Project Runway Season 10 Episode 8: Starving Artist



Note: no starving artists were harmed in the making of this episode. No starving artists were even seen in the making of this episode. But if these designers had to survive on their T-shirt design skills, most of them would starve.

We all knew Alicia was going home before the episode even started – we knew it last week when she was safe, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love Alicia, but she’s been underperforming all season.

The Fake Challenge on the Way To The Actual Challenge:

They all find Tim waiting in the workroom, surrounded by little vials of glitter. Elena hates glitter. Why does that not surprise me? I’m not sure whose hare-brained idea it was to have them make t-shirts (Tyra did it one season; Heidi, the rule is, “steal from the best”) and sell them on the street for Mood money, but Tim tells them they can also offer fashion advice or anything else. Anything. Besides the obvious (come on, your mind went there, too), people could hire Elena to put a hit on someone. And I know whole bunch of fat women who’d pay to be alone with Ven for fifteen minutes.

We all know Tim has Magic Fingers: he can tell which button is Gunnar’s and which is Christopher’s, so he can put them on the same team; and he can tell which button is Dmitry’s and which is Elena’s, so they can kill each other, too. Maybe they serrate the edges. Maybe they sand both sides. But you know the game is rigged.

Elena’s sales pitch: “We’re trying to sell these crappy t-shirts that we made in three hours.” Never underestimate what people will pay to be on TV, even for a tenth of a second. Dmitry: ” Her team raises the least money: $500, exactly, which sounds to me like the producers decided that would be the minimum amount and they’d pitch in if a team didn’t make it. In spite of Fabio’s bizarre metaphor that selling t-shirts on the street is like selling umbrellas in the desert (call the parasols, duh – or even better, “personal shade devices”), they end up with $800.48, who knows what they did to earn it. And Christopher, who started having fun towards the end, raked in $684. This is clear evidence that the economy is not as bad as the Republicans think.

The Actual Challenge:

You realize we haven’t heard the actual challenge yet, right?

They have to make two looks for Fall, one of which includes outerwear. Why didn’t they just start there?

Swatch sighting at Mood:

He’s got a green toy. And he’s so cute, he gets a specific goodbye from Tim. Though it seemed edited to me. That’s okay, I’ll take Swatch anyway I can get him.

The Workroom:

The Dream Team – (Ven, Fabio, Melissa):

Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but they really should be the Dream Team, they’ve all had successes so far. During planning, Melissa points out that Ven’s style is sophisticated, she does edgy, and Fabio does street; they just have to figure out how to combine it. Ven’s making another “fan” skirt very much like the skirt he made for the first episode, but Tim’s worried it doesn’t go with the rest of the collection, so he starts over and makes an Amish skirt like the one he made for the fifth episode except longer and frumpier and greyer.

The Soviet Menace etc. (Dmitry, Elena, Alicia):

Guess what? Elena is hard to work with, and controlling. Christopher calls them Boris and Natasha. Come on, Boris and Natasha were fun. They’re doing the ever popular “shades of gray,” with Elena on coat, Dmitry on dress, and Alicia on pants. No surprises there. Tim asks how they’re doing, and gets mumbles in reply. It’s like asking a guilty kid if he ate a cookie before dinner when he’s still got crumbs on his shirt. Dmitry horrifies Tim by mentioning exposed darts; Korto tried that on Season Five, and it didn’t really work then either. Tim says they look like buttresses, but it is, for sure, a point of view. Elena is a riff on the word “sporty” that makes no sense at all. Maybe it means something else in Russian. Christopher wishes he had a horse tranquilizer. Elena’s trying to hide Alicia’s pants and top under the coat she’s making. It might have been better for Alicia if she’d been successful.

Sonjia and the Boys (Christopher, Gunnar, Sonjia):

Tim warns them about overdesigning. Gunnar’s worried Sonjia’s jacket looks like Zelda. Zelda? Oh, wait; apparently there’s a more contemporary Zelda. My bad. The boys seem to be playing nicely together.

The Runway :

Anna Sui plays visiting psychologist. You’d think she was Dr. Drew instead of a designer; she never says a word about fashion, only about who worked too well together, who worked poorly together, and who was juuuuuuuust right.

Ven, Fabio, Melissa:

First Look:
Ven likes the movement of the skirt , but worries that it looks inexpensive. Still, he thinks it’s SoHo chic, and youthful. That skirt says 1950s college girl to me; you know, I have a biography of Sylvia Plath with a picture of her wearing that skirt on the cover. Or it’s for an old lady who’s given up trying. That would be me. It’s the kind of skirt I wear. Me or Sylvia Plath – bad sign. Melissa’s iffy on the hem of the shirt; it should lay flat. But she loves her jacket. Of course she does: it has the same gigantic stand-up collar. No one ever calls her out on it, but face it, she’s got as much an obsession with hyperbolic necklines as Ven does for roses and fans.
Second look:
Fabio made a mohair coat, worn with the pants Melissa drafted and Ven sewed, and a top by Melissa. I finally understand what the judges mean when they say something looks sad.
Nina like the white jacket, and that’s about it. Michael does his usual clever quip about something else fitting in the crotch that a girl doesn’t have; “I can see why you hit it with the clutch.” Fabio’s coat looks like it should have Kleenex in the pocket. What, young rich stylish women never have the sniffles? He wonders where Ven is in all this; “none of this looks like anything you’d ever touch.” That’s what happens when you take away Ven’s rose motif; he really doesn’t know how to do anything else. I’ve been on his side so far, as a designer if not as person, but yeah, the one-way monkey is exposed clearly now. Anna Sui thinks they got along too well and were too nice to each other; they needed to challenge each other more.
When asked whose garments are the weakest, no one will answer at first. But they always do in the end. Ven picks Fabio’s coat, Melissa picks Fabio’s top, and Fabio chooses by affinity: he’s closer to Melissa so, sorry, Ven. I love Fabio. I think he’d drive me nuts if I had to work with him, and I probably wouldn’t be able to follow any conversation with him, but I love him on the show.

Alicia, Dmitry, Elena :

First look: Dmitry loves his shawl, which makes me wonder about Dmitry. I like the dress, but not the darts.
Second look: Elena is horrified that the collar of the coat is falling in, and that the finishing in front is horrible. It’s horrible; not just the finishing. Alicia’s worried that they can’t see her work at all. She should be so lucky. Both of her shirts have thumb holes in the sleeves, which always reminds me of either a wedding dress or something on a kindergartener.
Elena is in full-brat mode during the crit: it wasn’t fair, Dmitry took over, the work wasn’t divided evenly, she had to split a look with Alicia, Dmitry got his own look. Seriously, does this woman deal with people in the real world? They hate her coat. Then they go looking for Alicia; Michael is falling asleep over her boring pieces, and Heidi calls them throwaways. Michael thinks the pants fit nicely, but there’s no detailing; the cut in the top doesn’t change the shape of it, so it’s “intellectual with no purpose.” I love that phrase. I can’t believe Michael Kors just said something approaching genius. Dmitry and Elena continue to fight, and Anna points out the conversation is reflected in the clothes: “When expressing yourself, joy and love must come through, not anger.” What is this, Zen designing? When asked who should go home, predictably Dmitry and Elena pointed at each other; surprisingly, Alicia picks Dmitry to go home since overall she respects Elena more as a designer. I guess that isn’t so surprising. But I don’t think it matters who Alicia picks at this point; as much as I like her and enjoy her quiet responsibility, she just hasn’t done much all season.

Christopher, Gunnar, Sonjia :

Sonjia is thrilled with her jacket on the runway; it is really nice, and Heidi is smiling. Christopher loves his coat; it doesn’t appeal to me, but I can appreciate that it’s stylish. Gunnar is happy to show his two dresses, something they haven’t seen from him before. I guess thumb holes in sleeves must be in style this season, since they’ve got them, too.
Everything goes over well. Everyone loves Sonjia’s jacket; Heidi hasn’t seen anything like it before, Nina finds it well-tailored. Michael loves the elevated and luxurious sportswear vibe of Gunnar’s dresses, and credits Christopher with the time and thought he put into the camel hair coat. Anna plays psychologist again and asks how they worked together. Gunnar says they did quite well, wandering off on their own to work then reconvening so their ideas threaded together and they all got to show off their points of view. Anna pats them on the back for doing teams “juuuuuust right.”
They’re the winning team (obviously). When asked who should be the winning designer, Christopher makes a surprise move and gives it to Gunnar for making two bad-ass dresses. I think Christopher is very smart; it doesn’t cost him anything to do that hand-off (it’s a drama question, not an actual criteria for their decision), and earns him a few brownie points. I’m impressed. The other two pick themselves, but humbly. Nice.

The Decision:

Sonjia wins. I’m glad for her; she deserves it.

It comes down to Fabio and Alicia, and of course Alicia’s out. I love the jumpsuit she’s wearing; Huckleberry Chic. If she’d made stuff like that, it would’ve been a different story.

Next Week:

Mondo! Yay, Mondo! And it’s fabric design time. Tim: “I see an homage to a menstrual cycle.” Then Pacman eats someone’s crotch. I can’t wait. No, really – I’ve been waiting all my life to watch Pacman eat someone’s crotch.


2 responses to “Project Runway Season 10 Episode 8: Starving Artist

  1. Do you watch Work of Art? They did they same thing –artists go sell their crappy ideas on the streets of NY to earn money for a challenge. Why didn’t these designer do some cool sketches on their shirts? Every single episode I think they sketches are stunningly cool, often better than the dresses. I would buy a T shirt with a cool model sketched on it (well, I wouldn’t but you know what I mean). And seriously, they made $800?? I think on Work of Art the best team made like $400. I assume the pitch was “If you buy something from us you might be on Project Runway.”

    They are painfully obvious about the “magical” pairing. I mean, really? It just happened to go that way? I like your idea about the serrated edges.

    I often feel bad for Tim–his suggestions almost always turn out to be bad for the designers. But when he’s not shilling HP and L&T, I still love him best.

    I did see obvious that dreads lady would go home. But unlike past seasons, I feel like the top 8 are all pretty solid. I kind of assume Fabio is the weakest, although really Natasha [sic] is probably the worst of the ones left. It’s at this point where you kind of want to say to them, can we just get to the point where Sonjia, Christopher, Ven and Dimtry battle it out already. Although I would like to see Melissa in it as well. If we could bump Ven, that would be pretty cool.

    • Hi Paul – There’s some debate about whether they were allowed to say “We’re on Project Runway” but they’ve got camera crews filming them, so people are going to guess it’s some kind of reality tv thing… I love your design sketch idea, even sketch the customer onto a shirt. That face Christopher (?) drew wasn’t half bad, and you’re right, the design sketches they make would be cool. Anything’s better than that spray-paint nonsense. And glitter. I hate to admit I agree with Elena about anything, but yeah, who wears glitter?

      It shows how this show has lost all its credibility that we’re all figuring out exactly how they rigged things. Thing about Tim is, he’s got this dignity about him, coupled with genuine kindness, that’s just irresistible. I don’t think that can be faked; so even when he’s reciting product-placement lines, I’d follow him anywhere. But, when it came time for me to buy a new computer, PR was a significant reason I did not go with HP. Sometimes the hard-sell backfires.

      I agree there’s some depth to the field this year.

      Have you seen pictures of the fashion week collections? TLo and BPR both list the photos; there’s nothing spoiler–ish in them (though it has changed my idea of who “should” be in the finale), since everyone still in the game got to show. Some of them are surprising.

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