‘Project Runway’ Review: “Fix My Friend”
When ‘Project Runway‘ started this season, it seemed obvious that Gunnar would be our antagonist, but last week’s hysterics seemed to hint that maybe Elena is our emerging villain. You guys, we were all so wrong. Ven is the bad guy here, and we should have seen it coming this whole time.
This week L’Oreal sponsors a challenge in which the designers are introduced to a group of normal people (gasp, how dare they) who have friends in desperate need of a makeover. The designers seem reasonably worried, and more so when Heidi assures them they’ll need luck, but the minute they feel free to grumble about it, Robo-Heidi adds an afterthought: “And you get to help people! Which is nice!”
Not all of the clients are dowdy. Most of them just seem married to a style that’s comfortable for them, albeit not approved by their friends. Sonjia’s client dresses in sportswear because she has a hard time finding clothes that fit her pear-shaped body and has given up on trying to shop — a familiar feeling for most American women.
Ven emerges as the biggest jerk this week when he notes his model’s “proportions are all off” because Ven lives in a fantasy world where a model’s figure is de rigeur, completely ignoring that the average size of a woman in the US is 12. Thanks for reminding the rest of us that our proportions are wrong, Ven because clearly we had a hand in deciding how our bodies would be shaped as we formed in our mothers’ wombs.
Gunnar is strangely sweet this week, embracing his average client and exclaiming that he loves to make clothes for regular people back home. When his client starts crying because she’s so happy to get a makeover and have beautiful clothes, Gunnar hugs her. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to be okay with Gunnar.
Ven continues to be a jerk at Mood when he bemoans his model’s plus-sized figure, saying that you can’t do certain things as a designer because it won’t work on the larger body. Ven, I’m going to give you some helpful information: First off, you are also plus-sized, so quit projecting your self-loathing onto this woman who is already reluctant to get a makeover. Second, you can do a lot of the same things you do for “normal” models — it’s designers like you that think all plus-sized women have to wear shapeless clothing with floral patterns so they end up looking like a granny couch, making shopping for plus-sized clothing a nightmare.
Tim shows up to check on everyone’s progress — Christopher’s multi-tasking concept is smart, while Nathan’s got his hands full with a demanding client who has questionable taste. Gunnar’s outfit is ambitious, as noted by busy body Ven who should just shut up and stop being so there already. Alicia’s dress is unexpected for her menswear inclinations, which might be her undoing this week, and Dmitry’s look reads a little too plain.
And then there’s Ven, who continues to shove his foot in his mouth about his model’s size, seeming completely horrified that she’s a size 14, which, as Tim points out, is hardly plus-sized. Everyone in the workroom stops to look on in shock at what this fool is saying, and Tim seems concerned that he might be talking to a giant sea monster masquerading as a human. This is made even worse during the fitting when Ven feels compelled to tell his model that black is slimming and point out to her that the belt he’s chosen is too small.
Nathan: As previously noted, Nathan’s taste clashed with his client, a wannabe R&B singer who wanted a lot of tacky sheer elements. The end result is a royal blue dress with paneling over the bust and black sheer sleeves and black side panels. It looks like something a Barbie doll would wear in 1994.
Elena: She actually managed to ditch the severe shoulder look this week in favor of a light peach silk top and black skirt combo. The top might have looked a tad better with short sleeves, rather than sleeveless, but overall her look is flattering and the model seems happy.
Melissa: Melissa’s model is fit in a structured black sleeveless dress with a black and white print wrap. The wrap maybe takes it a little too far with the styling, and the dress itself doesn’t seem to hug her client’s curves perfectly. Heidi and even Melissa herself seem to agree that the wrap is doing her dress a disservice.
Gunnar: His model is seriously having the time of her life in Gunnar’s outfit — a black textured chiffon skirt with a fitted, sleeveless top. There’s just enough layering to give it some sex appeal, and it fits so beautifully, except for the ruffled detail down the front of the top, which is crooked and makes the top look like it doesn’t fit correctly.
Alicia: Her dress is a light pink nightmare. It’s too short and the top is constructed in a way that reads as very outdated. Alicia’s forte is menswear for women, so her decision to make a girly, light pink dress is just bizarre. The construction is lopsided, with weird lace panels that make little sense in the aesthetic of the design.
Christopher: His client wears a gunmetal silk dress accentuated with a belt and a lovely light jacket. Chris’ goal was to create a dress his client could wear with a blazer to work, and a jacket she could wear with her jeans, but pieces that also work beautifully together. It’s thoughtful and executed very well.
Ven: Oof. The light blue silk is folded onto his model like an ill-fitting kimono, and does not work well with the black skirt he’s created. The only good part of his outfit is the zipper down the front of the skirt, which provides the option for something sexy, but the outfit as a whole is poorly conceived.
Dmitry: Poor Dmitry! The v-cut top is too high, and the details get lost in the blue he’s chosen. The length and fit are fine, and even the color is flattering on his client, but the top is a little too conservative.
Fabio: When he began designing this dress I thought it would be my least favorite, but watching it come down the runway it reads exactly as he envisioned — it’s feminine without being overtly sexual, and the construction with the shades of grey gives it a real edge that works well with his client’s personality and style.
Sonjia: Sonjia’s a little safe this week, and while the draping in the front definitely works to hide problem areas on her client’s body, the length is not flattering. It feels like a dress your mom buys for $20 on the clearance rack at Target.
Melissa, Christopher, Elena, and (surprisingly) Alicia are all safe this week.
Dmitry, Fabio, and Gunnar all have the highest scores, while Sonjia, Ven (yes yes yes), and Nathan have the lowest scores.
Dmitry’s dress is praised mostly for the way the color flatters his model’s hair and complexion, while guest judge Alice Temperley agrees with my opinion that the top should have been cut a little lower. Fabio’s model feels great in her dress and the judges agree that it looks wonderful, but Heidi takes a moment to embarrass herself by making fun of the client for talking like she’s “from the hood” while wearing a dress, which she finds hilarious for some reason. Michael Kors is delighted that Fabio is wearing a dress, noting that it took a boy in a dress to get a tomboy client into one. Gunnar’s work bringing out his client’s personality is praised accordingly, while Alice notes that the dress accentuates her fuller figure beautifully. It’s a close race, but Fabio is the winner this week.
No one is quite able to figure out why that knot on Sonjia’s dress doesn’t work, but Alice cracks it: the knot is too high, which makes the dress too short. If the knot had been a little lower, the proportions would have been great.
But the best part of the judging is when Ven is criticized harshly for his terrible outfit. Michael Kors notes that the contrast in the construction cuts his model in half in a way that is not flattering, while Alice doesn’t find that the colors are appropriate for the office wear he intended. Heidi doesn’t think the model looks like herself, and knocks Chris when he says he’s never designed for a “real woman.” She asks, “Who isn’t real?” And with that I forgive all of the dumb crap Heidi has said this week.
Nathan comes under fire for his cheap-looking dress, and although his client dictated the details, he ultimately chose the fabric and made the sewing decisions. Kors thinks it looks like “every cliche combined,” which is apt, and Nathan is sent home.
Sonjia is safe, but Heidi hints that more than one person could go home this week. She leaves Ven for last to really make him sweat the decision, but in the end he’s allowed to stay.