You know the episode was boring when it’s noon the next day and you still haven’t even thought about the recap.
I’m not even sure why it was so boring. The High Line is an interesting project – a park built on defunct elevated freight train tracks on Manhattan’s West Side, creating beauty and life out of decrepitude, preserving rather than demolishing, all those cool things. Since this is a Green challenge, and since Diane von Furstenberg is the guest judge and she’s a major supporter of the project (meaning she’s donated enough to get a section named after her and is hawking expensive goods with her name on them to help raise funds), it kind of ties in.
AirDye is pretty interesting, too: a process of dyeing fabrics without using the large amounts of water normally involved. And it just so happens the Lumberjack Designers (Costello Tagliapietra) debuted the technology in their 2009 collection, and still use it today.
But it was still a boring episode. That’s Lifetime for ya.
Poor Blondie has run out of clothes, so she has cobbled together a dress from the sleeves of a cable-knit sweater with an old cut-up bodyshaper, a half-slip and some ace bandages. She meets the designers on the High Line along with a couple of suits from the project, who are there to get on TV and stand next to a pretty model. I’m betting at least one of them wonders what the hell she’s wearing.
The challenge: create a Red Carpet look out of their choice of a set of AirDye fabrics. They’ll also use “recycled” trims and embellishments from former challenges, meaning the stuff that looked so good in Mood but turned out to be godawful once they got it back to the workroom. To cap it all off, Blondie will wear the winning look to a Red Carpet event. Given the taste she’s displayed on this show, I wouldn’t consider that a prize, exactly.
In the workroom, Ivy’s hot. Casanova’s smelly. Anthony Ryan’s something, and they all get a little silly. Then there’s a bullshit session where Joshua asks if anyone’s ever done a red carpet gown. Althea did the Kardashian Girls and The Jenner Girls for a poster. I don’t know who the Jenner girls are, and I keep trying to forget who the Kardashian girls are, but everyone’s pretty impressed. And Emilio sent Audra McDonald to the Tony Awards. I know who Audra McDonald is. Dayum.
The Reddest of Red Carpets:
Laura goes for a pretty print. And it is pretty, at least it looked pretty out there in the sun on the High Line. Turns out, DVF is her idol, so this is a huge deal for her. She snarks on Emilio, that he’s a good designer but he’s a costume designer and there’s a difference. Yep, it means he has a breadth and a skill she should only hope to have some day. Is my bias showing? She talks over her plans for a jumpsuit with Casanova. Joanna calls it palazzo pants. Anthony Ryan isn’t impressed: “It’s like a little pig squealing in the mud.” I’m not sure I get that, exactly. But Anthony Ryan’s such a goofball, he can say stuff like that with his Southern Country Boy accent and get away with it. On the runway, the print is pretty, all right, it’s pretty horrid, pale, washed out. Over the past few seasons I’ve learned there’s an art, a skill, to working with prints: you have to know where the elements will fall, how they’ll look. This is more like what I’d do with a print. I like the draping in the back, though the band at the top is clunky, and I like the shoulder treatment, though I have to agree with Georgina, who points out the shoulders are narrow and the waist wide, giving a bulk-increasing triangle effect. DVF tells a story of screwing around in Rome when she was 20 and engaged to a Prince – seriously – and wearing a new fashion called pijama palazzo all the time and how wearing it makes one elegant and confident. Isaac isn’t sure what’s going on under the arms. I’m not sure we want to know, Isaac. But he applauds how she made the print fresh. Ok. This is the win Laura paid for, right?
Anthony Ryan picks a fabric with the right weight for movement, and he ignores trims and feathers: they’re not Red Carpet (don’t tell the starlets). He’s going flowy this time. Joanna gets it. She appreciates that he’s doubled the sheer fabric because, with those flashbulbs out there, life can be a nightmare. During fitting, his model keeps tripping over the sides. I thought I hated Laura’s; I really hate this. I hate the way it’s draped, leaving massive circles of fabric over the hips (where’s Kors when you need him to complain about making the hips look bigger?), and I hate the use of the black on the halter straps and especially in the back, where it looks like a bra band. And I hate the color. It’s the Anthony Williams’ Big Blue Condom from S7E12. But DVF likes it. It’s comfortable. Isaac is torn, that much color makes him think Hare Krishna. Wait, that’s orange, isn’t it? Are they branching out? Blondie worries about her undies – that’s her word – peeking out at the side. It’s true, Anthony Ryan did catch a peek of panty when the model turned, but “it’s ok, who doesn’t love a good panty.” Georgina loves the whole feel of the goddess approach. I wonder if I’ve lost my mind. Why are they so determined to make Anthony Ryan the Chosen One? He’s a very nice guy, and I wish he’d gone further on S9, but come on, this is horrible.
Uli grabs – guess what – a print. “It’s time for an Uli explosion.” Ok, could you do that over there, and come back when you’re done? She gets all kinds of embellishments; Emilio’s a little snooty about “feathers.” She thought the print looked bright out in the sunlight, but in the workroom she’s worried it’s too dark; she tells Joanna the fabric is like a rainy day in Miami. “That doesn’t sound like the Red Carpet,” Joanna wisely observes, but she has feathers and trims to make it light and happy. Nothing says light and happy like a boa of ostrich feathers and a strip of safety pins. DVF channels the beloved Bob Ross (who was about as far away from Rome and pajama palazzo as you can get) and calls it a happy accident. Isaac gets turned on when he shouldn’t like something, but does, which is WTMI. But – I agree with him. Against all odds, I like this. A lot. It’s true, the safety pin trim looks a little like a bandolier, but I love the shape and how the fabric falls perfectly. This, Laura, is how you use a print. I’d probably have given this the win, feathers or no.
The Faded Pink Carpet:
Casanova must’ve been there, but I have no notes about what he was actually sewing, just the runway note “Nice front.” And the whole “I stink” riff. Let me look: Oh, yes. The Scratchy Plaid Patchwork gown. The sad part is, I love the top of the bodice, with the lined fin that flips over and meanders around her breasts (yes, I know, it’s been done, so have plunging necklines and jumpsuits and goddess dresses but that doesn’t mean people don’t still make and wear them), and I like the side. I like the whole thing, in fact, just not in that print, which belongs on a bandanna.
Joshua also slides under my radar except for the runway. He thinks it exudes sex. Joshua, I think you do not know what this word means. He said his turquoise pantsuit for the disco challenge had the element of sex he’s known for, and I thought it was closer to office wear. His denim blue drape is a very pretty dress – I would’ve put it in the top, in fact, but I’m a sucker for denim blue – but there is no exuding I can see.
The Black Carpet:
Emilio decides he knows what the judges like from him, and it’s bold colors and silhouettes. So he picks the most retina-shredding red nightmare in the lot (on the Lifetime website it looks retina-shredding orange, but on my tv it was red. Not Christmas red or fire-engine red, but that awful cheap plastic toy red). He spends most of his time constructing the undergarment so the chiffon doesn’t have to bear the weight of the garment, which is fine; he did the same thing in S7 and got the win for it. The difference is, he actually finished that dress. He does take a break to complain to Casanova – in Spanish – that’s he’s not like Uli, who makes everything out of bedsheets. Hey, now cut that out, or you’re not going to be my favorite for the season much longer. Wouldn’t it be awesome if one of the other designers spoke enough Spanish to understand? Study a foreign language, kids, you never know when it’ll come in handy. Joanna comments on the “spectacular color” and in person, it may be spectacular. He tells her about the peekaboo drape in front and the low back – he can’t show her any of this because he’s still constructing – and she’s optimistic. But he never finishes the dress. He never gets the zipper in or the front slit sewn properly, and forget the hem. “It’s not the dress Joanna thought I could make.” He actually apologizes to the model; it’s the sloppiest thing he’s ever presented. Maybe that’s true: his hardware bikini was a lot of things, but I don’t think “sloppy” was one of them. It doesn’t look that bad until they do some closeups. It still doesn’t look all that bad, but I’ll take his word for it and credit him for not trying to bullshit his way around it. Isaac watches it move down the runway with his hand over his mouth in horror. DVF pretty much skewers him: the lining is a problem, the slip and trim aren’t necessary. I guess it was very different in person. Either that, or he was scheduled for a “fall-down” episode so he could “recover” next time. You think I’m making this up?
Ivy gets gold because she’s inspired by the sun and a woman should feel like a star on the Red Carpet. You know, I’m all about interesting inspirations, but Ivy’s aren’t interesting, they’re out of an American Girls book. She says: “I generally do maxi dresses or short length dresses so this is a challenge.” I couldn’t have heard that correctly, could I? What she actually does is make up a thousand pattern pieces, reminding me of Melissa of S10 who made a Rockettes costume out of seven thousand pattern pieces and still accidentally put a #1 on the front. It’s long. Then it’s short. I don’t care much for Ivy, but watching her cut into that fabric hurt. I’ve realized something about Ivy: she has these great sketches, and can’t execute them worth a damn. It’ a mess. The fabric, whatever it is, has the recalcitrant qualities of satin: the seams pucker and her gathers wilt. The idea is to showcase this eco fabric, and, as Isaac says, “This is the worst this fabric has ever looked.” So Ivy pulls out the “I don’t do…” card with “Red Carpet” on it. No dice. DVF can see the intention, but the execution “leaves to be desired.” Georgina says she needed to understand the fabric. Here’s the crazy thing: this is the same dress she made two of in S9 in the challenge that got her eliminated. She screwed it up again.
Althea must want to go home; that’s the only reason she would pick the Holly Hobby fabric she chose. Joanna tells her it could be a dreary fabric, but Althea’s talking exposed shoulders and panels at the bottom for movement, so it sounds like she knows what she’s doing. It’s an astonishing mess. It’s a less gaudy version of that Mesopotamian princess Santino had in S2, being held against her will until she designs her way out of it (or whatever; it was a dress for Iman), except in dotted swiss. Ashy pink and purple dotted swiss. No, it’s not dotted swiss, but it looks like it. A five-year-old after a fistfight? Or, as DVF says, Marie Antoinette meets Frederick’s of Hollywood. Even worse: Homework. Georgina can see she had a hard time with the fabric; it’s tatty. It looks like an old dress to Isaac. Yes, that’s it, it’s the dress worn in a post-apocalypse movie by the mean girl who survives just long enough to suffer a while. Althea may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she’s better than this.
The End of the Carpet:
Laura wins, and you’ll never convince me it wasn’t part of contract negotiations: “I want to win the DVF challenge.” But fine, Blondie’s got the worst taste in America, so let her wear this somewhere. Just what kind of Red Carpet events does she go to, anyway? Is she really famous?
Althea is out. She didn’t do much this season. And she seemed stupider than she did in S6, though that may be because S6 was so chock full of idiots and all she had to do was stand next to Carol Hannah to seem brilliant. She cries while giving the traditional “it’s been a wonderful experience” interview, which made it really sad. The other designers seem to like her a lot, and she seems pretty nice, so I wish her well.
It’s time for the Unconventional Materials challenge combined with That Most Wonderful Time of the Year… hey, does this mean they’re going dark until after Christmas? That seems like a long time. And this season is already pretty forgettable.
Which begs the question: why am I disappointed such a horrible season will be interrupted?