A Dose of Reality: Project Runway 3 - Episode 10
by Caroline Roberts
Published: September 14, 2006
The judges have narrowed down the Project Runway contestants to the final five - Jeffrey, Kayne, Laura, Michael, and Uli. These five have consistently impressed the judges, and four out of the five, with the exception of Laura, have won challenges. All of them feel somewhat secure in the notion that the judges believe in their talent.
Oh, but frosty Heidi has a terrible twist up her sleeve that leaves the judgment of the producers in serious doubt. She announces to the final five that they will attend a party, but Jeffrey knows better: "It's never a f**kin' party!" The designers head to the Pink Elephant, where champagne awaits. They should have downed several bottles before Heidi unveiled the week's challenge.
She introduces Vincent and Angela. Everyone thought those two were gone, out, auf'd! But Heidi says that since they won challenges (Vincent won the "Your Momma" challenge, and Angela won the "Generic Macy's Getup" challenge), they will compete in the latest challenge. If they don't win, they're permanently "auf'd."
Each member of the final five look ready to vomit. Naturally, Jeffrey is underwhelmed by Angela's presence: "The second special guest is Angela, and I say 'special,' if you know what I mean." Even Kayne, who tends to be on the less caustic side, is irate: "They're like cockroaches; you step on them once, and they keep crawlin' around!" The biggest backstab comes from Uli, who says, "If I go before Angela, it's going to be embarrassing."
No one likes having Vincent and Angela back, but they don't give Vincent as much trouble, even if he is a bit off his rocker. He handily won the "Your Momma" challenge, but Laura reminds Angela that her win was a team win. Angela starts talking about all that she did to win the challenge. The producers respond by reeling off footage of Laura and Michael trying desperately to cure Angela's rosette fever. So, if the producers didn't think it was totally her win, either, then why did they bring her back?
Before we at The Trades even launch into the challenge, we'd like to bemoan this miserable reality-show trend -- bringing rejected players back into competition. Usually, the players were rejected for a reason. Either they were flat-out incompetent or the audience despised them. Survivor brought back Stephenie and Billy Jon Joe Bob after they were already voted off the island once. Neither one got the top prize, but Stephenie did make it to the final two. Still, that's no reason to bring someone back. Last week, Flavor Flav brought back his runner-up to compete with a new batch of women in the second season of Flavor of Love. Another contestant quit precisely because that wasn't fair.
Why should there be second chances for people who have been removed from competition? There are rarely do-overs in life, and, even if reality television is on the same level as professional wrestling, they could at least try to make it seem like what might happen in life. And what's the point in watching if the results can be so obviously changed thanks to a producer's whimsy?
But the challenge doesn't stop there. In addition to having more competitors, the designers must whip up a cocktail dress out of only black and white fabric. They must use both colors, and they must use every piece of fabric that they buy, which will lead to some strange accessories. Oh, and they have 15 minutes to sketch, a budget of 100 bucks, and one day to do it. This is the equivalent of a final exam.
Needless to say, by the time the models show off the clothes, the atmosphere in the workroom is tense. To make matters worse for Vincent, who already brought too much fabric, he learns that his model, Jia, who really saved his butt a time or two, was in an accident. They don't say what kind of accident she had, but she was hit by a bus and dragged under it. (I could make a joke about how Vincent's dresses made her look, but that would be too mean. So you can make one up yourself.)
Vincent winds up with Jeffrey's old model, who was pretty good, but she has different proportions from Jia's, and Vincent can't get the dress to fit on her. She's far from a big girl, but Vincent's ultra-tight dress makes her look like a sausage in a casing.
Speaking of unflattering outfits, here's the results of this week's runway walk:
Laura Bennett - Laura suffers from a bout with low self-esteem, presumably brought on by whacked-out pregnancy hormones. At least I hope that's what it is because she is a brilliant designer who thoroughly deserved her first prize. Despite her emotional outburst, Laura thrives this week with a cocktail dress that she describes as "Paris 1920s." Nina declares that Laura broke through this week because "This time she designed for a woman besides herself."
That's true. This week, Laura designed for her model, the regal Camilla. The past few weeks, Laura had to design for models she didn't know in Paris, for somebody's mom, or for herself. When she and Camilla worked together, Laura's designs improved. Having Camilla around gave Laura a little new life.
Michael Knight - After his slip-up last week, Michael is back in form. The challenge also suits him since his favorite color is white, and, as he says, "Black people just look good in white." His dress is an off-the-shoulder number that seems a bit plain, but the belt has some great flower details. With the hoop earrings and the cut of the dress, the outfit merges fashion trends of the 1960s and 1980s while making those trends more tasteful. Then again, Flashdance fashion looked goofy, even on Jennifer Beals, so Michael's dress isn't quite fierce.
Kayne Gillaspie - The scene in which Michael warns Kayne that his model will look like a "working girl" if he's not more careful with the dress is priceless. At least Michael is giving Kayne some useful advice. Tim Gunn, whom I usually hold above all criticism, seems to be picking on Kayne. When he appraises Kayne's dress, he asks where the white element is. Kayne holds up a belt and asks, "Does this count as a fabric?" Tim sighs, "Oh, Jesus!" Now that's unhelpful.
When Kayne makes his adjustments, the dress is a little boring. Guest judge Zac Posen gets it right when he says the dress is "Jekyll and Hyde," good-looking up front but as nasty as a mullet in the back. Kayne was aiming for sophisticated, but what he needs to do is let his inner trashiness out. He's a wonderful designer, and I'm sad to see him go. But he's this season's Nick Verreos, who didn't make the final three but who keeps popping up to make appearances. He was one of the more likeable cast members, and Kayne is so witty that he'll never disappear from the spotlight.
Uli Herzner - Kudos to Uli for trying out the odd fashion accessory known as a sleeve. But she's really not used to them since she makes her funky bell sleeves dangle past the model's hem. The judges offer some helpful suggestions for improvement, but they're getting a little tired of seeing the same dress with a few adjustments. She also made her poor model look like a zebra. I think they should force her to make a winter-weather getup before allowing her into the final three. Then again, they might be annoyed because she is so obviously not designing for New York fashionistas.
Vincent Libretti - Just because I put Vincent in the "Frightful" category instead of "Fug" doesn't mean I think he should have stayed. But it wasn't his fault that his model got hit by a bus and he had to make do with a new one. To be "fug," a dress must have an element of creativity. And Vincent's dress doesn't have that in the slightest. If it fit, it would have been as boring as his "Jet-Setting to Dan Aykroyd's Slumber Party" getup from a few weeks before. Even the judges had to tell him how to make it more exciting by taking his boring shawl and draping it around his model's legs.
Jeffrey Sebelia - Jeffrey's rise couldn't have lasted. Michael did not share his "working girl" warning with Jeffrey, and he should have because nothing screams "HOOKER!" like Jeffrey's thigh-high tights. Jeffrey says that his design reminded him of his last cocktail party. What kind of parties has he been attending? Kors says it "looks cheap." Perhaps he means that in more ways than one. If he dropped the thigh-highs, then maybe he would have moved out of "Fug" turf. Plus, Jeffrey needs a little color to pull off his kind of style. Bright colors make his designs look outrageous instead of clownish. For this challenge, he could have dialed it back a little. On second thought, Jeffrey's not the kind of guy who would dial it back - did you see how he gave Angela the finger when he returned backstage after making it to the next round?
Angela Keslar - When Angela's whimsies are restrained, she's got potential. Heidi even tells her so. I don't know how she got the wacky collar on that dress to stand up, and the top of the dress is an architectural model. Too bad it is fugly as sin. But what was incredibly lame was her, frankly, lazy way of handling the extra fabric. She shoved her extra fabric into a purse. She didn't try to line a purse, like Michael did. She didn't even whip up a fugly necklace a la Uli, but she just shoved it into a purse. C'mon, Angela, we know you have ingenuity! Let it out!
But I'll miss Angela because it was always fun to listen to her describing her clothes. Of her current dress, she calls it "modern but Edwardian." She didn't realize that it really looked like "modern, but Star Trek."
In: Laura - finally!
Should Have Won: Laura
Out: Angela, Kayne, and Vincent
Line of the night: Kayne on Angela and Vincent: "She allowed two heifers to come back, and three designers will go home."