Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Project Runway Season 12 Episode 10

This week's challenge is the dreaded "real woman" (i.e. not the figure of a professional clothes-hanger) episode. The eight possibly naive souls this time are in fact "Project Runway Superfans" who get to come, tour the set, and get complete makeovers. They are so incredibly happy that I start to seriously dread whatever bad treatment they may get at the hands of the over-stressed designers. But my fears turned out to be unfounded - the designers reserve the bad treatment solely for each other.

Since they're down to just four men, Alexander and Bradon have to troop over and move in with Ken and Justin. When they arrive (at eleven at night, exhausted from the day's work), Ken is camped out right inside the door, ironing a pair of denim shorts (??? isn't the point of jeans that you DON'T NEED TO IRON THEM???) wearing some kind of skin-treatment domino mask, and stone-facedly ignores Alexander's attempts to get in the door. For Alexander's part, he tries to be jokey about it at first, but then he loses his patience and simply pushes his way in, deliberately knocking the iron on the ground. So of course it turns into Ken screaming in rage, with Megan, the poor "talent coordinator," trying to get him to take deep breaths and calm down, and him having none of it. In the morning everybody has to sit in the lounge together and talk it out, led by Tim Gunn, and they eventually agree to put it behind themselves, though Alexander, Bradon, and Justin remain quite rattled. Ken will also remain in a room of his own, with the other three rooming together.

On to the challenge. They get two days for this one, instead of the usual one, which is a very smart move - hopefully this ratchets down the stress level a little, making the designers more pleasant to be around for the superfans, plus the added time gives them the best possible chance of sending everyone out on the runway with a finished garment.

The designers are assigned to the superfans randomly. Helen feels like everyone is jealous of who she got - the tall, thin, Jamie, who has the most dated style and very unflattering hair. Jackpot! This lady is ripe for the classic movie makeover montage - take off the glasses, smooth out the hair and bam!

At the other end of the spectrum is Jennifer, a very pretty and put-together blond assigned to Bradon. She doesn't need a makeover, per se, but wants a look with more edge.

The superfans actually get to go to Mood with the designers. The curly-haired Susie, accompanying Ken, falls in love with a nubbly chartreuse fabric, which he loathes but feels he has no choice but to use. Once they all get back and the designers get to work, the superfans go off for the massive L'Oreal product placement segment, I mean hair makeovers.

At Tim's workroom checkin, he tells Justin to watch the length of his dress, Alexander to watch the bust of his suit, Ken to watch the fit, and Dom to watch the print. As the time ticks away, Alexander has the most alterations to complete. We get to see the superfans lined up backstage right before the runway, getting their final "walk and pose" instructions. Jennifer is so excited she is in tears and has to repair her running mascara. Susie wants vodka.

Kate, for the most mature superfan Altagracia, makes a fluttery tunic top and leggings. Dom, working with red-haired Jane-Sarah, makes a pretty safe print dress and an interesting A-line jacket. They are both safe, and relieved to be so. Both are happy to have made looks that their clients liked.

Alexander, Ken, and Alexandria end up in the bottom. Alexander didn't have enough time to finish the suit he made for Andrea (who has just switched careers blue collar to white collar) and it shows. But even if it were finished, Zac Posen doesn't like the colorblocking or the cut, and says the shape is like an Oompa-Loompa. He also has unkind words for the interview outfit Alexandria made for Art student Stephanie. For her part, Stephanie likes the jacket, but not the rest. Zac thinks the jacket is sad, and that the wide waistband on the skirt makes it "maternity librarian." Susie actually completely loves the green sheath dress that Ken made, but the judges dislike it. The placing of the leather piecework is unflattering to the figure and it doesn't have any "fashion".

Justin nails the challenge with a lovely black dress for the tall Tristan. He also places her signature down the front as lovely abstract-seeming white embroidery, a beautiful touch that goes over well with the judges. Helen follows through on Jamie's perfect makeover potential with a navy red-carpet-ready gown. Bradon's black dress and vest with beaded and patent leather trims definitely delivers the edge requested by Jennifer, but the judges are a bit more divided - the vest can take it from workwear to evening, but the shiny leather looks cheap.

Helen wins! I though Justin made the most personal garment, but I can see how it would be hard to vote against the overall effect of Jamie's huge makeover. Even though Alexander is sure it's the end for him, it is in fact Ken who is eliminated. So, I guess the producers don't have to keep paying for an extra room for him after all.  Ken is at peace with his exit at this point, and feels like it was actually a boost of confidence for him and his barely-budding career to have made it to this point.

Next week - it's the digital textile design challenge!

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