When we began Project Runway last night we had five contestants left. By the end of the episode there was four. DUN DUN DUN.
The final five contestants were: Michael Costello (loved by the judges, mostly hated by his fellow contestants), Gretchen Jones (who has a penchant for all things boho, pretentious, and with tall boots), April Johnston (who has a daily costume of modern black clothing with a platinum ballerina bun), Andy South (who also mostly designs in black, black and black) and Mondo Guerra (who does magical things with mixed patterns.)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped introduce the challenge of being inspired by any landmark in NYC. Talk about being free of restrictions! This is where being a NYer would really come in handy. Instead, people went to to predictable places (like the Statue of Liberty) or ended up in a famous place that has no specific emotional resonance to them.
Because this was the last challenge, all of the designers were tired. Mondo ended up taking a long nap. This lack of steam produced some uninspired outfits that weren’t as high caliber as the stuff people made when they had their first challenge.
Michael Costello: Typical for Michael, he had two ideas (both half-constructed) and waited for Tim Gunn to tell him which to pursue. He was inspired by the Statue of Liberty. And I don’t want to split hairs, but uh, it’s a statue already wearing a dress, dude. Costello took the idea of draping and used that in a black fabric. When asked by the judges what kind of fabric it was that he used, he didn’t even know. Guest judge Christian Siriano spoke SO MUCH TRUTH when he said that it was odd for Costello not to know, and that maybe he just got lucky.
Here’s the thing, by far, Costello had the best look on the runway. But there are so many “buts.” He had the best look, but he played it safe. The dress would have looked less flattering on a woman with brunette hair (the red hair worked in his favor) or with larger breasts. He gave us a black muumuu with a high slit.
Gretchen Jones: This was not the challenge to fall apart on, but that’s what she did. I didn’t like any piece she made – not the top, jacket, or skirt. What DIDN’T go wrong with this look? Somehow, she convinced the judges to keep her over April. I think it was a case of looking at past work.
Much as I normally like her clothes, Gretchen really likes to preach from a soap box. Did you hear her comment at the end of the episode about being glad to get a second chance like the rest of them had? She said it in a weirdly rude way.
April Johnson: I like April, even though I wouldn’t wear her clothing. But the judges had a fair point when they said that they’d basically seen the same thing from her week after week. What perplexes me is that Tim Gunn mentioned this to April when she was picking out fabrics in Mood, and she nodded with a smile and said she had an idea. Where was this idea?! Was her idea that dash of navy? It was all so dark and layered it was easy to miss. She was eliminated. Poof. Gone. Sorry, Gothic Tinkerbell.
Andy South: Andy is another designer that uses a lot of black, and always does a tough look. I hope his collection finds way to show his style in some other ways. His dress was good, but it felt like de ja vu. Andy seemed to really crave Sirano’s approval, which he got.
Mondo Guerra: Ah, Mondo. He was the only shoe-in here. And has long been one of my favorites. The dress here was great, although not my favorite thing that he’s designed.
In the next two weeks, be prepared for tears and lots of people validating themselves aloud (while no one else listens) about why they deserve this opportunity (subtext: more than anyone else.)
So, Small Screen Scoopers – do you think April should have been eliminated? Who do you think will be eliminated next week? And most of all, who do you hope wins this whole shabang?