So, things are getting a little tense on "Project Runway." The girls want some of the "silk chiffonies" to go, and Dmitry is tired of losing. This week things are only going to get more miserable, but the good news is that almost all of the designers will be able to unite in their hatred of one jerk. Even better? Viewers will, too! And mind you -- I'm totally going back on my previously glowing assessment here. But let's just get to it, shall we?
The designers get their challenge for the week as Heidi trots out a bunch of real women. But they won't be the clients -- their friends will be. It's "Extreme Makeover: Project Runway Edition!" Not really. It's really called the L'Oreal Paris Hair Challenge, but it's an opportunity for each designer to give one deserving woman a total makeover. Everyone groans. Heidi is insulted. What's wrong with real women? Someone points out that she wished them luck, which implies they'll need it. "You also get to help somebody. Which is nice," Heidi says in a judgmental tone. I am hoping everyone is listening, but I'm fairly sure at least one designer isn't.
With every real person challenge, we get the one designer who Hates Real Women. And this season? That lucky jerk, I mean, designer is… Ven! He is appalled by the frumpy chick he has to dress, although she doesn't seem all that eager to change. She asks Ven if he could make her some more jeans, and they glower at one another throughout the consultation. He doesn't like her -- and she can tell.
Everyone else, however, seems to be embracing the challenge. Gunnar actually hugs his client and promises to turn her into a fox. The other designers actually seem excited to be dressing "real" people. But Ven, well, he continues to bitch. Some of the other designers got skinny chicks! Why is he stuck with a frumpy plus size girl? Ven is so angry!
Did you know Dmitry, the professional ballroom dancer, has a pro hockey player brother? We now resume our regular programming, which is mostly about Ven bitching.
It's Tim time! Nathan is up first. Tim suggests he put his client in shapewear to avoid a really vulgar moment. Christopher designs separates she can wear with other items in her closet, but Tim just wants everything to be fabulous regardless of its versatility. Tim has concerns about Elena's high waisted pants, but if she can pull off the outfit it will be fantastic. Tim fears Gunnar is creating a piñata. Ven thinks Gunnar's skills aren't up to par. I think I'm not interested in Ven's opinion about anything this week. Tim declares Fabio's outfit designed, which is a good thing. Tim seems a little worried about Sonjia's knit dress, but it looks good on the dressmaker's dummy. And then it's time for Ven.
Ven can't stop bitching about how his client Terri is plus sized and her before picture is "definitely a nightmare." Overhearing this, Elena says she "kinda lost respect for him." Me, too. She's old, like, 40 or something, Ven exclaims. Tim tells him, in essence, to make it work. I think this is about the point where everyone in the workroom who was previously jealous of Ven's skills now just hates him for the crappiness of her personality.
Just a thought -- does Ven realize he's fat? I mean, he's squeezing his ass into x-large pants, I'm fairly sure.
I'd also like to take a moment here to say -- I completely understand why any designer might balk at dressing a larger, older woman. Ven does say at one point that it limits his options, and that's true. Dressing a hangar is a lot easier than dressing a woman who's pear shaped or short or heavy. Not many people go to design school hoping to get a job at Coldwater Creek or Lane Bryant. I get it.
However, a great, multifaceted designer sees these issues (which affect almost everyone who isn't a model) as challenges. Ven fancies himself a great designer, but he's clearly showing that he's more limited than we knew. And yes, a designer could, theoretically, only design couture. But there are very, very few designers who can do that and make a living -- successful designers (designers like, oh, Michael Kors) end up doing diffusion lines.
They'll pull together a collection for Macy's or Target or Kohl's (or just at price points that appeal to department store buyers) to not only extend the reach of their brand but to lure in aspirational shoppers (and yes, make a crapload of money). And yes, some of these women may be aspirational size 0s, but not all -- and a department store or broad-based retailer isn't going to let you sell just size 0 -- and they don't want everyone who buys a size 12 to return it or never take it home at all. Diffusion lines are one way designers stay relevant and thrive. This industry eats name designers -- they go out of business all the time (Isaac Mizrahi is one of the few to bounce back and back and back) -- and being an ass like Ven isn't going to take him far. If he only wants to dress models, he's going to have a hard time paying his bills.
But if Ven was just struggling with the challenge (I'm remembering Olivier), that would be forgivable. The problem is he's making his client miserable. She cries after he tells her nothing fits her over and over again. A smart person (not designer -- person) would sense the client was shutting down and, even if it's true nothing fits, he wouldn't mention it again. Maybe she was oversensitive (it's hard to tell from the editing), but guess what? She's the client. Ven digs a deep hole here, and it's not just because he grumps about the size of his client. It's about being a jerk to her face, plain and simple.
And yes, that concludes the rant.
Finally, it's time for model fittings. Most everyone is excited to see their client, make alterations, that sort of thing. But Ven, well, he can't shut up. Terri's too big for the belts he has available. She's too big in general! He tells her she's too big over and over again. Terri doesn't say anything, but everyone else in the room is appalled. Gunnar, who notes that Ven's client "isn't that big," thinks he's being a jerk. Fabio declares, "I don't think he's sophisticated, refined or elegant." I think it's pretty much universal -- Ven is a jerk.
Back at Atlas, Ven bitches about her being the largest client. It's so unfair. Oh my GOD, shut UP, Ven!
Another fitting, another opportunity for Ven to bitch. Christopher thinks he should never treat a client so badly. Ven finally drives Terri to tears. She tells her friend Theo she'd never wear the outfit he's making for her. Theo tells her that she told Ven she'd wear it -- to a funeral.
Time for the runway! We have Michael Kors and Nina Garcia plus Alice Temperley of Temperley London
The bright blue and black just looks like bad '80s to me. Too much shine, and it just looks cheap. I know Nathan promised that the mesh wouldn't look "hooker," but it does.
The skirt works, but I don't like the top. The boat neckline isn't flattering on her. Could have used a lower neckline to make her look like a massive expanse of bust.
What's the deal with the massive wrap? It's fugly, honestly. Sorta looks like an unfinished bolt of fabric. Good thing Melissa has immunity.
Kim is clearly having so much fun, but what the hell is going on in the back? It looks like the top is pulling in horrible ways. Is it too tight? I think the skirt is nice, but whenever does something textured in black, it just doesn't read on screen. I think I like the skirt, though.
It's not bad. It's so not Alicia! That is, in fact, the greatest thing about this dress. She listened to her client and did something she wanted to wear -- smart.
This looks expensive…. wait, until she turns around, that is. What's with the asymmetrical hemline in the back? That's just a little weird.
Ven knows nothing about what looks good on a woman who isn't a size 0. The unstructured wrap top does nothing for her and makes her shoulders disappear. The skirt is okay, but she looks miserable. Tucking in her top and belting it makes her look cut in half and at least 20 pounds heavier. The V-neck looks like it's pulling awkwardly. To her credit, she tries to smile, but she isn't feeling pretty and I can't blame her.
This is a nice dress. Looks comfortable. Very well executed. I think the client needs some shapewear, but that's not about Dmitry. I like the color.
I like this dress a lot -- it's real, really cool -- but my God, the client is walking like a damn lumberjack. I don't like it with the necklace, and while I dig the color of the belt, it doesn't complement the dress the way I'd hope it would. But it's a very modern, edgy dress. Good job.
I don't think this is too short, really. It's okay.
Melissa, Christopher, Aicia and Elena are safe.
Dmitry, Fabio and Gunnar are at the top. Ven, Nathan, and Sonjia are at the bottom.
Dmitry's client gushes over her new look and her new dress. Heidi thinks her dress was bright and cool at the same time. Alice thinks the neckline could be lower. Fabio's client also loves her dress. Her friend can't believe Fabio made something for her that she likes. Nina thinks it has a great edge. Heidi thinks Fabio was genius to get her in a dress. Alice thinks it's feminine and super comfortable, but she hates the belt. Me, too! Michael thinks it's a transformation, but it captures her. Gunnar talks about his client's dress. Heidi thinks his client was the best model on the runway. Michael thinks the dress has movement and it matches her big personality. Alice thinks it's nice. Nina thinks it's a great transformation. She would have liked a lower neckline, though. Am I the only one who thinks it looks crooked? Not that I mind Gunnar being in the top for no other reason than he worked to make his client happy. This will be the only time I
Now for the bottom. Sonjia's client defends her. Heidi hates the knot and thinks it's slutty looking. Alice thinks the proportions are wrong. Michael thinks a draped cocktail dress is not a natural choice for her. Nina feels Sonjia didn't emphasize her assets.
On to Ven! Ven complains that he's never had to work with "real-sized" women before. Oh, I thought she was just too big, not "real-sized." Terri and her friend tattle on Ven. Terri tells them she wasn't happy and had to have her friend defend her. Her friend points out that Terri didn't want to have her waist emphasized, and, um, that's what Ven did.
Heidi thinks it looks as if Terri had something stuck onto her. It doesn't look real to her. Michael points out she's effectively cut in half, and the top looks like a smock. Alice thinks it isn't office appropriate and it doesn't look comfortable. Terri's friend Theo begins crying. Ven didn't ask any questions about her lifestyle -- and she works full time, has four kids and commutes four hours to work round trip every day. She does NOT need a ridiculous satiny blouse and pencil skirt. And Theo feels nothing but guilty about putting her in this situation. Nina loves the skirt, but the top is awful.
Nathan talks about his bad outfit. His client loves the dress, but thinks it needs to be tightened up. Heidi didn't know it was an outfit for the stage, but she thought it looked cheap. She thinks she looked like a hoochie mama, which is a phrase Alice doesn't know. Nina declares it a disaster. Michael thinks it looks prom.
I think Nathan could be going home, but I would prefer to see Ven go at this point. Remember, I thought this guy was positioned to win the whole thing the first week.
Fabio… is the winner! Good! I do love that dress. Hate the necklace and belt, but the dress is great. Fabio seems so happy. I think Dmitry is quietly depressed, but then, he usually is.
Nathan is… out. Aw, damn. I thought he did well up to this point. Ironically, Nathan loves giving people makeovers. Sonjia is… in. And what about Ven? WHAT ABOUT VEN? I am so over Ven right now it's not even funny. Heidi gives Ven a smack on the wrist, but ultimately, he's in. Ven is SO INSULTED! He shouldn't have been the last person there! Other people sucked more than he did!
Well, tonight's episode was hugely disappointing, I have to say. Though, of course, not as disappointing as it was for Terri.
What did you think of Ven's behavior? Whose outfit did you like best? Do you think there should have been a double elimination?