Project Runway Season 8 – Episode 4 – Hats Off To You

We last left Project Runway with Ivy passed out in the hallway and with the designers expressing faux concern while wondering if she was simply not taking care of herself by focusing too much on working.

Dehydration is the diagnosis and Ivy admits she’s a little embarrassed, even though, I can’t really imagine why that would be something you’d get embarrassed over. I mean, you’re in a competition and you’re focused on trying to win — I think everybody knows what it’s like to be so wrapped up in a project that they lose all track of time.

The next challenge seems like it’s all about going way over the top.

“Isn’t this amazing?” Heidi gushes as the models come down the runway sporting crazy looking hats designed by Phillip Treacy.

Honestly, I can’t say I’m a huge fan.

I get it if you’re someone like Lady Gaga and you wear this sort of weirdness all the time, but would the average woman wear a Phillip Treacey hat?

I don’t think so.

This week’s challenge is to create a look inspired by a Phillip Treacy hat.

Interestingly, the designers are encouraged to pick a hat — but the hat goes with the model…and I’m disappointed to see that all of the designers opt to stick with their models instead of going with the hat that intrigues them the most.

Peach’s model, Effie, is labelled the “problem” model because of her attitude problem, but unfortunately, she’s wearing the most interesting hat.

It’s all really a matter of taste, Tim keeps reminding us as he goes around the work room to do his rounds.

Kristin’s having a lot of trouble trying to translate the orchid hat into a real design.

Gretchen opines that Kristin’s work often looks sloppy and like there wasn’t much thought put into it.

The little cry of horror that Tim emits seems to say it all.

Valerie, on the other hand, has given her outfit a lot of thought, but Tim doesn’t really get certain aspects behind it.

I like Tim’s design philosophy: if it doesn’t serve a purpose, why have them?

Valerie argues that the zippers she plans to attach to the outfit is a design detail, but I agree with Tim — I think it’s just clutter and makes a design look messy.

Tim points out that the judges often talk about editing.

When he gets to April’s work station, we’re confronted with a pair of shorts that look a lot like diapers. And really, they look exactly like a diaper — it’s white and it’s got a quilted texture to it…and it’s just…bad.

April still thinks they’re a cool idea and I can’t help but wonder if that’s the faint sound of a death knell in the distance.

My jaw literally dropped when she said that it’s trendy right now — since when was a diaper the next big thing? Why is a diaper “trendy”?

I love the way Tim delivers his critiques. He tells AJ that the sort of woman who’d be able to afford a Phillip Treacey hat would be able to afford a dress like AJ’s where the polka dots actually line up.

Good call.

When he tells designers, “That’s a lot of look” it’s not necessarily a good thing.

Casanova fucking cracks me up when he says he can’t make any more mistakes — after all, he’s not like some cat with nine lives.

When Tim warns him that the dress looks familiar — like it’s been done-to-death.

Casanova doesn’t seem to get it, though.

It’s like Tim says one thing, but he’s either not hearing it or understanding it.

His dress, after all, looks like something you’d pick off the rack at a high end store — something that’s beautifully executed but doesn’t particularly go with the hat.

Someone who is taking Tim’s advice to heart is Michael C., who has concerns over the way his dress is puckering.

Tim tells him to start over — which is the last thing any designer wants to do, but if you can see that what you’re working on isn’t working, then what alternative do you have?

On the runway, it was interesting to see how the designers took inspiration from the hats.

Some were more successful than others.

Gretchen’s dress, for instance, picked up al ot of the same elements from the hat, wehreas Kristin’s dress was one hot mess — odd scraps of fabric haphazardly sewn together.

“It looks like you didn’t have a plan with this dress,” Nina tells her — to which Kristin rolls her eyes.

When Heidi notes that Kristin was very quiet throughout the critique, she flat out says she doesn’t agree with the judges’ assessment.

I couldn’t help but wonder if Heidi expected Kristin to be all meek and grovelling at every crumb of critique that was thrown out.

A good example of that?

When Heidi said that Christopher’s dress was too dark and should have had some sort of colour in it, all he could really do about that slap in the face beyond saying, “Okay”?

I was surprised that the judges were so harsh — I liked his outfit (as did Gretchen, who claimed she’d wear the entire outfit on the street) but the judges felt the dress looked too heavy.

Heidi later expressed incredulity that Christopher could have ever possibly thought the outfit was edgy — instead, she and the other judges would have liked something a little more floaty.


They felt, in comparison, that Michael C. had an outfit that worked in harmony with the hat.

It, again, makes me question all of the judges’ tastes…which I know is a bold thing to say, but I think it’s important to note that opinions vary and differ. Not everybody’s always going to think the same thing looks good.

April’s outfit, however, was universally panned and disliked.

April’s model looked like a Thai prostitute in that God-awful diaper short and hat.

Michael tells her that the model looks like she’s gone for a three day weekend and layered her underpants, each day peeling one off.

“You sold it short — literally,” Nina tells her.

Peach, unbelievably, thinks that April is in the top.

That makes me question her taste level.

Speaking of Peach…her dress didn’t match the hat — it had a fussy looking print that seemed better fitted for a matronly woman’s suit.

You know who created an outfit that worked very well with the hat? Michael D — his outfit looked like it belonged with the hat.

I actually thought he’d take the win and was really shocked when it was the other Michael who won.

The judges felt his outfit was “effortless” and that he managed to pull the whole thing together without it matching.

“It all kind of converged and worked,” Michael said.

I laughed when Ivy’s reaction was, “What the fuck?! There! I said it!”


That’s what everyone was thinking.

I sort of felt like, if Phillip Treacy didn’t like Valerie’s outfit, she might have won.

All three permanent judges liked her outfit.

On the other hand, I thought April would be sent home for the “triple panty.”

Instead, Kristin was sent home for a “disappointing” dress that wasn’t complimentary to the “joyful spirit of the hat.”

~ by justj on August 26, 2010.

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