Project Runway Season 11: Episode 8 – Send Them ALL Home! Sad Strippers All Around… [Runway Rundown]

Ok readers, is anyone else over this season as much as I am yet? While I had high hopes for this “Teams Edition” to bring something new to the game, all it has done is water down the designs and allow the contestants to aim for being safe… As long as they look around the work room and one of their teammates is working on something a little uglier or worse for wear, they are fine with being in the middle. These designers are complacent, and I have yet to see any of them stand out as a strong, unique designer that should not only win such a large prize, but be considered a professional on any level. It’s like watching a really bitchy “home-ec” class each week learn how to sew, and if they don’t step it up soon I’m gonna write this off as the worst batch of designers yet. What happened to the good old days of talented artisans creating amazing garments in a tiny amount of time, all the while giving us some fun drama to watch in the work room? Nina, go ahead and bitch slap them for me.

The following contains spoilers, so get your ass to the DVR if you haven’t seen it yet and watch this week’s episode, it was amazing on so many levels.

The judges got to pick this week who was going to work with who, creating two teams of four with those that are left. Our teams were told by Tim they would have to create a “Team Name,” really Tim? Are you really are trying to push and manufacture interest in this whole team thing still? Our first team, Team “Shades of Grey” consists of Daniel, Patricia, Michelle, and Stanley. Our second team: “Slick and Hip” consists of Richard, Layana, Samantha and Amanda. (We get it Michelle, we know you don’t want to work with Patricia. I wouldn’t want to work with Earth Mother either, but shut up and make something good.)

HeidiStrippersHeidi walked in and made a really big promise to the designers: “It’s time to have some fun!!!” Ok Heidi, you better not be fucking with me because I have waited for this to get fun for 8 episodes now and have yet to truly enjoy some “fun.” The designers were whisked away the following morning on a field trip to see………wait for it…….wait for it…….. MALE STRIPPERS! Ok Heidi, I guess this is kinda fun. I am all for a menswear challenge, especially if it includes male models that aren’t tiny little twigs I may bruise if I shook their hands. The other “fun” part of the menswear challenges, we get to see if these people are actually good at sewing, or if it has all been a ruse of princess seams and stretch fabrics over boobs. I’m guessing from what I have already seen this season, these kids need that “home-ec” class to brush up on some basic sewing skills, budgeting and time management.

The new clients this week: The Thunder From Down Under, is a group of queens…er… I mean men, from Australia that pretend to dance (and I use that term loosely) while taking their clothes off. If you managed to catch that train wreck of a film “Magic Mike,” then you have a pretty good picture of what these guys do for a living. They stand around, tear off a half rate uniform costume from Party City, usually based on some working man stereotype, and the movements they perform while doing it look like something akin to pointing and thrusting… certainly not dancing. The real thing here though, WHO CARES?!!! These men have bodies that look like they were CG enhanced from birth!

PoorMichelleThe task at hand assigned to the designers was for each team to create potential new opening sequence looks with a tearaway element. They had to create three full outfits with some semblance of cohesion, with one day and a budget of seven hundred and fifty dollars. Seems like a very doable task to me, but Michelle had to bitch and moan about SOMETHING so she chose to complain that she has “barely made menswear.” Are you kidding Michelle? A. Look at how you are dressed, and B. Everything you make looks like a girly version of a men’s jumper that some lesbian art teacher in Hartford, Connecticut would wear. Honey, you know menswear…

As the teams set out to define their goals, they got tips from their stripper clients about tear aways, and fabric needs. Michelle pushed her group to base their look on bike messengers, but the idea of grungy layers of spandex-y sexiness was a bit much for them to swallow. They played it safe… they went with business attire. *snore*

Over on team Slick and Hip Richard tried to push his concept of crystal and rhinestone buttons, but Samantha squashed those thoughts down deeming them tacky and saying they could potentially make their clients look like contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The team ended up playing it safe and going with basic business attire. *double snore* Really guys?! I know a man in a suit can be sexy, but where is the fun and creativity in that? You could put these guys in anything right now and you choose to make some black pants and white shirts? The amount of detailed tailoring of some of these garments can be quite daunting and may eat up A LOT of your time, but it is no more difficult than creating a garment for a woman. With the plethora of fun possibilities (cliches) such as cowboys, outback explorers, military men, or even just a bunch of blue collar guys, why would they go for a boring suit and tie look when the others would be easier to make and allow for more creativity?

BitchyRIchardThe clash of opinions also hit a head over at MOOD where the teams seemed fairly discombobulated and grabbing at anything black and white to make some half assed business attire. Richard vented to Tim, Tim warned of the time, people ran around frantically looking for ANYTHING that might work… So basically it was the same scene we always see in that damn store. Just once I’d love to see a stack of bolts of fabric slam down on one contestant pinning them under their weight. The new challenge? Make enough garments out of all of that fabric as quickly as possible to free your trapped teammate. Part survivor/ part Project Runway, let’s green light it!

In the work room Tim checked in to dash some dreams once again, pointing out that team Shades of Grey’s work was disjointed and resembled clergy robes and Victorian details, not exactly sexy. Over at team Slick and Hip he saw their issues regarding lack of communication in their frenetic designs showing no cohesion. He was unimpressed to say the least, and so was I.

Michelle bitched some more about the challenge, which set me off…. HERE”S THE DEAL current and future contestants of Project Runway: You know the Menswear Challenge is coming up each season, so why do you not come prepared?! I am shocked that you all seem to be able to make a bias cut gown, but can’t construct a simple white men’s dress shirt to save your life! Yes, men’s and women’s bodies are built differently and need to be tailored as such, but if you can make a pair of pants with a saggy crotch and ass that makes a woman look like she’s wearing her boyfriend’s clothes, why can’t you make a pair of men’s trousers that fit an ACTUAL MAN?!!!!

On to the runway… (Oh God these poor male strippers.) Our guest judge this week was Emmy Rossum, star of the TV series Shameless. The same cannot be said for the rest of the people in the room this week, there was a lot of shame to be had. Let’s get to it!

After their messy, disjointed, and ridiculous collections walked the runway, Heidi said exactly what I was thinking: “Let’s just wrap the show and send you all home, have you all be out. But since we can’t, let’s discuss what you made.”

WinnerOur “winning” team, and I use the word winning loosely as everything across the board was so bad there was no official winner, was team Shades of Grey. When it’s the lesser of two evils and nothing good can really be said about any garment on the runway, I am so glad they didn’t reward a single person up there with a win. Daniel and Patricia’s look included an ugly white woven strip shirt that Heidi aptly described as a pot holder, black ill fitting pants, and a huge oversized black trench coat that made their client look like a kid playing in daddy’s closet. Stanley’s look was ok, but still had major fit issues, with a too tight blazer over a bluish dress shirt and pants with a super low crotch. Michelle’s work at least showed some measure of creativity with an asymmetrical grey plaid vest with zipper, grey pants that showed all of her client’s “assets” (He is apparently circumcised and dressed left by the way), and over-all was the best thing shown last night even if the vest was a tad bit short. While the tear aways on the clothing didn’t work during their strip routine, at least they showed a bit more ability in the sewing. I loved how Nina said during her critique, after ripping them a new A-hole: “I’m just not gonna speak anymore.”

LoserOur losing team, and it was painfully obvious, was team Slick and Hip. (How ironic was that name?) Richard made three ugly shirts that all resembled frumpy craft projects made by someone’s blind aunt, Samantha made a vest that was too small and a pair of OK pants (probably the best pair up there), Amanda made two pairs of really ill fitting pants that couldn’t even keep from tearing off when the guys just stood there, and Layana made the most ridiculous women’s jacket to go on her beefy guy, showing she has obviously never made a piece of menswear in her life. In the end, our bottom two were Amanda and Richard, with Amanda heading home this week. I really think Layana deserved to head home after her poor showing this week, but alas I don’t make the rules. In the end, Amanda deserved to go home purely based on her belief that “these guys can really dance!” In her team’s defense though, the clothes were ill fitting and messy, but at least they tore off smoothly and isn’t that what we really cared about anyhow?

Amanda, your exit this week was humble and well spoken, we wish you luck unlike many of your cohorts. You admitted realizing there was a lot you still needed to learn, but truthfully I always thought you had at least a small leg up on these guys. You said it best when you were discussing how the best moments on the show for you, were the ones where you did what you wanted and didn’t second guess it. I’d say go for broke more often and trust your instincts.

NEXT WEEK: The claws come out as they are faced with “Ready to wear,” which frankly none of their clothes were this week… What did you think guys? Worst season yet? Also, did you hear about John Malkovich’s new men’s beachwear capsule collection for 2013?

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