Project Runway S10 E9: Print It!

It was good to see Mondo!
Ever since Project Runway started the print challenge, I've loved it. The designers all get a chance to create their own print and use it in a look. This year, Runway took the challenge a little further by asking the designers to draw inspiration from their heritage. I think this terminology confused some of the designers. While drawing from their heritage is a nice thought, I think the term "personal history" would have been better. After all, Mondo was brought in to introduce this week. His print challenge confession of being HIV positive created what is perhaps the most memorable and moving episode in Project Runway history. The emotional charge to look back at their lives as well as the arrival of loved one to help them look at personal dossiers not only brought most of the designers to tears, but it pushed them to try new things and open up with their designs.

Elena was safe, but I think she was the most transformed by this challenge. Her print, inspired by her very happy childhood in the Ukraine, was vibrant, bright and playful. The resulting look was sporty and chic. I still can't believe it is Elena's and I'm very happy she let her armor down--literary. A side note on Elena: She mentioned she is not always a bitch and having her mom around for the challenge made her happy. I think she is one of those personalities that will never read right on reality TV. I've had a few opportunities to interact with her on Twitter, and I think she's totally the kind of person I'd be friends with in real life. She's quite funny, in fact. (Click through the slide show for each designer to see front, back and up close print views.)

Fabio was also safe, which spared us the judging castatrophe that would have come from explaining his print. Actually, that could have been funny. Maybe we missed out. In the work room he said his print was fallopian tubes, penises and vaginas. It was all about the reproductive process. Well, I guess that counts as personal history, but that's kind of everyone's history isn't it? Anyway, I don't think he used his print well enough by just featuring it on the vest. His pants moved well on the runway, but they don't look great standing still. It was an OK look.

Melissa was another designer to step outside of her comfort zone with this challenge. She dropped her goth looks for a vibrant and pretty dress. The red and white symbolized her Polish history and the red echoed both her family tree and the blood lines. The dress itself was a nice shape and quite pretty. It was nice to see a different side of Melissa.

Sonjai was quite worried about these print pants. Her print story was simple--red, white and blue for America and black because, well, she's black. The resulting design had a simple and elegant look too, but I know it was far from simple to pull off a print pant and drape such a beautiful top in the back.

Dmitry's print echoed traditional ornaments used for cultural costumes as well as his history as an artist by reflecting the artistic style of his father and grandfather. Dmitry didn't stop at making a nice print though. He echod the print in his design by creating cutouts in his jacket that looked like they were floating. He also took the judges advice and didn't make another dress. The resulting outfit was beautifully made, and I want the jacket. Finally, Dmitry earned a win! And he really deserved it too.

Christopher totally lost it on this challenge. He couldn't focus. He doesn't like working with prints so he struggled to make one. He had no idea what to do for the shape of his garment. In the end the judges deemed the dress fine, but not up to expectations. Thankfully, he was safe.

Ven did not have a good week either. However, he had confidence in what he was doing and showed that his fabric working skills may not translate into diverse design skills. When he first started making his print my reaction was "Ugh, of course! Ven is making a flower." It was meant to represent his Indian religious history, but didn't work well as a print. His first design was so bad, Tim Gunn called it an homage to a menstrual cycle. The fanned out print reminded poor Tim of a maxi pad. Everyone in the workroom was shocked, and Ven quickly set to tearing apart his design. I was glad to see him take Tim's advice, but I was so bored when I saw him make another rose skirt. The judges called him on it and even called Tim Gunn in to consult on whether he's been told not to repeat that technique too much. Tim told them he had indeed warned Ven. I thought we might get rid of Villainous Ven this week, but the judges kept him on.

Gunnar really gave them no choice though. He did a slightly better job with his print than Ven, but it still looked awkward. I think his print needed some background filler or connecting elements. It also needed to be a larger scale. This didn't read well. The shape of the jacket was also a bomb. I believe my friends mom bought this same jacket at a camping store in northern Michigan about 15 years ago. It had either roosters or lighthouses on this. That's all I can see when I see this look. It wasn't his best work, even though his story about rising up from the clutch of bullies was a moving one. The judges surmised that he got caught up in the emotion of the print story and didn't move on to making a great design. Gunnar was sent home, but he seemed fine with that. In fact, he and Christopher even put their bitchy feud to rest and parted as friends.

What did you think of the challenge? Who made your favorite print? Are you ready to pick a top four from the remaining eight? I adore Mondo, but I didn't care for him much as a judge. He did much better than Anya though. I think they're too recent to be judges. What did you think? I like the idea of alum judges though. Let's get Seth Aaron and Christian Siriano up there!


Anonymous said…
As usual, your synopsis is great. (And you've converted me to a Dmitry fan over the past few weeks!) But can't we blast Heidi for HER outfits? Or at least hold her to the same standards she would hold the designers. The black dress she wore when she "informs" the designers of their challenge... ugh! Shiny flattened boobs and, well, what's it called when they squeeze out under your armpits (like muffin top... maybe we can call it cupcake top)? And then the printed dress that ran diagonally across her body (when it clearly wasn't supposed to). She's allowed to have a bloated day or two. Just. Well, you know she would have NAILED designers for fit issues like this!
Unknown said…
I was elated when the lovely Dmitry finally got his victory, and absolutely astounded when I saw Ven’s overdone flower walk down the runway. Did he actually think he could make the same design week after week and the judges would be fine with that?! It would be like if I copied and pasted the same document and turned it into my boss at Dish every Friday. I would be fired in an instantly, like he should’ve been from this competition. I’m dying to see what he does now that he’s been forbidden to do his signature flower. The only problem is that tonight’s episode airs at the same time as the new X Factor and Glee, two of my roommate’s favorite show. It’s lucky for me that I won’t have to brawl for the remote since our Hopper DVR has three independent tuners, so neither of us has to miss out. Do you think Ven will make it through another round?

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