The only thing worse than a woman with breasts is one with opinions. I mean, why can’t they just do what God intended and perform their functions as mute, boyishly proportioned coat hangers? Yes, folks, that about sums up the alarming philosophy espoused by soulless automaton Olivier and His Accent of Indeterminate Origin during Thursday night’s “real women” challenge on Project Runway. (As if the Ohio native’s drab designs, mind-nimbing mumbles, and forced Euro-ishness weren’t reason enough to want to see him auf’d!)
If a Tim Gunn facial expression really is worth 1,000 words — and, as we all know, it is — then my feelings about Olivier can pretty much be summed up by the look of pure disgust our dapper mentor shot the designer when he spent so much time in the sewing area that he failed to send his model to the Garnier Hair Studio and the L’Oréal Paris Makeup Room.
But of course, it wasn’t going to be Olivier’s week to go home. (It probably never will be, since I’m convinced Nina and Michael’s love of hip-expanding silhouettes and mucus-y color palettes will carry him all the way to the finals.) Nope, the obvious target for destruction (or redemption) this week was Bryce, who kicked things off by lamenting that he was the only one of the nine remaining designers who hadn’t won a challenge.
With Bryce now clearly marked as the newborn impala straggling at the back of the herd, Heidi leapt from the tall grasses and terrified the contestants by forcing them to confront the sight of nine normal-looking men. As the designers and dudes got paired up, Olivier expressed his disdain that he was forced to choose among “all these fat people,” but his personal nightmare was just beginning. Tim arrived on the scene to clarify that, yes, these real men were indeed the challenge clients, but they were in the market for women’s wear for their wives or girlfriends.
This, of course, was Olivier’s cue to vent about having to dress someone other than pre-pubescent Eastern European runway walkers. “I don’t like women having boobs,” he huffed. “I just want them to be flat.” (Like your personality, Olivier?) The only good thing to come out of Olivier’s disgust with the female form was Tim Gunn having to admit to a lack of personal experience with regard to interpreting a woman’s cup size.
Laura, meanwhile, made me chuckle in the moments before she met the woman she’d be dressing, by dropping this zinger: “Please dear Lord, have him be loaded and his wife’s really hot and she’s a gold-digger.” But was there really a need to take a low blow at the husband’s looks by asking “How did he snag her?”
And finally, Bert had to grapple with a client whose enthusiasm for his wife’s breasts was the polar opposite of Olivier’s revulsion. “I’m the boobie monster. I love boobs!” the guy declared while “motorboating” Bert’s dress form.”If it was up to me, she’d wear a leaf!” Bert, to his credit, embraced the couple’s comfort with showing a little skin but didn’t give us the full Christina Hendricks.
As the garments came together in the workroom, the show’s editors were mercifully cryptic about who might be in trouble. We heard negative comments about the looks being put together by Kimberly, Joshua, Olivier, and Anya, but none of them wound up in the bottom three. There was no avoiding the fact, however, that Bryce was conjuring up a full-throttle Nina Garcia runway glare when he sewed a bland dress in fuchsia and white, got flummoxed by Tim’s critiques, and then started over again without any kind of clear vision for his endgame with the sole exception of wanting to do it in a color that Viktor said reminded him of “an anti-diarrheal medication.”
And now for some notes from the runway show…
* Bert: I agreed with the judges that his shiny minidress resembled something you could get at the mall, but frankly, they should have noted it was more DEB than, say, Macy’s. Nevertheless, a slow clap for La Kors for giving props to our real-woman model’s “fabulous decolletage,” and balancing out the episode’s anti-bosom bias.
* Anthony: A worthy runner-up for the week’s worst look. Particularly astute guest judge Malin Akerman (she’ll always be The Comeback’s Baby Girl to me) was the first to note the look’s resemblance to an old cheerleading costume or cigarette girl uniform, and Anthony’s facial expression made me feel like he didn’t disagree. Combined with the baggy nightshorts from the New Balance sneakers challenge, this former front-runner is now up to a count of two strikes.
* Bryce: Ms. Akerman was right that the loose chest and bunchy waist of the dress (pictured, center) made it appear like a Size 6 woman had bought a Size 8 dress and forgotten to take it to the tailor. I also appreciated how Nina deconstructed the look and pointed out that Bryce had introduced way too many elements for a successful design: The bulgy pockets, the bordered hem, the strappy cutout back. And every single seam was indeed puckered and ungainly. You knew there was no way the kid was going to last another week after Michael Kors cooked up the image of Bryce’s model wearing the garment to a wedding, then stuffing a lamb chop and a beer bottle into the bulky pockets.
* As for the week’s top designs, I was sure it would come down to Viktor’s snazzy separates (pictured, left) and Anya’s culture-clask kimono, but instead, Joshua won for a little black dress (pictured, right) that had me jotting down the words “flirty” and “flawless fit” as it came down the runway. To which I ask: Should that have been enough to win the guy best in show? Or were the judges just using their final immunity of the season to insure another week of He Who Must Button Up His Shirt? Viktor, meanwhile, had the win slip through his fingers because of what exactly? The fact that Michael and Nina thought he used the Piperlime Accessory Wall a little carelessly? Come on! His high-waisted, pleated skirt fit his model sensationally, and his color choices displayed a sophistication and daring that’s been all too lacking this season. Second week in a row Viktor’s been robbed, I tell ya!
* Oh, and one last hurrah for Malin Akerman for shutting down Nina’s tiresome grousing about the single sleeve of Anya’s sensational dress. “I would wear that on the red carpet,” Malin said enthusiastically, and then added she’d order it with the motherflappin’ sleeve in tact. As Michael noted, the woman’s look was the “most fashion with a capital F,” and she really did do a lovely job welding her Japanese and African influences into a chic, clean look. I’d have easily accepted her as the winner, too, even though it’s apparently verboten to grant anyone back-to-back wins on this show.
What did you think of this week’s Runway? Would you have given Joshua the win? If not, then who? Did the right person go home? Was there really any alternative to Bryce’s ouster? And what about Olivier’s cleavage-phobia? Did it annoy you as much as it did me? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!