prints – except so many of them were totally uninspired for this challenge that the prints ended up being rather sad. WINNER: Dmitry, and lets face it, mostly for the awesomeness of his jacket and not the print itself. OUT: Gunnar (should have been Ven in my opinion.)

Episode 10: Design for the Rockettes

This, like the ‘Wrestling Outfit’ challenge or the ‘Drag Queen’ challenge of past seasons, is designed to create some potentially TACKY ASS clothing from designers who have no experience with (or desire to) design with spandex, sequins and glitter. Elena’s effort in this ep was a prime example: over-embellished to the point of insanity. And she recognized it way too late to fix it. WINNER: Christopher Palau (beautiful concept, but I bet you anything it was changed for actual use as the skyline wouldn’t be visible from the 10th row, much the less the back of the Theatre.) OUT: Ven. (and a collective ‘yes!’ is heard from bloggers far and wide)

Episode 11: Babysit Robot Infants while Sewing Baby Clothes for Heidi’s Sweatshop!

UGH. I don’t even want to dignify this challenge with a recap, however short. It was exactly what the headline above says – I’m not exaggerating. WINNERS: Christopher and Sonjia. OUT: Elena (psst, Fabio should have won)

Episode 12: Avante Garde My Ass!

Oh the (unsubtle) irony that Elena was eliminated before the Avante Garde challenge. Too bad because she was the only person besides Fabio who could have turned out something even remotely Avant Garde. Producers, you screwed that one up big time. Basically it was the MAKEUP challenge (design a look based on the makeup palette/character you are given) and calling it anything other than that is a painfully bad joke. WINNER: Dmitry. OUT: No one.

Episode 13/14: Finale, of sorts.

The finale was especially dissatisfying to me this year. I think the Producers of this show must not have computers, or the internet, or even assistants with freaking iPhones, because it just doesn’t make any sense to me why they keep up this 10 decoys thing season after season. The whole point of making it to Final 3 is that you get to show at Fashion Week. When they basically give that opportunity to everyone? It cheapens the entire show, and the finale especially. “Everyone’s a winner” does not make good television. And if that isn’t enough, Part 1 of the finale episode ended with no one being eliminated and everyone getting to show at Fashion Week… so BORING. Personally I think that its because Melissa was the clear ‘auf-ee’ and the Producers didn’t want to eliminate their only female finalist on a LIFETIME show. Too bad because Elena’s collection could have easily put her in Top 2, and perhaps even won. (Really, check it out – its AWESOME.)

Anyways, on to Part 2, where all of the designers make adjustments to their presentation or garments for the runway – wouldn’t it be easier for the designers to just have a consultation with MKors or Nina in the workroom about styling prior to the show? It would make it feel more like they were getting some kind of mentorship instead of being trashed on the runway for 4 hours and then told, “Sooo.. to sum up, change everything in 2 days, cuz we’re still letting you show at Fashion Week! lolz!” Ugh. Anyways, Christopher panicked, Melissa just did exactly what she was told, Dmitry stayed calm and Fabio absorbed the critique and used it the way a real artist/designer does – he interpreted it to make his work better. WINNER: Dmitry

The only thing I really liked from Dmitry’s collection

Although 95% of her comments were not useful at all, Jennifer Hudson made one comment during judging that cemented (for me) who should have won. She said, “Maybe Fabio deserves the push a little more than Dmitry does – his stuff is so conceptual that he needs the backing, for someone else to say yes, this work is really something.” And I think she was right. Since 99% of us regular people weren’t at the actual show, we have to trust the ones who were there who say that Fabio’s fabrics were much more luxurious in person. But more than that, his collection was the only one with any surprises in it. I was shocked that Dmitry was never called out for doing things he did on the show (which the judges usually do) such as the floating cut outs and the exaggerated sleeves. Personally I think Fabio deserved the win.

Come back soon as I intend to TRY TRY TRY and blog recaps for PR AllStars. At least Uli is on the show. I freaking love her – she’ll make it bearable to watch (and hopefully recap) for awhile at least.

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I know, I know. I promised I was going to be all on top of things this season. I’ve just found that I’ve been wanting to blog more about other subjects lately so most of my blogging efforts have been going elsewhere.

Anyways, this will be a mega-super-update (see the three posts below) with a spicy little rant on top about this week’s episode.

Episode 6: Fix my Friend

Makeover Challenge.

Ohhhh. The dreaded makeover challenge! The dreaded ‘real woman’ challenge! Every designer’s nightmare!  Oh the horror! They’re not model-sized! What can possibly I do with this fat frumpy client!!

I actually thought that the producers found a much better way of getting around the whole “designers pick the thin clients first until all that’s left is the fat ones” problem of previous seasons. Randomly assigning them and not even allowing the designers to see their client until the workroom was an excellent solution – except of course for the problem of Ven being a complete an utter ASS and totally insensitive to his client. Regardless of her size, any girl getting a makeover is going to have some insecurities that need to be handled deftly.

I’m sure the Internet is already exploding with outrage over Ven and his attitude. I am very tempted to raise my own voice and tear him down for his words and actions too, but I’m going to take a different tactic here.

I’m in NO WAY defending Ven’s statements when I say this, but the ‘problem’ of designing for real woman sizes in the fashion industry is not limited to Ven or any one designer. It’s a problem with the entire industry. How many times have you walked into a department store or really ANY store and seen even a mannequin that reflects your proportions? Clothes, in general, are designed to look good on that one size and shape. As soon as you pull that cute dress or skirt or top off the rack in a larger size, the proportions are lost and nothing will make you look like that mannequin, whether you’re a size 8 or 12 or 24. Its pretty basic people – the only people who look good in model-sized clothes are duh, models.

There are plenty of arguments for why this is: samples are sewn in small sizes to use the least amount of fabric, blah blah blah. Basically they are designing clothes that look good on a hanger – a human hanger called a model – that provides no real shape that will affect or change the silhouette that the designer has in mind.

You know what would be a really great challenge? Have all the designers design something for the SAME CLIENT who is of normal proportions or plus-sized proportions. Then you’d really see what each of them is capable of. It’s fine and dandy to say that you understand silhouette and proportion and design and construction when you basically don’t have to deal with any kind of real shape underneath the clothes. Put a little booty under there, a large bust, a pear or hourglass shape, a boxy shape, some muscular shoulders and that’s when the real designers are going to shine.

What shocks me more than anything in this episode is not Ven’s comments. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to say asshole things. What I’m surprised by is that NONE of the female designers said anything to him. There are some very strong women in that room. They all commented about his actions in interviews…but NONE of them confronted him about it. None of them said what needed to be said. Finally, his client’s friend said something to him but I feel like the other designers (male and female) kind of had a responsibility to take him to task for it.

This is a bit of a tangent, but one of the biggest problems with feminism in our modern era is that so many young women seem to think that they aren’t feminists at all…or that its somehow a dirty word.

I have, on countless occasions, witnessed firsthand a classroom of women in a university openly declare that they are NOT feminists. Um, hello? You are taking classes in a UNIVERSITY. Do you believe you have a right to be there? Then you are a feminist. Full Stop.

Despite what the propagandists of the 70’s and 80’s would have you believe, feminism is NOT about hating men, or advocating that we deserve more than they do. It’s about equality. It’s about fair treatment regardless of gender. It’s about realistic representation of women. It’s about freedom regarding our bodies, our choices and our lifestyles. And when we stop standing up for those rights, which are basic and kind of laughable that we have to fight for in the first place, we are doing ourselves a disservice.

Every time someone tells a joke about a girl needing to eat a sandwich (or alternatively to eat a salad), every time someone tells a rape joke (or justifies rape), every time someone says something sexist or demeaning to ANY other gender or culture, its our responsibility to say something. That is the only way things are going to change. That’s the only reason things DID change. I applaud the other designers for treating their clients more humanely than Ven did, but I shake my head at them for not making him accountable for his actions.  In the preview for next episode, Ven issues another decree about how “men make better designers than women.” Speak up designers! Make your voices heard beyond the interview room and put them right in his face where he can’t defend himself.

The judges too, had an opportunity to make a statement about acceptable behaviour towards women and clients in general and although they teased around it (“One, OR MORE OF YOU, will be out.”) they didn’t follow through. Ven is safe to wage his reign of misogynistic crap another day. Nathan, the human being, was eliminated instead.


“It’s My Way on the Runway”

Challenge: In two teams, design a mini collection for a woman at work to be photographed for a spread in ‘Marie Claire @ Work.’

The designers are split into two teams: Team 6 and Team 5, producing 6 and 5 garments respectively. Another team challenge leads inevitably to more drama. Elena shows just how much of a bitch she can be, Gunnar is ignored and turned into a ‘tailor’ and Raoul spends so much time worrying about being in the bottom, that he ends up in the bottom.

Honestly, the most notable thing about this episode was Elena’s insane behavior. Dmitry called it her ‘work ethic’ but what he meant is that she basically has no respect for any one else – whether its their opinion, aesthetic or shared workspace. She curses and yells and does not seem to understand just how rude it is to impose your angry working style onto others forced to share the room with you.

  • “Its pink its so cliché”
  • “I think its very tacky”
  • “This is fucking stupid”
  • “This is so fucking ugly”
  • “Fuck, this is so not me”
  • “We all hate the navy blue you have”
  • “Fuck off. Stupid.”
  • “Eddie Munster, the vest he made, is shit.”
  • “That looks bad.”
  • “That curtain is hideous”
  • “She looks like she is taking a shit.”
  •  “Don’t fucking talk to me like that!”

ugh.

I would have tried to provoke some of that from her on the runway so the judges could see for themselves how rude she was.

In a PR first, it was a tie between the two teams – usually there is a clear top and a clear bottom but obviously each collection had strengths and weaknesses. As evidenced by the fact that the winner and the auf-ee both came from the same team.

Team 5 designs

Team 6 designs.

WINNER: Melissa (although it is laughable to me that anyone could consider this to be ‘work appropriate’

OUT: Raoul

My favorite line (and design) of the episode: “Ven is a one way monkey.” Oh Dmitry, you are awesome both in your designs and your comments.


“Women on the Go”

The morning is full of drama as the news of Andrea’s departure makes its way around the room. But it’s another day, another vague challenge.  After meeting with Michael Kors, the designers have 1 day to design an all day look for a ‘Woman on the Go.’ Versatility, sophistication, easiness – your own aesthetic for ‘your’ woman.

The designers are all very critical of Andrea – unprofessional, cowardly, treating this like a joke, disrespectful of the opportunity etc.  I totally agree that sneaking out in the middle of the night is odd, but on the other hand on some level I can understand wanting to leave. There is really no way to know what its going to be like to be in a competition like this, followed around by cameras everywhere you go, no down time, no privacy.. and then to be embarrassed like she was during elimination – I can imagine that leaving seems like the easiest way out of something that you really didn’t comprehend how hard it was going to be.

Now, like I said, I would prepare myself as best as I could if I was going to be on a show like this, but some people…I guess they think they know what to expect, or that they’ll be able to handle anything no matter what it is… and sometimes people are surprised by their own limits. Like Kooan, for example, he realized that this type of competition was not for him, not the way he wanted to move forward in his evolution as a designer.  And I can respect that.

Anyways, after the bomb drop of losing two designers, they bring back Raoul to make everyone feel better and the challenge really gets underway. Buffi struggles and Christopher tries to nudge her away from doing something that will get her eliminated…but she reacts kind of badly to it. She would ‘rather go out on something she believes in’ and unfortunately…she does.

L-R Sonjia, Alicia, Melissa

L-R Raoul, Elena, Christopher

L-R Buffi, Fabio, Gunnar

L-R Nathan, Dmitry, Ven

Personally I think that if you have someone eliminated who is brought back and then immediately ends up in the bottom again, that person is probably supposed to be out of the competition and should be eliminated again. I get the feeling sometimes that the producers don’t want to do that “you’re out, no wait you’re in, nope sorry you’re out again!” in one episode even though they probably should. So Raoul stays another week and Buffi goes home.

Guest Judge: Hayden Panettiere

WINNER: Sonjia

OUT: Buffi


Bonjour mes fashionistas!

I have been away on vacation for the past month so I was not able to even view the current PR season much less recap it during that time. This will be a short catch-up post and then I hope to be recapping in earnest for the next episode onward.

So far my impressions of this season are meh. I haven’t fallen in love with any of the designer’s aesthetics yet. So far there are no Mondos or Jay McCarrolls. The challenges have only been so-so. Mostly they just feel like re-fried challenges from other seasons. Nothing so far seems entirely original.

Come as You Are was really the same challenge as the S2 Clothes Off Your Back challenge – complete with scarf drama.

The losing designs from the oh-so-similar challenges.

The Pet Store Challenge was really just another Party Glitters, Manhattan Supermarket, Hershey’s Factory… etc.

The Stilts challenge, while admittedly a new idea was just plain ridiculous! NONE of those outfits had much merit. Even the winning look was so incredibly derivative of Gucci’s Fall 2011 work as to be insulting.

Deja Vu?

The Nina Garcia challenge was of course just another ‘celebrity client’ challenge, which we’ve seen every season, sometimes more than once. BORE.ING.

In addition to the challenges being been-there-done-that, I haven’t seen anything truly inspiring or omg-i-gotta-have-it go down the runway. I liked Olivier’s Pet Store look but its more a matter of being the best of the mediocre than being the best of the best.

Sooooooo yeah, I’m still waiting for this season to blow me away with something innovative in the challenge and something exciting on the runway.

I hear Episode 5 is another New Balance challenge. Oh goody. Wake me up when this season gets interesting.

 


Project Runway Season 8 Finale Recap

This finale promised to be one of the most predictable in Project Runway History…

(if you haven’t seen the episode yet, STOP READING NOW.)

… until it wasn’t!!

Love or Hate the outcome, you cannot deny it kept this episode from also being the most boring in PR History (see: predictable = boring.)

Can anyone forget the nail-biting finale episodes of Seasons 2 or 3, when it really was a toss up as to who would win? Although Mondo is my favorite designer in PR History, I will admit that the cards were stacked very very highy in his favour to win, which might have made his win a bit of a letdown purely in terms of Entertainment Value. Personal preference aside, lets get on with the recap, shall we dahlings?

Over brekkie the designers are invited to ‘the reunion’ which is pretty tame by PR standards.

I have three things to say about the ‘reunion.’

1. WHY EVEN BOTHER IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO SHOW US ANYTHING WE HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE?
The #1 best thing about past reunions was seeing footage that we hadn’t before and the fun little montages they put together, often for people who were strong personalities or front-runners but didn’t ultimately make it to the end. To me this looks like laziness mixed with the likely reality that with the 90-minute format, they already used everything that was of any value. Ergo, don’t do a lame reunion.

2. WHERE WERE THE HARD QUESTIONS? WHERE WERE THE FAN QUESTIONS?
Why didn’t they actually address some of the issues the fans have been waiting for in the reunion? The Ivy-Michael drama? The accusations? When I think back to previous reunions they almost always addressed the really uncomfortable questions: Who drew the moustache on Wendy’s picture? How did you feel (Diana, Marla) about what other designers said about you behind your back? Did you think it was fair you were eliminated when another designer plagiarized (Guadalupe)? Did you feel your disqualification was justified? (Keith) and so on. This is the whole point of the reunion, which is to see how relationships change based on new information being revealed to them… This one seemed more about forcing everyone to cry (showing the moms coming to visit, Mondo’s confession, tears on the runway, etc.)

3. Anyone else think it is weird that McKell is there since she didn’t ‘officially make it on the show.” (12 episodes later I still haven’t figured out what this means.)

Anyways, the only remotely juicy moment was when Ivy rolled her eyes when Gretchen defended herself as not being a bitch. It brought out the RAWR in April too, who called Gretchen out for saying she didn’t like Christopher’s work but telling him she liked it to his face. Interestingly, April was the only designer in the final 5 that said Gretchen should go to Fashion Week. I was surprised to find myself siding with Gretchen.

Although I, like many of you out there, think of Gretchen as the big-head designer who thought of herself as Tim Jr. in the workroom… I remember that comment and what Gretchen said was, “I love Christopher, I just don’t love what he does.” This isn’t even really a typical ‘Gretchen-criticism.’ It is just a statement of opinion. If it was you and you had a best friend who was an author, but you didn’t like their book – it doesn’t make you a bad person just because you tell them to their face that its good. It just makes you a human who doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of someone you care about. Plus, this is a competition. It is in her best interest not to tell people their work sucks which in theory gives them a chance to improve it. And in fact, most of the time she told people directly to their face what she liked or didn’t like. Andy’s ‘dominatrix’ dress, for example. Every designer on the show is guilty of talking shit about other people’s designs during interviews. And the more I think back on Gretchen i think that a lot of the time she really was just offering her OPINION. Its up to the designers to take it or leave it. She isn’t a judge and they didn’t have to listen to her.

The final three are finally released back to the workroom and there is all the typical pre-show stuff – model fittings, hair and makeup consultations, editing and talks with Tim.

Did anyone else think the shots of the designers in bed were a little creepy? Kind of stalker-y? yeah…

Runway Day!
Everyone is dressed up and sprayed to perfection, including Mondo’s socks. (wtf, right?) There are the usual backstage shenanigans: sewing, missing models, hair and makeup issues, blah blah blah.

GRETCHEN
Gretchen’s collection in a word: Depressed. Gretchen’s ten looks were a real toss–up for me. Although I liked a couple of pieces – the second look (a dress) was nice, the ‘patchwork pants’ were cool, there was an interesting sweater in there – overall I found myself underwhelmed by her choice of prints and colors – so muted and subdued, almost sad. The shiny forest green stuff seemed so odd, like an oil slick in the middle of all those desert colors. I just didn’t get it. I don’t understand how a woman actually wears all these hot pants (ahem, diapers?) Her title ‘Running Through Thunder’ doesn’t seem to fit the collection either. My suggestion? Desert Apocalypse.

ANDY
Andy’s ten looks in a word: Repetitive. Monotone. Boring. I hate the hat things as well as his color palette so he pretty much lost me before I could even look at the clothes. The entire collection except for 4 pieces was gray or silver. I have to agree with Mondo that with that limited color palette, the entire collection just gets flat for me. No pieces stood out unless they were surprisingly blah. There were pretty things in there, sure, but they faded into the background and overall the collection was just not strong. And it certainly wasn’t as strong as his individual pieces during the course of the show.

MONDO
Mondo’s collection in a word: Whimsical. Joyful. Mondo was my favorite to win (whose wasn’t?) and he reminded me why. His use of prints and color are fun and I felt he showed a great range of pieces that could be separated out and worn differently but shown together gave it a little oomph and flash. I would love even a simple t-shirt with that Day of the Dead skull/clown thing, even without the beading and studs – it was just cool. And I LOVED the printed leggings. Some looks definitely had a younger feel, like the checkered bubble dress and the 11th look but I think that would go away once styled into a person’s closet with basics. I.e. the pieces could go young or old depending on what they were worn with. His had the most showmanship, which has constantly been praised in the past seasons.

JUDGING

In a word: Psycho! I don’t know what was going on but it felt like I was watching Bizzarro Project Runway!

Andy was out pretty quickly, and the judges didn’t even try to pretend that was a difficult decision. On the runway they praised a few of his pieces for their simplicity and softness but overall they felt that he lost too much of himself and that he played it too safe. They also hate the hats, a good precursor of how important styling has become to deciding the winner…

The judges immediately began comparing Gretchen and Mondo, despite the fact that they later claim its like ‘comparing salt and sugar.’ They praised both collections for being Editorial, Cohesive, and for being true collections.

Their (Nina and Michael) primary arguments for why Gretchen should win:
STYLING
ON TREND
WEARABLE AND SELLABLE
SEPARATES AND SPORTSWEAR

Problems
NOT DRAMATIC
MONOTONE
TOO READY TO WEAR (Heidi and Jessica)

Their (Heidi and Jessica) primary arguments for why Mondo should win:
TALENTED/ CREATIVE
UNIQUE/ MEMORABLE/ SPECIAL
SHOWMANSHIP/ EXCITING/ RISK-TAKING

Problems
OVERWHELMING DECORATIVE/PROPORTION of PRINTS
TOO YOUNG
WHO IS THE CUSTOMER?
NEEDS TO EDIT FOR REAL LIFE

So does anyone else see what is so wrong/weird/psycho about the above reasons?

Who wants wearable and on trend over exciting, unique and creative? Ok, I guess a certain customer wants that, but is that what Project Runway is about? I found myself heartily agreeing with Heidi – Isn’t this show about Fashion?

It was only a few episodes ago that Nina was talking about wanting to see ‘Fashion, Not Clothes’ on the runway… and now she is defending stuff that is wearable and sell-able? I question even that argument – tell me who is going to wear those dirty granny panties? Sheesh.

They repeatedly praised Gretchen’s styling ability despite the fact that the last FOUR challenges, plus the 11th look challenge they criticized her styling choices! If she hadn’t changed the hair and makeup and thrown a few pairs of heels in there, would Mondo have won? Doesn’t that seem a little odd since they had to TELL her to do that? Does that make her a great designer or a great stylist? And what is this show about again? Design.

I just find myself so baffled by the whole thing. Although Gretchen’s aesthetic probably appeals to a lot of women (even I liked some of her stuff) I just find myself going back to the wearable vs. unique argument over and over. Looking back at every single season past, it just doesn’t feel right. Every other winner (Jay, Chloe, Jeffrey, Christian, Leanne, Irina, Seth Aaron) was praised not only for a strong and clear vision but for showmanship and creativity. They have NEVER chosen a winner with the primary criteria being ‘wearable.’

It makes no sense.

Anyways, regardless of the outcome I think that Mondo will be successful. He has a hugely loyal fan-base out there and it probably ballooned even bigger with him not actually winning. He did get the 20,000 so hopefully he uses that to get some pieces made and available online or in stores and he will just have to make his own career happen. I do wish Gretchen well. It felt like her collection was a reflection of her struggles and sadness so maybe winning will give her a boost of positive energy that will translate into happier clothing. We can only hope right?

I am going to pick up my ANTM blogging next week now that Project Runway is over for the season (*tear) – so please check back!

Also, has anyone heard anything about Bravo’s new show: The Fashion Show? It looks like their PR replacement but I don’t really know anything about it, when it airs, etc.

Cheerio! Thanks for reading!


Project Runway Season 8 Episode 13 Recap

Well, this was an episode with the potential for so much drama… and yet it offered next to none. Until the last 5 minutes which were actually painful to watch.

The Final Four are competing for just THREE spots at Fashion Week. They get nine thousand dollars and 6 weeks (!!) to produce a 10 piece collection. This seems a tad ( a lot?) crazy to me as far as time goes. Remember when designers had 3 months to work on their collections?… those were the days.

Anyways, Tim has to drive a Product Placement Car to each and every designer’s house and oddly, the home visits seems shorter than ever, despite the longer show format this season.

We begin in Hawaii and I have to admit, I am totally drawn in. I was expecting beaches and bikinis and luxury. Instead we get Andy in rubber boots on his family’s sugar cane/catfish farm. Its so humble and quaint and it makes me genuinely curious about Hawaii for the first time in my life. The moment when Andy shows Tim the catfish, describing them as ‘chinese men’ and Tim completely flips out is PRICELESS people. Go watch it again. Price. Less.

We get to hear a bit more about Andy’s ‘immigrant story’ and the inherent challenges and then we get to see Andy’s mom again (kind of nice actually that the moms become like a ‘recurring character’ this season.) In Andy’s workspace it is revealed that he has spent most of his last 4 weeks gathering materials but producing almost nothing in the way of finished garments. He has fabric and metals imported from Laos which I think is kind of cool and is connected with his inspiration for the collection. Makes for something different and unique. None of the other designers will have the same fabric, obviously! Tim leaves Andy with only 2 weeks left to produce all ten looks! ouch.

Next up is Michael C in Palm Springs. He has been inspired by ‘the sky’ and has become attached to feathers and a particular color palette. Before we even really see any garments I am worried for him. I just doesn’t sound like a strong enough CONCEPT for a New York Fashion Week show. Tim gives him some feedback on the work but mostly I am just shocked that he has already made 18 looks! Its a process that works for some and not for others. Remember Seth Aaron did it last season – he made something like 24 looks altogether and then drew the strongest, most cohesive pieces out from that range. And then he won.

Its like creative vomit. You spew it all out, then decide what to do with it.

We get to meet Michael C’s partner Richard and hear a little bit about his family. I would have found this more interesting if this information hadn’t gone out on the internet a couple days before the episode aired.

On to Denver, where Mondo is working at mixing Mexican influences like The Day of the Dead with the circus. Its a perfectly Mondo-type inspiration and I love what I see on the rack in the b.g. of his chat with Tim. We get a hilarious family meal where mom and dad both talk about ‘trying everything they could’ to get Mondo to be macho and sporty when he was a kid. Mondo talks about trading participation in softball for piano lessons. Poor kid. Really makes you feel lucky if you have supportive parents who don’t force you to do anything you don’t want to.

Next we head to visit Gretchen who is completely broken down. No details are given, but it appears she is moving, was recently broken up with (? or broke up with someone?) and destitute. She says she is embarassed to have Tim visit under these circumstances and I feel a little twinge of sympathy for her. Sounds like life’s been hell for her lately and I don’t wish that on anyone. Her concept is to take her own western roots and combine it with other cultures around the world including Safari and Aztec. She has made some jewellery. I’m not especially moved by any of the pieces – looks pretty matronly/Amish/sad to me.

NYC!
The designers return to the Big Apple and convene at the Hilton. Andy is rocking a LONG mohawk that someone refers to as ‘Pocahontas’ and before we know it Tim is coming in with the Velvet Bag of Doom.

The designers all panic.
They start looking for the exits.
People are tackled and tied to chairs.

The Bag. of. Doom. is. opened….

Velvet Bag of Doom.

…and they all get free trips for two to other Hilton resorts! Awwwwww. how nice for them. (and how boring for us!)

The next morning Tim corners them all in the new workroom with the ACTUAL panic-inducing twist. They will each show 3 looks to the judges. 2 will be from their collection. 1 will be a new piece they make in the next 24-36 hours. They get 300.00 and a trip to Mood. But they do not get any help (which is weird because with all the Producer Influence you’d think they would jump at the chance for more Fabricated Drama.)

Anywhoodle.

Tim pops by and offers next to no actual advice to the designers. Oh yeah, except for ‘Michael C – Don’t Choke Sucker!’

What the @#$%^& is that? C’mon Tim, that was exceptionally awful advice. If that was me, I’d immediately be thinking something along the lines of ‘ohmygod. whatdoeshemean? ismycollectionbad? whydidnthesaythattoanyoneelse? whydidhesinglemeout? whydoesaeveryonehateme? whyisthishappeningagain? ineedahug.

Poor guy.

oh yeah, and Mondo has a sewing crisis. or something.

IT IS ZE RUNWAY DAAAAHLINGS…3…2…1…. and go!

Andy
Generally interesting but I don’t know if I like the hat things. The bathing suit isn’t really impressive enough, especially since the last time they saw him do a swimsuit it was gorgeous, effortless and an actual WOW. This seems like a throwaway piece.

Ha! The judges agree with me. They think he hasn’t shown enough range and held back too much by not showing more of his ‘great’ unseen pieces.

Michael C
The pieces are ok and sort of amorphously pretty and elegant but I HATE the pants and fringe top and I don’t really see anything innovative. I like Michael, but he is only convincing me of what I worried about when he had his Tim Visit. That he doesn’t have a strong enough concept to bring the collection together.

The judges feel he made a mistake showing all the same color (Ahem.. all black collection.. cough *Christian Siriano* cough.) Whatever. I do agree that he appears not to have a clear enough vision.

Gretchen
Oh holy mother of god.
Ug.
Terrible.
Dowdy!
Skanky and Dowdy!! How? Why? WHICH? (*mind explodes)

And the judges thankfully agree with me mostly. Although Nina has apparently had her brain replaced with a Jell-O Snack Pack because she actually LIKES the Skanky/Dowdy jacket-over-granny-panties-with-too-much-boobage.

Mondo
And thank the Mexican Lord Ringmaster Almighty for Mondo.
His looks are fresh and fun with a balance of whimsy and sophistication that shows he has grown. I will NEVER look at accessories the same way again after Mondo. (and dare I say I will never buy a black belt again? – color baby!)

The judges are mostly on board until Jell-O-Nina decides she has an allergy to polkadots. Talk To The Hand Nina. Polkadots Rock. Haven’t you ever seen The Polkadot Door?

In the lounge the designers are all pretty much speechless. They are all feeling like they could be the one to have their dreams ripped out from under them. They try to find some inner calm while Gretchen stares everyone down.

Decision Time.

Mondo is in.
Gretchen is in. (@#$%^&*@#$%^&*((*&^%$!@#$%^*&^%$#@@#!!!!)
Andy is in.
Michael C is OUT.

And here we arrive at the aforementioned PAINFUL TO WATCH MOMENT OF THE SEASON. Michael is so beyond devastated by the decision that he sleep-walks through his Auf with Heidi, whimpers on the runway, punches the wall, can’t breathe, can’t speak, and starts hyperventilating with Tim’s arms around him.

Oh Michael.

I wish your family, like all SANE families, would support you in your dreams and believe in you. If they did, maybe you would actually be going to Fashion Week because you wouldn’t have had to follow your dream DESPITE your family. You would have had love and encouragement and been able to hone your craft and your vision confidently. Please please don’t give up. So many people are sending you their love right now all over the Internet/world… let it in and let all the negative bullshit from your family go.

Michael finally seems able to pull it together and gets Tim to say the line that might have to replace ‘Make it Work’ and ‘Carry On’ as tried and true Tim-isms… “Give ’em fucking hell!’

Yes please.