The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011
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Maya & Jay

In the version of Project Runway that plays in our heads, these were the winning looks.

Those editors struggled mightily to wring some drama out of it but except for a couple sound bites, nothing much came of it.

Sure, it's possible he slacked off because he had immunity and that's not cool, but they managed to pull together to highly technical garments and we doubt she did all the work on her own.

Model: Valeria Leonova

See, if you're going to take the designers to a museum, show them a bunch of couture gowns, and ask them to make a signature look, this should have been exactly what the judges were looking for.

And to be fair, they did praise this to the heavens, but then they inexplicably praised Mila for making separates and handed the win to her. Oh, cracky judges. Don't ever change on us.

Anyway, this was an unusual and strikingly beautiful look that was styled to perfection, which in itself is unusual because the styling this season has been pretty bad so far.

And Valeria walked the hell out of it.

Now, those noodles weren't executed as well as they could have been and maybe this is where we and the judges parted ways. We would have given the slight technical problems a pass and awarded the win based on the design alone, but it's possible that the judges weren't thinking along those lines.

We agreed with Nina when she commented on how sexy that low, low cut on the side is.

Model: Brittany Oldehoff/Kasey Ashcroft

If we were members of the Geek Squad we would have been pissed, because the knockoff blows the 500 dollar version right out of the water.

Fifty bucks. Just keep reminding yourself of that. They did some amazing detail work here. Absolutely love the horizontal pleats in the front and the curved hem on the top. One thing we don't like (and it's nitpicky, we admit) is that big ol' button on the vest. It just looks a little "craft project" to us.

And the other minor criticism is that they really didn't reinterpret the original look that much. It's the same color, style, length, and silhouette as the original, just done better.

Of course, that might have been deliberate on their parts, but it might have been a factor in the judging. Still, they're our winners of the week.

Tim Gunn's Workroom:

Extended Judging:

[Photos/Videos: - Screencaps:]

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I agree, this should of won. Maybe they felt bad becasue Mila should of won last week. But then, Maya's not going anywhere, so she'll have her day!

PS: $500! - I was expecting some awesome 'signature' looks!


i absolutely agreed with you TLo, although it seems after christian siriano and the bear's dress most of haute couture dresses designed are similar (well this and i think the one in gordana's season..cant remember who though)

The couture look is reminiscent of a tree fungus, but in a good way.


I'm with TLo on this one. As well constructed as Mila's signature look was, I thought this was a real statement design by Maya and Jay.

I didn't think this was better than Mila's gorgeous jacket and overall Balenciaguesque super-signature look by one million miles, so very happy with the judging.

Still, two very good looks, and very deservedly on top. What I didn't get is that everyone kept talking about Maya's looks, even Tim Gunn, and she was the one question about the signature gown, but wasn't Jay supposed to be the leader? and what was that mess up about him having or not having immunity? All very bizarre. I though the Jay's slacking was probably overdone by the editing.


Totally. This was the winning team, no doubt in my mind. Judges are 1-for-3 so far, I'd say, in picking the winner.

Yeah, I just couldn't understand why they didn't get the win when they hit both looks so well, while the winning team utterly failed on their second look. The signature look for Jay & Maya also could not have been found on the runways of decades past, unlike Mila's. I get that they were happy to see a non-dress look, but I think the judges were at least huffing something to choose Mila over Jay/Maya.

yeah! ho! wah!

agree with tlo: this should have won.

And isn't Jay the cutest contestant in a while? ;)

I was torn with this in terms of Maya winning over Mila. Aesthetically, I liked this better, but those noodles bothered me a lot, pushing the model's head to one side. The body of the gown was lovely.

On the B look, I think, despite the praise from the Duchess, this might have sunk them. They weren't supposed to make a knock-off but be inspired to create a new design and they just didn't do it. Yes, it's SO much better than the $500 original, but it's not original, just a copy. Tim's instructions were specific in that terms - do not just copy the other team's look.

I know I'm tired of looking at the one fungus on the shoulder look. Maybe the judges are too, though the guest judge seemed to really dig it.

No! HATE HATE HATE the gown. HATE IT! It is trying WAY to hard. To me the whole dress screams FISH ON A HOOK. The way it is cut in the back is sultry, yes but still, student work all the way.
The cheapie look is fine, if not meh but they didn't have much to work with.

I was baffled by the judge's pick in the end. Are we now to assume that whatever look gets the most kudos automatically places instead of wins?

I thought Mila's jacket was very cool, but I thought this dress was very cool also, and in the second look this team won hands down (albeit Mr. Gunn disagrees).

Ah, well, I guess there needs to be some hook to keep me riveted to my seat at 10:55 on a work night.

I disagree completely: to my mind, this is just a nice black dress with some droopy frippery sewn on, and that frippery-on-one-shoulder look is so incredibly worn out. Nothing about this says signature to me.

The B look is fantastic, but I agree that it doesn't so much interpret its inspiration as provide a better version of it.

I still think that Mila's look was the clear winner.

For me it's still a toss up between Mila's and this, though admittedly this team did everything well, which Mila did not.

I'm so glad to see the close ups of the B look -- very, very impressive when you can really see what they did. Hate the shoes, though.

Interesting that Maya does all the talking, and that she talks about the A look in terms of her vision. "Jay did a few stitches." Heehee!

Love the truffle dress. When it came out I was sure it was the winner. And the $48 knockoff was a total smackdown of its inspiration.

I thought this was going to win also but their B look is way too much of a knock-off. That may well have been the deciding factor. And frankly I was annoyed it was such an obvious knockoff


Tim Gunn sounded real pissed off that they had just knocked off the "inspiration" dress.

I think the 2nd look is just some lame excuse to have all the models down the runway... Don't think the judges gave that much thought in taking the final decision. And they liked Mila's signature look better. I also though it was more of a signature look. This one is nice, but in a way, quite forgeatable really.

My theory is that Nina said, "For the love of God, we CANNOT let another shoulder treatment gown win. I will kill myself if I have to go through years and years of more shoulder treatment gowns."

The Duchess nodded his well-tanned head. "Nina, you're right. I loved that Christian-Chris dress, but we have to put an end to it."

"Isn't that unfair to Maya?" asked Heidi.

Nina snorted. "When have you ever cared about fairness? Remember Gordana?"

Heidi's beautiful face glowered, but she was silent for a moment, and they all knew the decision had been made.

I had Maya's Weddnesday Adams dress in 5th grade.

Am I seeing things, or does the fabric of the B look have a pattern or texture?

Heff said - "The couture look is reminiscent of a tree fungus, but in a good way."

And I agree. I wish the pleats on that piece stood out a little more. I get the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't idea of having one side of them be black, but they didn't move enough when she walked to really stand out (like the inside of a pleat would). Other than that, I really liked it.

Brooklyn Bomber
- I think the lining has a pattern?

It is tough to blame them for the second being too much of a copy as opposed to "inpsired by" when the original wasn't WOW enough to work as an inspiration. I'm not saying it was awful, just "not enough". How could they have made a Ready to Wear of a Ready to Wear and not just used just the color or the idea of the 3 pcs, etc. (rhetorical)

The lining, yes, but in the close up picture it looks like the black fabric has some kind of texture, but I'm not sure.

I think the Drunken Housewife's scenario makes absolute sense - and is about the only way that Team MayJay didn't get the win.

Getting a closer look at their B look makes clear how strong they were - that look really is far superior to the look it was trying to mass market.


I don't agree.

This look has gotten so common that it's old, and I do not agree that "worthy of being in the Met's Costume Institute" = "gown".

Mila knows that. That's why she won.

There's a lot of comments about the similarity to the justly famous Siriano-March dress (or the Puffysleeves-SissyBear dress if you prefer). The shoulder effect is similar but the actual treatment is more in line with Leanna/Judy Noodles. Goes to show good fashion is all about re-interpretation and combination.

There just isn't much to interpret in the original look. Whoever got to do a knockoff of Mila's dress lucked out in that department, since it was not only beautiful and distinctive but obvious, but almost everyone else had to suck it up.

Er, I decided it was too painful to watch anything but the runway show and judging this time, given how uncomfortable watching Jesse and Ping was bound to be, so I missed when they announced the knockoff challenge. Did they get to choose who they wanted to knockoff, or did they pull names out of a bag?

I loved both looks. And while yes, the shoulder treatment is getting tiresome, so are dresses without sleeves or straps. So are draped dresses, etc...

I just think it was too soon to do an avant garde/team challenge. We haven't weeded out all of the weaker contestants yet. So the only surprise this week was who they didn't choose for the win.

For look B, they didn't have to make a dress with a vest. Or be so literal with the color. The original did have these hip panels that somehow could have been utilized differently though I do love the pleating detail on the top and think that could've stayed. They also could have made shorts or a skirt. There were a lot of options, depite the zzzzzz of the inspiration garment. They played it safe, frankly, and it cost them.

Clueless Jock

The noodles should have been flapped in the opposite direction, IMO.

This look didn't seem all that innovative or editorial to me. And it looked awfully wrinkly. I thought Mila's design was about 100x better but maybe that's just me. This looks like something Leanne would have done and then be called "safe" on the runway.

I do love Maya though and think she is capable of much better than this.

An asymmetrical over-the-top shoulder treatment is quickly becoming Project Runway cliche for "avant garde". Mila's, in the context of PR, was much more original and I think that may be why she got the win.

Did you watch Tim's video blog about all the immunity confusion? As Tim says (and he quotes you I am sure) he ain't the one smoking crack this season!

I liked this look, but it wasn't all that fresh. I kinda saw this many times before in various interpretations .. a few right on PR. The winning look, while not 100% original ( PR Israel for Example) still had a wow effect for a different reason. You KNEW this was something special and not easy to execute to such perfection. Maya and Jay produced something beautiful but quite honestly, I had been to an F.I.T. graduation fashion show and saw some pieces not too dissimilar.

Sheesh, TLo, you make it hard to find something interesting to say when you express my thoughts so well.

I guess I'll go with "Ditto."

Girl fungus is your friend!

As soon as I saw their low-end look, I thought they were going to get raked over the coals for copying without interpreting. It's better than the look they copied, true, but it's basically the same look. I didn't much care for their main dress, but it did seem like they were the only ones who understood the challenge.

I wasn't a fan of the couture. I thought it looked like she had eels slung over her shoulder.

I agree Maya/Jay should have won. Maybe they didn't want to give Jay another win because they didn't feel like it was his win as much as it was Maya's.
The signature look is great. The workmanship (you have to consider the time constraint) was also good.
The look inspired by team geek, not only out did team geek but it also relates back to the signature museum piece which is also quite nice.

Thank you! YES! Maya & Jay should have won this one. Maybe because he won last week, they handed it to Mila. Just as Emilio easily could have won a second time the week before but was simply relegated to "safe." Still, Maya & Jay's look was so clearly the only outfit that achieved the distinction of "museum couture." Mila's did too, to some extent, but it was standard-issue Emma Peel. Maya & Jay, on the other hand, created something pretty damned original.

Clearly, Mila also understood the challenge, or she wouldn't have won...
Why do some people find it so hard to admit that they don't agree with the judges? It's pretty obvious to me that Nina was going to like Mila's look, far more than this one... It's absurd to imagine that the judges agree with one's own judgement (specially when the case is often the contrary), and then always look for complex and tiresome explanations of why they may have voted contrary to that...

While this was the best cotoure dress, there's no way they could win.

Tim specifically said not to copy the original. And they did. Better, absolutely. But it's the same damn dress/vest.

So, no, they should not have won for that reason alone.

Perhaps the lack of a clear team leader cost them the win? Jay was team leader, but Maya clearly played a big role in designing the A look. Who would have been awarded the win?

I loved both their looks, especially their great work with only $50. But the main thing I MUST comment on is that I've finally figured out who Maya reminds me of: she looks exactly like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. The hair, the red lips, even the eyebrows!

I regards to this Maya/Jay copying the "original" design of team geek.
Firstly team geeks LBD and vest are so utterly un-original that it is hard for me to refer to it as an original.
Secondly team Maya/Jay actual changed the neckline, lenght (slightly, but an improvement) and lined the vest with a contrast print. The cf panel is pleated. I think there are other differences (like the lapel on the vest) that are hard to see because both dresses are black.

Leanne's Scorpio dress.

That gown was gorgeous. Those noodles reminded me of those things that grow on trees in the forest (I've lived in the city too long to remember what they're called). Whatever they're called, they were gorgeous.

This is how you do detail, without overdoing it.


I hope that the judges did not penalize MayJay for the offense of doing a better job than their inspiration, there was not a lot of there there for them to get inspiration from - yeah there were other options, but I can see them electing to not rack their brains over a look that has traditionally been treated as an afterthought by both the judges and contestants. I think that the closeness in designs is a valid criticism, but compared to the issues with Mila's A and B looks, that criticism should not have cost them the win. BTW, I am not losing sleep over Mila's win and get why the judges liked her signature look, their biggest shortcoming was the mehness of the B piece, especially when compared to MayJay's B look.

I think what cost Maya the win was when she did not refute Jay's assertion that he treated this challenge as if it was one for which he did not have immunity. I don't blame her for not speaking up, but in not doing so she left the impression that Jay was the team leader and if a win was going to be awarded, he was the one who earned it. I am not prepared to demonize Jay, because I don't think he TOTALLY slack off, however I think that perhaps subconsciously, he was not as driven as he would have been had he not had immunity. I believe that Heidi, if not all of the judges knew differently, but they were the ones who slacked off by not making a least one or two more attempts to get at who did what on the team.

Maybe they didn't make those attempts because it was crystal clear to them that Mila was the winner?
No need for conspiracy theories.

Agree with Anon 2:34: I think they didn't want to give immunity to Maya, the non-team leader. I also agree w/whoever said it appears the judges just pretty much disregarded the 2nd looks so in my mind that would make Mila the winner but just by a nose. And totally off topic: you guys are gonna blog Drag Race, right???

I'm with you, TLo. And Maya was smart to step up and act as the de facto team leader given that Jay turned out to have immunity. No reason to leave her fate in Jay's hands. So yay for her.

And I also wonder how they could do much with the second look given the Geek Squad hadn't given them anything to be inspired by. They said they were thinking of doing long sleeves but might go with a vest to save time - a move that Tim seemed to support. The long sleeves might have been enough to make the look different. They should have stuck with their first instinct.

I was *sure* they were the winners.

Do not ever count on me for predictions.

Definitely my top look of the week... blew everybody else out of the water! I'm liking the two of the more and more as time goes on.

This comment has been removed by the author.

They was robbed!

Maya and Jay's look was one of the few that actually fulfilled the criteria of the challenge. Mila's shamu-osity would not have fit into the collection displayed at the museum. High end sportswear? Meh. Looked like 60's retro mallwear to me.

I'm curious about one thing though. There's no way the geek team spent $500 on the fabric for their signature look, so where's the change?

Judging from the praise heaped on Maya and Jay's A & B looks, I think The Drunken Housewife's playlet rings true.

And let's hope the run on black/gray fabrics is over for this season.

I think the "tree fungus" dress was lovely and striking, but definitely not as original and well-thought-out as it could have been.
First off, I wish we had been able to see the diagonal seaming on the bodice of the dress better... maybe if it were piped with the taupe color?
Also I liked the effect of the noodles forming a kind of protective collar for the neck... I think it would have been much more dramatic if the noodles hadn't gone straight back over the shoulder but rather had continued twisting around the body, forming more of an asymmetrical elizabethan collar. That would have been a knockout!

Mila's orca coat was ugly, but definitely forward-thinking. I really wish the white stripes hadn't been *white.* Any other color would have been better, and would have taken away from the "free willy" tracksuit appearance. Maybe pink or something. Also the undergarments were pretty bad.

I think between those two looks, it was a tossup. Maya's look was of course much prettier, but fashion isn't supposed to just be about "pretty." Clearly the judges didn't even consider the B looks at all, since they were unsuccessful across the board for a variety of reasons.

Although... how can you use a plain black dress and vest as an inspiration? I don't know how anyone could have made a great garment inspired by that, even in a perfect universe.

These were my winning choice too. I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about this supposed "immunity" that Jay had. Tim himself was taken aback about it. He was never offered immunity by winning the last challenge but everyone said he had it this episode...

Agreed. This was the only dress I could see standing next to the ones in the museum.

Although they had two impeccable garments, I think Mila won because of what her $500 look was not: yet-another-gown.

Had Maya and Jay created say, a suit, with the same level of construction and detailing, they would have trumped Mila with the strength of their second look.

Hello Lifetime? Will you please fix the lighting and background so that black garments can be seen clearly?


This should have won. Both pieces were interesting and, for the most part, well executed.

On a side note, there's something about Jay that really bothers me. Not sure what it is yet.

It was a beautiful dress and I really liked the cut-out side, but I'm with the others here who think it was too reminescent of other PR gowns--the spectacular PPS/Sissybear (still my all-time favorite challenge because Jillian and Victorya's coat was also spectacular) and Judy Noodles' entire oeuvre.

And while this gown was beautiful-and one of only three that stood out for me--it wasn't better than the work of the earlier designers who used similar motifs.

Mila's jacket was well-made--and it was different. We'll all remember it and identify it with her--she's into modern, graphics stuff; the same way Leanne was into noodles, Laura was into the chic v-necked cocktail dress and Uli into flowing prints.

But, again, it's a beautiful gown.


I like this dress better than Mila's ensemble, but I think her jacket fit into the challenge and was pushed to the top by its relative novelty.

However, if they were weighing both looks in the decision, I'd have given this team the win. Nearly tied for signature look, and clearly above the rest of the crowd for second with the knock-off look. (I'd have put geek squad in first.)

Glad to see you praising Valeria! I thought she totally sold the dress with her liquid, vampy saunter, but no one even mentioned it on Models of the Runway!

I totally agree. I so wanted Maya and Jay to win!

After the burlap challenge, the results of this challenge were so disappointing. I expected color and exuberance, and got dreary, depressing garments instead. This team wasn't much of an exception.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who is tired of the shoulder treatment being called original or signature.

Plus, I feel that since so many people have criticized the "make-a-pretty-dress challenge," any team who has the option to make just another pretty dress, and doesn't, deserves a lot of credit.

I could see and respect all of the work that went into the signature look, but I absolutely hated it. I love sculptural dress appendages, but these struck me as...I don't know, limp, gross, sad little sci-fi shoulder gills.

I give them props anyway, though, for the effort and for really knocking the knock-off out of the park.

I am glad you thought the producers overplayed the "Jay is a lazy bones" angle - I was suspicious of that edit too but wasn't really sure.

I am curious about the vest in the second look. Is it another color (like dark navy) or is that just the lighting? Either way, I thought the look would be improved if they just got rid of it all together.

I have given up on who I think should have won this challenge, so I am going to just take your guys's word for it. :)

Oh you silly Lifetime editors.

I'm sure they found it nearly impossible to make that little kitten Jay seem like a slacker. He's too cute for words, I'm in love with his impromptu dances and cartoonish voices. Maya was probably provoked to say he was slacking. She seems harmless but has us all fooled with her "cut a bitch" bangs. I give the editors an A for effort in creating something out of nothing.

As for Timmy, poor little fella. It seems like they forgot to run a few key details by him before he doled out the challenge. I'm slightly embarrassed that he felt the need to blog about Jay's immunity even though Heidi clearly stated it during the model selection after the challenge.

Oooooh Mila, girl you need to turn that frown upside down if you want to gain some fans. You know we love a queen (but not the kind that tries to rule the kingdom) so get it together and put on a fake smile like the rest of the designers.

Anthony you are like a gift from heaven. If they could just film you and exploring NYC I would watch for hours. Love, love, love.

Loved the gown, and they should have won on that alone.

I'm interested to see what Maya Luz, Jay and Mila do next. That should be telling.

Can't agree on this one - except for the second look which really was much better than the original "inspiration." Then again it wasn't inspired so much by the original as it represented a refinement of it. I didn't care much at all for the "couture" gown as it seemed highly derivative and trite to me - and the shoulder treatment just doesn't appear to be made all that well. I was a little surprised this was even in the top two.

In the version of Project Runway that plays in our heads, these were the winning looks.

Mine, too!
I thought for sure they had won.

Separates, okay, but the racing stripe down the side of the winning pants blew it for me.

This team had the styling and designing down all the way. Rather like that they redid the $500 dollar dress only way, way better. Take that, y'all!

They were definitely my pick for winner too. I thought Mila's was "meh". Still can't keep the names straight Mila/Maya. Potato/potahto.

First of all...@Gotham--they are called shelf fungus and you are SO right--that's exactly what those shoulder thingies looked like. I caught that right away.

I didn't like this--I am sick to death of the asymetrical growth on the shoulder thing. I would have flipped the shoulder fungus over to hang down, as someone else suggested, and done it on both sides
That would have been "new". Or aleast refereshing.
I think the B look was better executed than their signature dress and that, along with Maya actually designing and working more than Jay, the team leader, cost them the win.

I LOVED THERE LOOKS!!! The B look was too similar to the Geek Squads look but it was so much better that I didn't care plus they really didn't have much to work with. I totally knew the producers where trying to create drama among them, especially after I saw Maya's video blog and the extended judging.

I did like Mila's jacket but the outfit as a whole made her look like Orca the killer whale... :-)

I also thought this should've won--truly dramatic and beautifully put together.

But then, I also like this model a lot; she looks a bit like Kate Moss, but like a KM who'd experienced having a cohesive adult thought pass through her head.

I liked most of their gown...not sure it was worthy of the win, but also not sure that Mila's was worthy either...

The low back is nice and I really like the soft scallops meandering down the front and back. I also really liked the way the fungus/scales laid on the backside of her shoulder/neck...but I really hate how the fungus/scales stood up on the front side of her they look puckery and oddly shaped.

The look for less was too literal of the inspiration/couture piece...even though it looks better...that's why I'm assuming they didn't win. At least Mila and Jonathan's baby doll wasn't a duplicate of Anthony's princess gown.

I saw this and thought, wow, the Shitake Fairies are fierce!

In the version of Project Runway that plays in our heads, these were the winning looks.

Thank you for saying what we have all been thinking.

In the version of Project Runway that plays in our heads, these were the winning looks.

Thank you for saying what we have all been thinking.

I absolutely love both looks and feel that team MayJay should have won. Hands down --- shoulda won. Although I'm a getting a bit tired of the one shoulder looks and asymmetrical gowns, this one simply worked. It was modern, sophisticated and super elegant. Very one-of-a-kind I might say. And I, personally, love a good shitake embellishment. Their look for less was equally fab, but in a much more understated way. Loved the details, but as the boys pointed out, that big old button was a little too craftastic for such a chic and mod little dress.


Drunken Housewife, I think you hit it right on the button. Your dialogue was excellent. Especially Heidi's part - hahaha!

Either way, I thought the gown had gills on it.


It was a striking dress. They did a great job. But was it a signature look? I think it looked like something a hundred other designers would make.

Mila won because when you looked at her outfit it clearly had her signature on it. I'm going with the judges on this one.

I like that already, with just what, three pieces, you can see a through line in Maya's work. I think her editing skills will improve over time, as this dress is already a refined version of her vision as compared to the first two challenges.

Random thought: I wonder if this Mila/Maya smackdown is prophetic. I bet no matter how the rest of the season shakes down, the Shamu Jacket and the Truffle Gown will be two pieces that still stand out in viewer's mind in the end. So will these two face off again? I kind of think that could be fun. Mila/Maya, Maya/Mila.

I always defer to your wisdom, but I'm bored with the flippy-flappy things on dresses. Is there nothing else? Judy Noodles did that so well. We need something new.

RE: Your button observation: My mom taught me that when I was learning to sew as a kid. She said, "Using the wrong size button will always make your garment look homemade." And damn if she wasn't right.

This totally felt like Leanne from Season 5 to me! Am I the only one who sees this?

Does anyone else think that Maya looks like Wednesday Addams (as played by Christina Ricci) grown up?

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