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When all else fails, sob. Or make a speech. Or be a random cartoon character who babbles about eco-nonsense. On reality TV, drama is like sex — it sells.
Poor Kahindo may not have made a standout dress on “Project Runway” Season 12, Episode 2, “Million Dollar Runway,” but it wasn’t that bad or that boring. But she didn’t get to show much personality, so like Angela last week, she had to go home over more TV-friendly characters.
Yes, I mean Timothy, but also Helen. Did you see what she made? I know her intention. Everyone has the same intention every week: to make a standout design that represents them as a designer. It’s harder than I can even imagine, having seen every season. But some people manage to work miracles. The people cast for each season, out of the thousands of hopefuls, are put in the position to be daily miracle workers. When your miracle falls flat, you should go home. Helen’s design was the farthest thing from a miracle. And she knew it. In fact, Helen was so upset with her faulty construction that she literally started shaking in her runway seat. Father Tim Gunn had to come out and help her. She cried, she made a speech to the judges to illustrate her passion, and she was saved. They all have passion or they shouldn’t be there. Should Kahindo have made a speech? Would that have saved her? It probably wouldn’t save you in the real workplace.
Anyway, this week the designers were loaned more than $30 million worth of jewels and told to create a look glamorous enough to walk the runway with the jewels.
Of course Timothy was not inspired by the jewelry. He doesn’t care about money (or so he says). They had to pick the “prettiest” one, which he found superficial. (I need him to go home before my eyes get stuck in the up position.) He compromised enough to put makeup on his model and even though he had one of the “lower” scores, he was still safe. He is the judges’s pet.
This week, Sandro — who had a mini tantrum in the workroom and even grabbed a staffer by the arm to try and get him to fix equipment — had one of the higher scores, despite riding that line between “stripper and chic.” For me, he’s still on the stripper side. But good for him for supporting Helen. I don’t agree with any of it, but we all need someone in our corner. Just keep me away from that particular corner.
This week, Kate the Redeemed won the challenge. She won a corset-based challenge on her last season too. Heidi likes that stuff. I liked her (intentionally) disheveled Marie Antoinette-inspired design but I didn’t love it, and I’m not that invested in Kate’s redemption story. Sorry.
I liked Dom’s green and white design and, once again, I really liked British Jeremy’s design, which wasn’t even put in the top. Again. Still love his pants from last week too. I have a feeling he’s going to be my “cause” for the season.
With my stream-of-consciousness thoughts as they walk the runway.
Dom – Like the design but is the green and white too matchy-matchy with the jewels? I need to see it up close.
Justin – Love her hair, and black dress is beautiful in a simple way.
Ken – Nice green classic simple, OK.
Kahindo – Interesting print, almost camouflage.
Alexandria – Very simple navy blue, beautiful, elegant (I love how opinionated she is behind-the-scenes. She’s going to piss someone off soon.)
Miranda – pretty much the same as last week just in blue.
Alexander – Black and flowy with some yellow. Not for me.
Kate – Victorian-like silver dress, lot going on but works.
Timothy – Um, not sure.
Karen – Blah, blue, doesn’t seem to fit right, doesn’t accentuate jewelry.
Jeremy – LOVE – My man of the season. It’s official. All on board. Love the bottom. It’s not the most original design I’ve ever seen, but it perfectly showcases the jewelry instead of overpowering it. I thought that was the challenge.
Sandro – Tight, shows a lot. This is what he likes apparently, so be it.
Helen – She’s shaking and in a panic on the runway because she couldn’t finish her look well enough. “My construction is so awful.” They stop so Tim can go talk to her. Sandro tries to support her as she shakes. This crying will probably help her. They love drama. So much for Helen being the tough girl. It’s not weak to cry but it is a sign of deep insecurity to play up your toughness and then fall apart when you can’t deliver. Sorry to be harsh, but this is happening to all of them at the same time, not just her.
Sue – Black and sexy but not a standout. Not my style. The judges love her, though. There’s always at least one I don’t “get.”
Bradon – Silver dress with a light wrap. Hmm.
Dom – HIGH SCORES – Nina loved that she made it very young. She found the print interesting. She loved the back too, however, whatever she used to hem is overpowering it. Heidi said if she had to pick a dress it would be Dom’s. But she wouldn’t put the ribbon around her hair. Zac agreed.
Timothy – LOW SCORES – Tim went for makeup this time but Heidi still didn’t like the model’s hair. She asked him about the fabric he used to see if it matched his “cause.” Stop making him a gimmick. Zac commended him for going for something as ambitious as velvet. But he thought the dress looked backward. It’s hard to find bras for razorfront dresses, Heidi noted. Nina called the razorback-in-the-front “bizarre.” Nina expected something like a tuxedo jacket. Timothy is such a brown-noser.
Kate – HIGH SCORES – She was inspired by Marie Antoinette fleeing in the night. Heidi knew immediately that this was Kate’s dress because she loves buiding corsets and won a corset-involved challenge on her last season. Nina thought she picked a fabulous cover. Zac thought the jewelry popped, which was the whole task so that’s a good sign. WINNER
Sandro – HIGH SCORES – He had vintage rubies and went for a more “feminine” style. Heidi noted that he likes to put a lot into his garments. He piled on last week and he did it again. But she thought it worked this week. (Really?) Eric Daman liked the color with the jewelry. Zac and Nina liked his unpredictable fabric choice, but he had wrinkles in the fabric. Zac felt the sides of the dress took away from it and it got a little trashy. He walks the line of “stripper and chic,” as Eric put it.
Kahindo – LOW SCORES – Heidi thought it was so simple that it was boring. How is this exact argument not being made for Karen’s blue dress? Eric is wearing camo too but he didn’t seem to appreciate. Zac thought the print was hard and the construction was not inspiring. “I think it looks like a dress on sale.” And he felt the designer popped more than the model and looked cooler. It’s not exciting enough for Nina, either. Are they talking more about her own personality, ’cause it feels like they make arguments to keep the “drama” crowd but if you’re “boring” to the judges they’ll push you out the door.
Helen – LOW SCORES – Helen had never done cups before; Heidi said she’s always shocked when the designers try to do something they’ve never done before. Why? Isn’t that something you’re supposed to do on PR?! Heidi said she’s obsessed with boobs and these look pretty bad. Evening wear is Helen’s forte but this didn’t work. The dress had a lot of problems in the back. The execution is very poor. Zac said a gown like this takes days. The hem is off. The fabric was the wrong choice. Eric said you have to time manage. Nina said there were so many imperfections that they distract from the jewels. But she found the design interesting, so that could save her, along with her tears and passion. She makes a speech. Should Kahindo have made a speech and cried? Sandro jumps in to defend Helen. “Don’t judge her too much, please.” That’s kind of him, but it applies to all of them and someone has to leave.
Kate for her Marie Antoinette gown.
Kahindo, basically for her fabric choice and for boring the judges/not being enough of a storyline character.
• Alexander Pope, 38 – Hometown: Los Angeles, CA; Resides in New York, NY
• Alexandria von Bromssen, 38 – Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden; Resides in San Mateo, CA
• Angela Bacskocky, 33 – Hometown: Richmond, VA; Resides in Richmond, VA (Eliminated Week 1)
• Bradon McDonald, 38 – Hometown: Lowville, NY; Resides in Los Angeles, CA
• Dom Streater, 24 – Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; Resides in Philadelphia, PA
• Helen Castillo, 25 – Hometown: Weehawken, NJ; Resides in Union City, NJ
• Jeremy Brandrick, 41 – Hometown: Birmingham, England; Resides in New York, NY
• Justin LeBlanc, 27 – Hometown: Tampa, FL; Resides in Raleigh, NC
• Kahindo Mateene, 34 – Hometown: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Resides in Chicago, IL (Eliminated Week 2)
• Karen Batts, 29 – Hometown: Boca Raton, FL; Resides in Queens, NY
• Ken Laurence, 24 – Hometown: Birmingham, AL; Resides in Birmingham, AL
• Miranda Kay Levy, 29 – Hometown: Wilton, WI; Resides in Milwaukee, WI
• Sandro Masmanidi, 28 – Hometown: Krasnodar, Russia; Resides in New York, NY
• Sue Waller, 45 – Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
• Timothy Westbrook, 24 – Hometown: Wanakena, NY; Resides in Milwaukee, WI
• Kate Pankoke, the Runway Redemption winner from Season 11
Catch up on my old (vintage) “Project Runway” stories in this archive.