Project Runway Season 11, Episode 8: "Take It All Off!" - Threads

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Project Runway Season 11, Episode 8: "Take It All Off!"

One of the Thunder from Down Under dancers explains the challenge with Tim Gunn.
Team Slick and Hip: Amanda Valentine, left to right, Layana Augilar, Samantha Black, and Richard Hallmarq.
Tim Gunn presents the eighth Project Runway challenge with the help of the Thunder Down Under male dance revue.
One of the Thunder from Down Under dancers explains the challenge with Tim Gunn.

One of the "Thunder from Down Under" dancers explains the challenge with Tim Gunn.

Photo: MyLifetime.com

If you had asked me to come up with a joke faux challenge for "Project Runway," I don't think I could have come up with anything sillier than "making tear-away clothes for an Australian all-male dance revue."

But, that said, last night's episode of "Project Runway," "Take It All Off!", was interesting, and not because there were a lot of hunky shirtless guys. The challenge ended up really testing the design teams' ability to manage their time, collaborate on a cohesive theme, and meet some interesting fit challenges. If they are always fitting slender, tall women, the designers get complacent.

There were also some hilarious moments when the tear-away clothes refused to come off on the runway. Or came off of their own accord.

The dancers from "Thunder from Down Under," as Richard Hallmarq put it, were "built like Thor." Michelle Franklin rattled off some typical measurements: 46-inch chest, 32-inch waist, 22-inch bicep, 26-inch thigh.

The dancers had just been voted Las Vegas' best all-male dance revue. And, their spokesman noted, they are all really from Australia.

Heidi and Tim divided the remaining 8 designers into two teams:

Team Shades of Gray included Patricia Michaels, Daniel Esquivel, Michelle Franklin, and Stanley Hudson.

Team Slick and Hip included Richard Hallmarq, Layana Aguilar, Amanda Valentine, and Samantha Black.

The guest judge was actress and singer/songwriter Emmy Rossum, who just released an album, "Sentimental Journey," and stars in the Showtime show "Shameless."

 

On to the (quickly removable) designs!

There was NO winning design.

In a "Project Runway" first, the judges found all of the designs so terrible that they said there was no winner. They did select a "winning team," however, and in this context, it just meant that Team Shades of Gray members didn't have to worry about being sent home.

Winning Team Shades of Gray designs

Michelle Franklin's design.

 

The losing design

Amanda went home for her contribution to the team effort: two pairs of too-tight pants. Richard was on thin ice for his awful shirts (he made all three, and confessed that he did not know what a collar stand was).

The best results on the team were from Samantha. She made a vest that fit properly, and created a pants pattern and one pair of pants that fit.

Amanda was tasked with sewing the other two pairs of pants based on Samantha's pattern. Here's the thing - neither of Amanda's pants fit at all. Amanda was given a pattern to work from and body measurements, and had a fitting with the dancers, but couldn't manage to make two pairs of pants that fit reasonably.

The losing Team Slick and Hip designs

 

What did you think?

What did you think of the challenge concept? Wasn't the runway show funny?

Do you agree with the judges' decision to not declare any winner?

Was there another designer who should have gone home instead of Amanda? Do you think Richard actually did a worse job?

Comments (11)

GMterrie GMterrie writes: Well, this is a treat to be able to leave a comment.

This season's group of designers is a yawn. When these folks are chosen, why aren't they asked about their sewing skills and business experience. Surely PR would want the money $$ and gifts won used wisely.

These designs for the male dancers were a sorry collection of non-inspired garments/non-garments. There was no imagination, ugly fabric, no proportions, poor measurements, no sense of responsibility for poor choices, and no sense of fun. The WHOLE BUNCH was like this.

The worst group PR ever had, so far, though was the one chosen by Mondo and two other PR contestants. Please don't do this anymore. They were flim-flammed by the applicants personalities, kooky behavior, and limit of designs. Three contestants left and the rest had no inspiration.
Threads magazine is a testament to the art and craft of sewing and design. What a blessing it is to have such a gift.
Thank you.
Posted: 2:57 pm on April 3rd

Cherlyn Cherlyn writes: I to say that the challenge could have been so much fun, but this group of designers are a snooze! I finally had a chance to view the show today. I fell asleep! The judges made the correct decision to not have a winner because there was not one design that deserved to win. These designers clearly do't design for men.
Posted: 9:40 pm on March 21st

elysbeths elysbeths writes: All of the designers should have been sent home (and I love Daniel)! Excuses can be made for the first season or so on PR that designers lack menswear experience, but at this point the contestants should have enough self respect to practice creating men's slacks and shirts prior to the competition. The designers just giggled throughout the runway and it was obvious they really just wanted to survive and move on - it is insulting to the viewers/models/guests. This is what comes of casting for 'personalities' over creative, talented people. PR is the last reality show I still watch (have given up on Top Chef and HGTV design star), and I am about to give up cable for NetFlix and good dramas. Part of the application process should include a sewing test, including slacks.
BTW - I actually found Nina's reaction rather creepy and very juvenile. Should a flash of male hipbone really send an adult woman into convulsions of laughter?
Posted: 7:17 pm on March 20th

elysbeths elysbeths writes: All of the designers should have been sent home (and I love Daniel)! Excuses can be made for the first season or so on PR that designers lack menswear experience, but at this point the contestants should have enough self respect to practice creating men's slacks and shirts prior to the competition. The designers just giggled throughout the runway and it was obvious they really just wanted to survive and move on - it is insulting to the viewers/models/guests! This is what comes of casting for 'personalities' over creative, talented people. PR is the last reality show I still watch (have given up on Top Chef and HGTV design star) and I am about to give up cable for NetFlix and good dramas. Part of the application process should include a sewing test, including slacks.
BTW - I actually found Nina's reaction rather creepy and very juvenile. Should a flash of male hipbone really send an adult woman into convulsions of laughter?
Posted: 7:15 pm on March 20th

Serral Serral writes: TRAINWRECK!

I have to agree with Lisa the Hobitt, it was self inflicted - not enough time, pull off clothes, unusually proportioned clients, etc. The episode should have been called How to Produce Bad clothes and Bad Television all in one episode. BUT...even making allowances for the weird premise and ridiculous time frames, the results were spectacularly bad.

Real people: older, rounder, taller, buff, hippy, busty etc make up about 99% of the population. What is going on that a show that purports to discover the next great designer, chooses people that can't make clothes for 99% of the population?

They should all have gone home.
Posted: 3:28 pm on March 19th

sews4fun sews4fun writes: Yup, the costumes were awful and it was a dog and pony show
BUT..... they gave these designers ONE DAY to put this stuff down the runway. These guys don't have normal bodies, I'm short and round but still, pretty proportinal. You are sewing a shirt that is going from a size super 48 something plus chest down to a 32" waist. I bet these guys have trouble finding clothes off the rack pretty much anywhere. Somewhere, the fit will be off, either too big somewhere or too tight someplace else. I felt sorry for these designers because the body proportions were so sharply contrasted. I think I would have just sewn something together that was way too big, stuck it on them and start pinning, marking and cutting like mad. It would still look terrible when I was done. I think I would have just given up and used spandex ;-)
Patricia's same old same old is so predictible, you can set a clock by her. I like Amanda but I think her stuff was the worst, I was still sorry to see her go.
I would like to see Michelle and Samantha in the final 3 but I think Heidi has it in for Michelle and will look for an excuse to give her the ax. I think Michelle sees fashion a bit differently and I would like to see more of her designs.

Posted: 10:57 pm on March 15th

Lise_the_hobbit Lise_the_hobbit writes: If you bring in designers with very limited experience in sewing menswear and then give them too little time, what do you expect will happen? Then you give them models with seriously non-standard measurements to work with? Sorry, Heidi and Project Runway staff - this was a self-inflicted injury and is 80 plus percent on the PR staff. Especially since I don't think the designers have had to construct a traditional blouse or shirt yet this season, and I suspect that only Stanley has done one in recent memory.

I make dress and western shirts for my husband fairly regularly - there are a lot of the tricks of the trade I do not know, but I have the routine down pretty well - it takes me about 4.5 hours per shirt from a commercial pattern that I do not have to alter without a flat foot and hand sewing the buttons. For this challenge, I would have used white ring snaps (the kind you see on toddler's clothing) instead of buttons and band collars instead of two piece if you are skipping neckties, and used a serger instead of flat felling, and could probably have the cutting and construction done in 10 hours for the 3 shirts - but that doesn't include the time to draft the pattern.

Patricia should have done a woven vest front with turned tubes attached to a base fabric, which would have taken less time and would look really interesting, especially if she bar-tacked every 3 or 4 intersections instead of sewing down every single stripe. Constructing the vest itself once the fabric was done would take probably 30 minutes max. A second vest front could have been done with a stripe fabric and laying the pattern on the bias for a chevron effect and to emphasize the oversized shoulders - once again with a hidden placket behind the center front to put velcro or snap tape on.

For the pants, I would have constructed something more like the pants that basketball and volleyball teams use for warm ups - they have a deep placket and snap up the side. If you made the pants that way with a fake fly in the front, you could do the fitting to pin darts in the back and a couple of pleats in the front to bring the waist in, and then attached the waist band to the front and back as separate pieces snapped at the sides. These are costumes, they have to look like a suit, but they don't have to be constructed exactly the same way.
Posted: 10:47 pm on March 15th

CherieFrid CherieFrid writes: These were atrocious! I never went to fashion school, and have been mostly self taught, but I can make a men's shirt! Even just making a men's shirt from a commercial pattern gives you tricks for menswear. The collar? Seriously?! You don't know that you have to interface and strengthen a basic collar? You do the same thing with women's wear! That's shlocky and unacceptable.
Posted: 7:11 pm on March 15th

Soli Soli writes: About the worst episode ever of PR that I've seen, and I've seen every season/episode of the classic series (skipped the last All-Stars). Yes, seeing Nina lose it was funny, but my gawd - what a bunch of amateurs. I know I've mentioned my online friend who has been trying to get on PR for years, only to be shot down by Laura Bennett and others that her work is too costumey (well, she teaches theatrical costuming, and works as a pro costume designer, so there). This is where people in costume shops have all sorts of real world experience above anything that these snobbish fashionistas have - you have to be able to deal with every type of body issue on tight deadlines. I have to say, though, that I blame the producers for throwing everyone in on the deep end and just presuming that they're going to make magic. If the only people they take on are women's wear designers, some fresh out of school, how much experience do they have with menswear? Did they even chose to take tailoring courses? So to give them one day to come up with 3 tear-away outfits when only one of them has done anything like this is just asking for trouble. Still, I could not believe how truly horrible the clothes were. The guys seemed to just be clenching their jaws walking the runway, waiting for the moment when they could at least dance and peel out of those horrid garments - and even that didn't work for everyone. (Can't you just imagine what it was like to be in their shoes - they get a shot at appearing on American television and end up with not even being able to look good doing what they do best?) I'm sick of the two mean girls and their snark - throwing Richard under the bus was typical. Even if Patricia is a wonderful textile artist, she's turning into a one-trick pony in these challenges, and it really showed in the fact that she could only get the shirt done in all that time. I understood what Zac was saying about having to draft a pattern and sew the muslin for a shirt block the first day of school, but he neglected to mention that that exercise is always in a standard pattern size with predetermined measurements, which might or might not fit the mannequin when you're done - providing you followed the instructions to the letter and 1/8th inch. Now put those beefcake guys with over-built chests, shoulders and arms into the equation and I'd like to see him (instead of his staff) knock out the pattern and a well fitting shirt in a couple of hours. Yes, I can sew a shirt muslin in 30 minutes, but it's not going to be pretty. Why don't they just give up on the menswear challenges - every single time they've done it, they've gotten nothing but horrible amateur clothes walking down the runway. Unless they do an entire season of menswear designers and tailors (and who's going to watch that?), if they continue to only cast people who are aspiring women's designers without costuming experience, they're going to keep getting this result. And isn't this the cliche of the definition of insanity? Repeating the same thing (dress designers assigned to menswear) and expecting a different result.
Posted: 6:53 pm on March 15th

Lauriepie Lauriepie writes: I would NOT have predicted that the designers would have produced so many AWFUL designs in this challenge! The clothes were 100x more poorly conceived and ill-fitting than the ones made for the mature women 2 weeks ago, and that's an understatement. It was as if they'd decided to just wing it and dismiss the tapemeasurements. I agree with hazelpi (above). Nina's response was priceless. I too howled through most of the episode, especially the runway show and the judging segments. Props to Amanda for clearing the air with Richard in the waiting room, and also for owning up to the poorly made pants pattern. He was M.I.A. after the women rejected his glitzy designs, and he offered little construction help. (thanks for your helpfullness, Stanley!) The shirts he made were equally as bad as her pants. Still, after sending 2 contestants home last week, I thought possibly there was room to spare someone last night. No winner AND no loser(s) seemed fair to me.
Posted: 6:41 pm on March 15th

hazelspi hazelspi writes: I don't think I've ever seen ANYTHING so ill-made, even from a sewing beginner. Didn't they have tape measurers?...didn't they use them? One pair of pants were about 4" too long, another pair about 2" too short and one pant leg was longer than the other! That's just the pants, all the rest of the stuff was equally bad. However, it was a hilarious runway episode and I loved seeing dead-pan Nina crack up...I'll bet that was the best laugh she's had in years. It's approprate that there was no winner and I believe equally there should have been no one loser. It made for good entertainment however.
Posted: 3:13 pm on March 15th

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