Project Runway 4: Handicapping Episode 4

>> Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hi kids - it's that time again. Time for Uncle Alan to completely embarrass himself by making erroneous predictions about this week's Project Runway episode! Out of three episodes, I've only been right about the winner once (Rami, Week One) and right about the loser once (Marion, Week Two). In between I picked Jack on a week when he couldn't win (because he was the worker bee in the SJP/Bitten team up) and then, just to be contrary, picked Kevin over Jack to win the Week Three menswear challenge . . . only to see Kevin take third and Jack--you guessed it--take home the prize.

But, as they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then . . . so, on with the fearless predictions!

First, the challenge. Some solid evidence to go on here, though it's pretty shallow evidence. First, we have this crazy-mixed-up-Bizarro-World image:

Yes, that's Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia in the Parson's workroom! What the Elle!? No, no, no! We cannot have outside negativity in the workroom! This is Tim's domain! He stays off the runway, and you, Nina Garcia, you stay out of the kitchen!

Even though we all thought Nina's presence in the workroom would cause some tear in the space/time continuum, it appears that she's there to hand down this week's assignment: turn "fashion don'ts" into "fashion dos" in the Elle Magazine "Trendsetter" challenge. (That's all from a press release that was posted on Blogging Project Runway, where I also ganked these pictures. Um, thanks in advance guys?)

So, what do they mean by fashion dos and don'ts? Take a good look at this picture.

(I know--it's tough to read that small, and clicking on it won't help. I was able to read a larger picture though. Trust me on this.) I can't read the word on the banana suit on the left, but the other four images are labeled "Zoot Suit," "Pleather," "Overalls," and "Poodle Skirt," respectively. Now, these aren't exactly fashion don'ts--at least, they haven't always been fashion don'ts--but they are certainly not looks that would get you in the pages of Elle Magazine these days. And herein, I believe, lies the challenge.

I'm willing to bet that these images are actual photos from Elle Magazine, though certainly not contemporary pictures. Elle is in the business of setting trends, and these are all trends that have come and gone. The challenge then will be to take one of these outmoded fashions and update it so that it is fashion forward enough to grace the pages of Elle--which will probably be a part of the reward for this week's win. (Last season, Michael Knight won the Elle challenge and saw his Pam Grier "Bam!" Hot Pants grace Elle's First Look page. Busted again! Michael's design was featured in a TRESemme ad in Elle Magazine. Uli's Week Twelve design was the one that graced Elle's First Look page.)

Oh, and how perfect is it that Jillian is wearing overalls--right behind the overalls "fashion don't" card!

So, whose design will grace the pages of Elle, and who will be auf'd? This is a tough one. First, we have this Yahoo preview video. For once, the Yahoo video is interesting! From it I can piece together that:

  1. This is a group challenge. Ugh. I share the same low opinion of group challenges as many other Project Runway fans do. It's not that I don't like teamwork. I'm all for it. Very useful. No "I" in "TEAM" and all that. But team challenges stink because:
    1. Usually only the team leaders are in danger of being auf'd, which drastically decreases the number of people who are vulnerable each show . . .
    2. The vulnerable team leaders are usually among the strongest contestants . . .
    3. And large teams mean fewer designs, and fewer designers with their personal vision walking down the runway!

  2. Fan favorite Chris March is getting what the blognoscenti like to call the "Overconfident Loser Edit." There is an art to reading the editing of the show, something like reading tea leaves at the bottom of a cup, and I confess I do not possess these skills. For the most part, I'm too distrustful--although last week's previews really did show people freaking out on the runway who deserved to be freaking out on the runway . . . Anyway, in this clip, Chris tells us he's happy he finally gets to show off what he can do as a team leader/designer . . . and he's building a jacket with Designing Women shoulder pads. This is a reworking of fashion don'ts, but still . . . ouch. One of his worker bees, Steven, has his doubts. As a team leader, Chris is in line to win--or be auf'd.

  3. Chris is on a team with Steven and Sweet P.

  4. Victorya, Elisa, and Ricky are on a team. Can you say train wreck? Victorya has strong opinions and, so far, the skills to back it up. Ricky has been in the bottom three twice already--in just three competitions! And Elisa. Oh, Elisa. I must confess, Elisa is growing on me. I hope she sticks around, not so much because I enjoy the antics, but because I honestly want to see what she designs. After watching her stock plummet in Week On, it's been on the fast track back up. But she's a space cadet, no doubt, and that's all this team needs throw it under the bus. In the clip, Ricky patronizes the hell out of Elisa and I just want to smack him! But gentle soul Elisa shrugs it off like Snow White of course and keeps listening to the little animals talking to her on her shoulder.

  5. Rami, Jillian, and Kevin appear to be on a team together. On the surface, this looks like a very strong team up.

  6. Kit and Christian are seen pinning fabric to dress forms in relative proximity. Jack is nowhere to be seen. If all the other guesses are right about teams, these three round out the lot. Kit and Jack are strong designers, but I have my doubts about Christian's fashion judgment.
Combining this video with the teaser from last week, it looks like Chris and Rami are team leaders. Who might be leading the Christian/Jack/Kit team is anyone's guess, and I'm up in the air about who is leading the Ricky/Victorya/Elisa team. It's pretty clear it's not Elisa. In the teaser, Ricky and Victorya are having problems, and it spills over onto the runway.

With only four teams, they probably won't send anyone off as safe, so just being on the runway doesn't mean much. But we do focus on Steven, Elisa, Chris, Ricky, and Victorya in the cuts where Michael Kors is tearing somebody a new bumhole. Again--is this the boy who cried wolf, or are these the two teams from which someone will go home? We also see some bickering between Rami and Jillian. Can there be dissension on the dream team?

Well, with little more to go on, I'm going to eliminate the Christian/Jack/Kit team from the top and bottom slots. Let's give them a solid second place, with Christian giving us something from the Eighties with a modern spin--just like he's done in every previous challenge up until now!

And who beats them out for number one? I'm going to buck the doomsayers. I predict that Chris will win the Week Three Elle challenge. I think they're giving him the "overconfident loser edit" not to set him up for a fall, but to undermine him before his win. His team will produce the best outfit, and he'll win as the team leader and designer.

Who then for the bottom two teams? I'll say that Rami and Jillian's bickering puts them in the three-spot, with just enough drama to snipe at each other on the runway and have to make some enemies when Heidi asks them who among the three of them they each would send home. But whatever they do won't be as bad as what Ricky, Victorya, and Elisa put together. Elisa will skate through as the blissful assistant who does what she is told.

That leaves Ricky and Victorya in the hot seat. I think it pretty much comes down to who the designer is. If Ricky's "She didn't take my advice!" comment from the teaser is him claiming he was Chicken Little and Victorya wouldn't listen to him say the sky was falling, she'll go home. If Victorya's "I can't help but to say what I think" comment from the teaser is a preface to shooting Ricky's design down like a mangy, rabid dog, he'll be the one to go home.

This is tough. Some bloggers are sure it's Ricky who's in charge. Others say Victorya. I think it's unclear. (Damn you, Project Runway producers!) I'll have to fall back on my instincts. (Ha! What instincts!?) Frankly, Victorya is the better designer, and I think she has a real shot at being there in the final three. That said, I can't pick her to go out. Therefore, I predict that Ricky will be auf'd in the Week Three Elle challenge. The guy's been on the hot seat twice already; I think the third time's going to be the charm for him.

Now, it is possible for a worker bee to be sent home, as an anonymous commenter reminded me in my Week Two predictions. Vanessa was auf'd in the first season from Austin Scarlett's team. (Alas, if only Wendy Pepper had been booted instead!) So it is possible for Ricky or Victorya to be auf'd without leading the group--but it's highly unlikely. You pretty much have to shoot yourself in the foot, as Vanessa did when she admitted to being a poor sewer, to get yourself booted off for somebody else's lame design. And it's a sure bet neither Ricky nor Victorya will sell themselves down the river. There's enough ego between the two of them to loan some to little Elisa.

Okay Chris. I've given you the Gratz Industries seal of approval. (Or kiss of death, whichever way you look at it.) Do us proud, twirly girl!

EDIT: Laura K from Blogging Project Runway asked me to answer the Fantasy Runway trivia question and pick a Best Hair Design winner as well.

The trivia question I can answer definitively. The question: Which designer opted to not make an outfit for his or her dog model in Season Three? The answer: Keith Michael, who memorably claimed that the little piece of fabric he tied to the dog's collar was enough.

As for Best Hair Design - wow. Crap shoot. This week, I'm going to say . . . Christian--assuming he gives his model some fierce hair!

From now on I'll answer both of those things in my predictions, in case you're playing along on Fantasy Runway!


Just some guy,  December 5, 2007 at 3:02 AM  

Hey Alan, I get the self-deprecation bit, it works. But seriously, your predictions even when not *perfect* have been incredibly close. It's not a Tuesday night if I can't read your predictions.

Tbone December 5, 2007 at 6:54 AM  

Well done Alan, here's something else to consider:

At the end of Episode 1, they did a "Coming up this season on Project Runway" segment. One of those scenes showed Jack and Tim making some sort of big announcement. We have not seen this scene on the show yet nor has it been previewed to take place this week.

In the reaction shot to this announcement, we see the following designers: Rami, Sweet P, Victorya, Elisa, Ricky, Kevin (or who I think is Kevin), Steven and Kit.

If this scene does not take place on tonight's episode (and previously published spoilers concerning Jack's announcement claim it will take place next week), then I am moving forward with the assumption that all of the above designers are safe this week.

That leaves only Jillian, Chris and Christian available as possible aufs. And maybe Kevin, pending my shaky identification on that clip. If you have this recorded, its worth a look-see.

Now, if this scene comes up on tonight's episode, then all bets are off. But this is something I think they would have featured in one of their episode previews if it was going to happen tonight.

I hope your prediction comes true, but I am worried for Chris.

Alan December 5, 2007 at 9:22 AM  

Hey tbone -

Yeah, I just went back to watch the Week One season-long trailer, and you're right. I see Kit, Sweet P, Victorya, Elisa, Kevin (yeah, I think that crazy hair in that shot is probably him), Rami, Steven and yes, Ricky, in that reaction shot. Ricky IS in there by himself, but he gets an "I can't believe it" candid interview, which may or may not be a reaction to Jack's situation. Notable absences: Christian, Chris, and Jillian.

We've seen Jillian getting bitchy with someone at Mood in the same season-long clip, and I don't think that she's wearing the overalls in that scene, as she is in tonight's episode. That means she makes it to next week. That just leaves Chris and Christian. Yikes.

Is it too late to change my prediction? :-)

Truly, I picked Chris to win because I want him to win, but it may, in fact, have been wishful thinking . . .

Tbone December 5, 2007 at 10:04 AM  

LK has pointed out that Steven is shown solo as well in that clip. I don't think the Elves are that devious though.

Laura K December 5, 2007 at 1:06 PM  

Alan, we get the MOST points for answering the trivia question. Could you also provide your answer for the trivia question here, just in case someone might not know? That way, your site can be the source for guaranteed points!

Also, your choice for best hair? I know it's completely random, but if someone had no idea and just wanted a suggestion, perhaps you could help.

Also, readers and commenters, do you disagree with Alan? That's part of the fun!

There are going to be lots of broken hearts if Chris is auf tonight.

Anonymous,  December 5, 2007 at 1:12 PM  

Hey Alan,

I was the "anonymous poster" who replied that vanessa was auf'ed in Season One as a "worker bee" not a team leader. I hate to be a pain in the ***, but this week's speculation contains another misstep -- Michael Knight won the challenge with his hot pants/Pam Grier look, but didn't appear in Elle's "First Look" editorial feature. He and Nazri won a Tressemme advertisement in "Elle." Uli (and Nazri, coincidentally) appeared in "Elle's" "First Look" page after the penulitmate challenge that season.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your handicap posts!!!!

Alan December 5, 2007 at 8:42 PM  

The anonymous poster calls me on the carpet again! LOL Yes, it appears I need to go back and re-watch my seasons! I remembered that Michael got a photo shoot, and mixed that up with Uli and Nazri later on. Mea culpa! I'll edit the post to reflect that. Thanks!

Sara Z. December 7, 2007 at 6:34 PM  

I wish your prediction had been right. I've been ready to say goodbye to Ricky and his mesh hat for some time. And like so many other viewers, LOVED Chris. Sigh. Oh well.

Only five more days until we get the whole scoop on the Jack drama!

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