“Project Runway” recap: “Candy Couture” (Ep. 10.2)


Now that the scramble of the first episode is over, where there are too many contestants to remember all of their names and everyone is trying too hard to broadcast their personalities, we can start to settle in to the 10th season of Project Runway. I was a little disappointed with the challenge of the first episode — make a companion piece to a design they’d already made? Boooring, at least for a first challenge. I mean, the designers showed some great looks, but what about the kooky challenges where they have to make dresses out of vegetables or something, to show which ones can be excellent and creative under pressure? It’s Project Runway! I want to see people freak out and make crazy shit!

Alas, let’s see what this second episode will bring. It starts with the designers throwing some shade at the Atlas apartments. Because they have all made it through ONE episode, so, you know, they are the best. Michael is all, “I’m so happy I won!” and Ven is all, “I was better than you!” and Lantie is like “Ugh, I can’t believe I was in the bottom three!” (I can) and someone else is all, “Poor Beatrice got kicked off first!” and Elena goes, “Yeah … she should have been second.” Harsh, y’all. Harsh.

On the runway, Heidi shows up in a rad red plaid dress that I completely want to own. Lesbian chic, people. She tells the designers they’ll be meeting Tim Gunn at somewhere sweet that’s a dream for kids. Heidi is the best. Warning: most of my recaps will probably include the line, “Heidi is the best.”

The peeps head out to see Tim at Dylan’s Candy Bar — yes! I feel good about this! — where they meet Dylan Lauren, who is also rocking some fine lesbian chic with that fly tie. We learn that in addition to living the candy business life, Dylan is Ralph Lauren’s daughter. No big deal. She will also be the guest judge for this episode. Obviously.

I am clearly pumped for this challenge. Gunnar is also pumped for this challenge. Others, not so much. But then, while the camera pans through the beautiful, rainbow-colored, shiny store, Tim tells the contestants that they can buy $500 worth of candy.

I repeat

They can buy $500 worth of candy.

$500 worth of candy! Why are they not all jumping up and down with glee? They are standing there straight-faced and serious looking! I know they’re making clothes out of it and stuff, but — $500 in candy! I want $500 in candy! I hate all of you for not being the most excited you’ve ever been in your lives! Give me all the chocolate and sugar and sweet things! $500 of it to be exact!

But I digress. Back at Parsons, the designers commence to smashing rock candy, sewing strips of candy dots, and gluing Twizzlers like nobody’s business. Per usual with these unconventional challenges, people are actually creating pretty great things. I’m particularly drawn to Sonjia’s shark-gummy swoop collar thing.

More obnoxious personalities also start to become clear as the workday progresses, thank goodness. Gunnar has honed in on a special hatred for Michael for some reason and is as bitchy about it as possible. Gunnar, you are really harshing my candy high right now. Ven also wants us to know that he graduated at the top of his class from FIT and won All The Awards basically. This is awesome, and I do think Ven is going to be in this for the long haul. The dude knows what he’s doing, and also seems to make pretty accurate assessments of other people’s work. But acting like you’re not The Best Thing Ever at all times would be pretty cool, too. Just a suggestion.

I also wasn’t sure in the first episode if I liked Buffi’s European-tinged constant hyper sass, but I’ve now determined that I like it. She’s playful and sweet and interesting and funny and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Obviously I am Team Alicia first, because you know, lesbian, although we sadly haven’t seen much of her this episode. I think she’s more of a quiet, hang-out-and-do-my-thing designer. Which is good, and smart. Keep that up, Alicia, although I do want to see your sweet face more. But after her I am Team Buffi! Anytime Buffi says, “It’s cute, right?” I just want to giggle and kiss her. Also, Team Sonjia is coming in at a strong third, because girl is fine. Note: I reserve the right to change my mind on these very important standings at any time.

In the final hours, Lantie realizes she’s gotten hardly anything done and starts over on a crappy design, resident oldie Andrea goes back and forth on her paper-dot apron after Tim’s harsh but fair critique of it, and in the hot-glue-gun heaven that the workroom has become, Elena drops hot glue directly onto her hand and thigh and has to be seen by a medic. For serious, folks: fashion is dangerous business.

Somehow, as always, designers finish up their outfits and get them precariously fitted on their models, and it’s runway time. Heidi shows up in a snake-skin-y sweat suit-y thing. Unlike the lesbian chic dress she sported at the beginning, I really do NOT want to own this one. But it’s okay, Heidi. You’re still the best.

With the exception of Lantie’s, which is a hot mess, and a few candies falling off a few other designs, this runway show is awesome. We also get a look at Alicia’s design for the first real time, which makes me want to escape to a tropical island. And then, you know, maybe eat some candy off of a model under the hot tropical sun. Whatever.

When the highest and lowest contestants are called and the people in the middle can leave the runway, Dmitry is one of the ones in the middle and his face does a painful little jerk. You can tell he thought he should have been one of the ones in the top. While I’m not sure how I feel about Dmitry overall yet, I have to say that I did love his look, as well. It was one of the few designs that had easy movement and swish on the runway always hard to do with an unconventional challenge — and was overall pretty and appealing.

When we get to the critiques, Ven, Sonjia, and Gunnar are in the top, with Buffi, Elena, and Lantie in the bottom. The divine Nina Garcia comments on Lantie’s that at least it’s “not atrocious,” but while I actually normally think the judges are incredibly harsh, I disagree. It is in fact pretty atrocious.

While Elena’s pina colada twizzler dress is getting ripped to pieces by the judges, Gunnar, standing next to her, begins to snicker and laugh along with Michael Kors. If there is one thing I hate, it’s contestants laughing at other contestants on the runway. That designer is already being humiliated and put through the ringer about something they worked hard on with their whole mind and body, even if it sucks. How dare you be so snide as to unnecessarily add to that emotionally exhausting process. Ugh. You are on my bad side, Gunnar.

In the end, the winner is Ven, with his candy couture smashed-rock-candy dress. While he definitely deserved it, my personal favorite was still Sonjia’s turquoise dream. I loved that thing.

Not surprisingly, Lantie is out this week, although her aufiderzein moment seemed particularly awkward as the judges didn’t say much to her and she didn’t say much back. She seemed more pissed off yet weirdly casual than sad about it all. Eh.

The preview for next week looks full of amazing drama — they’re going to be working in pairs, which is always a disaster fest! And it looks like they’re designing for previous female contestants on Project Runway! Who have more than a little to say about the designing as well! This is going to be so good!

What was your favorite design from this week? Least favorite? Which teams are you on — or definitely not on? I now finally and gloriously feel in the Project Runway mood: the mood to gossip and gasp. Bring it, Lifetime.

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