Episode: Rock N' Runway (Or, I'm A Little Bit Country ...)
September 24, 2008
Previously on Project Runway: The designers were each assigned a recent college graduate to give a head-to-toe Sponsoriffic™ makeover. Korto and Jerell scored with the judges for their outfits. And, wearing a stupid leaf hat, Jerell won with a look that everyone in the universe (except your humble blogger) liked. Kenley sassed Master Tim, yet was safe. Joe was bashed for channeling the '80s power suit and was kicked off the runway.
We open, as always, the morning after da auf'ing at the den of designers where the Glorious Ladies Of The Atlas (GLOTA) are preparing for the day's challenge and reflecting on Joe's elimination. They seem to agree that it was long overdue and move on to a happier topic: the elimination of all men.
Well, actually, they're thinking how cool it would be to have all women in the final three. But two of the three women left think that allegedly skillful Designer Jerell could be a threat to their all-girl band. Designer Leanne thinks he could pass, though, if he wears a wig. (As opposed any of those butch hats he wears now?)
Designer Korto starts our Reality Show Parade of Clichés by telling us she's "not even thinking about going home."
Over at Team Testosterone, however, the mood is subdued. Mostly because Designer Suede is bringing the room down. See, he's been on the bottom so long, that he's really going to have to do something different now. "I need to step up my game, or I'm gone," he says.
Kids, that's two shots already. You should be comatose by the time this one's over.
Over at Parsons, Empress Heidi Emmy Bomber arrives with some news which is actually interesting: It's time for an actual full-on model swap. And since it's been about six months or so since the last time our designers actually used their models, we have only five designers and 32 models left.
Since Jerell stole won the last challenge, he gets to pick first. He sticks with his model, whose name is Immaterial. The Crown Royal bag comes out and the Blonde Lady Who Should Stay Far, Far Away From Acting Gigs picks ... Designer Kenley. Little Miss Gigglepuss apologizes to her model before throwing her over for Joe's former model, Topo Gigio. Next up is Leanne. She, too, smiles demurely at her model, Name Not Available, before snatching up Suede's muse, Tila Tequila.
Name Not Available winces just a smidge from the dagger in her heart.
To borrow a line from Googie Gomez, as played by Rita Moreno in my favorite movie, The Ritz, "And I thought ju gwere nice!"
Left Tila-less, Suede then has to pick a new model to (theoretically) wear his nonsense. He chooses, uh, Saaphyri? (Does it matter?)
Korto is last to pick and will have to select one and send the remaining 16 models packing. She picks a model. It doesn't so much matter which one she did pick (after all, has anyone seen any of those women for more than two minutes all season?) as it does that she does not pick pretty little Name Not Available who is still nursing that open, Leanne-inflicted wound in her chest. So, sweet NNA and the rest of the Passel of Protruding Collar Bones have to walk strong over the horizon.
Explaining her move to rob Suede of his "advantage" of having Tila Tequila as his model, Leanne earns us another swig when she reminds us, "this is a competition."
As for the challenge, Heidi defers to Master Tim who is waiting in the workroom with the details.
After showing the gang that, contrary to popular belief, Stella did not gnaw off one of his digits when she was sent home, Tim lets them all in on this week's contest. The designers will be making outfits for ... each other.
The bag of magic ping-pong balls buttons comes out and Tim starts the exquisite torture.
- Suede will be designing for ... Jerell.
- Kenley will be desiging for ... Leanne.
- Korto will be designing for ... Suede.
- Jerell will be desiging for ... Kenley.
- Leanne will be desiging for ... Korto.
But wait, there's more!
The designers will have to create looks for each other inspired by ... a specific musical genre.
A musical genre which Tim will now assign based on what comes out of the Velvet Bag of Doom.
Oooooooh! Diabolical. We like it.
Tim picks the buttons and assigns the genres with which the designers will be saddled.
- Kenley will be wearing ... Pop 'N Sync - "Pop"
- Suede will be wearing ... Punk Ramones - "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"
- Korto will be wearing ... Country Barbara Mandrell & George Jones - "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool"
- Leanne will be wearing ... Hip-Hop Nas - "Hip-Hop Is Dead"
- Jerell will be wearing ... Rock & Roll Scorpions - "Rock You Like A Hurricane"
Naturally, hilarity ensues at the notion of Liberian Korto wearing country, mousy Leanne being hip-hop and Kenley attempting to design anything that is not inspired by the Glen Miller Orchestra.
Glenn Miller Orchestra - "In The Mood"
I pause here to offer my two cents. Pop, of course, can be just about anything flashy and stage-ready, so Jerell would seem to have the easiest go at this, even getting sexy Kenley as his model. Punk is tricky, since it would be awfully easy to create a really clichéd look. And while hip-hop and rock (& roll) each present their own challenges, country really has to be the tallest order. The reason being, one would either have to make something akin to the dated, rhinestoned Country & Western looks of the past or something that would pass for ordinary street wear, since that's what country artists wear today.
Now, back to our show.
The designers then get a half hour to consult with their clients/each other in the first of our daisy-chain moments.
The Creative Process
Suede gives his ideas to Korto and she tells the Master of Third Person that he'd better express his opinions before Tim makes his rounds so she won't have to turn him into Nancy Spungen.
Leanne makes my ears bleed with an attempt at rap while Kenley (wisely?) refuses to make her a look that is "gangsta" rap-inspired. Kenley says she'll be making Leanne some high-waisted jeans, which she predicts will be "awesome."
Meanwhile, Jerell is suggesting that Suede make him a rockin' look with a big collar and maybe even a cape. Suede, though, is concerned that he may get called out for making him look like "Kiss in the '80s." (Note from Mr. Know-It All: Er, that would be Kiss in the '70s. In the '80s, Kiss had ditched the makeup and glitter and started wearing ... well, sort of what you ended up making, fella.)
Jerell promises he will back Suede up on the runway, insisting, "I will not throw you under the bus."
Drink, drink, drink!
Then it's time for Jerell to consult with Kenley. Immediately, he says he sees her as "Kenley Spears."
Color Me Badd - "I Wanna Sex You Up"
Leanne is (understandably) stumped on how to make Korto look "country" without making her look "costume-y," a process which is helped greatly by Kenley interrupting the pair to see how some shoes will fit on Leanne. Annoyed, Korto looks over at the Bluefly.com wall to see if there's a taser there.
Tim returns and whisks everyone off to Mood.
The "moment" there is when Kenley seizes upon yet another Kenley-esque '40s floral print and Tim observes, incredulously, "This is hip-hop?"
"Of course! It looks like graffiti, you complete moron" she responds. (The "you complete moron" is silent.)
Back at Parsons, the designers get to work coming up with names for themselves. Country Korto shall be "Shania Janks" who is "janks" because she needs to get her "Twain together." (It's a Nashville thing; you wouldn't understand.)
Leanne's hip-hop nickname is proving more problematic, since "Lil Leannimal" is derivative and "Lil Lee J. Blige" is, well, stupid. Howzabout "The Notorious B.A.N.G.?"
As the work commences, Jerell and Korto are startled by Kenley's floral print and, for at least the third time, Jerell refers to Gigglepuss' designs as "'50s style dresses." (I'm no fashion expert, but everything she's done so far strikes me as ten years before that. Or are people allowed a decade's grace period now. Because, if so, I'll start talking about the "disco craze of the '80s" now.)
Jerell sasses more for the cameras (making me toss more bric-a-brac at the screen) and unveils his work so far to Kenley. It's a sexy miniskirt with studded cuffs and fishnet, which he says is "totally not 1954." (Seriously, I am just stuck on the decade thing. I know that at this distance there doesn't seem to be much distance between Lauren Becall in The Big Sleep and Grace Kelly in Rear Window, but there is.)
Kenley reacts to the dress by telling us that she is scared of getting "sexed up" by Jerell. (But then, who wouldn't be?)
We pause now for Interesting Factoids About Suede! Did you know that Suede is a classically trained cellist? It's true!
Did you know Suede dressed pop stars for Jordache? Did you even know Jordache survived the Reagan Administration? It's True!
That was Interesting Factoids About Suede, brought to you by the makers of Nikwax. Remember Nikwax for all your leather and Gore-Tex care needs!
Time Waster over. Now, back to our show.
Korto declares that she's "not even thinking about going home" (Glug) and then starts doing a jig in her cowboy boots and singing an impromptu country song (since paying for an existing one is totally not in Bravo's budget.)
It may not have been in their budget, but you know that, before they were told to "Please stop singing!" by the producers, it was ...
Nancy Sinatra - "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'"
Then it's time for Kenley to try on Jerell's sex (eww!), which makes her giggle and shriek that her ass is hanging out. Ever the "bisexual," Suede rushes in to get a look.
Tim arrives for his "talk to me" moments.
The Patrician Papi likes Jerell's KenleyPop dress, but he'd like to see "more." But only if it's "the right more." He does scream, however, when he sees what appears to be purple fleece on the work table. Jerell manages to talk him down, though, when he explains it's only an accent on a vest.
Tim moves on to Leanne and commands: "Talk to me." He agrees with her that with "country," it's really easy to venture into the "too costume-y" world, but thinks she's doing well.
Next is Korto. The Fashion Sensei speaks: "Talk to me." She explains that she wants to do punk, but doesn't want to overdo it.
He seeks further explanation: "Talk to me." She's afraid of it looking too clichéd, but after speaking with Tim, feels she has to "go the extra mile."
Tim ambles over to the Land Of Suede. There, Tim is surprisingly silent, which is never a good sign. The mentor just doesn't feel there is enough going on in the look. And with "rock & roll" as an inspiration, Tim feels Suede could really do "anything." (Anything? Like, not be delusional? You must not know Suede.)
Finally, it's the Showdown At The Kenley Corral we saw in the previews.
He approaches the girl. They speak.
"So you have hip-hop," he intones, "and you have Leanne. Pretend I've come from the moon. Talk to me about hip-hop and what characterizes it."
She says (correctly) that many of today's hip-hop artists are wearing dark denim and leather jackets. She explains that she's making some ultra-high-waisted jeans (which are kind of a "thing" now, I understand).
Tim, who is about as close to hip-hop as Igor Stravinsky is to T-Pain, asks if hip-hop isn't rather about oversized clothing instead of cutting-edge fashion.
"No, that's like '80s hip-hop, you stupid old shitstain," she responds. (The "you stupid old shitstain" is implied.)
After she goes on some more in this vein, Tim has had enough.
"Kenley," he chastises, "I'm not disrespecting you; I'm here to support you. ... You. Need. To Listen. It will benefit you tremendously as a designer. I want you to succeed. It would help if you removed the sarcasm and the facetiousness. It would help me a lot."
Naturally, Kenley nattered and interrupted though his entire address and heard precisely zero of it.
He adds, "You just think I'm being snarky."
"OK," she says dismissively.
"I'm just trying to channel your thinking and you led me off a precipice."
She snorts, which means either ...
a.) She has no idea what a "precipice" is, or
b.) She's picturing shoving him off one.
As day one ends, Kenley thinks Tim doesn't "get" her and plays with Leanne's crotch. Korto decides to bleach-stain the pants and shoes she's making for Suede. And Suede is so tired, he drops his use of the third person.
Suddenly, it's the next morning back at the Atlas and we're "treated" to a shot of a shirtless Jerell first thing in the morning. Jerell has been thinking of perhaps sabotaging Suede, since "it is a competition."
"It's a competition!" Woooo! Drink! Drink! Drink! ... Hic.
Jerell bids so long to his Tim bobblehead doll and a lemon they've named "Joe" (I am so not making this up) and it's back to Parsons!
There, Tim tells them they have an hour to make adjustments and get their hair done. Korto discusses the merits of walking down the runway naked, Jerell opines on Korto's country bedonkadonk, and Suede tells Jerell that the look he created looks "awesome."
Leanne is also getting dressed and Kenley feels the jeans she's created for her also are "awesome." She adds some three pounds of jewelry to complete the "hip-hop" look. The kids call it "bling."
Hurriedly, the designers work on each other simultaneously, each one working on the person in front of them.
"One person's got their hands on you while you've got your hands on somebody else. ... It's exciting, I can tell you that much," says Jerell, remembering the last time he got to play "lucky Pierre."
After their quick stop in hair and makeup, Tim returns and falls out laughing once he lays eyes on the gang. Once he's regained his composure (and restrained himself from throwing a pair of scissors at Kenley), it's time for Jerell to call his model "Kenley Spears" again!
No. I mean, it's off to the runway!
The Runway Show
Heidi appears to greet the judges and some empty chairs. She says guten tag to guest judge, the still-irresistible rapper LL Cool J and it's time for our show!
- Leanne's Look (Client: Korto, Genre: Country): As predicted, it's a tall order making a "country" look that doesn't look like Minnie Pearl on a bad day. And Korto's hardly the client to carry it off. Still, it's a flattering look, with a hit of "western wear" in the detail of the purple top. And the cowboy boots below the maxi-skirt help.
- Jerell's Look (Client: Kenley, Genre: Pop): One hundred points for execution. She looks like the newest member of the Danity Kane, if the members of Danity Kane were all backstabbing witches. It's almost a copy of a Britney Spears look from her python-carrying days. (You know. When she was still a "virgin.") Oh, and Jerell has to stop to call her "Kenley Spears" again.
- Kenley's Look (Client: Leanne, Genre: Hip-Hop): Face it; it's comical. But once you get past the whole "Leanne is the last person you'd call 'hip-hop'" thing, you realize: it does look like something you could see Mary J. Blige wearing. (And that Kenley print is hardly visible.)
- Korto's Look (Client: Suede, Genre: Punk): What could easily have been a joke (see entry, Suede's everyday look), looks genuine. The crazy new purple hair look helps, but the artfully stained jeans and the custom "shredded" top with actual chains fitted into it make it a winner.
- Suede's Look (Client: Jerell, Genre: Rock & Roll): It really is such a shame that Jerell had to wear an outfit he brought from home on the runway. Wait. I think that's actually something Suede made for him. I suppose I should have known. He's not wearing another ludicrous hat.
During the inquisition, we learn that ...
- Korto took the first opportunity to dress Suede in suede.
- "Thanks" to the pants Suede made for him, we now all know that Jerell "dresses to the right."
- LL Cool J has "popped" one over Kenley's physique (and is most complimentary about her Thompson Twins).
- Kenley may actually know something about hip-hop fashion, but really can't make pants.
- Kenley can still find new ways to be an insufferable shrew.
- LL Cool J doesn't like to get into arguments with women he'd like to bang.
- And Leanne's look was slightly lacking from the waist down.
During the deliberations, the judges reiterate what they said on the runway: that Kenley's jeans were awful (both the husband and LL Cool J used the words "mom jeans"), that Korto's punk look was inspired and that Jerell ended up looking like Jerell.
They call the designers back out.
And the winner of the challenge is ... Korto.
She do-si-dos herself back to the lounge.
They send Jerell away to rock and roll all night (and party every day).
Leanne gets a mild scolding, but is also safe.
She "leans like a cholo" back to safety.
Then, it's down to Kenley and Suede.
Heidi shames the pair and finally says:
"Kenley ... You're in. You can leave the runway."
She heads off to build us some more bombers to fight the Luftwaffe.
So Suede is out. Suede is sad that Suede is out, but promises we'll see more of Suede.
I feel sorry for the poor P.A. who will have to tell him that he's "Suede."
Next Time on Project Runway: A car ride. "Hedda Lettuce" becomes synonymous with "awful experience you'd never want to repeat." And tears. Lots and lots of tears.