Here's a little known fact about yours truly: when I was a tall, gangly dancer growing up in my unglamorous hometown in southern Indiana, I had high hopes of becoming a Rockette one day. I even formed a high-kick dance duo with my friend Amanda through our dance studio and we took our kicking routines as far as Cincinnati, Ohio. Ha!
That's why I was thrilled to be asked to write a recap post of the most recent episode of Project Runway for their official blog. For last week's challenge the seven remaining designers had to create a performance dress for the famous Radio City Rockettes. Heidi even got her amazing 39 year old legs a'kickin', too.
If you haven't already, hop on over to MyLifetime Television to watch episode 10 of Project Runway. I'd love for you to check out my recap post without getting an eye full of spoilers.
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Kicks and (Rhine)Stones by Indiana Adams
Nothings says New York City like the Radio City Rockettes and nothing says “good tv” like seven crazy good designers on very little sleep manipulating (and in some cases torturing) $350 worth of sparkle and shine.
Out of all the Project Runway Season 10 episodes thus far, the premise of this challenge had me the most excited. The last seven designers had two days to make a modern, dazzling performance dress for the most iconic group of dancers in the world: The Radio City Rockettes. The winner's design would be reproduced and worn by all 36 dancers in their upcoming season. In behind the scenes footage online, Rockettes choreographer and director Linda Haberman taught the final seven some Rockette kicks and poses so that each designer would know exactly how their garment needed to move and behave. That meant lots of stretch, lots of bling, and lots of leg! Oh, and also, the dress had to look good from the front row all the way up to the nosebleed section, had to work for both stage performances and television appearances, and needed to be appropriate for any season. And it had to be made out of candy. Oh, wait. Never mind. That was episode two.
Tim took the designers straight to Mood where Sanjia, Ven, and Elena wandered around like Swatch's lost puppies. As the designers made their final purchases, all we can see is sequins and rhinestones and glitter galore. It's like the dustpan from Liberace's dressing room had come to life!
Back in the workroom, right off the bat, we know that it's going to come down to dress masters Christopher and Dmitry. Since being banned from making another dress featuring his signature “origami rose” fan technique, I wasn't entirely sure what Ven was going to come up with. Speaking of signature design elements, would Elena make some sort of Battlefield Earth-like costume with giant shoulder pads? Would Sanjia make an adorable little jacket? Would Melissa do another high collared, structured neckline? Answers: No, sadly no, and yes, of course.
When Christopher revealed that he would be doing a hand beaded dress featuring the New York City skyline on soft illusion fabric and set off with delicate rhinestones, it's a wonder the other designers didn't stop right there to craft him a little crown and hail him as the king of the challenge immediately. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
But Dmitry, who was a professional ballroom dancer from ages six to 18, was not going down without a fight (Can you picture a tiny Dmitry in a little tux dancing around? I can and it's amazing!). While all the other designers start pulling their hair out, he designed a sexy, modern, sophisticated frock that Fergie (the Black Eyed Pea, not the duchess) would tear off a Rockette in two seconds flat. If Christopher weren't such a mad genius, Dmitry would have had this in the bag.
Sonjia's purple turkey dress along with Fabio's gladiator look and Melissa's art-deco inspired cigarette girl costume (despite an accidental #1 on the chest) rounded out the lackluster middle group:
In the end, the bottom two is Elena, who has made what she admits is a “too shiny band uniform”, and Ven, who has made a zzzzzalskdjaodaksdhjads. Oh, sorry. That was me falling asleep on the keyboard-- that's how boring Ven's simple silver dress was.
Backstage, Ven stood by his design and Elena started saying her teary goodbyes while the judges (including guest judge Debra Messing) pondered Ven and Elena's fate. Michael Kors dubbed Ven
with the drag queen moniker “Origami Rose” and wondered if Ven could not design something unless it featured his fabric fan technique. Although Elena's design was by all accounts a flop, the judges ultimately decided to keep her around for another week and to say auf wiedershen to Origami Rose. Future Project Runway designers, let this go to show you that crazy trumps boring every time!
Although I kind of wish the winner and elimination could have been determined with a good 'ole fashioned dance-off, I think the judges made the right choice.
What about you? Which designer do you think would have won a Project Runway dance-off? Would you have sent Elena packing instead of Ven?