Two captains, a corporal, and a reservist go into to a bar….
Their big mistake: They left and came to Project Runway.
They rise from the depths of The Intrepid accompanied by the music of an invisible brass band. “All four of these women are actual veterans,” says Anthony Ryan, whose never seen an actual veteran before. What was he expecting, actresses from whatever latest war movie? Super close-up on Joshua all teary-eyed over the truly harrowing tale of his client; Tom Grunick would be proud. And did you know the military, famous for bizarre terminology, has a medical designation of “imminent death status” – I told you it was truly harrowing – and that they’re sometimes wrong?
I apologize if I seem snarky towards the military, or the women involved in this show. I’m not, truly. They’re admirable women; they were terrific on the show, and I hope they had a great time. I’m just tired of TV shows trotting out veterans and waving the flag and getting all “Support the Troops.” They’re too good for this. I’m all for supporting the troops (especially with things like ending wars that never should have happened and providing superior health care for those who do serve and voting for candidates who promise to do those things instead of cutting taxes). I just don’t support Project Runway using them for ratings. At least Ven wasn’t part of this. Even Joshua minded his manners; his crack, “Don’t ask don’t tell – with me they don’t even have to ask” with a wave at his pink and yellow flowered tank top was downright funny. And there was a Swatch sighting – it only lasted a couple of seconds, but he was there, hiding behind Emilio.
A famous designer, whose name I never caught, was guest judge. Katie Holmes was also guest judge. I’ve been hearing her name for years, but I never actually saw her or heard her before last night. I think that’s for the best.
Uli chats with her veteran, who’s going to a wedding, likes purple, and, oh, hey, really likes Uli’s dress. So Uli makes her dress in black and white, because she couldn’t find purple print fabric. It’s the prettiest thing on the runway. It’s the only truly pretty thing on the runway, in fact. Everyone loves it, but Isaac wishes the embellishments weren’t there. I never noticed them; problem solved. Katie says she should’ve used feathers instead of those embellishments and everyone laughs: “She’s been the Feather Queen for weeks.” Katie assures them she’s been watching, which, well, she’s lying, and stupidly, too. I thought Katie Perry was the stupid one. Have I had my Katies mixed up all this time? Isaac says it’s ambitious for such a short time, which cracks me up – ambitious? She’s made this same dress a thousand times, she can make this dress on her lunch hour. It’s pretty – it’s clearly the only thing deserving of a win – but it’s Uli Dress #4. It just so happens Uli Dress #4, like Uli Dress #1-#3 and #5, is very pretty.
Joshua has a brother in the army, so he’s really nice to his veteran. She was serving in Bosnia when a blood clot nearly killed her (see “imminent death status” above) and necessitated amputation of her leg. When she returned to “alive status” (yes, I made that one up) her first question was “Will I be able to wear high heels with a prosthetic leg?” She has a “service animal,” aka a dog, and he’s cute, too. [Addendum: Thanks to TWoP I discovered PRAS left something out about Joshua’s vet, Leslie Smith: Leslie Smith: in addition to losing her leg, she lost vision in one eye and most of the vision in the other, making her legally blind. Maybe I’m stupid; were we supposed to assume that because she has a service dog she’s blind? People have service dogs for all sorts of reasons, and I wasn’t even sure if Isaac was her service dog or a dog she was training for the Army. In any event, I hope to God it was her request to leave that detail out of the episode. I think it creates an entirely new and completely fascinating twist to the challenge, not to mention a geometric increase in the already superbly high levels of grace and confidence she displayed throughout the episode] She wants a dress for various military events; she usually wears her uniform, but sometimes she wants to dress up. Her favorite color is leopard, which is probably why she was paired with Joshua. He can’t find a regular leopard print (really? What’s going on at Mood? First no purple prints, and now no leopard) but he finds a black-and-white leopard print (I’m calling it snow leopard) and dyes it green to add color; it comes out looking grey in the pictures, but it was green on my tv. Joanna’s glad to see him much more excited and inspired this week. He is, too – he even makes a little vest thing for the dog. His dress is a basic LBD, with a panel of floating leopard at the hem. It’s nice. I’m not sure it’s a Special Event dress, it’s more of a Special Event Hem, but it’s ok. For Joshua, it’s great; one of the judges notes that he could’ve gone crazy with leopard but he didn’t. He went… kinda boring, actually. Not as good as his S9E8 Real Woman dress, which, deservedly, won. But good enough for PRAS, which is sad commentary. Isaac is happy the dog is named Isaac, but wishes his vest thing were more fabulous. The designer guest judge (I just don’t care who it is, so I’m not bothering to look it up) asks the woman, delicately, “Did you make a conscious effort to show your prosthetic?” That could’ve gotten ugly in a hurry, because what if she’d said no? But she’s proud of it and absolutely wanted it to show. Her intent is to wear this to military functions, so I think I get that. On the runway, they love it; in private discussion, they admit, it’s kind of tame, but it’s still surprising elegance from Joshua.
Emilio thinks the least he can do for someone serving the country in the military is make a dress. That’s why I hate these challenges with military people. His veteran wants a dress with “wow factor” for a Vegas bachelorette party, and her favorite color is yellow. So Emilio makes a yellow dress, but he gets all snarled up in “fusing” and has to make the top over when it doesn’t fit. Joanna calls it “brave” of the woman to wear “all this yellow” which to me says “take it down a level” but it seems it didn’t mean that to Emilio. She thinks this challenge might be harder for him, since he’s used to costuming and red carpet, but he says he dresses regular women all the time. Maybe, but the color makes this daytime to me. And I hate the straight band across the back. The sides gap, too. No, no, no, Emilio, what are you doing to me? Katie loves the color; it’s a fun dress. Georgina wonders if it’s two different fabrics, which it isn’t, it’s just the top that’s fused though. Isaac loves the idea, but it needs some work with the lining. The designer talks about “cheating the angle” to make the sides fit more snugly against the body. Blondie assures him the color variation is no big deal, and the overall design is perfect. Then they talk privately, at which point everyone hates it. Blondie doesn’t like the hem, Georgina doesn’t think he, or maybe the dress, is “committed,” it looks homemade, Katie sees the start of a lot of beginnings, Isaac doesn’t like the color, the designer calls it out for poor execution.
Anthony Ryan asks a very intelligent question: “What area of your body are you self-conscious about?” “I’m a boob-hider,” she confesses. All I can think of is Olivier from S9, how he’d be apoplectic. She’s recovering from an injury so she weighs more than usual, and she’s feeling a little awkward. She wants a long dress for her 40th birthday party, “definitely strapless.” Anthony Ryan goes for ombre, and he has good ideas: using boning and canvas to keep the garment in place, putting the dark part of the ombre at the bust and having it lighten up going down. And Joanna suggests one shoulder, or something for support, and he figures he can talk her into it. All good. Except… no. She looked fine in her t-shirt during the intros, but on the runway she looks huge, so it’s the dress, not her. Take it from me, tying a flowy dress at the waist doesn’t work when you’re a woman of girth. Blondie starts out with “You look lovely” which is a patent lie but it’s hard to tell someone she’s fine but the dress is doing awful things to her in 5 words or less. The most Blondie will say is she looks “hidden” (which is what she wanted), and that the bust is unflattering. Georgina wishes the body was shown off, thinks the straight-across neckline is “hard” which it is, and the straps are claustrophobic – to me, they’re place too steeply, and they almost look like plastic, they need tapering of some kind – but she loves the overall idea, just like Mrs. Lincoln loved the play. Katie wants the straps beaded like a necklace, which makes my teeth hurt. Isaac’s nose keeps growing and growing as he says it’s one of his favorite things and he loves the spirit and it’s fresh and young before admitting, oh, by the way, it’s not figure flattering. Even in private, he won’t listen to voices of reason saying it’s pretty awful.
Because the judges were hampered by tact, it wasn’t clear who they thought was top and bottom, but it turned out to be exactly as I would’ve placed them: Uli and Joshua are the top two, with Anthony Ryan and Emilio in the bottom. They talk about the potential loser: “Who had the best collaboration with the client?” They’re divided.
Backstage, Joshua tells his client, “I haven’t had that good a critique in… like ever.” Therefore, Joshua wins. What? Sigh. I guess you can’t have Uli win all the challenges.
And in the spirit of We’re All winners, nobody is out.
I think Uli’s got this in the bag. Yes, they seem to love Anthony Ryan’s designs for all kinds of unfathomable reasons, and he’s done this whole fashion show thing in New Orleans, so maybe they’ll go for that. But… he’s color blind, for god’s sake. How can he be a guest fashion editor for a year? But maybe his merchandising trumps a sense of color. I still think Uli’s got the fan base to propel her into the win. She really is a sweetheart, so she’d be easy to work with (unless I’m making too much of this guest fashion editor thing). And she really can make great clothes.
Paris. I thought the finale was next week. The finale’s in Paris? Why do I keep expecting this show to make sense?