Actual Title: Can't We All Just Get Along?
We've breached the halfway mark now for this season, and after the recap I'll give you all my take on the Project Runway fashion show which I was fortunate to attend on Friday morning September 9 at Lincoln Center (like last year, all 9 remaining designers showed so we have no idea who are the final 3). OMG it was wild... but more on that later!
So this week, we find out that Joshua M. just can't play well with others, nohow noway. And we learn that Bert actually can, when push comes to shove. Not even five minutes into episode 7, Josh is grousing that he didn't win last week's avant-garde challenge with his Helena-Bonham-Carter-On-Fire look (in case you forgot what that looked like) and now we know it is his photo you see in the dictionary under sore loser. The remaining ten sit in their chairs to receive the next challenge from La Klum as she comes out swinging the black velvet bag of doom. Another team challenge... this one two teams of five... and no leaders! Anthony won last week's challenge so he gets to choose first, and chooses Anya. Josh is chosen next to start team 2, and he chooses Laura, who is as close to him as another designer can get at this point, which is to say tentatively on his good side.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been watching the show that Bert is of course the last one chosen, and he reluctantly rounds out team 2 with Josh, Laura, Becky, and Kimberly. Heidi feels bad that he is always the last one chosen, and Bert shares to camera that he finds Laura and Josh very cliquish and elementary school. We later learn he actually likes Becky and Kimberly because he feels they don't bring the drama the others do. It's a revelation to me that he likes anyone at this point, let alone has memorized their names.
Tim's waiting in the workroom for them with a cheery good morning as they troop in to hear more details about the challenge. "You probably corrected deduced that this is the HP and Intel challenge," Tim tells them as they note that each of them has a new HP Touchsmart computer at their workspace. The marvelous Betsy Johnson comes in to give them more details and to urge them "to throw away me, me, me" and "go for the team." They'll get 30 minutes to confer with their team members and then 45 minutes to develop a textile design on their new computers. Each team will create a five-look collection and design and produce a fashion show with a video backdrop and music, and they will have two days to complete the challenge. Oh, and we also learn that Laura likes to say that she is like Betsy Johnson and Oscar de la Renta's love child if they were to have a baby. Okay, then.
Anthony's team (Anthony, Viktor, Bryce, Olivier, Anya) decide to call themselves Team Chaos and are obviously the equivalent of the cool popular kids in Bert's elementary school analogy. The other team (Josh, Bert, Laura, Kimberly, Becky) decide they are Team Nuts & Bolts but I think a better name might be Team Oil & Water as that is exactly the team dynamic (although Kimberly later points out that they are a team of nuts -- Josh, Bert, Becky -- and bolts -- herself and Laura).
Even though there are no team leaders, Josh M. immediately starts to try to steer his team to his own aesthetic which is something circus-y and carnivalish, perhaps (OMFG) five female versions of the Village People. Thankfully that idea is quickly thrown by the wayside for a time and clocks theme. They need to choose three prints to base the collection on, and naturally Bert's sketch doesn't print, so he starts muttering and cursing under his breath. Josh is on him like white on rice and the scene that ensues rivals other seasons for its capital-D Drama.
(We later learn that Josh is more bent out of shape than usual because it's his mother's birthday that week, and she died two years ago and he wasn't able to see her one last time because he couldn't afford to take time off from his restaurant job to go home, so he needs to take this out on everyone and everything around him, with the possible exception of Laura Kathleen.)
Bert, meanwhile, tries to be conciliatory which is a little like the boy who cried wolf as far as I'm concerned since he hasn't shown heretofore that he even knows what that word means. Josh stalks off to the lounge and Laura tries to smooth things over and get the team back on the right track because, oh yes, this is a competition and we're on television. It's decided that she and Josh will shoot the video and the other three will go shopping at Mood. Viktor and Bryce are the videomakers for the other team. At the end of the work day, Josh makes an apology to the entire workroom for his behavior earlier, but especially to his team and most especially to Bert, who reluctantly hugs him.
Seriously Bert, which one of us do you think is the most unpopular with the cool kids?
Day 2 of the challenge begins and long story short, Team Chaos is getting along beautifully and their collection looks fantastic. Team Oil & Water seem to be getting along better than yesterday, but not all that great. Becky finds Anya and Laura dishing in the café over their salads and Laura tells her in front of Anya that she thinks her skirt reads math teacher (this by the way being the fabric that Laura herself designed). Becky, who's more than a little passive aggressive for my taste, suggests that perhaps she should make a skirt in all three fabrics and then they can choose which one looks best.
When Tim comes for his check-ins, Team Chaos looks like the cat that ate the canary. Their designs are obviously both cohesive and collaborative and they're all happily engaged in the challenge. Team Oil & Water are the polar opposite. Tim's "frankly very troubled" by Laura's blue charmeuse jumpsuit, and it only gets worse from there. When he asks Josh what goes under the gear-inspired jacket he's working on, Josh looks like a deer in the headlights, like he hasn't thought about this one iota. He starts picking a fight with Tim when La Gunn points out that the judges will want to know where the model is going, per se.
And then a moment happens which has never before happened on any season on Project Runway. Tim asks the designers on Team Oil & Water to join hands and vow that they will communicate with each other, because if they don't do this, they are doomed. And he darts out of the room, most likely to get a cocktail and process the whole thing. Meanwhile, Josh goes to a very dark place because he's never had a critique with Tim that went this badly. This is where we learn about him not making it home to see his mom one last time, and he calls his dad from the lounge in tears.
Oh Lord, Kumbaya
The next morning is the day of their runway show and there are two guest judges for this challenge, interestingly enough: Fashion Designer Rachel Roy and Actress Rose Byrne. Team Nuts & Bolts are first to present on the runway.
TEAM NUTS & BOLTS AKA OIL & WATER
The clear winners are Team Chaos as anyone could have predicted, and the losing team are sent to the green room to wait while the judges talk to the winners. Becky starts her passive aggressive dance again projecting that Josh wants her and Bert to go home so he can "have fun" with the rest of them, which sets Josh off into Bitchy Queen Mode again and he proves with this look he is without a doubt the Meanest Girl in the Schoolyard.
Out on the runway, Heidi thinks that Team Chaos presented one of the best ever runway shows and she loves all their prints. MK opines that perhaps some of the outfits are more sophisticated than others and they should have kept up the sophistication through the collection but on the other hand Olivier's jacket is one of the strongest tailored pieces they've ever seen on the show (Come home, Olivier, all is forgiven even though you appear not to have a personality and it's week 7 already). The only caveat is the judges all feel that the models could be better styled, but overall there's never been a clearer win. One of the five of them will be chosen as the winner and they all nominate themselves to win except for Bryce, who names Anya (and his design, no big surprise, was the weakest of the collection).
Team Oil & Water troops out to face the music which will end later with the big metallic swoosh broom. Heidi's problem is that their outfits are so busy and MK says the theme of clocks and time shouldn't be so literal. They also hated the video with legs and high heels coming out of cabs, MK points out that it looks like "a hooker convention coming home after a late night." The crowning touch is the words delayed and canceled displayed all over the model's crotch on Becky's skirt (of course Josh does not own up, at least in the edited version of the show, to the fact that this design was his textile). Heidi asks who is the weakest link. It's a toss up between Becky, Josh, and Bert. "The dream team!" says Heidi sarcastically. Josh says that he did his part and executed great designs and workmanship, whether or not he threw wrenches into the whole process. And it's time for the Lil' Chat.
The judges love Olivier's jacket, Viktor's gown, and Anya's dress. As for the other team, they're bored by Becky's outfits and Nina points out there was no design in the look she made today at all. MK notes that Becky can sew, "but it's not Project Seamstress." Heidi questions Josh's taste level and they all agree he is a bully. They also agree - finally! - that Bert is not a team player in the least. The one saving grace for the losers is that the models were styled very well.
Anya is named the winner and she and her team go to the green room. Laura, Kimberly, and Bert are safe. Josh and Becky are the bottom two, and I'm sure no one is surprised when Becky and her dead spider earrings is sent packing. There's an interesting video on the official show website in which Becky says she felt the whole experience was like high school with the popular kids and then everyone else. She felt she was "an easy target" one of the reasons being that she was the oldest female. The other designers also weigh in on her, and Cecilia reveals that Becky made voodoo dolls during her time on the show and kept them on her windowsill. To which I say; say what??!!
Becky in happier days; dressing up as Boy George. Do you really want to hurt me?
And sew it goes...
Next week: Designing for real women, with real breasts! Oh, the horror!
Lincoln Center Dish: As I said earlier, all nine of the remaining designers showed on Friday. To my extreme surprise since I never would have predicted this, I felt Laura Kathleen's collection to be the clear winner among all of them. Viktor's was also very good. Kimberly, Josh, and Bryce's collections were not good or cohesive in the least. Bert's contained some nice things but they were all very subdued and kind of Eileen Fischer looking. Olivier's collection was beautifully tailored but there was no, as Tim Gunn would say, wow factor. Anthony's included a lot of prints and the models were impeccably styled with very cool accessories and wigs. Anya's was very Caribbean and the prints, to my dismay, just didn't do it for me. From seeing the final collections I'd predict the top three to be Laura and Viktor for sure and then either Olivier or Anthony. I wish I could show you all some photos, but the lighting pretty much ensured that you couldn't photograph them from the audience without it looking washed out (believe me I tried). The whole experience was sublime, however. I also saw some designers from seasons past including a very nattily dressed Nick Verreos (love him and his blogs on the current season) and Austin Scarlett, who is stunning in person and couldn't be nicer, posing for photos with fans. Apparently L'Wren Scott is the guest judge for the finale, y'all, and here's a great photo of the judges sitting together at the show from Stylelist.
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9pm on Lifetime TV.