Project Runway 5 - Episode 2 Preview

>> Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Well, it was an interesting first episode, to say the least. First off, we owe our apologies to Kelli. (That's her up top there, if you're still putting names to faces.) We predicted she'd be in the bottom three; not only was she in the top three, she won the challenge! Congratulations, Kelli--and kudos on a well-deserved win.

And because we guessed one of the top three wrong, that means of course we guessed one of the bottom three wrong. And wouldn't you know it--that person just happened to be the one who bombed out that week and was aufed. We called Stella for the ax, but Jerry got it instead--and the debate about which one should have gone will probably rage on forever among PR fans. (A poll on has the voting among the fans split almost dead even--with more than 18,000 votes cast.) One outfit was so bad our five-year-old daughter could have made it; the other would have given our five-year-old daughter nightmares. We were torn. Thankfully Fafarazzi didn't count week one picks, or else we'd be down six points for betting on Jerry in the top three.

Nevertheless, on with the bold predictions! Oh, and SPOILER ALERT. We don't know for sure who wins or loses, but we do know who the guest judge is, and we're going to spill. Stop reading now if you like to be surprised.

This week's challenge is billed as "The Grass is Always Greener," and the blurb on the Project Runway site says, "The designers are forced to think green in the second episode of Project Runway -- with the help of their trusted model." I don't know how "trusted" these models can be after one episode, but it sounds like the models are the clients this time around--with a twist. (You knew there would be a twist, right?) From the preview videos, it looks like the models are not just the clients--they're the ones who actually leave Parson's and acquire the fabric for the designers. Stella laments that someone who doesn't know much about fabric will be choosing for her, and Leanne grouses that someone (presumably her model) didn't help her out much.

As to what the title and "think green" parts mean? We're stumped. Are the models sent to buy fabric that is all natural fibers? Or made out of recycled materials? Perhaps. Or maybe the models will bring in old clothes the designers have to "repurpose," ala the episode last season where weight-loss winners gave over old outfits for the designers to rework. That may be the theme this season: recycling the best previous challenges, but almost always with some twist. We're cool with that.

But then there's an oddity: In one of the videos, there is the previously hyped clip of Keith (we're pretty sure it's Keith) pushing along two shopping carts full of what appear to be leather car seat covers. Frankly, we think this is a red herring, and won't be surprised if this appears not in this episode but in the auto-parts-themed episode we see on the horizon later in the season. Further, from the few glimpses we get of people working at Parson's, it looks like everyone is working with fabric, not with more alternative materials like the first challenge. The Bravo editors have never out and out lied to us before in the clips, but there's a first time for everything. We confess, we're more than a bit confused.

Oh, and this week's guest judge? The gorgeous Natalie Portman, who is not seen in the picture below.

Kept behind after the runway show this time are six designers: Kenley, Stella, Wes, Korto, Suede, and Leanne (above). Three represent the best designs, and three the worst. But which is which?

Nina and Kors seem to reserve most of their plaudits for the far left side of the stage (where Kenley, Stella and Wes stand) and most of their barbs for the middle and right side of the stage (Korto, Suede, and Leanne). But we don't think it breaks down exactly like that. Stella seems to be getting a compliment--yes, Stella--when Nina says her look is "much improved from last time." Seeing as Stella's last look was four trash bags sewn together with hand-stitched yarn, we're pretty sure just about anything would be much improved over last time. Someone else, someone on the far left, is being told their look is chic. We think Kors is talking to Kenley. (Pictured above with the headband and white earrings.)

As for the slams, well, there are a few here. One of them, directed toward the middle, is that "shiny, tight, and short" are "the quickest way to look cheap." That doesn't bode well for Wes, who in a different part of the mash-up stands next to a mostly unseen model with a shiny gold strap on her shoulder and says he tried for a "fitted" look.

Korto seems like she's under fire too. The model she picks in one of the videos gets called out for having a necklace that Heidi says "makes it look like her head is stuck on spikes." Korto's also not looking happy on the runway when we see her later.

But by far, the most derision seems aimed Leanne's way, where she stands alone at the far right of the runway, looking distraught. Heidi says, "I have to say, I gave you one of my lowest scores," and we think that's directed at her. We also know it's her model who is chided for having feathers in her hair, which Heidi mysteriously says "doesn't really fit this theme." (What theme would feathers not fit, damn you!?) Someone on the right is also told her dress is "five dresses in one." In her defense to some comment, Leanne adds that she "just wanted to youth it up a bit." Fashion saints preserve us.

But perhaps the most damning piece of evidence we have to offer is a clip in one of the videos of Leanne sobbing. This, in and of itself, is nothing new to Project Runway, and many designers are brought to tears by the grueling process. But this clip--sneakily thrown in among others with ranting and railing in the Parson's workroom, has a very different setting. It's Leanne against one of those white screens they use to hide the mike crew in the room off the runway where the "safe" designers welcome the winners and losers at the end of the show. And these don't look like tears of joy. Either Leanne has just barely escaped being eliminated and she's shaken by it, or she's been aufed. Based on the raking she appears to get on the runway, we're betting on the latter. We're predicting that Leanne is eliminated in week two.

One person we have no real clue about is Suede (above). He's among the six kept out by the judges, but we can't tell if any of the comments we've heard pertain to his dress. Without any evidence to the contrary, we have to use process of elimination. (Oh. Sorry. Perhaps that's a bad choice of words.) Regardless:

Bottom Three: Wes, Korto, Leanne

Top Three: Kenley, Stella, Suede (by default)

Yes, we realize we just named Stella to the top three this week. And yes, we realize all three of our predictions for the top designers fall in our "Long Shots" group from last week's preseason rankings, and two of the bottom three were in our top five "Contenders" grouping. Let's just say it's shaping up to be that kind of season.

In the past, when a designer has been deliberately edited out of the preview videos but is clearly among the final six, that person has sometimes been a dark horse winner. Will we go that route this week and pick Suede?

No. This week, we're picking Bettie Page, er, Kenley, as the challenge winner. Let's call Suede second, and Stella third. As for your bottom two, we've got the aforementioned Leanne, and, surprisingly, Wes.

If you're playing the Fafarazzi Project Runway game, the best strategy, it seems to us, is to play for the "touchdown" points. That means trying to pick the top three as your team so you'll be sure to get +6 points. The danger, of course, is that among those six designers are the aufed designer and the next to worst designer, both of whom earn you negative points, and guessing wrong can be painful. (See last week's top-three Jerry pick...) But whether it's praised Kenley or dark horse Suede who takes home the win this week, we think we're covered.

Oh, and can someone please tell us what is up with Suede's arm hair in that picture above? One of us (that would be Alan) is a hairy fellow, so he wouldn't think of making fun of someone's body hair. But it's Suede's lack of body hair that bothers us--particularly as it ends right where his sleeve would have been if he hadn't rolled it up. Seriously--take a look, and you'll see what we're talking about. Um, WTF?


Anonymous,  July 23, 2008 at 10:05 AM  

I think Heidi meant that feathers aren't a good choice for a vegan challenge.

Suede's arm hairs are perplexing to me as well.

Anonymous,  July 23, 2008 at 10:44 AM  

I'm thinking you're definitely wrong about the elimination... we have Tim Gunn's statement about Leanne, "She’s a conceptual designer. And when the audience gets to know her she’s a person I think they’re really going to be rooting for.” We wouldn't really get to know her if she were eliminated in week 2.

Plus, Suede in the top 3? Really?

I'm guessing Wesley, Stella, Kenley for top 3, w/Wesley taking the win.

Leanne, Korto, Suede in the bottom, with Suede going home.

Alan July 23, 2008 at 11:05 AM  

I know, I know! I'm putting it all on the line here. I too thought Leanne and Wes were going to be around for a long time this season--and they may very well be. I'm just calling it like I see it in the videos. I could be way off here though.

Last season, I got into trouble picking with my heart and not my head. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I would predict winners based on the designers I thought we most talented, not on what the tea leaves were telling me. If there's one thing four seasons of PR has taught me though, it's not to assume the best talent always wins out...

Christin July 23, 2008 at 4:15 PM  

My husband's leg hair does the same thing--that is, it starts right where his shorts hit, and he has very little leg hair where his shorts cover. I have a friend whose arms do the same thing as Suede's.

I don't know why; it certainly isn't because of anything deliberate. Friction? Lack of light/air? No idea.

P.Franklin,  July 23, 2008 at 7:53 PM  

Oh, Anon:

I believe it's a green challenge not a VEGAN challenge. The two terms are absolutely NOT interchangeable.
Some leather is actually considered green (meaning that it is a renewable and sustainable resource).

Some vegan shoes are produced out of petroleum, which is NOT so environmentally friendly.

Alan July 23, 2008 at 8:09 PM  

Christin -

Interesting about the hair. I'd never seen that before. And my hair, alas, keeps going up under my sleeves. But then I have ALWAYS worn baggy clothes. Could that be it?

P.Franklin -

Thanks for clearing that up. I wondered at the use of "vegan." We're vegetarians around these parts, but not vegans, so I knew the difference there. But using "vegan" for "green" was odd--I wouldn't use those two words in the same conversation, let alone the same sentence.

Anonymous,  July 23, 2008 at 8:33 PM  

Suede said: "Suede likes to shave Suede's arm hair, because Suede is a bit off of his gourd."

Anne,  July 24, 2008 at 6:01 PM  

I an a bit Sueded-out by Suede and all his suedeness; his dress, however, persuaded me (clever aren't I?) that he's on to something. The jewel of the night, however, was Blayne's examination of Stella's entirely leather world.

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