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Rubbernecking: Project Runway Episode 6, "You Can Totally Wear That Again"

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As we re-enter the wacky world of the Runway Projectors this week, we're treated to Michael D in bed chirping "Good morning" followed by, "it's like being trapped in hell." Which reminds me I've been meaning to make note of the atlas housing arrangements, who is bunking with who and like that. So here's how that shakes out at the moment:
- Michael D, Casanova, Mondo, and Christopher (can you imagine the trash talking here)
- April, Peach (who seem to be brothers from different mothers...so to speak)
- Ivy, Valerie, Gretchen (hell's bells, this is a beeyotch fest)
- Andy, Michael C (there is literally NO ONE who likes Michael C, including Andy)

Casanova's just content at the moment to have immunity from last week's win. Michael C is smarting from the Under-The-Bus-Throwathon last week (to camera: "bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep them all"). Ivy's still kissing Gretchen's ass, but behind her back opining to Valerie that she thinks the Tim speech last week was good for G and provided a reality check. Valerie diplomatically says that G has a strong personality and she tends to fall into a leadership role without realizing it. Meanwhile Gretchen pouts to camera, "I'm not a manipulative person and it really, really hurt my feelings to have Tim say that to me. It kind of clouds my vision a little bit."

Off to Runwayville for the word on the next challenge. Enter La Klum, who tells them that this week's challenge is to re-invent the world's ugliest bridesmaid dresses into a fashionable look for the women who wore them and were told, as all bridesmaids are, "you can totally wear that again." Eleven women join Heidi onstage in their dresses, which range from icky to disgusting in both fabric choice and color. This is where I notice that Ivy has the most shrill, horrible laugh.

Bridesmaid Dresses from Hell
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Since Casanova won last week he gets first choice so he goes for a tall, model-proportioned girl named Julia. Heidi opens the black bag of doom to select the next designer to choose, which turns out to be Mondo (on whom I admit to having a big schoolgirl crush right now even though he obviously plays for the other team). Mondo chooses a tanned Jersey girl, Amanda, because her dress is a rosy pink and he likes the color. It's not until she sashays off the runway that we see that there's a weird ugly white laced up panel in the back. Mondo: "Now I'm sweating."

Of course the last girl standing is the zaftig Jacleen. Michael D gets her by default as his is the last name out of the bag. "It's a date," he quips. "Alright, can't wait," returns Jacleen gamely. Meanwhile you know no one chose her because they don't have the first idea how to make clothes that aren't for tall, lithe models.

Jacleen ready for her date with destiny
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Back to the workroom, where the dresses are placed on their dressforms at everyone's space. Tim comes in and commiserates, "I have to tell you something, these are terrifying looking garments....what's wrong with the bridesmaid dress industry, I ask you." They get a 30-minute consultation with their new clients and then off to Mood with a budget of $50 to buy up to two yards of additional fabric. The caveat: they have to use most of the original dress in the design.

Christopher's model has cold feet so a new victim has been chosen for him. April worries that her model is not open to her aesthetic and is too demanding. Michael C says it's fun when you have a client you can relate to (at this point it's probably fun to be able to relate to anyone since he's in Cold Shoulderville - I feel bad for him). Peach gives her model runway walking lessons. Michael D talks about the challenges of designing for a woman "who's a little more ...um... voluptuous - it has the tendency to go really, really wrong."

Tim is adorably 5th-grade-teacher-y as they go off to shop at Mood: "Yay! Follow me."
During the shopping trip Michael D decides to buy upholstery fabric in order to get more yardage. It's obvious he's freaking about designing for a larger size woman, but he's keeping it together for the cameras. "I don't even want my girl's size to be a conversation topic," he says. "I think she has a wicked curvaceous body."

For some reason this is the episode of do-rags. Valerie and Andy both sport one during their sewing day, see below
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and on the runway day Michael D wears one that makes him look like an extra in Gone With the Wind. Do you think I'm kidding? See for yourself.
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Valerie thinks that Michael C will wow the judges, who all think they're crazy for thinking he's talentless. Here I have to ask; why do they hate on Michael C so badly? He doesn't appear to be a vicious backstabbing beeyotch like G, or a conniving kiss ass like Ivy. But there is not one designer that's on his side. Even Casanova, who gives him a friendly shove and says he's talented, is all nodding assent when everyone starts to trash talk on him. Likewise Peach - the show's mom figure - is down on Michael C. Is there something on the editing room floor we don't know about?

Speaking of editing, in an attempt to make us believe that Gretchen is not the stone cold beeyotch we all know now she really is, we get to eavesdrop this week on her videocam call to her mother. G is homesick and her mom advises her you can do this, to stick with it, tremendous opportunity etc. "My mom is one of my best friends," G tells us. The call reminds her that she needs to stay focused on her work. Meanwhile Christopher has stayed her little lap dog, he was "crushed" when Tim made those comments at the end of last week's show. "There's not a malicious bone in her body," Christopher says.

Enter La Gunn for Check In Time. G looks apprehensive, like she is being made to pet a dog that bit her. Tim comes over to her station first and the background music waxes a bit overdramatic. Tim likes what she's doing but says she needs to guard against something that could look too athletic. G thanks him for his august advice and carries on.

Tim points out to Michael D how much of an honor and a privilege it is to design for someone who's not a size 6. "I'm excited about it, you don't even know," says Michael D in such a way that I know he's lying his ass off. He's considering covering the front with a black netting which Tim thinks looks like a great big oversized bra. This can't end well.

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Mondo's got a sixties mod thing going, "I'm actually crazy about it," says Tim. (At this point I'm daydreaming about Mondo moving into my house when I make my first million and designing outfits for me full time).

Teen Heartthrob Time
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I'm a little over Valerie, who's too much into ganging up against Michael C for my taste and who also seems to be going too far into BadTasteville with her garment this week. Tim tells her it's looking as far away from fashion as one can get and "looking more like clothes" (the way he says the word clothes sounds like it's synonymous with vomit).

Peach is struggling with an awful gauzy print she chose for the top above the green pencil skirt. She's thinking of adding some peplum to the bottom, at which Tim audibly groans, but agrees she does need something to break it up. Valerie to camera: "it's a very ruffly grandma print paisley dress."

Christopher's challenge is to make his girl's fabric not look like curtains, which it actually does. Curtains hanging in Liberace's mansion in Las Vegas. Tim likes the way Casanova's look is going, "there's something sporty about it....I like this blouson." Casanova comes back with his now trademark comment: "Ek-saaaak-lee, ek-sak-lee." (Check out mashup below of "Exactly," by Casanova, from the Project Runway website)

Curveball time! Tim makes an announcement that tomorrow will not be a runway day but instead there will be a designer showcase with hundreds of people attending. Valerie wants to know if they will be real people (as opposed to...?). The designers will present their models and designs to the guests, who will vote on their favorite outfits. This will factor into the next day's judging.

The ex-bridesmaids come in for a fitting. Michael C was on the fence about the lace top that his model wanted but decided she's right and he's going to add it. Peach is "in a little bit of a Peach panic" because she made a cutting error on the skirt and doesn't have enough fabric left to fix it. She knows she'll be in the bottom but thinks (hopes) there are worse garments this week. She doesn't know if real people will like the dress because she herself doesn't like it. (Gretchen to her roomies: Peach might be "caught up with")

At the showcase each of them has a small stage where their client stands in the redesigned outfit next to a photo of what it looked like before. There's also a tip jar people will put buttons into if they like the garment. Tim advises them to "engage" and "seduce" the guests.

The crowd ends up loving Michael C and Mondo's looks. Michael D gets one button. G tells the folks that the bib like top she made is all handpainted and the look is versatile - could be worn with jeans and a blazer or could be office appropriate. I honestly question her taste level. Plus, as Michael C points out, there is serious side boobage going on.

He's not kidding
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Ivy has it in her mind that Michael C is poisoning people against her and telling them she's the bitch of the show. Is it me or is there more bitchiness than usual this season?

Gretchen feeds into Ivy's paranoia by telling her that Michael C is trying to figure out how to break her. When Andy asks Michael C if he was telling people not to vote for Ivy, Michael flat out denies it. "I would never ever do that." He decides he's going to talk to her about it. Ivy says she's not going to confront him so she can conserve her energy and focus on getting to the end of the competition. When he does confront her the next day she brushes it off.

The morning of the runway show, Peach is feeling more confident because of the public's reaction to her dress although she's in a snit because the skirt still needs to be finished. As they all run around finishing up their garments and making revisions here and there, Tim comes in to reel off the product placements (my favorite: "use the Piperlime accessory wall very thoughtfully.")

Runway Showtime. Our guest judge this week is Cynthia Rowley, who as it happens just launched a collection of bridesmaid dresses, quel coincidence. Casanova's gone quite debonair in a vest, white shirt, and tie with a natty chapeau. April's hair is down for once, which looks much better, kind of Gwen Stefani-ish. Peach is in my least favorite of her looks, the shopping mall looking pink sweater with the tiny eyeglasses all over it. Michael D's sporting the Butterfly McQueen do-rag. Andy's got a brand new Mohawk. As Cynthia Rowley is announced, Gretchen waves, clearly thrilled, and gives her a geeky fist pump.

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It's time for the show. Mondo's way pleased with his look, "the bridesmaid's dress was a catastrophe, this dress is a miracle." My thoughts? This boy is a freaking genius. This is so so cute. I love the hair because it's very retro sixties (the judges don't as you'll see). She looks like she just walked off the set of Hullabaloo. Along with our model looks this week I'm going to give you the before of their garments, except for Christopher, who had no before photo.

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Ivy's a little concerned over the fit of her model's pants. For my money, this is a pretty good transformation of an ugly bridesmaid's gown.

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Valerie thinks her model looks great but Nina has that knitted brow look like what was she thinking - and this is not a look you ever want NG to have. I am hard pressed to believe that talented Valerie did this, it's so unattractive.

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Gretchen's model has a weird twotone bib top and the skirt looks like it was burnt with an iron, plus the thigh high boots. I'm starting to realize G has an unhealthy fascination with high boots.

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Peach sees her model coming down the runway and expresses, "...I think for the love of God and all that's holy what did I do to this girl." Peach doesn't look at the judges because she's afraid of the look on MK's face. Oh, triple ick. The skirt is wayyyyy too short. And the top...well, let's let the shredding take place by the experts. One thing I have to say though, bra straps along with the halter top...not so much.

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Andy's having second thoughts on his outfit, the shorts needed to be shorter perhaps but he feels the overall look is really good, really strong. Michael D: "She's going to take your husband away." To me, this looks so so boring. Far from a clubbing outfit which is what Tim said in the workroom, more like she's going to do laundry on a summer afternoon on the lower east side. Am I crazy?

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As his girl walks down the runway, Michael C is looking only at Nina's face. "She looks at my dress and she puts the little card over her head and I was like, OHMYGOD IT'S TOO SHORT, I'm dying inside, that's it, I'm going home." I admit I'm impressed by this dress, especially made by someone the other designers keep saying has no talent.

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Christopher's girl walks the plank. G tells him it's really well made which must be her way of being nice or something. I think he did an admirable job with a flouncy dress that looked like curtains.

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Michael D's model is next. The hair up looks too severe. She looks matronly. Not a look you would ever want to have, least of all on a runway. Heidi looks frankly puzzled. Michael D: "If they send me home they send me home. I'm not going to cry." Jacleen deserved better.

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Casanova likes his model's look. He thinks making a dress from a dress is expected - but to make motorcycle pants from a bridesmaid's dress is unexpected. I like this look, the colors are cute, and I really like the half boots he chose for the model to wear.

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April is totally thrilled by her model, who walks like she knows her way around a runway. "Oh my God, she's so fierce." I haven't been very impressed by April, in fact was surprised she made it this far, but she did well with this.

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April, Ivy, Andy, Gretchen, and Casanova are declared safe and go off to the dishing area to dish on who's on the top and who's on the bottom. It's another Michael C hatefest. April thinks he's in the bottom. G says there are construction issues with his dress - "you can't do a zipper, a swoop, lace and satin - COME ON!" Ivy says he's kind of all over the place. April and Casanova just nod along.

Left on the runway are Michael C, Peach, Mondo, Valerie, Christopher, and Michael D. The judges start on - I mean with - Michael D. MK comes out with another great Korsism: "I actually think you went from bridesmaid to Bat Mitzvah." Heidi says it looked better before. Nina says that the fabric is unfortunate, "it looks like mosquito netting from here, plus you can see every single detail that went wrong." Cynthia says she thinks she sees that he was going for a kind of retro Mad Men idea but it didn't work. The model, Jacleen, says she thinks it's really fun and it feels way more comfortable than the original dress.

Christopher is next. MK says it feels like two dresses were glued together, he likes the top and the bias at the waist, but the bottom doesn't work. Nina likes the top but feels the bottom is too short. Heidi finds it sexy and still very elegant. Cynthia is the biggest champion - "it feels like the bridesmaid's dress was ripped apart and deconstructed...it's beautiful...it's perfect."

Peach, oy vey gevolt. MK starts by saying, "I think her hair is gorgeous..." Peach gushes, "isn't it beautiful?" Michael Kors finishes, "...but that's all I think looks gorgeous. The shredding commences. "The top is a Holly Hobbie halter, there's nothing sexy about it at all, I don't think that the avocado dinner napkins tucked in at her hip are doing anything for you...She's young and cool and you're trying to make her look like she's at the church Bring-A-Pot-Dinner." Peach says she felt it was really chopping Erika without the peplum, to which MK argues that she has an avocado goiter. OUCH. Erika gamely thinks the outfit is fun, to which MK asks if she saw herself in a three-way mirror (she says yes). Heidi likes the racer back, but says the ruffle on the bottom looks like a bedskirt. Nina chimes in that the color is "boring" and the design "just looks weird and old." Cynthia thinks fashion "should look effortless and this looks oddly uptight." Peach admits she got lost. Heidi asks Erika if she feels sexy, Erika responds that she feels comfortable. "That means no," laughs Heidi.

Let's take a closer look at those avocado dinner napkins. Oh, ish.
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Mondo is next. Nina likes the asymmetry, streamlined, modern. Cynthia says it's a good transformation, sleek and cool. Her only issue is that Amanda's hair looks like a style she would have worn with the original bridesmaid's dress. MK loves the pink strip at the shoulder, both feminine and tough: "It's a hot dress on a hot girl."

Valerie takes some serious hits for her look. She starts to explain that she wanted to do color blocking to give the illusion of bringing Lena in. MK says that color blocking can do great things for your body but "the way this is color blocked it's like you turned her into nursing grandmother chest." Nina says the top is lopsided, "you've made her look shorter and broader than she is." Cynthia adds the straps look a little Fredericks of Hollywood. Heidi's one remark is that she didn't hate it as much as everyone else.

Michael C is last. Heidi says it's really edgy and really hip. Hard but still sexy and feminine. She loves the lace on top. MK says his styling is spot on, "you took a very bland bridesmaid's dress and you gave her a cocktail dress that in fact looks very expensive." Cynthia calls it's "ultra sophisticated" and loves that it's almost at that too-short length "where it's exciting." Nina loves the mix of the lace, the satin, the detail of the velvet bow in the back.

The judges dispatch everyone to the dishing area while they make their final decisions. Peach tells the group that her dress was "her gift to everyone here because you guys are safe." Michael D says the judges thought his outfit looked cheap and that he made Jacleen look worse, "but Michael here...they loved his." Michael C, who had been sitting quietly, admits that they loved the lace, the back, the little bow, the paneling. Everyone looks like they just smelled something really bad.

Back in JudgeLand, their top three are Michael C, Mondo and Christopher. Heidi liked the bustier and the one shoulder of Christopher's dress. Cynthia is impressed with how effortless the faux organza drape on the top looked. As for Mondo, they all agree the transformation of his dress was astounding. Heidi: "he made a modern, hot dress." Nina adds, "but the hair and makeup were the Jersey Shore. MK: "Snooki and the Flintstones." As for Michael C, they seem to take special delight in the fact that the whole group trashed him severely last week for not knowing how to sew. MK says that dress had that perfect balance, the sleeve and higher neckline balanced the shorter hemline. It was a "phenomenal transformation" from the original dress.

The bottom three are Valerie, Michael D, and Peach. MK calls Valerie's "a really bad tennis dress gone wrong." Cynthia calls it "a kinda weird cartoon character." Michael D, they all agree, made the model look so much worse than the original dress. Peach's dress looked "homesewn" (Heidi), "totally over-designed" (Nina). MK says "she has the sewing and tailoring skills - it's the taste level that I'm worried about."

How about some peplum?
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As the six of them file back out to face the music, barely after the door closes on them, Gretchen flips out. "What show are we on???? I feel like I don't even know why I'm here, man! I had to bite my tongue." Andy says he feels like they're spinning him in five circles. I mean, I've heard of sore losers, but this is beyond ridiculous!

Michael C is the winner. He is so excited he jumps up and down and immediately goes to hug Valerie, who's standing next to him, forgetting in his excitement that she hates him as much as the rest of them do. This means he has immunity for the next challenge. He's teary-eyed and goes back to the dishing area.

When Michael C comes into the room and announces that he won, everyone looks dismayed. Ivy (in a bitchy voice): "of course you did." Gretchen, frowning, tells the camera "it's frustrating because craftsmanship isn't as acknowledged as I had hoped it to be." Yes, we can't all make a garment that looks like an iron burnt it in several places.

Reaction Shots to Michael C's win
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Casanova's the only one who admits he respects Michael C as a designer. Wow. So much vitriol. It's just like being in junior high school where the popular kids freeze out one unlucky kid. Mondo's next to come back as safe and second runner up. When he comes in there's a chorus of well wishing. Christopher's next as third runner up, another chorus of gladness from the dishing area.

Valerie escapes from the bottom three as safe. Peach and Michael D are the bottom two. Michael D narrowly escapes, he'd better thank his lucky stars for that avocado peplum. Peach - out. She graciously thanks the judges, saying, "thank you, I've had the time of my life." She goes back to say goodbye to the troops: "Who's gonna be the fairy dragmother?"

Everyone is sad, and even I have to admit a tear comes to my eye, even though I couldn't understand why Peach kept slithering through week after week (simple answer, there were worse trainwrecks - but the writing was on the wall). She's such a nice lady - that's the truth. Tim comes in to bid a fond farewell: "You're a gem and we're going to miss you a lot." There's nary a dry eye in the room.

And sew it goes!

Check out the Michael C video diary for this episode in which he tells us how he really feels about everyone hating on him, from the official Project Runway site.

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Project Runway airs Thursday nights at 9pm ET on Lifetime TV