You know what’s a good way to ensure drama on your reality television show? Put the fate of the contestants into the hands of the person everyone dislikes. I don’t know if it was pure chance or some quick scheming from the producers, but this week’s episode of Project Runway took a potentially boring (and product-placement fueled) challenge and turned it into a great lesson for TV villains and underdogs. Do I like Sandhya? Well, I don’t like her designs. I don’t understand her success on the show, either. But what’s worse than her questionable clothing is a sore loser who allows his jealousy to take over. If you ask me, this week’s eliminated designer got what he deserved and it wasn’t just his dress that ended up looking ugly. It was his whole attitude.
For some reason, we are seeing lot of Red Robin on this show. I mean, the winning designer this season gets to design a new uniform for Red Robin employees. Is “gets to” right? Feels more like “has to.” What an odd prize. Is that fashion? I feel like that’s the kind of high paying sellout job you take as a designer when you need cash, but you don’t tell any of your friends about it because OMG, fast food industry uniform? But anyway, Project Runway and Red Robin are teamed up to sponsor challenges and make me crave french fries. I guess I will accept it. This week’s challenge is all about “looking at things with a fresh perspective,” just like Red Robin does with burgers! The designers must create a new, high fashion look for women using the jacket and pants of a vintage men’s suit. The fabric of the suit must be prominently used in the design. They will also get to purchase supplemental fabric from Mood.
So, here’s where the twist comes in – guaranteed for maximum drama. Last week’s winner, Sandhya, gets to choose her suit first. Then, she gets to choose everyone else’s suit as well. Dun dun dunnnnn. Each designer’s fate lies in Sandyha’s hands. The suits range from semi-gross to totally hideous and many offer some less than preferable fabric and color choices as well. There’s corduroy, tweed, polyester and one particularly ugly floral print, just to name a few. Say what you will about Sandhya, but I think she truly assigns each suit with good intentions. She seems to think each decision through and make a choice based on what she believes the designer can do. Maybe I’m just naive. Maybe every decision is calculated. But to me, there isn’t anything sinister behind Sandhya’s choices.
Of course, that doesn’t stop the designers from complaining. The awful pink floral pattern goes to Amanda, who is less than thrilled. Sean gets stuck with the corduroy mess and Mitchell gets a terrible blue leisure suit. All three of them whine and fret over it, but it’s nothing compared to Hernan. Oh, Hernan. Sandhya gives him, arguably, an okay suit. Yes, the fabric is difficult and yes, the brown lining is a color not unlike poo. However, it’s far from the worst. But Hernan, oh Hernan, spends the entire episode bitching about it. He thinks Sandhya gave it to him on purpose, out of spite. While it’s true that Sandhya isn’t fond of Hernan after their team challenge disaster, he can’t blame her for choosing vinyl at Mood, or any of the other mistakes he makes along the way – which are plentiful. When his hot mess of a dress goes down the runway, he mutters, “Thank you Sandhya again, bitch,” and she gives him her middle finger, right in front of the judges. “Don’t ever speak to me like that again,” she snaps back and I kind of want to applaud. Hernan is a d*ck and I’m glad she stands up for herself. That’s the thing about Sandhya – I don’t like her work, but I like her.
There is also some secondary drama between Korina and Kristine this week. After getting started on their looks in the workroom, the two quickly realize that they’re both making motorcycle jackets, complete with a similar color. Oops! It’s a total coincidence, but it makes the two designers nervous because the judges will naturally compare the two. Plus, there’s the whole unoriginality factor.
The best looks
For some reason, the judges go completely nuts for Amanda’s look. I will admit that she made something semi-decent out of that floral monstrosity, but I don’t understand what her deal is with this hippie-chic 1970s fringe thing. It’s a patchwork dress with fringe. That’s it? Okay. But hey, the judges love it, even though it’s almost exactly the same silhouette as her winning dress from the movie theater challenge. I guess repetition isn’t a big deal to Nina Garcia if it’s something she likes – and boy, she likes this. It seems pretty clear that Nina is gunning for Amanda to make Fashion Week, so I suppose we should all get used to fringe.
As for the other top looks, I am pretty wild for Kini’s design. It’s fair to say that he got one of the easiest suits to work with – a simple pinstripe – but he still pulled out a high-end, stylish look that I’d wear over Amanda’s any day of the week. And yes, we’ve seen his silhouette before, as Nina points out, but it’s not like we haven’t seen Amanda’s before as well. You know, like a week ago. Last in the top three is Alexander, who redeems himself from last week’s poor showing. The judges jerk him around a little bit before giving some big compliments. Zac Posen is especially a fan of the shirt’s cut. I really hate the shoes Alexander paired with this look, but I agree that the top is great.
The worst looks
In the race to see who can make the best motorcycle jacket out of an old suit, it looks like Korina is the winner, because she’s safe and Kristine lands in the bottom three. The judges do mention, though, that they’re all sick of seeing motorcycle jackets. Hey, me too! Kristine’s design is criticized, mostly, for her strange organza extensions on the pants. She says that she had to make them, since she didn’t have enough fabric to work with. Heidi – lover of anything mini – questions why Kristine didn’t just cut the bottom into a mini-skirt if she was lacking material. Kristine is like, *shrug*. Not a great answer.
Amazingly, Mitchell is safe once again (he does not deserve to be) and it’s Sean who lands in the bottom for the second week in a row. His corduroy experiement in deconstruction was a risk from the start, but the judges don’t seem to think it was the right risk to take. Zac uses words like “orthopedic” and “dead skin” to describe it, so you know just how much he liked it. I honestly don’t think it was all that bad (especially considering Mitchell’s Ziploc baggie of a dress) but oh well. Poor Sean. I think he’s starting to freak out and it’s showing in his designs.
Luckily for Sean, there is nothing worse than Hernan’s dress. In addition to his sh*tty attitude, Hernan gives a very poor showing from top to bottom. If he was unhappy with his suit, I just don’t understand why he chose vinyl as his additional material. Tim Gunn warns him from the start – do not try and use the vinyl as fabric because, you know, it’s not. But Hernan insists on doing just that. Unsurprisingly, it results in an ill-fitting, poorly constructed mess. There’s a weird vinyl “V” down the center of the dress, which makes Nina scream “Super Vagina!” a lot and honestly, that just makes me hate him even more.
Of course, Hernan goes home. He blames Sandhya yet again, as well as the judges, whom he feels do not choose winners based on talent. While I agree that the judges are often the wrongest of wrong, this time? They were dead on. Goodbye, Hernan. Probably no one will miss you, but I will never forget the way you pronounce “vinyl.”