One of the things I kept thinking about during the first half of this week’s penultimate episode of Project Runway was whether the casting process for the show involves producers going to potential contestants houses and judging them TV-worthy. Think about it: every season, when we get down the final four, Christian gambols about the nation, popping into various residences that are usually full of character, fabric, and light. This stresses me out, not for the designers but for me. Every time Christian knocks on a door, I think “Oh no! What if he’s coming here next. Does my house look interesting enough? Does it show my flair for the dramatic and my hatred of words on clothing?” I have no interest in (nor skillset for) appearing on Project Runway. (How would I recap it?! What I was cast as the villain?! Too much stress.) But catching extended glimpses of Victoria, Sergio, Nancy, and Geoffrey’s living/working spaces and trying to make sweeping psychological and sociological assessments based on the footage has me thinking: we live in reality but are our homes reality-ready? Something to chew on!
For instance, some designers have separate work spaces which then prompts me to ask “what are the financial specs on that? Is this coming out of the $10,000 they got to create their collection? Should I have a separate work space for creating my collection?” Nancy has a whole separate apartment next to her own apartment, both of which overlook Philly’s Art Museum. Y’all, Nancy is rich rich. Good for her. Victoria, meanwhile, seems to have a studio situated at the far end of a sun-dappled garden in which her son and husband mysteriously emerge from the trees like the residents of Brigadoon. “Should I have my own little work cottage in a magical forest?” I ask myself. Geoffrey occupies the New York designer spot meaning he has relatively close quarters (though still pretty roomy, all things considered) and he and Christian don’t get to do any fun “local flavor” activities like Christian does with the others. Sergio, meanwhile, lives in a regular person apartment with his husband Kade who meets Christian and then excuses himself with one of those “well, I’ll let you boys get to it!” exits. I’m obsessed with this. They’re standing in an apartment kitchen but Kade somehow manifests the energy of a gracious host of an estate in some bygone era. After the visit, Sergio invites Christian to play soccer with the promise of men in tiny shorts but then when they go, the men all have leggings on because it is winter and, yes, I have written a letter of complaint to the FCC. Between the gracious hosting and the soccer fraud, however, there’s the monster in Sergio’s bathroom, and it’s there that we begin our superlatives!
Most “You Should Probably Get That Checked Out”
Sergio leads Christian through his collection concept which is how global warming is melting the ice caps. We’ll deal with this later. Like, just put a pin in this. It’s too early yet. Anyway, as part of his commitment to sustainability, he’s growing his own leather in the guest bathroom. Oh, excuse me, in the cat’s bathroom. I’m not sure how the cat feels about this but Christian is vexed. Apparently, you can grow a leather-like material from kombucha and I would tell you more but I watched 30 seconds of a video and I had to lie down. All I know is, there is a creature in Sergio’s cat’s full-size bathtub and it is brown and swampy and possibly sentient and it’s all so much. Christian remarks that it also smells terrible. You’re telling me, Sergio has spent months stinking up the cat’s bathroom?! For fashion? Oh, honey, no indeed!
Nancy’s apartment has a huge lion head door knocker that looks like the knocker that turns into Jacob Marley from Mickey’s Christmas Carol and it’s so ostentatious but inviting and I need it immediately. Nancy also has a life-size cutout of Christian with a speech bubble reading “Amazing!” I’m obsessed with her life.
OMG, during the break Geoffrey was skateboarding (never would have thought of Geoffrey as a skateboarder but the minute he said it I was like “yup, that checks out”) and he pulled his meniscus, which left him immobilized for weeks! He doesn’t have any work done when Christian comes to visit and, of course, it’s a whole thing. Geoffrey! What is happening?! I am so concerned!
Christian and Geoffrey talk through his ideas and then, in confessional, Geoffrey gives a summary: “I definitely took Christian’s advice to heart—everything he said—which was ‘get to work.’ So I got to work.” I’m stitching this on a pillow.
All season long, Christian has given Sergio critique and Sergio has stared back blankly like Christian is some nosey person on a subway offering unsolicited advice. It’s glorious and it comes to the most delicious conclusion this week. Sergio has decided to use fringe to represent the melting water droplets on an iceberg. Christian says the fringe is giving him “old-timey saloon girl.” Sergio nods and stares and then they part ways. Two months later, Sergio shows up in New York City with a whole collection full of fringe! He took the thing Christian told him to cut and redesigned his whole collection around it like he’s a costume designer for season one of Westworld! I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO STAN WHILST SCREAMING.
Sergio is convinced that his collection is giving you climate change awareness chic but when the judges see three selections from it, they are not so sure. It’s well-constructed, as always, but it is also giving you mysterious Victorian woman (possibly a ghost) who is getting a fresh start during the Gold Rush. Obsessed.
This episode! The designers present three pieces to the judges with the possibility hanging over their heads that all of them could move on to Fashion Week, or only three, or only two. And then… it cuts to black! What happened? Did the kombucha get them? We’ll have to wait til next week to find out.