Lord of the Taylors
This week's challenge is to create a dress for Lord & Taylor, to go along with a collection of dresses designed by former Project Runway contestants. It must be commercial, retail for $200-$300 and fit the "Lord & Taylor woman," which to me means a 60 year-old trying to look like she's 50, but evidently L&T has been rebranding.
The current collection is cohesive in that all the looks are dresses and... um... that's about it. Clearly there was no collaboration on this "collection" so I don't see what the point is in making the current contestants adhere to an aesthetic that includes a cranberry-colored chiffon maxi dress with gold applique kimono sleeves, a black taffeta party dress with a pearl brooch and a long-sleeved brown pencil dress that looks like UPS corporate. Would you like some ketchup with your coffee?
The show then cuts to the contestants gushing about how they've always dreamed of designing clothes for Lord & Taylor, but really what they said was they always dreamed of designing clothes for lords and Taylor Swift. The editors cleaned that part up. In all seriousness, this is a pretty decent prize; having clothes sold nationwide in a department store is a BFD, even if it's a department store that Taylor Swift's grandmother shops at.
The Gender Divide
|I hate women.|
Meanwhile, Elena (if that's her real name) just can't seem to translate her high concept avant garde aesthetic, aka big shoulders, into something commercial, aka normal shoulders. After last week's uncharacteristic snuggle lovefest, Elena is back to black. In a moment of weakness, she very nearly blows her Russian spy cover when she confides to the camera "It took years and years and years to make me the way I am... years of practice." You know who else practices for years? KGB. Niet, Elena, don't blow it now. [For the scoop on my Elena-is-a-Russian-spy Theory, check out my recap from Episode 5]
Muslin understands me
The other ladies aren't much better off. Sonjia can't get over her poor performance last week enough to complete her simple shift dress with peplum panels. In a moment of foreshadowing, Tim Gunn warns her that she's going to work herself into a psychotic breakdown. And then she does. Get it together, girl, there are so many worse dresses!
|The Addams Family Country Club uniform|
Tim deserves a lot of credit in this episode. Part cheerleader, part triage nurse and all Dynasty, he spends the entire challenge talking people off ledges. How he finds the restraint to not, in bellowing tones, remind the designers that this is probably the easiest challenge they're ever going to get so get over yourself, I'll never know. Instead, he tells the designers to channel their "inner winner" as he throws on Alicia's pleated skirt-dress and grabs some pompoms.
And onto the runway! Tonight's guest judge is Lord & Taylor's Bonnie Brooks.
Let's be honest, there was a lot of crap that went down that runway tonight. There were way too many unfinished hems and tear-stained fabrics for this point in the competition. Was there one single garment I would consider wearing, even if was wear a weird dress to work day? I'd sooner wear the candy clothes from Episode 3.
But the judges just switched out their regular directors chairs for orgasmic vibrating ones, so they were coming from a different point of view. Instead of having a top 3 and bottom 3, they have a top 4 and bottom 2 because they said "there were no train wrecks" this week! Seriously. They're in the middle of the mental ward saying there's no locos here! Unbelievable.
Fabio sent down an odd black assymmetrical dress that, like a personality disorder, was soft and feminine in the front, but hard and structural in the back. I thought it was a hot mess and needed accessories just to give it a point of view. The judges loved it though. Heidi said it was very versatile, Bonnie said she would wear that dress (oh please no) and Nina said it was a classic LBD with a twist.
Christopher sent down garment #3 using his signature paneling technique for the top. If the judges weren't post-self-coitus they would have given him a lot more shit for doing the same thing 3 times but really, it was the only truly pretty dress in my opinion, even if 60 year-olds could never wear it, so I guess I agreed with the scoring. Bonnie said the gown was a great balance of lightness and strength, Nina said it was elegant and sophisticated but might not work for a lot of people and Heidi said it was a beautiful dress.
To my horror, Melissa landed a spot in the top with her strapless brocade dress with the asymmetrical and unfinished hemline.. The top of the dress stays up via prayer, which is totally practical if you're nursing babies or dancing burlesque. Perhaps my opinion of the dress was shaped by its hasty, angst-ridden creation, but Nina is usually good at calling BS on impractical dresses. But no, Nina loved the dramatic fabric, MK said it was the right fabric on the right dress, though he thought the assymmetry went too far, Bonnie said it was ingenious and Heidi said it was a show stopper!
And finally, Elena scored a top spot with her S&M babydoll dress. I did not see this coming either. What I saw was a kinky jumper with boob slots. What the judges saw, however, was a very sellable, fun dress with an extraordinarily beautiful back and an attractive silhouette. MK applauded her for finding the balance between art and commerce and Elena cried because she came so close to quitting this whole Ukrainian designer charade, moving back to her native Minsk and resuming her natural identity as Aleksandra Artemyev, the daughter of a humble dairy farmer. But thanks to this win, Elena's spy days are far from over and she will fight on.
|I'd rather wear Gunnar's outfit|
|Inspired by Chanel|
In the end, Christopher won the challenge and is hereby deemed Lord of the Taylors. His dress is now available for sale, but I'm underwhelmed by the result:
NO ONE was sent home this week, which means they're setting us up for a double elimination, I just know it!
Next week is another team challenge. Christopher, our show's Ted Bundy, has been quietly plotting his next perfect little crime. [More on Christopher's serial ways from the Episode 3 recap]
|I'll never tell!|
Until then, riot on!