Last night episode of Project Runway was a doozy, with another unconventional materials challenge featuring... Duck brand duct tape. Based on that info alone, can you guess how Portland contestant Michelle Franklin did? Here was her submission for the runway:
This episode gets my vote for cutest intro, with Heidi taking the stage to introduce the contestants' challenge with a (talkative) duck... on a leash. Pretty cute. All that cuteness served as a segue to Duck Tape brand duct tape, which comes in a wide variety of colors and funky prints. (Breath of fresh air: instead of the usual "your design will be used in a commercial" prize, Duck Tape donated money to Autism Speaks in the name of the winning designer.) The designers were tasked with designing prom dresses made of the stuff.
But first: Re-pairing was in order. Michelle's luck seemed to turn for the better this week, and she was allowed to choose her partner: Amanda (surprise!). It was around this time that the Michelle/Amanda/Layana clique got called out by Kate, who unceremoniously pronounced them all "bitches." Daniel and Richard were also paired up to create two-person fiesta of self-love. Daniel has wearied me a bit, but I still find it refreshing that he doesn't seem to take this competition too seriously. He seems like he's having more fun than anyone else, and when he's criticized he just has this impish "oops" about him. It's a nice scale of perspective. Another interesting pairing was Patricia and Samantha, whose styles are pretty divergent. As Samantha pointed out, the combo could go either way. And Kate once again chose to work with Tu, mostly because he just does whatever she tells him to and she can just put him to work like an employee. A bit big for her britches, that one.
Truthfully we're at a point in the show where nobody is fucking up to outrageous proportions. This is when things start to get a lot more interesting and the field begins to narrow. It's easy to pick off the designers who barely send their models out clothed, but when everyone is basically doing a stand-up job, the judging gets to be a lot more nuanced and subjective, and the judges start to disagree. I've been kvetching that Posen is no substitute for the much-missed zingers that Kors used to toss out, but I like that he stood up against Nina over a number of issues this episode. In discussing Tu and Kate's dress—the only team that opted for a long dress—and Nina took them to task for the length being "SO SO... OLD... FASHIONED," he straight up stepped to her, saying, "I design dresses for proms every day." Suh-nap!
Still, it's no accident that all of a sudden the editors decided to let Tu have a personality (he's afraid of ducks! hahahaha) for pretty much the first time all season, because they realized they had to give him some kind of play before being dumped out on his ass, taking the grating Kate along with him. However traumatizing for the designers, the double loss was a boon to audiences. Tu has been a nice enough guy, but a total pushover and kins of a nobody as far as having any kind of point of view and Kate is just prissy and obnoxious. ("It's not a prom dress"... "Prom for me was just, like, yesterday!" Ugh.) I didn't need to hold out for one more episode to bid her adieu—here's to efficiency. Seeya.
Christ she is insufferable. Let's hate-watch some more:
Tu you just kind of have to feel bad for. Let his be a cautionary tale about how being nice will get you nowhere (on reality television):
Michelle and Amanda both come from a rocker aesthetic, so it was only natural that they gravitate toward a punk aesthetic, fashioning a complicated black and red houndstooth, a very nicely draped skirt and a devilish little boob spike. The judges have a history of favoring this kind of graphic youthfulness (hello, Seth Aaron's entire season), and so—even though when the designers were forced to present their garments to a roomful of actual* high school students and were kinda iced out, and even though those same high school students voted in favor of Patricia and Samantha's interesting and somewhat odd silvery creation**, for the first time Portland's contestant was not only on the winning team, but the winner winner!!!
So... things are looking up! She's gonna be a finalist, I know it. TIM WAS HERE. I actually watched last night's episode at the Bagdad, where she's been hosting viewing parties weekly (bonus: she gives out raffle prizes. Not that I won anything :() So, having heard her closing remarks I already know that next week's challenge—dressing male strippers—does not go well for her. Speaking of her closing remarks...
* According to Michelle, because of child labor laws they couldn't use actual high school students, so everyone who was there was 18+.
** Michelle also revealed that the model wearing Patricia and Samantha's dress was on America's Next Top Model and has a huge following, which maaaaaybe could have influenced the teen judges.
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