I’m ready to make a proclamation. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’ve had enough time to come to the correct conclusion. Ladies and gentlemen, PurseBloggers worldwide, Project Runway Season 7 has already, in the span of two episodes, proven itself to be head and shoulders above the maddeningly somnolent dreck that we (un)affectionately referred to as Season 6.
In this week’s episode, we had a challenge that used non-traditional fabrics combined with a challenge where the models were the clients, both of which are almost always a problem even when NOT combined into a single feat of reality television. In the face of odds that would have been insurmountable for last season’s cast, not only did this set of designers, only a week into their lady-vitamin-sponsored Lifetime adventure, not break, but they didn’t even bend! The worst of the designers still produced wearable dresses. Well, Ping didn’t, but she also didn’t go home, either. Make of that what you will.
The designers were escorted out to the New Yorkiest of New York locations for their new challenge – why, it was a farm, of course! That’s just so obvious! Somehow, Tim Gunn managed to look even more uncomfortable doling out this week’s challenge while faced with all that greenery and soil and nature than he did during his unfortunate stay in Los Angeles, and what can I say, that’s why I love him.
He charged them with the task of making dresses for an “industry party” out of potato sacks, since in theory, their models should be beautiful enough to wear such things. Thankfully, potato sacks are made of actual fabric, and it’s fairly light-colored, so a little ingenuity eventually spun itself into some cute cocktail wear.
I still have a gripe with this challenge, however. I am of the firm belief that everyone couldn’t really care less what the models want, including the judges, so why even include that stipulation? The only thing that I can think of would be to see who fell into the unfortunate trope of actually trying to please their model, which is the last thing you should ever worry about doing in a challenge like this. If the dress is good, no one asks the models if they like it. The only time it ever happens is if it’s bad, and if it is, even if it’s exactly what she asked for, then your model isn’t going to convincingly say that she likes it anyway.
There is literally nothing to be gained by listening to what the models want, and since this show has been on the air for years, it seems like everyone has finally figured that out. Those designers that didn’t have the confidence to make the choice on their own were ever-so-gently prodded in that direction by Tim Gunn, and the runway show was all the better for it.
In fact, the majority of what was on the runway was downright beautiful to the point where I couldn’t even guess what was going to be in the top three. I really loved all three looks that were chosen – Amy’s flouncy, organic-looking frock was unexpected and fun, Mila’s sleek, club-appropriate dress was so cool that it hurt, and Jay somehow managed to negative the objective reality of burlap and turn it into marabou, but in the most tasteful way that you can imagine. Surprisingly, I would also have put Anthony’s dark pink number toward the top of the pile for the draping at the bottom alone.
As Heidi would remind us, however, we can only have one winner. This time, it was Jay’s feathered, drop-waist black cocktail dress that took home the immunity prize, which kind of sounds like something you get at the college health center. It was my least favorite of the top three, but they were all so good that I have no problem with any of them winning.
Of course, there’s also the unpleasant business of the bottom three. First, there was Ping, who turned a potato sack into a dress that still pretty much looked like a potato sack, except it also had the added feature of exposing her model’s butt cheeks to anyone that might look. She claimed to not understand the challenge and think that the models were going to a potato industry party, but seemed far more savvy than that when Tim Gunn was advising her in the workroom. She lived to design another day, probably because the judges merely cannot make head nor tails of her yet.
Then there was Jesus, who was in the bottom three for the second straight challenge. I didn’t abhor his dress quite as thoroughly as the judges seemed to, but his desire to cover the entirety of the burlap with ribbon was sure to infuriate everyone. Tim warned him of that very fact, but Jesus thinks he knows everything, so he did it anyway and then was promptly penalized for it. This should be the second Universal Law of Project Runway, right after “don’t ever listen to your model” – when you have an “alternative fabric” challenge in front of you, don’t hide the alternative fabric under normal stuff. It enrages Nina. Also, you’re missing the point.
But, the fact that I’m starting to hate him wasn’t enough to propel Jesus out of the competition. Instead, it was Old Lady Pamela, who actually seemed much nicer in this episode than she did in the last one, although her outfit was even more atrocious. A few days ago, I read her losing dress described as “Ralph Lauren for Wal-Mart,” and I’m not even going to try to improve on that stunningly apt observation. The dress made her model look enormous compared to her lithe compatriots, and it appeared to lace up the back with that terrible suede string that you find on kids’ “cowboys and indians” playtime costumes.
Despite the fact that her pink dress from last week didn’t make it in the bottom three, I hated it as well, so it’s just as well that she’s gone this week. Jesus, who is shaping up to be this season’s Mitchell, will hopefully be dispatched soon. Along with whoever made that hideous pants-and-vest outfit. It made me dry heave a little bit.