Project Runway Post-Show Chat, Week 9

Slate's Culture Blog
March 19 2010 12:28 AM

Project Runway Post-Show Chat, Week 9

After each episode of Project Runway 's seventh season, a gaggle of Slatesters gather to dish about the show. This week, the designers worked in pairs to create a look inspired by a New York City neighborhood. Emilio Sosa and Seth Aaron Henderson were the winners; Amy Sarabi was sent home.

Hanna Rosin: Theme for today's show: How hard do we have to push on the "Mila is awful" theme before the viewers actually start to feel sorry for her? Suddenly, we were all transported to fourth-grade kickball, where our deepest anxieties are realized when no one wants us on their team— and they are all talking to each other about it. And then they let Mila describe her aesthetic as punk rock and made her model do the embarrassing "I'm at an Ozzy Osbourne show" hand gesture. And, sorry, that jacket may have been nice and well-cut and all, but it was not punk rock. My mom would comfortably wear it.

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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June Thomas: It wasn't punk rock, but I have to say, I liked it. It did use her usual black-and-white lines, but instead of my usual response—"Oh, Mila, more color blocking?"—I just thought, "What a cool-looking jacket."

David Plotz: Even I wouldn't have saved Amy tonight. But she's still a gloriously decent person and a better designer than some of the remaining contestants. Because her work is so time-heavy, she always falls behind. 

HR: "Time heavy"? "She falls behind"? I'll tell your writers to use that as an excuse next time they miss their deadlines. She made a belted pumpkin dress —good to go with those clown pants , maybe. The judges had it right: She gets lost in her method and fails to envision the final result.

JT: Ooh, you're right, Hanna, they'd make a great ensemble! Perfect for the Crazy Town Carnival. It always speaks well of an auf 'd designer when several of the survivors are reaching for the tissues when she departs. Heck, even Tim seemed positively bereft to see her go.

I could see the elimination coming when Amy laid out her pleats. It was a neat idea, reflecting the blocky architecture of the Upper East Side, but it was the clown pants fish scales all over again. Still, I'll miss her.

HR: This was a night for fabulous slivers. My two favorite details were those whiskers on Seth Aaron's jacket and then those red slits on Maya's skirt . Very classy. And I would wear Maya's jacket. That was lovely: the belt, the sleeves.

DP: Did you notice my favorite moment of the night? It came when Tim was instructing the contestants to use the Bluefly.com wall. He said, in a tone that seemed half-bored, half-aggrieved, "You know the drill on the Bluefly wall." At that moment, I felt how strongly Tim stands in for the audience. He is just as sick of the egregious, intrusive product shilling as we are! I wanted to take Collier Strong's fashionably bald head and rub it with sandpaper—and then tickle him to death with L'Oreal Paris mascara brushes. 

HR: But David, it's not just L'Oreal Paris. It's Studio Secret. And without it, how will I get professional results at home?

DP: If it's such a secret, should they really be talking about it on national television? Now everyone will know about it! 

I am still convinced that Emilio is a smug fraud. The great work on those winning designs belonged to Seth Aaron. Emilio made a very long and boring gown and handed Seth Aaron's model a yellow purse. 

HR: I go back and forth on Emilio. I think he's no good under pressure and threat of failure—he turns into a smug jerk. But he may be basically OK. And that dress had some things going for it—the zipper, the lining. It did not move quite as nicely as it should have, and it seemed to have a little too much material around the hips, but it was interesting. I have to say, though, it's getting harder and harder to judge in detail, because, as June pointed out last week , they barely show the clothes anymore. I wonder why that is.

JT: Tonight I was struck by Seth Aaron's dynamism. There was a certain usefulness in Emilio being there to apply the brakes to the creative freight train, but, yikes, he whipped up an amazingly well-fitting denim suit in the time it would've taken me to sharpen my pencil. As the judges pointed out, there was too much going on in the suit, but individually, all those little touches were genius. And it was the touches—the golden thread, the zippers—that brought the two outfits together so well. That's what won it for them tonight.

HR: Yes, fussy was out, speed was in. What we learned about Seth Aaron tonight is that he's fast and impatient as a designer, which turned out to be good.

DP: You know who deserves serious props? Jay and Mila. They hate each other. They have radically different design sensibilities. But they worked together like adults, without the drama Emilio wished on them. All of us, at some point in our lives, have to work with people we can't stand. We should all behave so responsibly. They, much more than Emilio and Seth Aaron, deserve the cooperation prize. 

JT: It was only when Anthony pointed it out that I realized how little Maya speaks. I wasn't crazy about the red panels in her skirt, but the top was lovely. I also loved Anthony's paper-lantern effect . It was evocative and astonishingly subtle for him. I think that they might have won if there had been any cohesion between the two looks.

DP: I loved the origami dragon, too. But Anthony has already won for doing a cool, three-dimensional shoulder detail . I don't think they could have given him a second victory for the same trick. 

JT: True, but it's not the first time Seth Aaron has made a tight suit with a bunch of details—though he didn't win for it before, which may be the difference.

HR: I must admit, I am utterly baffled by the idea of three-dimensional origami draped randomly over a black dress. I would never wear such a thing. It seems so art project to me.

As current and former New Yorkers, what did we think of the neighborhood stereotypes: glazed duck and dragons for Chinatown, posh bitch for upper East Side, weirdo in top hat for downtown, and then fried chicken and kooky old lady for Harlem. Were those acceptable? Why didn't they go to Brooklyn, damn it!

JT: Eh, the stereotypes are useful for when they sell the show to Mongolian state television. I was relieved and impressed that the designers didn't really use them in their designs, for the most part at least. I'm glad they didn't come to Park Slope, my Brooklyn neighborhood. The mind boggles to think how Amy would've incorporated a stroller into her look.

HR: A Bugaboo? No problem. They come in orange, and the hood billows out.

JT: You know what I loved best? Seth Aaron's oversized tartan tam o'shanter-meets-African-headwrap hat. Now that I'd wear.

HR: Would you wear it with only one chandelier earring, June?

JT: Yes, but only because I still can't find the one I lost in Amy's wig bag last week.

Previous chats: Weeks 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8

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