Project Recap: Let's All Go to the Movies and Find Ourselves a Hack

We're pulling for you, Louise, but what in the heck happened on last night's episode?
We're pulling for you, Louise, but what in the heck happened on last night's episode?

Normally, I watch Project Runway two, maybe even three times while recapping it. This week, after my initial viewing, I was so flabbergasted, I watched a few other shows, made a mix CD for a friend and went to bed. Also, I wanted to see the Rate the Runway pics before writing my thoughts about the final outcome, just to make sure they were warranted since there's that whole low-def situation with Lifetime. So I looked. And looked again. Then shouted: Are you people morons?! Bring back Michael and Nina! This has gotten out of hand. I just witnessed a robbery at needlepoint!

But I don't want blow the hot mess just yet, sew ..

This week, Heidi Klum told the designers that it was time to get them out of the workroom to see what Los Angeles was all about, which is the same thing I thought she said last week when they went to the newspaper plant. Only, their tour of Hollywood amounted to a shitload of traffic and a glance at some support beams and maybe a stray water cooler for 15 minutes -- or, the opposite of glamor. Rolling Stone's right: This show blows. And it sucks.

The contestants were told to pick a film genre for which they'd create a look and invent a character. Ra'Mon-Lawrence Coleman, Logan Neitzel and Dallasite Louise Black seemed truly stoked about their genres (sci-fi, action-adventure and film noir, respectively), while Epperson and Richardson's Shirin Askari both got stuck with everyone's discards: Western. Note: Everyone, and I mean everyone, said "genre" in some totally bizarre way. Schenray, jenrah, jonree.

Carol Hannah Whitfield divulged that she's distracted by Logan working so closely to her space and Logan said she was the only chick he's bonded with as a friend/designer. Nothing about "She's so cute, but...." or "We're just friends, but if I wasn't with someone I bang her," but also enough to show that he's not into all the fawning from the models or other girls. For a dude with a girlfriend (according to Louise in our comments, at least), that is anultra smart way to go on national television ... and as a committed dude. Props. He appears to be on the up and up, which after years of watching reality TV is always refreshing.

We have become terribly fond of Richardson's Shirin Askari.
We have become terribly fond of Richardson's Shirin Askari.

We discovered that Ra'Mon is a Trekkie, Nicolas Putvinski is a daydreamer and Irina Shabayeva is totally full of herself: "It reminded me of how good I am at doing these 'wow' pieces. Do I really need the immunity? I have a hunch that I could live without it right now." It probably just came out wrong, but I totally choked when she said it. I'm a relatively chatty and probably 10- to 30-percent crazy chick on a stressful day, so I think I can make these observations knowing I'd unintentionally make a much worse impression on TV.

And as we covered last week, designers who get the most face time or discussion will end up in top or bottom, so when Nicolas wouldn't STFU about himself and Louise and an ice queen and Orion's Belt and, and Ra'Mon kept going off about how he luuuuuuuvs science fiction and hideous green alligator-print leather and Louise kept losing things, injuring herself and hadn't created a story for her character, I got worried. Also, Tim warned her to beef up her details because her subtleties were getting lost on the runway. And Ra'Mon started over with two hours left. [Bite nails.]

Two people I wasn't worried about? Epperson and Christopher Straub. Their sketches and ideas as presented to Tim Gunn were flawless, gorgeous and flawless again. Epperson's take on the Western featured a ruffled duster dress with a leather belt of almost corset effect, and layered not-quite-petticoats underneath. Denim provided a modern element that brought his Cold Mountain-esque storyline some oomph. Christopher's vampire bride with a moral dilemma was luxurious and saucy but so not cliched in a layered, bustled skirt that didn't add weight but seemed to float, and a sleeveless top that turned Victorian on its ass, and right sexylike too. And the back was stunning.

Come runway, Logan's wounded sword fighter, Carol Hannah's Matrix chick, Althea Harper's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Irina's torch singer and Shirin's saloon girl were all safe. That leaves Gordana Gehlhausen's (a flapper dress), Ra'Mon and Louise in the bottom for some pretty harsh criticism from the judges -- who were, this week, designer John Varvatos, Marie Claire's Zoe Glassner and big-name costume designer Arianne Phillips.

Gordana got credit for the workmanship on her flapper dress, but dissed on how the dress wasn't special and lacked a designer's vision. Speaking of flappers, Louise's story was of a 1940s aspiring actress at an industry costume party dressed as a flapper. Tim was surely right: There was a ton of detail work on it that you just couldn't see. But I was also shocked at the final product based on the vintage-inspired designs from her portfolio. I don't want to say Nicolas was right, but perhaps Louise fell short in not having a character story thought out before designing the dress.

At any rate, she got slayed hardcore by Glassner, who called her look a "convoluted mess," "snoozefest" and like a packaged, store-bought French maid's costume. (I have to go on record as saying the French maid comment didn't seem constructive but just mean, like Glassner was looking for a soundbite. Last I checked French maids had little white ruffles and aprons.) Varvatos commended the workmanship but didn't see a style. Louise totally kept her cool and even thanked the judges for the feedback, saying she'd been wanting to be on top or bottom for weeks just so she could hear from them. Kudos, because I would've bawled.

And Ra'Mon's alien evening gown that was both V and side-street hooker won him a ride home. Which sucks. I really liked him. And he had a storyline for his character, he just picked some difficult fabrics that defeated him in the end. Hey, maybe he could write a sci-fi comic about a designer on another planet who ...

But the important part of this show is the travesty that was the winner announcement. We had Epperson and his ruffled rough gal. We had Chris and his bustled bloodsucker. We had Nicolas and his ice-white alien queen constructed with lots of appliqués. They all had a vision, two were stunning, one had glue on her head. And Nicolas fucking won. Those judges sat there talking about how awesome Christopher's looked from the back and the front and the side. How Epperson's was so dramatic and his model, Matar, really sold it with her walk. And then they give it to the one that is basically an evening gown with white shit stuck to it.

Now, I realize these designs aren't easy to make, but I'm going to venture -- just based on logic, mind you -- that ruffles and bustles are more difficult to construct than cutting out shapes and gluing them (or even stitching) on a dress. He won because he put shit in her hair? Is that it? And you know Epperson and Christopher were all, "Dude, I'd have been fine if you'd have won, but Nicolas? What the eff?" Maybe hay braids would've won it for Epperson. Or blood bangs for Chris.

Anyway, Christopher was robbed yet again. And I'd have been pleased with Epperson as well. I just need Nicolas to go away, or at least stop crapping on other people's designs when he's the one looking to trade his first-born for a hot glue gun.


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