Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Project Runway Episode 2

After a most auspicious beginning, Project Runway has continued to astound and thrill me… perplex and bamboozle me… basically be the best show on television. Except for maybe Pushing Daisies. Or Supernatural (mmm… Padalecki).

One of the contestants, Carmen, hinted in the promotional materials that this season would bring some of the most surprising and exciting guest judges ever and I have to say, Show definitely delivered.

Episode 2 begins with the traditional insincere mourning of the most recently Auf’ed designer, which was… geez, I can’t even remember that loser’s name… Samantha? Siddhartha? [tick tock tick tock…] SIMONE!! Yeah, the other designers aren’t too upset, either. When Heidi comes out on the Runway, she tells them this challenge will involve designing something for a celebrity and fashion icon. Ok, see, the last time she said this, Nicky Hilton came strolling through the doors, so I’ve taken everything Heidi says well salted ever since. Heidi won’t be divulging the mystery guest, though; Show has left that up to Tim Gunn, so the designers head back to the workroom. As they wait, several names are put forward, such as Madonna and Britney Spears. First, Madonna would never let some random reality contestant near her person. And Britney can barely be trusted to show up to her own videoshoots, much less a court hearing about custody of her own children, so I’d say these designers have either been living under fabulously decorated rocks, or are just plain stupid.

When Tim comes in to announce the celebrity judge, the anticipation is palpable, and for once I don’t get the feeling the tension has been fabricated by the editors and a soundtrack. The room is actually, factually intense. Who. Will. It. BE?

OMG! It’s frikkin’ Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m not ashamed to admit I totally squeeed in my living room. I can’t effectively explain what it is about SJP that makes the gays and many straight females adore her so (and just to be fair, I know plenty of both that can’t stand her), but she has always struck me as approachable and professional and nice and all those things we all hope celebrities are, even when we know they aren’t. The designers are understandably awe-struck, and I think some of the gays even have the vapors. Chris March is crying, you see, because SJP and her inspirational turn as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City was one of the main reasons he moved to New York in the first place. As expected, Ms. Parker is gracious and as sweet can be as she informs the designers they will be designing a two piece look for her clothing line, Bitten, and it MAY (note: operative word) be sold at certain department stores with the Bitten Brand. But there’s a catch (like always): Bitten is a bargain brand, as SJP passionately explains, because fashion shouldn’t have to be a luxury. Tim Gunn goes on to say that the two piece look must retail for less than $40, so the budget for this challenge will be… $15. Chris March assumes they will be making the clothes out of toilet paper and Scotch tape, and he’s totally kidding, but I’m all… make it work!

Aaaaaaannnnnnnddddd… this is a team challenge, with the designers working in seven groups of two. After a hilarious little montage in which La Parker proves everything I assumed about her personality (see above), SJP announces the seven captains who will show their work on the runway, and they are: Victor(unnecessary)ya, Kit Pistol, Marion, Rami, Christian, Ricky (is he going to cry? Probably), and that box of crazy, Elisa. The seven captains then pick their partners in a lottery, and the only real news there is Sweet P is a little nervous about working with Elisa, and… she probably should be.

So they sew and they cut and they sew some more, and that brings us to the runway show.

Let’s start with the winner…

Victorya and Kevin put together this shirt-dress and vest, and once again, I’m a little underwhelmed, but having seen the rest of the designs, I’m not altogether critical of this choice for the winner. The vest is done in a tasteful red plaid, which compliments the dark color of the dress quite nicely, and the frou-frou around the neck is interesting, although it is does remind me of the flower embellishment she threw at us last week. So with the exception of the vest, she’s made the exact same dress. Beware the one-note, Victorya!!

And now the loser…

Umm… Yikes. I have to give credit to SJP for so diplomatically (and perhaps desperately) trying to find the good in this piece, because I absolutely hated it. Heidi said it looked like something she would find in her basement, dirty and nasty-looking, and I really have to agree with her, although I may not want to see her basement anytime soon. The look is so heinous, we have to wonder why SJP picked Marion in the first place, so the editors make sure to flash us a good look at his sketches, and it is decidedly more interesting on paper. Marion explains that the knitted fabric of the top sagged and stretched after being worked, which he had not anticipated. Be that as it may, that still doesn’t explain why he picked that drab color. Unfortunately, the god-awful-ness of the top totally obscures whatever goodness the skirt might have been, and based on what we saw of it during the construction phase, it might have been decent looking, but… alas, the skirt is ignored. A horrendous tent of a top has the tendency to do that.

I have to assume that all of these designers have seen this show before, because neither Marion nor the other captain in the bottom two tried to blame their failures on their partner. So Marion? Auf!

Christian and his partner Carmen were the other twosome that found themselves in the bottom 2, and I’m really surprised Christian let this come down the runway. I was so impressed with him in the first challenge, and I had high hopes this look was going to blow me away, but when it came down the runway, I knew he was in trouble. Don’t yell at me, but I actually like this look quite a bit, mostly because it seems like something Nelly Furtado would wear – and didn’t you hear, the 80’s are making a comeback (call all your friends!). However, this couldn’t have been further from the Bitten aesthetic, so from a purely commercial standpoint, it’s a definite miss. I was impressed by SJP’s assessment of the outfit: the look is too short and too severe. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The jacket is exquisitely made, though.

Despite some decidedly odd moments during the construction phase, Elisa and Sweet P put together this number. I don’t hate it at all, and I agree with the judges when they said that it looks expensive for something made with only $15, but I can’t say I’d enjoy it if I saw it coming down the street. I dunno, maybe it has something to do with the length (SHORT) of the skirt paired with the cozy-looking cape. It’s like when you see frat guys wearing shorts with a long-sleeve sweater – there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it just looks silly. Anyway, with the unimportant exception of the color, the dress is very fetching (both SJP and I love the sleeves), and the cape is cute enough. Most importantly, the look is polished, finished, and expensive looking. Maybe Elisa isn’t as loony as she seems, even if she does spit on the fabric. (sidebar: I really don’t get what was so bad about the whole spit-marking thing. Granted, it’s odd and little bit gross, but why was Sweet P so scandalized? It isn’t like Elisa wiped her butt on it or anything! {Ewww! I’m sorry about that! If I think about it, maybe I’ll delete that before posting}{or maybe I won’t.})

Ricky and Jack worked together to create this outfit, and I really wish it had received just a little bit more credit for being the one outfit I think most women would actually wear. A lot of women can’t pull off a t-shirt dress, especially if they’re of a certain size, and even less women could work a neon blue mini-dress and a cape. This dress, though, seems highly accessible. I love the detailing on the collar and the contrasting texture on the belt.

These last two middle-of-the-road looks are courtesy of Rami/Jillian and Kit/Chris. I put them together because they're basically the same: black/brown tights and a black top. Hasn’t Lindsay Lohan been wearing this exact outfit for the past year or so? There’s nothing bad about either of these looks, but I just don’t see any creativity or inspiration. I have to remind myself that this is a client-based challenge, and that said, I’ll lay off. But seriously, lose the beret. This ain’t Paris.

To conclude: a moment from this episode that has quickly climbed the charts as one of my favorite moments in Project Runway history!!

Sarah Jessica Parker shaking hands with the air = GOLD!!

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