Before Poodle Bitch gets started with this week’s episode, she feels compelled to mention three Project Runway-related stories that caught her eye this week. First on her list is the announcement that there will be a Project Runway video game on Nintendo Wii. Not having opposable thumbs, Poodle Bitch derives little pleasure from the playing of video games, so she does not. But she knows that there are some games that come equipped with prop machines, such as the ever-popular “Rock Band,” so perhaps the new Project Runway game will come equipped with a button-filled “sewing machine” attachment. She cannot see how a video game would be of interest otherwise, as much as she enjoys the show.
She is not old enough to remember “Fashion Plates,” the toys from the 1980s that allowed users to “design” outfits by placing tiles in a random order, and then placing a paper over said tiles, then rubbing them with a piece of- actually, Poodle Bitch does not know what it was that one rubbed over the tiles. But she wonders why it is that some enterprising company doesn’t bring out a Project Runway Fashion Plates edition. She imagines that there would be much more interest in that than a video game. The PR audience most likely remembers Fashion Plates; how many of them play video games?
The second story had to do with former Project Runway guest judge Lindsay Lohan, who made her debut as an artistic advisor for Emanuel Ungaro, with predictable results.
Poodle Bitch has to admit that the entire show, which can be seen here, is not the complete train-wreck that she thought it would be; the designs presented there were like middling Project Runway creations-- the types of garments that might land a contestant in the bottom three during the first few episodes, but not get her eliminated. Poodle Bitch doubts that is what the Ungaro collection aspired to.
One of the Ungaro designs on which Lindsay Lohan "advised." Poodle Bitch is not surprised.
The third story is the most sinister, and it has caused Poodle Bitch to wonder if she would ever again watch Project Runway. Recently, fugitive Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on an outstanding warrant issued when he left America just before he was to be sentenced for his guilty plea, in a case in which he admitted to having physical relations with someone not very much older (chronologically) than Poodle Bitch is now. After his arrest, Project Runway producer Harvey Weinstein began circulating a petition for Mr. Polanski’s release.
Poodle Bitch believes Mr. Polanski should be in jail. Mr. Polanski is an admitted attacker of human children, and should be punished. But she understands there are some who believe that somehow Mr. Polanski was victimized by an unjust court system, and an overzealous prosecutor and judge. Fine. Poodle Bitch can agree to disagree on that; she is not a lawyer.
However, rather than leave the matter at that, Mr. Weinstein then went on to say-- when challenged by others who do know something about the American legal system-- that people in Hollywood, such as himself, have a unique insight into the unfairness or fairness of Mr. Polanski’s situation, because they have “the best moral compass:”
"Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion," Weinstein said. "We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe."
Poodle Bitch has spent some time in Hollywood, and has known many people in and around the entertainment industry. She can tell you that, based on the way they treat their assistants, makeup and hair people, boom operators, marketing people, craft services, and etc, their “compassion” does not always extend to those with whom they directly come into contact. In fact, they are capable of a great deal of cruelty toward those they consider "underlings". Moreover, Poodle Bitch knows plenty of people outside of entertainment who gave a great deal of their time and money for victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. And for them, their compassion required more than just the rearrangement of the schedule so that they could sit for hair and makeup, and appear on a television program exhibiting just how "compassionate" they were.
To Poodle Bitch, Mr. Weinstein’s comment about Hollywood’s “moral compass” had the feel someone who has admitted he might have made a mistake in his initial assessment of a situation, yet is too proud to back away from it, and insists on doubling down rather than admit he might be wrong. She has never met Mr. Weinstein, so she of course has no way of knowing exactly in which direction his “moral compass” points, but she does know that attacking a small child has earned for those less famous life-damaging punishment.
She wonders, where is Mr. Weinstein’s compassion for those people- especially in light of revelations in Mr. Polanski’s own autobiography that he engaged in at the very least "questionable” behavior with very young women- some might even say girls- on other occasions.
Poodle Bitch decided that, despite her misgivings over Mr. Weinstein’s participation, she would watch, for the sake of the poodle companion Irina. She cannot resist- she must see how Irina does with the competition. Early in the episode, she interviews that she understands that there are some who are worried about her, as she has already won two challenges, while many of them have won nothing.
Yes, the other contestants should be worried by the talent and taste of the poodle companion Irina, who has shown with each week that she is one of the top designers.
And Logan interviews that “Irina seems to have this more sophisticated taste that’s been appealing to the judges.” To which Poodle Bitch would reply, in a word that even Logan can understand, “Duh.” She would also add that poodle companions are known for their sophisticated taste. Otherwise, why would a poodle associate with them?
For this week’s challenge, the designers had to create new garments out of divorcee’s wedding dresses. They had their pick from among nine women who had been divorced or in the process of getting divorced for a period of months or several years (more than ten, in a couple of cases). Irina, having won the last challenge- and rightly so- had first pick, and chose the woman whose dress had the most lace.
Shirin, who chose last, had no real choice at all, and was stuck with a simple white 100% polyester dress that yielded very little material for her to work with. Moreover, her “client” wanted something like a Cher “Half-Breed” costume. Shirin, who is Poodle Bitch’s second choice, has better taste than that.
Shirin's "client" wanted something like this. WANTED something like this. Happily, Shirin has taste.
That said, Shrin spent so much of the episode crying, whining, and complaining about it that Poodle Bitch was sure she would either win or be sent home. “It’s hard to show design when you don’t have any fabric.”
Then Gordana, who last week had the benefit of working with Irina on the team challenge, spent a good deal of time crying and recalling her own divorce, and wiped away tears with dye-stained hands as she left a phone message for her children.
Christopher’s design “worries” Mr. Gunn. Christopher attempts to reassure him, but Mr. Gunn remains skeptical.
Mr. Gunn, having fine taste, loves what Irina is doing. “How did you get this gorgeous color?” he asks her. “I think what you’re doing is very exciting. Keep going.”
He is no fool, and Poodle Bitch heartily agrees with his assessment.
Nicolas showed contempt for his "client's" taste, and it showed in this reckless monstrosity of ugly pants topped by a doily.
Mr. Gunn wonders about Epperson’s design. The core of the garment has to be the wedding dress. Ominously, he adds, “You have a lot of decisions to make.” And Epperson’s decision is to totally scrap what he’s been doing and create an entirely new garment. Perhaps, he wonders, he misunderstood the challenge.
Logan says that his “look” is “sort of a play on a tuxedo feel,” with a mumbly voice and little conviction. “This worries me,” Mr. Gunn says, as ominously as he’d said to Epperson. For some reason, Logan is making pants out of wool, or something- something that is not material from the wedding dress, which had a surprisingly long train.
Poodle Bitch wonders what a designer of real skill and talent, such as the put-upon Shirin, might have done with it.
Logan designs ugly clothes, then constructs them poorly. He is a double threat.
Gordana’s work gets a “beautiful” out of Mr. Gunn, and Poodle Bitch has to agree with him. “I want you to keep saying to yourself ‘I’m going to win, I’m going to win,’” he tells her. Poodle Bitch would not go that far, not with Irina in the room, but she appreciates that Mr. Gunn is attempting to inspire Gordana.
But Gordana got to work with Irina last week- shouldn’t that be inspiration enough?
Mr. Gunn offers Shirin a shoulder on which to cry. As she explains what her divorcee wants, the other designers laugh at her. “What?” Mr. Gunn asks, incredulous at the thought of someone wanting to look like Cher’s “Half-Breed” in 2009. “She’s not at risk of going home,” Mr. Gunn tells her. He adds that she should remove the textiles she’s placed on the mannequin and “just play, like it’s a big giant paper doll.”
Or, a Fashion Plate?
Althea's silly blue dress was not the worst this week. Poodle Bitch believes it was a bad week.
Mr. Gunn is not shown speaking to the talentless Althea, the annoying and casually cruel Nicolas (who says that he hates his garment, then tells his “client” that is is “so you”), or the woodland sprite Carol Hannah (who says that she makes her living creating wedding dresses, and so tearing them up to create something else is akin to running into a church and shouting an obsenity). Poodle Bitch does not feel she’s missing much.
Carol Hannah eschewed Woodland Sprite for Flapper Knockoff. Far from Poodle Bitch's least favorite, yet equally far from Poodle Bitch's most favorite.
Michael Kors is still back, but Nina Garcia is nowhere to be found. In her place is a Marie Claire editor, Zanna Roberts, and the president of Jimmy Choo and a board member of Halston, Tamara Mellon. This is off-topic, but upon hearing that Ms. Mellon was a board member of Halston, Poodle Bitch was unable to get the Billy Joel song “Big Shot” out of her head.
There are worse songs to get stuck in one’s head, she supposes. Cher’s “Halfbreed,” for instance.
Given the trauma induced by the lack of material-- and said material being 100% polyester and therefore, according to Shirin undye-able, Poodle Bitch believes that Shirin at least deserved second place after Irina.
Irina’s garment is first down the runway, and that is fitting, because it is Poodle Bitch’s favorite. Next is Shirin, which is again appropriate, since it would have been Poodle Bitch’s second choice. Then comes Logan’s matronly top and wool pants. Poodle Bitch does not wish to be cruel, but these garments have the look of something designed and executed by an incompetent dullard- which is what they are. She feels bad for the “client.” Next is Carol Hannah’s flapper update- Poodle Bitch feels she is flashing back to Gordana’s dress of two weeks ago, updated just slightly enough to keep Carol Hannah out of the bottom three. Althea’s design is a silly light blue dress with dark blue bosoms. She claims that “seeing my dress come down the runway made me feel good,” which should get her disqualified on the spot. At least it is not “stripper chic” such as she sent down the runway last week. Nicolas shows enough self-awareness to claim that his granola-inspired pants and doily shrug top was “a hideous thing,” and Poodle Bitch finds herself liking him in spite of herself. Next is Gordana’s dress, and Poodle Bitch very much likes this one, too. It is both well-made and edgy. Then, Christopher sends down his “client” in a trashbag cinched at the waist. It makes Poodle Bitch feel terrible to look at. Finally, Epperson sends down his voluminous pirate dress.
Gordana's dress is declared the winning design. Poodle Bitch agrees it belonged in the top three- but to win? Over Irina and Shirin?
Gordana is declared the winner, and Poodle Bitch cannot get too upset over that. Irina and Shirin also make the top three, which is a rare moment of good taste from the judges.
Christopher sent his "client" down the runway in a trashbag. This was terrible, but it was not the worst garment this week.
The bottom three are Epperson, Christopher, and Logan. The judges had too many choices for the bottom- in fact, Gordana, Irina, and Shirin had the only garments that Poodle Bitch would consider “good.” The bottom two should have been Christopher and Logan, with Logan, whose work and attitude make Poodle Bitch wonder if he is not mentally challenged, going home.
Instead, the bottom two are Logan and Epperson, and Epperson is the one who gets the boot. Poodle Bitch wonders if Logan is too good-looking to send home this early in the competition. That is the only reason that she can see for sending home Epperson. She truly has no interest in seeing what Logan comes up with in the future.
Poodle Bitch invites the reader to decide- Was this truly the worst design of the week? Or was Epperson cast aside because he handled himself with too much aplomb, and not enough "sex appeal"?
Fashion Plates photograph source.
Project Runway designs photographs source.
Cher Half-Breed photograph source.