Project Runway Recapped: Not-So-Chic Fil-A
Only 435 designers remain on Project Runway, and the stakes have never been higher. The male designer in the vest? He may be eliminated next. The other male designer in the other vest? He may be spared! You just don't know! Everyone is on pins and needles. I'll see you on the runway. Watch what happens. (But in a Lifetime way.)
At the top of episode two, the designers pile into the studio where Heidi poses a special challenge: "Let's stop making fun of Ari for ten minutes." And: "Design a pregnancy look for Rebecca Romijn, my pregnant supermodel friend." Rebecca clomps in, stares down nerds like Logan who says that babies scare him, and demands form-fitting attire for the runway show. And her husband is hot, so listen up. Needless to say, half of these designers haven't worked with a pregnant woman before, and a largely gay titter stirs up in the workroom. The only banter worth mentioning comes to us from my Eastern-European role model Gordana, who opines that when she was pregnant, it was important to wear clothes that emphasized her arms and legs. Then, in my mind, she name-dropped her inspirations Olga Korbut, Georges Muhresan, and Zangief from Street Fighter II, because my understanding of geography is limited.
After purchasing fabrics at Mood, the group gets down to work. Their mannequins are equipped with strappy pillow contraptions to feign pregnant stomachs, except these pillows are three months overdue to deliver full-sized mountain lions. Make it work! Louise, the Louise Brooks of the cast, dreams up a '30s lingerie-inspired frock that she dyes in a sinister ruby red -- which beats the run-of-the-mill vintage-wear I anticipated. I wish I liked her more; her Velma Kelly 'do and style seem played, and she's kinda boring. Still, she is a vivacious, purse-slamming Ruth Buzzi compared to simpering contestant Malvin, who has previously called himself "ineffable" and "androgynous" when he is really "insufferable" and "not androgynous, just gay." Malvin imagines a conceptual garment where the baby bump is treated like a chicken's egg. Good! Great. Because fowl-inspired dresses work for everyone, particularly Bjork and no one else. His materials also look cheap, but he can call that part of The Concept later. Last up, Ra'mon's thickly striped garb accentuates the stomach in just the wrong way, and Mitchell rightly compares it to a bowling ball bag. Ra'mon races to the lounge to cry, because no one has done that yet, and Johnny seems stable today. Good call.
Last challenge's winner, Christopher, knows how to hog screen-time. The camera closes in on him at perfect angles and allows him time to unload monologues. Except this isn't Our Town, Chris, and I don't need you and your parabolic sideburns to point me around Grover's Corners. Onto more pressing issues.
Project Runway's most egregious problem has persisted for four seasons now, and it crept up again last night: The editing spoils everything. Just by the quantity of their confessionals, you can tell that Louise, blondie Althea, and giggly Shirin will end up in the Top 3. I'd be more sympathetic, except their screen time forces Gordana into silence, and revolutions are fought over this sort of thing. The only other featured contestants -- chicken-shack Malvin, bowling-bag Ra'mon, and still-sloppy Mitchell -- must rank in the bottom. Following a runway show where no other garment sparked interest (save silly southern belle Carol Hannah's, which was rendered in an adorable Robin's Egg Blue), these predictions had no choice but to come true.
When the designers return to the runway, Heidi alerts us that Michael Kors is busy dipping his face in liquid beta keratine (everybody's doing it now), so he'll be replaced today by Monique Lhullier. That sums up the catwalk excitement, really. Still, a highlight reel seems apropos:
--Louise's tiered red gown bears the look of a negligee from a De Beers commercial, which Louise realizes, but it's still flattering and luminous. Rebecca Romijn's pupils turn into naked Jerry O'Connells, and a Louise-and-Rebecca covenant is struck.
--Mitchell's ensemble, a teenage sweater-and-shorts set, would be passable if not for the gigantic, ill-fitted shorts. As it is, it's unwearable, making two snafus in a row for Perez Quiltin'.
-Rebecca Romijn gawks at Ra'mon's tenpin tribute and caws, "It looks like a bowling ball bag!" By this point in the show, Parker Bohn III is collecting royalties. ESPN2 wants in.
-Shirin turns out a Merlot-colored gown with a smashing, hand-sewn midsection that hugs the baby hump right. There's a fully lined coat too, because it's fun to be positive that no one else will win.
-Althea produces a floor-length navy frock with slightly frayed ribbon straps. Nina and Heidi grin and flash us that knowing "runner-up" wink.
-Malvin, of course, has laid an egg. It's a giant, B-movie creature egg, and it's going to produce the most evil stork in recent memory. For all of Malvin's boasting, this ensemble looks like basic leggings and a blouse obfuscated by a freakish white sling.
There's no use delaying the non-suspense: Shirin wins (with Althea and Louise running a distant second and third) and Malvin loses. Fear not; we field one last quip from Malv before Tim Gunn hurls him into traffic like a javelin. Malvin rationalizes in his final moments that he is "too conceptual" for America. Well. I'm glad he's proud of his conceptual senselessness, because Charles Manson took it the wrong way coming from Terry Melcher. Farewell, fowl foe!