It’s funny what life is like when the only thing worth watching on Bravo is Below Deck. I’m sort of in a scramble for decompression activities. In my real life I am seeking paper bags to breathe in I am so running at 11, pushing for a major ballot issue in my community, organizing LEGO robotics club, figuring out what in hell we’re supposed to be doing for Cub Scouts, organizing PTG events, carpooling to soccer, taxiing to appointments, and retrieving forgotten musical instruments. In addition to working a part-time professional job, producing meals, fulfilling my marital duties, and managing an overabundance of dogs. Which is a whole story unto itself. Oh, and wondering how stressed I ought to be about ISIS. And climate change.
So thank Chaka Khan for Project Runway! It has not been the same since moving to Lifetime, no, but it’s still got Tim Gunn and it’s still a welcome escape to Mood from the weary realities of life in general.
This week we had our “alternative model” challenge of the season. Having learned a lesson from Ven and the catastrophic “real person” challenge of a few seasons back, PR has decided to tie this episode’s product placement into American Girl, and a new concept they have! YAY! scream the gals who love to watch Dance Moms!
Have you ever been to an American Girl store? I have. I even own a Bitty Baby. There are several explanations for this. The first is that the founder of American Girl was a friend of my dad’s from college, and thus when AG first became a “thing” we were way sucked into the rabbit hole, even though I was already in high school by that time. The second is that visiting the American Girl store is an “experience”, one my mother felt I needed to have and was being denied by the distribution of male body parts in my household. And so it was that when I came home for what I expected to be a “girls weekend” with my mom a few years ago for a scholarship event in memory of my dad, we ended up taking my twin nieces to the store for brunch while my sister and her husband went to a funeral. This also required me to sleep in a twin sandwich the night before, and be “made over” by these aspiring Maxine Factors afterward. Rouge and backcombing is big with the Aught set. The third is that my mother feels I have one too many children so was compelled to buy me a Bitty Baby of my own to fend off any lingering desire to have a fourth child, and also fill the “girl” gap. She was my Christmas present and lives in my room. Mr. Little Mama pretends she is not there.
So anyway: here the designers are, presented with aspiring Punky Brewsters paired up with historic American Girls. Apparently there’s a new line offering “modern” takes on the historic dolls’ looks for their humans, and that’s what we’re designing for. Not that this is well-explained but familiar as I am I got it. They can use the fabric provided for the dolls’ getups, and/or buy their own stuff at Mood with a budget of $150. Textiles are going to be an issue, I can feel it.
Immediately, two of our designers are feeling a fringe moment. Really, all of our designers have been feeling a fringe moment all season long. I have never seen so much fringe. And Tim Gunn is over it. He tells both that fringe is a mistake and costumey. Now I don’t like to disagree with Tim Gunn but hello! THESE ARE COSTUMES. Expensive, and masquerading as real clothes, but costumes all the same. American Girl is hardcore dress up. So British Bill Rancic and the black girl, who want fringe, are in a quandary.
The designer who feels she has the upper hand tonight is Pat Benatar, who (a) has a daughter, and (b) has a “cult” Etsy line of kids clothes. Crickets when she refers to her “cult” Etsy status. Unfortunately, though, Pat has taken her doll’s history as an escapee from the Russian gulag to the brighter shores of America a little too far and is getting her model up in a moss-colored taffeta skirt with a tragic faux-crochet cardi. The look is good. The colors are: sad. Sad is never a good word on Project Runway; sad child is the kiss of death.
But wait: WAIT! It could be so much worse. And it is. See, the Indian girl has a doll who wants to be a boat making kingpin, and thus the Indian girl thinks what the real-world girl who loves this doll needs is a onesie. A pair of footless pajamas in cheap-looking pink rayon, with a peuce half-tutu attached, and tacky faux buttons glued to the front (replacing the word art originally considered), and a line of snaps from the ass up. Just like the pajamas my sister had to dress the aforementioned twins in when, as infants, they got into the habit of undressing and flinging poop pellets. Footie pajamas, feet cut off, put on backwards, and reinforced with duct tape. That is what Indian girl has produced for us tonight, people. Tim is horrified, but Indian girl is sticking to her guns. This is not her first jumpsuit critique, people.
That evening, everyone meows about Indian girl’s onesie while Indian girl cries into her pillow for Pat Benatar, her sole roommate. All she wants is respect, people! And compassion! And for everyone to overlook her utter lack of social graces and self-awareness.
Runway time! Our guest judge is, inexplicably, Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men. I have abandoned all pretense of assuming there is a reason behind these choices.
My favorite look of this whole show is Wart’s, but the judges call her Middle:
How cute is that? I was not altogether sold on her slave-girl-quilt concept originally, but it works, it’s on trend, and looks like real kids would wear it. Nonetheless.
The judges feel the top are the black girl, Pono the Pencil Gnome, and Blossom. I’m already not excited about this but here we are. The black girl has defied Tim Gunn, who gave her the Tim Gunn Save, and gone with the fringe regardless of his opinion about it. Nina loves it so this was a good move. I really like the fabric for her dress which is AG textile. Smart choice! Pono also used the AG textile and made a great coat-and-dress combo in contrasting yet coordinating patterns. It’s very holiday high tea and it works. (Although I am unsure about cutouts in children’s clothing.) Blossom, who was not at all sure she could handle dealing with children, has done just fine and contributed a Jessie Gets Dressed Up look. I do like the skirt better for the yellow underlining. But there’s no way this could be mass-produced – although I guess this challenge is pure concept with no production guarantee so who cares anyway? Pono takes it.
The bottom are Pat Benatar, the Indian girl, and British Bill Rancic, who forewent the fringe and ended up producing a tragic Liberty print jumpsuit and prison vest bedazzled with a typo-ed peace logo on the back. It’s just catastrophic. Whereas Pat’s is just ugly, and sad, even if her model is full of SHAZAM! But Indian Girl: oh, oh dear Indian girl. There is no excuse. It even has a bolero. And visible ass-snaps for easy diaper changes. CFDA Fashion Award Winner Zac Posen describes it as “circus flamingo”. It’s that, and so much more. I don’t know one child over 2 who wouldn’t cry if their mother tried to make them wear that. Indian girl stubbornly disagrees with all criticism. She thinks it’s hot shit, just like her. And so it is. Adios, Indian girl. Admittedly, Project Runway might not be as fun without you to kick around, anymore.
Next time: o laws it’s a real people challenge. And Tim has to unleash the phrase “butt ugly”. That’s gonna be a hashtag….