"Rust Angel, 2005" Librado Romero photo for the NY Times
Which is not, by the way, the finale. Are we clear? Good, because there’s a bigger mystery coming up at the end.
Josh is sad to lose Bert; it took time to realize who he was. He disses Anya again; how can she get to this stage of the competition without doing a jacket or tailoring? Me, I just wonder how it works, this candid shot of the designers in their apartments: a camera guy comes in and says, “Just go ahead and talk while we film you and put everything you say on tv.” So of course now is the time to complain about Anya’s jacketlessness. Then again, for Josh, any time is the time to complain about Anya and her jacketlessness, as we’ll see. Anya interviews (over shots of the ladies getting ready to leave for Parson’s) knows she’s done particularly well, and has to go forward, so she’s feeling a lot of pressure. Perhaps the pressure of Josh’s hands shoving her under the metaphorical bus. No matter. Anya eats busses for breakfast.
Heidi asks from the runway: How does it feel to be in the top five?, one of those stupid questions people ask at stupid times. How does it feel to turn seven (or twenty-eight or sixty-two)? How does it feel to win an Academy Award? And then the truly cruel variety favored by reporters: How does it feel to know your family died in a plane crash/fire/murder? To lose everything in a tornado/wildfire/earthquake? When you think about it, these aren’t questions at all, they are markers, either for the audience to realize, oh, Heidi’s telling us it’s the Final Five in a different way, or it’s a space filler because after “Happy Birthday” what do you say to your aunt or the guy in Accounting when all you really want is a piece of cake, or to earn some kind of reporter merit badge which the Guild of Reporters should probably rethink, as it’s pretty stupid. I’m still hoping someone someday will say on a local news broadcast, “Well, it’s too bad about the crash/fire/tornado, but my wife and I were about to separate anyway, my older kid had no use for me since he grew his first pubic hair, and I never connected with my younger kid since I’ve been spending a lot of time at the office, so it’s sad I guess but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
For the final challenge, they will take the ferry to Governors Island to meet Tim, where they’ll get the details.
Tim introduces them to Governors Island, Playground for the Arts. There’s an abundance of inspiration in the landscape, architecture, and the current exhibit of sculpture by Mark Di Suvero. They should spend an hour to look around, with golf carts, maps, and cameras thoughtfully provided. They will create three diverse looks that demonstrate range, with $500 and two days to work.
Kimberly is drawn to a sculpture titled “New Beginning” because this is her new beginning. Her new beginning? Where does that come from? It sounds like someone’s been getting Reality Show lessons.
Josh, whose brother is in the military, is drawn to the artillerary (aka artillery, but what’s an extra syllable when you can make a jacket). There’s a chapel close to this huge gun, and he likes the stained glass and structure of the church, fragility meets strength and power. Laura notices circular shapes and can’t get a gown made of circles out of her head. Viktor likes the structure and silhouettes, with the city in the background. He’s thinking metropolitan: cigarette pants, leather jackets, draping, something a little flowy like the water in the background, high end. Anya is most inspired by the sculpture, how it creates lines, negative and positive space. She won’t do prints or her usual style, to show the last challenge was not a fluke.
Kimberly wants cantaloupe wool, and is struggling to find it. Should there be any doubt, that’s wool in the color of cantaloupe, not a special kind of wool made from cantaloupes, although if they can make Cindy Crawford’s face cream from a rare melon, fabric from cantaloupes shouldn’t be a stretch. I don’t think you could call it wool, though. Maybe you could genetically alter sheep to produce the right color wool. Am I rambling? Yes, because while the Governors Island exhibition and Mark Di Suvero are interesting, this episode is not. Laura discovers a cache of cutout fabrics, and gets one with circles. It’s pretty cool, actually. She interviews she likes the finer things in life, and loves to buy. She ends up with $700 worth, and reluctantly pares it down to $499 and change. Anya gets “a whole range” of black, ivory, and rust. She doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do, but this is the palette.
Laura is thrilled that she won’t have to cut circles out of her fabric, since it’s already cut-out for her. Kimberly sees her orange is a little more orange than she wanted, but she’s going to have to make it work. I really wonder about the lighting at Mood; it’s such a constant issue on PR, I don’t get why they don’t have customers constantly complaining and bringing stuff back.
Tim comes in with the Evil Velvet Bag. Ominous music plays. No, it doesn’t, but it should. Like the Psycho music (get Michael Costello to imitate it), or the Jaws shark theme. He says they would benefit from some help: enter recently eliminated designers Bert, Olivier, Anthony Ryan, Bryce, and Becky. My thought was, ok, Anya’s got this one in the bag. Tim picks names from the EVB and they pick who they want in that order.
Kimberly gets to pick first, and she goes straight for Becky. Yay, Becky! They worked together on the stilts challenge, so Kimberly knows exactly what she’s doing. That must make Becky feel good.
Viktor then picks Olivier. Olivier interviews he has mixed opinions about Viktor (which is the prickiest thing I’ve heard Olivier say in the whole competition – why start now?) but he grew to like him after a rough start. Olivier seems a lot more relaxed and rested; his speech pattern has returned to normal. Well, normal for him. He still has an Asian-British accent but he isn’t mumbling and he speaks in complete sentences so I can again understand what he’s saying.
Laura would love Anthony Ryan. She’s surprised he was still available three picks in. So am I. But we don’t hear much from Anthony Ryan. He’s just not good TV. That’s ok, Anthony Ryan, I think you’re a sweetie.
That leaves Anya and Josh, and they get into it a little for no real reason. He smiles at her, kind of laughs nervously, and she says “What? Don’t fight with me.” He accuses of her being aggressive. That’s his fallback, isn’t it? Anya may be many things, but aggressive isn’t one of them. She doesn’t have to be aggressive. At least she hasn’t needed to be so far on this show. Except… “Are you mad at me” and “don’t fight with me” are pretty passive-aggressive. And they’re right up there with “Do you really love me?” for sheer annoyance value. But he does have a history of giving people trouble. I’d call it a draw.
Anyway, Anya gets fourth pick, and she takes Bert, who thinks they’ll be a good team. She interviews she couldn’t stand him in the beginning but he became someone she enjoyed being around.
Josh gets Bryce by default. Bryce thinks Josh is intense and likes to control. I think Bryce doesn’t really have the standing to be saying much.
They do some stuff. After a while, Bryce interviews, when he left, everybody was loving each other, and now it doesn’t look like the final five even talk to each other; you can feel the tension. I’m not so sure everyone was ever loving each other, but they sure don’t love each other now. Bert‘s having trouble following Anya‘s direction but he’s showing her how to properly make an armhole; Bryce is trying to get Josh to edit; Viktor doesn’t like Olivier doubting him. Olivier sums it up: “I’m working for someone else, not getting paid, you know I don’t really care, I just want to help.” ETA: Turns out, I can’t understand Olivier as well as I thought: he seems to have actually said, “You know they don’t really care, they just want the help.” Which is a completely different thing. I can’t figure out which version he actually said, so it’s up to you. Kimberly keeps changing her mind about stuff, and Becky wonders if that means she doesn’t have a vision.
Tim notices how quiet the workroom is. He’s worried Laura is overusing the circle fabric. He’s worried Kimberly is making a Statue of Liberty dress. He loves Viktor‘s work so far, finds profound sophistication. He encourages Josh – “you’re a risk taker, otherwise, they’ll think they’ve lost you.” He wants Anya to keep her eye on all the moving parts.
And more of the usual stuff. Josh complains a few more times about Anya not making jackets. He seems pretty fixated on jackets. Has he made a jacket? oh, yeah, he did. Laura pulls the “I’ve wanted to do this since I was eight” out again. Kimberly doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing. And like that. They show a clip of Anya frantic that her look is “all wrong” but I’m not buying into that any more. Anya‘s looks will be perfect and the judges will love them. You can try to drive up the drama, Lifetime, but we all know how it’s going to play out. The comment about seeming nervous and choking will apply to someone else. Kimberly is most likely. Josh tells Bryce he’s almost finished, he just has to do the studwork, leaving Bryce he’s almost finished, he just has to do the studwork, leaving Bryce to quip, “Only when you’re working for Josh M. is studwork involved.” You’d be surprised, Bryce.
If I’ve given short shrift to the workroom segments, it’s because I no longer care. It isn’t like they give any insight into the design process.
The Runway and Interrogation:
Zoe Saldana is guest judge. Apparently in addition to being an actress she’s the cofounder of My FDB, some kind of fashion thing. I think I like Heidi’s dress – black, diagonal, interesting textures – but they don’t show much of it and they keep throwing graphics on top, so it’s hard to tell. I think I like what Nina’s wearing – and I never notice what Nina’s wearing, ever, maybe they’re trying to make her more fashionable – but they keep throwing graphics on her, too.
Josh: his first look is a white dress with black netting at the yoke, and a mostly open back; very nice. Second, not so much, a silver skirt that seems way too full a black vest, and a striped and studded tank top. It does seem like the Josh version of Anthony Ryan’s cheerleader dress from the Real Women challenge. Even Josh recognizes it’s too big and is not flattering; “Oh well, fake it ’til you make it,” he says; so Josh has done the steps too? That’s interesting. Or maybe he just heard it somewhere. Then he has a draped silver gown over a black leotardish thing, it’s fascinating to look at, the way the waist is structured on one side; but do I like it? I can’t decide. Still, fascinating is good. And his first look is my second favorite thing on the runway.
Q&A: he talks about the chapel, the battery, fragility and strength; the shirt with studs is the doors of the battery. The mesh on the dress is harder than the soft fabric. MK gives him credit for diversity, maybe too much, since the girl who wears the draped gown might not wear the rah-rah skirt. He knows Josh is sick of hearing about editing, but he’s going to talk about it anyway. He likes the dress with the mesh, but not the gown. Heidi likes the gown but not the fabric, it looks cheap. She asks if Josh likes the Lurex because it’s shiny. Josh ripostes: “Is that an assumption?” No, ass, it’s a question; when people make assumptions, they don’t phrase them as questions. He liked the feel of the fabric. MK thinks he’s a magpie, he likes glitter and shine and it can go cheap really quickly.
Chat: Nina says she could take the clothes, rearrange them, and shoot them. What? Oh, for the magazine. All that artillerary talk had me confused. Nina thinks he’s fun, though his taste is questionable and too much time does not work in his favor. But he has ideas. MK thinks he may have too many ideas. Heidi says he woke her up. Oh, wait, like, oh, what is this wake up. But I think Heidi just admitted these runways have been very boring this year.
Kimberly: she sends out a Halloween-orange coat. It’s a nice coat, but it’s Halloween orange. She likes the scarf she tied at the collar, which is fine, but come on, it’s a scarf. Second is a silver skirt and an orange halter top with lots of room for the boobs to breathe. Third is a silver cocktail dress that reminds me of the top she made for Nina, there’s something attractive about it even if it does jut out at odd places. And on closer look at the Lifetime Rate the Runway lineup (best seen on the Back view): Aha! This model is wearing those spiked pink shoes I’ve been amazed by all season. Apparently the technique isn’t as rare as I thought; I saw a similar spiking on shoes used by Chris March when he designed a dress for Ruthie Davis using her shoes. These are some scary shoes! I wonder if they can be considered a lethal weapon. Kimberly is satisfied with the runway, the same girl would wear all three looks. Oh, Kimberly, what happened to you? Couldn’t you just do pants? They love your pants.
Q&A: She talks about the “New Beginning” sculpture, how she is inspired by the structure. She hasn’t done a coat before, she wanted to use asymmetry. Zoe loves the top, likes the coat, all in all wow, she took risks. MK thinks her brocade dress is the strongest piece. The coat looks like a souffle that collapsed, it’s an odd color palette, disco Halloween. Heidi sees three different girls, one an exchange student from Holland and anther a crazy party girl in Las Vegas. But she loves the dress. Nina likes the fabric of the dress but not as used on the skirt. Kimberly points out if she’d left it normal, they’d have complained it was normal. Yeah, that’s about the size of it. She gives a little speech: I’m not upset by anything you’ve said, I knew about the imperfections, I’ve had a great time here. Heidi asks if she’s giving a goodbye speech. I think Kimberly is over it.
Chat: Zoe thinks she tried to do something different. Nina defends her, she’s had some really good designs, Heidi points out Nina liked one outfit enough to wear it to work and a book signing. MK says there’s a vibe to what she’s showing us.
Laura: First, a blazer with the circle cutout fabric over white, and a flared white skirt. The skirt is really annoying. Second, a baby-dollish cocktail dress, so flowy as to be limp, and the trim at the bodice doesn’t look good. Her third look is a long gown of the cutout over white, with short black sleeves; I hate the sleeves, the dress slightly reminds me of Mondo’s gown, the one Nina hated, the one that Heidi wore to some premiere only to get skewered by Joan Rivers (I’ve hated Joan Rivers since then). But it’s not wow, the overlay isn’t adhering to the white underfabric. It’s sloppy. And it looks tight at the hips and loose at the waist. The blazer is nice, but the rest, nah.
Q&A: She explains her circles. Heidi notices she seems nervous. Laura starts to cry, goes into The Dream etc. Heidi thinks the gown has a lot of potential. That’s never a good sign, when a finished garment has potential. The skirt looks like she did it in two minutes, which she did. The dress is sweet, but doesn’t go with the rest. Nina likes the lattice-work and the piece of black on the gown, but isn’t crazy about the silhouette of the jacket, and the third look just comes from who-knows-where, doesn’t fit the collection. Zoe loves the hair and bangs, the 80s Addicted to Love look. The third look is a pillowcase. MK thinks the gown is the strongest piece, the blazer is momish looking, and the dress is a laundry bag. He thinks it’s a shame she choked now. Oh come on, she’s been choking all along. You just kept her around for comic relief.
Chat: MK says Laura knows how to make clothes. Nina says something about Spiderman. She’s technically fine but has no range. Heidi is impressed that Laura was crying because she wants it so bad, she has more passion for her because of that. Oh give me a break.
Anya: she sends out a black dress with a high neck and low v in back; a rust pantsuit, and a white gown with a very high slit, it looks awkward, unfitted, like it’s cotton with no give. She’s proud of herself for not using prints for flowiness, except the pantsuit is pretty flowy to me. I know they’re going to love it so who cares what I think. I actually think the pantsuit is pretty nice. So is the black dress, but it’s Return of the Raven. The white dress reminds me of Vincent’s recycled dress. It’s nowhere near as tight or hard to move in, but it’s got the same stiff feel. I’ll give her this: it looks like a collection. And two-thirds of it is nice. In fact, given the state of the other looks, I wouldn’t begrudge her the win.
Q&A: she talks about how sculptures change from different angles and she wanted to do this with clothing. Nina gets this hushed awed tone she frequently uses with Anya. She sees the use of angles, very modern, likes the hair and makeup, it’s a concise collection. Heidi thinks the black dress is great, fashion forward and simple. The white dress, not so much, a bit of a sheet. MK thinks it’s sophisticated, she’s pushing herself, she knew to dress the redhead in rust and give the column gown to the tallest girl. She understands women’s bodies. Zoe thinks it’s futuristic, and she loves science fiction so she’s on board. The gown, however, reminds her of a condom.
Chat: Nina, her clothes are strong enough to not need anything, she has good taste and she’s a quick learner, very impressive. We all know by now that Nina’s the one who gets the final say, so this sounds like Anya has it wrapped up. MK, she went from strictly tropical to urban and modern. Heidi, one of her favorites from the beginning.
Viktor: First look is a blazer with a cascade lapel over skinny pants; second, a semi-plaid grey blouse over a grey draped skirt with a waist-to-hem exposed zipper that I actually like (maybe I’m getting used to the exposed zipper, or maybe it’s the full length that improves it) plus an orange belt (I love this look, I think I wore something similar in high school, which is not a good sign); and third, a very simple cocktail dress which has a funny bulge line around the hip, like the world’s worst panty line. ETA: I see now it’s boning, similar to what a hoop skirt would have around the hem, but it’s at the hip to make the hipline stick out. This could work, but the fabric would have to be a lot stiffer so the boning doesn’t look like boning. I think he’s probably second; I actually like his collection better, except for the boning, but that means it’s way too ordinary.
Q&A: He talks about the buildings behind the sculptures, and how he used the print for that. Viktor, print for building. Heidi is amazed by what he can do. But he doesn’t have enough ideas. Aha! There we go, it’s Viktor who gets Mondo’d. She doesn’t see any one piece to gasp over, that she has to have. Nina loves it, the hair and makeup are phenomenal, touches of orange are great, but he needs to turn up the volume a little, the blouse and skirt are a little secretarial, needs more oomph. Zoe likes the secretarial look, the draping of the skirt makes it more than that. She isn’t crazy about the boning at the hip of the black dress (oh, it’s boning… why would you put boning there? ) MK says it’s the most commercial collection, these are the clothes that are going to sell, they’re polished, tailored, and most could be worn to work. But he wouldn’t mind if the volume got turned up, it needs runway punch.
Chat: Heidi is superimpressed; he can make clothes for the masses. MK hears cash registers ringing, today he was at his most conservative. Nina thought his casting rack was scary. Zoe, he’s a designer. Well, duh, what was your first clue? Sorry, Viktor, you’re toast. Damn, I hope I’m wrong.
They ask the annual question: Why should you go to Fashion Week, and who would you want to go with you? However, it generates some truly interesting answers this time:
Josh says Viktor, because he’s always bringing something unique. And Anya, because she’s able to be free and he respects her. Wow, it was a fall-off-my-chair moment. Josh knows how to play the game after all! I can just see his thought process: “Anya is going to Fashion Week. If I love her, maybe they’ll love me.” It makes me sad. It’s like when Rick Moonen declared “I’m not a tree hugger” in the last round of Top Chef Masters, repudiating and disdaining his sustainable-food reputation for a reality TV show win. He didn’t get the win. Neither will Josh. He was going to Fashion Week, though, all along, at least since his Little Black Dress. He’s just too good as theatre to leave behind.
Kimberly wants to change the face of Fashion Week, change preconceptions of what a designer is and where she comes from. She’d bring Anya, who has grown, and Laura, who also brings something different. Good for you, Kimberly, for staying true to yourself and the Girl Pact.
Anya – pause here. She’s wearing a vest with chain closure over her boobs. She’s as close to naked as you can be on basic cable. They seem to be getting a lot of side shots of those boobs. Maybe this is like when then-candidate Obama did his half-hour commercial the night before the election, just to make sure he had it sewn up. That is all. She thinks she should go because she has a point of view that is solid and unique. She picks Josh because he’s the opposite of her and has a look that is solely his, (and maybe to show she can be nice to the guy who’s been at her all along) and Viktor. So much for the Girl Pact. Because it might be a test of “do you have enough taste to recognize the good designers”. And I suppose she wouldn’t mind being the only girl there. Frankly, she’s right. That’s been the Final Three for a few weeks now, though Josh could’ve blown it at any point.
Laura wants to bring Viktor because his clothes are wearable, and Anya because she has a knack for silhouettes. This has become a game of “Guess the Judge’s Favorites” so sorry, Kimberly.
Viktor talks about being an immigrant from an immigrant family, his mom was a sample maker and he initially wanted to avoid all things fashion but ended up loving it anyway. He wants Josh for his good ideas and tailoring, and Anya for her flowy designs because she’s an amazing designer. Another kiss ass. But Viktor doesn’t need to kiss ass, he must know he’s going to Fashion Week.
Heidi states clearly only three will be at Fashion Week. Well, that’s already a lie, they’re all at Fashion Week, but three will be on TV. Notice I did not say three will have a chance to win. Though I suppose technically they do.
Anya is in. Big surprise. She interviews she can’t breathe, she has to say to herself, breathe in, breathe out. Not too deeply, or your boobs will fall out.
Viktor is in, though they advise him to pump up the volume.
Joshua is in, and they hope he’ll avoid overworking his collection. He says, “I’m starting to write my book, my story, and someone will look back and research this moment for me.” Honey, let’s not get carried away.l
Then they tell Laura and Kimberly one will create a look and one will not. I’m confused. They haven’t said anyone has to compete further, but now suddenly they have four where just a minute ago they could only have three. Anyway, Kimberly’s in, Laura’s out. Kimberly says, “I say all the time on paper I’m not supposed to be here but I’ve always had a dream bigger than myself.”
Heidi declares Laura to be a great designer and a great person as she gives her the Auf Kiss.
I still don’t understand. Do Josh and Kimberly compete in a mini-runoff before Fashion Week? Do all four compete? This show doesn’t seem to think anyone cares about such trivial details. It’s all about the drama, after all, and any hint that anyone but Anya could win this should be ignored.
Then we get After the Runway, a true waste of thirty minutes. Laura and Kimberly do a catfight about honesty. Olivier shows up and explains about his accent (if you didn’t see his Blogging Project Runway exit interview, he was born in Ohio but moved to Taiwan when he was two. The producers were negligent and cruel to leave that detail out, imho). Becky and Josh have a lot of fun revisiting their fight, and they hug. Josh is upset that he’s seen as a bully because he’s been bullied all his life. Well, that’s where bullies learn, you know. And Nick Verreos shows up and consoles Laura by telling her he was fifth, too. And look, he has a blog and does fifteen-second spots on all kinds of random shows.
Next week, Tim does home visits, always fun. I still don’t know how – or if – they plan to go from four to three.