I've never seen such a lopsided season of Project Runway. Never before has there been a perfect season (no trips to the bottom three) run by any contestant, yet with one challenge to go, three different contestants are accomplishing the feat. Is there much doubt that those three will be in the finale?
Episode Eleven: The Best of the Best
Lifetime continues to impress me with actually improving on last week's episode. The challenge was better this week, and even though Michael Kors was gone, Nick Verreos is always a fun, witty commentator to have on hand. By the way, the guest judges have gotten so much better the past two episodes. Milla Jovovitch and Kerry Washington both knew exactly what they were talking about and made their presences known on the panel.
The challenge was for each designer to take their best design and create a companion piece for it. Typically, a companion piece recalls the original design in some element (material, color, aesthetic, technique). Most of the designers actually did accomplish companion pieces in some regard... it's just that only three of them were any good. Three were actually quite horrible. And that's why it's suddenly become so obvious who will compete at Fashion Week.
As far as the actual garments go, I didn't agree at all about Althea's ugly, drab, grey garment winning. Then again, I am wholly and completely in the tank for Irina Shabbadabadoo at this point, so I'm blind to all other creations. Only that's actually not true- I liked Carol Hannah's cute little dress a LOT. And the Blonde and the Beautiful (heretofore known as Brooke Hogan) wasn't so much bad as clearly worse than Two-Name Whitfield and Shabbadabadoo's designs.
Didn't love this winning look. To me, it didn't fit well with the original, it looked tacky, poorly constructed (but that's the norm for Brooke Hogan), and was clearly inferior to at least two other looks. I wouldn't have sent Althea home for this (not when there's three other pieces of crap on the runway), but by no means did it deserve its win. About the charges of plagiarism: Althea charged Designated Straight Male Logan with stealing her zipper collar idea, and she was totally right in that regard, but then Irina Shabbadabadoo turned around and charged her with plagiarizing her sweater cuffs. Though many are piling on Irina for basically implying that she invented sweaters, there's no doubt the two designs are similar, and Heidi Klum did directly ask Irina and Althea about the similarity, which means Irina was completely in the right to slam Brooke Hogan. Just my opinion, you might have a different one. And I respect your right to be wrong.
Just like Regina George, Irina is fabulous and evil. In all honesty, I probably couldn't spend two minutes in the same room with Shabbadabadoo, but her designs are just incredible. I love how she plays with absolute luxury in her designs and isn't afraid to make winter clothes. Quick point of contention, though-- why did Irina have to make a companion for this piece? She's won three challenges- that's three looks she could have designed companion pieces though. (Maybe she could have given one to DSM... *snigger*) I would have liked to see a cool evening gown like her chevron-stripes dress or a real fabric equivalent to her newspaper dress (the collar!). Still, Shabbadabadoo worked it out on this design, and deserved the win. Again.
Carol Hannah Whitfield
I absolutely loved Carol Hannah's dress. Making a companion piece to an over-the-top performance dress is tough, but Two-Name made it work. It was a dress, yes, and I would love to see Carol Hannah do separates sometime, but there's just no denying how fast this little dress would sell. It's the little black/green dress every young girl would die to have. I hope Carol Hannah can translate this aesthetic to a more diverse line come Fashion Week time.
Oh, Fraü Gehlhausen. Even though I've now learned how to properly spell your name, your design this week disappointed me. You've done great work in the past (divorceé challenge, inspiration challenge), but I'm beginning to worry your appeal can't translate past a streamlined, well-made grey dress. This week's jacket was unfinished and horrid-looking, and you better thank your lucky stars Nina Garcia was there to save you, because Heidi would have sent you home for sure.
*sigh* Words just aren't enough here. Even when he gets back to his volumnous roots, Minnesota Nice has taken such a tumble from his original prowess and is now regularly sending crap down the runway. Christopher was lucky Fraülein and Designated Straight Male did so badly this week, because I probably would have sent this home otherwise. What's happened to Minnesota Nice that he's done so badly? Was the INC Blue challenge just too much for him that it's shaken his confidence to the edge? That actually might be it- having basically never been criticized before that episode, then to not only get savagely ripped apart but dropped into the bottom two and almost sent home must have been a bit of a confidence destroyer. However poorly he's done so far, however, he is the last man standing, unlike...
Ah, Designated Straight Male. Like Joe Faris (season 5), Robert Plotkin (season 1), and Kevin Christyana (season 4) before you, it's time to go home after a season of posturing and attempting to make yourself far straighter than you should be. Your silver pants made the judges so distracted they ignored the fact that you had never appeared in the top three and that this was your fifth (!) appearance in the bottom three. You will go on to absolutely zero career in the fashion industry.
My Winner: Irina Shabayeva
My Auf: Logan Neitzel
For the remaining finalists, here are the scores:
Irina Shabayeva: 9 HIGH
Althea Harper: 7 WIN
Carol Hannah Whitfield: 6 HIGH
Gordana Gelhausen: 0 LOW
Christopher Straub: -1 LOW
Logan Neitzel: -6 OUT
So Designated Straight Male is finally out of the game, tying for the lowest exit score EVER with Vincent Libretti from season 5. Irina Shabbadabadoo should be proud, as she's not only running a perfect season so far, she's also tied for the highest score ever, 9, also attained by former champions Chloe Dao and Christian Siriano, and that was with championships already under their belts. Brooke Hogan and Two-Name Whitfield are also running perfect seasons, but with slightly lower scores. To have three contestants without a single appearance in the bottom three is astounding. No season has been this lopsided before. Maybe next week will change things, but my feeling is that Irina is going to be our champion (with a bullet!), with Althea placing second and Carol Hannah third.
Because of next week being the last runway show, I'm expecting a double elimination, in which case you can expect Gordana and Christopher to go home. That's probably all for the best, though I wouldn't mind seeing Gordana instead of Althea. The latter has simply never inspired me on this show, while the former could do really interesting things with a lot of time and money. Still, after seeing the final three collections of the top three (and I know almost certainly which three contestants the collections belong to), I'm confident that two of the three finalists put together amazing looks.