Thursday, April 25, 2013

Project Runway Season 11 Episode 11

It's down to just five designers, who are relieved to get an announcement from Heidi that they will now be working as individual designers. Importantly though, that's how she phrases it - not that they WON'T be in teams. Hmmm. Yes, it's that time already - to bring back previously eliminated designers as their assistants!

It's also time for the obligatory visit to the Hearst Building, to reinforce the show's ties to Marie Claire magazine by having them make a look that will be in a MC editorial, worn by the show's latest B-list starlet. Nina stresses that she doesn't want to see red carpet, or just t-shirt and pants. With helpful sound effects added to the soundtrack as punctuation, she rolls on - it should be bold in shape! Ding! Bold in color! Ding! Bold in print! Ding! Bold in silhouette! Ding! Do not disappoint or embarrass Nina! So we have our "gun" in the style of Chekhov - which of these directives will be egregiously violated by the time we're done?

Speaking of disappointment, it's time to pair the designers with their assistants.Everyone is hoping to not get Richard. Stanley is happy to get Tu, and Michelle is happy with Amanda. Daniel gets Samantha, Layana gets Kate. Poor one of the most cruel acts perpetrated by the producers on this show, she is indeed stuck with Richard. She already looks like she's going to cry again at this point. She's sure that she must now scale back her design ambitions in order to have anything that Richard can help her with, since he only has the ability to sew with knits.

The Stanley/Tu dynamic also takes a downward turn from the start, as Stanley gets more and more commanding, issuing Tu very terse directives and corrections. Finally he's just barking things like "IT'S WRONG" as if Tu were some desperate employee beholden to him. Tu gamely soldiers on under the workload as the other designers cluck their tongues.

Meanwhile, having some more time working with Richard hasn't made Patricia feel any better about it. Richard wants all his instructions demonstrated to him visually, rather than simply spoken, eating away even more of Patricia's time and patience. She is feeling more and more stuck. Fortunately Tim is able to help her rethink her fabric options. Richard seems to remain clueless that he is the cause of Patricia's stress and constant re-planning.

There's a funny little exchange between some of the models. Patricia's model catches the eye of Michelle's, and nods at the model wearing Daniel's outfit. She mouths "do you like that?" Michelle's model looks over, looks back, and makes the "so-so" hand wave. They trade nervous grins.

At the end of the work time, Samantha finishes her work with Daniel and kindly jumps in to help Patricia. Stanley is still cracking the whip and yelling abuse at Tu.

Daniel has produced a day-glo yellow short suit with giant shoulders. Layana's dress is pieced leather plates on top, floaty on the bottom. Michelle sends out a floaty, transparent wraparound belly shirt with baggy green pants. Patricia's short, light blue dress has one shoulder and some strips of short-fringed leather, that overall looks rather hastily made. Stanley's output is a leather jacket, print shirt, and very high-waisted, extremely fully-hipped culottes.

Ack! The directives! Nina decrees that even though Michelle's outfit is unlike anything an actual human being would wear in public, it is still too much like "a t-shirt and pants" and is therefore unwelcome. I actually thought it was quite good looking, in the editorial sense - I could more easily see it in a magazine spread than any of the others besides Stanley's. But no matter, to Nina it is not strong or special and felt like a throwaway.

Daniel's also doesn't fare well. The exposed hook-and-eye closure of the jacket is a bust, and overall it looks too Victoria's Secret, too gimmicky, too Easter, too FTD florist, too Star Trek! Patricia's is deemed not flattering enough to Random Starlet's "rockin' bod." She does bring up the whole Richard fiasco, and in a change from the usual, when teamwork issues usually make the judges MORE critical of the team leader, she actually manages to explain it so that they (correctly) sympathize with her, and understand that Richard was truly more a hindrance than a help.

Both Stanley's and Layana's receive praise. Layana's evokes the Hearst building architecture in a flattering way. Stanley's looks fresh, elegant, and expensive, and demonstrates good time management. "Of Tu!" Stanley says smilingly. The other designers laugh uncomfortably but nobody decides to cause drama by implying that Stanley demanded, perhaps, TOO much of Tu.

Layana and Stanley are safe. Stanley wins! Then they announce Patricia is in. There is SHOCK HORROR in the green room when Patricia joins the other three instead of Michelle. But as it turns out, the judges have decided to not eliminate Michelle yet - they are giving her one last chance, yet to be explained. So the shaken and drained Michelle has to rejoin them and pass on the mystery, unable to share in their relief and happiness.

Next time, we find out just what Michelle is up against, and whether she'll be able to get through it.

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