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‘Project Runway’ Review: “Candy Couture”

Project Runway
Lifetime

Are you guys ready for the unconventional materials challenge on ‘Project Runway‘? As is tradition, it’s episode two, which means it’s time for the designers to show the extent of their creativity when forced to create an outfit from materials they would never normally use. It also means it’s time for Tim Gunn to create sentences from adjectives and nouns he’d normally never use.

The Challenge

The unconventional materials challenge this year sends the designers to Dylan’s Candy Bar, where Tim is hilariously amazed by candy Legos. A few designers inevitably head for pillows and items with traditional fabrics, a move that will surely cost them points with the judges later on. I’m not sure if these people have never watched the show before (seems implausible), but everyone knows that during the unconventional materials challenge you have to take advantage of the materials you’ve been tasked with using. Leaning on traditional materials is a cheat and not something the judges are likely to overlook.

The Gunnar DEATH RAGE and Christopher feud continues this week, as Gunnar has gone from being catty to being overly nice, something that confuses Christopher. Gunnar seems jealous of Chris’ immunity, and continually criticizes his design throughout the episode for not pushing the envelope enough when he has the freedom to do so without fear of elimination.

Buffi’s sort of ingenious, taking an umbrella to form the base for her circle skirt. Elena is, of course, doing something with structured shoulders. Lantie is trying to redeem herself after nearly being eliminated last week for her haphazard “designs.” This challenge seems tailor-suited for Kooan and his cheerful street style, and I start to wonder just how big a fan of ‘Bill & Ted’ he is.

Ven continues to be very snobby about his talent. He seems school smart and confident in his classical training, but that rigidity may backfire.

Tim is in top form this week, where everything that comes out of his mouth is just ridiculously delightful. When Fabio expresses concern over not having enough done, Tim exclaims, ”This is a glue the s— out of it moment!”

Dmitry is sort of freaked out, and it seems like he might be the weakest link this week because this is not his wheelhouse. He’s using the candy as detail, rather than constructing an entire outfit from it, which could bite him in the ass, or it could be brilliant, depending on how much he uses and his application.

It’s not often that Tim gets this blunt with designers, but Andrea’s candy button apron looks like a craft project, and Tim accuses her of throwing the design and not giving enough effort. He’s right. We can question the taste level of some of the designers, but even that feels silly during a challenge like this. What we cannot question is their commitment to the challenge and how hard they’re working to bring their visions to life. Andrea has just sewn a bunch of candy button strips together and is calling it an apron, but where’s the effort? Where’s the vision? It’s worrisome.

Christopher’s impression of Gunnar DEATH RAGE and his shrill laugh is amazing, and I am struggling to find a GIF of it on the internet. If you find one, send it to me ASAP.

Lantie is having a crisis, and completely starts over, resolving to use very little of the candy and relying heavily on fabric from an umbrella. Unlike Dmitry, who seems to understand the challenge and is trying to compromise by uniting his aesthetic with the demands of the judges, Lantie lets her stress and self-doubt get the best of her. She will almost certainly be in the bottom three.

The Runway

Is Heidi wearing snakeskin sweater pajamas? What the hell? How are we to trust her judgment this week when she couldn’t even be bothered to put her real clothes on?

Gunnar DEATH RAGE: Gunnar’s piece is a checkerboard design made up of light and dark colored Twizzlers. It would read as surprisingly sophisticated for a dress made of candy if it weren’t for that awful ruffle made of candy heart foil in the middle.

Sonjia: There’s something almost Jackie Kennedy about this look, which incorporates white and blue jelly beans with blue gummi sharks for a design that’s tasteful and clean.

Melissa: She’s somehow made the licorice she used look exactly like leather. The top is a bit of a disaster with its lopsided construction, and I’m not sure that the cut is very flattering, but the skirt is quirky and cute, in a very controlled way.

Nathan: This giant poofy skirt is weighed down with foiled chocolates. It’s a total Candyland meets Playboy Bunny aesthetic. He embraced the whimsy of the challenge, but that skirt is just so damn awkward. Sadly I’m more impressed with the back of the top and the beautiful ribbon work.

Andrea: Oh, Andrea. This is just an apron made of candy buttons with some ruffles constructed from umbrella material bizarrely cascading down the back. It doesn’t look awful, but it’s very rigid and strange.

Alicia: She’s made a one-shouldered jumper out of green and orange candies with a candy strapless bra. It reminds me of TLC circa 1994. They really should make their next unconventional materials challenge revolve around prophylactics.

Elena: Her look is a regurgitation of what we saw last week — severe, structured dress with distinct shoulders and lines. Only this time it’s made with pina colada Twizzlers. Snooze.

Fabio: His blue dress turned out well, considering our earlier glimpses seemed to indicate a disaster in progress. The top is detailed with rock candy and the hand-painted work on the skirt is a continuation of the DIY aesthetic Fabio introduced last week.

Dmitry: I am in love with Dmitry’s dress. It does read a little passe in shape, but the candy bead work gives his model’s dress movement, something the other designers’ dresses severely lack. When his model turns around and reveals that the zipper goes all the way up her open back to the top of the halter — this is one of those wow moments.

Kooan: Kooan’s model can barely walk. The dress is colorful and fun and in keeping with his Japanese street style, but it’s just too much. The front is promising, and his work with the orange Twizzlers is skilled, but the back is a total jumble of candy-coated garbage that is falling apart.

Christopher: He doesn’t exactly take advantage of having immunity this week, but his dress is still very well constructed and he makes good use of the material, creating a V-shape pattern that feels very similar to his work last week. The candy beading work is intricate, and very stunning.

Raul: His dress doesn’t look like it was made from candy at all — a beautiful mix of seafoam green and blue with a pop of reddish orange color in the back. The midriff-revealing front is a little off-putting, but overall a successful design.

Buffi: This look is definitely Buffi — eye-searingly bright with a flirty Cynthia Rowley vibe. The woven top is cute, but the skirt looks like something a hostess would be forced to wear at a Tex-Mex chain restaurant.

Lantie: Her design hardly incorporates candy at all, and instead is just a dress made of umbrella material with bits of candy glued on like an after thought.

Ven: His dress has clean, geometric lines filled with shattered candy to create a stained glass look. I don’t feel as though the colors pop enough to sell the concept, but it’s inarguable that it’s well made.

The Judging

Gunnar, Elena, Ven, Lantie, Buffi, and Sonjia have the best and worst scores of the bunch.

Buffi is criticized for using too much paper in the skirt and over-accessorizing her outfit. Michael Kors aptly compares her model to a ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ contestant. Lantie comes under fire for being more of a decorator than a designer, refusing to transform her fabric into something else. She complains that she has a hard time with the time constraints, but Michael points out that her peers have the same amount of time to work with. And then we get our first real dose of Nina Garcia’s sassy mouth, when Lantie says she wants to show the judges more of her work and Nina replies, “we’re running out of time.” Michael proves he has the best analogies when he calls Elena’s dress “rigatoni Mad Max.” And with that I think we can end the episode.

Sonjia, Ven, and Gunnar’s looks are clearly the top three, with Ven winning the challenge and taking immunity for next week. His words don’t exactly match his energy though, as he says things like “I’m so excited” as if his monotonous personality has been mined from Elena’s aesthetic.

The big loser this week is Lantie, who proves once again that she just can’t hack the competition.

 

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