In one of my first recaps for this season of Project Runway, I mentioned how one of my favorite characters in the show is New York City herself. This week’s challenge is a brilliant example of this, as the designers, after their normal morning moan and groan montage, are led to Radio City Music Hall where a line of sparkly, smiley Rockettes are waiting for them. The Rockettes, bitches! You’ve never seen so many perfectly synchronized flashing white legs! It’s amazing! They are always amazing! Sonjia is also wearing a huge red turban thing on her head and it is also amazing!
The other most important character on the show, after New York City and Tim Gunn (Gunn is always number one, duh), is of course Heidi Klum. And hold on to your rockers, children, because after 30 seconds of the Rockettes doing their thing, a curtain behind them opens and out comes Heidi! In a Rockette uniform! And she joins the fantasmic kicking line!
Heidi Klum is a Rockette! Heidi Klum is a Rockette! Heidi Klum is a Rockette!
Christopher says, “I’m dying! I need my inhaler; I can’t breathe!” And while I find myself increasingly annoyed by things Christopher says, I am 100% with him on this one. This is one of the best Project Runway moments of my life. Everything is right and nothing hurts. Dmitry says, “And the way she moves, oh baby,” without ever straying from his ridiculously monotone Belarusan drawl. Never change, Dmitry.
They’re told they will be designing a new look for the Rockettes, and the winning look will be put into production and actually worn by the dancers at a future performance. Uh, whoa. This is incredible, but also makes me slightly nervous for the Rockettes. What if no one produces anything awesome? Pressure is on, designers! You really better make this shit work.
Back in the workroom, after struggling for a while with their shiny stretchy fabrics and sequins, Tim comes in to tell them they will only be working until 7:30 tonight because they’ll be going out for a nice dinner. Wait, what? This has never happened before. You work ‘til you drop every day! Completely unrealistic and exhausting time constraints are the name of the game! Project Runway, you are going soft.
One highlight from the dinner though is that Ven, Dmitry and Elena, three of the strongest personalities this season, sit next to each other and share some warm fuzzy times. Elena apologizes to Dmitry and vows to stop being bitchy. Ven tries to explain why he’s so Ven. As Dmitry says, “Even Ven is opening up. I think it’s wine. Wine is working.” It normally does. It normally does.
Back to the task at hand the next day, Tim comes in his for critiques and experiences some, er, concern. In fact, another Project Runway First happens in that after looking at everyone’s designs, he gives a little speech about how they should stop sucking and then says, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’re going back to Mood.” They’re getting more money and a second chance to buy more/better fabric! SOFT, PROJECT RUNWAY, SOFT. Some of the designers say, “Eh, I’m cool, I’ll stay here,” while the other designers effectively say, “You crazy, bitches,” and take off.
Speaking of bitches, Tim has the quote of the episode when, coaching Fabio in his use of sequins which Fabio says are being bitches to him, Tim opens his mouth and this comes out: “Bitch slap that bitch.” Mr. Gunn! You sassafras! Yet still so dapper!
After a bunch of freaking out by Melissa and mild panic from almost everyone else, they arrive at the runway, where Heidi reminds everyone in case they forgot, “Hey, remember when I got to dance with the Rockettes? That was the best, right?” (It was!) She also introduces the guest judge for the week, who is Debra Messing! Squee! Christopher says, “Dyingggg!” for the second time this episode, and I reluctantly admit, he is spot on once again.
As for the actual runway show, this a kooky one, in not always the best of ways.
Let’s start with the bottom. Sonjia, I love you, but feathers for the Rockettes? Nah, girl. Nah.
Ven? Have you seen the Rockettes? They’re shiny and exciting! This is not exciting! Snore.
Worst of all though is Elena. Elena, Elena, Elena. The judges use the word “tacky,” “cheesy,” and a bunch of other bad things. Indeed. It’s tough because Elena has really carved her way into my heart, somehow. But yowzer.
The top three is really more like the top two, because with Melissa they basically say, “Great job using pink and black! You have charm. The rest is sorta weird.”
But the top two, they love love love. And I agree agree agree.
First there’s Dmitry, who wanted to take the Rockettes to a sexier, more modern type of vibe, and he succeeds. Black and blue, shiny, cool lines, but most of all, that super fantastic beady skirt! Everything is smooth, perfectly fitted, and moves flawlessly. This outfit yells Rockettes! the most to me, because even I want to put on that skirt and kick! Which would not be a pretty site! But seriously, give me that skirt and I will do it anyway!
Then Christopher, who hands down has the clearest, if most literal, vision: the New York City skyline, all shiny and silver and classic. In a word, it’s perfect for this challenge. Sometimes literal works. And I have hardly ever heard the judges gush more. They are basically slobbering with compliments. Debra Messing calls it “magnificent.” To which Christopher half-whispers, “Thank you, Debra Messing.” OK, fine, Christopher! You are cute! Ugh!
I do have the slightest of problems with it in that the skirt seems too straight, too un-swishy, for all those Rockette kicks. It does move a little, but it’s nothing like the sashay of that skirt of Dmitry’s! It just doesn’t make me want to shimmy and shake. And because of the detail of the skyline, it seems slightly more puckery and awkward as opposed to radically smooth. But I know that’s being picky, since I can’t imagine how difficult it was to make that skyline look as impressive as it did. Clearly the judges are impressed, and I guess they know what they’re talking about, or whatever.
Unsurprisingly after this love fest, Christopher is the winner. Well deserved.
But the losers is where it gets interesting. Sonjia’s safe, so it comes between Ven and Elena. This was one of those challenges where I had no doubt who would get the boot. But, proving once again what you make of yourself when you assume, I was wrong. To everyone’s shock, it’s Ven that gets the auf. Elena proceeds to sob her way off the stage.
Ven keeps his composure, and is actually pretty classy about it all, but you can tell he’s deeply sad. I try to remind myself of all the horrible, awful things he said and did this season so I don’t feel bad for him, but I just keep thinking of that astounding rock candy dress, and sigh, look, I just can’t deal with anyone being sad and you probably think I’m off my rocker but I can’t resist feeling kinda bad. Kinda. In the tiniest kind of kindas.
The truth is, I’m happy with this decision because of that Elena sized gap in my heart and the knowledge that Ven’s a jerk, but if I didn’t have those personality guidelines I might be tempted to dramatically slide right off the couch in judging despair. That ice skater blue explosion of Elena’s was a catastrophe. Ven’s was boring, but still a little pretty? I guess it’s another drop in the bucket for that oh-so-frequent Project Runway theme: Better to be sort of awful than to be boring. You didn’t do a rose this time, but the memory of the roses still haunted you. Sorry, fat-shaming misogynist.
But in cheerier news, the challenge in the previews for next week looks like a complete, absolute ridiculousness fest. They are designing for BABIES. What? And while they do it, they are taking care of those plastic crying and peeing babies they give you in high school to persuade you from having real ones, because that is apparently more efficient than just handing out condoms, obviously. This part seems entirely unnecessary and I should probably be angrier about it because the reason Project Runway is what it is is because it doesn’t dip into those antics, but, I don’t know. Dmitry carrying around a fake baby might be worth it for me.
What did you think of this week’s cut?