A Dose of Reality: Project Runway 3 - Episode 5
by Caroline Roberts
Published: August 10, 2006
Model selections are the worst part of Project Runway because the women are treated as interchangeable dolls with no wills of their own. Given all the model-swapping and model-stealing, a model's victory on the show is based more on luck rather than sheer beauty or attitude. The unluckiest ones also get stuck in the fugly dresses.
This week, it's Heidi Klum to the rescue. She steps out of the refrigerator where it seems the producers keep her, and she issues a frosty twist on the typical model moment. She gives them a voice -- or perhaps a syllable or two -- and tells them to choose the designer they want.
The models are thrilled, but Heidi hasn't thawed out entirely. She announces that the fate of the models depends on chance. She will pull the models' names out of a bag, and two of the models won't be called because there are 12 models and only 10 designers. The two models whose names aren't called get sent home. That's it. Since it's random, the models can't even ride the coattails of the winning designers.
The models who do get picked immediately assert themselves, and some of them have surprises. Camilla, who was Bradley's model, dumps him and goes with Angela. The much-coveted Nazri leaps over to Michael, and he looks like the cat who ate the canary. Jia decides to stick with Vincent. After his first two weeks, one might think that she would run away screaming, but she's a brave woman. Javi and Katya lose, not that it has anything to do with their skill as a model.
The models' power doesn’t end there. The designers must "modernize the look of a fashion icon." Only there are many fashion icons from which to choose, and it's up to the models to choose an icon who best suits their designer. The designers are a little freaked out at handing over so much control because they're used to seeing models as objects instead of individuals with the capacity to judge. It's not as if it's going to be that hard.
Then again, the models are downright savage when they join Tim in the workroom. They stand before pictures of 10 different icons, and he tells them, "GO!" In a free-for-all, the models immediately start brawling for what they want. Most of the models fingers are tingling for Audrey Hepburn. No one seems to want Diana Ross, probably for good reason. She's the same woman Michael Jackson used as a fashion icon, after all.
In the model fight, in which no hair was pulled, Clarissa scores Audrey Hepburn for Angela. Nazri grabs Pam Grier for Michael. In another perfect combo, Marilinda snatches Madonna for Jeffrey. The other matchups include:
Kayne - Amanda: Marilyn Monroe
Laura - Camilla: Katharine Hepburn
Alison - Alexandra: Farrah Fawcett
Vincent - Jia: Twiggy
Uli - Lindsay: Diana Ross
Bradley - Katie: Cher
The real loser in the battle is Bradley because he certainly isn't a Cher kind of guy. For all the crap I've given Bradley for his crunchy vibe, he has the best one-liner delivery of the entire bunch: "I don't know sh*t about Cher!"
The storylines this week spotlight nice guy Robert trying to overcome his slump and nice guy Michael because no one's really focused on him yet, unless you count his alliance with Laura and Angela. In fact, there's so much attention on Michael this week that viewers immediately know he will either win big or lose horribly. Instead of focusing on the weird and wacky, like Vincent and Bradley, the producers are giving us a little bit of normal. Perhaps this is a subtle message to Keith: Nice guys might not finish first, but they get a whole lot farther than cheaters.
Jeffrey didn't get the nice guy memo, though. In the sewing room, Bradley is upset because Angela was on his machine, and now there's something wrong with it. It's really a dispute between Bradley and Angela, but Jeffrey decides to leap into the fray, berating Angela. His attack isn't about Angela, though. It's clearly about the fact that Jeffrey is bitter that he didn't win last week's challenge. Too bad, poor baby.
The whining gets on Laura's nerves, and, if anyone in the group hates whining, it's Laura. She turns right around at her sewing table and asks Jeffrey: "You're so successful, and you know so much, then what are you doing here?"
And that's such a shot through the heart that all Jeffrey can do is make quacking sounds in imitation of Laura. Quackety quack quack. The comeback of the year!
Jeffrey has done good work, so he really doesn't need to be attacking other designers, especially the female designers, like that. He's the one who called Angela a "Feminazi." When Michael tells Jeffrey to lay off Angela, Jeffrey doesn't say anything nasty to him. Either the editors are making Jeffrey look like a misogynist prick, or he really is a misogynist prick. I sincerely hope it's the former. Jeffrey's funny and he designs well, but he might need to rethink the targets of his abuse.
After Jeffrey has his weird sausage moment, Kayne starts bitching about his model, who he thinks talks too much. She's chatty, but Heaven forbid the woman wearing your clothes should have an opinion about what she's got on. The "seen and not heard" attitude designers have toward their models is insulting. If they really wanted "seen and not heard," then they could slip their dresses on wire hangers and walk 'em down the runway themselves. At this rate, the show is turning into a regular episode of "Pricks R Us."
A few designers have second thoughts as to whether or not they are capturing the spirit of their fashion icons. To ratchet up the tension, Michael has second thoughts about the bottom of his Pam Grier look, and he decides to go for hot pants, which could be either really good or really bad. Bradley is nervous because he doesn't get the Cher thing. He immediately starts to ride the fug train. Of Bradley's outfit, Jeffrey says, "Supercalifragilisticexpialacrazy!" He and Vincent think it's something out of Woody Allen's Sleeper. And they're right.
Things go from bad to worse for Bradley when his model arrives and - gasp! - his pants give her a case of the dreaded cameltoe. Nothing puts a designer on a train to Fug City faster than cameltoe.
When it's runway time, Michael Kors is back, and Diane von Furstenburg shows up to give the designers a little bit of that special "von-ness."
Angela Keslar - Clarissa - Audrey Hepburn: Two weeks in a row! Angela has turned it around! Her rosettes look great on the bottom of that dress. She's gotten the message to tone it down. The judges are surprised. Angela has done something that a designer like Jeffrey really hasn't accomplished. She has learned from her fellow designers, and it's working wonders for her. But she's taken to calling her rosettes "fleurchons." Huh? What is that? My French is at the beginner level - anyone out there know? It's a great dress, but they're still rosettes.
Michael Knight - Nazri - Pam Grier: The hot pants seemed risky, but they work because they're not too tight at the bottom They're not daisy dukes. Nazri also looks like she could fight in it. Heidi likes the cut and thinks it is sexy. Diane von Furstenburg says he's made a darn fine pair of hot pants. (Just as long as Diane von Furstenburg doesn’t start wearing them again at her age.) So with all that setup, he won!
Kayne Gillaspie - Amanda - Marilyn Monroe: It's good. And Amanda can model. Kayne updates Marilyn with leather and stretch fabric. The plunging neckline and shape of the dress is wonderful. Michael calls it "Goth Marilyn." They love the back, which suggests that the judges like a little kink. Despite it's fierceness, the butt is a little on the bunchy side. Nina says, "I am never bored with Kayne."
Laura Bennett - Camilla - Katharine Hepburn: Laura always has brilliant pants. The model, despite looking nothing like Katherine Hepburn, really caught Hepburn's spirit. The color palette with the pink and beige is wonderful. The only problem with Laura is that she's thisclose to J. Crew.
Uli - Lindsay - Diana Ross: In terms of fashion icons, Diana Ross was the lowest on the list, but Uli can work magic with prints. The color was amazing, and it was something that Diana Ross could wear. A modern Diana Ross - say, Beyonce Knowles - could shine in that dress. And Uli took a baby step away from her usual halter top by crossing it around the neck first. Uli, when you break the halter rule, you will be fierce.
Alison Kelly - Alexandra - Farrah Fawcett: The dress is not all that Farrah except for the hair, but it is indeed a good outfit. The dress is a lovely empire with a low neckline that has a smart detail. It's unusual, and it bears Alison's stamp, but I really don't think that Farrah would touch it.
Jeffrey Sebelia - Marilinda - Madonna: If his icon weren't Madonna, then it would be fug. But Madonna is always borderline fug. So he did achieve. He made a good call with the boots and the colors. That top, though, is too stiff. Jeffrey was probably thinking of Madonna's famous cone bra, but even that bra let Madonna dance on stage.
Robert Best - Danielle - Jackie Onassis: Oh, wait. I fell asleep. At least the jacket is much better than last time, but the linen looks stiff, and he accented the jacket with a curtain cord. Jackie O would not wear a curtain cord. Again the judges are bored, and they think he's got a real old-lady problem. The top is really cute, which suggests that Robert should give up on jackets. Jackets are that man's Achilles' Heel.
Vincent Libretti - Jia - Twiggy - When Vincent said he was going to design bell sleeves, one might think that he would achieve that pixieish 60s spirit. But, since it's Vincent, one might also worry that he would give Jia weird protrusions like he did in his infamously fugly pageant dress. The dress winds up having a great cut, but the fabric is too heavy, and the pockets look like moons rising up to Jia's tummy. Vincent has a real issue woth pickets. Oh, and he makes a major social error: Diane von Furstenburg reminds Vincent that Twiggy is still alive because he's talking about her in the past tense.
Bradley Baumkirchner - Katie - Cher: Bless his model. She tries. That shirt looks like the aluminum wrap, which makes her torso look like a burrito. Michael Kors' cameltoe detector goes off, and he says, "The crotch on those pants is insane." Heidi notes that it looks like a "Halloween outfit that you can pick up in a mall." Heidi then really freezes him when she says that his design is "unworthy of your icon." Bradley gets the boot, and one of the show's best personalities is gone. It's a shame because he had such great lines, and he leaves with a good one: "This is serious high fashion going on, and I made a Tinkertoy, and they kicked me out."
Out: Bradley. He who plays with cameltoe gets burned.
Should Have Won: Really close between Michael and Kayne, but who can resist Pam Grier?
Line of the Night: Jeffrey on Bradley's outfit - "Supercalifragilisticexpialacrazy!"