Project Runway Recap: Work to Do

elena melissa project runwayFive episodes in to Season 10 of Project Runway, and I’m feeling a little dubious about the show’s title. I mean, the “Project” half seems to be more about the moneymaking endeavors of the show’s various judges and sponsors, while absurd (or is it cost-saving?) time limitations have left the “Runway” half of the equation as something of an afterthought.

This week’s beneficiary? Nina Garcia (aka “Nitpicking Nina”), who trumpeted her day job’s brand extension, Marie Claire @ Work, by splitting the designers into two teams, tasking each with creating a cohesive collection of chic professional outfits, and then asking them to stage a photo shoot centered around said looks — with the winning spread appearing in the pages of the magazine. The designers were only given till 11pm that evening to finish their garments, because apparently, in this economy, a condensed shooting schedule for Lifetime trumps a scintillating and inventive runway show for the viewing audience.

The idea of a group challenge was met with expected amounts of disdain from the contestants. “Honestly, I want to kill myself,” said Ven, dramatically. Raul was chosen last in a schoolyard-style pick, which sent him into a spiral of insecurities.

Team 5 (Christopher, Ven, Nathan, Fabio, and Gunnar) quickly settled on a color palette and a season, while totally dismissing Gunnar’s ridiculous interjections (“how about a touch of nautical?” “maybe a really warm plum”). Alas, Tim Gunn wasn’t completely convinced by their choices (“It’s looking kind of clownish,” he frowned), and nor were their rivals, who dubbed them the “chiffonies.” “What the chiffonies don’t know is that women don’t wear silk chiffon every day to work,” said Melissa, a wicked twinkle in her eye.

Over at Team 6 (Elena Full of Rage, Sonjia, Melissa, Dmitry, Alicia, and Raul), Raul refused to embrace the collaborative spirit and told his teammates they’d have to accept whatever he made and incorporate it into the collection. “He’s off doing ruffles and all this crap,” huffed Elena, exhibiting her usual grace and charm.

The workroom also gave us a couple of memorable quotes. “Ven is a one-way monkey,” said Dmitry, who quickly corrected himself with the more popular “one-trick pony,” but the hilarious damage was done. Meanwhile, after Elena helped out Raul by modeling his leather vest, she had a few pieces of constructive criticism: “Eddie Munster, that vest he made looks like s**t,” she snarled.

We then got a brief interlude of the designers directing and styling their Marie Claire @ Work photo shoot, where Elena again exploded, this time over Raul’s determination to use straight-from-a-catalog “props” and “furniture.” “She looks like she’s taking a s**t!” Elena screamed at one unfortunate setup, and while her delivery may have been abrasive and domineering, she wasn’t entirely off the mark.

Finally, it was time for the runway show. Let’s review the best and worst:

Judges’ Top 3
MELISSA: With its gorgeous, sctructural collar, diagonal zip back, and brilliant color, this really was, as Nina noted, “a showstopper.” Did this remind anyone else of those Chinese paper floor lamps? No? Nevertheless, it was nice to see the best design rewarded with a win.

CHRISTOPHER: The skirt appeared to use a similar technique to Christopher’s Episode 1 gown — manipulating a “granny” fabric into distressed strips — and while the end result was nifty, the designer himself admitted his jacket was “bulky and puckered.” And yet he was essentially the runner-up? If this isn’t a clue to Lifetime that the contestants simply need more time to sketch, shop, sew, and complete their garments, then I don’t know what is.

FABIO: I really didn’t care for the way this sack-like garment moved down the runway, or at least that’s what my notes say. In all honesty, I’m not sure I could identify Fabio’s dress off a sales-rack lineup at Macy’s, which really doesn’t say much for its uniqueness or inventiveness. I did, however, appreciate Heidi’s “that is silly now” when Fabio refused to choose the weakest member of his team, and instead lauded Ven as the strongest.

Judges’ Bottom 3
RAUL: Not only was his ruffle-riffic blouse a weird choice for an office challenge, but one side of it appeared to be paralyzed, while the other flounced rhythmically as it came down the runway. Elena showed no tact when she told the judges that “his construction is horrible,” but I couldn’t really argue with her main point. In this instance, Raul’s second aufing of the season seemed as merciful as it was inevitable.

GUNNAR: Maybe if Gunnar had spent more time on his design, and less time criticizing his teammates in the confessional, his top wouldn’t have made the model’s breasts look like “two puppies wrestling in a sack” (as guest judge Joanna Coles noted). I loved her retort to Michael Kors’ comment that no one would wear the frock to the office: “No one’s wearing it anywhere.”

ELENA: That weird smock with the bulky, flapping shoulders wouldn’t have worked for a trip to a paintball arena, let alone the office. Perhaps Nina Garcia can sum it up:  “Let’s be honest: She’s obsessed with the shoulder!” I honestly wouldn’t have cared, though, if they’d left Elena out of the bottom three and replaced her with Nathan and his “pajama pant.”

Whay did you think of last night’s Project Runway? Use the comments section thoughtfully to express yourself!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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27 Comments
  1. Theresa says:

    I didn’t like Melissa’s dress at all. The collar was ridiculous and I can’t imagine any woman wearing that to work.

    • Bobbi says:

      The only thing I liked about it was the color. That neckline would be choking me all day and I certainly wouldn’t want to be sitting on that stupid zipper for 8 to 10 hours! Totally inappropriate for an office.

      • MoHub says:

        Agreed! Also, I would think the zipper would pull the line of the dress out of whack in normal, everyday sitting, standing, and walking. Not to mention the difficulty of getting that zipper up in the first place if one was dressing alone at home.

    • annieanne says:

      She had the germ of a good idea but wasn’t given anywhere near enough time to execute it decently. The collar was overdone, the zipper caused all kinds of weird bunching around the waist and it was too tight across the bustline.
      Colour was great though.

  2. Carrie says:

    I agree. The notion that that dress was work appropriate was a joke. It was an even bigger joke when Joanna said that she could see a lawyer or a person in financial services wear that. Give me a break – they wear power suits, not cocktail dresses. I could maybe see it working in another industry without the collar, but it was obvious that none of these people have worked in a non-fashion office for years, if not decades.

  3. Lyndsey says:

    No woman (with common sense) would wear a dress with THAT collar to work! Seriously, that is just ridiculous!

  4. CA says:

    While I agree that the winning dressing was stunning in color and a “showstopper”, I question if ANYONE in a professional environment outside of the fashion industry would wear that dress! Granted, Team 5’s were more commercial (Gunnar’s notwithstanding) and that is probably why I identified more with them and could see them being worn in the workplace. Was it just me, or was the model on Team 6 (wearing the skinny pants and blue shoes) seemed bored with the whole thing?

  5. gp says:

    A parade of unfortunate crotch accidents and NO ONE mentions it?? Tragedy.

    • martina says:

      I know! I was waiting the whole time for Nina to say somethin about those awful pants, and NOTHING! I believe she even praised Alicia’s horrible trousers! This was a horrible episode, and I’m not sure if it was because of the ridiculous time constraint or this mediocre bunch of contestants. For me the only stand outs this challenge, and throughout the whole competition, were Melissa and Dmitry.

    • D says:

      Agreed- Ven’s skirt, can you say “camel toe”?

    • CB says:

      I thought the same exact thing!

  6. Maybe if they had normal, everyday working women as the judges then maybe the judging would be believable and correctly done.

  7. My new favorite phrase is One way monkey. I’m going to find a way to use it every day. I swear. That being said I think someone should start a facebook or twitter campaign or something to let lifetime know that murdering our show with ridiculous deadlines is only going to kill their ratings and the show in the long run.

  8. Lisa (@KittyKay3) says:

    Project Runway has been my favorite show for years. This season is off. The shortened work time is ridiculous. We have seen very little quality work this season because of it. I don’t know if the contestants are less likable/memorable this season or if they haven’t let us get to know them. We are 5 episodes in and still know little about the cast. Will this season get better? Why is it so bad?

  9. erin says:

    I’m Team Melissa here… love everything she’s done so far this season & so happy to see her finally get a win.

  10. Gilda says:

    I liked Melissa’s dress for a runway, but exactly what office job does one wear that to? I know that office dress varies, but can you picture a lawyer or tax attorney typing out reports in that collar?

  11. Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

    Yeah, no to Melissa’s dress being good for the office. Would you want to eat something in that thing? If you could fold down the neckline by unzipping the zipper in the back, maybe, but then you’ve just got an ordinary dress with an annoying zipper.

    I probably liked Dimitri’s the best, cutous be damned. Those are less ridiculous than the big collar. At least you could wear a jacket or vest during the daytime if your office was uptight.

    The deadlines are ridiculous and we’re getting a lot of dull looks out of it because of that.

  12. Go Dmitry! I have such a crush on him, he’s adorable and his clothes are gorgeous.

    ‘One way monkey’ is my favourite phrase ever, ever, ever.

  13. Leela says:

    I really liked Team 5. The designs looked professional and expensive and all were tasteful. The Team 6 looks were more suited to secretarial positions – if that – and looked more like something you’d wear to a club after work. Melissa’s dress was interesting but it was so not office wear – maybe in the fashion industry, like a position at Marie Claire magazine, but not a bank or law firm. Dmitri’s was the one standout – his designs are always elegant/edgy – and his dress was stunning even if the back cutouts were completely wrong for office wear.

  14. LaLa says:

    I actually liked Gunnar’s dress. You know what would have made it work even better? The use of a bra. I was scratching my head when the judges were coming up with their “clever” comments comparing the model’s chest to puppies and failed souffles, thinking to myself, put on a bra, problem solved. I loved Dmitry’s dress, minus the peekaboo cut outs in the back. But once again, easy fix: a jacket. Elena was horrible. Goodbye for good (until the reunion), Raul.

  15. Lana says:

    I love Dimitri’s disigns and Ven’s but I also loved the wide pants that went with the horrible Elena top I also agreed with Dimitri when he said Elena was the weakest designer, she is horrible and I hate her as much as Raul does. I am itching to slap her. She is a bully, but can not handle being treated the same way, if you dish it, you must be able to take it too. I can’t believe Melissa was upset about how Elena was treating everyone and then turned on Dimitri when he spoke the truth about Elena. Oh and no one mentioned Sonja’s gorgeous skirt that had the boring Raul top, in fact it saved that top. I also hate the new time limits and if Lifetime thinks this is making the challenges better its not. You are coming up with fun challenges but you are ruining them with these silly times, please come to your senses before you totally ruin what was a fun and interesting series completely. If anyone does find out how we get Lifetimes attention on this let us know here and I will be one of the ones to do what must be done cause I will hate to lose this show and we will lose it if it continues this way.

  16. D says:

    Ven’s skirt belongs in the camel toe hall of fame for PR.

  17. terry clarke says:

    I can’t believe you would allow a designer – Ben – to hurt a plus size woman so badly and
    still be allowed to stay on the show! This was an insult to women of all sizes. He should be
    kicked out imediately.

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