Project Runway Season 8 – Episode 2 – Larger Than Life

Ooh. Do we already have a front runner?

I don’t really remember if there was any one standout designer in all of the seasons of Project Runway like there was for season two of Project Runway Canada where you knew Sonny Fong was going to take the whole thing from episode two onwards.

But let’s not spoil things and get into the episode.

Previous winner, Gretchen, voices her surprise that McKell was sent home. Another designer — damnit…what is her name? It’s the same chick I blanked on from the previous episode. The really young one…ooh, what’s her name, damnit?

Anyways, she notes that McKell played it safe, so she wasn’t sure why she got sent home with there were a couple of other designers with questionable taste levels.

But — as we’re told — McKell’s departure shouldn’t hurt us too much because she wasn’t officially a part of the competition…which, you know, sort of irks me. You can claim that the first episode was still a part of the audition process, but if it’s on the air and you’re still structuring it like a challenge, then I consider that “official.”


The designers meet Tim and Heidi on the rooftop and they’re introduced to Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, who presents the designers with their first “official” challenge: create a look that defines the Marie Claire woman.

What does that even mean?

I’ve never picked up an issue of Marie Claire because the covers never really interest me. It strikes me as a low-grade version of Elle — more in keeping with Good Housekeeping or some other mumsy magazine that tries too hard to be fashionable simply because they’ve got Nina Garcia on their masthead.

The real draw here is that the look will be featured on a billboard in Times Square — that is the real challenge.

The designers eagerly start clapping and they look a bit like dolphins performing at Sea World.

As a total aside, when they cut to Christopher Collins, I have to tilt my head.

Really? This is the guy they’re painting as the hottie for the season?

I guess he’s okay.

Jason’s little pitch to the camera of his design is…bizarre. He talks about the infinity symbol and the number ‘8’ for this season…it was the garbled, airhead mumbo jumbo that always disturbs me. What planet is this guy from, anyway? He’s too weird for words.

“So it’s two sides of an 8 wrapped around each other?” Tim asks.

He steps back and his brows furrow as he tries to figure out the weirdness that’s flowing from Jason’s mouth.

Michael cracked me up when he described Jason as “really creepy” and explained he was only super nice to him so that he wouldn’t come up from behind him and stab him with a pair of scissors.

What enrages me, though, is when Jason offers up nothing but excuses, and even says the judges shouldn’t expect perfection from him.


Casanova, as we know, was in the bottom for the first challenge, and when he seems to be asking AJ for help, I’m a little taken aback. He seems to let things roll off his back when AJ flat out refuses and reminds him that this is a competition, but what surprises me most is that there’s an undercurrent of holier-than-thou irritation coming from Casanova over this.

Why do people always forget they’re in a competition?

Casanova is constantly asking Gretchen for her opinion and it makes me want to scream. It’s like, “Stop being so afraid. Think for yourself!”

Tim is completely baffled when he looks at Casanova’s design — and he even admits that he’s going from the prostitute to the nun.

“It’s so matronly,” Tim complains.

That seems to be the watch word.

When Michael C. starts talking smack to the camera about how he’s got the win in the bag, but as soon as Tim sees it, he tells him that “fashion forward” is the last thing he’s thinking.

“Blanche Devereux” from the Golden Girls is what comes to Tim’s mind, eliciting a scream of horror from Michael.

Valerie also bugs me. Is it just me or does she look like Parker Posey?

When Tim comes into the workroom, she explains she’s making a trench dress, which Tim approves of.

Gretchen tells the camera that she thinks Valerie is her biggest competition — which surprises me. I don’t even remember Valerie’s design from the last challenge and I just saw the episode yesterday! (Maybe it’s because all the bad ones come popping up in my head when I think about the last episode.)

Mondo, who seems…odd (just like he said people would find him!) tells Tim that he doesn’t have a sketch because it’s all just in his head, winds up stunning Tim…though, Tim seems to expect good things from Mondo, seeing as he takes the time out to tell him he was impressed with how he took a matronly garment and turn it around so quickly.

“You blew me away,” he tells Mondo, who admits he was thinking of giving up.

Was he? I can’t tell with that guy.

Even the other designers note that, while others are forming bonds and friendships, Mondo’s just on his own — totally focused on his work.

Is that so wrong, though?

When the designers are back in their living space, they talk about it, I feel my heart break a little when Mondo tells the camera that he’s really lonely and that he’s failed to make a connection with anybody.

I started tearing up when he started crying and saying, “I don’t feel like I’ve ever been loved for who I am and what I can give back.”


(Yes. I know that was lame, but I’m a sap who tends to cry as soon as I see someone else crying. Damnit, I can’t help it if I have feelings!)

I was concerned yesterday when Tim seemed to be telling Peach what to do, but when he comes around to her work bench, he’s back to being the Tim I know. He doesn’t tell her what to do, but only advises her to stay true to who she is.

I like Peach — I do…but I can’t help but wonder if she’s right: that she tends to stick to what’s safe.

When Tim advises the designers that they’re also going to have their look photographed so they can get a feel of what it would look like editorial-wise.

You know who surprised me at the Marie Clare photo shoot?


He was the only one who really provided direction for his model — and his photos were actually interesting.

Some highlights and lowlights from the runway:


– Michael C’s dress had more to do with styling for me. I liked the necklace and I liked the fabric. The dress was chic.
– Seriously, when Michael D flat out refuses to meet Nina’s incredulous look and does his “poker face” I couldn’t stop laughing. Sure, the dress was too short and might have belonged in a “rap video” as he says, but you know what? I actually really like it. The look he had when he learned he was safe was priceless. It was like, “Oh, thank the sweet merciful Jesus!”
– Okay, so Andy’s top was sort of gaudy, but I think I’d actually wear this because it’s interesting.

– OMG. I actually love Casanova’s jacket — it looks so elegant. I’d wear that to work.

Low lights:
– Jason’s disastrous “infinity” dress. The safety pins looked sloppy and unfinished…but hey, as he said, you can’t expect perfection from him. It blew my mind that he said, “It was impeccable, the way it was sewn.” Are. You. Kidding. Me??
– Peach’s dress was so boring — something you’d expect from a housewife who occasionally dabbles in dress making.
– I hated Sarah’s dress — it looks like something a kid would make using felt on a paper doll dress…just pile on all the scraps.

The judges were brutally honest, but I also sort of think they were kidding themselves about the sort of woman Marie Clare represents.

Nina found Valerie’s red dress “sexy and sophisticated” — is that really representative of the Marie Clare woman?

They were less kind about Jason’s dress.

Michael described it as either a walk-of-shame dress or a satin bed spread.

“How could he ever think it was sexy? Has he even talked to a woman?” Joanna asked.

Similarly, they felt Nicholas’ design was too complicated and too detailed — which I agree with.

“It’s supposed to be arresting and simple,” Nina protests and tells him he wasn’t thinking about the bigger picture.

They liked Mondo’s outfit better.

“I love you said that Mary Tyler Moore inspired you,” Joanna tells him.

Nina commends him on the “great spirit” exuding from the whole look.

Gretchen, of course, takes the win.

I have to admit that I liked her outfit more than Valerie’s, even though the other designers thought Valerie would win.

Valerie’s look

“She’s a modern girl from head to toe,” Michael says of Gretchen’s outfit.

Nina goes on to say, “The Marie Clare woman is smart, confident and modern.”

Uh huh.

I’m sure the smart woman likes to fill her time reading thought provoking articles like “5 Things You Should Know Before Kissing Anyone” or “I Fell In Love With A Terrorist.”

I thought for sure that it would be Jason who would leave — what surprised me was the fact that Nicholas was also given the boot.

It was a little sad how Nicholas’ face crumpled when he was told he was out as well.

While Jason bolted, refusing to stay, Nicholas totally broke down.

It irritated me when Valerie tried to console him because it sounded insincere (even though it might not have been) and like the sort of trite thing one would say to fill a void.

On the next episode, it looks like one of the female designers is taken to the hospital.

~ by justj on August 10, 2010.

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