Dear readers, it’s with a heavy heart that I bring you this Project Runway recap. For those of you that haven’t seen the episode and don’t want the ending spoiled, stop reading now, because I’m about to spoil it way earlier than usual. That’s right, Anthony went home, and I don’t even know if life is worth living anymore. The sunshine is a little dimmer. The morning air? Slightly less crisp and full of promise. Thursday was a dark day for those that like their television shows to be entertaining.
There was a challenge of course. And a sponsorship. Some folks, they made some dresses. A couple made pants and jackets. Everyone made a pattern, something in which the judges apparently have zero taste. It was like the show was broadcasting straight from Bizarro World, where up was down, left was right, and Emilio’s pattern was cute instead of vomit-inducing. Bizarro World must be an ugly place indeed. Join me in mourning, after the jump.
So, the challenge. I can’t blame the challenge, because that’s not what meted out Anthony’s demise (we’ll blame that on poor judging). As far as product-placement goes, the use of HP computers to design and produce patterned fabric overnight was probably the best challenge we’ve seen in a while – unlike Saturn car parts or the hair and makeup brands that sponsor this show, the ability for the designers to create their own fabric was actually relevant to the point of this show and added to the designs instead of making them more difficult in ways that people that weren’t on a television show would never encounter in the real world.
Our designers were allowed to make whatever they wanted with their patterned fabric, and some of our designers found that more challenging than others. As always, let’s discuss who succeeded first.
Our top three were Emilio, Maya and Seth Aaron, and one of those things is not like the other, for real. Maya made an electrifying McQueen-esque frock that combined texture and print in order to make the print come alive, and I thought that she was entirely successful. Seth Aaron made a pop-art blazer out of a genuinely silly print, and the more I looked at it, the more I could see it on the back of an editor at Fashion Week. It wasn’t meant for the general population, but it was brilliantly off-kilter in a way that several of his jackets have been this season. Plus, making a successful jacket and pants is much harder than tailoring a dress, and he managed to do both perfectly.
Then there was Emilio, who must have roofied both Nina Garcia and Princess Michael Kors before the judging started, because they both just drooled all over his ugly logo print. All he did was scrawl his first initial and last name (with a heart for the O, how…precious) repeatedly on a blue background, and Tim Gunn didn’t like it and neither did I. Also, Tim was correct that it looked something like this: <3saes<3, which made the think of the bromance pairing that Seth Aaron and Emilio had in the previous challenge. That was the first thing that came to mind when I looked at it, which might have been preferable to what the pattern actually said. All he did was make a puffy coat and a simple sheath dress, and the judges fell all over themselves in praise of his apparently masterful work. The pattern wasn't as horrific from a distance, I'll give them that, but his outfit was still far less interesting on the whole than Seth Aaron, Maya or Jay (that would have been my top three, in that order). I wouldn't have put Emilio at any higher than fourth, but he somehow managed to win the entire thing. Like I said, this is Bizarro World. Ugly is cute. Now, to the sad business of discussing who was on the bottom. It was clear about halfway through the episode that depending on how his dress turned out, Anthony was either going to win or go home. The extended shots of him talking about BeyoncÃ© and his Uncle Leroy's porn addiction were just to funny and adoring to have him place anywhere else, and sadly when his dress came down the runway, I think we all knew which one it would be. Which isn't to say that his dress was bad. It wasn’t bad at all, it was just kind of boring and safe, and maybe a bit too similar to things that he’s made before. I wish that he had branched out a little bit and made something unexpected; maybe we could have kept him around for another week to charm and entertain us all.
He shouldn’t have had to, considering the competition, however. I respect Mila as a designer, but her non-functional maxi dress was pretty atrocious (and also pretty out of character for her). We’ve seen her make so many better things, and I would have never expected her to make a dress that was barely even wearable. Despite the fact that it wasn’t at all body-conscious, her model still had a nearly impossible time staggering down the runway in it, and the colors were simply not working for me. I thought it was the worst look of the night, not least of all because I’ve come to expect better technical execution from Mila.
Jonathan was also in the bottom three, but I didn’t think that his watercolor dress was nearly as bad as the judges did. They seemed to enjoy tearing him limb from limb a little too much, and yes, his dress was sort of dreary, but it wasn’t a bad dress. Jonathan weakly defended himself by asserting that sadness was an emotion too, but Nina and Princess Michael already smelled blood, and nothing was going to stop them from getting their soundbites in, even if the dress didn’t merit such cruelty. The backward jacket was a little weird, but it still seemed more functional than Mila’s dress. His model managed to make it down the runway, after all.
But those two dresses don’t even matter – the judges were intent on sending Anthony back to Atlanta for doing something boring, and back he went, head held high. He reminded all of us that you don’t necessarily need the crown to be the queen, and that there are some situations in life where a BeyoncÃ© song just can’t give you all the emotional support that you need. I think having your favorite designer voted off of Project Runway too soon is one of those times.