Vision Malevolent #9: Old Pets Scoff at the Playful Ones that Want Our Love

At this point in a show like Project Runway, it’s a scramble. It’s a scramble to figure out who we like, who has legitimate talent, who will be vilified and who will be canonized. It’s a scramble to figure out what the underlying narratives of the season will be. It’s a scramble for the producers to sort through the palaver and nonsense and unending amount of raw material and find something coherent to form that narrative and those characters. Which role armor can you stuff people into, and such. And for the viewer, at this point, allegiances are like S&P’s reputation: we’ll turn on you just because we fucking want to, and that’s that. But give us a reason to turn on you, however, and it can get ugly, real fast.

Oh hey, Bert.

In episode 2, Bert’s bridges burnt like London Bridge. Or, you know, London.

 

The dichotomy between Episode 1 Bert and Episode 2 Bert just shows how impotent we are in the process of watching and analyzing this show. After the premiere, it was a completely reasonable, even safe, to say that Bert role this season was the show’s sweetheart, the one everyone can root for. He was the mordant old man grasping a second chance. His was a story imbued with tragedy, and we didn’t want to wait for the redemption; we wanted that Pixar ending now, godammit.

 

Then a funny thing got in the way: it turned out that Bert is a dick.

 

Bert acted like a spoiled cunt for 90 consecutive minutes. He put himself above the show and refused to participate in the challenge, which he smugly derided as amateurish, even though the whole point of these gimmick challenges are to show how resourceful and innately talented the designer is. Yes, even those that hath designed for Halston and Blass. And it wasn’t just that he felt this way, it was tha he was demonstrative about it. He was vocally cavalier about it all. He smirked more than Mike Mizanin, and in the end Heidi had to go out of her way to scold him on the runway, and how often has that happened?

And you could easily counter that, since we’re still engulfed in The Scramble, Bert could shift right back back around to Endearing Fairy Godmother within a week. And he could. I mean, why even feign prescience at this stage? But there’s a reason why I do these recaps nearly a week after the show airs, even though I so desperately want to be added to Blogging Project Runways recap listing, and they have a strict Saturday deadline.
One reason is that I like to take the fandom’s temperature. I love to read those recaps linked at BPR, and love to sift through the voluminous comments around the fandom (especially TLo’s). It helps foment ideas, and gives me prevailing opinion and theories to either disprove or support. Either way, I like having a reactionary element to my column.

 

But the other reason, the main reason, is that I have more information to deal with, specifically the supplementary material on PR’s official website at mylifetime.com. This is an invaluable resource, containing post-show interviews with designers and the judges, as well as extended versions of Tim Gunn’s workroom critiques, the runway judging, and those scenes where the designers debate who will win and who will go home (called the “Designers’ Dish”). The latter is fascinating. For instance, in last week’s Designers’ Dish, Bryce totally dominated the discussion, despite being a very minor part of the proper episode.

 

Thus, that supplementary material is essential viewing for any fan of the show, because it gives you some real insight into the designers, and a little better judgment of their personalities. Based on that video, I was fully prepared for Bryce to be a much more vocal presence on the show.

 

This week, there was a video called “Everybody Hates Bert.” If the title isn’t explicit enough, let me quote Becky’s concluding statement: “He not an unkind person; he’s just weird.” Now, overlooking the fact that Becky will have her Portland citizenship revoked for being judgmental, the video really is an amazing smear piece. By the end, I expected Willy Horton to pop out and reveal that Bert dropped the bomb on Daisy Girl.

 

The thrust of the piece was that Bert is irritating, callous, and obnoxiously opinionated, falling on the “insufferable asshole” side of “tells it like it is.” And, you know… technically that’s the only side you can fall on; I honestly can’t recall that phrase ever being used to describe someone constructively blunt. For people like that, such as Tim Gunn, we used dignified words like “honest” and “candid.”

 

For Bert, it’s “old queen.” No, really, that’s what Fallene called him. And you know what, Fallene? Thanks to that blip, you will no longer be allowed on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. Nice going, faux flapper.

 

But anyway…. Sorry, Bert. You’re kind of like James Murphy if he gave up at 30. Yes, you were there in 1978, the kids are coming up from behind, and so on… now shut the fuck up and play the goddamn game, you idiot.

 

The other thing from this show that I feel needs mentioning before we start the recap is the concept of defending yourself on the Runway. This has taken many different forms over 8 seasons. Most often, people just meekly nod their head in shame, a show of pained deference that assuredly excites the judges. And I mean, excited. In the most instinctual way. Like, to the point where Kors would fuck anything on the stage, even Nina Garcia.

 

Alright, maybe not Nina. But still, most designers treat a bad runway judging like a health insurance form: they give as little information as possible, and just try to get out of there with the status quo intact. But even so often, you get the rare Combative Reaction. This is exemplified by Santino Rice’s gloriously incendiary decimation of Nina in Season 2, a diatribe that was so vicious and aggressive that Nina later admitted that she was legitimately scared. You also had Kenley Collins’ relentlessly passive-aggressive balderdash from season 5.

 

Both Santino and Kenley came in 3rd place for their season.

 

But then there’s the far less successful tactic of openly agreeing with the judges, which is what Fallene foolishly did this week. In simplest terms, it’s pragmatic honesty. It is understanding the limitations of the show’s conceit: that you have to find inspiration immediately and then translate that inspiration in less than half a day. If that look is not going well after a certain point, there’s no way out. The best you can do is commit to the look and try to finish it in a way that won’t get you eliminated. But you have to finish. Even if it sucks, it has to be completed.

 

So you finish the garment, fully aware that it’s shabby. You get up on the runway and they annihilate you. You’re not surprisedSo you try to assuage the damage by confessing your own dissatisfaction. And why not? This isn’t the fullest of your capabilities. The impossible circumstances got the better of you this time, so why lie? This is the time to be forthright and accept responsibility.

 

And this is the response you get: “If you can’t defend your garment, why should we?”

 

Nina does not have a five pound bow in her hair; her opinions are invalid.

 

Heidi’s retort is bathed in illogic, and exhibits one simple truth: if they don’t like your look, there is literally nothing you can do an nothing will save you. There is no escape from the indignity. No strategy will emancipate you. In fact, anything you say inflates the shame. Fallene got austere scorn this week for refusing to defend a garment with which she was frustrated. And yet, in the premiere Raphael did the exact opposite. He defended his shoddy work… and they killed him for it! Back then, they said, “He doesn’t get it.” Defend and you are a moron. Concede and you’re a loser. There isno middle ground. OY VEY.

 

So, let’s begin.

 

Scatterbrained montage recap of last week’s episode heavily plays up the Bert story, which in retrospect seems like a setup, but it was the story of episode one so it shouldn’t have portended anything in real-time unless you truly are an impenetrable cynic jerk. They also play up Josh’s banking background, which I touched upon last week. This still makes no sense. It’s like when a friend shows you a youtube video and you have to pretend like you’re equally amazed. Sure Heidi, that’s quite a leap, from handling deposit slips to designing clothes.

 

You know, except for that little thing where he graduated from FIDM with a degree in fashion design.

 

And the fact that everyone must have assumed he was gay even back then when he was a shiny-bald male bank clerk. Sometimes things don’t fall apart, Chinua Achebe.

They also note Josh’s trouble with his model and again I have to stress the importance of watching the mylifetime.com videos (if you live in the US. If you live outside the US, please send money.) In this episodes extended Tim Critique for Josh, Tim goes out of his way to ask Josh about his model, and Tim does not seem impressed. In fact, he flat out calls her unprofessional (apparently she had trouble walking), and his face is engulfed in concern. So yeah, Josh had a lot to deal with in the 5 days he spent on camera, and he dealt with it terribly.

We get our first look at the opening credits and I’ve always wondered how th….

Uh….

 

 

 

Ok, what?! Who in the production office looked at months of fandom outcry and bloodlust and thought, “Ah, I see. What you’re really saying is that you want more Kors and Nina!” And it’s doubly bizarre because they get as much up-front screentime, with the usual barrage of out-of-context non sequitor sassiness, as all the designers combined. The designers are just sort of shuffled about behind Tanatar Korrsa’s smug bronze visage.

Up front, in the back.... both look like their hair was painted on.

 

 

 

 

In fact, all the designers get to do is pose and primp.

 

 

 

Some more naturally than others.

 

Or they look like mud clones, aka “We need more shots, just get fucking PA out there and we’ll fix it in post!”

 

 

Mud Clone Army, now hear this: Do not attack Tanatar Korrsa. Repeat: Do NOT attack Korrsa. Flee on Sight! do not let his excretions touch your precious Mud Exoskeleton!

 

And, I should point out, that Josh M.has already gotten more face time than half the designers will get in the whole show.

 

No Tim, he's on the other side. He's still coming.

 

 

 

And here we get yet another shot of a goddamn cab in Manhattan. Guys, please. We know where you are. Just show the shackled immigrant selling hats. That’s more than enough to establish setting. 

 

 

You're not truly dodging scaffolding every 500 feet... without your brim and crown!

 

So we get the usual sequence of sleepy designers alternatively providing epitaphs and putdowns to the designer that fell the night before. Kim makes a weird reference to Raphael entering a Beyonce look-alike contest… it doesn’t make sense, but the other designers laugh at her joke anyway, because Kim looks like a dirty fighter and they know she’ll dangle them out the window. Also, they’re idiots.

 

Josh feels better having gotten a full night’s sleep. He states that his goal for challenge #2 is not to win, but simply make it through and on to challenge #3. I’m surprised that he would admit this.

 

And as this picture shows that Josh isn't so keen on admitting things to himself.

 

 

So the girls chatter because that’s what girls do! Men sit around a table and talk. Girls sit on their beds and gossip. But I have to say, when you look at these four together… 

 

 

 

 

Danielle already looks like an anachronism. If Gretchen looked like she was from the 1970’s, Danielle looks like she was transplanted here from the 1870’s. Even the attitude’s fit. Gretchen was the epitome of the Me Decade, and Danielle seems to have that frosty, restrained antebellum attitude that carried over residually into the Reconstruction Era.

 

Funny thing about Danielle, though: how many scenes has she actually been in? How many words has she spoken on camera? We got that gem from last week about how she felt she her placement was not good enough, but otherwise, she’s literally been a non-entity.

 

She does make the most of her aired vocalizations, though. In the “Everyone Hates Bert” video, she shows trademark restraint as she talks about the old man, and her description of a “tiff” they had in which Bert called her a “stupid idiot” is hilarious.

 

Speaking of Villified Classy Gay Man in the Christopher Radko Vein, he is being teased by his roommates about being the target of everyone going forth. He takes in in stride.

And by that, I mean he gives very creepy glances at Olivier. PS: Viktor likes to watch...

Heidi comes out, looking spectacularly casual, and provides one of the more obvious pun-clues in recent memory, stating that the next challenge will provide the designers a chance to “unleash” their creativity. Josh M. instantly presumes S&M…. This is produced by the Weinsteins, Josh, not the Wachowskis.

The designers meet Tim on 14th street, and hey! They show us Central Park? What, you couldn’t follow a goddamn cab from Parsons to 14th in real-time? You’ve got 90 minutes to fill, you know. And nothing would provide setting more than that. Make sure you don’t transcribe the “speaking foreign” of the cabbie on his cell phone, though. I like counting the seconds between the times I pick up the word “traffic” in his rambl…

 

I CONCEDE!!

Ok, so the pack of designers are walking down the street and…. there’s Tim!

So who's underwear will match his shirt pattern this week?

They are at Petland Discounts, and the challenge is this:

 

Did I mention that Fallene is styled like a fucking flapper again? Girl, move on. Olivier mentions how the only pets he had growing up were rabbits. LOL, he’s so British. Anyway, nothing is off limits. They can buy whatever they want, as long as it is in the store and somehow related to domesticated animals. They have $300 to spend, and they are all excited about it. Even Laura is excited about getting $300, which makes zero sense. Never break character, you dummy.

 

Tim fervently stresses that materials that look like conventional fabrics will be frowned upon, and that muslin is allowable as a base. This year, the designers heard that part, and we all paid for it. They also sprint into the store, something that doesn’t make any sense, either. You have 30 minutes to shop in a goddamn pet store. Why do you feel rushed?

So, without having even left the pet store, we get two of our intra-episode stories, fully formed: Bert is a dick, and Fallene fails at “her” challenge. Bert being a fucktard was a surprise, but we pretty much see Fallene’s story happen in every Unconventional Challenge. There’s always the wacky designer with strange aesthetics that everyone looks to perform brilliantly in a challenge such as this, and they always fail. And not merely because of the pressure, but because this is too close to their aesthetic. If “having fun with it” is actually your natural philosophy, it’s very unsettling to be forced into “having fun with it.” Fallene’s gripe about not having enough time is actually valid: when this is the kind of thing you normally put a lot of effort into, it’s not exactly easy to relax. The stakes are higher for you, whereas the other see this as a time to have fun and do something weird for a change.

Funny thing, though: Bryce was in the same boat. They sold it harder for Fallene, but subplot of the episode was that Bryce was going through the exact same thing, of being a designer with an outlandish and fun portfolio, and struggling with the concept of being demanded to produce fun and outlandish. It’s difficult to orient yourself to that kind of thinking.

It's almost, ALMOST, as if they purposely look weird on purpose to hide their orthodox personalities!

 

By the way, while Fallene is talking about how this challenge suits her so well, she notes that, “I don’t take fashion to seriously.” Ok, couple this with Josh’s comment about how his goal simply to survive and the lack of self-awareness is off-the-charts right now. These kids are just setting themselves up, which is pretty shameful in SEASON NINE. You have got  to know that these comments can be distorted. Easily distorted. At this point, the producers must have wondered: “If we leave a running camera in the interview room, could we take the rest of the season off?”

 

Anthony congratulates himself for purposely choosing materials based on what the other designers are not choosing. Then there’s this amusing juxtaposition:

 

You know what would completely offend the judges? Using a dog bed.

I'll take that one.

 

And thus, plot #2: Bert is a smug bastard that considers himself above the challenge. He flat out says that he doesn’t want to do the challenge, and feels no impulse to do so because he has immunity. And this, people, is why immunity is the greatest thing ever. At worst, it merely makes people complacent, subconsciously shifting the balance of power. BUT, it can also cause people to completely self-destruct. Bert didn’t go that far, but he put himself on that road. The judges were NOT amused by this display. He actually called this challenge “clown stuff!”Awesome.

 

Oddly enough, though, he compliments Laura for buying those anti-scratch cones you put around a pet’s neck. Laura may be quite disagreeable, but that girl’s got a sharp mind. And in these two episodes she’s displayed knowledge and technique. Get used to her, because she’s not going anywhere for a while.

 

That said, this was her hand signal for “pet store.”

 
The designers get to their stations in the workroom and are told they have 11 whole hours to work. That’ll show those fuckers for wanting to make art and women look beautiful!
Gratuitous shots of the designers using their HP tablets leads into Julie atrempting to explain her looney idea of making the dress out of dog food bags. Someone is 35 and looking for mommy projects.

How the mighty have fallen: they couldn't even get clearance from IAMS.

 

Anthony lays out his birdseed-as-beading dress. Becky openly laughs at Cecilia’s idea to make her dress using dry dog food. I mean, she’s really laughing.

 

Girl, I don't know if Portland has gallows, but with all this judgment and personality you're going to be hanging from them soon enough.

Elsewhere, Bryce begins his attempt to break the basic cable record for saying “wee-wee pads” in one hour, previously held by Puppy Bowl VI. Laura tries her cone skirt on. Fallene is confused by her own choice of materials, while Viktor has a conversation with her from across the room about how this challenge is up her alley. We also get pointed backstory about her hippie liberal parents.

Olivier mentions his upbring in Ohio and how he moved to Lo….

BUHHHHHHHHHH?!!!!!!

Painting my face in the deepest of crimson and the lustrous of silvers, to support the local university American Football squadron.

 
So many questions. How did he get that accent in a few short years? How do you move to London by yourself and survive? Why is an Asian kid from Columbus, Ohio named Olivier? Did he add the “i” after moving to London? Why doesn’t he have any traces of an Italian accent, if he’s such a dialect sponge? Are his bashful mannerisms really just all the accents he’s ever encountered in his life trying to burst out? Is there a colonial war going on inside Olivier where the Imperial British Accent is suppressing all the native accents within him?

 

Well, never mind that, because Viktor and Josh M are flirting like crazy. That, or they are openly taunting and sabotaging each other. Or BOTH! X3

*Ironically calling each other "girl" in a high pitched voice*

Back from break, Josh M notes how comfortable he is with this challenge because he grew up in the theater. Yeah, Josh, we knew it before you even said it. Funny how every backstory we’re hearing from this crop this far is exactly what we imagined when we first saw their pictures the PR website. Which is weird, because their personalities are quite different than what we imagined, in most cases.

And when I mean "most cases," I mean everyone but Josh.

 

 

We see Josh C and Cecilia dying their materials, and I can’t really recall seeing designers being shown dying stuff this often in a long time. But then again, we’ve had two unorthodox challenges in the very first episode. We’re two shows in and Mood hasn’t even been mentioned yet. That’s a bizarre and intriguing twist, but I hope this doesn’t leave them bare at the end.

 

Laura gives us yet another explication of her “upper midle class” background, and how this giver her an inherent edge when determining what is luxorious and what isn’t, due to shopping at luxorious stores since her childhood. Well, can’t argue with that logic.

 

And we’re really getting the characterization this week, as Fallene now reveals that she is a hair stylist by trade and a self-taught designer. She leaves out the part about how she was actually inspired in her youth by a trip the the Fashion Design School at Brooks College. Somehow, this translated into getting no formal training at all.

 

Bert explains to various people his complete disregard for the challenge, resulting in yet another instance of Josh McKinley. physically expressing his feelings:

 

In fairness, this was how William McKinley gave every State of the Union Address.

 
Bryce is back to talking about the flipping wee-wee pads again. He notes that at least two other designers are using them. He’s concerned about Viktor, and because Viktor dyed his pads Bryce seems to decide against doing so himself. And that nearly got him sent home.

HOLY FUCK IT'S DANIELLE!

 

Tim arrives, and he is universally stunned. He is stunned that Viktor manipulated the pads to the point of being unrecognizable. He is stunned by how brazen Bert is. He is… ok, well he’s not stunned by Josh C. But he’s supportive, I guess. While Tim talks to Olivier, they cut to a jaded-looking Anthony several times, which is a nice touch upon repeated viewings. Tim is concerned for Bryce, and he gives shrewd advice to Laura. Josh M. intently listens to Tim’s critique about time constraints, and shows a malleability that is pretty remarkable.

Go ahead you bronze mannequin, you earned it. Mug away.

 

The models come in. Bert’s model just goes along with whatever Bert is whining about, whilst Bryce notes that everyone is actually having fun while Bert is demonstratively miserable and bratty. The models all seem excited, except for Julie’s model who is either totally baffled by Julie design or understands it far too well.

 

So, you'll be wrapped in this for 8 hours without anything underneath to act as a barrier.

 
 

Cannot argue with snowboard chicks...

 

Josh M. reconfigures his design on the fly, based on the amount of time he has. It’s pretty commendable. Less commendable is the way Laura’s dress fits her model, which is downright egregious. Egregious enough that I would feel creepy screencapping it. She also concludes that a total revamp is necessary. Josh decides to use neon aquarium rocks to form a multi-colored top, and Julie uses cardboard stripping from cat scratchers to form a dress of the same shape.

 

Meanwhile, Bert builds a little mentor-protege relationship with Olivier, since Olivier also has minimalist tastes. And imagine that, he still went along with the challenge instead of belittling the whole thing. Astounding. Bert asks Olivier what he is thinking about for a belt, and Olivier has a My So Called Life moment.

 

Also known as LiveJournal Face.

 

The Joshua’s bond, as Josh M talks Josh C out of styling a clutch into the look. Looking at this scene again, it seems like his main reason is because he doesn’t trust the model. Maybe Josh really was handicapped. You know, apart from making awful clothes. Julie is self-critical, while Bryce has no officially lost control of his garment. 

 

With a sketch this defined, how did things go wrong?!

 Now, this screencap serves a purpose, and I’m not even going to caption it:

And it truly pains me to not caption a Josh M. screencap.

 
 
This is something I wanted to touch upon last episode, but I wanted to wait. And now it;s been confirmed: Josh M is the most supportive dude fucking ever. He looked like he would be the most vainglorious, self-absorbed person on the show in years. His house tour didn’t help; he proudly boasted about having a mirror in front of his sewing machine so he could see how good he looked whilst working. And, you know… look at him!

 

But he’s been nothing but caring and motivational. In this screencap, he’s effusively praising Fallene’s garment. Like, aggressively telling her how amazing it’s going to look on the runway. I think Josh M is just the sort of person that loves people. Now, obviously he is a person, and maybe he just sees his own reflection in everything, but from the very beginning of this season he was commended the talents of his castmates. I find it charming. Count me as a full supporter of Bronze Josh.

So here comes Shiny Scalp Josh’s breakdown. He says that he feels like he went down the wrong path after looking around the room. Let’s see, you overreacted to the previous episode’s judging, making your primary concerns fit and survival… yeah, I’d say that was a mistake no matter what the hell the others are doing. You designed from fear. I mean, you were already on the way out anyway, because when someone gets a judging like you did, they basically have to win or they are exterminated. You just made it a more efficient process.

 

The designers make the final alterations. We see Anya threading the sewing machine. I seriously can;t recall ever seeing this, and we’ve seen it twice for this girl now. Anthony has decided to do away with his grass skirt idea and now the whole dress will be covered in bird seed. Josh M displays his new look to Tim, who does a classic Adjust Glasses Take.

 

With APLOMB

 

Time for styling, and that means:

 

HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE MAKEUP DUDE

 

 

He’s a bit perplexed by Olivier’s request to put some of the bedding on his mode’s eyebrows, a pretty wacky request totally obfuscated by the grace of Handlebar Mustache Make Up Brah, who breaks out a new character:

 

PROFESSOR Handlebar Mustache Makeup Dude

 
Elsewhere, Bryce fully understands that he is not going to win, Viktor trashes Laura’s look, Fallene makes the case that her garment is less conventional than Josh C., and Josh M. is not impressed with Julie’s conception. Tim seems pleased with just about every look. Oy, Tim. Oy.

 

Runway Time:

Danielle
I like this look, though I am confused by the persistence of the designers this year in trying to give us vulgar views in the back. They seem to be going out of their way to show off the lady factory. But yeah, the more I see this one the more I like it and think it deserved a consideration for winner. The top is exquisite and well crafted, something that I’m surprised didn’t impress the judges.
Fallene
 
 
Fallene admits that her piece is uninteresting, but still feels she did a good job. I feel like she easily could have forced the judges to eliminate multiple people this time. The dress seems sloppy and the texture seems arbitrary. I did think she styled it well enough, or at least so it fit the garment, but this was a drab look that looks haphazard.
 Anthony (with detail)

 

Magnificent. And for all the balderdash about this being derivative, with the collar and all… people, grow the fuck up. It’s time to bring your criticism to a post-post-modern level, ok? The Creativity Fallacy needs to stop. This is a well made dress that is not hinderedby the lack of singularity. It’s the same reason the first Interpol record was breathtaking despite completely ripping off numerous bands, or why Community is the funniest show on television despite having very little original essence: the material is awesome, the execution is brilliant. Anthony’s dress deserved the win.

 

Bert

 

 

Bert thinks his piece is amazing, but in full acknowledgment that he didn’t even try to satisfy the methods of the challenge. Problem is, Bert, that this could have gotten you waxed no matter what the context. This is basic and totally betrays your lack of effort.

 


Julie (with detail)

 

This looks like a 4th grade geography craft assignment. It looks like that joke they used to do in cartoons when someone would throw a baseball around the world, and it would come back in like five seconds with stickers from a bunch of countries. Yet, it’s pretty good. It’s awkward, it’s not top 3, but it’s ok. The back is really nice. I would have liked to have seen the back be the entire dress.

 

Anya

 

It’s the same top from last week, and she styles her model exactly the same way she is styled.  Cool use of the colors, though.

 

Bryce
 
Bryce is bracing himself for a world of hurt. He knows it is coming. We know it’s coming, too. The color palette looks like a goddamn urinal. Or the stuff you use to clean toilet bowls. Or anything related to toilets. This was flat out gross. Someone really needed to step in. I know it’s a competition, but for the sake of decency, please.

Kimberly

 

This one was totally ignored, but I liked it. The shade of blue is striking against the black, and I think the effect on her left side is dramatic. I didn’t see “mangled boob,” certainly. The back has a curve on the hem that makes me think, once again, that these guys are designing for the sake of upskirt websites.

 

Josh C.
Josh C. is proud that he improved from last week, but, like Bryce, he knows that he is in for a very long night. No kidding, Josh. At least you’re astute. Well, not really, since that sound bite was recorded in an interview done well after he had been eliminated, but still. You know, it’s a cute umbrella, but honestly… in a pet store challenge, you made pants out of pants by using a print that had animals on it. Come on.
 Viktor

 

Viktor wasn;t lying when he said it was a tight dress. I think it’s chic. It manipulates the materials toowell, in fact. Part of these kinds of challenges is making your look appear to be normal, but still displaying the uniqueness of the materials. Viktor’s looks like a normal dress. There’s not a wow factor to it, even if it is technically a nice design.

 

Cecilia

 

Now this dress I found to be repulsive. I hate that sky blue color peppered throughout, for the same reason I hated the color of Bryce’s look: they look like stuff meant to absorb your animal’s waste. That color and texture will always relate to it. Obviously she did a much better job, and her technique is enough to get her by, since these challenges reward that sort of thing. But I’m grossed out by this dress.

 

Olivier (with detail)

 

I’m also sort of grossed out by Accent Sponge. The bottom looks like a gradient shifting various degrees of urine stain. But the top… the top looks like a rug you’d find in the apartment of someone who follows jambands on tour. I can smell the stench of bong water and ferret droppings on it. I also thought the skirt was a little stiff, but, then again, most of the looks were stiff.

 

Becky

 

I did think this look succeeded, but there’s an inherent problem. It supposed to be a wacky dress, but look at how structured and uniform it is. Each layer of color is distinctly stratified. There’s too much order in this dress.

 

Laura

 

This was my near-winner. I thought it was glamorous and used the materials in a demiurgic and effective way. The skirt is a bit short, and it does look like a lampshade, but I like the top and this it’s well constructed. The styling told a story and was well conceived.

 

Josh M.
The styling for this look, however, screamed one word and one word only: raveslut. Not “hooker,” even though she very much does look like a hooker, but that topknot ponytail, eccentric pumps, see through skirt, and random accessorizing all lead to one conclusion about where this girl is going and why: she’s going to a party, and she’s going there to drop E and have sex. The top is super cool, though. Josh did a great job devising that swirling pattern. I still can’t believe that no one noted that the dress was completely see through. And, on a side note, Josh gets extra points for his finger wag as his model walked by:

The whole article should have been screencaps of Josh M.'s gesturing.

And so we have Oliver, the Joshua’s, Bryce, Fallene, and Anthony that have to stay and warm themselves in Korrsa’s nourishing glow.
 
They abhor Bryce’s look.   The Tanatar is not fed up by the napkin dress. He certain is arbitrary with the timing of his patience running out. Nina makes a completely baffling reference to the Blue Man Group, Let Korsa handle the pithy pop culture reference, honey. They are totally confused by the styling, as well as the fact that Bryce didn’t manipulate his materials at all.
 

They think Anthony’s model looks modern, though they are not pleased with the hem length. They adore it; this will assuredly keep Anthony around no matter what he does in the next four challenges. Same with Olivier, although they seem more indolent with their laudations for him. Nina thinks it looks editorial, which is funny because that’s essentially what she’s here to judge, and yet it’s probably the last thing the audience cares about, even though it’s greatly important.
 
 
They seem more impatient with Josh’s look than unimpressed. Korrsa scolds him for using conventional materials, and Nina is about as breathlessly weary as possibly, undercutting him terribly. In the Judges Interviews on mylifetime, there’s a brilliant video juxtaposing Nina and Michael’s differing opinions on Josh. Michael feels like he’s a great menswear designer with potential. Nina… well, Nina is exasperated and appears to legitimately hate him, and makes it very clear that she doesn’t think he belonged on the show at all.
 
 
They are conflicted by their feelings of approval and befuddlement by Josh’s look. Kors gently lets him know that he went too far, and that his base look was more than enough. Fallene is criticized for the banality of her dress, and Fallene’s agreement seems to appall Heidi. I covered this to open the article, but honestly, I’m apoplectic. She’s being honest about the process and you’re penalizing her for it. Balderdash.
 
 
In the back, the designers have a very odd conversation. The editing is really bewildering. Anythony said that “excuses are for the birds,” which appears to be an open slam on Fallene. But it seems more like he was defending her, in a “just fess up to your shortcomings” kind of way. Then Bryce gives some weird diatribe about not needing pep talks, and I can’t even place this in context. I don;t know if he’s responding to the other designers and he’s just being bratty, or if he’s referring to something one of the judges said to make him feel better.
 
 
The judging deliberation is pretty blasé. They are annoyed by Josh C., outraged by Bryce, and enervated by Fallene (though Korrsa finally enters the Tanatar State and delivers a fantastic line about needing candy-corn teeth to wear her dress).

 

But then it gets real good when it comes to the decent looks. Josh M won;t win because he went to far, but they appreciate his ambition. They are enthralled by the bird seed dress, but Nina cannot get over the length, and thus she stubbornly pushes for Olivier’s dress. Heidi refuses to budge, in favor of Anthony’s, and we are once again at a stalemate. But we get a great line for Kors about going through “Manopause.” Careful, Michael. Being in the Tanatar State this long is dangerous. If you die in the Tantara State, the Tanatar Spirit will cease to be!

Fanning the flames of all the power and wisdom of Tanatars of the past.

Olivier wins out and wins immunity for the next challenge, and he adorably says that he will work harder in response. More squeamish is Danielle’s response to Olivier announcing his victory. Why was she licking her lips so aggressively? D:

Mmmm, which culture do you taste like, Olivier?

 
Anthony is safe, and Heidi makes sure to pronounce that his design was her choice. Kors is stone faced.
 
Josh M is safe, as is Bryce. That leaves us with Fallene and Josh C. on the cusp of elimination, and it’s pretty obvious how this will end. They send Josh home, and I’m surprised by the sheer outpouring of emotion towards his exit. The room seemed genuinely affected by his exit. But then again, they were around him for five whole days, and that is certainly plenty of time to form a relationship with someone. And Josh, by all accounts, is a supremely likeable guy. I hope he comes to terms with what we all see.
 
But who am I to judge. I write 5000 words a week about Project Runway and I call myself straight. I mean, my readership is my fiancee, so I can
say I am, right? Right?
 
Sighhhhhhh. I’m J. Michael.
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