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Welcome to Week Ten of Project Runway, The challenge kicks off with the designers going to a surprise location—the legendary Radio City Music Hall. There they are treated to a private performance by the sequin-clad Rockettes, featuring a special guest Rockette, Heidi Klum. Heidi holds her own with the dancers for one very high kick. Of course, Heidi seems to do everything well. We're starting to suspect she could successfully dabble in nuclear physics.
The designers are introduced to the Rockettes' director/choreographer, Linda Haberman, and learn that their challenge for the week is to design a new outfit for her dancers. The winning look will be worn by all of them at a special performance. Tim says that the design must be glamorous, viewable from the back row, and appeal to a contemporary audience. Nothing is said about including exaggerated Mad Max shoulders or an origami rose in the design, so we know that at least two of our designers are in trouble.
Actually, with the exception of Dmitri and Christopher, all of our designers have trouble creating glittery dramatic costumes. Where is Chris March when you need him? Most of the designs look so bad, that a "deeply concerned" Tim Gunn offers the designers a second shopping trip to Mood. Unfortunately, not all of them take advantage of it. Dmitri, Fabio and Ven all pass, because despite Tim's advice, they think they are already on the right track with their garments. There is a lot of focus on Ven making this decision. Hmm...Could this be the week Ven's hubris catches up with him?
Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles...
The strange thing about this episode, is that everyone gets along and is supportive of each other. That's right. EVERYONE. During a special dinner outing, the wine leads to a Kumbaya circle. Elena apologizes to a stunned Dmitri for being such a bitch to him. She insists that from now on she'll be nicer and calmer and will stop trying to murder him in his sleep. Ven also does an about face. He tells the other designers that his siblings were all much older, so he was left alone a lot as a child. He thinks that perhaps this is why he keeps to himself in the workroom and tortures small animals.
Later, an over-extended Melissa gets help from four of the remaining six designers. Christopher gives her fifty of his dollars to use at Mood, then he, Fabio and Sonjia all try to help her fix a broken zipper (we start to wonder if Michael Kors will show up to do some beading). Even Ven helps her with her hand sewing. And he compliments other designers in his interview segments. It's as if Ven's normally offensive personality was shaken and refreshed like an Etch-A-Sketch.
Joining Michael and Nina in the guest judge's chair this week is actress Debra Messing. Debra was chosen as a judge this week because she used to be a Rockette. Oh no, wait. Correction. Debra was never a Rockette. Her judging credential for this challenge seems to be that she might once have seen the Rockettes. Possibly in person. Debra has been a judge on Project Runway before and does an okay job this week, but it would have made more sense to have Linda Haberman as a second guest judge. After all, her dancers are the ones who will actually have to move in these outfits without hurting themselves, destroying the costumes, or exposing themselves improperly to the audience.
Christopher's Winning Design
Our winner this week is Christopher. He makes a costume that includes a silver fabric version of the New York Skyline as its top. As soon as we see it, we know he's got the win. It's very original and pretty and it symbolizes iconic New York, just like the Rockettes. The two problems with his design (which the judges never mention) are that that the silver on net top won't show up well past the first few rows, and the skirt has no movement. It just has one slit—off-center to the left. This will allow for left legged kicks, but if the Rockettes want to kick with their right legs, they'd better bring scissors.
Coming in a close second is Dmitri, who creates a glamorous and very dancer-friendly design—possibly because of his own dance background. His costume is sexy, with navy and black sequins and a diagonal cut-away design. Its skirt is made with beaded fringe (a bit like the one he did during the Dylan's Candy Bar challenge, only without candy). It's fresh, original, and moves like a dream. Debra fears it might be too sexy for the children in the audience. Obviously she is unfamiliar with the "family-friendly" wrestling entertainment of the WWE's Raw.
Melissa comes in third, with a bright pink and black cigarette girl-inspired design, complete with a jaunty hat. On the plus side, it mirrors the Art Deco style of Radio City. On the downside, however, while color blocking a design onto her garment, Melissa inadvertently creates a giant number one on the front of it. This gives it a bit of a super hero look—"Deco Girl" to the rescue! That, and the facts that the skirt is too short and it includes another of Melissa's "Off with her head!" necklines, keeps it from being in the top two.
Fabio's Safe Design
Fabio is the only designer who is safe this week, although we're not sure why. In the workroom, he suggests to Tim that his sequin fabric is, "Being a bitch to me." This is when Tim responds with last week's teased statement, "Yeah, bitch, slap that bitch." Tim Gunn actually makes the line seem quaint and endearing.
Sonjia lands in our bottom three with a boxy purple Big Bird-esque ensemble. It includes a feathered skirt and a top with matching feather trim. The judges point out that feathers are not the most durable embellishment to use on a garment. After one performance, there will be 36 purple disco turkeys onstage molting. Fortunately for Sonjia, hers is not the worst garment of the week.
Initially we think that title belongs to Elena. There is a Yiddish word, "Ungapatchka" which the Urban Dictionary defines as, "Overly ornate, busy, ridiculously over-decorated, and garnished to the point of distaste." A shorter translation? "Elena's dress." Elena isn't quite sure how to take her black, futuristic, giant-shoulder aesthetic and turn it into a Rockettes' uniform. So she just does everything the opposite of the way she normally would. This results in her model looking like a drum majorette in the Disney Electrical Parade.
Good Bye Origami Rose
We are surprised that the newly nice Elena stays, but we are even more surprised that the newly nice Ven goes. Yes, it turns out that when Ven—now given the drag queen name "Origami Rose" by Michael—doesn't include his rose pattern in a garment, the garment is boring. Ven is proud of his Rockette design, which Michael Kors says looks like, "A very glamorous mother of the bride chopped her dress off." Despite Tim's and his fellow designers' suggestions to jazz up his costume, Ven thinks he knows better. Sadly for him, he doesn't.
After dealing with so many weeks of Ven's rude attitude, even Tim Gunn seemed pleased to see the designer leave. We get it. Due to Ven's earlier offensive comments about designing for a plus-sized woman, we thought we'd be singing "Ding dong the witch is dead" upon his aufing. But since we saw a nicer side to the designer on this episode, we'll be gracious. Ven: We wish you the best of luck, and hope you land a fulfilling job—designing for Lane Bryant.