Project Runway 6 - Episode 7 Preview

>> Thursday, October 1, 2009

And then there were ten.

Yes, America, here are your top ten designers for Project Runway Season Six. Althea, Carol Hannah, Christopher, Epperson, Gordana, Irina, Logan, Louise, Nicolas, and Shirin. Three of these ten will make it to Bryant Park. It's a sobering thought, isn't it? Between now and then, seven of these designers will be out, and three of them will have to actually impress someone. Who will go? Who will stay? We've been pretty good with our guesses, but it's only going to get tougher now, as more talented designers (at least by comparison) will start dropping like pieces from Ra'mon's Creature from the Black Lagoon costume.

 "This'll be just like when Kirk had to fight that Gorn in Star Trek!"

And so it's time to say goodbye to Ra'mon, who took us on a fashion roller coaster with him. Second place, third worst, win; safe, safe, out. If there's one thing you can say about Ra'mon, it's that he never, ever bored anyone--a cardinal sin on Project Runway to be sure. Although this week, sending something ugly down the runway proved to be a worse sin. So long, Ra'mon--others have said it and we've scoffed, but we really don't think this is the last we'll see of you.

 The stuff that dreams are made of?

Louise is the one who bored everyone, which was surprising, since Film Noir seemed to be right up her alley. She fell into a trap we've seen other designers fall into when faced with the dreaded "make up a story for your outfit" challenge--her story was an afterthought, hence her dress was a mess. (Nick's "Paris Hilton on the beach in Monaco Mykonos" anyone?) Some designers love the storytelling; others do not. Clearly Louise is not among those who like to make up stories about vampire brides and snow queens.

This is what it feels like, when the doves cry.

Speaking of snow and queens, we'd be remiss if we didn't congratulate Nicolas for his first top three finish--and his first win--of the season. He got a chance to inject some emo into a costume, and he didn't disappoint. Still, we were surprised: no feathers! Well, we can't be right all the time. For his win, Nicolas gets immunity next week, which means he'll be on Project Runway for at least two more episodes. You read that right, America: Nicolas will at least be among the top eight designers of the season. Kind of staggering, isn't it?

 "You are being the bee's knees, yes?"

We wish we could say the same about Gordana, but she keeps ending up on the bottom with the judges--and always for the same reason: she's interpreting the challenges too literally, and not giving them fashion. As with her immaculately constructed ready-to-wear newspaper outfit that was "too ready-to-wear," Gordana's costume was...too perfect a costume? Her model Tara looked like she'd just stepped out of The Great Gatsby. But while Tim exhorted his charges to embrace the costume part of the challenge, the judges wanted Gordana to embrace the fashion side of the challenge. Once again, Gordana is caught in the middle. She's either going to suddenly realize she should be putting her own unique stamp on everything, or Gordana will be saying "Dovidjenja" very soon. (That's Bosnian for "goodbye.")

For now, let's say "Zdravo" (Hello) to the Big Board of Shame™!
Christopher: 13 points (One 1st place, Two 2nd places, Three safes)
Althea: 12 points (One 1st place, One 2nd place, One 3rd place, Three safes)
Irina: 10 points (One 1st place, One 3rd place, Four safes)
Epperson: 9 points (One 2nd place, One 3rd place, Four safes)
Shirin: 9 points (One 1st place, Five safes)
Carol Hannah: 8 points (One 2nd place, Five safes)
Louise: 3 points (One 3rd place, Four safes, One 2nd worst)
Nicolas: 2 points (One 1st place, Three safes, One 3rd worst, One 2nd worst)
Logan: 2 points (Five safes, One 2nd worst)
Gordana: 0 points (Four safes, Two 3rd worsts)
Ra'mon: 3 points (One 1st place, One 2nd place, Two safes, One 3rd worst, One Auf)
0 points (One 2nd place, One 3rd place, One safe, One 3rd worst, One Auf)
-3 points (One safe, One Auf)
-4 points (One Auf)
Qristyl: -8 points (One safe, One 3rd worst, One 2nd worst, One Auf)
Mitchell: -10 points (Two 2nd worsts, One Auf)

Scoring: 1st place (4 pts), 2nd place (3 pts), 3rd place (2 pts), Safe (1 pt), 3rd worst (-2 pts), 2nd worst (-3 pts), Aufed (-4 pts)
The Annotated Big Board:

- Christopher's second place finish moves him into first place overall. Only Althea matches him for top three finishes, and each of them has now landed in the top three in exactly half the episodes.

- Epperson moves up to the top of the middle--or the bottom of the top, depending on your perspective.

- Louise, Logan, Gordana, and--despite his first place finish--Nicolas, all remain the weakest designers, statistically. Between them, they have six bottom three finishes in six episodes. Nicolas and Louise have at least hit the top three once each, but Logan and Gordana have never impressed the judges.

- In fact, Logan and Gordana are the only two designers left who have never made it into the top three.

- Ra'mon becomes the first designer with a first place finish to be aufed, and it's no surprise he sits at the top of the loser board. We can't help but point out too that Ra'mon has two top three finishes to Logan and Gordana's zero top three finishes...

And now, a word from our sponsor:

* * * * * * * * * * *

SPOILER ALERT: As we point out each week, we don't have any prior knowledge of what's to come, other than (usually) the guest judge, (sometimes) a vague idea about the competition, and (occasionally) whatever preview videos Lifetime chooses to air. Using all these sources of public information, we make guesses about who will be in and who will be out. Often bad guesses, but (we hope) fun ones. If you prefer to be surprised by this week's episode, we think Macy's is having a sale right now...

* * * * * * * * * * *

Macy's Challenge, blah blah. Double elimination, blah blah blah.
The real story this week is



What's that? You knew this already? It couldn't have been the ads all over Lifetime, could it?

Or the extra preview video they released where he makes poor Shia LeBeouf cry?

 No? What about the internet banner ads?

Or the Michael Kors handbag they're giving away to mark the occasion?

Yes, more than Hollywood or the beach or Tim Gunn in sandals, the most glaring change the move to LA brought with it was the long-term absence of Michael and Nina as judges. Tim says Michael was in Europe sourcing fabric for his line. Nina says Michael was putting on fashion shows, and she was covering them. The producers say it was confusion over where and when the season would air that caused conflicts with everyone's schedules. The fans, almost uniformly, say "booooo." It's no secret that the move to LA this season was Heidi's idea--a very natural desire to be closer to her ever-growing family--but the rest of the gang are New Yorkers. Just look at this screen cap from this week's previews:

 Can you spot the New Yorker in this picture?

But Michael has escaped from New York, at long last. And just in time too, because apparently the season has really sucked without him. That's the message we get when we see his zingers from previous seasons posted all over the place.
"It's a little M.O.B--Mother of the Bride."
"She looks like Barefoot Appalachian Lil' Abner Barbie!"
"Next thing you know, it's big button earrings and you're on 'The Facts of Life.'"
"That crotch is insane."
Classics all, certainly. But glorifying the past does nothing but highlight how comparatively dull this season has been. But the fans have made it plain that their dear, beloved Project Runway is less dear and beloved without their favorite judges, and so this week to appease us, Michael Kors is everywhere.

"What is this, the Macy's Day Parade meets A Chorus Line?"

There is a challenge this week, and it is a Macy's challenge. It's also a team challenge. (We'll pause while you throw up a little in your mouth.) Each team will also be responsible for two looks that have to work well together. This week's dynamic duos are:

"What is she, a Disney Princess? I keep expecting to see seven little dwarves following her around."

Irina and Gordana

"She looks like she works down by the docks--and I don't mean she's a sailor."

Nicolas and Louise

"Those colors look like something my hairless Sphynx threw up after it ate my tube
of Crest Extra-Whitening Cool Mint Toothpaste."

Carol Hannah and Shirin

"If that's a Papa Smurf hat, I'm Gargamel."

Epperson and Christopher

Let's see. Two, four, six, eight...wait, there are two more. Logan and Althea. But oddly, there isn't a glimpse of either of them in the preview videos. Cue the ominous music...

So what, besides designing something ready-to-wear that Macy's can sell, is the challenge about? Heidi tells the designers their challenge this week will be "quite colorful." Scroll back up, and you'll see that everyone's working with blue. The title of the episode is also "The Sky's the Limit." (And skies, as we understand, are often described as blue.) But were we satisfied with that information? No we were not! We hold to a higher standard of fortune-telling here at Gratz Industries, and so we dug deeper, turning up this little item in a press release featuring "key trends in Macy’s Women’s Ready to Wear and Center Core Spring 2009 Collection":
"OUT OF THE BLUE: Blue is often associated with spirituality and celestial powers. Surrounded by blue elements in the air, water, crystals and diamonds, it is known for making a powerful statement. A sacred hue worn by royalty, blue’s deep saturated pigments, layered with medium shots of regatta, Mediterranean blue and sheer aquamarine, add dimension and importance to any outfit. As seen in knits and tees, skinny or flowing pants, shift, sheath and strapless dresses, as well as sculpted outerwear, blue’s impact is evident. Prints include batik, tie-dyed, and ikat combined with embellishment and crafty details. Fabrications range from sheers, chiffons and charmeuse, to jersey, stretch cotton, and denim. A sea of blue can also been seen in totes and satchels, pumps and flats, china print scarves, as well as statement pieces in turquoise and aquamarine." [emphasis our own]
In that video where Michael makes a young man cry, he says, "this looks like a teal charmeuse disco pumpkin." We don't know what the disco pumpkin is all about, but the teal charmeuse sure sounds like an attempt to "meet the brief," as they say on Project Runway Australia. But why design a look for a Spring collection when it's already the end of summer? Ah, but they filmed this last winter fall, remember? If it had aired when they wanted it to air, the 2009 Macy's Spring Collection would have been in the future, not in the past.

Are we mental to search through PDFs of out-dated department store press releases just for a preview? Yes. Do we have lives? Not during Project Runway season. Do you love us for it? Of course you do.

The team leaders are a little harder to figure out, but dreadfully important of course as everyone knows it's the team leaders who are the most vulnerable to go home in team challenges. (Not always, but most of the time.) Christopher is clearly his team's leader--Heidi says so in the clip where Michael makes him cry.

"Look honey, it's my party, and you'll cry if I want you to."

Lifetime wouldn't parade this week's loser in front of us so blatantly, would they? Consensus on Blogging Project Runway is no. Explanations vary: Christopher's crying tears of joy; the video's been edited to fool us and Michael is talking to someone else; the tears are misdirection, and Christopher actually wins. Okay. We agree: Christopher's not going home this week. But if you watch that video above, you'll see those are not tears of joy. And if this is just a clever edit, then kudos, Lifetime--that's some crazy good obfuscation. We prefer to think that The Duchess lowers the sceptre on the golden boy and brings him down a notch, but not all the way down.

"Look, I know you just lost one of the greatest military engagements in history,
but that is no excuse for that hair."

We've written before (and before) about what we call the reality contestant's Waterloo. Our theory is that every season, there is at least one episode (often more) where competing in a reality show and getting the smackdown from the judges finally takes its toll on a contestant, and he or she cracks. Unlike Napoleon's Waterloo, however, the contestant doesn't always lose. Sometimes the contestant rises above the Waterloo, and becomes bigger, stronger, faster, like the Six Million Dollar Man. Then again, other times it crushes them under its heel.

This looks like Christopher's Waterloo. We don't think it finishes him off--not tonight--but how he responds will be telling. If, like a Klingon, that which does not kill him makes him stronger, he could be around a while yet. If not, well...there is nothing so sad in reality shows as the contestant who has already accepted defeat. Christopher has what Tim Gunn might call an "ebullient personality," so we like his chances of bouncing back from this one.

"She's either strangled Brainy Smurf, or she's asphyxiating.
Either way, it's not a good look."

Irina appears to be her team's leader as well, as Gordana laments, "She doesn't give me any direction. She just says, 'I don't like it.'" Irina seemed easy to work with in the team challenge with Johnny, but maybe he was happy to take a back seat. Gordana may be learning that she has to assert herself. But what's with the blue dye? Is that pastel blue dress with the puffy sleeves getting a makeover to match their second look?

Who are the other leaders? We're guessing Nicolas, Logan, and Carol Hannah from their teams. Nicolas is the perfect choice if he and Louise had to choose--not so much because of his design aesthetic, but because he has immunity. Nicolas isn't going home no matter what, so might as well have him take the bullet if there is one.

Then again, figuring out which designers are the leaders might be irrelevant, as Heidi tells the contestants there might be a

"Might" being the operative word here. We think this is just scare tactics. Yes, if there are going to be twelve regular season episodes this season (as there have been the last two seasons), we have only six more episodes left until the finale episodes, including tonight. Eliminate one designer each episode, and you're left with four going to Bryant Park--which we know isn't going to happen because one of us was there. That means that yes, Virginia, two designers will leave the show in some episode between now and then. We just don't think it's tonight.

"I've been called an old bag before, but this is ridiculous."

Want further proof? If you watch the preview for this week's Models of the Runway, you'll see this scene (above). Heidi says that there are three models left, and only two designers left to choose them. Let's do the math, shall we? At the beginning of tonight's episode, there are ten designers. If one gets eliminated, there are nine designers left, but still ten models to choose from. A difference of one. If two designers were eliminated tonight, there would still be three models left, but there would only be one designer left to choose among them. Follow?

"She's an Irish girl named Koji? That's like ordering a Guinness at a Benihana."

There is one other nugget of prognosticating gold we can mine from the Models of the Runway preview at the end of last week's episode, but it's not one many of our readers will want to hear. In the MotR preview, two models are the most worried about going home. The first is Vanessa, who was given a stay of execution last week when everyone was forced to shuffle models, but who is now once again at the mercy of a bunch of designers who all want their long-time models back. Her long-time designer, Ra'mon, was sent home last week, so she's SOL. The other worry wart is Koji (above). Last week when Logan was forced to choose someone else, Koji said, "I couldn't think of one designer who'd want to work with me." Someone did pick her, so she survived. Now Logan will pick her again, right?

"This crotch is insane!"

Well, perhaps he would if he could. Have a look again at these three models. Let's assume the designers get to pick freely again this week, which means most, if not all of them, will revert to form and go with their long-time models. Vanessa (far right) is necessarily worried--she has no long-time designer left. That's why she's still up there. Celine (far left) will most likely be picked by Nicolas, her long-time designer, and we know he's still around because he has immunity. So why is Koji worried? Logan wouldn't have taken a pass on her, would he? Not after being so worried about her survival last week.

The only answer is that Logan isn't there to pick her because Logan has been eliminated.

This could all be wrong. Nicolas could have taken someone else along the way, and Logan could be one of the last two to pick. Or maybe Logan took a different model, and that's why Koji is worried. But we think that if he was there, he'd get her back. Add that to the fact the previews show not one hair on neither his nor his partner Althea's heads, and we think Logan will be aufed this week, shiny pants or no shiny pants.

With five teams of two, we figure all the designers will be left on stage to hear Michael's pronouncements, with two teams forming the top group, two teams forming the bottom, and one team we'll count as "safe." If Logan and Althea are on the bottom, Christopher and Epperson (two of last week's top three!) will most certainly be joining them there. For drama's sake, Nicolas won't be on the bottom (as he has immunity and it wouldn't matter), but we figure he probably won't be on the top of this challenge either. We'll put Nicolas and Louise in the middle as our safe group.

Who will win? Well, operating on the "show them getting all worked up so their victory is even more dramatic" theory, we're going to go with Irina and Gordana. And yes, we promise, if Gordana's not in the top four this time, we'll stop picking her. And that leaves the Carol Hannah / Shirin team to place second. CH and Shirin have both done well--but not great. A top four finish would bolster them both.

That's it for this week! See you in seven. Oh, wait--we forgot one thing. In case you hadn't heard,

"The bitch is back, darlings."


Gratz Industries: We watch the previews twenty times so you don't have to!


JJ,  October 1, 2009 at 9:15 AM  

WOW. You really outdid yourself with this one: impressive research, razor sharp analysis, and hilarious commentary! Excellent stuff. I too noted in the preview of MOTR that only one model was going to be eliminated and thus realized that Heidi's claim that two designers COULD be auf'd was just another idle threat. (This season has been chock full of them, including Tim Gunn's claim that it would be a dramatic and entertaining one.) However, I didn't bother to pay attention to which models were left on the runway and what this might mean in terms of which designer would be eliminated. Brilliant.

As a side note, I would add that the ubiquity of Kors in the advertising material is a good sign that someone at Lifetime realizes that the show SUCKS without Kors and Garcia. I hope this means they will drop the idea of alternating seasons b/w NY and LA. LA has added not one iota of interest (visual or otherwise) to the show. Let's hope the Duchess can inject some life into this season before it's too late.

Tbone October 1, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

Excellent as always Alan. And funny - MK is everywhere!

Points for clarification - primary filming for S6 was in September 2008, so it was really fall and not winter. It's a minor point but I know how you value accuracy! And of course it was perfect timing for a spring Macy's collection.

Also, there are 14 total episodes scheduled. Past seasons have always had a two-part finale and if that formula is used again then your assumption regarding a future double elimination is accurate.

It is possible, however, that they do the finale in one fell swoop. So the chance remains for single eliminations to the end, although that is highly unlikely. Hopefully we will get confirmation soon on those last two episodes.

eggs mayonnaise October 1, 2009 at 9:50 AM  

Wow! Amazing! YOu do all the homework I wish I were doing if I had the time...and explain it ten times funnier than I ever could! So good to see there's another superstar PR blogger in the pantheon!

Oh, and just to succumb to peer pressure from the other comments, I'll nitpick a sentence too: Paris Hilton was strolling the beaches of Mykonos with her boyfriend, not Monaco. Kisses!

Laura K October 1, 2009 at 10:30 AM  

These keep getting better and better! Thanks Alan.

Alan October 1, 2009 at 11:16 AM  

@ JJ - Thanks! I was a little bummed that this was another empty promise as well, although, truth to tell, I wasn't really ready for a double elimination just yet. And yes, I think Kors being all over the ads proves that Lifetime realizes what they have--and more importantly DON'T have--when Michael and Nina aren't there. Let's hope they don't let the producers make the same mistake in future seasons.

Alan October 1, 2009 at 11:18 AM  

@ Tbone - Thanks for the clarification on the filming! So yes, filming in FALL of 2009 would have put the Macy's Spring collection even further in the future, which makes sense. That would have given them plenty of time to manufacture and promote the winning look. And yeah, I was figuring on 12 regular season episodes and 2 finale episodes, so I'm still banking on a double elimination SOMEWHERE along the way...

David Dust October 1, 2009 at 11:19 AM  

I bow at the feet of the Project Runway Oracle. Excellent job. But I will certainly be sad to see Mr. Shinypants go home if you are correct.

And I'm TOTALLY stealing a couple of these pictures ... :)


Alan October 1, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

@ eggs - Mykonos! I knew I had that wrong. I thought it was something Greek (I remember the blue and white Greek pattern) but all I could come up with was Monaco, and it was four in the morning so I said screw it. I'll fix it right away. Thanks!

Alan October 1, 2009 at 11:40 AM  

@ David - You're always welcome to the pictures! And yes, with four ladies on the judges' panel (so to speak), it will be interesting to see if Logan's hotness will work in his favor...

Max October 1, 2009 at 11:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Max October 1, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

Amazing work! And fun to read, to boot.

Of course, it's (perhaps?) worth noting that Louise can't go back to her model, Fatma, as she was eliminated. If Louise is one of the designers left to be pick, perhaps that could also account for Koji's uncertainty.

Alan October 1, 2009 at 12:00 PM  

Great point, Max! I though someone must have swapped models, but couldn't figure out why--and of course it's because of Fatma being gone. But it still begs the question: why wouldn't Logan pick Koji if he could? True, he could be one of the last two to pick (along with Nicolas) but then why would Koji worry?

Fun stuff. Thanks.

Tom October 1, 2009 at 12:51 PM  

What a HOOT! Bravo! er ... I mean LIFETIME ... wait, that doesn't work. GOOD JOB! ;O)

BrettHawkins October 1, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

love this always.
doesn't epperson have 9 points though on the big board?

Alan October 1, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

@ Brett -

You're right! I'm glad somebody is checking my math. Epperson is indeed at 9. I fixed it in the Big Board. I also went through the rest just to make sure I did the math right, and they all look correct. Thanks!

suzq,  October 1, 2009 at 2:19 PM  

Those colors look like something my hairless Sphynx threw up after it ate my tube of Crest Extra-Whitening Cool Mint Toothpaste."

Gratz, you owe me a pair of underpants.

And a monitor.

Fab as usual.

Anonymous,  October 1, 2009 at 5:58 PM  

Love the predictions! Alan, have you posted any predictions for the final three based on the collections? #2 seems obvious as the last dress is very similar to a dress already done by that designer in this competition, but I kinda thought Logan may be #3 so I was surprised you thought he might be auf this week. Your thoughts?

Alan October 1, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

I do have guesses about the finalists. I'm pretty confident I know two of them, and I have one of the collections down to two people. And no, I don't think any of them belong to Logan, or I wouldn't have picked him to be out tonight. :-) Part of my predictive process for the remaining ten is figuring out which three make it--it reduces the odds for me to pick who's out each week. :-) There are at least two designers I will not pick to be out, because I'm pretty sure they're IN. Unless they pull a trick where aufed designers get a chance to come back...

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous,  October 1, 2009 at 11:42 PM  

You are so good WHAT HAPPENED!!!! Come on you go out you see what people wear its almost as if you pulled a Louise on yourself. You know people want skin but not look like a tramp either. I know you have it NOW DO IT!!!!!

Anonymous,  October 1, 2009 at 11:45 PM  


Flakey he needs to get back down to Earth

Anonymous,  October 1, 2009 at 11:49 PM  


OMG NOT MORE RUFFLES AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Immunity feels good don't it. It don't last long now does it. Please do make sure you make it happen or we'll be crying you off the show with the Goth Ruffle Mess

Anonymous,  October 1, 2009 at 11:53 PM  

When Tim is confused it means it sucks. If he likes one thing it means it sucks but the color is nice. Get a clue. If he sits there and talks to you its because he's trying to give you a message. If he smiles and walks away its F'en HOT!!!!!

Susan October 2, 2009 at 2:30 AM  

Love love love MK popping up in the pictures!

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