There are moments when Project Runway feeds your inner hardcore fashion enthusiast, and other times when it scores as many laughs per minute as your average episode of Cougar Town or Veep. This week’s “Unconventional Materials” challenge — in which the designers were tasked with creating stylish looks using $250 worth of materials from Dylan’s Candy Bar — succeeded on both counts.
Heid Klum, Tim Gunn, and Michael Kors dropped zingers so priceless, I’d be disappointed if they don’t eventually get turned into t-shirt slogans. “Her boobs are turning into old man’s eyes!” It doesn’t get more hilarious — or more astute — than that. And of course, Sonjia, Dmitry, Ven, and Melissa turned out extraordinarily crafted garments using the unlikeliest of “fabrics” and “trim.” So even without saucy the bon mots, this would’ve been a box of couture bon-bons.
The workroom was fairly drama-free this week, with the exception of Andrea and Elena. The former, who incidentally was born on Halloween, settled on making “an apron for a Victorian candy bar clerk gone wild.” Tim Gunn dropped by to eye the dubious frock, and delivered the most roundabout-yet-brutal assessment in his 10 years on the show: “I don’t have the adequate words to tell you how completely underwhelmed I am by this.” (Side note: I’m storing that zinger in my memory bank for the future day when I’m the parent of a surly 15-year-old.) Fabio, meanwhile, had time-management problems (“This is a glue-the-s**t-out-of-it moment!” squealed Tim) and Elena burned her legs with hot glue, raising this pertinent question from Christopher: “Why are you wearing hoochihe shorts to work?”
Anyhow, let’s review the best and worst of the week in “candy couture”:
Judges’ Top 3
VEN: It’s pretty clear this fella has world-class construction skills — the bodice of his stained-glass minidress was exquisite, and the asymmetrical waist was perfecty executed — but the end product had about 10 percent too much ego for my taste. As Heidi noted, “He has a lot of confidence, that Ven.”
SONJIA: I was deeply concerned when Sonjia announced her intent to use candied sharks — yes, I questioned her taste level there — but the way she turned the jellied treats into a vibrant neckline, the way she used subtle gradations of turquoise to catch the eye, and the way her dress flattered her model’s figure were quite remarkable. For me, this was the week’s winning look (pictured, right) — a vibrant, flirtatious piece that perfectly captured the parameters of the challenge.
GUNNAR: I appreciated the amount of attention that went into the look — especially his creation of candy earrings and bracelet — but the DRESS Michael compared to “woven raffia” was a wee bit drab, and I didn’t love what the jutting peblum did to his model’s waistline. Oh, also, his coy “thank yous” to the judges worked my last damn nerve.
Judges’ Bottom 3
ELENA: It was almost comical how every time the camera’s cut to Elena’s dress, it had fewer and fewer pieces of piña colada licorice attached, but the true LOL factor came from the judges’ aghast responses. “She looks like a dude!” huffed Heidi of the bizarre, boxy silhouette. “This has no spirit. No fun. It’s a candy challenge, for god’s sake!” shouted Nina, offended all the way to her soul. And then, of course, there was La Kors starting to see images appearing in the “noodle art” — including the aforementioned breast-eyes. (See embedded image.)
BUFFI: This look was noticably tortured, with a bunchy bodice and heavy, messy bottom. As Heidi noted, the finished product was less Carrie Bradshaw and more “five year old going to a birthday party” — although those two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive (and I say that as a SATC die-hard). Michael’s comment, though, had me laughing hardest of all: “If you saw her on the street, somebody would probably put some money in a cup.” No wonder Buffi said she might’ve “pooped a little” during the judges’ critique. Yikes!
LANTIE: The winner of this week’s award for faintest praise (delivered by Nina Garcia): “Well, it’s not atrocious.” But as Heidi pointed out, it also hardly contained any candy, and thus, was the correct choice for an auf’ing. Lantie tried to spin her garment into a non-failure — “everybody appreciates art in a different way” — but when she scrapped her original design with only a few hours left, then sewed a basic frock using a Dylan’s brand umbrella, you knew her fate was uglier than a chocolate bar in a 3-year-old’s fist on a hot summer day.
Should’ve Been in the Top
DMITRY: I don’t know how the judges ranked his beaded flapper skirt (pictured, left) — with its flirty movement and sophisticated back zipper — below Gunnar. Maybe because Dmitry isn’t part of a tiresome attempt to stir up a rivalry with Christopher?
Should’ve Been in the Bottom
KOOAN & ANDREA: My bottom three would’ve been Lantie, Kooan, and either Andrea or Elena, but the giddy Japanese designer somehow escaped the wrath of Nina despite sending out a dress (pictured, center) that looked like the contents of a child’s vom bucket at 11:58pm on Halloween. Honestly, there was no shape or tailoring, just a sack covered with a horrifying array of color. Andrea’s smock, meanwile, really did look like the craft project Tim accused it of being. Oh, and that full-diaper-bustle just increased its crimes of fuggery!
Whay did you think of last night’s Project Runway? And why is the show treating us to a game of “Where’s Nathan”? Use the comments section thoughtfully to express yourself!