We spent the entire winter last year searching for a decent hat. One that fit our small head without looking too stocking-cap-ish, and was interesting enough, but didn’t clash with everything we owned. The story has a sad ending: We went hatless for the entire freezing, godforsaken months of November through March. The moral is that hats are hard. They’re either way too big or small, way too utilitarian, or way too fedora-like. Or, you know, too much like a Victorian-era Edward Scissorhands nightmare. But that’s if you’re looking at hats made by Philip Treacy, the soft-spoken milliner on last night’s Project Runway. The contestants had to design outfits around his bizarre and beautiful creations: One looked like a striped Frisbee, one was a sex-party mask, and one looked like “a big vagina.”
But first let’s remember poor Ivy, who’d fainted last week and was taken to the hospital for dehydration. She has good friends like Gretchen and Valerie who say they aren’t surprised that she collapsed, as “she drinks and smokes a lot.” Ivy is fine, if a little embarrassed, and she drew inspiration from her hospital curtains, so all in all, it was a productive visit to the ER.
Is it just us, or is Mr. Treacy a little creepy? He looks like a cross between Andy Warhol and Ebenezer Scrooge, and sounds a little like Mickey Mouse. But his hats are certainly works of art, and some of the designers have issues making outfits that complement them. Valerie wants to go all David Bowie with her look, while Mondo listens to the voices of the fabrics at Mood (“Come buy me, Mooondo! I will make your model look like the prettiest little boy!”). Kristin complains a lot about her orchid hat, and then turns a corner, which ends up leading her right into a big fat fugly silk dress. Michael C. lacks confidence, and is convinced he’s going to fail, which is Project Runway speak for “win the challenge.” Gretchen continues to be obnoxious and judgy, and yet annoyingly backs up her trash-talking with decent designs. Speaking of trash-talking, let’s move on the runway show. It’s about time!
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AJ, like us, has clearly watched Pretty Woman one too many times. This dress and hat are reminiscent of the scene in which Julia Roberts goes to the polo match after her shopping spree, and has a great time ... until Jason Alexander hits on her and reveals he knows she’s a hooker. What a bastard. But a very pretty dress!
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Andy tried to channel royals with his hot-pink power suit, but it really just looks like something Madonna would wear, who we guess, in a way, is a royal. Well done, Andy. P.S. The hat looks like a satellite dish that had the unfortunate luck of getting in a bird’s way (the dish won!). So that’s kind of sad.
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April — the Bottom Three
Oh dear, April’s diaper is not attractive. The model’s butt cheeks are completely exposed, and Nina has to shield her innocent eyes when she’s walking down the runway. “The panty is ill-fitting ... it looks like you layered your underpants,” observes Michael. Nina doesn’t mind the top, but is otherwise unimpressed. “You had a wow hat to work with, and you gave us a blah outfit,” proclaims Heidi. April is safe, but is very shaken, as she really liked her diaper look. That does not bode well for her.
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Tim warns Casanova that his black drape dress conjures “Donna Karan, 1988.” Casanova doesn’t seem to care. And neither do the judges, who send him through to the next round. “I’m not like a cat with seven lives,” explains Casanova of his decision to tone down his aesthetic.
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Christopher — the Bottom Three
Chris and everyone else loved his outfit, but the judges hated it. Funny how that works. The stiff, drapelike top didn’t flow well with the airy black hat. “It seems sad,” says Heidi. “Even the model can’t wear that legging,” says Michael of the VERY TIGHT gray pants. Nina says it’s “overly designed,” and MK complains that “she’s sinking in rather than floating away.” Chris scrapes by till next week, based purely on his good looks and generally sweet demeanor.
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Gretchen has “a fetish for feathers,” she tells us, which explains the vaguely Pocahontas-y design. The leggings with leather and lace are not, at all, attractive, and we’d like to say that to Gretchen, so she’d maybe just shut up for once about how sucky everyone else is. “I don’t think he has any idea what is modern and what is fresh,” she says of Michael C. “He’s a replicator, not a visionary.” Um, okay, he wins, so you lose, Gretchen. YOU LOSE.
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Ivy’s hospital-curtain shirt-and-jacket combo is neutral enough to nicely offset Treacy’s bright-pink rose hat. Ivy loves it — “I need to get over myself,” she says. Yes, Ivy, you do.
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Kristin — the Loser!
Kristin was doomed by her “giant vagina.” Her black silk dress with pink trim just looked sloppy, and that blob coming out of the top reminded us of a used tissue (our tissues at home are pink! This is true!). “It looks like you didn’t have a plan,” says Nina, who hates the “matchy-matchy” toenails and flower shoes. “It never came together,” says Michael. Heidi adds that “the fabric doesn’t look happy.” We don’t know about that one, but it’s not a pretty dress, and for that, Kristin is sent home. She’s "relieved,” she tells us, through tears. Aw, we don’t believe you. Buh-bye.
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Michael C. — the Winner!
Michael C. benefited from good Father’s Day karma, and pulled off the win with this sparkly gold draped dress. Everyone is shocked at the outcome, especially Ivy, who’s like, “Seriously? Seriously!” (This is not an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Ivy! Please refrain from using “seriously.”) MK says of the dress/hat combo: “This is what harmony looks like. She’s kind of a goddess of the sea, without being a costume.” Heidi adds that even without the hat, “it’s a beautiful dress on its own,” and Philip says Michael’s “done an exceptional job with this.” He wins! Okay, we kind of side with the contestants on this one; the dress isn’t that great. But we’re happy for Michael, so we’ll let it slide.
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Michael D. — the Top Three
Michael’s cardboard-box blouse and calypso skirt somehow landed him in the top three. The model’s entire chest is exposed by the top's deep V, and when he says he drew inspiration from “a warrior ... and a farmer,” Heidi and Philip laugh and laugh. And yet the judges liked the look. “You really looked at the shape of the hat,” whispers Philip (SPEAK UP, MAN!) “It’s very dramatic,” says Nina, who loves the top. “It’s simple but complicated,” observes Heidi, hilariously. She’s the best; things are always hard yet soft, or feminine yet masculine, or pretty yet hard. Ah, fashion speak. Much of the time, it makes no sense. So Michael is safe, if not a little disappointed that he didn’t take the win.
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Okay, what? Why did Mondo accompany his cheeky purple tux-inspired top and polka dot pants with ... a fake mustache? We’ll never know. That is one strange little dude.
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Oh, Peach. You are such a mom. Her short, pink, paisley-ish dress does fit the model snugly, and semi-works with that crazy kaleidoscope feather hat. So she’s through to next week, during which she’ll likely create yet another dress that belongs on a well-off 50-year-old woman who dresses a bit too young for her age.
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Valerie — the Top Three
Valerie continues her run as always-the-bridesmaid, coming thisclose to the win yet again. Heidi calls her dress “beautiful ... it’s soft but still hard and sexy at the same time.” Ha! She did it again! Michael likes that it has “the Stevie Nicks hem, but it’s actually very geometric and neat.” Philip is the only hater in the group — he doesn’t “understand where it’s coming from." Whatever, Philip, that’s because you make sex-party masks for a living. Valerie almost wins again, but then doesn’t. Next time, Val. Next time.