Your normal Project Runway recapper, Christina Uticone, is off this week (rumor has it her superhero alter ego, the "Lavender Revenger," is fighting crime in London), so I bravely volunteered to take the reins for Thursday's installment.
"How hard could it be?" I wondered ignorantly to myself. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen an entire episode, but isn't it pretty much just another reality show where they give the contestants a series of unreasonable challenges, amp up the interpersonal conflict and drag out the proceedings to make the endings seem more dramatic than they are? Like Top Chef, only instead of a brusque Italian and a fashion model you have an authoritarian designer and...a fashion model, yeah?
Well, yes and no. It's a reality show, to be sure, but that simple assessment leaves aside one huge factor: my total ignorance of the fashion industry.
So this should be awesome. Let's let the couture begin.
First impressions: Bert is a jackass, and may have gotten the boot last week were it not for immunity. Instead, Joshua C. was let go, possibly due to mandatory "Josh" limits imposed by the New York legislature. Anya and Olivier are among the favorites, as is Anthony. Becky looks like the blond from Criminal Minds. Fallene might be an idiot.
Looking back at the scorecard, I'm sorry I missed the dismissal of somebody named "Gunnar Deatherage." That's like, the most metal name ever. I can also understand Anthony's motivation for getting his first win, since he's finished in the top three the last two weeks.
Because of the sheer tonnage of contestants, they're paired up for this week's challenge: creating an outfit for stiltwalkers. I like the models, who, for a change, don't all look like famine victims.
Bert, who reminds me of Glenn Shadix from Beetlejuice, is teamed up with Viktor, who isn't happy. To be fair, "unhappy" appears to be his normal state, as he spends the bulk of the day whining about the overbearing Bert, whose crack about Queen Victoria gives us history majors a bad name. Of course, they're the most entertaining team to watch, but while I wouldn't mind a fight breaking out, I'm not sure either could land an effective punch.
Anthony and Laura are next. They work quietly and competently, sharing a singular vision for their creation and putting it together with a minimum of fuss. BOOOO-RING.
Joshua, whom I dubbed "Gay Ryan Gosling," is stuck with Julie. I say "stuck" because Joshua doesn't think she's in his weight class, and he's right. Girlfriend, even I know about pleating.
It's at this point that the problem with having a bazillion contestants rears its head. Many of the remaining teams (Danielle/Cecilia, Anya/Olivier and Kimberly/Becky) have their own curious dynamics (Kimberly and Becky clearly don't like each other), but because there are so many of them, we know the people featured most throughout the second act are the ones in danger. The showrunners can't budget their time any other way.
Which brings me to Bryce and Fallene. Both were in the bottom last week, so this has to be considered the opposite of the Anya/Olivier pairing. The self-taught Fallene is clearly in over her head, as she doesn't even know how to cut fabric on the grain (which is apparently to fashion what the quadratic equation is to algebra). Her screwing up their planned bustier leaves Bryce hustling to come up with something in a pinch, and the results...well, we'll get to that.
The day of the show arrives -- it's to be the first outdoor runway ever -- and everyone heads to Battery Park, where a mob of fans and guest judge Kim Kardashian await them. Fallene freaks out, because she sucks. The backstage area is predictably hectic, though I must say a career in fashion seems like a great opportunity for guys who want to put their hands on women's breasts.
Anthony and Laura (sorry..."Minnesota Barbie" for followers of Christina's recaps) have opted for a sweeping red number, Joshua/Julie decide to go with "matador giraffe," for some reason. Bert/Viktor cobble something together from what looks like the entry carpet of an old hotel, Becky/Kimberly's number is good -- though Kimberly has issues with the "Star Trek collar" on the jacket. What have you got against Trek, lady?
Anya/Olivier don't seem to have finished their model's vest, and the dress looks a little...shower curtain-y. Danielle/Cecilia -- girl, if you think the hair is the worst part of your chiffon monstrosity, I don't know what to say.
Which brings us to Bryce and Fallene, whose "dark ballerina" thing (kids, Black Swan is so 2010) is basically a tutu with a tank top. In other words, what the girls I knew in college would wear on their pub crawls. Appalling. Usually it's hard to gauge the judges' reaction while the models are on the runway, but I thought Michael Kors's eyes were going to come out of his head when he saw it.
Hey, Michael Kors! I have a belt from that guy.
Finally (*finally*), the judging. I suppose it says something about the narcissism of the fashion industry that the entire final third of the show is taken up with the judges' bitchery. Though in this case, there's a lot to bitch about.
Kimberly/Becky -- For all their apparent animosity, they work well together. Though the judges also take issue with the collar. This prejudice against Gene Roddenberry will not stand.
Anthony/Minnesota Barbie -- A solid effort. KimK called it "elegant," and if anyone can judge elegance, it's a person who taped herself giving listless blowjobs to her boyfriend. Even to my untrained eye, this looked like a very accomplished ensemble. Did I just type that? Time for another beer.
Danielle/Cecilia -- ?!?!?!...WHAT? That is in the top 3? Up is down, black is white, and I have no idea what the hell is going on. That outfit would've been at home at a key party in 1973. If it was thrown by the tripods from War of the Worlds.
Joshua/Julie -- Gay Ryan Gosling doesn't appreciate Kors's "¡Olé!" Screw him, he's right.
Bert/Viktor -- Bert throws V under the bus. My bad though, it's "curtains," not "carpet," the dress resembles. My fashion lexicon is clearly rusty.
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Bryce/Fallene -- Whoof. When a Kardashian says you didn't put any effort into it, you know you're in trouble.
Winner: Minnesota Barbie. Anthony's a bridesmaid once again.
[The music they use right before sending somebody home sounds just like the drum intro to "When the Levee Breaks."]
Loser: Fallene, in the least surprising decision since Reagan beat Mondale. Wait...they get a *hug* when they lose? From Heidi Klum? I'm getting on this show.