Project Runway 6 - Episode 9 Preview

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eight is enough.

Finally! Episode eight had real drama! Real fashion! Real women! Real laffs! Now this is why we watch Project Runway. It's just a shame it took eight episodes to get here. This one deserves the full recap rundown:

"I think the other designers are jealous of my two wins.
You know, some of them haven't been in the top at all.
I wouldn't be surprised if they're talking smack about me.
Did I mention I have two wins?"

"Ladies, both of you have awesome personalities...

 ...that don't really compensate for your lack of yardage."

 "I want something superfly-'Half-Breed' Cher. No. For real."

"I want cruelty-free fabrics--not like, you know, fur like I'm wearing."

"Designers, the challenge is to transform the divorcée wedding dresses.
Are you listening, Epperson? Logan?"

"Mrs. Logan Neitzel...Mrs. Logan Neitzel...Mrs. Logan Neitzel..."

"My von prison phone call, and dey are not dere."

"My plan: use as little of the wedding dress as possible!"

"Um, no. Let's go over the challenge one more time, shall we?"


"This look is so hot it's incendiary.
I mean it--don't put a match near this stuff."

"She wants something super short, with big plumed feathers, and--"

"--you guys! Stop laughing at me!"

"Don't worry, Shirin. You won't have to make a Cher outfit until next week.
Oh, wait. I'm not supposed to talk about next week before the spoiler warning..."

"So, this is what you've been doing all day?"

"Does this make me look like a linebacker?"

"Are the cameras still on me?
Are my fifteen minutes of fame as the sassy client up yet?"

"Oh, this outfit is so you!"

"It's hideous."

"I want to have your baby! Just kidding. But I mean it!"

"Designers, divorcées, it's time for the runway.
I'm kidding. I just like saying divorcées."

"Nicolas, Carol Hannah, Althea--you're mediocre."

"Surprise, Gordana. We actually like it this time!"

"You cry last episode, but this doesn't bring you to tears?"

"So, you didn't ask for a pirate wench Oktoberfest costume?"

"We love a girl who loves a 'Half-Breed' moment!"

"Where are the beer steins?"

"It looks 'age appropriate.'
By which we mean appropriate for a woman aged sixty."

We predicted a first place for Shirin and a third place for Gordana, but they ended up flip-flopping. Then we had Irina as third worst and Christopher as second-best, and they flip-flopped too. Irina was the bridesmaid this week, and it was Christopher who fell to third worst for the week--a troubling trend after his next-to-last place finish last week. We got the safe designers right this time, and the bottom two as well. Logan was second-worst, and Epperson was auf.

"Basically, I'll just walk the Earth. Meet people.
Get into adventures like Caine from
Kung Fu."

Let us take a moment and bask in the glow that was Epperson's departure. We don't mean that it's a happy occasion--he seemed like a genuinely nice person and we liked him as a contestant. We mean that he had an almost magical serenity about him as he left. Seriously, people should pay this guy to get aufed for them. Has there ever been a more zen departure for a Project Runway contestant? How many people are at peace with leaving before they're even out the door? And it certainly didn't seem like it was because he didn't care. It was as though Epperson could actually see the past, the present, and the future, not just that moment, and was one with all living things. Kind of like Christopher Lambert at the end of Highlander.

"Dey like me. Dey really like me."

And let's hear it for the Iron Curtain Couturier! Gordana announces her presence with authority, nailing first place on her first solo crack at the top three. Congratulations, Goga--we've been predicting this for a while now...

On to the Big Board of Shame™!
Irina: 17 points (Two 1st places, One 2nd place, One 3rd place, Four safes)
Althea: 14 points (One 1st place, One 2nd place, One 3rd place, Five safes)
Shirin: 12 points (One 1st place, One 3rd place, Six safes)
Carol Hannah: 12 points (Two 2nd places, Six safes)
Christopher: 8 points (One 1st place, Two 2nd places, Three safes, One 3rd worst, One 2nd worst)
Gordana: 6 points (One 1st place, One 3rd place, Four safes, Two 3rd worsts)
Logan: 4 points (Seven safes, One 2nd worst)
Nicolas: 1 point (One 1st place, Four safes, Two 3rd worsts, One 2nd worst)
Epperson: 6 points (One 2nd place, One 3rd place, Five safes, One Auf)
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)
Louise: -1 point (One 3rd place, Four safes, One 2nd 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:

- Epperson becomes the best designer (statistically) to leave the show, proving that we're really in the thick of it now.

- Irina solidifies first place, while safe Althea and Carol Hannah are caught by perky Shirin.

- Gordana climbs up out of the cellar, leapfrogging the unremarkable Logan. She now has Christopher, who slips again this week, in her sights.

- The only two designers left who haven't won first place? Mr. and Mrs. Logan Neitzel. Both continue to be fairly anonymous. To be fair, Carol Hannah has two second place finishes--but between the two of them they've played it safe thirteen times in eight episodes. Yawn.

- Four designers have never appeared in the bottom three--and it is perhaps no surprise that they are the top four designers on the big board. The bottom four have all landed in the bottom three at least once, with Nicolas leading the way with three bottom finishes. Of the bottom four, all but Gordana have been on the runway when Heidi has said auf Wiedersehen to another designer.

- Christopher remains the most volatile designer, with just three safe designs in eight chances. It's starting to look like all or nothing with Christopher. But if his crying jag two weeks ago did nothing else for him, he seems to have attained a bit of Epperson-like peace about his skills and his time on the show. If the end comes sooner rather than later, we don't think we'll see the waterworks again...

But before we get into more speculation, it's time for that spoiler alert!

* * * * * * * * * * *

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 suggest hitting iTunes for some Christina Aguilera tunes. She keeps gettin' better!

* * * * * * * * * * *

Yeah, you read that right. Just four episodes left before the finale. Just five more designers to auf before the final three. There's a double elimination in our future, but we think they're going to wait and pull that one out at the most painful moment possible--the last episode before the finale. Still, double elimination aside, how did we get here so fast? Well, having Glee and Top Chef to watch in the interim has helped... (Anybody else like Kevin, Jennifer, and the Brothers Voltaggio for the finale?)

As for this week's Project Runway episode, precap fans, we're torn. We like to pick a theme each week--plucked from the preview videos when possible--but we've got three, count 'em, three, good story lines for this week's episode. The only question is, which one should we single out and flog mercilessly?

Oh heck, let's flog them all. We'll start with the story line Lifetime mysteriously isn't flogging...

Her bite is worse than her bark!

Nina's back, you dye-stained wretches! Bow down before your queen! No, not Kors. The other queen! It's strange, the week Michael came back, that's all the previews were about. Michael-Michael-Michael! This week: not a peep about Nina's return in the previews--just a passing clip of her passing judgment. Where are the internet banner ads with her all over them, hmm? The special "Win Nina's Purse" giveaways? The "Witty Nina Lines" retrospectives?" She gets nothing. Nada. Zilch. We figure Nina must be feeling pretty jealous right now. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if Nina had visions of nailing Michael in the face with a football, Marsha Brady-style:

"Hey you guys, -- Mnthrfnkhr!"

Or maybe Nina doesn't care. Lifetime cares, or at least they should, as fans have been clamoring for Nina's return. But either Lifetime is gun shy from overhyping of Michael's return, or they too are feeling conflicted about having too many story lines. We can understand the dilemma, particularly when storyline number two is this guy:

Yes, the sultan of sequins, the rajah of rhinestones himself--Bob Mackie! Mackie is one of America's greatest living costume and fashion designers. His iconic looks have been worn by generations of celebrities, including Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Ann-Margaret, Raquel Welch, Joan Collins, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, the Jackson 5, Barbara Streisand, Madonna, Elton John, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Midler, RuPaul, and, of course, Cher:

"As you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet
on how to dress like a serious actress."

You were one episode too early with the Cher references, Shirin! If ever there was a week for a "Half Breed" reference, it would be this week, when the costume's designer sits in as a Project Runway judge.

"Half-breed, that's all I ever heard..."

Mackie was also the costume designer for The Carol Burnett Show for ten years, producing perhaps the greatest fashion-based gag of all time, Carol Burnett's "Velvet Curtain Dress" in the infamous "Went With the Wind" skit:

"I saw it in the window and I just couldn't resist it."

Gold. Absolute gold. My parents watched The Carol Burnett Show when I was a kid, and I have distinct memories of my father absolutely guffawing at the sketches. I remember this one in particular. I mean, I actually remember it, from the night it aired, when my only other memories of TV at that time were Bob Newhart's psychiatry office and the opening theme song to Taxi. (They always made me go to bed just as that taxi was crossing over the bridge into New York.)

The Gone With the Wind parody dress will go down as one of the greatest shared fashion moments in history. It's absolutely the best joke in the whole 18 minute sketch, and it's all down to Mackie's cleverness. Here's part two of the skit. Mackie's big moment comes around the 3:22 mark...

"Every time I talk to anybody, they bring up this silly curtain rod dress with the velvet drapes attached to it," Mackie says in an interview with The Archive of American Television. "It'll be on my tombstone one day." Here's the clip from the interview about how he came up with the idea for the "Went With the Wind" dress. It's fascinating:

An "alternative materials" garment, conceived and executed in one day on a dress form, with no model fittings and a hurried "throw it on" behind the scenes before it made its debut? Mackie was doing Project Runway forty years before there was a Project Runway! I can't think of a better guest judge, really. Bob Mackie understands the connection between entertainment and fashion better than anyone. But for Project Runway, there is, of course, an even bigger guest judge this week...



Wait. That's not right. It's "Dirrty" girl

Holy Former Mouseketeers, Batman. Xtina, as the kids like to call her, is kind of a big deal. As Tim tells us, she's a 5-time Grammy-winner and platinum-selling singer. The designers, as you might expect, loose their cool a little bit at the announcement.

 "I think I just peed my pants a little!"

Figuring out "What a Girl Wants" will be this week's task--specifically, what this girl wants to wear for a performance in an upcoming concert tour. Xtina hasn't been on tour since the show filmed, so we don't have any visual clues to help us out. We do know she's starring in a film due out in 2010 called Burlesque--with Cher!

 "Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir."

Any chance they take visual cues from Burlesque? Possible, but we're doubtful. Whatever the theme for the tour, the designers are breaking out the sequins and trim...

Nicolas, with trim, at Mood.

Gordana, we think.

Gordana again? The dirty thumb looks similar,
but other people were dyeing last week.

Irina, using lacy black sequins, natch.

The previews are so focused on Nina, Bob, and Xtina, they don't give us much else to go on. We get a few glimpses of some of the dresses...

A base for the white sequins?

Althea, in the background, making something shiny.

And some hint at who might be in trouble...

"Screw naming our mannequins. Project Runway isn't fun anymore."

Tim tells one of the designers, "This looks like student work," and it's presented as though he's talking to Shirin. It could be a clever bit of editing--and prognosticating convention tells us (as we explained last week) that those shown in trouble often turn the tables. But this time we're feeling a definite giving-up kind of vibe from Shirin, who has proven time and again this season that she is not excited about making tacky clothes. (Which is usually not a bad thing.)

First it was her model in the Episode Four "Eye-Catching Look" challenge, who wanted a blue King Tut-inspired jump suit. (Seriously, WTF?) Shirin put the kibosh on that one, but quick. Then there was last week's sassy divarcée, who wanted a Vegas showgirl costume to demonstrate her availability and price range. Shirin almost let that one break her. So what will she do when she has to make a skimpy besequined dress and can't compromise with the client? Cue the ominous music.

We get a few images of designers on the runway too. Producer tomfoolery, or five of the six called out on the carpet?

Again, not looking too happy.

Same here.

We'll call this "look-neutral."

The hint of a smile?

 It's always the quiet ones...

Again, the video editors could be throwing us a curve (it's been known to happen) but barring any further evidence, we'll go with these as legit. (There are only three other designers anyway: Irina, Xtopher and Gordana, and Gordana has immunity.) So who do we think will round out the six pack?

Irina. Heidi tells one of the designers, "I see an upscale Halloween witch dress," and all we can think about is that black lacy sequin stuff Irina is shown working with. "Upscale" seems to fit with her quality level too. And we're guessing "upscale Halloween witch dress" is not the direction Xtina is looking to take her next tour, so we're going to go out on a limb and put Irina in the bottom three.

Joining her in the bottom three will be Shirin, we feel sure. The perk is gone, and this may be the challenge that breaks the last of her spirit. We also see Logan there--not just because of the grimace (above), but because he really hasn't done anything spectacular so far this season. May we suggest the shiny pants this episode, Mr. Neitzel? We think you're going to need them. Irina will be sent off as third worst--well constructed, but too Halloweeny--and Logan and Shirin will share the spotlight of ignominy. Shiny pants or not, Logan will survive to woo cougars another day. We think it's Shirin's time to be "Stripped" of her space in the workroom.

That leaves Nicolas, Althea, and Carol Hannah in the winner's circle. Who goes "Back to Basics" and pulls out the "Genie in a Bottle?" (Okay, so apparently we're going to flog the Christina angle.) Nicolas. We know, we know--he's the worst designer left. But we called his other win, and we're calling this one. There "Ain't No Other Man" (or woman) who is better cut out for a sequins and trim challenge. Again: Nicolas does this sort of thing for a living. Althea, meanwhile, likes to put women in skirts that are too short, and that will work to her advantage tonight. We'll give her second place. In third: Carol Hannah, who will appear on the runway for judging for just the third time all season.

Finally: a word of advice to the designers (who of course can't use it since the show finished filming last year.) We know it's been a while since we saw her last, but just a reminder, kids: Don't. Bore. Nina.

Wait a minute--maybe THAT'S why she skipped so many episodes in the middle of the season...

See you in seven.

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


ePastor James October 15, 2009 at 3:42 AM  

Terrific, as per usual!

I sincerely hope Carol Hannah wins and Logan is auf'ed (He and Nicolas are the two worst, and enough is enough, I can't--I'll stop). CH actually should've won the challenge Althea won; Althea should've won the challenge Irina won first; thus, Irina's second win would've been way more justified. Or CH shoulda just won that won. Spoilers suggest CH makes it to the Finale, so homegirl has gotta win sometime, no?!

Nicolas probably will win again though. And I will toss my cookies. No wait, I'll toss some of that stale bread, because I'll need cookies to cheer myself up, I'm sure. Shirin needs to be part of the Top 6 <3.

Tom October 15, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

I love it here. re: Top Chef ... is Kevin isn't the one to beat, I don't know who is. Thank GOODNESS Ashley II finally got it! "He's such a wonderful chef! I'm so in love! But I kinda love myself too ya know" GAG!

frogponder October 15, 2009 at 10:36 AM  

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for the Bob Mackie clips!
I love your take on PR.

David Dust October 15, 2009 at 11:10 AM  

OK - I was all excited about Bob Mackie so I could use those "Went With The Wind" references in my recap. It's not like I haven't used that curtain-rod dress picture before.

But you went and beat me to it this time. {{{SHAKING FIST}}} Damn you, Alan!!!! Oh well, I'll probably use it anyway.

Great precap. I cannot wait to see Nina. Maybe they didn't hype her appearance because (for some reason) she's not especially bitchy during this episode. We shall see...


suzq,  October 15, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

Wait a minute--maybe THAT'S why she skipped so many episodes in the middle of the season...

That's as good an explanation as any.


Msr. Mackie also did the costumes for Mitzi Gaynor's "Back to the 20's" special. That's one I remember. He also did Marie's costumes for the Donnie and Marie Show.

The 1970's were a must excellent decade for tacky, over-the-top, TV fashion.

PS: My favorite Mackie is Cher's LaVerne costume. She reminded me of my Uncle Andy's sister-in-law, Paula. Paula was a trip.

Alan October 15, 2009 at 5:32 PM  

@ ePastor James -

I will avoid being TOO spoilery at this point and say yes, I think CH will be around a little while longer. :-) At the same time, she really *doesn't* have to win anything to get to Bryant Park. She just has to be among the top three of five in the last episode--which she could do just by default.

If Shirin DOES go home this week (and that's really a shot in the dark here--we have no good intel on this) we're left with Irina, Althea, Carol Hannah, Christopher, Gordana, Logan, and Nicolas. Of those seven which three REALLY have the chops to make it to Bryant Park? Track record-wise, we have to consider the bottom three there goners--despite Gordana's recent win.

Of the four remaining designers, Irina and Althea stand out (again, points-wise). What do you do with Christopher and Carol Hannah then? Christopher has shown real flair--but he's also had some real busts. CH on the other hand is about as steady and under the radar as you can get. She could totally sneak in, if the only competition she has screws up. It wouldn't be the strongest final we've ever seen, but I think anybody who was there (and I was) knows that already...

Alan October 15, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

@ Tom - We love us some Kevin around here. We live in the south, and next time we get to Atlanta we plan to look up his restaurant. We want to eat his food! But Jennifer and the brothers are GOOD. I hope Kevin doesn't lose out because those three squeeze him out. (IMHO, one of the brothers will not make it.)

As for Ash's pathetic display two weeks back--holy cow. The wife and I looked at each other, absolutely mortified. WE were mortified. Vicariously. And the hole he kept digging! "He's the master around here. It was all on him. He did everything." Yeah, I think we have a first in reality show history here: throwing your partner under the bus WITH PRAISE. Priceless.

Alan October 15, 2009 at 5:39 PM  

@ David - Okay, yes. I admit it. I know I get to steal the best bits by writing the precaps before everyone has a chance to recap. Why do you think we do it? Mwahahahaha!

Seriously though, I will not flame you in your comments for using Went With the Wind all over again. It deserves to be seen by everyone! In fact, I INSIST you use it. You'll get more laughs out of it than I did, for sure!

Can't wait for your recap. In fact, can I just skip the show and go right to the recap, please?

AQ October 15, 2009 at 7:13 PM  

Interesting picks for tonight - 2 hrs and 49 minutes to go....

oh - and I predict Kevin to win Top Chef.....The V. Boys will join him in the final 3.....unless Mike I. can pull this one together then he and Mike V....

ePastor James October 16, 2009 at 1:14 AM  

AQ: Why is that that certain people, such as yourself, keep leaving Jennifer out of that scenario? She is a BEAST. She also has major executive chef cajones. IMO, she could be the secret winner. Kevin could be the early frontrunner, a la Stefan, who falters towards the end.

Now, I love Kevin. I love Jennifer just slightly more, because A) I desperately want another female Top Chef, because last season's premature sacking of Jamie and Radhika while Slutpuppy Leah continued her reign of skanky, was just disgusting; B) She has a quietly badass, no-nonsense, and subtly funny way about herself that I love. I think they'd make a great Top 2 in what has been a dismal, depressing, and boring season. (Such a lack of true personalities. Bryan may be exquisite, but he's also a freaking robot. And Michael is bipolar: he's either awesome or a bratty child.)

The Final 4 right now looks to be Jennifer, Kevin, Michael, and Bryan. But based on Bryan's Quickfire bottoms and "safe ways", he seems fallible. On the other hand, Michael could aim too high, but I think they'd give him kudos nonetheless. I never thought I'd feel this way now, but I really love Mike. He's grown on me after his misogynistic first episode appearance and I'd totally love for him to make the end. Unfortunately, I think he might be like 5th or so, because the storyline kinds hints towards an epic brother showdown near the end. (I'm guesstimating a possible Bottom 2 during Part 1 of the Finale, where it's between those 2 for the final spot at "the last supper".) But anyway, Jennifer has been on the top of Judges' Table an equal amount of times as Kevin--but actually, Michael's been there the most: 6 times, with 1 win.

One could argue that more wins (Kevin or Bryan) equals a higher chance of the ultimate victory, but that's a bad assumption. First of all, Tre had 3 wins, and then was booted @ Restaurant Wars. Meanwhile, Stefan had 4 wins but lost to Hosea. Only Stephanie ever had the most wins leading up to her final win, AND the most times ever on top (and a great personality, which makes her the best chef ever on the show, imo =]).

Okay, now I gotta make a separate comment for my PR thoughts.

ePastor James October 16, 2009 at 1:36 AM  

YES! I was right, woohoo! Carol Hannah finally wins a challenge. Sweeeeeeet. She deserves it, too. She's made underrated garments before I thought (Episode 1, for one.) She's my dark horse favorite, with Althea probably remaining my more feasible favorite. (I really can't stand Irina. She's such a @$#%, #%$@, %#@$, and a $@%#. Also, she makes grandma outfits and dresses like a homeless babushka. Get over yourself. I hope karma bites her in the @$#%.)

Nicolas has made me less nauseous this episode. In fact, I sorta like him a bit. His dress was a retread of his own winning design, but it was the most stage-ready. However, I'm referring more to personality--and it was a very minor thing. His aggravation at Irina's trash-talking was delicious. I LOLed. I don't care how many complaints there are about this season--these contestants have the personality to make it fun to watch each episode. (Future TC cheftestants, take a lesson.) But nevertheless, I want him gone before the Finale.

Good call on Shirin though, of course...however much it saddens me. Honestly, her dress was lame, BUT it galls me that the judges have TWO guys standing before them who've each been in the Bottom THREE times a piece, and yet Shirin makes her first bad dress and is ousted?! Disgusting. Logan's hooker outfit should've finally put the nail in his coffin and ended the Logrol lovefest. Or Christopher should've been sent home for his retread, in part as a makeup oust for last week's trash bag disaster. Oy vey. Shirin was Terri'd. Just gross.

Oh well....Now I guess the only thing left to do is root for an Althea/Carol Hannah/Irina showdown!

P.S. I forgot to mention, in reply to Tom: I don't get TC viewers. It should be at least partially about entertainment value, since we can't taste their food. And Ash was a GREAT personality. (And he got compliments on his first two E.C. dishes, so he must've done well at some point.) He was hilarious and at times the only one with a real personality. While some others were self-involved drones, Ash was just one who spoke his mind. It's just sad that he couldn't put that kind of pizazz into his freaking food. I loved his bromance flirtation with Mike (who flirted right back) and the maligning praise of Michael was epic genius at work! How clever to save your own ass and your partner's, too, in the process, while simultaneously suggesting that if you had to send one of us home, send the one who put the nail in our joint coffin. Don't be so boring as to claim that wasn't the least bit amusing--love it!

P.P.S. Ugh...sorry. I ramble and have too many thoughts to bother condensing. I oughta start writing in my blog again =(.

Milla October 16, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

Wow... I loved this blog. Great screencaps!
I also have a Project Runway blog(http//
I am going to add you to my blog roll great commentary and I love your predictions!

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