A Dose of Reality: Project Runway 3 - Episode 11
by Caroline Roberts
Published: September 28, 2006
The final four (geez, it sounds like the NCAA) of Project Runway have nothing in common when it comes to what they think looks good on a woman. As Jeffrey says, "If you like peasant blouses, big and flowy, then Uli's in. If you like run-of-the-mill, friendly fashion, then Michael's in. If you like mothballs and chicken soup, then Laura's in. If you wanna live a little dangerously, maybe I'll be in."
However, each contestant does in fact have one important trait in common: They've each come thisclose to being auf'd.
No one in the group is safe, no matter how many challenges he or she has. They've all received a sound drubbing from the judges at one point or another. Laura is too stuffy, Uli can make only one dress, Michael sometimes indulges his 'video ho' side, and Jeffrey's just Jeffrey.
So maybe the way to determine which designer is best is to force them to design something completely out of their league. Maybe they could have created an outfit inspired by the work of another fashion designer. No matter what, the next-to-last episode of the show is the perfect time for the contestants to stretch.
And what do the producers do? They assign the "Stare Deep Into Your Navel Challenge." All season long, the judges have told the designers to break out and try something new. But, when the final four go to meet with Nina Garcia, they are told to create an oufit that expresses their "point of view as a designer." What does that mean?
All season, the designers have been told to listen more to the customer, to be friendlier to the woman's body, to make Heidi happy. If the message all season long has been "it's not about you," then what's up with saying, "It's all about you you you!" Because you know the judges are going to yell at them for being too self-centered again.
To up the navel-gazing factor, the designers must think up three words that represent their design aesthetic, and they must photograph their models in a way that highlights their strengths. Makes me think the producers ran out of ideas.
The only real spice happened when Uli up and stole Nazri from Michael. Nazri has been Michael's good-luck charm, but Uli knew that Nazri could take her clothes a little bit further. It's a shame, though, because Uli's old model, Lindsay, did an excellent job and deserved to go further. Michael consoled himself by taking Angela's old model, Clarissa.
There is no fierce this week. If they are supposed to make outfits that express their design aesthetic, then no one is going to do anything earth-shattering.
Uli Herzner - Her words were "Fun," "Life," and "Adventure." Well, she may be addicted to halter dresses, but those dresses embody each of her words. With Nazri as her not-so-secret weapon, she creates a slightly different, more swingy dress. At first, it seemed like she was smoked because she took so long to make the dress. But Uli dresses are easy to make - it just takes the right eye to make sure everything fits together. Even though the dress looks like something that might be hanging on the wall of a hippie college student, it's still charming.
Laura Bennett - Surprise, surprise - Laura's words are "Glamour," "Confidence," and "Elegance." It's a Laura dress. It does indeed represent her design aesthetic. So what are the judges bitching about? Nina said she expected more from Laura - but the judges shouldn't have frickin' asked the designers to make something that represents themselves if the judges didn't want to see more of the same. Teri Agins, who writes about wingtips - whoops, fashion! - for the Wall Street Journal, said she's seen the dress before, and that's more of a legitimate criticism.
Jeffrey Sebelia - Jeffrey's magic words were "Provocative," "Irreverent," and "Romantic." Iím a touch frightened of the "romantic" Jeffrey. But I like his lighthearted streak. He even pranced around in Uli's fabric. He's got the confidence, and he knows it's time to stretch. Alas, he stretches in the wrong direction. His dress may look like something Gwen Stefani would buy, but it's still a little blah. It's not even fug. If he'd slapped some thigh-high boots on Marilinda, he would have reached achieved fug nirvana.
Michael Knight - Michael chooses "Sexy," "Sultry," and "Sexuality." A poet he is not. From the beginning of the challenge, Michael can't find his "wow factor." Is the Michael Train running out of steam? He finally gets "wowed" by one of his sketches that looks like a cleavage extravaganza. When he starts sewing, it's a purple cleavage extravaganza. It's a Michael dress that has mated with a Kayne dress, and that's not necessarily a good thing. That dress is, in the immortal words of Miss New York of Flavor of Love, "straight-up video ho." It has the kind of cleavage that would make any Flavor of Love girl proud. On the bright side, Michael is proud of the derriere he gave his white model, and he has a ready-made slogan for his clothing line: "Michael Knight: Givin' the White Girls Some Ass Since 2006."
After such a lame challenge, it's not a shocker that the judges decided to keep both Jeffrey and Michael. They didn't get a chance to shine, so Iím glad they got a second chance. And if Angela and Vincent deserved a second chance, so did Jeffrey and Michael.
Should Have Won: Well, Uli
Out: Shiver me timbers, no one!
Line of the night: See Jeffrey's above comments on Laura. Ouch.