Project Runway recap: Remixing an American Classic
I’ve got good news and bad news. The good: We know what the judges are looking for this season, and that’s a designer named Amanda or Sandhya. The bad: We still don’t know what “bobo” means. Thanks to your comments (“boho,” “a cheap knockoff,” “boohoo,” “Bilbo, as in Bilbo Baggins from the Hobbit,” “hobo,” and “bourgeois bohemian”), we have a lot of contenders. And Mitchell’s utterance of the word “hobo” in tonight’s episode rules out one of them.
But there’s no time to ponder Mitchell’s vocabulary, because it’s Red Robin time. A quick Google search reveals that the Red Robins closest to Manhattan are in Seacaucus, New Jersey and Staten Island. Designers, hope you’re ready for a lengthy car ride to sketch inside a chain restaurant. (That Google search also turned up news results that the burger joint is losing profits—maybe they spent too much on Project Runway product placement? If it goes bankrupt before the finale, the winning designer won’t get to create an accessories look!)
Before being treated to bottomless fries, the contestants learn about their challenge from Jason Rusk, Red Robin’s VP of brand transformation, and Tim Gunn. Just as Red Robin does a fresh take on the classic hamburger (it offers 24 kinds!), the designers will have to take the classic suit and make it into a high fashion look. The chorus line of servers makes this seem like a menswear challenge, but—surprise—the designers have to use the actual suit fabric. Sandhya gets to choose first because she was last week’s winner, and—double surprise—she gets to select everyone’s suits.
You know that thing called karma? It’s coming back to bite some people. Although Sandhya doesn’t make mean-spirited picks, the designers who have been nice to her definitely receive the nicer of the horrible options (it’s good to be Samantha!). Sandhya is like that kid in school who was always picked on, then went on to become a millionaire—she’s getting the last laugh every week.
After taking what has to be at least an hour drive back to the city, the designers shop at Mood (back-to-back Swatch sightings!), then quickly get to work at Parsons. As the looks begin to take shape, a few things emerge:
• Kristine and Korina are both making motorcycle jackets in red.
• Kini is a hella fast sewer.
• Alexander says Kini’s aesthetic is “bland.” Hey Alexander, remember last week when you sent a Planet of the Apes potato sack down the runway? That is the definition of bland.
• Vinyl is apparently “high fashion,” as both Mitchell and Hernan incorporate it in their looks.
• Sandhya is inspired by a moustache. Of course.
NEXT: A tale of two dresses: the haute and the hippie-dippie
As the models finally make it down the runway in the completed looks, it’s hard to tell what’s in the top or bottom based solely on how the judges have been swaying this season. (Ignoring the fact that there’s an 18-year-old judge best known for YouTube weighing in this week.) They don’t feel strongly about Mitchell’s blue suit in a Ziploc bag (really!?), Emily’s plaid capri number, Char’s giant bow skirt, Korina’s iteration of the motorcycle jacket, Fäde’s officewear look, Samantha’s LBD, or Sandhya’s explosion of color, because they’re all safe.
Kini is the only designer who hasn’t been on the runway before, and luckily he made it there for being on top. He incorporated the suit shoulders into a sophisticated, sexy dress that the judges couldn’t say enough good things about.
When Kristine’s name is called, it is a toss-up for which end of the spectrum she’s on—but she indeed ends up on the bottom. Her look is not great—the organza pant extension is incredibly bizarre—but it is still better than a Ziploc dress. (Are the judges just keeping Mitchell around for color commentary?)
Amanda is back on top with her “hippy hot” fringe ensemble. Although she was able to accomplish a lot with a pink, floral suit, it’s more Anthropologie chic than “high fashion.”
NEXT: The invention of a superhero
Poor Sean. In the bottom again. Nina says it best: It looks like the model just had a breast operation and is swathed in bandages. The judges aren’t quite as harsh as they were last episode, but only because they aren’t audibly laughing at the look.
Alexander went from the bottom to the top in one week. He mentioned at the beginning of the episode that tonight was about redemption for him, and he pulled it off. The crop top and voluminous skirt achieved a look that was both feminine and edgy (and really should have been his look for the futuristic challenge).
Hernan—he literally put his blood into this design and it still lands him on the bottom. He immediately wins in one aspect: Inspiring the best superhero name ever… “Supervagina.” This is one look he won’t be loaning out to J-Lo.
Winner: Amanda, even though it should have been Kini.
When he began (and never stopped) complaining about the fabric he was given, Hernan fell into a trap—just like many past Project Runway designers. The bottom line: If you can’t “make it work,” you’re going to get sent home. As a bonus, he complained about the fabric he chose. There are three floors full of fabric at Mood—not being able to select a good accompanying fabric is not an excuse, especially when you choose vinyl.
Sandhya finally stood up for herself—flipping Hernan the bird when he called her a “bitch”—and minutes later he was sent home. Well, Hernan, I’d say it’s more like karma’s the bitch.
Best line: “We even have a burger for people who don’t eat meat.” –Jason Rusk, who has never heard of the term “veggie.”
Follow me on Twitter: @realdalener
Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.