Project Runway: Season Seven
Episode: The Visitation Of The Blessed Gunn
April 15, 2010
Previously on Project Runway: The designers went to the circus and were charged with making fashionable outfits inspired by clown clothes. Emilio made a singularly amazing gown (and his head grew three sizes that day). Seth Aaron channeled Tim Burton and joined Emilio in the finals. Anthony decided to see if his lack of vision could transform blue polyester into fashion and failed, finally being sent away from my sight. And both Jay and Mila were passed through, though they’d have to compete for the last spot in the finale.
We’re back on the runway with the final four where The Lady In The Animal-Print Mini Muumuu greets the designers and recaps what we already know: that Egomilio and Seth Aaron will be competing for the win in the finale and either Jay or Mila will be joining them. Tim pops in to thrust his hands forth and help foster the illusion that while all four will be creating collections for Fashion Week, only three will actually be seen.
(In case you’ve been clouded by Icelandic volcanic ash for weeks, you probably know that the ten designers who were on still the show when Fashion Week happened -- everyone except Maya Palin -- made collections which were all seen in the tents. Of course, only three will will appear on camera to be judged next week.)
Heidi explains that Jay and Mila will present three outfits from their collections to be judged once everyone returns to New York.
And with that, the designers head back to their apartments to pack their scarves and flatirons. Mila, who by law must be shot in the reflection of a circular vanity mirror at least once a week, ruminates on how much she hates Jay and how she must crush him. Meanwhile, Jay struggles to come out of the closet after Seth Aaron pulls a William Morris Agency move and shoves him back into one.
As the boys pack, they each struggle to put everything they brought back into suitcases. And Emilio needs a new steamer trunk for his ego.
And back home they go!
Three months later, we see Tim landing at the base of Mount Fuji (or it could be Washington State) to check in on Seth Aaron at the lovely home he shares with his wife, kids and “attack squirrel.” (He even has a sign warning people. No lie.)
In the intervening time, we see that Seth Aaron has gone from looking like the last remaining Boomtown Rat to rockin' the now-fashionable Full-on Lesbian Math Teacher look. He leads Tim into his workspace and shows the mentor the 239 black-and-gray pieces he’s made so far.
Tim is stunned. He adores each of the designs. But then he stuns the designer. Tim tells Seth Aaron that while the audience will love the collection, the history of Project Runway is littered with final collections that were great, totally in keeping with the designer’s established aesthetic, and which fell at the finish line, simply because there was no new element of “surprise.”
This is known as the Curse of the Uli. (Or the Curse of the Korto. Or the Curse of the Kara. Take your pick.)
This floors the designer, who has already used up half of his budget and more than half of his allotted time. He says he had no idea he’d be in the position of having to start all over again at this point.
On that cheery note, let’s play Pictionary! And while Tim visualizes parts of the female reproductive system for the kids, let’s also get a look at pictures of Seth Aaron’s hairstyles of yore!
Hmm. Not that he’s an unattractive fellow now, but he really should have stuck with that buzz cut from the ‘90s. It suited him. Now he looks like a cross between the leader of a Simple Minds cover band and a lady who majored in Feminist Literature of the 1860s and now sells real estate.
Now, before we leave Washington, let’s see who won this season’s Most Unlikely Tim Gunn Scenario Ever contest? If you had Fussy Mentor In Tailored Men’s Wear Bounces On Trampoline you win!
And if you chose, “Papa Gunn’s on the Tramp!” as the new catchphrase … well, there are some stocks I’d like you to help me pick out.
So, Seth Aaron loves that he got the silver fox to let his hair down, considering it “awesome.” Tim gives him some final words of advice and it’s on to his next stop: New York City. Or as it is now known by the designer, The Free Republic of Sosa.
Emilio tells us that he’s excited for Tim to meet his brothers. And so are we, if only to see if they have the same goddamned speech impediment. They gather at the base of (what I assume to be) the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to look at it from what I like to call the Tony Manero Brooding Angle. [ed. - I am informed that this is actually the George Washington Bridge. This, however, does not allow for the Saturday Night Fever joke. So I'm moving the bridge. Cope with it.)
For the next few minutes, I gather from the old pictures that the three men are delivering biographical information about the designer. But I’ll be damned if I can make out a word of what they’re saying. (I guess mushmouthedness must run in the family.)
Oh, look! Now we’re getting actual old video of the South Bronx in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Or so they tell us. Personally, I think I just accidentally switched over to Nick At Nite just in time for a rerun of Welcome Back, Kotter.
Over the footage, Emilio explains that he was single-handedly responsible for the birth of hip-hop and this will forever be a part of his design aesthetic. (So, can I blame him for T-Pain?)
Tim then enters Emilio’s studio to peruse the designer’s in-progress collection. The first thing we notice is that, to Emilio’s credit, there is actually color to be seen. But Tim asks if, like some of his challenge work, the entire collection is 1940s inspired. Emilio says it is, but the color is what’s different.
And speaking of different, Emilio’s decided to, as an homage to his overpowering brilliance and astonishing humility, create a busy, graffiti-like pattern using his name as a print. (Again.)
He’s always been such a shrinking violet. … The little shrinker.
Tim examines some of the pieces and notes that the manifold details on some of them are lost under the busy pattern. Ever the shithead contrarian, Emilio insists that he’s not designing “for the cameras,” but for his “client.” (Who in this case would be the people running the cameras, no?)
The shithead designer continues his argumentative approach towards the man who is only trying to help him win and the scene ends in a draw. But being the shithead visionary he is, Emilio tells us that he’s designing for women who wear dresses and Tim, not being one, doesn’t know anything about that.
“I’m creating a collection for women. And, as far as I know, Tim doesn’t wear women’s clothing.”
Of course. By that logic, your random mall-denizen in a too-tight micro-mini and flip-flops sucking down a Cinnabon with a cheeseburger chaser would know more about fashion than Tim. Go figure.
“It’s going to have my name on it. It’s not going to have Tim Gunn’s name on it.”
Yeah. It’ll have your name tattooed all over it.
We then move on to 1920s Los Angeles, where Mila exists in a rainy land before color and talkies. We see that her hair has grown out some (which somewhat alleviates the boy-she-looks-older-than-her-age thing). We also meet her dog, a Dalmatian named Ziggy who has been color-blocked just for this occasion.
Mila explains, through a series of filigreed title cards, that her collection is inspired by shadows, since they are the most dramatic use of color and lighting in this new movin’ pitchers medium. She does say, though, that she’ll be introducing a new concept, a “color” called “aubergine” into her collection. She’s not clear on the technology as to how that’ll happen, though.
I suspect it may involve tinted sunglasses for the judges.
Otherwise, Tim seems to like everything. But, he does think it all looks a tad conservative, bordering on “matronly.”
Cue the record scratch sound effect.
And how, pray tell does Mila feel about going up against Jay for that third spot in the finals?
“I’m not losing to that little fucker.”
Well, then! Let’s go meet the parents, shall we?
Dad, mom, boyfriend who looks ten years younger than me, this is Tim Gunn.
They all sit and discuss the odd fact that Mila lives in Pleasantville, U.S.A., where color is forever banished. Mom (or is that sis?) explains that the whole thing is very strange. See, ever since Mila was born, everything around her is in black-and-white. Would you like to see pictures to prove it?
And then there was this one odd moment, sort of like the girl in the red dress in Schindler's List, where we saw a moment of color. But as with all that is good and pure, it was extinguished all too soon.
It’s sad, really.
Finally, it’s off to San Francisco and the Haight-Ashbury district, best known as the home to a legendary Gap store. There, we check in with Jay and His Many Hipster Scarves.
Now New York in summer may have been 85 degrees and may have required only one scarf, but San Francisco in winter is another thing altogether and requires at least five. So, let’s see if we can hear the designing elf from underneath all that fabric about his neck.
“Samurai.” (Muffle, muffle, muffle.) “Geisha.” (Muffle, muffle, muffle.) “Soft and hard.” (Muffle, muffle, muffle.) “CuckooChanel.”
Well, that was clear.
Tim says he really enjoys the bodice on one piece, but finds its dissected sleeves to be gimmicky. He mutters the words no one wants to hear: “Student work.”
Jay runs off to vomit.
When he comes back, Tim asks him about how he feels to be going up against Mila.
“I don’t have to worry about Mila!” He laughs.
There’s no way that’s going to seem ironic later.
So, let’s dispense with that and go meet Jay’s parents and partner. And since the parents are Filipino, let’s be sure to give them subtitles since the Asian-eye thing is clearly going to make it impossible to understand their clear English.
Mom makes a speech. Jay cries. Auntie says some encouraging words. Jay cries. Jay is interviewed. Jay cries.
And then it’s Fashion Week and we’re back in New York!
Mila is the first to arrive at the New York Inn, since we simply must get some footage of her and Jay clawing each other’s eyes out before the boys arrive.
And here comes Jay and His Expanding Collection Of Neckwear now!
“Jay who’s going to beat the crap out of you and your gawdawful bangs, that’s who!”
Well, maybe it was more like, “OK. Come in. Sorry we never spoke before. I’m actually nice. Let’s be friends. ... Oh, we have to share a bedroom? Marvy!”
Seth Aaron then arrives just in time to plug the patented New York Inn’s Extraterrestrial Air Mattress™. And then Emilio pulls up, carried aloft on an imaginary litter befitting his imaginary greatness.
Tim then pops in to greet the four, to plug the sumptuous New York Inn and remind us (again) that Jay and Mila will be duking it out for third place. Now enjoy some cheap champagne and that Immortal Air Mattress™, since it may be your only night here!
The next morning, the four arrive in the finale workroom and (record scratch) discover that there are only two workspaces. Oh noes! Jay and Mila will have to share a table! Dra-ma!
Let’s have Tim come wake everyone up by coming in to remind everyone (again) that Jay and Mila will be fighting it out for third place. You know, in case they forgot since last night.
But, here’s the twist! The two’s three dresses will be walking the runway today! We're shocked, aren’t you?
No? That “this may be your only night on the New York Inn’s Superhuman Air Mattress™” thing tipped you off? Well, it certainly didn’t tip off the designers, since they seem genuinely surprised.
Now, let’s send in your models! We get the who-gives-a-crap reuniting of the “muse” models and designers and we get to see that Jay and Mila have been pre-assigned two other models for their shows.
(Side note: Mila gets two veterans from that awful Make Me A Supermodel show on that Other Network That May Not Be Named, one of whom was the winner. Which suggests that that show is as successful in making supermodels as that other Tyra Banks thing.)
Zip! Zip! Zip! Sew! Sew! Sew!
As everyone pitches in to help the two make their finishing touches to the outfits and fit them to the models, Jay has a mini freak-out that the shin guards on one of his looks don't fit his model and Mila stresses that Jay’s looks have some of that “color” thing going on.
It’s what passes for drama at this stage. Deal.
Commercial for Suave hair products, Hello Kitty makeup and the ruelala.com accessory wall and … time!
On with the show!
On the runway, we see that Heidi has dropped her latest litter and is ready for a new insemination. She recaps everything (again) introduces the judges, who at this stage are too jet-lagged to do their usual “Hi, guys” and “Hello, everyone” on cue. The show begins.
Mila’s looks come out first.
First up, is her “muse” model, Jaded Lesbian, in a sleek black-and-white, subtly striped coat. It unbuttons to reveal a dress featuring a variety of black-and-white patterns. Well, vo-de-oh-doh and 23 skiddoo!
Next is the eight-foot-tall Supermodel reject in a cute white-and-black short coat with subtle stripes and a black and white neck-piece. It’s the cat’s pajamas.
Last is Still Not A Supermodel Holly in a silver, spangly, strapless, textured dress (which the husband thought looked like a shower curtain). I think, “Attagirl! That’s some hotsy totsy!”
Then it’s Jay’s turn.
First out, is random model number one in a plum dress with a plunging neckline with very Jay-like details (pockets?) about the hips to give his model that much sought-after big ass effect.
Second is random model number two, wearing another ultra-modern outfit, this one with a silver top with black (shoulder pads? epaulets?). Er, Klatu barada nikto, anyone?
Last out, it’s Jay’s “muse” model, The One Who Has No Business Being A Model Around Other Models Who Are Three Whole Years Older Than Her. She’s wearing a novel jacket with a collar that is slowly swallowing her face. Obviously, this is inspired by the designer’s predisposition towards always needing an adequately swaddled neck. Strangely, though, I kind of like it.
On to the inquisition!
Mila’s looks are praised. They are called cohesive, clearly her work and very ‘60s retro-inspired. She’s told that the hair and makeup needs to be made more modern, though.
The judges wonder, however, how Mila would be able to make collections for different seasons if all she does is black-and-white. She mentions that the rest of the collection has some of that “color” thing that's all the rage these days with the kids on the college campuses with their beaver coats and Charleston contests and all.
Jay’s looks are praised. The judges say he “pumped up the volume.” They love the gaiters on one look (those odd shin-guard things). But they’re concerned that he’s added so many details to his work that it’s too busy at times.
Heidi reminds us that she likes short dresses. Also, water is wet. And Heidi has a working uterus.
Jay and Mila explain that they’ve worked out their conflict and, in case you hadn’t heard, are competing for the last spot in the finale.
They’re sent away for the judges’ deliberation.
Michael says he wants Jay. Heidi says she wants Mila. Nina is on the fence.
They debate the merits of Mila’s retro-inspired-with-a-twist collection versus Jay’s very modernistic designs. But then they get into the details of Jay’s work.
There’s just too much detail thrown in. Michael gives us a lesson in Yiddish, the traditional language of vaudeville and New York fashion houses.
Ungapatchka: Overly decorated or ornate.
Love it. Will add to my vocabulary right alongside Eckvelt (roughly translated to “the boondocks”) and Alter Kocker (dotty old fart). Thank you, Mr. Tangerine Man.
As they discuss Jay’s work, Michael sounds like he’d like to vote for Jay, but he’d like to edit and redesign his work for him. Heidi, wisely, objects.
We get a few edits intended to confuse us and the two are called back in.
Heidi reminds them (again) that one of them will be (judged) at Fashion Week and one will not.
Commercial break and …
Mila …. congratulations!
Jay cries. (The husband punches the couch.)
Jay thanks the judges for the feedback. He says he’s numb. And he cries some more.
The judges give Mila a “big tip,” telling her to go for a more modern look with the hair and makeup and they send her off.
Mila cries little black-and-white tears.
Good luck, Mila. Don’t take any wooden nickels.
Next week on Project Runway: The finale! Models are missing! The show blows away the judges! And Seth Aaron’s completed his transformation into Susan Boyle!