This week, Project Runway unveiled its official Season 6 opening credits, in which the designers scurry around and shout would-be catchphrases whenever Heidi pauses in her monologue. Near the beginning, Mitchell shouts "Let's do this!" using a voice and stance that suggests he has been in no fewer than three productions of A Chorus Line (and just writing that made me realize Project Runway kind of is A Chorus Line, only with designers instead of dancers and Heidi and Tim instead of the director and choreographer. How amazing would ProjRun: The Musical Be? Someone get on this, now. You are welcome.)
It is morning at the apartments. Malvin, in what will later be revealed to be ironic foreshadowing, cloaks himself, cocoon-like, in curtains while Mitchell rather self-awarely opines to the rest of the guys that America thinks he sucks. Over at the lady headquarters, the women have made a pact to quit sleeping and eating to focus on their designs. This is a joke, but looking at Carol Hannah makes one wonder.
Out on the runway, Heidi presents the challenge: they will be designing a look for a supermodel with a "big" surprise... her ginormous pregnant belly! Out comes Rebecca Romijn (who will henceforth be known as RR because I have to Google her every time I need to spell her last name), who, if you remember, was carrying twins back in the fall of 2008, where we are still trapped in time. Heidi instructs that the designers must create a form-fitting, "pregnancy-chic" outfit -- as opposed to, I guess, something that would make her look dumpy and whale-sized. In case anyone was confused.
Back in the work room, each designer receives a fake belly for their mannequin that resembles a sack of flour equipped with a Velcro strap. Christopher, who is inexplicably wearing a crocheted army helmet, quips, "Is this where the baby goes?" Ra'mon Lawrence notes that RR looks to be in her "early second semester." Logan drawls that he's "never really had a lot of pregnant women in my life." Well, at least none that he knew about. Zing!
At this point I have to note that I am developing a fairly baseless hatred for Shirin, who seems to me to be sort of a Kenley 2.0 (Kenley, by the way, is out of jail and getting her own reality show, hopefully to be called Wheres My Tulle? kind of like that old show What's My Line? Anyway...) I feel I have to admit my prejudice so that you can take anything I say about her with a grain of salt. My friend Jess, who cohosts the viewing party I attend each week (since I tragically do not have cable), finds Shirin "kind of adorable." Hopefully we will not come to fisticuffs over this -- I need her TV. In my defense, though, my friend Arcelie's supercute baby Kingston, who is five months old and who we are already forcing to become a Project Runway fan, began to cry when Shirin came onscreen last night.
Speaking of Shirin, she is making a dress and a coat, because "other people will just be making dresses." Um, way to be different? Carol Hannah admits that she once made a maternity dress for a bridesmaid. Ra'mon Lawrence is going for something tailored and refined, as he expects everyone else will be going the drape-y, Grecian route. Althea is crafting an intricate ribbon bodice. Louise is, shockingly, doing a 1920s-esque dress that looks a lot like her dress from the first challenge. Malvin, who my husband insists looks like "a Vietnamese Emile Hirsch," is going for a super-conceptual "Mother Hen" look. Mitchell, bless his heart, has decided to make gathered short shorts. When he first stitches them it looks like he's kidding because they are enormous, but sadly he is not kidding. (For the record, Kingston cried again at the sight of the shorts. He's like a baby barometer for lack of fierceness).
Tim comes in for his traditional assessment. He has nice things to say about the work of Althea and Shirin. Louise is concerned that her garment looks too much like lingerie, and Tim tells her to trust her gut. Actually what he says is "If your viscera says uh-oh..." which I hereby nominate for the title of his autobiography. If Your Viscera Says Uh-Oh: The Tim Gunn Story. Right? Moving on. Malvin has crafted what he describes as "an egg in a nest," but which looks more like a pregnancy bump sling. He informs Tim that he will be crafting jodhpurs, "like chicken thighs," and Tim -- keeping with Malvin's theme -- kind of clucks sadly and backs away. Ra'mon Lawrence (who has been getting too much screen time for my liking, in the way that if you see too much of a person you know they're in trouble) has created a color-blocked dress which would look great on a thin person but which has the unfortunate effect of making the giant belly look even bigger. Tim warns him to be careful, as "cuckoo's already happened," and the camera cuts to Malvin. Ha! Mitchell tells Ra'mon that his dress looks like a bowling ball bag and then hedges, saying that it looks better from far away. Way to be supportive, Mitchell. Out in the hallway, Johnny has suddenly morphed into Miss Jay from America's Next Top Model and is teaching an impromptu class on runway walking. Nic bitches that nobody's dresses are looking fitted or chic. Logan hammers something and Ra'mon Lawrence says, "You're Stella all of a sudden? Working on your leatha?" LOVE HIM.
The models come in and there is the usual pre-runway fitting/hair/makeup chaos. God, Mitchell's shorts are awful. He seems doomed.
On the runway, Heidi introduces the judges. Nina and RR are joined by Monique Lhuillier, who is sitting in for Michael Kors. Her presence seems kind of random until Heidi smugly informs the designers that all of the judges have been pregnant, so they know what to look for. Down come the lights, out come the hot pregnant messes!
ALTHEA Very lovely, although Monique Lhuillier later advises that she make more room in the cups. If that model really was pregnant, we'd be seeing nipple.
CAROL HANNAH Carol Hannah loves the tiny jacket she has created from what looks like scraps of garbage bag. I do not. But the dress part is OK.
CHRISTOPHER PRETTY. I covet the top. I'm not a fan of leggings, but we'll suspend disbelief and accept that they look good on this model's tiny thighs.
EPPERSON This jacket made me think of a big wad of Kleenex. It's obvious (at least from last week's outfit) that Epperson is into big drapes of thick fabric. Which is fine. But then the jacket came off to reveal...
Epperson, I have you on my Project Runway Fantasy Team! Come on, man. You're killing me here.
GORDANA From the waist up, I love this, but the leggings...? I'm just saying that pregnant women retain water. And that most people's thighs touch when they walk.
IRINA Suprcute! I would wear this, knocked up or no. But the front seems dangerously close to revealing her, um, birth canal. She could deliver while wearing this dress. Which I guess makes it an all-occasion garment.
JOHNNY This seems way too tight, but I think it's just because the pregnant belly is so fake-looking. I take issue with the styling (too much going on with the accessories, and I would have chosen black wedges), but the dress itself is nice.
LOGAN This is chic, and does the momma-to-be a favor by covering her ass, unlike Gordana's. Logan's no Stella when it comes to leatha...but maybe that's a good thing.
LOUISE It does look like a nightie, but it's so well-executed that I don't really care. Louise may be kind of one-note (judging from her Challenge 1 dress, which also featured a flower-embellished shoulder and delicate detailing), but you have to give it to her that she does it well.
MALVIN Well. This model appears to have already birthed her flour sack, but the good news is she found some burlap in the L'Oreal Paris makeup room and fashioned a last-minute Snuggly. She does look like she is carrying a nest, so I suppose Malvin has realized his vision. Unfortunately that vision also involved two-tone booties.
MITCHELL To Mitchell's credit, his horrible, baby-aggravating granny shorts look like a cute skirt in this photo, albeit one that creates a draft strong enough for the fetus to go windsurfing in utero. Sadly, they remain gathered booty shorts -- three words that should never go together.
NIC I like this in theory, but the satin reveals too many bunched seams. I think a stretchier fabric would have been more flattering.
QRISTYL There's always one look that I am totally ambivalent about, and this is that look. It's... fine. Do any of you have strong opinions?
RA'MON LAWRENCE I do love the colors and the design. I think it's just not right for a pregnant woman. Ra'mon, I'll totally wear this, though. Call me.
SHIRIN I must give Shirin props, because not only is this justifiably awesome... ...but her model has the morning sickness look down.
Side note: During the commercial break, an add for Top Chef aired in which Padma Lakshmi purrs "Who's gonna get lucky?", seductively blows on dice, and basically rubs her boobs on Tom Colicchio. Is Top Chef not about what I think it's about?
Back to the runway! Everyone but Shirin, Mitchell, Louise, Malvin, Ra'mon Lawrence, and Althea are safe. The judges collectively love Althea's dress. RR acknowledges that Louise's dress looks like a negligee, but loves it anyway. Shirin is praised for her detailing and exquisite taste. The judges take Ra'mon to task for "sloppy" execution and the fact that he's accentuating the belly far too much. But the final two are fairly obvious:
MALVIN: He explains his Mother Hen concept and shows us that he has in fact taken it a step further by adding feather-like detailing on the black top. Nina Garcia wishes that he had just gone with that idea instead of adding the hideous sling which -- like I said, foreshadowing -- looks like it could have been crafted of the selfsame curtains Malvin snuggled in at the start of the show. Heidi, RR, and Monique L'huillier agree that it is busted.
Louise is in. And now for the winner of the challenge. Congratulations... Shirin. (Whoop de effing do). Obviously Althea is in. Ra'mon Lawrence, who is wearing Kanye West-like glasses with no lenses, is also in. Which leaves, predictably, Mitchell and Malvin.
Mitchell, as you will remember, showed poor judgment and messed up the last challenge, which also landed him in the bottom two with a nutty, conceptual designer. Malvin showed good taste in the first challenge but definitely screwed the pooch (or...the bird?) on this one. So who goes home? The likable but obviously struggling Dexter doppelganger or the mulleted, Vietnamese Emile Hirsch with a pretentious concept?
And I almost lost it when Heidi said, "Malvin... You're out."
In my notes I have written, in all caps, WHO IS MITCHELL SLEEPING WITH? Because, really. I like Mitchell, I do. But in the Project Runway I know, unless you have a really interesting point of view you cannot screw up twice in a row and live to tell the tale. It's not even like the judges said, "Oh, well, Mitchell is so talented, even though this sucked we want to see more of him." They gave no rhyme or reason to why they decided to give him another shot. Malvin, on the other hand, at least took a risk. It failed miserably, but you can't say he didn't have a vision. This puzzled me, until I saw the scenes from next week, which insinuate that Mitchell and Ra'mon Lawrence have a relationship, or a falling out, or both. Maybe they kept Mitchell around for some drama? All I know is that if he doesn't pull out something fucking fabulous next week, he will be dead to me.
I watched Models of the Runway again this week, and while it still isn't particularly compelling, I love that we get to see the models reacting to the post-runway shenanigans in a little green room. They were shocked that Mitchell was spared, and now they are all terrified of getting picked by him. To heighten the drama, each week Heidi does a little model elimination after the designer elimination in which all the designers re-select their models, and this week Mitchell decided to spare his current model, Kalyn, and instead choose Fatma, who was Logan's model and who is pissed because A) she knows she is screwed with Mitchell and B) she totally wants to have 10,000 of Logan's babies. The rest of the show was mostly watching the models do push-ups and being generally nice to one another (which, if it lasts, will be incredibly boring). A highlight for me was when Qristyl's red-haired model, Erika, bragged about maybe booking an Arby's commercial. It's funny because last weekend I took a bus to Boston, and on the way back we stopped at an Arby's and I thought, Why do all buses stop at Arby's? Who even eats there? On the ride to hell that is the Chinatown bus, Arby's is like a stopover in limbo. Maybe that could be the commercial. Whaddaya think, Arby's?
Stay tuned next week for Episode 3, and let me know what you thought of the show in the comments!