Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's a marshmallow world ... for everyone but Elisa

About halfway through this week's episode of Project Runway, Bravo was kind enough to inform us that Thursday's edition was sponsored by Hershey's.

No kidding.

Shameless product placement was all over the place as the designers descended into real-life Candyland to create looks inspired by KitKats, Twizzlers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

This challenge reminded me a lot of the Season 3 recycling challenge and Season 2's flower challenge. All required the designers to use materials not meant to be bent, weaved and sewn into clothing. And all three challenges had the same potential pitfall -- striking the balance between "too safe" and "a float in a parade" (as Tim Gunn would say.)

The watchword for the judges this time seemed to be "joyous." Which was too bad for Elisa who admitted to going for just the opposite with her "macabre Gretel" outfit. There isn't much to say about her dress -- it was brown and the trim wasn't dynamic at all. The most objectionable part of the look were the weird silver detached sleeves. Christian compared them to a child's water wings and he was right.

I knew Elisa wasn't destined for the final four, but I'll miss her oddness. I thought her downfall would running out of time because she doesn't use a sewing machine and I'm sad we didn't get to learn more about her technique (spitting, hand-sewing, etc.)

We also found out what Christian the speed-sewer does with his free time -- walks around and annoys the other designers. Christian has actually grown on me since the first episode and I got the impression that the other contestants like him enough brush off his unwanted critiques -- at least for now.

Christian made his dress from the inner wrappers of Reese's cups. It was nice, but all I could think of was Michael Knight's coffee filter dress from Season 3. The difference is the coffee filters created a nice draping effect. The Reese's cups wrappers make the model look like she's covered in Play-Doh:

As the only designer to use actual candy, Jillian had the hardest row to hoe this week. I'm not sure how she affixed Twizzlers to her skirt and corset top, but they kept falling off (even during the judging, although not during the actual runway show.) The dress was super-cute and apparently smelled really good too.

You can see the missing Twizzlers in this photo. All of this week's looks are apparently being auctioned for charity. I feel kind of bad for whomever gets Jillian's outfit, unless the dress is sprayed with some major shellac.

Jillian is also growing on me. I had her pegged the first week as a snob, but she's just really intense and a perfectionist. Plus, her wardrobe is fantastic.

Rami won the challenge and I wasn't surprised. His dress was made from several different wrappers and candy-related swag. The level of detail and intricacy to the design was really amazing. I don't think Rami has made a misstep yet, so this challenge and the award of immunity next week puts him at the front of the pack.

I know the top of the dress was made from Twizzler swag, but I still can't figure out the origins of the skirt:

Chris got back on his feet this week after two mediocre weeks (one of which resulted in his demise, if not for Jack's illness.) I didn't notice the op-art effect of the two logos on his mini-dress until the judges pointed it out, but it was really neat. A costume designer, Chris also defied expectations of being the contestant who would go too over the top.

Chris' dress actually reminded me a lot of the offbeat yet sophisticated get-ups Serena van der Woodsen wears on Gossip Girl. Add some tights and a random hat and this model could move to the Upper East Side. XOXO:

Sweet P and Victorya joined Elisa in the Bottom 3. I felt bad for Sweet P. Her scuttled first attempt at a dress didn't look that bad to me. I'm not sure why she didn't simply try to tweak it a little (I hope it wasn't due to Christian's critique.) The second dress was very plain. I cracked up when Tim compared the skirt (made of the material used as the "tails" to Hershey's kisses) to a maxi-pad.

I think Tim meant that the skirt was similar to the cheap, paper labels packaged with maxi-pads. More than Jillian's dress (which was made of candy!) this outfit looks two minutes away from falling apart:

Meanwhile, Victorya's ruffled nightmare of a dress was extremely unflattering to her model. As her model is a toothpick, I take that to mean the look would be unflattering to anyone. The dress achieved the impossible feat of being busy and bland at the same time. Vic made the dress out of York Peppermint Patty pillows but she opted to use the white backing rather than the silver logo, thus robbing herself of the fun plays on patterns everyone else used to their advantage. Her incomprehensible story about the model as an ice princess didn't help. The model should have vetoed the accompanying weird robot Barbie walk.

I was so happy that the judges finally called out Victorya for being mediocre. I'm just not that impressed with her as a designer. I think her minimalist aesthetic -- or the tendency not to create a float in a parade -- was making it easier for the judges to ignore her faults.

The model wisely dropped the act for this photo:

Next week: The contestants design for some demanding clients. Thanks to my cable program guide, I know who they are and let me tell you, it's going to be good.

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