Project Runway Season 14: Hallmark Hall of Fame
A round of HEIDI MAIL! sends our latest batch of Project Runway hopefuls to the ultimate destination in branded cards and invitations. Our featured brand this week is a name so familiar that it has its own moments, traditions, holidays it made up in order to sell more cards, and even a TV channel. (Which unlike some channels we could mention, is actually still owned by the company that launched it, and not a subsidiary of Viacom, Universal or Disney.) Despite this lack of synergistic energy, it has still agreed to allow its logo on this week’s program, and have both the contestants and Tim Gunn shill for it. (Really, Hallmark as Alice in Wonderland? No.) In exchange for this 30 second commercial, the store’s entire inventory is now the materials for an Unconventional Challenge. I’m sure someone thought this was an even trade-off. Perhaps the franchise gets to write it off as a loss?
After the five-minute whirlwind of ransacking the store for every card that has any sort of embellishment on it–and a lot of envelope grabbing to ensure coverage of all the relevant areas when walking the runway–it’s back to the lab for this one day challenge. (Tim keeps harping on that, like last week’s one day challenge, or next week’s one day challenge will somehow magically be longer.) Once he’s gone, everyone starts bartering their cards with each other for what they really want.
Then it’s scissors, saws, wires, muslin, contestants burning themselves with hot glue guns, and a completely unnecessary dash of racism from one of last week’s bottom dwellers. That last one was ugly, and the editing of the kid’s obnoxious declaration of how adorable he is only upped the unnecessary factor. Let’s move on to Tim’s Walkthrough.
- Ashley: She has immunity from last week, so it doesn’t matter what she’s making, or that Tim compares it to the Tin Woodman.
- Swapnil: “Ombre of polka dots.” “Alice on Acid.” (His words, not Tim’s.) NEXT.
- Blake: Our new racist friend has nothing on the dummy but his limited imagination. Tim tells him to attempt sophistication.
- Merline: “How is your model getting in and out of that?” asks Tim. I assume she’s going to glue the girl into it.
- Lindsey: Our resident “I make real clothes, not craft projects” contestant–there’s always one every season–all but says she has no idea what she’s doing. Tim says that’s exciting.
- Jake: Tim calls his attempt to make his own fabric out of cards roof repair work. At least she won’t leak?
- Edmond: He’s going branded and bridal. If Hallmark sends a guest judge, they will love it.
- Candice: She’s using the foil from the insides of the envelopes. Tim tells her to own it. She high fives him.
- Hanmiao: The kind description of this is that she’s going meta conceptual avant garde. (Yes, she’s just sticking the envelopes onto the muslin wholesale.) Tim says to glue gun the living daylights out of it.
- Kelly: She has a crumpled up construction paper Native American skirt from a second grader’s Thanksgiving day pageant.
- David: It’s very 80s. Tim says Re-conceive.
- Gabrielle: It looks like Valentine’s Day when through the shredder.
- Laurie: Tim tells her gently she actually has to cover the muslin with card bits for it to count.
- Joseph: Nothing on the dummy but muslin. Tim calls his idea “Very Kate Spade.”
- Amanda: Tim calls her textile concept beautiful, but insists her skirt is too ambitious. She has a meltdown.
No time for meltdowns! No Amanda meltdowns, no calling your husband meltdowns! Here come the models. Everyone decides that it’s not a challenge until Ashley cries, so she obliges. Then they all burn their fingers collectively on the glue guns before going home to hope that when they wake up their disasters will magically look better.
Day of runway, none of the disasters have gotten any better. So Tim tells them to own what they’re doing, because that’s all they can do at this point. Let’s skip the commercials for the Hair and Make Up companies and head to the runway and see what resulted from all this insanity.
Zac Posen and Nina Garcia showed up for work. Hallmark did not send a guest judge this week, which is kind of a shame. Instead we get struggling actress you probably forgot existed until right now, Ashley Tisdale. Did you know she has a fashion line to promote? Of course she does. The Tim Gunn Save™ and the AnthonyRyan Rule™ are both in effect this week.
Ashley: A third grader’s paper poncho. IMMUNITY! *jazz hands*
Joseph: Fourth grader’s construction paper skirt.
Jake: The picture is dreadful, but under the lights it wasn’t awful.
Candice: The Tin Woodman’s Tacky Silver Sister.
Laurie: The Tin Woodman’s Gold Disco Sister.
Lindsey: 1950s Country Artist Pasted Wall Paper Dress.
Merline: She’s says futuristic, I say in a Z budget movie maybe.
Gabrielle: Vagina dentata
Hanmaio: From afar the envelopes look like leather. Then the model took the card out of the top envelope at her bustline and held it like a purse, and I burst out laughing.
Blake: He rolled her in glitter. But that’s all he did, and that was enough. Unlike last week where he didn’t edit himself, this is a reminder that if you are going to go glitz, simpler is better. He’s in the top because he made it look like fabric.
Kelly: The shredder skirt didn’t come out half bad. The top is actually cute. The more I look at the top, the more I love it. (And it’s a hoodie!) The fit is fantastic. Zac is totally in love with it. But Heidi and Nina aren’t so thrilled, calling the outfit too busy.
Swapnil: I like the top from afar. The skirt is fun, and something I’d walk up to in a store and try on–if it were a two-dimensional print version, that is. Heidi admits it’s a lot going on, but the judges love it. She calls it magical. Zac says it looks molded to her body. Ashley says this is the best of the runway. Ok, that’s a bit far. But it’s adorable. (I really would buy the skirt.) Nina loves the chevrons on the back, and that the outfit looks like fabric.
Edmond: Fuck you. He made a goddamn wedding dress. Holy crap. He made a goddamn wedding dress. HE EVEN MADE A BOUQUET AND JEWELRY OUT OF PAPER. That’s the best thing I’ve seen from an unconventional challenge in YEARS. YEARS. Beyond far and away the best thing on the runway. Period, hands down. No way this doesn’t win. Nina is impressed with his savvy of taking Hallmark’s “special moments” brand and going exactly where they would have liked someone to take it. Also, the fact that there is not a stitch on muslin on this thing, anywhere. “Right on the money.” Everyone agrees. Of course he wins.
Amanda: The top is still the best thing here. The bottom looks like it’s made of ribbons. The point though was to make it look like fabric, not a different unconventional challenge. Zac calls the skirt “a cleaning instrument.” Nina says it looks like it came from a party supply store. (Hallmark is not Party City. Someone should tell her that.) The rest of them don’t like how the pieces go together, though Zac does love the top.
David: Hot damn. Call the police and the fireman, because someone needs to light this on fire. It’s not that it’s bad (though it’s not interesting.) It’s that he didn’t follow the challenge. It’s 90% muslin, 10% card. Doesn’t count. Zac says he loves the fact that he used words. But the base is muslin, not cards, and that’s not ok. Nina says it’s not even creative.
This is one of those no brainers. Of course David is out. He accepts it as the correct decision, and says he knew it was coming. Oh well.