<i>Project Runway</i> Episode 5 Recap and Photos: Derelicte

The designers arrive at their secret destination: the LA Times! I'm actually kind of amazed that employees weren't setting things on fire in the background during this scene--isn't it like Lord of the Flies over there now?
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Before I begin this glorious recap of Episode 5, I have some good news: Qristyl Frasier may be down but she is not out. Someone tipped me off that she is taking her Plus Sexy show on the road over at eHow (Sample tip: "Think about length. If your ankles or knees are a little plus sexy make sure the length is proper." This is actually amazing. Cankles no longer exist; your ankles are just "plus sexy." I'm totally going to adopt this lingo. "Jeff, I'm feeling plus sexy today, so am going to be wearing my plus sexy pants, the ones with the elastic waistband." ). But seriously, good for her. It sucks that the first plus-size specialist got auf'ed so soon ... but it took eleven seasons for Tyra Banks to finally crown a zaftig America's Next Top Model, so maybe there's hope for PR yet. This is Lifetime, after all, airer of Drop Dead Diva and the unfortunately-named DietTribe.

Anyway, previously on Project Runway: The models of the runway got promised a ticket to the future, and all they got was Christian Audigier at a Smurf prom. Qristyl's boring black was a big plus sexy mess, hence she was sent packing.

The morning after: Everyone is getting ready. Although she is primping, Carol Hannah kind of resembles Pig Pen from Charlie Brown. Gordana looks like an East German Olympian even while ironing. I'm pretty sure Ra'mon Lawrence is putting on makeup. This is not a shock.

Irina still has a bug up her ass that Althea won the challenge, and Nic--who is, definitively, the biggest bitch in this cast and who could not be more unlike his secret twin (or illegitimate father??) John Hodgman--says that Johnny and Irina don't deserve to be there.

Out on the runway, Heidi emerges in what could be her Halloween costume as Jean Seaberg in Breathless. She announces that Tim will be taking the designers on a field trip and that, for this challenge, "the answers will all be in black and white." Pssst! And read all over, Heidi. You forgot part of the joke! Logan wonders if, since they are in LA, that the challenge will involve old Hollywood black and white movies. Yes, Paramount has decided to hand over the original print of Ruggles of Red Gap to be made into an evening romper. Shirin thinks they are going to a factory. Perhaps the glue factory to which ancient model Valerie was sent at the end of the last episode?

The designers arrive at their secret destination, which is ... the LA Times! Well, I guess they really need the publicity. I'm actually kind of amazed that employees weren't setting things on fire or throwing feces in the background during this scene--isn't it like Lord of the Flies over there now? The designers are given giant plastic bags and must fill them with newspaper, which is basically what inmates are forced to do on the side of the road for community service. Awesome.

The challenge, obviously, is to make a garment--any garment--out of newsprint. Tim brings them back to FIDM and tells them that they can use dyes and markers, and may even use muslin as an infrastructure (at hearing this, the two backwoods racists who watch the show become confused). Then he delivers his first "Make it work!" of the season, which temporarily lifts my spirits. Oh, Tim. You complete me.

Some of the designers take to the challenge like Malvin to a pretentious metaphor: Christopher wants to do a rigid bodice hundreds of "feathers;" Irina is planning an elaborate coat. Most, however, are dumbstruck. Althea has no idea where to begin and Nic, who says he has never worked with newspaper (unlike all of the others, who are secretly wearing thongs they made from back issues of The Onion, I'm sure), thinks he is going home. We should be so lucky.

And now, children, we take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a very special episode of Mocking Shirin. I didn't even have anything to do with it this time! Our favorite little imp is wrestling with some sort of paper-mache paste that she is using to craft a bodice, and yells, "My hands are so sticky!" (That's what she said. Sorry, I just watched The Office premiere.) Logan then interviews that he has never met "a small woman like that who makes so much noise." Ha! Nic, who I will temporarily like again for this comment, says that he feels like he's 40 around her, and that she's like an 11 year-old kid who will not shut up. I am so visibly gleeful after this that my husband pointedly calls me Shirin during the commercial break. "I've met a small woman who makes that much noise," he says, leveling his gaze at me. Ouch!

Back in the workroom, Ra'mon Lawrence and Epperson are both working with origami, while Louise is decoupaging and Shirin is still elbow-deep in paper-mache. It's like a rainy day at summer camp up in here--it's only missing someone doing Spin-Art, and me hiding in a corner making God's Eyes and gimp keychains and trying to avoid Capture the Flag. Tim checks in. He loves what Gordana is doing, although she actually made two dresses, one of which was a "political statement" which was not so great. We see on her sketch that the dress says TIME FOR CHANGE. Man, this show is old. Althea has crafted paper shoulder pads, which Tim wisely discourages. Of Johnny's dress, Tim says "I'm woeful--it looks like a bunch of kindergartners did it." At this point I wish the camera had panned over to reveal Shirin eating her paper-mache paste, but sadly I was denied. Chris is making a "showstopper." Tim departs by telling the designers that he is absolutely wowed.

As soon as Tim leaves, there is drama, and I'm not talking about the LA Times theater section. Nic interviews that Johnny is spewing a sob story that he tried to iron his garment and got water on it. Shirin agrees that Johnny is lying about the steamer so that he can start over again. I can sympathize with Johnny here. Some people just lie to cover stuff up instead of telling the truth. We're not a proud people, but we're not hurting anyone. As a child, I had a massive unibrow and when I finally plucked it in junior high for some reason I didn't want to admit it, so I told people I had just slipped with the scissors while trimming my bangs. That story would have worked, too, if I had actually had bangs. Damn. Anyway, Johnny does say that Tim hated his original dress, so he's working on a new one. One would hope that Steamergate is over (or has--wait for it--lost its steam. Thank you, thank you. There's a two-drink minimum for this post) ... but one would be wrong. Epperson, trying to defuse the situation, says that Johnny is doing it for a reason. Nic quips, "Yeah, comic relief." Nic, you are not allowed to be such an unrepentant bitch and have that hair. I can only take one major offense to my sensibilities at a time.

Tim arrives with the models and a giant game of paper dolls ensues. Whereas normally some models are stitched into their dresses, in this challenge they are glued in. With actual Elmer's Glue. Chris sticks his feathered skirt over his model's head and says that it's like giving birth. Chris, your health education has failed you. Lined up, all of the garments look like the fake collection from Zoolander, Derelicte. Which makes me realize that Will Ferrell would do a fabulous Michael Kors. On to the runway!

Okay, listen, people, let's get serious for a minute. Let's rap. Where the fuck is Michael Kors? Seriously, Heidi, do you think we just won't notice? In previous seasons you would say "Michael is on vacation," or "Michael is showing a collection," but now you just ignore his absence like it's normal and ME NO LIKEY. Is he in rehab? Trapped under something heavy? What? Just tell us, I MISS HIM. Nina I miss slightly less but am still concerned. This judge-swapping business is low-rent. Bravo would never have done this. Oh yes, I am throwing down like that. Step it up, Lifetime. Or should I say, make it work? [Sassy finger snap.]

Tommy Hilfiger is a guest judge, along with that editor of Marie Claire from last week. The celebrity guest judge is Eva Longoria. And seriously, Lifetime, if Kors is gone for good, get Will Ferrell. And while you're at it, Michaela Watkins for Nina Garcia. Impersonators would be better than lame stand-ins at this point. YOU ARE KILLING MY SPIRIT. Ahem. Right. The clothes:

As a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, so must you become ... Derelicte!

The shape is divine, the craftsmanship exquisite. While not the most inventive (but really, when you're already working with newspaper you don't need to get crazy), this is the classiest garment of the bunch and one I might actually wear ... though I shudder to think of the inkstains.

And now, a dramatic reading from The Tampon Diaries, Eve Ensler's little-known follow-up to The Vagina Monologues, performed reluctantly by Carol Hannah's model....

LOVE the model's face here. This looks like what Joan Collins' character on Dynasty, Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan (yes, really, if you count all her marriages), would whip up if Linda Evans' character, Krystle Carrington, locked her in a dumpster before an important oil tycoon ball and Alexis was forced to jigger the lock with a crystal stick pin and then make a triumphant entrance.

Then this would happen:

I like the shape, but this really looks like newspaper, whereas most of the others look like fabric. Maybe that's what he was going for, though...

This looks vaguely like army fatigues, but it's cute. Gordana is most definitely skilled, I just wish she would really turn it out. I know she can do it!

You can't really knock this. It's gorgeous. The detailing on the collar and sleeves is especially brilliant, and the fit is amazing considering what she's working with. I would have liked to see this with some color, but maybe the simplicity is what makes it so elegant.

Oh, Johnny. Even the dress is rolling its eyes. From the hair to the shoes to the model's pained expression, this is a WORLD OF NO.

This is a great use of color, but I will deduct points for the Push Me Pull You echo of Chris' dress last week.

The neck puzzles me. Are those sausages? Lincoln Logs? Whatever they are, please take them away. Minnie would never let Mickey see her walking around in that.

Nic says that his garment reflects the "millennium version of punk rock," but in actuality it is closer to what the inmates wore in Elvis' Jaihouse Rock. That or a Jasper Johns painting. Either way, not loving this.

I really like the almost-floral effect he achieves through the use of folding and dyeing the newspaper, and if the model didn't look like she desperately needed to pee in this picture I think the clothes would have looked even better. Speaking of bladder control, the colors make me think of my favorite but tragically discontinued Kool-Aid flavor, Purplesaurus Rex. Mmmmm.

This is what it looks like when Bitchface sleeps! Aw! But seriously, this is OK. I just can't get past the fact that the skirt looks so much like Leanne's Bryant Park collection from last season, with all the waves. Right? Also in this case, unlike in Irina's, I really think color would have elevated this to another level.

After the show, the designers return to the runway, and Heidi calls forward Johnny, Nic, Chris, Althea, Gordana, and Irina. Everyone she did not call is safe.

Althea's well-constructed sheath is roundly praised. Heidi was bored by Gordana's "real-looking" garment, and the judges agree that it is not risky enough. Christopher's is fine, but everyone freaks out over Irina's--Tommy Hilfiger even goes so far as to say that "it looks Coco Chanel meets Saint Laurent meets Givenchy in 60s and 70s." Which, for a newspaper trench coat I think is slightly effusive, but OK. Of Johnny's dress, Heidi says: "It looks like she is going to work. Like, work work." (She means hooking. Snap!) When Johnny starts in on the Little Steamer That Couldn't, the judges are not buying it, and Nic decides to loudly opine that Johnny is full of shit. Which is a sucky thing to do, but Johnny manages to keep the exchange civil, if sarcastic. Perhaps because it is so abundantly clear that Nic is an asshat, the judges rip into him. The Marie Claire editor thinks it looks like an insect, which Heidi points out is very New York, since we have so many cockroaches. Also very Derelicte, I might add. Still, "I dont think they have any choice but to kick Johnny off," my dad says, and I think he's right.

Althea is in, and Irina is the winner of the challenge, which for the first time all season I think is right on the money. Chris is in, as is Gordana, which leaves Nic and Johnny in the bottom two. I hope against hope that the judges will base their decision on personality instead of talent, but of course Nic is in, which means Johnny is out.

Johnny is super polite to Heidi and the designers as he leaves, but then tearfully interviews that he feels lost and empty again. Don't turn to meth, Johnny. DON'T DO IT. I hate that I know about his drug past. I worry.

Of course, Nic still dumps on Johnny's garment even after he is gone. What a dick. But Tim kind of joins in, which is uncharacteristic. I'm woeful, Tim. Don't do that.

Next week, Heidi says that the designers will finally "see what this town is known for." Could the producers have actually taken my idea for a Spearmint Rhino challenge???

In Models of the Runway, which I continue to watch every week just in case something happens, a few of the models form a "dream team" and make up dumb names for themselves (my friends and I actually did that in 4th grade, and my gang name was U-Haul. True story.) Seriously, though, that is like the major plot point of the episode. I would even take ridiculous costumes and made-up-words at this point, just to keep me awake. Next week the designers will be forced to choose new models. Unfortunately, that still means that there will be nothing interesting happening for the first 25 minutes of the show.

Have great weekends, and I'll see you next Friday. In the meantime, please pray to the fashion gods for the safe return of Michael Kors.

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