Oh no. This week is team designing, which means “Project Runway” is going to venture into “Blind Date” meets “Jon and Kate Plus 8” territory, in that I'm sure there's going to be no kissing, lots of fighting, pointed insults, a general level of bitchiness and simmering resentment and possibly a tantrum or two. Thank God there are no kids involved.
[Full recap of Thursday (Sept. 3) night's "Project Runway" after the break.]
So, we start things off with Heidi promising a field trip to someplace where the designers will need their sunscreen. Which is, honestly, everywhere in Southern California. Allow me to be clear: smog is not sun protection. Anyway, the designers surmise Heidi's taking them to the beach, and off they go to Santa Monica. Tim Gunn greets them on the beach wearing sandals, sunglasses... and his usual blazer and button-down shirt. Oh, Tim, you are such a character. All you need is a pure white Persian cat and maybe a secret job as a persnickity drug lord and you'd be all that and a bag of chips.
Anyway, once the designers could pry themselves away from staring at Tim's naked toes, he revealed that the challenge would involve creating a fun and fashionable surf wear look. Tim emphasizes that impeccable craftsmanship will be critical, which makes Mitchell squinch up his face like a little kid who needs a diaper change.
Then, it's time for product placement, so Tim awkwardly informs the designers that hair will also be very, very important for this, even though real surfers tend to just look bleached out and damaged, and thus Garnier celebrity stylist Phillip Carreon and his fabulous team will be working with them on their fabulous look. Fabulous.
Once the shameless plug is forced in, Tim announces that this is a team competition, which makes Ra'mon want to throw up a little, because this is Ra'mon's world and he's so not interested in sharing it.
Anyway, team leaders are picked who then get to pick their partners, so it's kind of like playing dodgeball in grade school but much more strategic. Shirin, as last week's winner, gets to pick first.
Shirin picks Carol Hannah
Logan picks Christopher
Nicolas picks Gordana
Mitchell picks Ra'mon (because he needs someone to “carry him” through this competition)
Althea picks Louise
Qristyl picks Epperson
Johnny picks Irina
Then, everyone gets 20 minutes to corner and harass some real-life surfer girls about what they look for in a bikini/hoodie/board short/evening gown combo, but they're so laid back it doesn't phase them at all.
Immediately, you can see some of these couples are headed for divorce court. Or, more accurately, elimination and possibly felony-level beatings. While Mitchell may be hoping Ra'mon will save his sorry ass, Ra'mon is feeling like he's paired with a bozo who's essentially painted a target on his back, so they already need couples counseling. Qristyl quickly realizes Epperson thinks he knows all, which he most certainly does not even though he's Oldie McOlderson, so she's already getting her bitch on before they've even left the beach. Nicolas seems fine with Gordana, but he looks like he wants to throw bricks at the poor surfer girls, as they wear, like, hoodies and who needs that lowbrow crap?
At Mood, the tension of picking out $50 worth of fabric in 15 minutes really opens up the cracks in these dysfunctional relationships as Qristyl and Epperson bicker over patterns, Shirin and Carol Hannah fight over fabric weights and Mitchell quietly plots Ra'mon's death.
Back at the design studio, Nicolas manages to snap out of his anti-surf sulk and plans a wrap-around pant and a super chic hand-dyed bathing suit. Which is really quite good of him, as I didn't want to see him throw bricks at the surfer girls and, possibly, Heidi.
If Qristyl is no fan of Epperson, he's no fan of hers, and honestly, once I see the fabric these two are working with, I'm hopping off the girl power train and getting on Epperson's side in this little dust-up. He doesn't like her glow-in-the-dark Miami divorcee fabric and hell, neither do I. Last week she actually produced a pregnancy outfit that was elegant and subdued, but I guess she can only hold in her innate love for all things tacky for so long because she's right back at the crappy, cheap-looking stuff. Michael Kors' questions about her taste level? Yeah, that still applies.
Meanwhile, Mitchell and Ra'mon are talking to each other in those sing-songy “yes I hate you” voices that usually precede a claws-out catfight, and Mitchell gets things started by telling Ra'mon he can't tell him he's perfect all the time, though I don't remember him telling Ra'mon he was perfect once, so that just seems bitchy. After all, Mitchell needs Ra'mon to do things like, um, sew, since he sucks at it (see last week's pregnancy shorts).
Because everyone's getting along together SO well, Tim decides to drop by and inform the designers that they will, in fact, need to create a second, avant-garde look. Tim tells them to digest this, which I think is code for running to the bathroom to throw up. Tim does inform them that they get to go back to Mood with $200 spending money, but here's the catch – only one person from each team will go. So, I'm thinking that Ra'mon and Mitchell catfight is really right around the corner.
Ra'mon and Epperson must have slipped something into their partners' morning O.J., because they're the ones who get to dash off to Mood. In Ra'mon's case, this seems like a huge mistake, in that Mitchell can't sew, and guess what he's doing while his frenemy is shopping? That's right, he's completely botching their little swimsuit concept. Yay, Mitchell!
Back at FIDM, there's assorted sniping and bitching which doesn't really escalate into anything interesting and/or criminal, so I'm thrilled when Tim comes in to hold his chin and nod. Yay, Tim! But first, he has to tell Shirin and Carol Hannah their model won't be showing up for the fitting, so they can either wing it or pick another model. Not surprisingly, they pick another model, as we know how well things go when designers put their faith in the sewing figure (Mitchell, week 1). So, buh-bye, Erika!
Oh, and speaking of Mitchell, he's running around and giggling and joking with Nicolas while Ra'mon irons fabric like some 1950s housewife and wishes his crappy partner would fall into a pair of pinking shears, which is also probably just like a 1950s housewife.
The models are then dragged to the Garnier Big Shameless Plug hair salon, so, just in case we didn't catch it before, Garnier is a REALLY GREAT BRAND OF CRAP TO PUT IN YOUR HAIR. And that's all I'm willing to say about it, because I could not care less about the hair. This isn't friggin' “Blow Out,” people.
Tim makes his rounds of the designs, and we quickly realize that 1) some teams got along just fine and did good work, like Logan and Christopher and Louise and Althea and 2) Mitchell and Ra'mon are fundamentally screwed, because Tim does not get their weird superhero wetsuit design and how it ties to a Grecian gown, which I have to agree with him on. Tim is also a little iffy on Qristyl and Epperson's design, so things aren't looking too happy at their workstation, either.
While Qristyl and Epperson snipe at each other, Ra'mon springs into action. He ditches the jumpsuit altogether and decides to start over. Mitchell worries Ra'mon doesn't know what he's doing. I worry Ra'mon is going to beat Mitchell to death with a sewing figure.
When we cut over to Christopher and Logan, who are working together like peanut butter and jelly, or actually something far more expensive, like truffles and robiola, it's almost a little jarring because I've gotten so used to the constant bickering going down in the work room, which I guess is what it's like to be one of the Gosselin kids, but whatever.
Ra'mon's plan to do everything himself involves dressing in a trash bag to dye a neoprene skirt, and while that looks like messy good fun, I'm guessing he's not doing too well as Tim feels it necessary to explain to him that if he sends a model down the runway half naked he'll be instantly disqualified.
Oh boy, it's time for the runway! Nina's back, and the guest judges are BCBG founder Max Azria and Rachel Bilson, who in addition to being only marginally employed since “The O.C.” also, like, designs stuff. Seriously, if crap C-list actresses are what Lifetime and the new L.A. location are bringing to the table, I say, Heidi, grab a bag and get back to NYC pronto.
Anyway, it's time for the show, and I cannot wait to see some of this stuff. Because seriously, I'm thinking at least one model will just say ‘no way will I be seen in this' and will pout behind the white screen, because nothing good could come from all that fighting.
This is by no means as bad as I thought it would be. The really ugly fabric Qristyl liked did not appear to make it into the design. The first look is very beachy and breezy, but the skirt doesn't hang well in the back and is much too long. The second look, a brown romper, is blah, but not terrible even though the model's butt completely hangs out. I mean, the fact these two got anything down the runway is a minor miracle, so I have to give them props for that.
I like the first look, which is a thin sweater over a flowy white skirt – something I'd completely expect to see available in stores. The avant-garde is interesting, but there are seam issues.
Hey, she's not naked! The beachwear look is actually pretty gorgeous – the fabric is beautiful, and it's a flowy, Grecian-inspired dress that's very wearable. The avant-garde piece, I have to admit, it's hard to judge. The fact she's wearing anything at all, gotta give the guys props, but it's not perfect. The top of the dress is beautiful, but it looks like she's smuggling an overfed cat onto the runway in her skirt. That being said, it's definitely avant-garde and the dyed neoprene is fab.
The maxi-dress/bikini look is great, but I think it's interesting that Shirin busts out her berry/autumnal palette for something that's really, really not for that season. I'd tell you about the avant-garde look, but my screen glitched and, oh well, I won't be seeing that today. But who cares, Shirin's safe anyway.
Althea may be the leader on this project, but the beachwear look is all Louise – a cute pink dress with a retro black-and-white stripe detail. The avant-garde look is a fairly edgy evening dress, but too ruffly for me – and avant-garde, I dunno.
Hey, that macrame bikini is kinda cute! The avant-garde look -- honestly, this is the first thing that's truly avant-garde, but that doesn't mean I like it at all, as there's an aspect to his lace chaps/garters and sorta hoochie mama dress that looks more streetwalker than runway. Oh, and you can see right through the dress when she turns around. Oh, oh no. I take it back. It's fully hoochie.
As expected, this is an excellent one-two punch. The looks are tied together well with the use of gold shimmer and yet are very distinct and different – the fact you can suss out any real design theme between a ball gown and a jeans outfit, well, that's pretty amazing.
Heidi calls out Althea/Louise, Logan/Christopher, Shirin/Carol Hannah and sends them backstage.
The lowest scores: Qristyl/Epperson and Nicolas/Gordana
The highest scores: Johnny/Irina and (wait for it) Mitchell/Ra'mon! Holy crap!
Nina loves the macrame detailing in the back of the beachwear outfit (which we finally get to see close-up), Rachel says it's her favorite outfit (to which I say, who cares?) and Max Azria thinks the work on the top of the dress is fantastic.
Okay, Heidi must have gotten a heads-up, because she immediately launches into grilling Mitchell on what he contributed to the outfit, which is mostly nothing. And Ra'mon doesn't hesitate to throw his frenemy under the bus, either, telling Heidi he did everything himself. Nina loved the bright neoprene dress, Rachel would wear it and Heidi is so done with Mitchell.
Heidi asks who did what, and Qristyl says it's all Epperson's fault and the fighting begins and you'd think they'd been married for 20 years because Qristyl starts talking about how he never listens to her and he doesn't respect her and Epperson starts talking about how someone had to do SOMETHING and this is so uncomfortable I almost want to turn it off (I do say almost, mind you). Heidi likes the top on the casual outfit, but Nina doesn't know what the romper outfit is at all. Then, Max shuts everything down by saying that you have to be a team player to be a designer, which kind of infers neither Epperson or Qristyle are designers, which has got to hurt.
Heidi likes the top of the casual outfit but thinks the pants are messy, but says the avant-garde look is trashy. Nina says they could have done without the big purple garters.
Then, there's some more chit-chat amongst the judges. Heidi loves Ra'mon's work but doesn't feel good about giving a prize to someone who doesn't actually, um, sew. Max points out that Qristyl is week, so Epperson took charge, which says more about her than him.
Finally, it's in/out time.
The winner is... Ra'mon! Even though Mitchell is the leader, he did the work, so Mitchell can suck it. Ra'mon is beyond stunned.
Then, something interesting happens. Johnny, Irina, Nicolas and Gordana are told they can leave the runway. So the losers are Qristyl, Epperson... and Mitchell. Wow. His plan to have Ra'mon save him? Um, that did not seem to work.
Epperson is in.
So, it's down to Qristyl and Mitchell.
The loser is... Mitchell. Didn't see that coming! Don't think he did either, honestly.
Wow. I'm guessing Mitchell is really wishing he hadn't run around the workroom like a big nitwit. Heidi makes sure he knows that never has the team leader of a winning team been eliminated on “PR” until now, just so that he feels super great about himself. But I can't say I'm sorry to see him go. It was three strikes and you're out, as Heidi so succinctly put it, and he just didn't deliver.
Do you think Mitchell should have been eliminated? What did you think of Nicolas' hoochie dress? And in the Qristyl/Epperson battle, who did you side with?