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Project Runway Canada: Season 2 Episode 4

February 19, 2009
Preloved fall 08 collection. Fabrics for the Re-Fashioning challenge are recycled, as seen in Preloved's collections

Preloved fall 08 collection. Fabrics for the Re-Fashioning challenge are recycled, as seen in Preloved's collections

Episode 4: The Re-Fashioning Challenge

This week on Project Runway Canada the designers took on a couture challenge that revealed shocking details about some of the designers. We couldn’t believe the gossip, the uncharacteristic self-doubt, and the complete ignorance- and that’s all before the runway show. Oh, what an episode!

We begin with Iman stirring up the pot by picking designers out of her velvet bag and asking them to choose their model. This week, Genevieve’s name pops out of the bag and she drops her former model Elise, telling her “You don’t talk back to a designer.” The tape then cuts to a clip from Episode 2: Elise and Genevieve are scrambling to get to the runway and Genevieve is losing her cool, getting upset with Elise, screaming “Are you laughing at me? I’ll f–ng get rid of you!” Yikes. Even from where I’m sitting, I’m scared. I don’t really know exactly what else was exchanged between Genevieve and Elise during the challenges leading up to this, but threats are totally out of line (even if she will “get rid” of her.)

After a lot of mixing between the designers and their models, Brandon gets the final choice between the rejected Elise or Christie’s former model, Alix. He chooses Elise but tells her that he doesn’t want her talking back to him. Who do these designers think they are, anyway, talking like that to the models right on television? Do they really think that this is going to generate good rapport?

Christie's former model, Alix, is out

Christie's former model, Alix, is out

The Re-fashioning Team Challenge Details: each team must create a couture collection that channels the spirit of an iconic fashion house.

Fashion houses to choose from:Chanel, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, YSL, Valentino.

Teams of three are randomly selected and together they choose which house will be their inspiration. The first team brings together Brandon, Kim, and Baylor and they choose to work on YSL. The second team is composed of Jessica, Jeff, and Jason and their choice is Valentino. The third team assembles Sunny, Genevieve, and Adejoké and they go with Versace.

Brandon looks at his team and tells them that he doesn’t know who “Why-zell” is. Oh god- Brandon are you for real?!

The teams get to work during which time Brandon goes around looking like he’s on the wrong reality tv show. Brian Bayley appears with an announcement: a special guest is coming to the work room to help them with their designs. In floats.. Iman! She’s magnetic. Everyone’s jaw drops and they listen to her authoriative insight into each of the fashion houses.

Iman on Versace: “Exact tailoring but its feel: sexy, sexy, sexy.”

Versace Sprint 08 collection advertisement featuring model Gisele

Versace Spring 08 collection advertisement featuring model Gisele

Iman on Valentino: “He always had the vision of making women very sophisticated.”

Valentino's last collection: 30 red dresses for the Haute Couture Spring 2008 collection

Valentino's last collection: 30 red dresses for Haute Couture Spring 2008

Iman on YSL: “Yves Saint Laurent is a master innovator. I had the privilege to have been his muse at one collection, so he cut the fabric on my body. Fashion would be nothing and nowhere without Yves Saint Laurent.”

Iman, muse to Valentino's African Queen collection in 80s

Iman, muse to Yves Saint Laurent's African Queen collection in the 80s

Iman in an advertisement for YSL Rive Gauche (c. 1980)

Iman in an advertisement for YSL Rive Gauche (c. 1980)

Iman in an advertisement for YSL Rive Gauche (c. 1980)

Iman in an advertisement for YSL Rive Gauche (c. 1980)

Iman’s parting words: “Be daring. Be innovative. Make me proud.”

In the Work Room

Back to work and feeling inspired, the teams try to be productive and play nice. Genevieve can’t take Sunny’s gentle design suggestions, Jessica feels that her design blows and lets that pollute her leadership responsibilities, and Kim privately sneers at Sunny’s work.

Kim (to the camera): “Sunny has been doing the same thing that he does for every challenge: which is make a beautiful bustier and then attach something at the bottom. And it’s getting a little old.”

Kim-! Maybe you haven’t heard Iman (?!) but Sunny is the one to watch out for in this competition. His work is flawless. How many challenges have you won, again? If you’re going to talk like that then you need to win some challenges, girl.

Brian pops in for his progress tour and has a lot of concerns about team YSL- particularly Kim’s work. Brian looks at it and says that the design isn’t quintessential YSL- he feels that it’s more Comme des Garçons. Kim answers that that’s the “Kim” in the design and argues that the design is Kim’s vision is inspired by YSL.

Comme des Garçons dress (left) for H&M 2008 and fall/winter 08 collection (right)

Comme des Garçons: dress for H&M 2008 (left) and fall/winter 08 collection

Later that evening when the designers are back at their residence, Kim discusses the complications with Genevieve who basically leaves Kim out to dry.

Kim: “I just want to be myself and be me as a designer. Everyone’s doing these crazy couture gowns and I’m doing couture street wear.. and how does this fit in...”

Genevieve: “Well that’s just it. Don’t be surprised if [the judges] don’t respond at all. It’s not couture and it’s not what they asked for but who cares it’s f–ng amazing.”

Thank you for that, Genevieve. Wow you really know how to perk up someone who’s likely facing elimination.

The Unexpected Breakdown

Jessica crumbles from the disappintment of her design, failing to lead her team and provide direction

Jessica crumbles from the disappointment of her design, failing to lead her team and provide direction

Other teams are having their own difficulties. Brian tells Jessica that she should be more directional, have a strong vision and lead the team. Jessica’s eyes are averted and she’s clearly depressed- not the ‘Yo, yo, wasssssssup?’ girl we saw in previous episodes. She hates her design and she’s balling at it for the entire episode, channelling a lot of negative energy and making her team feel like they’re going to sink with her. Where’s the confident, in-your-face gangsta chick from last week? She’s not the person we’ve seen on TV so far and she is not representin’. We’re with you, Jason: “We want the old Jessica back.”

The Dirty Gossipers

Sunny and Adejoké engage in ignorant gossip about Jeff and his work

Sunny and Adejoké engage in ignorant gossip about Jeff's design and his career

Jeff is quietly working on his red and black Valentino dress as per recommendations by Brian to make it more ‘Jeff.’

Meanwhile, completely within earshot, Sunny and Adejoké are talking about Jeff, criticising everything from his work to his career potential in low-tone whispers. Jeff acts like he doesn’t hear but we can tell he’s overhearing the entire conversation.

Adejoké: “I didn’t think.. Jeff’s stuff would be so old-fashioned…”

Sunny: “It’s like what he did today is so.. conservative… Just like.. wow.”

Adejoké: “Very. Like traditional. ... I think about the age of people here and I think about why they’re here and it’s just kinda like, if you’re that age why aren’t you already successful? Some people are meant to work for other people.”

Sunny: “He is in his forties, so...”

Adejoké: “Uh-huh.”

Sunny: “Probably he’s doing what he was good at in his prime.”

Adejoké: “Uh-huh.”

Snakes, anyone? Sunny and Adejoké sink lower than low.

Snakes, anyone? Sunny and Adejoké sink lower than low.

What snakes! I’m in total shock- I didn’t see this coming from the demure Sunny and the geeky Adejoké. What they said completely undermines the efforts and talents of not only Jeff but all artists who weren’t successful in their time or hadn’t achieved ‘success’ at an early age. This exchange between them is cruel and shows more ignorance than Brandon’s “Who is YSL?” I hope Adejoké and Sunny take a lashing on the runway during this season- they’re my new frenemies.

Fattening up your model 101

Making a too-large dress fit: "I told you, eat!"

Making a stretched dress fit: "I told you, eat!"

It’s time to finish things off and Jason’s dress has stretched- big time. Brian asks him how he would normally fix it; he answers that he would take it out and then re-stitch by hand; Brian asks if he has time for that; Jason looks discouraged and says no; Brian says “On runways sometimes it’s amazing what’s stuffed into a dress- besides the model”; Jason has a light bulb moment and says, “Thank you, I got it,” then grabs masking tape and padding and starts to make his model “fat.” Jason says to his model: “Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me. And Canada.” Yes, that’s right, we won’t tell anyone that you just ballooned from a size 2 to a size 4. Oh- the horror.

The Runway Show

Guest Judge: Canadian fashion designer Wayne Clark.

Team Valentino: Jason, Jessica, Jeff:

Team Valentino's designs: (from left) Jason, Jessica, and Jeff

Team Valentino's designs (from left): Jason, Jessica, and Jeff

Team Versace: Sunny, Genevieve, Adejoké:

Team Versace's designs (from left): Sunny, Genevieve, Adejoké

Team Versace's designs (from left): Sunny, Genevieve, Adejoké

Team Valentino: Kim, Baylor, Brandon:

Team YSL's designs (from left): Kim, Baylor, and Brandon

Team YSL's designs (from left): Kim, Baylor, and Brandon

Well, well!

Surprise for Jessica- her team is safe and pulls off quite the stunt this week with a ‘fattened’ model and a total absence of leadership on her part.

Now the real judging begins…

Iman about Genevieve’s design: “Oops she did it again.” (Is it just me or did Iman just quote Britney Spears?) “If I see that silhouette one more time I’m going to take you to task because I need to see more.”

Team Versace gets judged

Team Versace gets judged

We totally agree- the skirt is beautifully done (as Iman concedes and the other judges agree) but we’re kinda done with that poofy skirt look.

Shawn Hewson publicly confesses his love of Versace-inspired trashy couture as styled by Adejoké. (Hm, I suddenly want to Google you and post pics of you buying drinks for sleazy-looking girls.)

… and it gets nasty

"I don't know who is YSL" -Brandon

"I don't really know anything about YSL" -Brandon

Brandon: “I just want to start off by saying that I don’t really know anything about YSL…”

Iman: “What?!”

Rita: “Shame. Shame.”

Brandon: “I know. I know.”

Shawn Hewson about Brandon’s design: “YSL [here] means Yeah Some lady.”

Rita Silvan to Brandon:“If you don’t know much about YSL how can you be a fashion designer? To me he’s one of the most important fashion designers of modern history. How did you miss him?”

The judges call it like it is

The judges call it like it is. From left: Wayne Clark, Rita Silvan, Shawn Hewson, and Iman

To be fair, I think that Brandon’s team let him down. They should have chosen a designer that all of them agreed to work with, not just  2/3. The real decision to go with YSL was Kim’s and she was quite adamant about it despite being a leader and responsible for the team’s success or failure. She should have recognized that choosing YSL would make it nearly impossible for Brandon to produce good work.

Iman to Brandon: “You’ve desecrated Mr. Saint Laurent. I cannot believe there is a designer in this room – especially a young designer who doesn’t know who YSL is.”

Iman, turning to Kim:“It’s unfortunate that you’ve decided to go the Rive Gauche route because the challenge said couture.”

Kim to Iman: “We thought that it was a blend. It’s all finished couture  as we could with the time constraint but the style is more ready-to-wear.”

"Looks like a little girl" -Rita Silva about Kim's design

"Designed for a little girl" -Rita Silva about Kim's design

Iman: “So you really were not doing the challenge. You’ve done your version of the challenge.”

Rita: “It’s not YSL in any way. I think he always designed for a grown up woman not a little girl.”

Wayne Clark: “I don’t think it looks one bit like Saint Laurent… Looks more like if you had channeled Yohji Yamamoto.”

Yohji Yamamoto fall 07 collection

Yohji Yamamoto fall 07 collection

Well, I must say at least Kim was called on for her misguided vision of whoever she might have had in mind- clearly not Yves Saint Laurent. At the very best, her design may be useful as a knit straight-jacket. At least the poor chaps tied up in that sweater will be cozy at night.

YSL advertisements featuring Iman courtesy of Fashion Indie; Valentino pictures courtesy of Fashion Rat. Snake picture courtesy of Surgeon Blog; Comme des Garçons images from So Much Green and Catwalk Queen; Yohji Yamamoto image from Tortoisie Journal. All other images courtesy of Global TV.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2009 3:45 pm

    ooh, Gen’s comment was completely unnecessary mainly because, um who are you again? exactly. same goes for Brandon. he’s not a good designer at all (re-producing le chateau’s collection from 1998?) and he’s like a parrot, trying to act all high and mighty by threatning a model. the pseudo designers are exagerrating. wow imagine what happens if those two make it big.

  2. February 20, 2009 8:20 am

    Haha-! Le Chateau from ’98! I love it! But so true. Ah Brandon- seems to lack taste, that one. Yes I often think about what these people are like behind the cam and sometimes I think that they must be putting on their nice-nice for the tv audience.. Will be great to see some PRC designers at LG Fashion Week next month!
    – Johanne


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