Friday, August 2, 2013

Project Runway Season 12 Episode 3

As we could see from last week's series of meltdowns, the designers are already starting to buckle under the stress and lack of sleep. So it definitely seemed that this challenge's conceit, that they get to go to Coney Island and play carnival games, using the prizes as the material, is well-timed to function as a nice break. However, apparently it's already time in the season for the "too many inputs at once" challenge. We are also treated to an extremely gratuitous Yoplait product placement. Before they can play the games, the designers have to operate stands and give out frozen Yoplait samples, and ask people for words to describe the treat. And let's not forget that they were split into pairs for this, because why not have a team challenge, and each pair has to choose three of those words as inspiration for their garment. But they're all super-generic (adventurous! awesome!) and didn't seem to have any impact on the judging, so let's just pretend that didn't happen.

What did happen, though, is that Heidi goes in personally to the apartments in the morning to surprise everyone awake. Random! Also funny is seeing everyone loaded up with bulging bags of giant stuffed and inflated toys, shuffling into the workroom. They aren't allowed to go to Mood for more fabric (though they did have to spend $100 each from their prepaid cards to get unlimited tokens for the games).

The pairs, assigned by button bag, are:

  • Alexander and Justin
  • Kate and Helen
  • Jeremy and Ken
  • Sue and Sandro
  • Bradon and Karen
  • Dom and Alexandria
  • Miranda and Timothy
Of note: before they showed the selection process, Miranda says that she really hopes she doesn't end up with Timothy. So of course that happens. But, to his face, Miranda says she's happy, and Timothy actually is genuinely happy. Also, Helen regrets having called Kate a [lady dog] when she was revealed as the "second chance" designer, and now that she's been in the bottom and Kate won the last challenge, she's quite happy to try to learn from her.

They all make a tremendous mess of the workroom when the stuffed items get destuffed, and terrible clingy foam goes everywhere. Sue and Sandro take an early lead for worst team dynamic when they get into a fight about threading the sewing machine right away. He gets more and more abusive towards Sue's suggestions, finally flatly calling her ideas [excrement], drawing hairy eyeballs from all around the room. Also Sandro apparently thinks Zac Posen is out to get him. 

But then, after Tim's visit where he calls their garment both "Disney" and "hospital gown-y," Miranda goes into a silent mental downhill spiral. Then, in the sewing room, she jets their pair into the "bad team" lead by trash talking Timothy in front of everyone else there. She keeps talking as he comes in - Sandro tries to warn her but she plows right ahead. Poor Timothy - as far as he knew, everything was going ok, and he was really touched because their model brought him a sweet little card, and then he had to walk into that.

Timothy goes and hides in a hallway for a while to have a cry and console himself with the card. Meanwhile, Sandro is also crying at the sewing machine. Sue, in exasperation, finally just says "I'll be your assistant" and gives up trying to make any suggestions.

The next morning, Miranda tells Timothy that she feels terrible for what happened, but stops short of actually apologizing. Timothy points out he did nothing to deserve what she did and that he handled the whole thing much better than she did. They end up exchanging a feeble hug and think their garment is not too terrible. Now it's time for the runway.

Bradon and Karen's is a dress made mostly of blue and green plastic, with a big gathered plastic poof at the hip and and a big white polyester stuffing poof at the shoulder. Dom and Alexandria have a more casual outfit, consisting of a giant blue sweater with a mustachioed Domokun face, layered with a frilly little skirt - plus they've given their model deelybopper hair. Sandro and Sue seem to have made that big poofy cliched dress I was mentioning last episode that at least one person makes for every unconventional materials challenge (out of the blue plastic used by many of the teams). Also the model is fluffing the front of it very awkwardly so I really wonder what bizarre directions they gave her for the walk. Helen and Kate make a nicely shaped red dress out of sombreros, which guest judge Kelly Osborne takes to right away. 

Alexander and Justin produce a completely ridiculous look (also out of that green and blue plastic) with way too much going on - mermaid hem at knee length, peplum at the waist, leaves at the shoulder, peekaboo holes at the cleavage and belly button. Jeremy and Ken have blue pants, a wicker bustier, and a stuffed-animal-skin shrug, which has an unfortunate trashy whiff about the whole thing. Miranda and Timothy's dress has improved since Tim Gunn's visit, but it's still costumey, and the shrug looks very Mother of the Bride.

Bradon and Karen, Ken and Jeremy, and thankfully Sue and Sandro, are all named safe. I can already tell that Timothy and Miranda are going to have drama during the judging, so having an airing from Sue and Sandro too would be just too much to endure. But I almost miss the rest of the judging anyway, because I almost sprained my face from how hard I rolled my eyes when Sandro gets unbearably smug about how "genius" it was that he finally browbeat Sue enough that she stopped trying to contribute anything meaningful and just dully followed his orders.

Heidi and Kelly both want to wear Dom and Alexandria's sweater. Zac Posen describes it as an "instagram moment," which sounds good, and they all love how it is fun, inventive, adorable, and made them all smile. Making a casual outfit was smart and they styled it well. Both designers say that Alexandria would deserve the win if this outfit is at the top.

In the other direction, they are blown away by Helen and Kate's dress. It is high fashion, but also has fun and whimsy. When they get to see it close up, they're even more impressed at the workmanship. Both of the designers agree that Helen should be the winner.

In the bottom are two pairs that actually felt moderately good about their looks. The judges agree that there is too, too, TOO much going on in Alexander and Justin's. I knew somebody was going to use the phrase "hot mess," and Posen did not let me down. He also describes all the touches as kelp on the skirt, dorsal fins on her hips, and seaweed on her shoulders. They styling is bad too, as they've matched the model's eyeshadow to her hot pink shoes. Tim makes sure the judges know that they had initally made just a top and skirt, but after he had urged them to try to make it more sophisticated, they added the jacket. So they ask to have the jacket taken off, hilarously revealing pink stuffed lumps underneath the peplum, looking like nothing so much as testicles. So they rip those off too. They agree it's better that way, but that the problems all stem from Alexander and Justin not being able to decide if they were going to make it fun or glamorous. Neither of the designers will pick who should be eliminated if they end up the bottom two.

And then we get to Miranda and Timothy. The judges main issue here is that it is soooooo boring. It looks like a deflated pool toy, in biohazard colors. They appreciate that Timothy did intensive work on the texture on the jacket, but it wasn't effective. I actually have some hope that we're going to get through this without them bringing up their workroom drama, but alas, Miranda has to bring up the topic when explaining that she would pick herself to be out. Timothy then launches into a long confusing metaphor about the Titanic, but I did catch when he made a comment like "if I had been working with a stronger designer..." They obviously edited the whole thing down to a fraction of what it must have been (thank goodness for that) but it seems the judges eventually get a whole account of the sorry affair.

Backstage during the final deliberation, Miranda and Timothy have it out once again. In the end, Miranda feels that Timothy, in complaining to the judges, did the same thing to her that she did to him by complaining to the whole workroom. Sure, in the sense of "bringing up complaints to third parties rather than talking to me directly," but the things Timothy said didn't seem to approach the level of viciousness that Miranda had. They seem to reach an understanding though.

Helen is named the winner! I though that the Alexander/Justin outfit was far, far worse than the Timothy/Miranda effort, but there's no contest as far as the judges are concerned. It comes down to the dress being mostly Miranda, and the jacket mostly Timothy, and they hate the dress a little less, so Timothy is out.

Next time, it looks like something with bowties, and Sandro continuing his escalating series of meltdowns.

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