Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This
By Leila Cohan

Drama! Drama! Morning at Atlas. As everyone gets ready, Jeffrey is sad, because Alison, who apparently was his best friend is out. I’m sad, because Alison was purdy. Of being the first winner of two challenges this season, Michael says “I grinned myself a headache.” My love for Michael, it knows no bounds.

At Parsons, Heidi shows up, cleavage a-bared. She tells them that their challenge will involve designing for the “everyday woman” and brings out their models. To the surprise of all, it’s their mommies! Or in the case of Robert and Vincent, their sisters. Everyone is very excited.

Heidi reveals that the designers cannot pick their own loved one to design for. Consternation abounds. Michael chooses Robert’s sister. Laura chooses Jeffrey’s mother. Vincent picks Uli’s mom. Angela chooses Laura’s mother. Kayne chooses Michael’s mom. Uli picks Kayne’s mom and Robert chooses Vincent’s sister, leaving Jeffrey with Angela’s mother. Ruh-roh! Jeffrey thinks “God got drunk this morning.” And with awesome results!

In the workroom, the designers meet up with their mommies and sisters. It’s very sweet. Michael says he’s a mama’s boy. I’m a mama’s girl, so I identify. Tim Gunn appears in the workroom and invites the designers to a special party being thrown by the guest judge.

The designers and their mommies and sisters arrive at Tavern on the Green where they are greeted by Michael Kors and his mother, Joan. For real, they are twins.


Champagne flows! The designers mingle. And then the childhood pictures start coming out. Kayne was a chubster!

Also, I have to say, I am not feeling his Bobby Trendy necklace.

Michael was exactly as cute as you’d imagine.

Jeffrey was…well, not Jeffrey. His mom reveals that Jeffrey is a recovering alcoholic and she’s very proud of him.

And then, then something awesome happens. Michael Kors and his mom are sitting with Laura and her mom, shooting the shit. Michael tells his mom that Laura has five kids. Laura very nonchalantly announces that she’s working on six. Her mom definitely did not know this. Laura says that she just found out that she’s pregnant and hasn’t even told her husband yet. Damn.

The designers, loved ones, and Tim head back to the workroom. The designers and loved ones caucus. They will have one day to complete the look. The meetings seem to be going fairly well, but a few of the designers (most notably Robert and Jeffrey) seem concerned about designing for the plus-size woman. Kayne, on the other hand, is inspired. He interviews that he used to weigh 310, and could never find anything cute. He thinks Michael’s mom, Pamela, isn’t a size two, but is gorgeous (which she is) and should look great.

Jeffrey and his model, Angela’s mom, Darlene are having some issues. They can’t agree on fabric choice or cut. The dynamic between the two of them is like so: Jeffrey’s being an asshole, but Darlene’s being passive-aggressive. Jeffrey’s cold and clearly thinks this is beneath him, but Darlene is all “I feel like I want to cry.” My mom wouldn’t take that shit. Man up, Darlene.

At Mood, the designers seem to be making pretty predictable choices. Uli is getting some crazy prints, and Robert is grabbing dull black and red.

The designers start working. Work, designers, work! Jeffrey and Robert commiserate over the difficulty of designing for larger women. In interviews, both Laura and Vincent criticize this approach, which is valid, but both of their models (Jeffrey’s mom and Uli’s mom, respectively) are model-sized, so their credibility is a little bit undermined. Michael is making a reversible dress. Ambitious!

With about half of the day to go, Tim sends in the models. Most seem to be getting along swimmingly. There are, of course, exceptions. Laura’s mom thinks Angela is putting in too much color. And then there’s Darlene and Jeffrey. Jeffrey seems to have stepped away from the table and Darlene takes the opportunity to tell Tim that she hates the garment. Once again, passive-aggressive. I’m sorry, but you can totally tell where Angela came from.

And then Tim leaves and the shit hits the fan. Jeffrey and Darlene start bickering. Once again, it’s the same dynamic. Darlene is whiny and Jeffrey is mean. Darlene’s clearly in the right, but she makes it kind of hard to be on her side. At the sewing machine, Jeffrey calls Darlene a crazy bitch, and I’m sorry, but you can’t say that about someone’s mom. You just can’t.

Meanwhile, Angela steps in to comfort her whiny-ass mom. God. Then! Jeffrey’s mom steps in and tries to smooth things over with Darlene. Drama! Drama with the mommas! Oh man. Now Jeffrey’s mother is crying. Look what you did, Jeff. You asshat.

In the sewing room, Jeffrey and Angela snipe at each other, predictably. It’s not that interesting. Elsewhere, everyone is feeling strapped for time.

Back in the apartments, the designers drink wine, except for pregnant Laura. Laura, on her pregnancy: “Five, six, seven, it doesn’t make a big difference. I’ll just throw it on the pile with the other ones.” Guys, how many nannies do you think Laura has? I’m betting at least two.

On the morning of the runway show, Michael is excited to see his mom strut.

The designers fit their models. Most of the moms and sisters seem fairly happy. And then there’s Darlene. Angela goes into the changing area with her and takes the time to instigate and basically tell her mom to talk shit about Jeffrey on the runway. I don’t think that will be necessary, since Jeffrey has made the ugliest dress in the world, but more on that later. The moms all look super-happy in hair and makeup, and Kayne’s mom gets my favorite line of the episode: “I’m gonna walk the catwalk like the models do, and I’m gonna embarrass Kayne.” Awesome.

On the runway, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are joined, of course, by Joan “Michael in a dress” Kors. This challenge’s winner will not have immunity for next week.

Laura’s look for Jeffrey’s mom starts us off, and not on a good note. It’s very basic, but the skirt is way too high and makes her look stumpy. Also, the scarf takes it to a very stewardess kind of place.

Uli’s design for Kayne’s mom is a world better. It’s chic, but still incredibly flattering on a larger lady. Kayne’s mom works it, too.

Next up, Vincent’s outfit for Uli’s mom. I have to say, I don’t really get it. It’s not awful, but the color scheme is fug and I don’t like the asymmetry of the noticeable lapels in the front and nothing in the back.

Oof. Kayne’s look for Michael’s mother did not turn out as I had hoped. I actually don’t entirely hate the underpart of the shirt and the pants are fine, if too basic, but the fake poncho looks completely arbitrary and the whole thing is not very flattering.

Oh God. So, when I first saw Angela’s design for Laura’s mom, I thought it was fine. And then I saw the fringe. Why? Why? WHY TWO UNFLATTERING HEMLINES AND WHY OVER PANTS?

So, in sixth grade, I had this teacher, Ms. Cohen. Ms. Cohen was a woman of a certain age who still lived with her mother and derived most of her worldly joy from shopping for discount school supplies. On the first day of school, when faced with some frightened eleven year olds, all of whom had heard horror stories about her from older siblings, she simply said “I’m Ms. Cohen. Everything you’ve heard about me is true.” If you did your homework in pencil, she ripped it up in front of you. In Robert’s design, Vincent’s sister looks just like Ms. Cohen.

Michael’s design for Robert’s sister is perfect, of course.

Finally, there’s Jeffrey’s dress of discontent. I’m sorry. It’s just awful. Darlene looks like a fat French judge.

The judges are going to question everyone, in two groups. First, Michael, Kayne, Vincent, Uli, and Robert. The judges love Michael, Uli, and Vincent (what?) and are not wild about Kayne or Robert.

When Jeffrey, Angela, and Laura come out, the judges are not wild about any of them. Neither am I. They particularly dislike Jeffrey’s.

After deliberation, the designers return to the runway. Michael is in. Laura is in. Vincent is the winner? WHAT? Bullshit.

Uli was robbed, yo. Uli is, of course, in. To her credit, Uli looks happy that her mom was part of the winning outfit. Kayne is in. Angela is in, leaving Jeffrey and Robert as the bottom two. Robert was dull as dirt, but Jeffrey ignored the needs of his client and made an ugly outfit. Robert is out, proving the cardinal rule of Project Runway. Better to be editorial and ugly than dull and mediocre.

Robert is sad, as are the designers, including, to his limited credit, Jeffrey.

Next week, jet-setters! I’m thinking flight attendants.



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