Project Runway: And Then There Were...Still Nine

I'm not sure what happened on Project Runway last night. Here's what I am sure of:
  • Ven should thank his lucky stars he got minimal screen time because the one memorable thing he said was "Men are generally stronger designers than women." Shhhh! You're not making it any better for yourself.
  • Dmitry might have to kill all of the other desingers to get the judges to notice him.
  • I appreciate Chirstopher's awareness of how often he uses signature techniques (Ven, I'm looking at you) and his keenness to take a few risks. 
  • This has become and all out Boys vs Girls season, and things aren't going well for the girls.
  • Spoiler Alert: The producers needed nine people to make next week's challenge work so they didn't let the judges eliminate anyone. 
  • Because of this, the judges appeared to pick completely arbitrary scores for all of the designers. 
The Challenge:
The designers headed to Lord & Taylor's flagship store where they saw a collection of nine evening/cocktail dresses. The dress was created by one designer from each of the 9 previous seasons. The designers were challenged to create the tenth look using Lord & Taylor's materials and targeting a retail price of $200 to $300. The winning dress would be sold as part of the Project Runway Collection on Lord & Taylor's website and in their flagship store. The winning look would always be displayed in the store windows on 5th Avenue.

How it went down:
Dmitry, Ven and Sonjia were Safe.
Christopher, Fabio, Elena and Melissa formed a very special Top 4.
Alicia and Gunner were the bottom two.
Christopher won.
No one went home.

How it should have gone down:
Elena, Gunnar and Fabio should have been safe.
Melissa, Christopher and Dmitry should have been the top three.
Ven, Alicia and Sonjia should have been in the bottom.
Dmitry should have won.
Sonjia should have gone home.

Why I think that:
Elena had meltdown because she doesn't know how to translate her "unique" and "edgy" style into ready to wear. First of all, she is not all that unique. I've seen her brand of edgy before and I've seen in done better. (See designs by: Jean Paul Gaultier, Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcons, Rick Owens, etc...). Second of all, if she can't translate she ideas into ready to wear, she's going to need to be far more brilliant than she is and independently wealthy to survive as a designer. I liked the idea of a babydoll dress with a harness. Her design needed better fabric choices and better finishing. Even though I think this was a good direction for Elena as far as editing her style for the challenge, I'm not so sure it fit the collection for Lord & Taylor that well. Maybe a more polished version would have though. (Her dressed photographed poorly. Based on the pictures here, I can see someone making an argument to give her a bottom slot).

The judges loved Gunnar's dress and Heidi even wanted to wear it. It was in the bottom because they'd seen it before. Yes, it's been done before, but that should have made him safe because it was done well and met the requirements for the challenge. 

Fabio had a win last week, and the judges seems keen to encourage him in showing is point of view. I couldn't help but think that's why he got a top spot. From the front the dress was rather dull. Sure it was a nice use of asymmetry, but that was it. The back was nice, but I think this entire season of designers has overdone the exposed metal zipper. It could have done without it. Nina even said the dress was a little boring. Just because a dress can be gussied up, doesn't mean it deserves to be in the top. It really shouldn't have moved Fabio beyond a safe spot.

Melissa took a risk and nearly ended up in disaster. Her fabric wasn't cooperating and she started over. The dress actually came out lovely. It's strapless with that lovely high neckline. She did a great job. However, it's a little snug so I think that keeps it out of "win" territory. Also, the judges worried that it would be harder to sell than a lot of the other dresses. I'm glad she got a top spot. This was one of the judges' few correct decisions.

Christopher deserved his top spot. He was the only one to make a gown, which was not a safe choice to make. He also used his signature layered/ripped silk technique on top for the third time this season. If you're not Ven, that kind of repetition can make the judges angry. The gown was lovely. I can seen pale-skinned brunettes the world over wearing it. (Alexis Bledel, Princess Kate). However, the judges did remark that it wouldn't work on many body type or with many skin tones. It's a gown so it's less versatile. I don't begrudge Christopher the win because he's one of my favorite, but I do think Dmitry's dress surpassed his on these few points.

Speaking of poor Dmitry, he was devastated when he was called out as safe. I was too. I had picked his dress for a win. It fit with the collection perfectly. It would sell so well. (I want it). A 21-year-old could wear it or a 71-year-old could wear it and both would be able to style it for their own age and comfort level. It's made perfectly, won't cost too much to produce, can be changed significantly with a little styling, and isn't the same little black dress everyone else went for. I even think you could throw a blazer and low pumps on to wear it to work then ditch the jacket, amp up the shoes and grab a clutch for a great day-to-night look.

Ven has used the rose too much, and all of his intricate fabric work is getting a little tired. I want to see if he can do anything else. This particular rose didn't do it for me either. It's a little too high on the neck so the model's chest looks a bit weird. The rest of the dress is rather boring too because he put so much work into the top. I'm also not sure this could be made for a low enough price without looking cheap or having the fabric lay funny. I'm not sure if this look would work better in the Junior's department or the "older ladies" section of the dress department. It doesn't fit the Project Runway Collection. Also, if we're putting people in the bottom for dresses we've seen before, this one qualifies. It's a little black dress with rose detailing on top. We've seen that. 

Alicia needs to stop assuming she can't do things. This dress actually had some good ideas. I liked the sporty vibe. I sort of like that she wanted the skirt too look a bit like shorts, but I don't think the back and front pleats did flattering things to the model or the dress. She could have done a very cool, tailored, menswear-inspired dress that was more polished than this. If her creativity shuts down every time she hears the word "dress" maybe she shouldn't last much longer in the competition. Actually, I wouldn't argue with anyone who thought she should have gone home.

Sonjia, however, is my pick to go home this week. I like her. I really do. I just don't think she did well this week, and on the heels of a bottom spot last week things aren't looking up. The dress didn't fit with the collection at all. I like a cute peplum, but this one didn't work for me. It looked like it belonged in the Juniors department. It also had construction issues and the hem wasn't finished. In a week where none of the looks were total train wrecks, the unfinished dress is usually the one that goes home. 

What did you think? How would you reorder the top, bottom and sage designs? Were you surprised that we had so many meltdowns over a simple cocktail dress challenge? Are they putting hormones in the water to make the designer more emotional? Are you dreading next week's team challenge as much as I am? Who are your favorites right now? (Christopher and Dmitry!)


Amy said…
Spot on review! I felt the same way.

"Dmitry might have to kill all of the other desires to get the judges to notice him."

Let's hope not, haha! (But you're right; it would probably be the only way to get their attention...)
Cait Throop said…
Dimitry all the way. Loved his dress and was so surprised that it got passed over!
Unknown said…
Awesome post! I totally agree that Dmitry should have won. I would much rather have seen the judges call Ven on his continuous use of floral arrangements than see them tell Chris to stop using his shredding technique. I was just talking about this with one of my Dish co-workers and we both were surprised Alicia didn’t go home, but I guess that’s what happens when you have a bunch of people leave voluntarily and the producers need to get back on track. I hate missing this show, but since I have a class on Thursday nights, I always rely on my Hopper to record it for me to watch as soon as I get home. I love reading all the reactions to it!

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