Project RunwayImage is Everything Season 9 • Episode 9
This episode was a travesty. And not just because menswear challenges are always a mess on this show.
For a challenge that includes a dizzying number of cross-promotions, the designers have to create a new look for Rolling Stone cover stars and new band, the Sheepdogs. At the same time, though, it's not really a new look because the band members all had reasonably set ideas about their style and the image they need to portray. So yes, it's another design brief with messy parameters that the judges can (and, spoiler, DO) tailor to their whim. And that "tailoring" on their part was just about as bad as that of the mens' pants walking the runway. Apart from Viktor's pants, that is.
With clearly none of the designers having any preexisting knowledge of the Sheepdogs, the collective, an “oh, crap” moment played out facially seven times over when the strapping all-male foursome introduced themselves. Olivier, really the only designer with a history designing for men, wasn’t worried — though when the band started playing, he did worry about the volume level and had to cover his ears. Such a delicate little flower, our Olivier.
Though it hasn’t been mentioned so absurdly frequently in the last few weeks as early on in the season, the fact that Anya only learned to sew four months back proves a clear hindrance in the menswear context — and she lets it psych her out immediately, flailing at Mood and picking the worst kind of dank, thrift-store sale-bin prints. Olivier selects muted palettes, and Laura somehow goes over her allocated monies for the challenge by $150. Lucky for her, Bert’s having a happy-thoughts day, rings up way under budget, and passed on the cash he doesn’t need.
Sadly, that was really the height of this week’s outlandish drama. Perhaps because the challenge pushed the designers a little bit further outside their cushy, floaty, womenswear comfort-zones, there was next to no interpersonal drama in the workroom. Instead of snarking on each other's bad clothes, everyone was too focused on trying to make shirts and pants that fitted well. (Say hi to Joshua’s right butt cheek, which made an appearance as he worked a stint as his own fit model.) An exciting episode of Project Runway this does not make, so it was left to Tim to help along some breakdowns on at least an individual basis with extra caustic criticisms. Tim tells Bert his outfit looks too dated and too girly, and has to at least start his
blouse shirt over from scratch; Anya's told she's silly indeed for sharing her fabric with Kimberly; and Olivier gets the worst of it, lambasted for everything from the swanlike print on his shirt's fabric to the fit issues evident in his toile garments. It's the most we've heard Tim sound like a pissy college professor in a very long time. As for Olivier, who's been precocious to say the least of late — doesn;t it seem odd that, given his intense aversion to designing for “plus-size” folk, he didn’t fight harder for a skinnier band member?
In lieu of the traditional runway, the Sheepdogs perform (the same song twice, it seems) all dressed up. And it’s clear that wearing their new outfits even once was more than enough for most of the band, though they all throw out mild praise and pleasantries when asked for their thoughts post-runway. That’s more than can be said for the judges. Having bolstered their rock-star credentials with American Idol contestant Adam Lambert and his crazy fake-bake foundation, the panel hated on just about everything, with the exception of Josh’s crotch-centric look and, once again, Viktor’s set of stylish separates (that’s three perfectly constructed pieces two weeks in a row; and Nina is seriously impressed). Oh, and unbelievably, Bert’s frumpy Viking hausfrau ensemble picked up praise — because it’s offering up “a persona.” Yes, the persona of a grown man in ratty pigtails.
Though the judges seemed to have found the most serious flaws in both Anya and Kimberly’s designs, they auf our fave Olivier — deciding his prior experience in the field meant his failure was a bigger fall from grace than the stumbles made by the menswear newbs. So while Olivier took his exit with understated grace and some halfhearted hugs, we’re having a tantrum
. this will be the last recap this season — okay, not really, but we’ll now mainly be watching to see if anyone pulls the quit card late in the proceedings and he gets to come back. Fingers crossed, toes crossed, and hair plaited — okay, not that last step. Review all the designs from last night's episode in the slideshow.