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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Project Runway: "Nature Calls"

Illustration for article titled iProject Runway/i: Nature Calls
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Illustration for article titled iProject Runway/i: Nature Calls

Well, that was an interesting episode. A warmed over challenge, leading to thoroughly lukewarm (if not hideous) designs, and a totally undercooked non-result. Still, at least the drama amongst the designers was well-done.
The challenge, of course, was another hopelessly dull, take-a-picture-make-a-dress, photo inspiration exercise. The designers were driven all the way out to the botanical gardens where they had an hour–yes, 60 whole minutes–to take pictures of flowers, which would then, God willing, inspire them to make a halfway decent evening gown. Still, even given that amount of time, apparently Leanne couldn't take a single clear shot of lavender.
So what elements of nature inspired the designers? Judging by the dresses, big blooms of stress. Not one of them put together an evening gown that didn't have something wrong with it: Leanne's lavender gown was structurally interesting in the bodice, but the skirt was pretty blah, except for that random shock of totally incongruous blue fabric on at the back. Jerell's dress (even though it was the winner) was at least three different kinds of ugly: ill-fitting in the bodice, weirdly rumpled and slouchy all-over, and it was green, bright maroon, and eggplant–three colors that shouldn't really be in the same sentence together let alone the same dress. Korto's dress was sleek and very well put together, but it was also pretty boring and the color of tangerine sherbet. The judges were right to say it looked very pageanty, but I thought it also looked very bridesmaid-y. Then there was Kenley's skin-tight, completely silly-looking, purple dragon scale, trumpet-hem dress. Michael Kors thought it was cliche and he was half right: it was the 50's evening gown Barbie cliche meets Barney the purple dinosaur cliche.
Of course, this episode wasn't about the challenge, or the designs. If it was then they could have just eliminated them all. No, this episode was about how much bitchy, rude, grating behavior Kenley could cover with whines and then squeeze into the hour. She started off early on by informing us that she's not talking to Leanne anymore. Why? Because Kenley feels that Leanne sabatoged her "hip hop" outfit by not selling it enough. "She made it look like a fool's outfit," Kenley whined. Well, then she was just staying true to your vision, Kenley!
Next, Kenley forgot her tulle at Mood Fabrics. Why did she forget her tulle? Probably because she was too busy changing the long-playing record on the gramophone in her annoying-feather-adorned head. Now it plays, "Everyone hates me. God, I'm such a victim. It's so hard being me. But I'm going to beat them anyway cause I'm the best. I'm the best!" Kenley's mistake, however, lead to the funniest "Let's mess with Kenley" conspiring since, well, last week. Jerell refused to give her his extra tulle, while Korto gleefully hid hers, just in case Kenley asked. In the end, however, Tim let Kenley go back to Mood to whine-ask for her missing tulle back, because Tim is a good person, even to people who aren't good to him.
Then Kenley reminded the audience that she's used to being left out. But "I don't know why." (I do!) Kenley seems to think that the reason that people ostracize her is directly related not to her odious personality but to the fact that her father was a tugboat captain. "Half of my childhood was spent miles away from land," she said, whinily. So maybe all those years at sea, with the fluid in her inner ears sloshing all around, caused a personality defect? Maybe it was the isolation that caused her to be so ignorant of things like common courtesy, and decorum? We'll never know.
From there, it was on to the runway, where Kenley's grating personality really had a chance to dig under everyone's skin. Once again, she was very defensive, she rolled her eyes more than a 14-year-old would at her parents, and she snapped at the judges, "I wasn't going for elegance, Heidi." The way she said Heidi's name was almost an accusation–prompting the closest Heidi has ever come to anger on Project Runway, "The attitude is a little annoying."
But all of this was mere prelude to Kenley's finest whine: when Jerell, Leanne, and Korto all picked Kenley to go home, effectively turning Kenley into the victim she so much wants to be, she ran with it. First talking over Jerell, then crying and saying, "I feel like I've been fighting my way through life." Life on the tugboat must have been hard. Did her parents make her pull the ships?
In the end, however, despite Kenley's obvious attitude problem, or more accurately because of it, the judges decided to keep her around. Why send home the irritating designer right away, when you could string her along for another episode? If it's not already, that should be the Project Runway motto.
Grade: B+
Stray Observations:
—"If a buyer says 'I don't like that sleeve,' what's she going to do? Take a knife out and kill them?" Knowing Kenley, Michael, she'll probably just suffocate them with whines.
—Everyone in this episode suffered from Ricky Syndrome: tears all around. Even Korto, who is usually so stoic.
—Speaking of Ricky Syndrome, how many v-neck tees do you think Jerell has slashed to the navel in his lifetime? A 1000?
—Oh, Collier Strong. I hope you frame every single one of the useless make-up covered paper faces you've done for Project Runway over the years.
—Tim's "I'm so proud of you all" speech just seemed so hollow this time around. Kind of like this season in general.

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