Project Runway Season 13: Roman Inspirations
Our Top Four are all getting their lines televised at New York Fashion Week next week. They’re not even pretending someone might be eliminated, because then they’d have to eliminate Char. Instead everyone gets $9000, five weeks and a three-day trip to Rome to inspire them. Said trip to Italy is being sponsored by Best Western, so we have to sit through a commercial recited by one of their VPs before we watch our designers (and Tim) head to the airport.
The trip to Rome is narrated by Tim, which is punctuated by the contestants oohing and ahhing. He also plays tour guide. There’s restaurant dinners, sketching in gardens, and a reminder of certain designer’s appointed story lines. Amanda reminds us she’s the redemption contestant. Tim reminds us Char never won a challenge. Sean, having moved here from New Zealand to be on the show, hasn’t even got a sewing machine to his name currently, and needs to use part of that $9000 to remedy this. There is a shopping trip to an Italian fabric store, but it is not mandatory to buy anything, so no one had to deal with unfamiliar units of measure with confusing exchange rates if they’re not comfortable with it. Amanda and Char shop. Kini doesn’t see denim, so doesn’t buy anything, while Sean frets about saving his budget.
With the Roman holiday over, we skip ahead to the Tim Gunn Home Visits.
- Kapolei, Hawaii: Kini’s studio is in his family’s garage. His pieces are almost all denim. The “Roman inspiration” is “Park Avenue Girl In Rome” which, meh. Tim loves everything. His family is very sweet, and throw a full-scale luau for the cameras where Tim gets lei’d.
- Detroit, Michigan: We learn a bit more about Char, including that her mother abandoned her and her dad spent her childhood in jail. Her family assumed she was going to be a hairdresser, which speaks to the kind of limited imagination of possibilities that poverty causes. Her outfits are not hoochie, which is a major improvement. Her inspiration was how small and simple everything was in Rome, from the cars, to the food portions. (Not a bad takeaway.)
- Nashville, Tennessee: Much like last time Amanda produced a dummy collection for the show, the pieces she’s produced for the runway are startlingly better than anything we saw her make during her run. Her “Rome” inspiration is negligible. Tim’s big warning is not to try too hard. She and her husband own a gorgeous 100-year-old arts and crafts home, which has a porch so spacious we never bother go inside. They also have an adorable ginger kitty.
- Brooklyn, New York: Sean’s parents skype in from New Zealand prior to Tim’s visit. He shows Tim pictures their farm to express how middle-of-nowhere on the wrong side of the Earth it is. His Roman inspiration is the story of the betrayal of Caesar. There’s also lots of fringe. Tim is floored, but worries that there are two collections, and tells him his non fringe Ready To Wear stuff from the “prior to Caesar being stabbed” half of the collection should be cut.
With only a few days left before Fashion Week, the four return, to cattily judge each other’s work to the cameras. There’s consultations with the Product Displaying Make Up People, and model fittings. The big reason they’re here is to pick out a sampler set to show to the judges. Tim checks in during the model fittings to help them pick out which outfit to show.
Let’s head to the runway and see what the judges think of what their final four turned out.
Heidi is wearing a really cute grey silver coat and matching shorts There is no guest judge, because there are no eliminations. This is just the chance for Nina, Zac, Heidi and Tim to do last-minute critiques, to keep the four who are shown on TV from embarrassing themselves (or the show) at Fashion Week. Yes, Zac and Nina are here. Since we know they were both at the Fashion Week taping last month, this now officially marks the first season ever that the two of them have shown up for work every week. (I doubt we will be so lucky for All Stars starting in a couple of weeks.) The AnthonyRyan Rule is not mentioned, but since no one is being scored, I suppose it no longer necessary.
Left: It’s a bit more southwestern than I was expecting. Right: The knit feels very New Mexico. Center: The strongest by miles. Love the accessories she designed.
It turns out the southwestern looking pieces are custom knits she designed. (Someone took notes from the season she was eliminated.) Heidi claims she wants to buy all three pieces, but is concerned that there be more color in the full collection. Zac is bowled over by the jewelry and asks for more of it. Nina agrees that it makes her clothes look more expensive, which is an odd way of saying they’d look cheap on their own. She also points out the zipper on the back of first piece is too obvious, when it shouldn’t be, and wants the second piece cut completely as too “bohemian.” Heidi agrees the second piece should go to, despite wanting to buy it a few minutes ago.
Left: You think that first Grecian type drape look doesn’t have fringe and then BAM, it turns around. Right: The black piece is very strong, and one of the places I think the fringe is actually distracting. Center: The skirt is that same ombre technique he did on the Heidi dress. I like the way the blouse flairs in the back.
Heidi and Zac have no notes for him, not even on styling. Zac says it’s very smart to follow-up with the fringe, since that’s what his name was put out their on before. Nina is the only one who wrinkles her nose and asks if it *all* fringe. Sean denies it’s all fringe, and upon being asked how much fringe there is responds “Enough.” Nina is impressed with his nerve, but points out the obvious that he doesn’t want to be a one trick pony.
Left: The fabric she got in Rome is really pretty–it carries the first outfit, which would otherwise be “More Mush From The Wimp.” Right: This is better, though the bow on the shoulder and the band that doesn’t wrap around is too much look. Center: This makes it obvious there’s nothing tying any of this together.
Heidi is the first to point out these don’t tie together in any way. Nina hates the second look, complaining that the transparent proportions are off. Zac likes the third look, but points out it might be better slightly unzipped, which leads the panel to agree that perhaps things should be a little looser. Nina points out how the styling is hurting things, suggesting the too tight hair and the safe shoes are not doing Char any favors.
Left: I like the top, but with the skirt added in, there’s too much flounce. Right: Sleeker, though the distressed denim fluff is not my favorite. Center: It’s almost avante garde in the exaggerated silhouette, but it doesn’t go far enough, and it’s clear from the first two pieces this is a collection where he’s not trying for that.
Heidi hates it. She calls all three “Old Lady.” But when you dig down, her complaint is just the styling. Nina wants to cut the bordering on avante garde coat, especially once she hears there’s an evening look as well. She too says the styling needs to be redone completely. Zac agrees the coat should go, saying it looks very design coat, and congrats, you can do drama, but seriously, next. He and Nina both tell Kini (since he can sew fast enough to do so) to “inject some separates into the collection.
Next week: The four collections walk the runway. On Monday, since no one was eliminated, we’ll have our annual Top Ten Overlooked Outfits.