And then, there were three. Thursday’s penultimate episode of Project Runway whittled our pack of designers down to the three that will have a shot at winning the season. They’re not the only three that will show, of course – 10 people actually showed, so making a collection was not a special privilege for the four designers that made it this far. The bloom is off the rose on that one, so to speak.
Speaking of blooms that are no longer on their respective roses, I’m not pleased with how the elimination went this time, but we’ll get to that later, I suppose. First, we have to talk about all the adorable homes to which Tim Gunn went, and also how he managed to find himself on a trampoline in wingtips. If only the entire episode had been so adorable.
The first stop on Tim Gunn’s American Tour 2010 was Vancouver, Washington, home of Seth Aaron, his wife and his two teenage kids. I hadn’t really considered it until now, but Seth Aaron’s designs have been so good for most of the season that I didn’t even consider the fact that he’s straight! And he has procreated! Well isn’t that adorable.
Seth Aaron’s line was what most of us probably expected – impeccably tailored jackets, lots of hardware, a plethora of black. I loved it, but that’s because his aesthetic appeals to my personal style, and it always has. Tim Gunn was not quite so impressed, however, and he was probably right. This is stuff we’ve seen from Seth Aaron before, and in order to win, his collection needs to be a continuation of his aesthetic, not a rehash of what he’s already decided he likes.
Papa Tim told him to start all over, which I thought was probably a bit drastic – the collection could turn the corner with a few statement pieces, possibly with hints of either a more space-aged or more feminine aesthetic. I could see it going either way, and I think that Seth Aaron is talented enough to transform his collection into something more challenging and surprising with a few key tweaks.
To punish Tim for his harsh suggestions, Seth Aaron’s kids hauled him on to a backyard trampoline in his suit, coat and wingtips. He made an attempt to bounce and promptly fell over, which is really the only way that the introduction of Tim Gunn to a trampoline could end. The entire time, I wanted to scream “DON’T HURT TIM GUNN!” at my screen, like I was seeing my kindly grandfather mishandled by some neighborhood kids or something.
Next we went to see Emilio and his two brothers in New York, in what was possibly the least warm-and-fuzzy home visit in Runway history. They just stood around and talked outside for a while, and then Emilio explained his upbringing in the South Bronx during the birth of hip-hop. That was…sort of it.
Tim Gunn didn’t love Emilio’s collection thus far and neither did I – in fact, some of what we saw seemed kind of dumpy and old-looking, which is not what I expected from him. I know that some people aren’t great fans of Emilio, but I’ve enjoyed almost everything that he has designed this season (literal string bikini notwithstanding) and I hoped for and expected more from him, when left to his own devices to create a collection. 1940s is hard to pull off in a modern way, and I question whether or not he’ll be able to do it.
Oh, by the way: now seems like as good a time as any to mention that I have yet to look at the online image collections of our designers. I never do, I want to be surprised. I love a surprise.
After visiting the two sure-thing designers, Tim was off to see Mila in Los Angeles. If you ever wanted to see someone that’s very serious about her aesthetic, she’s your girl – even her dog is black and white. Instead of finding her two-tone existence kind of irritating, I actually came out of the home visit with a little more respect for what she does. If that’s her vision and she’s that committed to it, then by all means, make black and white clothes. Do your thing, girl.
Which is not to say that I liked the clothes that we saw from her – I didn’t. Some of them were interesting to look at, and the combination of patterns on one of her dresses was particularly thought-provoking, but they’re just not the sort of silhouette that I tend to find appealing. I’m not sure that the shapes that she likes are really relevant to current fashion, and as the judges discussed during her mini-runway, there’s a certain predictability to clothes that reference bygone eras.
And then there was a visit to Jay in (if I remember correctly) San Francisco, whose parents were so adorable and supportive that I kind of wanted to hug my TV. His clothes were more forward-thinking than Mila’s, and I found myself really wanting to see the rest of his collection. Sure, a few things were over-thought and over-designed, but I’d rather see a designer try to do too much than too little. His line was more sophisticated and futuristic than I had expected, and I was really looking forward to seeing him compete in Bryant Park.
Except he won’t be competing. Despite Princess Michael Kors’ best efforts, Mila will round out the final three to compete for the show’s grand prize. Kors was on Team Jay, Heidi was on Team Mila (REALLY, Heidi? Really?), and Nina Garcia was the tie-breaker. As soon as it became clear that she would be the one to decide, I knew it would be Mila – she has seemed to be pulling for her all season based on the strength of Mila’s early work, so there we have it.
If you’re angry right now like I am, just try and go back to the mental image of Papa Gunn on the trampoline. That will make it all better, at least for a moment.