This week’s episode of “Top Design” is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most because they promised “Project Runway” alums. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a die-hard PR fan since the first season. I was especially excited to see Andrae (“What happened to Andrae?!” as Tim Gunn would say) and Santino from the second season.
Spoilers for Episode 3 ahead, so don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens, okay? Okay. Let’s start the recap!
This episode begins with host India Hicks telling the contestants that they will be designing window displays for an “exclusive boutique” in downtown L.A. Never mind that the exclusive boutique looks like a strip mall in Ohio. They’re going to work their magic and make it fabulous!
Enter the “Project Runway” designers they’ll be working with. Each one has designed an outfit that the contestants will create a display around.
India introduces them: Santino Rice, Jeffrey Sebelia, Andrae Gonzalo, Daniel Franco, and Sweet P.
India says, “I’m sure you recognize them.” Well, I recognized everyone but Jeffrey. What’s up with his new look?
Is it just me, or does he look like Pancho Villa? All he needs is a hat.
Eddie and Teresa (who I still can never seem to remember from week to week–my reaction is always, “Who?”) will be working with Santino. Eddie is beside himself, he’s so excited. He raves about Santino’s look and says it reminds him of “Masquerade” and gondolas.
“This look is sick.” Sick means good, you guys. (Who says my blog isn’t educational?)
Natalie and Ondine are working with Sweet P. Ondine did lots of window displays for the “Sex and the City” movie. Sure seems like she’ll have an upper hand on this challenge.
Sweet P. asks the 20-year old Natalie and the 40-something Ondine, “Which of you is older?” Hmmm. Let’s see. Hard to tell. Oh, it’s Ondine. Sweet P. says, “You’re the leader.”
Preston and Andrea are working with Daniel (who is famous for appearing on “Project Runway” as a contestant for both seasons 1 and 2). Daniel immediately dubs them “Team Gorgeous.”
Daniel has brought a poem to read them. It goes something like this:
“It is night, she is floating, she is hovering, forest of black branches, below is glittering sand. Glittering and undisturbed.”
Daniel tells the camera, “I like to inspire people who work with me. I’m a great person to work with because I make it so easy.” This is SO Daniel if you saw him on PR. It makes me laugh.
Daniel chooses Preston as the team leader. Andrea is pleased that this will mean he’s on the chopping block if the window doesn’t turn out well. She’s wishing she had Eddie as a partner again like last week, but no such luck.
Nathan and Shazia are working with Andrae. Andrae has brought a simple gray dress. He waxes poetic about how it represents the murky political season as we near the November election. It represents uncertainty.
Nathan tells the camera, “The dress was Debbie Downer.” Andrae picks Nathan as the team leader.
“Big Daddy” Kerry and Wisit are working with Pancho Jeffrey. He created a modern suit inspired, he says, by the movie “Blade Runner.”
Big Daddy thinks he’s talking about “Blades of Glory,” a movie that couldn’t be more different.
Kerry says, “Oh, I’ve seen that movie.” But as Jeffrey starts talking about “apocalyptic times,” Big Daddy Kerry says (to the camera), “Dear Lord, make me a bird so I can fly far, far away. I had no idea what he was talking about.”
Wisit suggests graffiti on the walls, with a Rococo look. That’s not “high-end enough” for Jeffrey. He gives the leadership role to Kerry, whose idea was to hang mirrored tiles inspired by the work of artist David Hockney (a British artist who was part of the Pop movement in the ’60s).
Jeffrey tells us that he has “all the confidence in the world with Big Daddy. But I think Wisit’s gonna bring him down!”
The teams have 30 minutes to plan and then they go out shopping for materials with $400 in hand. Upon their return, they have 3 hours to get started on their displays. Most of them focus on painting.
Wisit won’t let the Rococo idea go, even though Jeffrey nixed it. He insists that they should hang an ornate foil wallpaper on both sides of the window display. But Big Daddy Kerry is too nice to say anything. He just sighs and says, “I have to compromise.” I have a baaaad feeling about this…
Todd Oldham stops by to check in with them. He gives helpful advice on things like how to break mirrors. Shazia raves that he is the most wonderful, most helpful person in the whole, entire world!!
Kerry leaves Wisit to hold a mirror in place while the adhesive sets. Wisit isn’t really equipped for the job. “Help!” he cries as the window slowly slides down, down, down.
Kerry says, “I wanted to drop-kick him to Jesus, but I just smiled like a Southern gentleman.”
The next day dawns bright and early and the contestants have 4 hours to finish up. Preston holds up the mannequin with Daniel’s dress on it while Andrea works underneath to “hoist it” with a bar. The mannequin is heavy. Andrea isn’t working fast enough for Preston.
“You’ve gotta get the bar in her butt,” he says. “Just get the bar in the butt. Honey, I need you to get the butt in her bar.” Er, you know what he means.
Andrea tells the camera that “Preston has a totally take-charge, dominant personality, and part of being a good designer is getting along with all kinds of personality types.” Like hers, I assume.
Andrae stops by to monitor the progress of his team. He immediately spots the wicker Preston bought and stops cold. He says, “We lived with so much wicker in my house as a child, so I have an aversion to it. No. I’m sorry. The wicker must go. No wicker!“
See why I love Andrae? He cracks me up.
He was not cracking Nathan up, however. Shazia notes that Nathan’s head looked like it was going to explode. In the end, they throw what looks like a sheet over the wicker chair. And that’s better…how?
Jeffrey takes one look at his window with all that Rococo wallpaper and says, “Bleep.” I think this means he isn’t pleased.
Time’s up, contestants. Time for the judges to file in and survey the work. On Margaret Russell’s blog she says it was so cold the night they filmed this that there were snowflakes drifting around. Brrr. They do look cold. I hope that purple sequin beret is keeping Kelly Wearstler’s head warm.
Here’s how all the windows turned out:
They are, in order:
- Andrae’s Murky Political Confusion in a Gray Dress (Nathan and Shazia)
- Daniel’s “Paris at Night” (Preston and Andrea)
- Jeffrey’s “Blade Runner” (Kerry and Wisit)
- Santino’s “Venice at Night” (Eddie and Teresa)
- Sweet P’s Butterfly Dress (Ondine and Natalie
Okay, time to file into the Judging Warehouse for the verdict.
Kelly is such a pretty girl. Why does she insist on dressing like a homeless person from 1986? Look at those knee socks. Leg warmers? Whatever they are. And that big hair! Crazy. She looks like she may have gone off her meds.
Anyway, so the judges say they loved Preston and Andrea’s understated window that really showcased Daniel’s beautiful gold dress. But in the end they awarded the Top Design to Ondine and Natalie’s butterfly window.
They weren’t as happy with the other windows. They didn’t understand Andrae’s political display. “You need Cliff’s Notes to get what it all means,” Kelly says. Margaret thinks it looks like a high-school project. Jonathan says, “The narrative just didn’t make sense.”
Here’s the look he got on his face when Nathan explained how it represented the Western World meeting the Mideast and all the tension of the political season:
He wasn’t buying it.
The other display they really, really hated was Jeffrey’s, designed by Kerry and Wisit. They didn’t like the Rococo. They didn’t like how the windows were blacked out on either side. The whole thing was a mess and looked nothing like “Blade Runner.” Not only that, but it did nothing for “the merch” as Jonathan calls it (meaning Jeffrey’s suit).
Who should be Auf’d? (Oops, wrong show.) Who should be Latered? (Oops, wrong season.) Who should, um, go home? (Do we not have a clever term for that on this show yet?)
Kerry refuses to throw Wisit under the bus. He accepts responsibility as team leader. And the judges reward him for his honesty and his loyalty by…telling him he’s outta there. They can’t live with his design.
Boo-hiss. I don’t like this decision. I liked Big Daddy. He refused to back stab his teammate. He was pleasant and professional, even if he didn’t know Blade Runner from Blades of Glory. Yes, his window was a disaster area, but I was still sad to see him go.
What do you think? Did the right window win? Did the right person go home?