"Runway": Cutting off the dead weight
After last week's Prom Night fiasco, the designers...and I...were much more excited for the next challenge: design an avant garde look inspired by their models' hairstyles. Finally something the designers can really sink their teeth into. Christian practically peed his pants upon hearing the news.
But of course, they had to do it in teams (this time radomly selected)...and of course, Tim Gunn (whose nickname this season should just be "The Undertaker" - all the fun has been sapped from his job and his mere appearance in the workroom spells gloom and doom for the contestants) reveals a secondary challenge, which is to translate the main avant garde creation into a ready-to-wear second outfit within hours. Gasp! The designers were SO annoyed...you'd think they'd expect these stunts by now.
Christian and Chris got randomly paired up, and while I would love to see Christian work with Rami - and the ensuing fireworks, this was a match made in heaven. They named themselves "Team Fierce" (tired already) and each one got right down to trying NOT to be Team Leader. Finally an honest acknowledgement of how much it sucks to be the Team Leader. But Christain "manned up", I think more because he had more faith in his vision of avant-garde design than he had fear in being eliminated.
In what has been a relatively conflict-free (and some say, boring) season, the pairing up of Rami and Sweet Pea proved to be taxing for both parties, and one of the hardest segments to watch. TV's only West Bank hottie is one of the best reasons to watch the show this season (not like I need a real reason), but his condescending attitude toward "cool aunt" Sweet Pea was so unecessary. He needs to lighten up and get a little perspective: he may not in fact be the best designer on the show. Or to think of it another way, he may be fantastic at what he does (draping), but he's yet to show much dimension. His flawed leadership on this challenge and his inability to collaborate with Sweet Pea almost sent him packing...and I'm sure he would've blamed that on her too.
And how funny is it to hear Jillian go on and on about how she and Victorya have bitten off more than they can chew, that they are the two contestants with the biggest time-management problems...and it takes her like an hour to get a sentence out! I've never heard a slower talker in my life. But their both perfectionists, and once they got past the power struggle as to who would be the leader, they ended up pulling some great design out of their tight little you-know-whats.
And finally...Kit got paired up with this year's Vincent, Ricky. Unlike Vincent,however, Ricky is at least humble and seems genuinely likable, but he's simply avoided being auf'd by sheer luck. Someone is always just that much worse than him, but hasn't he been on the chopping block almost every episode? He's gotta go next, but then I wouldn't put it past the producers to keep him around and create some more controversy once the core group of serious contenders is established.
Kit was Team Leader, and it was just painful. She had a vision, but poor girl clearly doesn't approach fashion in a high-concept way. Her design was based on the 'nest' that they saw in their model's hair, and they proceeded to make a corseted hoop dress out of layers of floral pastel fabric that ended up resembling bed sheets. I could see using the idea of a nest as an inspiration for something edgy but Kit's vision, coupled with Ricky's passiveness ,ended up producing a dress shockingly uninspired. So Ricky survives another week, and Kit's gone. Honestly, is anyone really going to miss her?
Christian and Chris win with a truly incredible confection of nudey-peach organza - the challenge fully-realized and eliciting the most positive response I've ever seen from Judge Nina. They beat out Jillian and Victorya's barely finished post-punk look, of which Jillian's jacket was by far the most incredible piece of the ensemble (I'm sure Victorya would never admit to that though).
As winners, not only did Team Leader Christian get immunity for next week's challenge, but he and Chris got to appear next to their models in a TreSemme ad. Sadly, they did not get styled, as the photo shoot apparently took place on stage immediately following the competition. Although, what could one really do with Chris anyways...I'm just sayin'...
This year's group does seem to have the most experience of any crop so far, and maybe that's why it's not as interesting - they're just more "professional". I know some folks find Christian totally annoying, but I think he's hilarious and whether his hubris is real or played up for the camera, he pulls it off thanks to his youth and wit. I predict he, Jillian and Rami in the final three, although now I'm wondering if the judges aren't looking for a reason to oust Rami...but they kept one-trick pony Santiago around and he pulled off a fabulous collection in the end that displayed a much broader aesthetic. I'm just hoping I can fall back in love with Rami after this last week's uncomforting display of ego...we know he's got what it takes, I just prefer my men to dole it out in small doses.
Image courtesy NBC