I am not sure when I last disagreed so very much with the judges on 'Project Runway'. Where's Michael Kors? Someone needs to bring some sanity back!
It's especially heartbreaking because the challenge and the designs were some of the best we've seen so far this season. It's all about Hollywood and the art of movies, as the designers are charged with getting a genre and then creating a character with a full story and make up styling to go with their design. Irina, Louise and Althea all get Film Noir, Logan and Carol Hannah get Action/Adventure, Ra'Mon and Nicolas get Sci-fi/Fantasy, Gordana and Christopher get Period Piece and Epperson and Shirin get stuck with Western.
Right away, they all seem to be able to come up with stories except Louise. Carol Hannah moons after Logan (who can blame her) as they tell each other their stories. Ra'Mon admits to being a diehard Trekkie and seems excited to do something alien inspired. They only get 1 day to make it work, so they are all a bit stressed. There is minor bobbin drama as Louise worries she is being sabotaged. But when Tim walks around he thinks she should be more worried about her subtle design not reading well on the runway. Oh, it will read. Ii will read boring. The real drama is Ra'Mon, who realizes 2 hours before deadline that his design is not coming together and he needs to start over. It's not the first time this has happened to him, and last time it earned him a win. But can he pull that off twice?
Irina's look is supposed to be Noir, but I am so distracted by the billowing round wrap that I cant get a feel for anything else. In the end, I feel like she missed the mark as it didn't feel sleek and sophisticated. Carol Hannah's future assassin is well designed and fun, but nothing about it seems to align with her previous point of view. And it seems like that will be a big problem for most of the designs. Shirin's saloon girl is all costume, complete with an ostrich feather on her head.
But then we get to Christopher and this is what I think the challenge was supposed to be about. Taking inspiration from a film genre, creating a story but making it your story - to communicate your design. Does Christopher's design embody accurate fashion of the 1800's? Absolutely not. But it does capture the sense of romance and allure, using bare shoulders and a more modern twist on a bustle. It's sublime.
Nicolas got the story right - and it's an impressively fleshed out one. But the dress is...well, ugly. His white fabric/white lace issue rears it's head again, and while the model doesn't look like a streetwalker - she does look a little cheap. The judges suppose that it will photograph better, but that doesn't address the fact that I think it's unwearable and uninspired. It's well made, the make up is utter perfection, but when all is said and done? I'm not impressed.
Althea nails the Noir look, in clean lines and simple colors with a slow smolder of sex appeal. Ra'Mon...well, he pulled it together as well as he could in under 2 hours. And at the end of the day, what he pulled together in that time was good for what it was. It's not great, but there are some interesting bones there, in the sculptural quality of the neck and the idea that the model can shed pieces as she goes. Louise, as expected, is the "snoozefest" Heidi complained about in all the promos. It's convoluted mess that she tries to justify by saying the a 1940's actresses take on a 1920's flapper. It sounds like an excuse for her completely missing the mark. And missing it messily.
And then we get to Epperson. I am not a western type of girl. I have more punk in my music collection than country by several miles. I have never and likely will never own a pair of cowboy boots, I don't care WHO says they are fashionable. But this? This denim prairie gown with loads of ruffles, what I could swear is muslin, the wide cinched belt and holster like hip-bag? Oh, I would be all over it. It achieves just what Christopher did, taking inspiration from a genre, twisting it on it's ear and showing us something totally new. I've been impressed with Epperson in the past, but when he got Western, I figured he was up a creek. Did he ever prove me wrong - it's genius.
Less genius is Gordana. Just like last week, her dress is pretty, beyond well made, a perfect fit and with enough detail to make your head spin But nothing, absolutely nothing unique or new. It is a flapper dress. No more, no less. Logan seems to have fallen into the same trap as Carol Hannah, through where her model looks like an extra from The Matrix, his looks like she came from the set of Aeon Flux. I see nothing that is his own in the look.
From that, I figured that Epperson or Christopher would win and that Louise was going home. After all, they were clearly the best and is there any worse crime in fashion than being boring? My first shock came when Epperson was the first to be dismissed from the runway. My second shock came when Nicolas was given the win. And my last shock came when Ra'Mon was eliminated. Seriously? What in the world happened tonight?