Well, I was really excited that this was going to be a group challenge, but I have to say, I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed afterward. It’s been a long day with a lot going on, so maybe I’m just tired, but I was a bit bored with the show tonight. First off, having partners isn’t the same as having a team or a group, so that was a bit of a misnomer, but whatever. We start out with everyone boarding a Celebrity Cruise ship and find out that each team has to make a high-end day-to-night outfit inspired by an exotic locale. And out comes the dreaded button bag.
First, Amanda is paired with Gabrielle. They seem happy and choose the South of France. Next, Ashley is teamed with Candice, and they both seem happy, too. They pick Venice. Lindsey gets Jake, and chooses Hong Kong, which he thinks may give them an advantage, since he trained there. Laurie get Swapnil, and he says, of course they’ll take India. Tim seems surprised, and says that means there will be higher expectations from him, but Swapnil isn’t worried about that. Kelly doesn’t want to be paired with Edmond because he has immunity, and surprisingly, after saying that, she gets Blake. They choose the Greek Isles. Joseph doesn’t want Merline because she makes him crazy, so of course that means Edmond gets Hanmaio (they pick the Caribbean) and Joseph is left with Merline and St. Petersburg (I’m assuming Russia, not Florida. St. Petersburg, Florida does not seem exotic to me.)
They sketch, share ideas, and get to eat on the ship before heading back to the workroom. So far it seems like most of the teams are off to a good start, although Lindsey and Jake are butting heads already. Jake shoots down Lindsey’s idea of a kimono jacket because he says that’s Tokyo, not Hong Kong. Lindsey says it’s just a style of jacket, so??? And in the car on the ride back, Joseph is laying down the law to Merline. No dancing, no singing – basically telling Merline not to be Merline. I see his point – she annoys me, too – but it does seem kind of bitchy.
Back in the workroom, they go to choose their solid fabrics to supplement the prints they’ve been given in their suitcases. Blake snatches up all the white, and when Gabrielle inquires whether he’s really going to use all of them, he stubbornly hangs onto them all, except one which is apparently non-stretchy and not good. Kelly’s stoked that her teammate is sticking it to the others.
Immediately, Edmond and Hanmaio’s partnership falls apart. They seemed to be communicating and agreeing to collaborate on the ship, but now they are just driving each other crazy. Edmond wants Hanmaio to think out loud, but she just wants time to think to herself and finally tells him to shut up. She’s shooting down everything he suggests; she just keeps saying it’s not her style. The best part is when he asks her why she sketched something that now she doesn’t want to make. She says, well, that’s not my style; I only drew it because I think it’s your style, but I don’t like that. And Edmond says, bewildered, “Well, if you don’t like it, what makes you think I do?” Poor guy. I’m feeling his frustration. She just argues with everything he says, but doesn’t speak up with any ideas of her own. Eventually they just agree to each make their own pieces; she’ll do a top and he’ll do a bottom. Edmond storms off saying he needs a cigarette, and then Hanmaio says she needs one, too. LOL.
Joseph is calling the shots and telling Merline exactly what she’s going to do and how she’s going to do it. She’s meekly going along with what he says and not contributing any ideas of her own, even though she thinks he’s got a Grandma style, which could be her downfall, I’m afraid. She says she feels like she’s on house arrest, and Candice is offended that Joseph feels it’s his place to “tame Merline.”
Everyone else seems to be getting on pretty well. Tim comes in for critiques and says that Hanmaio’s and Edmond’s look is not day-to-night. Why don’t you make it a swimsuit underneath, he asks? And that is exactly what Edmond was trying to get her to do in the first place, but Hanmaio said she doesn’t do swimwear. Why does it have to be swimwear just because it’s in the Caribbean, she asks? But Tim seems to convince her it’s the right way to go, so she’ll try.
Tim tells Joseph his look is the dreaded ‘M’ word – matronly. And mumsy. He tells him he needs to fix that, and Merline wants to start over, but Joseph seems set on keeping his vision. Every time she tries to add a detail which might make it more architectural, modern and have a bit of her style, he vetoes her.
Meanwhile, Lindsey and Jake are having difficulties. Lindsey has a vision, and Tim agrees she’s on a good path. Jake’s not happy with it, but he’s not suggesting any ideas of his own. In his view, Lindsey is taking control and micromanaging, trying to tell him how to do every little thing, so he retaliates by doing just one little thing, and doing it as slowly as possible, leaving her to complete the rest of the look on her own. He just throws in the towel and leaves her to sink or swim on her own. Lindsey is very upset and tells everyone else she is doing the work of three people.
Joseph, meanwhile, says he feels like he’s teaching a class, and is blaming Merline for his ugly dress because he says he can’t finish it properly since he has to keep helping her. I don’t think he’s helping her; I think he’s just constantly jumping up to stop her from doing anything that God forbid, might have her own touch to it. He’s killing himself here. Because even though, I understand how he could find her work habits annoying, she’s still capable of making some great structured, modern looks, and he could use some of that to combat his Grandma factor. But no, he won’t have it.
Everyone else is getting along like gangbusters, but they’re not really showing what they’re making, so I don’t have much to say about any of it. We don’t get to see the looks at all until they come down the runway.
I don’t really get Candice and Ashley’s look. The floral capelet and striped top with the low drapey back individually, I kind of like. I am not a fan of those ginormous pants. I don’t like the fabric, or the style. And I just don’t get the three pieces together. I feel like there is way too much going on here, and even though I usually like florals mixed with stripes, this just doesn’t feel harmonious to me somehow. I don’t totally hate it, but it bugs me. But Zac Posen is grinning like a fool, so he must like it.
I’m also not sure about Swapnil and Laurie’s look. It’s okay, but I’m not a huge fan. I think it might be better without that sari-inspired wrap, but then when she takes it off, I don’t really like the halter top and pants underneath, either. It’s not bad, but I’m just not feeling it. Well, the pants are kind of bad. Laurie, the Tracee Ellis Ross superfan, says she knows TER would wear every piece, but Tracee (guest judge) doesn’t look like she’s loving it, either.
Lindsey and Jake’s look is okay. It’s actually kind of pretty. I’m not crazy about the super-ethnic fabrics, but they do kind of work together nicely. The top underneath the long vest looks really nice, and so does the back. Not so sure about the shorts, but it’s the best thing I’ve seen so far.
Joseph and Merline have an ugly blah sheath dress with some weird not-exactly-a-cape thing thrown over one shoulder. What does a sleeveless pink linen sheath dress have to do with Russia? It looks like a Lilly Pulitzer dress that got all the color bleached out in the wash. Where’s the fur? Wait – maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is supposed to be St. Petersburg, Florida. In that case, it makes more sense, but I still don’t like it.
Hanmaio and Edmond’s sort of swimsuit and sort of coverup, that isn’t really a swimsuit and doesn’t really cover anything up – just no. It’s terrible. Why did they try to make a swimsuit out of cotton fabric? Edmond was making a second one at the last minute, but then Hanmaio hid in the bathroom with the model and sewed her into her terrible one, so there was nothing he could do. That skirt/coverup thing is not good either, though. I don’t know. I don’t really blame Edmond, because he tried to offer suggestions and discuss it with her many times, but she was having none of it. It doesn’t actually look as bad as I expected, considering, and Heidi’s smiling.
Amanda and Gabrielle’s look is okay. I’m not sure I get South of France from it, but I do like the way the stripes peek out from the underneath layer. All that fabric hanging off the side is a little weird, though. It’s interesting. I can’t decide if I like it or not.
I love Blake and Kelly’s look. The pantsuit is sharp, and then it turns into a flowy dress in the back; I think it looks amazing. My favorite, by far. So I’m shocked when they’re called out as the only team that is safe.
The top scores – Ashley and Candice (what?!), Swapnil and Laurie and Lindsey and Jake, are sent offstage while the judges talk to the low scores. I’m really stunned that any of these looks scored higher than Blake and Kelly. I am not feeling the judges at all this week.
Let the floggings begin. Zac calls Hanmaio and Edmond’s look frightening, and tells Edmond he’s lucky he has immunity. Nina says it’s hideous, and then, funnily enough, goes on to say the same things Hanmaio was arguing in the workroom. Why did it need to be a swimsuit just because it was the Caribbean? And why did they use that hideous yellow fabric for the skirt? Hmmm…maybe Edmond should have listened to Hanmaio after all. Maybe she kept arguing because she knew she was right. Odd that Tim was on the other side, though. Once again, his ‘mentorship’ seems to have done more harm than good. Disturbing trend for this season. It occurs to me that if they had switched the fabrics around, and used that yellow or one of the other brights, for the swimsuit, and made the skirt of the printed cotton, it probably would have turned out a whole lot better.
Zac says Joseph and Merline’s dress looks like an oversexed Grandma. Now that’s an image nobody wants to have! Nina hates the silly side bib. Joseph tries to stand up for his aesthetic and throws Merline under the bus by saying her lack of ability caused him to not have enough time to execute his dress well. Merline is standing up there twitching and making weird little shrieks. Maybe she has Tourette’s. Or maybe she’s just trying not to reach over and throttle Joseph. She should have stood up for herself in the workroom, and she should have stood up for herself on the runway. But she did neither. This look is terrible, but she had nothing to do with it. It’s that age-old PR question – which is worse?
Nina also hates Amanda and Gabrielle’s ‘side mullet.’ They say this look has just way too much going on and nobody likes it. These poor girls are both near tears and I feel bad for them. I didn’t think it was that bad. Tracee Ellis Ross said they had seven ideas and should have left three out.
Back in the green room, Merline is laughing and says the whole thing was such a disaster that it was hilarious. She really is nuts. Joseph is so pissed, and tells her that if they lose, she’s going home. I’m not so sure of that, dude. He’s the one who made the whole ugly outfit, and I don’t know why he should be mad at her for that.
The judges love everything about Ashley and Candice’s look. I still don’t get it. This is just going to be a case where we agree to disagree. Yes, I get that it’s quirky and that kind of it-girl street style wacky, but I don’t see it in a good way here. To me, if any look has too much going on, this would be it.
Ditto with Swapnil and Laurie. They love everything about it; I don’t. The halter top looks ill-fitting and kind of cheap to me. The fit of the pants is terrible and all bunchy in the crotch. The fabric Swapnil draped over the front in a mock-sari is not as thrilling to me as it seems to be to them. Whatever.
I do like Lindsey’s look, and this is the only one I agree with being in the top three. If I were judge, there only would have been a top two – this and Blake and Kelly’s look. Everybody else would be on the bottom. Even though she’s getting props, Lindsey is still pissed and determined to let everyone know that she did all the work and Jake did practically nothing. He pretty much agrees with that and says if they win, it’s all her look. I don’t get his strategy here; seems dangerous.
In the end, Ashley and Candice win, of course, and poor Hanmaio gets sent home. I don’t agree with either of these decisions. I think Blake and Kelly deserved the win, and I would have sent home Joseph for that godawful dress, Merline for being so wishy-washy and letting herself be run over, and Jake for the same thing, and for just all-around laziness and non-participation. He clearly didn’t want to be here this week. Even if his ‘team’ was on top, he should have gone home for that.
I really dislike Joseph now. I want to see him go next. I still like Edmond, and I feel bad for everything he had to go through this week. He really was trying to do everything he could to make it work. I also really like Swapnil, even though I wasn’t as crazy about that outfit as the judges were. He just seems very smart and charismatic.
And that’s pretty much it. I’m feeling blah because there was only one look I was even the least bit excited to see on the runway. Let’s hope next week gets better. No hint of what the challenge is going to be.
All pics borrowed from http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway.