Yes, yes. I know.
All you "LEAVE KEITH ALONE" people and your
needs. Look, I tried. And I think I even somewhat
succeeded, as you'll see if you keep reading.
Because in the first episode I thought, OK, not an
unattractive man... and then, later, But I
hate his clothes.
And then came the
revelation of the Rat Tail. I defy anyone to tell me
that that moment didn't scorch us all inside. And
then came more clothes I didn't like. And I
moved from casual interest to gentle -- GENTLE --
chiding to a moment of actual disdain to indifference. But
now, see, the show is effing with me somehow because,
and I guess it's all in the editing, I feel
sorry for him. You can see that his nerves are frayed and
his confidence is shaken and that, given enough time, he
might be able to make a dress that's both
interestingly raggedy, the way he likes, and that also
fits his model better than a bath towel from Dollar Tree.
You can see that he's lost in a confusional
haze and can't decide whether to follow his
inner shredded-issue-of-Elle-in-a-puddle muse or to
tailor the balls off of something and shoehorn the
model into it. I get his somewhat dipshitty agony. I
But the show
doesn't. The show has decided that it hates Keith way
more than I'd ever consider mustering the
energy to spend equivalently, and now it's out
for blood. He gets not one flattering camera angle, no
shirtless moments, and every word out of his mouth is
petulant or enraged or whiny. And that is the beauty
of reality television. They can make even a reasonable
person seem like a tool and vice versa. Remember last
season when Rami was mean to Sweet Pea? I do. Because,
really, how dare he? Turns out that Rami wasn't
really much of a dick after all. Just bossy. And for
all we know Ricky only cried once and they just showed it
to you again and again, adding ugly hat effects with a
computer. They can do anything with computers. Did you
see Jumanji? None of those animals were real.
about editing: It twists time and space. Evidence: The
Elle-stablishing shot of the latest issue on
newsstands is back in Mary-Kate Town. What happened to
Jessica Alba? That lady just had twins or something,
give her a little camera time. Help us help her forget
she ever (allegedly) heard the expression "Mend It
Like Beckham." And then we learn that Kenley
thinks of departed Daniel as her "best
friend" from the show. The one she bad-mouthed and
laughed at openly on the runway. That best
friend. And who knows the truth? Only the parties
involved and the people who log all the footage.
Cut to Keith. On
interview-cam he talks about being overwhelmed and not
being happy about having been in the bottom two of the last
challenge and how he wants "to change the way
the way the world dresses." Rat tails for
Cut to the
runway. Heidi emerges in a tiny little black, blue, and
white striped dress. She's the hottest soccer
referee/minimum-wage Foot Locker employee in the world
right now, so you can add that to her list of
accomplishments. Then she brings out the winning and losing
designers' models who last week didn't
actually model anything but who're going to get
their heads sliced off right now anyway. In fact, two of
them are going home for all their not-modeling
efforts. And by home I mean those little
four-girls-on-two-bunk-beds-in-one-room apartments that
agencies set these ladies up in. I know all about this
now thanks to model pal Elyse, whose comments on this
very special episode full of model intrigue are coming
Then Heidi asks
them if they are ready for their next challenge. I always
love this moment because her eyes flash, all robot-revenge,
and you can tell she's like, "Hmm, 10
left. Then nine. And that won't be perfect
symmetry as I stand and look at them slumping in their
little folding chairs, and that will never do. So,
then eight. But then it's so good to watch them
crawl away in tears and shame, so it must become seven. But
now asymmetrical chairs again! One more must go!
SIX!" And on and on until vacation time. She
gives the designers an address and tells them to go to
the rooftop. "And that's all I'm gonna
say," she smirks, adding, with an undercurrent
of oh-yeah-and-fuck-off, "And time is ticking, so
Germans love for
stuff to be clocky and precise. I went to Munich once
and those trains really do run on perfect time. And they
have workers scrubbing every inch of the place round
the clock. You could eat off the subway floor.
But yeah, the
challenge. Blayne immediately jumps to conclusions and
thinks they're designing for a
"superstar" and that this will necessitate
something called "exclusive rooftop style." To
Blayne, this is "kinda scary." It just
makes me think of Spider-Man. It makes Korto think of
Mariah Carey. What if the challenge is to make a Spider-Man
costume for Mariah Carey? I heard Cher is going to be
Catwoman in the new Batman movie, and that makes less
sense than what I just posited, so even though I just
invented a challenge in my mind, it could still be true.
Anything in the world could be true. There could even
really be something called "exclusive rooftop
style." They go to a parking garage. Maybe they're
all going to design outfits inspired by the new
Saturn! Oh, shit, I was kidding, but THEY ACTUALLY
Tim Gunn meets
them on the roof. He's standing next to a wee little
Scottish gay in a flowered-up shirt. This guy has a job
title that is, literally, "lead color designer
for Saturn." I now imagine him in a room
inventing colors and then silly names for them based on
urban legends ("I call these two
'Oranjello'"), and he just does that
all day long in between three-hour-long,
shopping-intensive lunch breaks. I've just
decided that's what he does, and it makes my own job
-- which is to watch lots of TV -- seem like scrubbing
the Munich subway. Then he tells the designers they
have to use car parts to make their outfits.
Now, normally I
hate product-placement challenges. Last season's
Hershey lameness springs to mind. But I like this one.
I don't care if it's rubbing the
sponsor's name in my face for an hour. It makes me
think of my favorite car movie, Crash. The good
David Cronenberg one about people who have a
car-accident sex fetish, not the shitty one about how,
by the way, in case you didn't know, it's not
nice to be racist. In the good David Cronenberg one
there's also fashion going on. In the scene
where Holly Hunter defends her mourning attire (her
husband has recently died in a car accident and it has
secretly turned her on a little) she says,
"I'll wear a fucking kimono if I want
to." That's a good line. Netflix-queue
that one. You won't regret it.
Terri claims not
to own the necessary blowtorch required to complete this
challenge, but I think she's making that up. If
she's not making it up, then I'm going
to ignore that she said it, because I like to think of
Terri as being ready for anything. Down for whatever. Need a
car built? Yes, she has the blowtorches and the lug
wrenches and the wiper blades right there in her Mary
Poppins-ish purse. And she'll sing you every
Funkadelic song ever recorded while she builds it.
Tim Gunn says the
Scottish Saturn color designer and "his team"
have stocked the Saturns with raw materials. So that
guy has A TEAM TO DO ALL THE WORK FOR HIM. ALL THE
UN-WORK. Then Tim Gunn warns the designers that this
challenge is about innovation and that "frankly, for
that first challenge, many of you did not rise to the
occasion." Tell 'em, Tim Gunn.
Fuckin' no-rising bunch of losers. Except Terri. They
have four minutes to gather materials. This means
everyone grabs the little pinkish seat belts (Official
Saturn Team Color Name Decision: "Nipple") and
starts weaving them together. Joe claims that this
challenge is appropriate for him because he's
from "the Motor City." I get that. I'm
from Texas, so I'm friends with the Bush family
and I build oil wells with my bare hands and I can
stay on the bull for eight seconds and I have a bike in the
basement of the Alamo. Jerell is going to turn his headlight
into a brooch. He says this. He says it with that
bobbing head/neck thing the gays like to do when they
think they're being sassy and clever. Suede
uses the word "wackadoodle." Stella, upset at
the lack of bikers on the roof, is "not even
dealing with rushing around like a fool" and seems
pissed off. And you'd think it would be the opposite.
Having already made evening gowns out of alternators
for years, you'd think this would be a walk in
the junkyard for her. They carry off their carts full of
parts and Bravo throws an ad for the new Rachel Zoe
show across the bottom of the screen. No way am I
Back in the
workroom, everyone's in goggles and gloves, smashing
things on the floor and chopping up rearview mirrors.
Keith, on interview-cam, says his "biggest
thing is ... to please those f[bleep]ing judges"
and that he's "sick of presenting these
outfits that stand out so much and having them be so
critical on me." Then he says that his next garment
will be "more tailored" and "more
Right. The nerve
of those people. Those judges. That he announces
"toned down" like he's Christian
Dior and he's just invented the New Look and no
one understands his genius is...well...I know,
LEAVE KEITH ALONE.
"wackadoodle" again. They love catching him
going third person and using that word. I just love
that he's cutting his hands on the materials. I
also love Stella, who claims that she's not going to
make another pair of leather pants and instead has
decided that she wants "to really do
something... [and she pauses here because the word is
kind of difficult to form in her mouth]
pretty." So this, of all weeks, is when she
decides she wants to be Laura Ashley. Later she puts a part
of a seat on Blayne's head and tells him he
looks cute. She has a crush on Blayne, I think, and it
only intensifies as his tan continues to fade and he
looks more and more like a pale Caucasian Seattle resident
should. She's told him he's cute twice
now in as many weeks. When he's reached a
Ramones level of pallor she'll dump her actual
boyfriend, Ratbones. Not making up that name either.
More on him later.
Tim Gunn comes in
with the models for a fitting. Except for Kenley's.
Her model has bailed for an unspecified reason. Just
dropped out of the show. The consensus is that she got
a better-paying job. Kenley flips out. Now she has to
refit her garment to a new body. And because we finally have
some good modelcentric plot, I asked Elyse to discuss the
possible scenarios. Her reply:
kinds of things might supersede a model's professional
obligations. Hangovers, sudden invitations aboard Ivanka
Trump's yacht, cramps, spider bites, fights with her
agency, pure divatude. Of all these excuses for
missing or bailing out of jobs, a conflicting, better job is
the best. If the flaking model got another gig with good pay
or more prestige (neither of which Project
Runway offers), if she was lashed to a sinking
ship of a designer and destined for elimination
anyway, if her agency advised her to skip out on
Proj-Run, man, I can totally identify with her
So they fit the
models, Kenley whines about it, and then Tim Gunn comes
back to check in on them all. He's got nothing to say
to Blayne, but his face says pretty much all you need
to know. He calls Jerell's suede bustier thing
"beautifu,l" but I'm not so sure I see
it. And it turns out Korto is making a kimono.
Or a coat. Or something. Tim Gunn asks Stella what
she's doing. And the answer is that
she's having an identity crisis. He likes
Leanne's the most, and so far so do I.
It's now two weeks in a row she's gone for
this sort of
effect, and I kind of dig her more and more because of
Keith," says Tim Gunn. "Tell me what
you're doing." Answer: complaining.
Being a grump. Radiating fear. Talking about what an
envelope-pusher he is. And to top it off, the show gives us
interview-cam of other designers bad-mouthing him. So
it's Gang Up on the Guy Having a Freak-out Day.
And speaking of bad-mouthing, Terri starts goofing on
Korto's coat, calling it the Jeepers Creepers
scarecrow. Korto holds her own with what sounds like an
equally playful "Hating on youuuuu"
comeback. But Jerell decides to let his true feelings
about Terri be known: "Terri doesn't know how
to talk to people. She belittles people. She's
got two faces. Two of 'em. Count 'em. Two of
'em. She's got two faces and four
patterns. That's it. Don't trust the
bitch." And now I don't care if Jerell
actually turns into the next Christian Siriano:
He's dead to me.
Day over, they
all go back to Atlas and Stella calls her boyfriend on the
phone. His name is "Ratbones." Actually
it's William. But "Billy" only
sounds good if your last name is "Zoom" and
that one's already taken. So he's
"Ratbones" and she's his old lady. You
see a picture of him. He looks like you'd
think. All the accessories in place. I'm thinking he
used to play drums for G.G. Allin or Anti-Seen. Or Jackyl.
Sometimes it's hard to tell. Stella complains
about how hard it is to be on the show: "Honey,
remember Altamont? Yeah, well, this week has been 10 times
worse." OK, yes, that's not what you
hear. But again, I blame the editors for
cutting it out. Because you know she said it.
can't sit in that," says Keith to his model.
She's squozen into the skirt and can't
move. And this is a model. She weighs herself in ounces.
The shit is tight. And not "tight" meaning
awesome. "Tight" meaning "Why do
you have so many ribs in the way?" And it's an
ugly skirt. So she goes off to get
TreSemme'd and L'Oreal
Paris'd and she sits down and splits the it
wide open. "I've given a small task to a model
and I would hope that she could follow
direction," Keith says. I feel actual anxiety for
him now. He has 10 minutes to get it together. And he fixes
it. Sorta. But it's still boring and ugly and
weirdly frumpy-looking. Wrong in almost every way.
"Watch the breathing," he says, followed
quickly by an "and do NOT sit down, OK?"
So yeah, model, don't sit down while you're
walking on the runway, and if you could turn off those pesky
lungs for about 45 seconds, that would be great. OK?
Heidi comes out
onto the runway in a dress that was constructed out of
the recently molted top layer of a purple boa constrictor.
And her hair is textbook "just fucked."
I expect Seal to peek his head around a corner and
share a knowing look with his wife at any moment. And I just
Googled it to see what would come up and there are
LOTS of hair-cutteries in far-flung locations around
America called JF Hair. Well-played, salon
judge mix-up this week. Kors is here, but Nina is missing,
replaced with season 3 finalist and the all-time favorite of
the husband/partner/whatever, Laura Bennett. You know
she's not going to give any of them an inch,
either. Strict mommy all the way. So that's a good
substitute call, right there. And then...
grossest celebrity stylist of all time. The woman who turns
every client into a strung-out stick figure in slut clothes
and orange tan. Blayne probably thinks she's
"fabulicious" or something.
And now the
1. Jerell -- Eff
Jerell. He bad-mouthed Terri; I don't care what he
does anymore. And I'm not telling you about it
either. It's my recap. I do what I want.
2. Keith -- The
skirt he's made is so tight and badly sewn that it
makes the tank top pooch out and seem like
there's flab spilling out over the
model's wide belt. Only Stella's disaster will
save him from ultimate doom. Elyse needs to weigh in
here: "The case of the
sitting-down-in-the-dress girl is murkier [than the Kenley
situation]. The perceived inhumanity to a model is
directly proportional to how ugly the designer has
made her look. Glorify us, and we'll cooperate.
Humiliate us, we turn treacherous. I have willingly walked
barefoot through stickers and weird industrial
scrabble (possibly radioactive!) to avoid sullying the
patent leather sheen of a pristine pair of YSL
stilettos. I have also snarlingly refused to even expose my
midriff to certain bumbling, uncool photographers when
slathered in hideous clown makeup and wearing a
disgusting, ill-fitting polyester suit. If a model
doesn't feel good, it's hard for her to act right. If some
Mormon jerk just spent three hours sewing some
wack-ass car parts all over her body and freaking out
in her face, she might take a look at that makeup chair
and feel a lit-tle less inclined to remain standing."
[Note to sensitive readers: Send all pro-Keith hate
mail to Elyse and not me, dig?] 3. Terri -- She's the biker this week.
Jeans, webbed tank top. Basic but hard and slutty. And
again, her model sells the sex of Terri's work so
well that it's almost porn. Honestly, I think I like
the "YOKO ONO" T-shirt Terri herself is
wearing more than the clothes on the runway, but
still, it's good.
4. Kenley -- A
vest made of patent leather and a skirt made of air
filters. And speaking of not sitting down in the garment,
Kenley is just as guilty as Keith this week and
has the nerve to call it "wearable." But
it looks really clean and tailored, so she's
going to get away with it.
5. Leanne -- Tiny
dress made of seat covers that point out horizontally
and exaggerate the hips and then flare out on the sides and
in the back, with a super tits-up strapless upper end
and fringed seat belts trimming the top. The only
thing that would make it better is some motorcycle
rearview mirrors coming off the boobs. Of course, then it
would be the Thierry Mugler dress from the "Too
Funky" video. But whatever.
6. Suede -- Made
the dress Keith was supposed to have come up with. A top
of floor mats and a skirt made from strips of metallic sun
7. Korto --
Awesome mod coat of woven seat belts. Extreme kimono
silhouette. Really groovy.
8. Blayne --
Floor-length gown of draped seat belts. Upper piece adorned
with broken mirror bits. And pouchy, lopsided boob area that
looked fine on the form but doesn't fit the
9. Joe -- Black
and red motocross cocktail dress. (Those are his words,
and they're not wrong, but they're not as
wacky a motocross experience I once had while watching
this kids' movie, I forget the title, that
starred Phyllis Diller, Gary Busey, Evan Marriott, Lorenzo
Lamas, Dan Haggerty, a monkey, and some children who
raced bikes -- and zero amounts of that is made-up
information.) The dress is a little Olympics
challenge-y but it's acceptable and he has immunity
for this week, so it's not like any of it
10. Stella -- At
a loss for ideas, she copied Keith. Only when her model
sat down in it and it split the whole thing right down the
front she said "Fuggit" and
didn't bother to repair the damage. So
it's...worse? Better? A coin toss.
Terri, Suede, Joe, Kenley
1. Jerell --
Rachel Zoe thinks it's "amazing." Kors
likes it. Heidi calls it "exciting."
2. Korto -- Laura
loves the volume. Kors calls it "elegant."
Rachel Zoe says, "I would walk out the door in
that. It's so chic I cannot believe
that's from car parts." Later she'll
ask Korto to make it for her in a size 000. Or -2 if
she didn't drink water that day.
3. Leanne -- Kors
can't get enough. Rachel Zoe: "I. Am. Blown
1. Blayne --
Laura is distracted by the fit. Kors hates the
"car-wash" effect. Rachel Zoe wants more
skin. Heidi says, "You know that's no sex
for seven years [when] you break the mirror." So
yeah, that hair wasn't from TreSemme.
2. Stella -- Kors
tells her that her skirt is her "trying to be
ladylike." Poor Stella. Call Ratbones again and get
him to beat up that orange guy. If he loves you
he'll do it.
3. Keith --
Rachel Zoe asks the model to turn around, and when the model
does so, you see the disaster zone in close-up. "This
is where it got confusing for me," says Zoe.
"I can't tell, where there's a hole
there, if it doesn't fit her [or] if
it's not closed." Then Laura tells him
there's no concept, and Keith says, almost under his
breath, hand over mouth, "You should see my
other stuff." Then Laura, in full
country-club-with-the-Upsons haughtiness, says,
"Excuse me?" and Keith melts down and
begins to tell them what an "edgy designer" he
is. (Heidi reaction shot: Head cocked to the side, sad
but caring look on face, thought bubble above the JF
hair: Nein mein Kind. Ganz bestimmt nicht.
That's actual German, by the way. Thanks, Thilo
Wolfgang Hubner, you're worth your weight in
sausage, pretzels, and beer.) And then the poor lost
gay complains about being criticized and feeling
insulted at the last challenge. And Kors says, "Guess
what? You're going out there in the public, OK?
You're throwing yourself into a situation where
people are going to comment. You might not love the
comment. You let it roll off your back and you get back to
the next project." You know you've been
served when Michael Kors is the one telling you to man
up. And then during the judge conversation, Rachel Zoe
says, "I don't think that was flattering from
the front, the side, or the back." And what I
hate most of all is that I agree with Rachel Zoe.
It's like when you watch The McLaughlin
Group and Pat Buchanan says something that makes
Blayne, Korto, Stella
Korto is non-amused.
Out: Keith. And
then he breaks down and weeps on interview-cam. But you
know it's not about just the loss. He feels like he
has to go back to Salt Lake City and stay trapped
there, so he's crying for his whole landlocked
life. But it ain't like that. Look at very cool
designer Jared Gold. He's visionary and
successful and he's based in Salt Lake City. You
can do whatever you want wherever you want. A fact. And
besides, you got a dress on Lipstick Jungle. So
cheer up. And also? STOP MAKING ME FEEL SORRY FOR YOU.
Distanced, recreational hate is way more fun than