The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011
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Team Russia

Alright, we've had time to reflect and calm down, so let's get back into it.

Surprisingly, Team Russia worked well together. That's not to say that they produced flawless looks, but there seemed to be some mutual respect going on that allowed them to get the job done with no drama.

Although frankly, they could have used a little drama when they got to this point. How is it that neither of them stopped and said "Wait. What the HELL are we doing?!"

Model: Tara Egan

Okay, now that we've calmed down a bit we can admit, that it wasn't the absolute worst runway show in the history of PR. There were some cute looks. Or, at the very least, some inoffensive ones. This was not bad.

We really like the macrame top. The only thing we don't like about it is the cutout which is unflattering on even the thinnest woman.

The back is nice and the pants have a pleasing, billowy, beach-appropriate quality to them.

They are a bit unnecessarily complicated on the front, though.

But the real problem is that they were just way too long. How is it that they went from this chic and stylish beach number...

Model: Celine Chua this utterly horrible, eye-searing stripper outfit?

Madonna circa 1984 would have turned down this outfit for looking too slutty.

And that is some cheapass-looking lace. She looks like she'd go up in seconds if she got within 5 feet of an open flame.

We can admit that the top, with the organza, was kind of interesting and pleasing to the eye, but EVERYTHING ELSE, kittens. Everything else is an INSULT to the eye. That garter effect with the legs? How slutty can one design be?

How on earth did either of them ever get the idea that this was avant garde? She looks like a Russian mail order bride! Which is kind of appropriate in a way, now that we think about it.

Even Heidi, who's certainly no prude when it comes to body-baring outfits, looked disgusted by it.

They're just lucky that the judges had it in for Mitchell, because under more typical circumstances an outfit that bad would have certainly resulted in an auf'ing.

Extended Judging Video:

[Photos: Mike Yarish/ - Video: - Screencaps:]

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Personally, I thought the winning outfit was worse than the stripper one.

Yeah, Nicolas should thank his lucky stars that the judges were so pissed off at Mitchell. That second outfit is awful of HOLY SHIT proportions.

It was nice to see a team that worked well together, though. Not that they did a very good job (although the first look is pretty cute), but it was nice to see that there wasn't all the resentment, passive-aggression and frustration that seemed to plague some of the other teams.

That first design was pretty cute. The macrame and the color of the bathing suit worked.

But the stripper bride wasn't even awful just because it was slutty - I mean, it was technically a beach challenge where a bikini would have been appropriate. I just didn't see how the lace and the organza had anything to do with surfwear or beach.resort wear in general. It's a shame, because if they'd had more time to fine-tune the first look and scrap the second altogether they could have been top two.

Not to mention, I felt awful for Gordana. She was SEETHING (quietly, respectfully, but pissed) on that runway. She's produced two great looks thus far and was in the bottom for a crack challenge with crack judging.

I'm still pretty disappointed with the episode.

Loved the beach outfit but why hideous blue lace for the other one?

I'm glad neither of them were auf'd though, they worked well together and are both really talented.

It looks kind of like a mermaid, though, right? Like a mermaid who likes to have fun. A lot of fun. I would make a "semen" pun regarding the lace and organza, but I'm not that inspired.

great post guys!
did anyone else think it was hilariously appropriate that team russia's model's hair was in tight buns all over her head like an austere eastern european masseuse named Helga?
maybe that was just me...
also I was wondering: in your opinion, what was the worst runway show in the history of PR?

I think he was going for a sea person look, that I think the lace effectively conveyed. I mean yeah it wasn't practical or even remotely wearable, but I appreciated the idea behind it.

I don't think that would have gone home. I thought Qrystal's and Epperson's avant garde outfit was far worse. This one had a good idea and you can see where it was going. The other monstrosity not only showed the model's ass, but that thing attached to it clearly looked attached. That wasn't an idea, it was just crap stuck together.

It's Qrystal who was lucky imo. The top of the first outfit and the originality of this team's looks would not have resulted in an auf imo.

Remember they kept santino in after those dreadful lingerie outfits...

You're spot-on with your comments. The macrame top would have been a hit without that cutout. Too bad the organza top was paired with that lace disaster. What were they thinking?

I thought the first number looked fantastic coming down the runway-- it was only afterward that I realized the pants were kinda sloppy, as the judges pointed it out.

The gratuitous cut-out in the top and the poly-lace whoresuit: you can take the designer out of Russia, but you can't take Russia out of the designer.

Team Russia? Might be fightin' words for Gordana.

Speaking of whom, how funny is it that on the Q&A on Gordana's bio page on the show's website she answered "What fashion faux pas drives you crazy?" with "Open stomach." Hahaha.

I don't hate this. Well, I basically hate the"avant-garde" look. But really, I don't see how this soooo much worse than Ra'mon and Mitchell. I thought Qristal and Epperson staked their claim to most hideous outfit with that strange support garment.

Yes, these two outfits presented the judges with an impossible decision. On the one hand, the macrame swimsuit and wonderfully beachy pants looked like a winning outfit (I loved the cutout). On the other hand, the lacy hooker whatever-it-was looked auf-worthy.

Thank god they got swept into the middle by the clearly divided Mitchel/Ra'mon team.

Nicholas = taste issues that will get him auf'ed sooner than he should be based on his technical skills and creativity

Gordana= my pick to win. I love her stuff and I think she is very professional and charming. I know that doesn't count for squat, but hopefully there is a "client challenge" coming up where she can really shine.

I'm glad someone else mentioned the lingerie episode. That was definitely a worse runway show than this.

TheNYCourier, I think you're giving him too much credit when you say it's sort of a mermaid look!

The macrame top was nice enough, and the pants were nice enough. But they didn't look good together. Not at all.

Anyway, I'm glad they're still in, Gordana especially. She looked completely stunned when she heard they were in the bottom two. I liked that even though she didn't approve of Nicholas' "AG" look, she still defended him during the judging.

(ducking) I agree with Gordana that the organza treatment at the top is rather nice, framing the model's face; the back was especially lovely. I think Nicolas was going for a 'mermaid' effect with the lace garter/stockings, but as all have acknowledged, it was just awful.

Too bad about the pants being so long. I loved how they moved on the runway.

I was really proud of Gordana for how she handled herself. She wasn't hanging back and letting her partner do all the work out of laziness (uh, Mitchell) or standing over him and lecturing (Epperson), but just let her partner do his thing. It would have helped if she had voiced an opinion on this one, but overall she knew it was his head if this went south and just let it go. Gordana is still my vote for "top three" in the TLo polls every week and I'll continue to put her there despite her bottom three status this week.

Rosie's Girl

Listening to the extended judging It occurred to me that Nina saw something interesting to distract her from the spectacular bad taste of the cutouts and chip, chip lace in the "avant garde" piece. I suspect that this, coupled with the judges' praise for the two tops saved this team. Seems to me that the judges expect some missteps with some of these challenges, but as Tim says, "Don't bore Nina!". It didn't hurt that they also showed a little sewing skill and some creativity.

I think he was going for a sea person look, that I think the lace effectively conveyed. I mean yeah it wasn't practical or even remotely wearable, but I appreciated the idea behind it.

I agree with this. I hate that cheap-ass looking lace, but I love the color transition and the foamy-looking top and back. If that was an opaque fabric and didn't have the garter effect, it wouldn't be so offensive.

I have to say though...."Team Russia"? I love you guys TLo, but that title makes me think of something a friend asked me when I was living in Europe, "Do Americans know that Europe is made up of different countries?"

Others have mentioned that, after making a big to-do about how the Garnier stylists would come up with a special hairstyle for each design, the hair styles weren't highlighted or appeared to be all that important. That disconnect felt most apparent to me in Team Russia's "avant-garde" look; if Nicolas was alluding to mermaids/sea-people, how does that 'do reflect that image?

" Elaine said...

I have to say though...."Team Russia"? I love you guys TLo, but that title makes me think of something a friend asked me when I was living in Europe, "Do Americans know that Europe is made up of different countries?"

It's a joke, not a geography lesson. The nitpicking of commenters is amazing sometimes.

The avant garde look has grown on me. I think it's actually quite nice from the waist up. If they had gotten rid of those lace chaps and made the organza even more exuberant it could have been a total knock-out (or, at the very least, safe).

How the hell tall is Celine anyways? She looks like a giant next to everyone else on that runway. IMHO, both she and Tara are the two best models on this show. If Fatma could control the crazy she'd be up there too.

Are you sure that this wasn't the worst runway show in PR history? I'm a Californian and I didn't see a single piece of surf wear. There was some beach wear, but not surf wear. Surf wear is *functional*. You're supposed to be able to move in it--you know, swim, climb up on a board. Stuff like that. You couldn't wade in most of what was shown.

And none of the ethnic influences on surf wear were shown--Hawaiian, Balinese, Costa Rica--places where surfers go with good waves.

That said, I actually loved the top on the surf look here. And I liked that Gordana found a way to defend Nicolas with the slutwear, by pointing out the good stuff on top of the outfit. She made it clear it was his design, but didn't throw him to the wolves.

Boy the winning design was fug. The whole thing felt like pity prize for Ra'mon having to deal with Mitchell's do-nothingness.

C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

Well, I'd start by arguing that Gordana is not Russian, and her taste level (as demonstrated by her previous looks) seems quite higher than Nikolai's.

If Nikolai had suggested that he was inspired to produce his avant garde look by Aphrodite emerging from the foam of the sea, I might have cut him a bit of slack for going too literal in his execution. However, this was just slutty, slutty, slutty.

Gordana was a good team player in merely executing the team leader's wishes than turning into the bickersons, like SpellcheQ and Epperson. And if push came to shove, all she would have had to say is that she was merely there to sew whatever Nic designed.

I'm glad to see both of them move on. And I hope Gordana is given a challenge where she can really kick out something spectacular.

I thought the first outfit was kind of cute but it was a bit sloppy. The second was just all kinds of no.

I think it's kind of funny/cute that, after all this time, Heidi still pronounces "idea" as i-deer.

Honestly, if it weren't for the lace on the legs I really wouldn't have a problem with the second outfit. I didn't think it was that bad or super scandalous. Then again, I was in all sorts of disagreement with the judges on this episode so maybe I'm losing it.

I thought the first look was very beach-worthy! yeah, the pants were a bit of a mess in front and definitely too long, but the overall look, yeah, it'd work on a beach.

The second look might have been salvageable if they'd dropped the lacy leggings/garters and just had the cute dress with the organza collar. Maybe not completely avant garde, it was not worthy of the bottom two.

one of the few things I found notable on this challenge was how many of the teams seemed to work together well. Although Epperson/Qristyl and Mitchell/Ramon had issues, the rest of the pairs seemed to be fairly sympatico or complimentary. It's just sad that the collaborative efforts got so little attention.

yes, this is a strong contender for "Worst PR Runway Show" ever!


The first look had a lot of potential and I was really disappointed when we saw how rediculously bad the pant hems were. But the idea was solid for a challenge that most definitely wasn't about *surfwear* but all looked way too much like resortwear from all the other designers.

Add me to the list of viewers who could see where the avant-garde design wanted to go. Too bad the journey was so wobbly, though. But the colour and the organza were good starting points. How the journey ended up in Slutsville is just... too sad.

I'm also surprised they ended up in the top two teams. I really thought SpellCheQ and Epperson's stuff was worse, overall.

Ah, well. Like I typed yesterday, not the worse runway show but it's like all the designs were about 10 degrees off the main design challenge target.

I agree with Samantha. Take the blue lace leggings off, and the 2nd outfit is not bad, IMO. I think there are things they could have done with it that would have made it a very cute dress.

I also didn't find the stomach cutout that offensive because it was offset with a sleek, flowing pair of pants. Stomach cutouts look gross (IMO) when they appear over top a tight, short skirt or pair of shorts that draws arrows to the belly.

Fix the execution on the pants, and I'd wear those in a heartbeat.

TLo, totally agree with you on the first outfit - get rid of the cut-out on the top and finish the hem of the pants a little better and it's terrific. I disagree with Nina's dismissal of it as a mess.

And I think that Max Azria seems like a very sweet man - may have to buy some of his Miley Cyrus clothes at Wal-Mart.......for my nieces.....

I wonder what role Tim had in this unsurfwear surfwear challenge.

I mean, when he walked in, walked around and saw that *everyone's* first design had no actual surfwear looks, shouldn't he have gathered 'round the chickidees and reinterated what the hell they're suppose to be doing (and it wasn't beach or resort wear)?

I could see him not doing that if one or two teams actually got the challenge because that would mean that the design brief was explained and understood by at least the smart ones. But not one of the teams did. Not one.

I'm not blaming Tim. I'm just wondering if, seeing what was happening, his role as 'mentor' meant that he'd have to let the designers screw up their concepts as nicely as possible or his role could have included telling them all, basically, that they're not actually following the design brief and to rethink and retool.

Then again, its not like the judges (none of whom seemed surfwear cognizant, anyway) seemed to point that out to anyone. Actually. Never mind... .

I agree with the positive comments on Gordana - she's a class act!

mll (another lulu)

The more that I look at the effort this team put forth, the more I appreciate it. The outfits actually coordinate with each other for one thing. They must have used their time very wisely and actually planned these looks. The workmanship for the most part is quite skilled.

That beautiful hand-dyed macrame top has very flattering lines, including the cutout I think. I would have loved to see an entire bathing suit created this way. I also really like the beachy, swishy pants though perhaps they are a bit too long.

On the other hand, although I get at first glance the slutty vibe from the frothy mermaid costume, I also really appreciate the workmanship. As far as the lace goes, look at how they managed to curve it and attach it evenly, without sagging, all the way down to her footwear. To me, that is impressive sewing AND design. As for the lace, I have NEVER EVER read any comments on this blog where anyone really likes the use of lace, no matter what the challenge. Most people seem to HATE lace.

This look really does have some elements of avant garde. When I first starting looking at collections after learning a tiny bit about fashion, I was shocked and stunned at what passed for avant garde. Some of it IS fugly, slutty, sloppy, silly, insane, and often looks poorly made. And of course, unwearable in real life. And I get that IS the purpose isn't it? To inspire, to think outside the box, to stretch the definition of what is wearable, flattering, and to WOW us, whether we hate it or love it. This look doesn't even come close to going too far enough, but it's imaginative, and I appreciate that.

please no side eyes but...

i don't think the avant garde lace number was that tragic.
No *real* person would wear it..but i could see Lady Gaga wearing that in a heartbeat! Hell, i could even see those lace garters coming down the VS fashion show runway -which is Nicholas' background anyways, right?

The lace thing was all kinds of ugly, but the concept of the legs was interesting. Needed lots more time and energy put into it along with a much higher quality of lace, but they did bring to mind the idea of the Chanel tights worn by Rachel Bilson.

maybe i'm just a slut, but i liked Nicolas' outfit. i thought doing what he did with the shape of the tights and putting them over the shoes and the puffs of organza at the top made for an outfit that might not have been avant garde, but was at least more interesting & evocative of the ocean than all the designers who decided that a giant shoulder treatment (basically ripping off the fabulous dress Chris & Christian made in season 4) was the way to make a basic dress avant garde. and don't even get me started on the neoprene THING that looks like it was used to test absorbency on a diaper commercial.

It's possible that I hallucinated it, but I'm pretty sure Nicolas did say he had a mermaid concept in mind. (It may've been in the extended Tim scenes rather than the show, though. I'm not sure now.)

Granted, the end result wasn't great, but isn't the whole point of avant garde fashion conceptual pieces? I think he should get credit for thinking in the right direction, at least, and I imagine that's part of why he was safe.

I think it's interesting. Not wearable, no, but in a fabric art on a human form sort of way it's got a sea foam/water symbolism I can appreciate.

Agreed that the organza was quite lovely and the concept behind the design was there. Yes, Nicolas has a tiny taste issue.
I don't think he should be thanking Mitchell's lazy ass for helping him skate by; he should be kissing Gordana's ass for being an awesome teammate. I don't think the look was a disaster; with another designer, it would have been.

My money says Gordana is top 3. Nicolas won't make it, but he is probably my favorite to watch so far.

I agree that Gordana was an excellent team member and that she stuck up for her captain.
I was suprised when this team was selected for the bottom, I thought they would be firmly in the middle of the pack, or given the other teams left on the runway , up for the win.
Seeing as the "surfer girls" that they interviewed on the beach were all wearing swimsuits with some sort of cover up (dress or shorts) It is no mystery as to why none of the designers did a "real" surf look. That is a sub-speciality in active wear. I thought his first look was pretty good, that pants are too long. The Avant-garde I thought color wise did go with the first look and was kind of "surf" inspired as in , the actual surf on the sand. But I agree it was vulgar.She would be right at home in the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, though.

The first look, with the bathing suit and pants, has real potential. However, the bathing suit cut out came off stripper-ish to me. Perhaps that was simply because of the combination with the horrific second look.

I wonder why none of the designers except Carol-Hannah had the models remove the cover up and show the bathing suit on the runway. I think all of the teams had a bathingsuit (under) their original challenge outfit, but for the most part they weren't shown.

The problem with the tights is that they were open on the inside, but not at all on the outside--it really does scream slutty--particularly in lace and pastel. Nikolai might have pulled it off if there'd been a harder edge to it--darker or brighter colors.

I keep thinking of how well the designers in Season Four pulled off the wrestling challenge. Christian pulled off black lace leggings. Yes, it was intentionally slutty, but also a bit elegant and humorous.

That was an awful challenge that became more through the talents of the designers (only poor Rami was really undone by it).

A surf challenge shouldn't have been this off. Someone should have delivered a piece of surf wear.

Adding the avant-garde challenge on top of it was ridiculous. There was no natural segue between the two. I don't really blame the designers for mucking that part up. All I could think of were various Japanese avant-garde designers used similar materials to surfwear to do various bandage-y bondage/futuristic warrior stuff.

I didn't see avant-garde in this challenge--more like '80s prom dresses run amuck. Made me wish Malvin hadn't delivered such an egg last week. At least he can construct and I think he really would have delivered something (successful or not) that was avant-garde.

I dunno, I don't find the second one particularly slutty - just ugly as fuck.

Maybe it says something about my taste level, but I actually responded really well to the avantgarde look. On further study,I can see how it says stripper, I suppose, but I didn't read that at all. To me, I thought that the look was complete, and actually complimented their first look, which I felt was not the case with so many of the designs. And it had a point of view, which again, I feel like so few of the other teams did. Sure, it's not wearable in real life, but I'd be disappointed if it was.
I would so wear those pants from the first look.

I thought the idea was to create beach/beach culture-inspired clothes the way Nina talked about in her video blog. Bright colors, beachy, fun/vibrant, sporty. Basically this was the Uli challenge

Team Moose and Squirrel's first outfirst did at least lean towards that. It strikes me that any good elements in terms of execution rest more on Gordana than Nicholas. Those slacks were overdone. I recall Gordana wasn't that crazy about his design overall but she was willing to be a trouper and make it as good as possible.

The problem with using lace for these challenegs is good lace is damn expensive. I was in the dallas fabric district last month. They have an excelelnt district with terric warehouse shops with slashed prices. But even on discount high quality lace was going to cost $50-100/yard.

It occurred to me watching the workroom videos, Tim tended to steer them away from having their garments tear away to unveil a bikini top or bottom. He brought it up with Gordana/Nicholas but also Althea/Louise, Carol Hannah/Shirin and those Bickersons


It speaks volumes about Gordana that she did not throw Nicolas under a bus when the judges were criticizing his lace monstrosity. Instead, she pointed out the positives and the hard work he did, which is graceful and kind. She's a good egg and will be successful even if PRW doesn't work out for her.

Max Azria also found a way to say something nice to everyone, even if he didn't like their stuff. He praised N + G's passion, though admitting their designs were crap. He seems like a sweetheart.

I'm wondering if the length of the pants and the lack of length on the AG skirt may be a result of the outfits originally being designed for the other model.

Those pants on Celine wouldn't have been as long and the skirt on the AG dress would have hit lower on Tara's thigh, making it less crotchtacular.

It still would have been vulgar and cheap-looking, but the effect Nicolas was going for, and he did mention a mermaid effect during the episode, may have been more apparent on someone shorter and who looks like she could be part fish. Albeit a very pretty fish.

Sewing Siren (first of all, want to say I love your comments in general),

I don't think the designers needed to deliver an O'Neill wetsuit--but a rashguard, board shirts, a swim suit that can be moved in with a cover up would be doable.

And, like I said, it was odd to see so little of the ethnic influences--a little ikat thrown in. We got some of the hippie stuff--tye-dye and macrame--but the hot-weather vibe was missing.

Surfers have beautiful bodies--very, very comfortable with their bodies and, at the same time, valuing easy-to-move-in clothes. The beach-y looks were more Hamptons and Real Housewives of OC than surfy. Pool/cabana wear. I actually watched the episode twice just to make sure I hadn't missed something that fit the brief.

Weird, this group did so well on the maternity challenge.

I'd also like to point out why a few of us rolled our eyes at "Team Russia." The former, non-Soviet but Communist, Yugoslavia, is across the Adriatic from Italy. And while it shares a border with Hungary, ethnically and culturally, it does share as much with Italy, N. Africa, the Middle East and Greece as it does with Russia.

So reading "Team Russia" is as annoying to someone who's mother was from the former Yugoslavia as it is to hear all Hispanics referred to as "Mexican." There are a lot of cultural and ethnic differences between the former Soviet republics and the countries of Eastern Europe. I'd expect people as sophisticated as TLo to appreciate that.


I agree about the macrame top. Cute. Almost. It seemed Boris & Natasha had a good idea that kind of veered off the road and into a ditch before it got to its destination. Maybe they were trying to avoid hitting a squirrel...

But the crotchless thing... don't even know what to call it...

It maybe looks like what you'd get if a Russian ice dancer & a tranny hooker went into business together, or had a baby together, or just smoked pot while watching Wendy Williams.


That second look, even a Freemont street hooker would turn up her nose at it, saying she was too classy to wear that.

I agree with those who are a little miffed with the term "Team Russia." While I'm sure TLo meant no harm, the point still stands: Americans need to start learning more about the rest of the world. After that, maybe Americans can move on to the next step: respecting others.

I liked both. I don't think I'd wear either, but my body isn't right for the macrame and the lacy one isn't really meant to be worn, but I like where they were going with it.

Was the lace outfit supposed to be inspired by foam and also a take off on the wet suit?

Much better IMO that Epperson and SpellCheQ's outfits....

Max Azria was sort of a sweetie, wasn't he? Really didn't take any delight in ripping apart the hot trannie lace mess. Basically, said, okay, that's done, you'll do better next time. Got a good idea of what he was like as a boss--matter-of-fact about mistakes.

Also accurately pinpointed Qristyl's lack of leadership as the problem on that team.

I kinda liked the first look, but I thought it had problems - not just the hem, but I thought the lines on the top were off. Made it look skimpy, too small.

The fetish-wear was embarrassing. Yes, I'm sure he was going for Birth of Venus or mermaid, but the end result is more Rock Of Love. Ew.

Full agreement on Gordana being completely awesome.

"Anon said: So reading "Team Russia" is as annoying to someone who's mother was from the former Yugoslavia as it is to hear all Hispanics referred to as "Mexican." There are a lot of cultural and ethnic differences between the former Soviet republics and the countries of Eastern Europe. I'd expect people as sophisticated as TLo to appreciate that."

I saw nothing wrong with 'Team Russia'. If nothing else, in one brief term, it spoke to that Eastern Bloc taste level being commented on. (And I'm of Eastern bloc heritage myself, and took no offense).


I did not think this was the worst team by a long shot. The beach outfit was really cute, especially the pants which were admittedly a tad too long and could have been better executed. The avant garde look, while not avant garde in any way, was pleasing from the waist up. The bottom just ruined it, way too stripper costumey...that being said maybe I'll bid on it for Halloween :)

"They're just lucky that the judges had it in for Mitchell, because under more typical circumstances an outfit that bad would have certainly resulted in an auf'ing"

I actually thought they did an okay job. Not great, but who did great? The difference overall in quality b/w Team Russia and Team Mitchell seemed a matter of micro-meters. I mean yes the "avant-garde" design was slutty, but it also had good no-slutty bits.
I would also just like to remind everyone that had the judges not decided to auf Mitchell it would have been Crystal (with a Q) who would have gone home.

I loved Nicolas's beach look! And although the second look was the worst thing on the runway, I gave them a pass because of the first look.

"Tina said...

I actually thought they did an okay job. Not great, but who did great? The difference overall in quality b/w Team Russia and Team Mitchell seemed a matter of micro-meters. "

I am offended on behalf of all people not named Mitchell at your use of the term "Team Mitchell." When will Americans ever learn to respect people not named Mitchell?

If we keep being that anal and/or that PC at some point we will not be able to a) talk about anything b) joke about anything.

It was a joke.

Those pants would be great for the beach. I'll bet if they were done in a cute print (with a matching hoodie), the surfer chicks would eat them up. pretty good resortwear, too.

I guess the judges were so disgusted by the second look, they couldn't praise the whole outfit.

The Duchess was missed for this one!

Adding my love for Gordana for being such a class act. While her eyes said, "she looks like an Atlantic City Hooker," her mouth said, "how about that organza?" That's how you do a team challenge. Go, girl!


Goldielox said...
"I think it's kind of funny/cute that, after all this time, Heidi still pronounces "idea" as i-deer."

Yes! So much of the person who is "Heidi" strikes me as carefully-crafted & intentional presentation, that this pronunciation makes me smile every time I hear it.

PS - I love Gordana!


I thought the first look was one that best met the challenge (surf wear), if only the pants had been shorter. No fireworks, but met the criteria, which most of the others did not. (when was the last time YOU saw a surfer doff their cocktail dress/cover-up before hitting the water?)

2nd look had the sea-foam look around the collar, and it was all downhill from there. It was unfortunately tacky/slutty, but worse, it looked like stripper wear made from a re-purposed polyester lace table cloth (I thought of the Gone With the Wind Carol Burnett skit.)

More than that, the mermaid effect didn't come through. If there had been a sprinkling of sequins/fishscales or beads/pearls or ruffles/seaweed it might have been cliched but it would have communicated "mermaid" & partly redeemed the re-purposed cheap poly lace table cloth look. Maybe.

Thank you! I've heard nothing but complaints from people I know as well as other sites about Team Russia's pants. And not about the construction, but about the fact they are wrap-around pants. They were one of the few pieces (aside from the bikinis) presented that were truly beach attire and I'm unsure why no one was getting that. And they looked cute, even if they were way too long.

Why are some people here assuming they were talking abut Gordana when they wrote "Team Russia"?? Nicolas is Russian and he was the team leader, what if they were referring to Nicolas?

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to point out why a few of us rolled our eyes at "Team Russia." The former, non-Soviet but Communist, Yugoslavia, is across the Adriatic from Italy. And while it shares a border with Hungary, ethnically and culturally, it does share as much with Italy, N. Africa, the Middle East and Greece as it does with Russia.

So reading "Team Russia" is as annoying to someone who's mother was from the former Yugoslavia as it is to hear all Hispanics referred to as "Mexican." There are a lot of cultural and ethnic differences between the former Soviet republics and the countries of Eastern Europe. I'd expect people as sophisticated as TLo to appreciate that.

Try some reading comprehension next time and get off your soap box, this isn't about you or your mother:

"She looks like a Russian mail order bride! Which is kind of appropriate in a way, now that we think about it."

I'd also like to point out why a few of us rolled our eyes at "Team Russia." The former, non-Soviet but Communist, Yugoslavia, is across the Adriatic from Italy. And while it shares a border with Hungary, ethnically and culturally, it does share as much with Italy, N. Africa, the Middle East and Greece as it does with Russia.

So reading "Team Russia" is as annoying to someone who's mother was from the former Yugoslavia as it is to hear all Hispanics referred to as "Mexican." There are a lot of cultural and ethnic differences between the former Soviet republics and the countries of Eastern Europe. I'd expect people as sophisticated as TLo to appreciate that.

Exactly. This is not an acceptable "joke" any more than it would be to call E& Q's team "Team Africa."

Gordana is from a county victimized by ethnic cleansing in only the past 2 decades. I've lived in Croatia and am engaged to a Croatian who was a refugee during the war, and it is more than a little offensive and culturally insensitive to lump everyone who speaks a Slavic language into the same category.

I am waiting (patiently) for one of these designers this season to blow my skirt up. So far there hasn't been even the slightest breeze.

PPS - I wonder why none of the teams went with poppy prints like those worn by the surfer chicks they interviewed?

Good lord, people! Everyone needs to stop being so politically correct, this isn't a goddamn ethnographical thesis, it's a blog post about Project Runway.

I may be in the minority here but I think I "get" the thinking between the two outfits and how they connect.

The first outfit is easy. You have sea color macramé top and wrap around white flowing pants.

Now comes the avant-garde look, and it is exactly the same - it's an avant-garde interpretation of the first outfit. They both have European roots so they probably know how real lace is made. Real lace is basically macramé using very fine threads. You can get the idea from the picture at this link:

Given that they cannot afford real lace, they took the cheap one available at mood. But the conceptual connection is there.

In addition, they hand dyed the lace and the macramé to ensure a cohesive color connection.

The lace stockings were an avant-garde interpretation of the wrap around pants. They are wrapped over the legs and the opening in the front references the curve created by the wrapped pants in the first look,

They finally balanced the look with the ruffle. In the first looks the long pants pool on the bottom. In the second the ruffle pools on the top.

The lace stockings didn't come out as well as they hoped for, but we are in an era of crazy stockings as your previous post suggested.

They took a chance. They clearly thought about what they were making. The workmanship was not without problems but overall was much better than the winning outfit.
AND, most importantly, Nina surely was not bored.

I am looking forward to see what else they will come up with this season.

Alright sugars, let's take some deep cleansing breaths and find our centers, shall we?

We generally refer to the team names by the team leaders first name (e.g., "Team Mitchell"). Since Nicolas is Russian and the second look looked to us like a Russian mail order bride, we chose the name "Team Russia" AS. A. JOKE.

Anyone who brings ethnic cleansing onto a jokey blog about reality television and fashion is thinking WAY too much about things.

And we hate when we have to explain a joke.

I'm not too concerned about the execution problems with the pants, because the problems can be easily solved. They're so cool, and I would wear them in a second.

Gordana gets more awesome by the week. She displayed a lot of dignity and professional in the way she handled Nicolas' taste issues. I love her and am totally rooting for her.

God help me, Nicolas is growing on me.

Michelle, I like your explanation of how the two pieces are connected. I still think the AG piece is tacky, but I kind of get it now. And isn't AG supposed to be outrageous? I've seen some pretty crazy stuff on the runway.

Purple lace chaps? Not hot, honeys, not hot.

Put me in the group who thinks Nicolas has taste issues. Even Heidi, the queen of short, tight, and shiny, thought it wasn't classy. The cutout on the first outfit drew your eye to her belly button rather than the beautiful macrame bodice, which is the opposite of what you want to do as a designer. And the second outfit was slutty. Not risque or sexy but slutty. That's never a good place to end up.

A lot of people have mentioned Gordana being a good team member. I'm not so sure. A really good team member would have tried to steer the team leader away from a mistake and that cutout and those lace chaps were definitely a mistake. Gordana didn't make waves, but she also didn't steer the ship away from the iceberg.

I think those pants are fantastic, love um! I thought the length was just a runway interpretation, strictly presentation. I mean, most all the models wore heels and belts and hoo ha out the ying yang so, really, come on. The avant garde on the other hand, oh boy. I like Nicolas, but THAT makes me worried for him. Gordana was so gracious to Nicolas, it makes me wish they had shown more of them working together.

That lace mess is like a whore suit from a Color Me Bad video. And the bikini looks lumpy.

"Tlo said: And we hate when we have to explain a joke."

Right? And if anyone has read more than one post here and doesn't get your style, no explanation will suffice anyway.

But don't give yourself any frown lines worrying about them. Just know that there are enough of us here who DO get you.

Teeth together, lips apart.


Also, I'm gonna put it out there now: Shirin and Carol Hannah were the best team, but Althea had the best individual look. (On the website the black gown is credited to her, but it could have been just as much Louise.)

Madonna would've turned down those pants, but Prince would've rocked them circa '83-'91...

And I've gotta admit, I was really surprised that these two Russkies got along as well as they did. They must not be from Muscova.

(Sorry, but as a Yank working with Russians for a decade has left me somewhat perplexed.)

Now enough with the niceties, let's get to team Qripperson!


I really liked thier surfer outfit. The detail on the front of the pants kind of reminded me of a beach towel wrapped around a bikini.

I would have worn it.

I hated their sea-ho look, but I covet those pants. I think they would camouflage my tummy bulge nicely:)

I look at it this way; this season, the show's managed to steer very clear of complaints that are invariably hurled at it every year - designers being kept around only for entertainment value.

The NutJob (with attending flakey personality), the ConceptualistPrettyBoi (with over-extended vocabulary) and DitzyOverTheHeadGayTwink are just the type that would usually stick around.

But not this season. Gone as soon as a bad idea/obvious failing happened.

Which means that, unlike most years, I can't point to the remaining designers and confidently predict the odds of who is going down next, next, next and who the top four will even be.

That, in itself, is a pleasant change for this season.

Just wondering --- would these looks have worked a little better if they had switched models? The second model (Celine)is much taller and could have carried those flowing white pants. And Tara, I don't know, maybe would look a little less "stripperish" in the lace outfit? Maybe??

1. Understand the complaint when contrasted wtih "team Africa".
2, But Respect A. goes both ways and b. to some measured should be earned.

I never really sewed much - or that well....but I remember making that kind of wrap pants when I was young (early-mid 70's?), and I seem to recalkl a better looking top to the simple ones I made.

But I thought these outfits had some redeeming qualities and glad N/G are still in.

I don't think either of them is Russian. Gordana is Serbian and I'm thinking Nicolas' name sounds Polish. Irina, on the other hand, IS Russian.

Appy polly loggies moi drook.
Nicolas is indeed Russian.

But Gordana is from a Serbian village in Bosnia, according to her Project Runway bio.

Okay, something really confuses me here... avant garde looks are supposed to push the boundaries of fashion. How can an avant garde look be TOO sexy? I've seen models with a lot more hanging out than that go down couture runways. I'm sick of people turning 'avant garde' into 'really big collar' or 'really big skirt' and this guy does something actually edgy and gets yelled at for it.

Oh gawd, since when does a ca 1986, Mary-Jane-Girls-reject qualify as avant garde? Stunningly hideous and lacking in taste.

Bai Ling! That's who would have worn the lace outfit!

Does anyone else think the blue lace leggings kinda make the model look like a walking broken condem?

another laura

I appreciate Michelle's thoughtful post about how the 2 looks coordinated and how the "a.g." look was an interpretation of the first swimsuit/pants look. That actually helps me look at this show and train my eyes.

Celine? She's 6 feet tall, and she is a glamazon of the first order, IMHO. I hope that if Peppermint Patty goes home somebody snaps her up.

ASK, that kind of pant was definitely around in the early 70s. They looked very familiar to me, but yes, they also were much simpler back in the day. Plus, macrame bikinis were everywhere back then, so that whole look was evocative for me.

All in all, I'm surprised that Team Russia landed in the bottom 3 teams for this pair of looks.

The lace chaps remind me of Christian's wrestler girl look.

Madonna circa 1984 would have turned down this outfit for looking too slutty......

Does anyone else start hearing "Like A Virgin" when looking at Team Russia's second dress?

"poly-lace whoresuit"
That's the most wonderful thing ever said about an outfit on PR. Bravo!

I'm totally loving Gordana though.
I hope she goes far.

Rainwood said, "A lot of people have mentioned Gordana being a good team member. I'm not so sure. A really good team member would have tried to steer the team leader away from a mistake and that cutout and those lace chaps were definitely a mistake. Gordana didn't make waves, but she also didn't steer the ship away from the iceberg."

No offense, but this attitude really bugs me. It's not the job of the team member to steer the ship. Epperson tried to backseat drive his team, and it turned into a big old power struggle that almost completely derailed their team. Gordana did what she was asked, and supported her team leader when he was criticized. She didn't undermine him at any point, and was helpful and useful. What else was she supposed to do? If she had argued with him, that would have been much worse, and possibly with a worse outcome, because more time would have been spent bickering and less time sewing. Just THINK how back that lace atrocity would have been if it were poorly constructed on top of everything else.

That should be "think how BAD that lace atrocity would be". Sorry.

Heh, "ideer" doesn't strike me as odd.

My mother's sisters and brother say ideer, and so does she when she gets tired or cranky and her inner Long Island accent comes out.

This comment has been removed by the author.

I loved this beach outfit. I live on the beach south of LA. This beach outfit with the cool top and the billowing pants was really the closest to something you might see a local wear on the pier or walking down the strand before meandering into a local bistro for lunch. Throw in a giant bag, a great hat, and monster sunglasses and that's a real beach look. The judging shocked me because it missed the mark so badly. That winning cocktail bikini/dress might work poolside, but mix it with sand and sea water and forget about it. Beach looks from other designers, like this duo fulfilled the goal of the firt part of the challenge much better. I could actually imagine this in the window of a local boutique.

The second part of this challenge was random. Houte couture? huh? Why not translating the beach look to professional wear? Something that makes sense? Very disappointing.

Also - does anyone else think it's ridiculous that they have so little time to fabric shop? Give the designers a chance.

And while I'm here, Garnier chose to sponsor this challenge? Long straight hair is for the beach. Nothing fancier than a ponytail.

This entire episode made no sense to me. Now I'm waiting for the Disney challenge.


The blue lace....thing looks like the same material the stockings of a cheap Barbie knockoff doll I had as a kid wore.

OK when I heard macrame bathing suit and wrap pants, I got excited, but good gracious!!! Conceptually this was a great idea, but the execution and taste issues just ruined it, and bear in mind I have a fairly high threshhold for tacky and over the top. I found the cut out on the bathing suit appalling and am terribly disappointed with the execution problem on the pants.

On to the second look... lace chaps, people... LACE CHAPS!!!!!! Nicolas and Gordana have given new meaning to East European tackiness - although I am not sure if Gordana is technically East European, nevertheless, even the editors of the Frederick's of Hollywood and the Russian Hooker Today catalogs are scratching their heads. Well I guess all the PR designers whose aesthetics are rooted in pageantry and hard rock and hip hop hoochie-ism are grateful to these two for taking the heat off them.

I actually see potential in both designs and what tends to get me more hepped up than a bad design, is a good or interesting design that is lost in an unedited mess. I have liked Gordana from the PR6 Preview post, but I am not willing to give her too much of a pass here; I think that she should have at least attempted to reign Nicolas in a bit, and based on what was aired that did not happen. A team that gets along too well to the point that one party is unwilling to challenge the other is not that much better than a team that is not getting along (Q and Epperson) or one that the other where one member is being carried by the other member (Mitchell and Ramon). Having said that, I do like how Gordana defended Nicholas on the runway, she's a stand up guy.

Too slutty for Madonna? Are you crazy? It isn't too slutty for her to wear now let alone 1984!

I really liked their beach look... kind of fun and sexy until I saw the mess of the pants in the bottom.

I thought you guys were a bit too... bitchy... or at least unfair because the challenge itself wasn't that bad and when you called it the worst runway?? Are you kidding me and am I the only one that remembers the Zodiac 'throweverythingatyouwithoutrealsense' shit they pulled? I don't know I will stand that THAT has been the worst challenge and BY FAR the worst runway

There, got that out of my system but really, I am not saying this runway was GREAT but that Zodiac Challenge... it will remain in my mind as WORST EVER... EEEEVER. Though this look presented by Pepper Ann did have some likeness to Blayne's Libra look or is it just me? *hear crickets* yup... probably just me.

I'm undoubtly rooting for Gordana, and I agree 100000000000% with the people that say she was a class act on this challenge!

The first look is really not bad, with a little extra effort on the finishing touches it would be awsome! The second look, I can't help but think that if the lace on the legs wasn't open it wouldn't be as outrageous as it seems... and of course the collar is realy great, too bad from the waist down it was such a wreck!

Crotchless tights. They sent mother crotchless tights down the runway.
And diaper pants. Those and MC Hammer pants are 2 trends that should stay back in the 80's where they belong.
I swear I literally threw shit at my TV this whole episode.

I surely agree with a few other posters that this challenge was right up there with the Zodiac challenge for all time worst on PR.
Whoever thought up this Surfer/Avant Garde thing ought to be relegated to cleaning the PR restrooms.
That being said, I did like the first design. With a bit of tweaking (fix the belly button window and shorten the slacks), it would work really well on the beaches of Miami or Naples Fl.
And the second design would work equally well in a few of the clubs on South Beach!!

BTW last season on PR Australia there was a surfer challenge that's worth watching on You Tube. The Aussies know their surf-wear!

The stripper outfit reminds me of Gozer from Ghostbusters. haha

I kind of like the first look minus execution issues, the second look is horrid.

I wanted to offer up the idea that the cut-out on the first look might have been a solution to the time crunch.

Ah, I like these guys. The avante-garde look went a little tits-up in the end (or chaps out) -- but I'm glad neither of them got booted b/c that first look had a lot of cool going for it.

I adore Gordana, and while Nicolas hasn't yet amazed me with his designs, he is at least amusing (he always seems to be waving around an invisible cigarette and glass of red wine in every interview he gives). And he went up in my estimation by choosing Gordana as his teammate -- and by treating her with great respect.


Come on, people, this most certainly wasn't the worst runway ever. Remember when Carmen Webber-like-the-baller sent a guy down the runway without a shirt because she couldn't finish? And Sweet Pea sent something ridiculous down that same runway. Or remember when Stella sent someone out in a black garbage bag with arm holes? This seems so bad because Ramon's "winning" look is one of the worst things ever done on PR but most everything else actually wasn't too bad. They all missed the mark since none of this is surf-wear - everything seemed more bach/pool wear at best. But I'm going to blame Tim and the producers. The producers for coming up with such a vague, disjointed challenge and Tim for not steering people in the correct direction in the workroom.

I liked N & G's first look. The macrame top was cool and appropriate and the cut-out didn't bother me at all. This is beach-wear, the one time when body cut-outs might be appropriate. The pants were too long but the idea was great. The "sea-ho" (kudos to whoever came up with that term) look was slutty in the extreme but I get the concept. At least there was a concept.

Nicolas has taste issues. He has some skill but he's spent too much time making slut-wear for Victoria's Secret. Up til now Gordana has been in my top 3 every week. I predict that she's a finalist. The judges need to start showing her some love.

I think it's not necessarily the bad execution of the outfits (and there were plenty of BAD executions in some past PR challenges as well as this one), I think it is the IDEA of the challenge that ranks it right up there with the Zodiac challenge as one of the worst.

There have been so many complaints about the pairing of surfwear and avant garde. My first impression was also WTF, but doesn't avant garde takes its inspiration from anything and everything? It's not supposed to be literal. It's just a jumping off point.

Tim said two things that have stuck in my mind: The AG piece didn't have to be practical or even wearable; and designers regularly adapt their avant garde designs to streetwear. That is what the designers were expected to do. I'm not defending the work itself, because I think a lot of it missed the mark. But the idea of pairing surfwear and AG doesn't seem out there at all to me.

Khazar-khum said: "Too slutty for Madonna? Are you crazy? It isn't too slutty for her to wear now let alone 1984!"

RFLMAO!! yeah, this begs the question, is there anything that's too far out for Madge? She's never had issues with pushing the boundaries of sluttishness, either now or years ago.


I agree with TLo. The beach outfit was cute. Not worthy of a win but cute. The avant garde....just nasty!

And can we please retire the term avant garde! Its been overused so damn much that its become a cliche'

I actually was surprised that these looks wound up on the bottom. I think that, if your design bried if avant-garde, you're being asked to push the boundaries of what can be called fashion, so it's better to do something that takes a risk and fails rather than something boring. I'd rather see something risque that catches my attention than shoulder poof after shoulder poof after shoulder poof after shoulder poof after blah blah blah on and on. On the other hand, I am a whore, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Also, if you have to explain a joke, it wasn't funny. "Team Russia" isn't much of a joke, more of a lame short hand, and some of your readers are calling you out on it, fair and square. Now Frank, one of the other commenters, came up with "Team Moose and Squirrel." THAT is funny. Don't roll your eyes at your readers if you serve up weak sauce, gentlemen. As Frank-N-Furter once said, "I think we can do better than that."

"Rudy said...
Also, if you have to explain a joke, it wasn't funny. "Team Russia" isn't much of a joke, more of a lame short hand, and some of your readers are calling you out on it, fair and square. "

Bullshit. Some of the readers (by my count, a total of 3) didn't "call them" on it for not being funny. They called them on it by implying racism and bringing in ethnic cleansing to back up their points. They deserved every bit of eye-rolling they got, most of which came from the other readers.

The bathing suit-Cute!
THe pants- Effortless cool, just needed to be hemmed
THe Avant garde outfit- I know you guys hated it but I kinda liked it. Granted it was slutty and cheap looking... but if the bottom was a skirt or pants instead of a garter and the lace was more expensive looking, it could have been cool and a bit unexpected. Love the collar treatment and styling.

Okay, the surfer/avant-garde v. the Zodiac challenge.

I'd say this was worse for a couple of reasons. The Zodiac challenge may have been stretching it a bit in reaching fro a theme, but it was reasonably well constructed in that it had two people working on a single avant-garde design.

And the results were avant-garde. There were some disasters (hello, Blayne), but LeeAnne's Scorpio dress was unique and beautiful. Jerrell's winning look was quite different and, yes, avant-garde in its use of suit materials for evening wear. Kenley's look was at least well-made and memorable (if ugly). The challenge wasn't about wearable clothes and the designers were given help and some choice (they could use either team member's design.)

And, oh yeah, the designers didn't confuse avant-garde with big shoulder puffs.

This challenge could have been okay as a surfwear challenge--if, like the wrestling challenge, the designers got a better sense of what surfwear is (though, as others have pointed out it's not clear the judges knew either.) and if there was some legit reason to throw in the avant-garde challenge (i.e. it made sense on some level to have a toned-down second look with the season four challenge)

So, lack of good looks that fit the brief made this a bad challenge, the incoherence of the idea made it a bad challenge and, finally, the judging panel made it a bad challenge. It needed someone who knew surfwear--a swimsuit designer.

As it is, the better designs got left in the middle of the pack. Only redeeming thing is that Mitchell needed to GO HOME and did.

It was presented as
"Oh, ha ha haha, you fucked up!"

"Oh hahaha" (smacks self in head) "you are right!"

9/6/09 7:36 AM

I swear I literally threw shit at my TV this whole episode.


Now I'm waiting for the Disney challenge.


Hehe Dopey, Daffy and Dumb-o have already been eliminated.

I agree with a few others that the Zodiac challenge had worse, BAD designs. (It's crap was worse than this week's crap.)

BTW - watched the replay again today, and the first look was sketched with a more traditional bikini top (w/o the belly cut-out).

Why oh why couldn't Michael Kors be there? I so wanted to hear his commentary on this!

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