Cast Blog: #PROJECTRUNWAY

Good Queen Fun

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Kenley Blogs Episodes 510-514

On The Road

The Real Winner

The Final Showdown

Leanne Speaks!

Finale, Part 2

What's Next

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Love Is In The Hair!

History Repeating Itself

Garden Of Locks

Nature Calls

Rock 'n' Runway

Rock Steady

Rock N' Runway

Suede: Rockin' Out

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Take A Bow

Transformation

Joe: Straight Talk

Working Girl

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Best Of The Best?

Written In The Stars

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What's Your Sign?

I Saw The Sign

A Designer's Dream

Fashion Inside Out

Stella: Lovin' The Leatha

Double 0 Fashion

No Leatha, Mo' Problems

Making The Most Of It

The Fashion That Drives You

A Softer Edge

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Show Some Love

It's All An Illusion

Daniel: Oy Gevalt!

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Joe: All Aboard!

RuPaul: A Drag Race

Reality Out The Window

Good Queen Fun

A challenge of queen size proportions!

Heidi announces, "Let's bring out a special guest." The silhouette of an exaggerated Valkyrian presence appears behind the Project Runway scrim: It's season four semi-finalist Chris March in drag! Chris informs the designers that for this challenge they will be designing for drag queens, and out come 11 captivating individuals who line up on the runway. They introduce themselves and say a little about their persona. Then, the designers each choose a drag queen with whom to work. Chris concludes, "Fashion is all about putting on a show. So, be as theatrical and over-the-top as you can be." Mark those words, designers!

The designers have 30 minutes to consult with their new clients in the workroom. Then, we're off to MOOD with a budget of $200. There are two days for this challenge.

And the stunning and inimitable RupPaul is our guest judge. How uber-fabulous is that?

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Joe WINS! Joe designed for Varla Jean Merman. He created a pink sequined catsuit with a "Hi ya, sailor!" twist that was so spot-on perfect that for the first time this season, I actually was able to predict who would win. For me, it was only too obvious: Joe's concept was superb, his execution was flawless, and the sublime Varla Jean Merman worked this look on the runway as though there were no tomorrow. Isn't it ironic that our only hetero male would win this challenge? Congratulations, Joe!

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Daniel is OUT. Daniel designed for Annida Greenkard. Using yellow and orange jersey in a creamsicle print, he created a strapless gown with a flamenco-like skirt and cascading train. The dress was beautiful -- there's no denying that. The problem was two-fold: The look wasn't exuberant enough for the purpose of the challenge, and the judges have grown tired of seeing Daniel regurgitate evening and cocktail dresses. Daniel, best wishes. We'll sincerely miss you.

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Blayne designed for Miss Understood. He created a crazy, gay Jurassic Park-ilicious pterodactyl outfit in pink. Oy! The bodice of the dress was fine and meshed perfectly with Miss Understood's sensibility, but those wings! Not only did they look patched on and arbitrary, but their engineering failed: One was flagging. I thought it was miraculous that he squeaked by without being cited as one of the bottom three. Blayne, this was a close call!

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Jerell designed for LeMAY. He created an "ocean inspired" sequined dress with a very odd collar treatment. Oy, again! This look was the biggest loser in my opinion: The dress was a simple silhouette, albeit jazzed up by the piecing of the sequined fabrics; the green collar was too high and too GREEN for LeMAY's relatively short neck and fair complexion, thereby dwarfing her head and giving her a sickly pallor; and that fringe along the hemline? Egads. he fringe looked saggy, it was too long, and did it have to be asymmetrical, too? The judges were correct to be stumped by why-oh-why over-the-top Jerell would hold back in a challenge that's all about being over-the-top. Jerell, you're very lucky that you're still in!

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Keith designed for Sherry Vine. Given that the judges placed him in the bottom three, I know that he regretted not having immunity for his win in the last challenge. He designed a mini-dress that was expressly intended to expose Sherry's bra and panties, which is evidently a Sherry Vine signature (go figure?). I was concerned about the possible vulgarity of this display, and Keith assured me that he had reeled in this request and that the panties wouldn't show. This look was topped by a stole (or sorts) made out of strips of black, white, and gray fabric, and this treatment was echoed over the skirt. This led to a potent issue for the judges Keith's repeated use, challenge after challenge, of this layering method. They're simply tired of it and want to see what else he can achieve. RuPaul, who was not familiar with Keith's designs for prior challenges, actually declared his fondness for the outfit and even stated that he would wear it. OK -- go Keith!

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Kenley designed for Farrah Moans. She created a long column of a gown in silver sequins that was enhanced by a large collar treatment using black and white ostrich plumes. The look was very Marilyn Monroe, but a costumey Marilyn, not a modern 2008 Marilyn. Still, she passed through the judges' discerning eyes and was safe for the next challenge.

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Korto designed for Sweetie. Her concept, "an animal in heat," was realized as a red sequined cocktail dress with an empire waisted, detachable skirt in duchesse satin. Sweetie isn't diminutive, and Korto mitigated her size with deft thoughtfulness and consideration. The proportions of the pieces of the look all worked beautifully and harmoniously, and the detachable skirt made for a dramatic reveal. And to top things off, Sweetie really worked it on the runway!

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Leanne designed for Sharon Needles. She created a modern, edgy mini-dress in black with jagged origami-like extensions on the shoulders and the skirt. The look she designed was pure Fashion with a capital F, because it said "Paris couture" just as potently as it did "drag queen." I was stunned, quite frankly, that Leanne didn't remain on the runway as one of the top three. Her look was perfectly conceived for Sharon Needles and it was superbly executed.

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Stella designed for Louisa Verde. Stella used a rather lackluster tartan and an odd black spandex fabric to create a floor-length dress with a train. It was dull and basic, but for the peculiar tartan panel in the front, the bottom of the skirt, which swung like a doggy door. Furthermore, the grommets and lacing (surprise!) on the back of the dress were used arbitrarily. As with Leanne, I was equally stunned that Stella wasn't kept on the runway for being one of the bottom three. I believe that her savior was her drag queen, Louisa Verde. Louisa's presence was profound and captivating: Her hair and makeup were memorable, as was her jewelry. In my opinion, those were the only good aspects of this entire look.

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Suede designed for Hedda Lettuce. He created a Flintstone-like green print "jacket" with peplum over a strapless green cocktail-length dress. I write "jacket," because, given that the piece didn't have sleeves, it was more like a vest. Instead of sleeves, opera-length gloves with baby bib lettuce embellishments covered Hedda's arms. I'm merely happy that Suede's look walked the runway at all: He and Hedda had such an incendiary relationship, and Hedda was so vocal about how she wanted to re-design the look, that I was concerned that she might refuse to walk the runway. In the end, all was well, thankfully.

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Terri designed for Acid Betty. Her concept was "geisha-on-acid," and the judges loved it. I was dubious about Terri's extensive use of white, especially given that color's discordant relationship with the gummi bear red corset-as-obi. (She and I had a BIG disagreement about this look, but not one second of our several encounters is seen on the show.) OK -- I get it Terri, and I respect the judges' adulations, but I'm still not a fan of this design.

History Repeating Itself

Feeling the pressure and sympathizing with the designers.

I feel like last night's episode was the definition of "pressure" -- my stomach is still in knots! Though I have mixed feelings about the designs that the designers sent down the runway, I should mention that I do think the right designers are still here. I know that some think that Kenley should've gone home last week or that Jerell has had more than his chance (remember the Olympic challenge? Eesh...) but I do think that this group all has their own personal points of view and have done a very good job at bringing that to each challenge. I also think that this challenge in particular, though an extremely high-pressure one considering what's at stake, was perfectly positioned on the competition, as designers at this stage of the game really want to be set loose to flex their creativity. That being said, I do think that none of them hit this one out of the park; no doubt they're extremely exhausted having gone through weeks and weeks of emotional, physical, and creative challenges.

Ahhh, does everyone remember past seasons where the "runway deciding challenge" is always the one with the most misses? Season 1 left them all with problems, Season 2 --though I ended up winning the challenge -- I still regret doing so with an admittedly safe dress for Iman. Season 3 and 4 were no different, with no one really sweeping the win with the best work they could produce. I can only speak from personal experience when saying that at this point, you are really scraping your brain for ideas, after weeks and weeks of essentially solitary confinement, continually trying to produce your best work without a friend's encouragement or the comfort of your own studio, knowing that every word or tear that escapes will be judged on national television, and going without needed stimuli such as a colorful magazine, a captivating movie, or even a relaxing walk in the park. I empathize with the designers who no doubt are thinking that every decision they make will determine their future...which it does.

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Jerell
Jerell's work thus far has been relatively consistent, though I noticed about halfway through the competition a bit more of a confident stride in his work. Even when it went wrong, Jerell never shied away from what he loves: unexpected fabric combinations, embellishment, and glitz. For this challenge I think overall that the dress reflects the inspiration with its organic shape and romantic color story; it embodies the physical elements of his picture, but also the feeling of it (which is much harder to do). I agree with the judges that the finishing brings this look down, and with a little more time he could've really finessed the draping and the bodice fit (which he's had issue with before - Saturn challenge). It also bothered me that the model had to hold the fabric back, both on the runway and in the photo, for the dress to stay open ... a few simple stitches would've solved that. That being said, I do think he did a very good job at designing an evening gown that was both modern, yet romantic, as well as one that embraced his personal point of view. Congratulations Jerell!

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Kenley
I feel like Kenley has the mentality of a caged animal that still has a wild, fighting spirit; good intentions but truly a bad method of expressing them. Put her nasty attitude aside, her dress just didn't do it for me. I feel that the "scales" concept was a decent one, albeit completely off the challenge parameters, and if it had completed in a lighter hand with more interesting design details the judges would have probably overlooked that misstep. When Kenley chose that fabric, I too was excited as it really did reflect her inspiration picture - it had a gorgeous ombre color story, an interesting surface texture, and a nice hand. That being said, imagine if Kenley had completely softened the silhouette and design? What a completely different feel the dress would've had! When the fabric is already tough and sexy on its own there's no need to do a design that is so blatantly so (especially when it's strayed so far from her usual style). The dress as is was just too expected and certainly doesn't make me want to see more. Was it a good dress? Not really in my eyes. The model had a great body, which gave the dress life, but the simple design of the top half, and the overly clunky, almost costume-like petals just gave the design a really flat look -- there was just no life to it.

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Korto
In all honesty, I don't know why Korto got the s**t end of the stick last night; I don't think this dress looks that bad. Yes the color has some bad connotations to the '80s, and the fabrication does nothing to young it up, but overall I do think it reflects her inspiration and has some very interesting design elements to it. The seaming does amazing things to the models body, and unlike other designers out there (both those who are professional, and those who are on Project Runway) Korto doesn't force the natural curves of a women's body, she embraces them. I really admire how she continually makes clothing that is flattering, interesting, and yet, still "Korto." I think the biggest flaw of this design was the fabric choices. I think that if she had done the dress in something more slinky and sexy, like silk jersey, it would've been more fluid and youthful -- both things that this design could've used. Overall though, good job.

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Leanne
It's a good thing Leanne switched models when she did, because this lavender color looks AMAZING against Tia's skin -- she's got that JLo glow! Though there were the obvious fit issues and that random piece of fabric hanging like a dead fish on the back of the dress, my biggest concern is how blatantly placed all of the pleating detailing is. I feel that with more time Leanne could've really made the pleating a bit softer and subdued, making it a bit more gradual of a transition between the hard and the soft elements of the dress. As is, they simply appear to be "stuck on" which I think cheapens the look a bit, but with a little more variety in size and shape, I think the pleating could've segued into the rest of the dress more fluidly. However overall, I think the shape is great, the movement was sexy and eye-catching and her attention to detail was unparalleled with the other designer's work on this challenge.