Huzzah! This week, we got a challenge that was actually challenging. I thought those had gone the way of the dodo bird!
While it was different than what we’ve seen this season, our designers’ task still fell squarely in one of the half dozen or so challenge categories that we’ve seen in the history of the show. They were given the job of taking a divorcee’s wedding dress and turning it into a kicky new outfit for them to start their new lives (except that some of them have been divorced since I was in elementary school…but through the magic of television, they’re just started new lives now).
I’ve always liked the “old to new” challenges because they’re doubly difficult: not only do they severely limit the amounts and types of materials that the designers are allowed to work with, but they also mean that the designers have to tailor something to fit an actual woman instead of a six-foot model, which has created some classic meltdowns over the years.
So now, on to the recap. But before we get there, can someone call the cops and report Nina Garcia as a missing person? I’m concerned. And also, it severely limits my ability to make “don’t bore Nina” jokes, and that’s not fair.
I’ve never been much of a fan of the whole “wedding” fantasy, so watching the dresses get ripped up was actually kind of fun. And because the clients are “real women,” the dresses were, on the whole, horrendously bad. A the terribleness spanned several decades, from a dress that was apparently made for a hippie moon ceremony to one that had so much synthetic lace that it looked like it was made to be an undergarment for a big Civil War dress in a really bad 70s production of Gone with the Wind. Plus, they were basically all synthetic in one horrible way or another. As Tim Gunn so aptly noted, don’t put them near open flames.
Since Stank Face Irina won last week (eww. Every time I think her name, I have an involuntary ‘eww’ afterward), she got to choose first and she went with the 70s GWTW moment, with the idea that the more fabric you have to work with, the better off you are. That managed to be disproved later, but not with Irina.
She was in our top three, along with Gordana (YAAAAY) and Shirin (also YAAAAY). Shirin didn’t win, but the fact that she didn’t go home was probably exciting enough that she felt like she won. You see, Shirin picked her wedding dress last and was stuck with a crazy lady with a super simple, minimalist, polyester wedding dress that she wanted turned into a Cher ‘Half-Breed’ costume, covered in feathers and ridiculousness. Well, you can’t really dye polyester, and they only got $25 to buy extra stuff at Mood, and they couldn’t buy more than two yards of fabric. So, that complicated things a bit, and Shirin cried with Tim Gunn. And it was sad, because Shirin seems like a genuinely nice, friendly person and she doesn’t make terrible clothes.
But! After she talked to Tim Gunn, she did the smartest thing that any Project Runway contestant can do, and one that so few ever have the guts to pull off: she decided to ignore her client. Which is exactly what she should have done; 90% of people have no taste and no idea what works for their bodies. And that’s fine for most people, since the average person’s largest concern isn’t making sure that they stay on-trend and impeccably tailored in their everyday lives, but it doesn’t help to play to that kind of person in a show that’s all about good design.
So instead of having a Cher moment, Shirin made a cocktail dress with some clever stitching and a dark waistband as the main embellishment. And it looked nice on her divorcee and it was just about all she could do with the material that she had (although I envisioned her doing a kicky little pair of shorts and a cute top, but whatever), but I think it was fortunate that the judges didn’t see what her dress had looked like before she altered it, since it would have been obvious that she didn’t change the dress’s structure nearly as much as many of the other designers had. Still, I’m glad she was rewarded for having so little to work with.
But the winner of the day was Gordana. Finally. I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the episode since they did a drawn-out segment on her and her kids, and usually when someone that we usually don’t see much gets that much camera time, it usually means they’re either going to win or lose, and I was fearful that it was the latter instead of the former. But she took the lining of an ugly wedding dress and dyed it a gorgeous light blue-grey, cut it into strips, and sewed it into a super-flattering asymmetrical cocktail dress that I would actually buy, or at least try on, if I saw it in a store. And how often does that happen?
Gordana, too, seems super normal and personable, and she’s certainly an able tailor. She’s been in the bottom a few times, but I don’t think anything she’s ever made has been as bad as what some of the other designers regularly turn out (Nicolas, I’m looking at you), and I’m actually ok with her having immunity next week. And what’s even better, it’s the last immunity that they’ll award. FINALLY.
And now, the losers. Christpher, Epperson and Logan were in the bottom three, and Potato Face Nicolas would have been my write-in candidate for loserdom, since he fails at life. And at having a decent haircut.
Everyone in the bottom three chose dresses that had plenty of fabric to work with, but for some reason Epperson and Logan both decided that this challenge WASN’T about using the wedding dress and made outfits that were anchored by the fabric they bought at Mood. Tim Gunn explained this to them and only Epperson decided to remake his outfit with more material from the dress, which was a questionable choice at best. Christopher understood the challenge but just didn’t understand that the dress he made was ugly. He used to be one of my favorites, but perhaps he peaked too early?
But luckily for him, Epperson and Logan’s outfits were both worse – and both slightly Oktoberfest. Epperson’s was Oktoberfest meets Pirate of the Caribbean and Logan’s was Oktoberfest meets really ugly pants, and they were our final two. Logan’s outfit was so terrible that I really think he should have been the one to go home, but sadly, it was Epperson.
I strenuously disagree with that choice – Epperson at least remade his outfit to be more in line with the challenge. Logan simply failed at making pants out of a material that came straight from the fabric store with the sole purpose of being made into pants. And if you can’t figure that you, you shouldn’t be on this show. Logan is usually middling at best, despite his adorableness, and Epperson has had several top-three moments.
But apparently, on Lifetime, being cute means more than being a good designer. About par for the course for this season, isn’t it? Yet one thing gives me hope: Bob Mackie in the preview for next week’s challenge. Might we have a FOR REAL “Half-Breed” moment? With Her Cherness herself? I’m trying not to set my expectations too high. Nicolas is still here, after all.