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Project Runway, Everyday Woman

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PR 307, Challenge: Create a look for the Everyday Woman, a look that the everyday consumer will wear, but stamp it with the designer’s personal style. Guest Judge: Joan Kors, Michael Kors’ mother

The first five minutes packs a surprise punch. The designers are told “make a look for the everyday woman,” and then a bomb drops. They are designing for women of their own everyday lives: their sisters and mothers! This challenge is demanding.

Firstly, who likes working with relatives? Secondly, it is difficult for designers who are only used to creating looks based on a leggy model with a size 2 all-round body. Some of these women are buxom, portly even. It’s hard to create a look that isn’t a Hefty sack in a coloured cotton fabric, and in one day if you’re not good! I was poised for disaster.

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Designers are paired up with other designers’ family members and the drama ensues. Big time drama. They are given a half hour to discuss what types of looks would befit them as models. It seems innocent enough to start out, I guess. And then . . .

The drama involves Jeffrey--the understudy to the chief villain Keith Michael, who was sacked way back--and Angela, for whom Jeffrey has loquaciously proclaimed hatred, and Angela’s mother, who is paired with Jeffrey.

For starters, she’s conservative about her body type and doesn’t want to have too much revealed. She likes deep purple or deep green. Jeffrey ignores her preferences and goes with navy and periwinkle at Mood Fabric store.

When he gets to the workroom, he is stumped putting together an overall look that isn’t a moo-moo like the poncho thingy Robert is designing for Vincent’s sister. Okay, dude, I know she’s a big girl, but don’t take a silk bag, throw it on a model and call it a piece of clothing. The two vacillate over their designs for a long time and then start working. What, you never considered making clothes for plump girls before? Can’t do it? Shouldn’t be there, then.

The designers who seem to know what they’re doing are Uli (surprise, surprise . . . NOT), who creates a sheer paisley kimono style drape for Kayne’s mom, and Vincent, who does a chic little black dress with oversized khaki lapels and a medium v cut back for Uli’s mother.

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His interactions with her are extraordinarily cute. She is German and speaks very little English; he has to communicate with her using short, short sentences and one-word questions or statements and grand gesticulations. She nods and smiles and laughs. Even though they can’t speak to each other, they get along very well. And she’s just as cute as her daughter.

Jeffrey and Angela’s mother butt heads at the workstation. She says she doesn’t like the colours and he goes on the defensive and basically tells her get the hell away from my table, I know what I’m doing, if not in those actual words. She is dumbfounded at this treatment. He thinks she is sabotaging his work, she thinks he is disrespectful and finds her opinions negligible. “I hate her daughter, why should I like her?” Ah. Is someone projecting? What an awful match. He doesn’t have to be such a jerk to her, though. She is a sweet little woman who reminds me a little bit of my friend’s mother Cathy who is too cute for words.

On the runway, his outfit is a piece of rubbish. Shiny navy vest over a periwinkle faux collar inset into a long navy asymmetrical patchwork dress. She calls herself matronly. I call it ugly. Robert calls his silk poncho a kimono scarf. Dress up the name, it’s still hideous and boring. Michael’s design is a reversible shirtdress designed around a jet-setting fashionable girl whose walk is as good as any of the professional models (Robert’s sister). Honestly, there aren’t any other designs that stand out. This challenge was dismal except for a few pieces.

In the end, Uli ends up with high marks. Michael has immunity and is in. And Vincent takes the no immunity Gold.

Robert’s “glam” kimono scarf over a shapeless tank dress is the third boring installment in a long line of yawner clothing. He isn’t slammed, but it’s plain the judges think Robert’s ability to wow has been squelched. Peace out. I won’t miss you.

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