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Project Runway 3, the Finale, Part 2: Under the Gunnby Betsy Wasser -- 10/19/2006
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Welcome to the exciting finale of Project Runway! I’ll be filling in for recapper C. Brian Devinney, who was tragically trapped under a giant pile of fleurcons and was unable to write up this week’s episode. But don’t worry, fair readers: I’ll make it work.
Last episode, the four finalists gathered in New York to put the final touches on their collections. Laura and Michael found themselves a bit suspicious of the high quality of Jeffrey’s work, and Laura in particular wondered if he had outside help with the sewing. She brought her concerns up with Tim Gunn, who promised to investigate.
The episode begins with a day and a half remaining before the show. Uli says she wishes the controversy with Jeffrey hadn’t happened. Michael says that the leather jeans really were impressive, so he can’t help but wonder how it all happened. Uli suggests it doesn’t really matter. I take it to mean that if Jeffrey actually designed the clothes, a fact that no one is questioning, then who cares who sewed them? After all, Michael Kors doesn’t sew all of his clothes. Laura says that it does matter. “He’s like the athlete on steroids, and we’re not.” I agree with her. If Jeffrey did have outside help with the sewing, then it gives him an unfair advantage and was outside the rules that they all agreed on. But without knowing what happened, I really can’t judge.
Besides, it’s time to stop talking about Jeffrey, because he just walked into the workroom. Awkward! Laura tells us that Jeffrey, in his business, works with the kind of people who could have helped him. Laura talks to Jeffrey and says that, according to the rules, if he sent out leather to be worked on, that’s totally legal, so he’ll have a receipt and there shouldn’t be a problem. Everybody remember the tangled rat’s nest of receipts that Jeffrey pulled out last episode? Bookkeeping might not be this guy’s strong suit. Jeffrey says that what bothers him is that Laura questioned his integrity. Laura denies it, but Jeffrey says she absolutely did, then walks away from her.
Um, Laura? Love you, but you did question Jeffrey’s integrity
There are five hours left in the day when Jeffrey gets a call from Tim Gunn. Tim says he’s gone through the receipts and only found two from Park Pleating. He asks Jeffrey to call them and have them fax over missing receipts. If he can’t get them, Tim says, they’ll deal with it. Jeffrey sighs, “It’s like Sanford and Son over there.” In an interview, Jeffrey seems pretty resigned to them not finding the receipt. Nonetheless, the gets on the phone and hopes for the best. He’s afraid that, “for the want of one receipt, I’m not going to be showing at Bryant Park.”
The next day, the designers wake up early and head to the workspace. Jeffrey leaves a message for Tim, asking to talk. In an interview, he talks about how hard he’s worked and how “tragic” it would be to be disqualified at this point. He starts working on a new project, explaining to Uli that if he can’t use the shorts, he’ll have another option.
Tim arrives and gathers the designers. Uli stands next to Jeffrey, and Laura and Michael stand behind him, which tells you a lot about the dynamic that’s going on. I think Uli really just wants everyone to get along. Tim tells everyone that they’ve reviewed the concerns carefully and are confident that Jeffrey followed the rules. Uli gives a sobbing Jeffrey a big hug. Tim says that Jeffrey received legal help with the pleating, but because he doesn’t have the receipt for the shorts, he won’t be able to use them. Tim continues that all of them are within their budget except Jeffrey, who is over by $227.95. He’ll have to remove an item of his choice from his collection, and Tim will notify the judges that Jeffrey went over. Tim, who sounds a bit shaken, concludes that they take integrity and fairness seriously, and that he’s confident that they can have a fair runway show. Laura gives Jeffrey a hug and says, “Meet you on the runway.” Michael shakes his hand. In an interview, Jeffrey says that he is “ecstatic and satisfied.”
Uli tells Laura that she won – she made Jeffrey cry. Maybe Uli wasn’t as neutral as I thought! Laura says that’s not what she wanted to do. Jeffrey says in an interview that Laura’s accusations came from her inexperience, but he seems to be over being upset. Laura says she never wanted to not compete against Jeffrey. She’s happy with the outcome and the opportunity to “compete fairly against him.”
I agree that this was resolved fairly. As Tim said last week, Jeffrey was innocent until proven guilty. There was no proof that he received unfair help. He couldn’t account for the shorts – which he never claimed to have finished himself – so they were removed from the collection. That seems reasonable, and it looks like all of the designers are, more or less, moving on. Laura’s probably off Jeffrey’s Christmas card list, but I think that would have happened anyway.
What’s interesting to me is that Jeffrey went over budget by a pretty decent chunk of change, especially considering that the 200 some dollars he was over didn’t even include the work on shorts. The challenge, of course, is mostly about designing and executing a collection, but it’s also about doing it within the confines of the rules. Don’t you think if you were in a contest like this, you’d pay close and careful attention to your budget? Wouldn’t you hang on to your receipts and keep track of things? Jeffrey obviously didn’t. I think we can assume that in his future as a designer, he’ll hire someone to handle finances for him. This contest should be on the runway, not in the receipts, but it’s still disappointing that Jeffrey, probably due to carelessness, didn’t quite abide by the rules. I wonder what he’ll eliminate.
Michael says that he’s been working hard and is confident. Things are falling in place. Uli feels good too. She thinks her collection is strong. Jeffrey decides to save on his budget by getting rid of the wigs. Well, that’s an easy choice! The shorts are gone, and he has the skirt that he made earlier, but he also has a pair of leather pants that he brought, not planning to use, that are back in play.
Tim returns and gathers the designers once more, for their “last gather round.” Tim gets a little teary at the magnitude of what the designers are about to do. He says he’s very proud of them. No matter the outcome, Tim says, they’re all winners. Everyone hugs Tim.
The designers are up at 4:15 the next morning. Jeffrey says it’s the biggest day of his life, and he’s facing it on about two hours of sleep. Laura is glad Jeffrey will be there, because she wants to “beat him on the runway, not in the accountant’s office.” Michael is trying to dig deep to feel calm. Uli says that walking up to the tents, it really hit her that it was real.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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