Project Runway Top 10: Ven Vengeance Brings Me Back to the Recaps!

I confess, Project Runway fans. I have been filled with ennui this season. All the angst, abrupt departures, and arrogant attitudes have worn me down. They've made me feel less excited to recap the show...and there hasn't been any awesome fashion to counterbalance the negativity. 

The challenge two weeks ago was a perfect example: Did anyone else notice that all three top three dresses were wrap dresses with almost the exact same silhouette? And no one even thinks to mention it? I guess I should be grateful they weren't all accusing each other of stealing their incredibly original side wrap dress ideas.

But something brought me back this week. Let's face it: Outrage brought me back.

Yes, this week was the dreaded "Real People" challenge, with only a slight update in that this time it was friends who nominated friends for makeovers. The designers are all afraid, very afraid. And none of them seem moved at all by Heidi's encouragement that they'll be helping somebody who really needs it.

Once again, it's like these folks have never seen the show. And once again, the episode is full of fatphobia. The only difference is that this season all of that fear and loathing is consolidated in one loathsome dude...and the reaction to him from the other designers and judges is overwhelmingly negative. I'm just not sure that reaction outweighs the damage of airing his gross perspective to begin with.

But I knew I had to talk about it.

And on that note, let's dig in.

This challenge is the L'Oreal challenge, so a big part of the episode is a full makeover, including hair cut and color, as introduced by L'Oreal's Johnny Lavoy.

The designers will have a mere 30 minutes to consult with their clients and sketch. It's another one day challenge, and they will indeed go to Mood.

It starts out like a mega-episode of What Not to Wear. Lots of the designers trying to delve into the psyches of the clients. Lots of self-esteem issues rising to the top. Lots of explaining how fashion can express who we are.

And then we get right to that moment you knew was coming: Ven is the first to freak out over his "real woman". In fact, he says, he just can't believe how hard it will be because, "the proportions are off." Oh really? Really, Ven? Can't even throw us a bone and say the "proportions are different than I'm used to"? Nope, they're "off". And he's not shy about expressing that over and over and over.

Ven the Venal courtesy of Lifetime

Although I must also face the unexpected possibility that I might actually like Gunnar if he's serious about enjoying designing for real women and continues establishing a wonderful rapport with his client...who looks to be about the same size as Ven's.

They're off to Mood, and despite my hope for a little respite from the negativity, I'm, apparently persona non swatcha, because once again: No Swatch. Boo. 

Back at the studio my head is now exploding. All over my screen, all over my couch. It's realy not pretty, and I'd like it to stop, but OMG OMG OMG.

Ven needs to go. Now he's bummed because not everyone has the horrifying fate of a plus-size model like him. #DISLIKE. He's the unluckiest one, yes, the UNLUCKIEST.

And the whole time I'm thinking...against my better judgement and totally because I let the devil on my shoulder win..."Have you looked in a mirror lately Ven????"

Or as @TomandLorenzo put it: And yet somebody designs for YOU, Ven.

Breathe. Breathe. Ommmmmmm.

OK. I'm back.

FYI: Gunnar either wins or is going home because now they're making me like him some more by talking about his family.

Tim comes for his visit, issuing pearls of wisdom left and right, as per usual.

-Nathan is at risk of a "vulgar moment".

-Tim can't believe anyone doesn't like cleavage. But Fabio's model doesn't.

-And here we go: Ven completely disses his "plus-size" client. Laughs at her being a size 14. Tim injects some reality. "That's on the cusp [of plus-size]" he informs. Oh, and it's not enough for Ven to complain that she's plus, she also, dontcha know, has no style, Her before picture is a "nightmare". It's like he can't stop.

At this point the other deisgners are all giving Ven the stink-eye, and they're all starting to feel obvious collective guilt at the cancer in their midst. As Fabio shares: "[His Model] came down thinking she would get special treatment, but she isn't getting that."

Oh. And one more dig. She's almost 40. Gasp!!!


The clients come in with their hair…and you all know a good haircut transforms your mood, so the atmosphere lightens, thankfully. Elena exhibits an entirely different side of her personality and manages to behave in a basic, nice, harmless, non-shrieking way.

But, the respite is brief, as we are back to Ven and his Vensucktastic ways. Ven has NO sensitivity about even belt sizes. Ven goes on and on and on. Oh, this one doesn't fit, and that one doesn't fit. They're all too small. He needs bigger belts.

Kill me now. NO, on second thought...

Finally, he actually says, in his outside voice, for all to ear, that he was "surprised at how beautiful she looked" [because of the haircut]. Nice, #Vendemort, really nice.

His client ends up in tears; her friend tries to make sure Ven makes things right, and it's just all-around depressing. And the fact that all the other designers are disgusted with Ven doesn't help enough.

But who knows, maybe the finished product will be Venderful, not Venawful. On to the runway.

Heidi, MK and ninagarcia are joined by guest judge Alice Temperly (of Temperly London)

As always, click on the designer's name to see the outfit.

1. Nathan

Wow. The show kicks off with Nathan's cheap and tacky royal blue short dress with black sheer arms and inset across chest. Yes, his client is a jazz singer, and probably would have gone even tackier if he had let her, but it's up to him to err on the side of classy. There's a weaving pleat across the bodice, but it's not quite laying flat. Black stripes down her sides and big exposed zipper down the back. Cheap. Tacky. 'Nuff said.

2. Elena

In stark contrast to the first look down the runway, this was a little too conservative. There was a blush cap sleeve top with weird pleated front that seemed ill-fitting. The accompanying black pencil skirt looked good, but the top just seemed completely off to me. Especially the way it curved up in the back to make sure her rump stands right out. Instead of sexy it seems, wait for it, vulgar. It's a vulgar moment, proving it's possible to achieve even in blush and black and well covered up.  The color combo is nice because it makes her features stand out (as opposed to the colorful clothes she came in with that served to hide her features...or pull focus away).

3. Melissa

Meh. Melissa chopped of the neck, half the length and the sleeves of her winning dress the week before, did it in black and then covered it up with a scarf. Good thing Melissa has immunity, because I didn't think it looked like a lot of effort went into this.

4. Gunnar

Gunnar stole Raul's ruffles from last week and put them on the skirt instead of the blouse of his little black cocktail dress. And that made it work. Furthermore, IF he wins he has his client to thank for it, because she WORKED it on that runway. That was awesome :)

5. Alicia

Alicia made a blush pink spaghetti-strapped mini-dress with sheer insets at the waist. To say it doesn't seem to scream her aesthetic would be a gross understatement. It's another pretty trampy look on the runway. It says "working girl" of another variety. Or at least cocktail waitress at the Peppermill.

6. Christopher

I have been liking Christopher, perhaps most of anyone so far, but this dress was very mother of the bride. Or to be specific: A gunmetal satin dress with a wrap bodice and a skirt with flattering draping at the front but weird hitched up draping in the back. And a thin black belt. And black pumps. And a short gray jacket she took off so quickly I didn't really get to see it. overall, boring, monochromatic, but not in an Armani way. Nice, but blah.

7. Ven

After all the drama, she's wearing a basic wrap front teal satin blouse that totally looks like the top of a hostess gown from the 70s Sears Roebuck catalog (yes, I used to pore over that catalog, shut UP!), with a black skirt with an exposed zipper down one leg (open to create a slit) and a thick belt (I guess he found one that was BIG enough) and a big alligator bag. He put her in flats. Why, I wonder? Do big girls not deserve an elongated leg? You know, it wasn't horrifying, but it was dowdy, frumpy, and a TOTAL MISSED OPPORTUNITY YOU DOUCHEBAG.

8. Dmitry

I broke with the judges on this one. Other than the lovely cornflower blue color, this shift dress struck me as plain. The end. Oh, and it seemed ill-fitting to me too. Too tight. I get that *she* looked like she liked the way it hugged every curve, but I thought it would have been even more flattering with a little more wiggle room. The styling was very cool, though, especially the encrusted clutch. And her hair was fantastic!

9. Fabio

A cool shades of gray pinafore-style dress with cute little boots. This was really a stand-out and a unique piece. It fit her quirky style, and felt sculptural yet comfortable. I'm not sure the length was quite the right proportion, but since no one else mentioned it, I guess I'm wrong :).

10. Sonjia

We close the show as we began with short, blue, tacky. This one was a bright blue, very short sleeveless dress with a gathered front. Another Peppermill cocktail waitress outfit. Especially with the too-high heels.

So. Here we go. The judges likee:

Dmitry, Fabio, Gunnar. Fabio and Gunnar are the clear top two, IMHO, and I'm pretty happy when Fabio wins. Who doesn't want to see a freegan who wears dresses succeed?

The judges no like:

Ven (they rip him up and down), Nathan ("cheap" "hootchie mama"), Sonjia ("a little slutty looking", bad proportions).

"One or maybe more of you will be out."

Nathan is AUFED. 

Sonjia is in.

And then Project Runway pulls of the big tease. Ven is left on stage. Dare we hope that the guy who made a crappy outfit, exhibited no understanding of the real world, and made his client CRY would get AUFED too.

No. We daren't. He is in. And he still doesn't get it.

"I don't think I should have been the last one there, there were some weak looks." Says Ven the Venal.

Any the last little bit of brain matter that was still hanging on for dear life between my ears is forcibly sprayed across the screen.

And scene. 

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