>> Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Happy new year, Project Runheads. Time for this week's Project Runway preview. Wait, where were we? Who's left? What's going on? The two-week hiatus has been pretty tough. We get taking last week off--big holiday doings and all that--but why the week before? That's a long layoff for casual viewers to remember to come back, and an agonizing one for trufans.
So this week there isn't much mystery about the challenge for obsessive PR fans. First, the teasers two weeks ago showed the designers working with candy-themed materials--even showing the word "Hershey" on something Ricky was making. The preview link for this week's episode on Bravotv.com shows huge "Hershey" banners, and the episode name, "Eye Candy," is pretty blatant. Then, during the hiatus, the KitKat was really let out of the bag when the Dallas Morning News revealed this week's challenge and guest judge--Zac Posen, seen here in this completely unpretentious photo:
This week the designers will walk a few blocks to Hershey's Time Square, where they will be tasked with creating wearable fashion from anything in the Hershey's gift shop. Anything except clothing, that is. That's why we see Sweet P with blue teddy bears and crockery, Christian with Hershey's Kisses poofy sleeves (seriously Christian, MORE poofy sleeves?) and--I'm guessing here--Jillian trying to make a dress with candy beading. (She's talking about lots of things falling off, and I'm having visions of Wendy Pepper's first season supermarket challenge disaster.)
The official Bravo preview posted over at Blogging Project Runway bears the evidence of a candy-inspired competition, and reveals that this week the Christian-bashing spills over from the blogs to the other contestants. Hey--when Tim Gunn pegs you after only seeing you for thirty minutes a day ("Is it fierce, Christian?"), consider what it must be like for the contestants who have to live and work with him 24/7. Ricky tells us Christian is "caught up in his own ego," and Kevin reveals murderous thoughts. We're with you, Kev, we're with you.
The other useful bit of information in this preview is a rather lengthy--and musically somber--behind the scenes interview with Elisa in which she reveals to us that she was struck by a car while visiting London. What she doesn't tell us, at least in this preview, is how serious it was. Reportedly she was even legally dead for a time as a result of the car striking her. She survived (obviously) but it proved to be a life-changing experience for her. That this is being brought up now is telling. Contestants usually get the big biopic when they're about to win . . . or they're about to lose.
For more information we'll turn to the Blogger.com preview, also helpfully posted at Blogging Project Runway. This preview is a mash-up of judges' comments and winner/loser reactions. If you watch the preview, the mash-up is pretty obvious--they've deliberately confused the matter, mixing up the comments and the reactions to such an extent that Jillian even says "Thank you" on the heels of some withering Michael Kors criticism. The only thing that's clear from this preview is that Sweet P and Nina are having a discussion about how sometimes simple is better. That doesn't bode well for P.
What's really noticeable here is the lack of snarky one-liners from the judges. Either the contestants did a fairly good job, or the producers are holding back. Beyond that, we can make some good guesses about the results this week. First, six contestants are shown in this preview: Elisa, Sweet P, Rami, Chris, Jillian, and Victorya. That's three top designers and three bottom designers. We've already seen P on the defensive, so she's clearly one of our bottom three. The others with anguished looks? Elisa and Victorya, who get very little screen time in the preview.
Chris is also seen grimacing--but we also see him later saying "Thank you." He's one of three designers to thank the judges. The others? Rami and Jillian. The Bravo preview shows Jillian having trouble with her candy creation, but that doesn't necessarily mean she'll be in the bottom three. I'm sensing a red herring edit there. Rami on the other hand seems pretty securely in the top three from the Blogger preview. That's two in the top.
And despite Chris's grimace, I'm putting him in the top three as well. Yes, the judges' comments are mixed up and we don't know for sure who they are talking about, but Michael Kors tells somebody "you made some smart editing choices." Who's been getting reamed all season for not editing? Chris. Add that to Chris' experience using non-traditional materials in the costuming world, and I think that puts Chris in the top three. In fact, I'm predicting that Chris will be the winner of this week's candy store challenge. Wendi thinks that Rami is getting an awfully favorable edit in the preview, but I think he comes in third, with Jillian's confectionery costume coming in second.
There is always a chance, of course, that one of the mystery contestants being judged on the runway--Elisa and Victorya, who get almost zero screen time in the Blogger preview--takes Jillian's place in the top three. Of the two, Victorya stands the best chance of being the dark horse here. I think, however, that both will be in the bottom three with Sweet P, and I predict this is the episode where Elisa will be auf'd, with Sweet P standing with her sweating it out as the bottom two. I have little to go on here design-wise; I don't know what Elisa produces, but that screen time where she tells us the story of her accident in London pulls too hard at the heart strings to be introduced here, now, without then saying goodbye to her.
Safe this week? Kevin, Christian, and Kit--all of whom look to be serious competitors down the road. [EDIT: Oh yeah. And Ricky. Who is not.]
And so (if I'm right) it will be with a bit of disappointment that we here at Gratz Industries say goodbye to Elisa, whom we've come to respect and enjoy--even though she hasn't exactly wowed us lately with her designs. There's no question she's a unique and innovative designer, but perhaps she's just not the kind it takes to make it to the Project Runway finals.
For those playing along on TRESemme's Fantasy Runway, the answer to this week's question--"In Season One, what supermarket item did Austin use to create his garment?"--the answer is corn husks. It looked good on the runway, and even better before it wilted overnight! Best hair design this week? Let's say Jillian. Complete guess there, as always. That's who we would pick if the site hadn't long ago ceased to be functional for us no matter what browser or computer we use.
Vive le return of Project Runway!