So, just for clarification, tonight's challenge was to design an outfit to fit into another, far more famous designer's collection in order to justify that designer's participation in the most pretentious American Express commercial since Robert DeNiro's? Well, it's good to see that those interminable Diane von Furstenberg AmEx commercials weren't for nothing (besides selling AmEx cards), I guess. I wonder which of the commercials seen during tonight's episode will eventually be spun into a challenge: Design a red dress to promote Simply Apple juice? (Terri would make dress pants for that one.) Or maybe make a "bearer of weird news" outfit for the host of We's The Locator to wear when he knocks on doors and tells people, "That child you gave away decades ago? I have a message for you from them."
Still, as last week's "Make an outfit from Saturn parts" challenge illustrated, Project Runway's blatent advertiser challenges can be very entertaining. Anyway, the show has far more annoying conventions. For example, the "Where are we going? What's going to happen?" voiceovers and montage pacakge that is slapped together whenever the contestants leave the Atlas apartments–even when it's fairly obvious where they're going and what they're going to do there. "I didn't know where we were. It's Project Runway so anything can happen." Really, Terri? The giant "DVF" etched on the glass doors you just walked through didn't give you a clue as to where you were and who you might be meeting there?
Then there's the requisite "This is such an honor. It's a dream come true." gushing montage that follows the entrance of any guest, whether it's Brooke Shields promoting her poor man's Sex & The City, or Diane Von Furstenberg telling the designers they have the rare opportunity to sell an outfit exclusively to AmEx cardholders. When Diane managed to get out that whale of a prize, Tim gently coaxed the designers toward excitement with one word, "Thrilling." If Tim wasn't so honest, I'd think he meant it sarcastically.
So: designing something as if you were Diane Von Furstenberg, using Diane Von Furstenberg's fabrics and prints! For American Express cardholders! Woo. Hoo.
But the designers did seem genuinely thrilled to work for AmEx as pseudo Diane Von Furstenbergs–Especially Kenley, who couldn't say a word about the challenge without getting all red-faced and bursting into tears. Later, on the runway, she couldn't say anything about her dress without bursting into whiny justifications, or interrupting Heidi. Of course, she needed all the justifications she could shoehorn into that judging, because her dress was nothing special: the uniform of a waitress in a Chinese restaurant, but in a mottled, busy print. It was definitely more Shanghai Gardens than 1930s spy in Shanghai.
Yet, Kenley's simple (read: predictable) dress rounded out the top three along with Korto's chic jacket and black-and-white print gown (with a splash of yellow), and Leanne's gorgeously draped blue gown with layered jacket. But while Korto and Leanne's looks went above and beyond, Kenley's merely managed to be slightly better than the mediocre middle three: Jerell's ensemble was a little too busy, and who knows what was going on underneath that big black jacket; Blayne somehow made poofy jodhpurs out of silk, though his jacket wasn't that bad; and Terri merely unfolded her trusty clubwear flares pattern and made a pair of pants, along with a 1975 secretarial pool blouse in that hideous neon fireworks pattern.
The bottom three designs were worse, but only construction-wise. Suede made a giant "camouflage" tent, and then at the last minute apparently decided to turn the whole thing into an unflattering dress, with a giant slit in the back just for fun. Suede then proved his design eye was as mismatched and uneven as his use of the 3rd person, when he paired the huge maxi-dress with a weird herringbone jacket. Then there was Stella's untailored businesswoman meets Dracula cape look, featuring a tie-front vest and a crotch "that's every woman's nightmare." Surprisingly, Stella's outfit was considered the worst of the bunch, despite the fact that Joe's backless blouse, uneven skirt, and hooded sparkle wrap were a hideous ugly parade. If colors screamed when they clashed with one another, Joe's outfit could easily inspire another Munch. Those pinks weren't even in the same family, and that hooded sparkle wrap looked like an accessory from Alchemy: Goth Superstore.
In the end, however, the judges seemed to be tired of watching Stella stray unsuccessfully from her leather aesthetic, so she was the one to go. But whatevs. Tonight, somewhere beneath the leather moon, Stella is back in the loving embrace of Rat Bones.
--If Michael Kors thinks the crotch on Stella's pants is every woman's nightmare, then he obviously didn't get a good look at the crotch on Terri's latest pair o'flares:
--Possible explanations for Leanne's spy interlude: 1. She's heady with immunity, 2. The producers made her do it, 3. Late-onset personality. I think it's a combination of 1 and 2. #3 is just sad.
--"You're making a dress. Okay. Great. I don't care." I'm going to miss Stella, even if Tim Gunn seemed constantly annoyed at her.
--"I'm here to work it out. Suede's going to Bryant Park." Not if he can't decide on how to refer to himself, he's not.
--Can Kenley just go ahead and break? Please? Every week she holds on is another week we may have to see that purple furry shoulder dress again.
--Top 3: Leanne and Korto are virtual locks. Who will take third?