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Betsey, Balloons & the Top Ten Moments of Gretch-, um, Greatness

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It's Week Three of Project Runway and Tim Gunn surprises the designers by taking them to New York's Party Glitters party supply store. Fortunately, they're not there to prepare for Heidi's seventy third baby shower. Instead, Tim announces this week's challenge—the designers must fashion garments out of supplies from the store. Tim then points out, that for these types of unconventional challenges, the judges don't respond well to the use of fabric-like components, such as table clothes and wrapping paper.

Casanova immediately purchases tablecloths. Whether he is purposefully ignoring Tim's directive, or genuinely having another language comprehension problem, is never made fully clear. In the workroom, when Tim realized what he's done, he suggests that Casanova try to save himself by making his garment fabulous. Unfortunately, Tim forgets to also suggest that he make it cohesive and tasteful. Many of the other designers also have their difficulties. Ivy gets lightheaded while glue gunning Mylar balloons into a ballet inspired gown. Andy weaves ribbons into fabric, a task so time consuming, that he needs April and Peach to help him finish his dress. Gretchen, with two wins in two episodes under her belt, circles the room, condescendingly giving unwanted advice to her resentful fellow cast mates. Gretchen must have killed Executive Producer Jonathan Murray's dog since the last episode. That's the only explanation we can figure out for why, out of the blue, she is given one of the nastiest albeit funniest edits of any contestant in Project Runway history. Barely a scene goes by where we don't see her acting arrogantly or being loathed for her pomposity. To give it some perspective, Season Six's winner, "Meana Irina," now seems as beloved as Glenda the Good Witch, but Season Five's bratty Kenley Collins still resembles Veruca Salt.

Halfway through the challenge, the models arrive with small bags of party supplies for each of the designers. The designers must use these new supplies to make accessories which coordinate with their outfits. Most of the designers quickly throw together ugly pieces of jewelry, but Andy takes black balloons and makes a Michael Jackson-style glove for his model, while Peach creates a small handbag that matches her "Ladies who lunch in Palm Beach" meets rockers style ensemble.

Once again, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are judging. Joining them this week is the perfect guest judge for a whimsical and creative challenge, the legendary designer, Betsey Johnson. An eccentric who used to hang out with Warhol in the Sixties, the sixty-eight year old Johnson still dresses like the playful creative girls she designs for. Her feedback to the designers on this episode is thoughtful and, much to our delight, it sometimes contradicts the more conservative tastes of the other judges. "Beautiful" is not necessarily a compliment coming from Betsey.

Our top three designs this week are Valerie's black and white My Fair Lady's "Ascot Gavotte" inspired dress—made from six hundred napkins; Gretchen's Kate Moss-like tinsel skirt and faux leather paper jacket; and Andy's stylish black ribbon mini dress. And our winner is...Andy! His victory draws huge cheers from the other designers when they realize that Gretchen, the wicked witch of the Northwest, has finally been defeated.

Our bottom three designers for the week include: A.J., whose Barbie pink "Everything but the kitchen sink" dress, probably should have included the kitchen sink, in order to make it more dramatic; Casanova, with an ensemble which was part mermaid, part plushy and all "lacking in taste;" And Sarah, whose dress, embellished with large cutout cardboard palm leaves, is described by the judges as "sad." That's enough to get her booted, so Heidi bids "auf Wiedersehen" to Sarah, leaving us with fourteen designers. But wait! Just when we think the show is over, an ambulance arrives. Ivy fainted! We're guessing this was due to the glue gun fumes, but we wouldn't be surprised if they inform us next week that Gretchen cast an evil spell on her.

In our As Tears Go By count, the usually snarky Michael C. starts crying when he learns of Sarah's auf-ing. This brings our number of crying jags for the season to a grand total of four.

And now for this week's, Gretchen-heavy, Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...

10). Gretchen speaks differently on this episode than on the previous two. She's now dramatic and pointed in her speech, much like Madonna, after she became British.

9). After learning he survived the runway, Casanova does a cartwheel behind the screen. Isn't that Betsey Johnson's job?

8). When Tim tells the designers to use the Piperlime accessory wall, he doesn't say "thoughtfully." This may account for Gretchen's choice of boots.

7). When Peach says she wants her design to be subtle, the normally gracious Tim Gunn responds, "You're really uptight. It's like you have a piece of coal up your rear end. Make it into a diamond and pull it out." Tim, no! We can only pray it's the fumes from the glue gun talking...

6). Gretchen explains that in the previous challenges, the other contestants, "Really understood why I won before they even knew I was going to win—they were rooting for me." Gretchen also believes she'll be wired large amounts of money from Nigeria.

5). Tim describes Sarah's dress as "Schiaparelli-like." If the Italian designer ever created outfits for fraternity luau parties, then we agree.

4). After one of Gretchen's more obnoxious comments, the editors cut to a tiara which says "bitch" on it.

3). Horror movie music plays, as Casanova guts the insides of stuffed animals, slices them up and then hangs their fur pelts over his dress-form mannequin. The Silence of the Plush.

2). When Gretchen bossily reminds her fellow designers to clean their stations before they leave, the other designers start chanting "Attica."

1). There is no mention of Peach's age.

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