The Runway Rundown
1. This week’s challenge is the product placement Waterloo. The task: to create a high-fashion (i.e., couture) look to match specific L’Oreal eye shadows in a two-day constraint. The winning design garners $20,000 and appears in a L’Oreal advertisement. L’Oreal, L’Oreal, L’Oreal.
2. After last week’s judging massacre, in which Michael Kors and Nina Garcia openly cackled at poor Andy, there is a new, muted apprehension among the contestants. This is exhibited in some strange accessorizing: Gretchen’s self-dubbed “over-the-top” makeup looks comically demure, but she is more than tickled by it. Mondo shrugs off his model’s lacquer, which is, by comparison, vibrantly ridiculous (shades of lime shadow and broad liner brushstrokes). This is intended to complement a look that would feel at home on the runways of Paris Fashion Week; bold choice.
3. Did you know that Gretchen has a patent on the rainbow? Neither did Michael C. He dares to pluck the same mumsy magenta from the Mood Fabric annals, and Gretchen throws an elaborate hissy fit. “I feel like a line has been crossed,” she hisses.
4. Apropos of nothing: “I have to go,” says Gretchen. “I have to pee,” replies Mondo. Mondo is a godsend.
5. Mondo also figures into a carefully skirted ethical glare. His dress form is a size 6, but his model drowns in that bodice. Doesn’t this say something about the ridiculous body expectations thrust upon runway walkers? Nah, in this show, they must just panic and blithely resize. 6. Tim Gunn enters the Parsons workplace to drop the gauntlet: The designers must also craft a ready-to-wear look to accompany the couture design. So the two-day challenge was a lie; this challenge is still a hyperactively rushed, panic-chartered melee, as always.
7.April announces her plans to spend the $20,000: “a miniature pony.” She does not appear to be trumpeting this in jest.
8. On the runway, Mondo’s colorfully striped gown is alarmingly chic. Ivy’s dresses are supposed to represent waves, but they are loosely hewn strips of aqua iridescence. Gretchen’s maroon fabric has mysteriously puddled into a feather-dotted bathrobe. Andy has designed crimson-and-black leather armor that David Bowie would sell an appendage to sport.
9. Guest judge Naheem Khan is nonchalant at best; he’s an able foil to Kors. “It was very bold to use all those stripes,” he tells Mondo, moments before Kors effusively compares it to the Kentucky derby. They shred Ivy’s dresses as “bridesmaid” (Kors) with wretched fit (Nina Garcia). Heidi is visibly detached. “It’s an unbelievably tight race for hideous today,” crows Kors.
10. Mondo is the winner; he raves about the money, as he came to Project Runway with only $14 in his account. Ivy’s drowned gowns send her packing.