So this week's challenge was to dress... well, I can't say "real women" because Heidi jumped all over Ven for saying it, so this was the Dress Women of Average Sizes challenge. Ten people nominated one of their friends to get a makeover, including hair and makeup and an outfit designed just for them. As each of the designers met with their clients, things seemed to be going pretty well. Kevin and I were pretty impressed with Gunnar, who, up until now, Kevin wanted to personally and literally kick off the show. Gunnar was so positive when working with his client and displayed none of the diva attitude he has shown in all other episodes. He genuinely seemed to be having fun and his client loved her new look.
On the other hand, there was Ven. Ven, who tragically was paired with a heavier-looking woman. A woman who was also, and I know this will be difficult to believe, a whomping 40 years of age. A big fat dinosaur, in other words, at least in Ven's mind. Oh, he whined about it, he complained about it, he moped about it.
What did Ven have to say about his client? Let's see... "When I first see Terri I'm in shock, I am very disappointed... You know, these women have wide waist lines and hip lines, so this is really a challenge." That's his first impression. Let's see what else is going on in that little round head of his.
"There are certain techniques or designs you want to do with your aesthetic, but you can't because it won't work on her figure." Okay, I buy that. So figure out what works and quit whining! Or don't you know what works? Maybe he just doesn't know?
Ven to the hair stylist: The first thing I noticed when I saw her was that the hair was very flat.
Thank goodness the hair stylist was there to listen to Terri and talk to her like she was in the room, unlike Ven, who I don't think looked at her once.
"The one thing I am a little upset about is that with this challenge why does one have a client who looks like a model and one a plus-size figure? That's unfair."
Well, boo hoo for you. My god. Are you an adult?
Ven to Tim Gunn: So when I first met her I was a little bit in shock because I have never worked with plus size before.
Tim: Well, what size is she?
Ven: Oh my God, I'm thinking around a 14. (laughs)
Tim: Well, that's just on the cusp.
Ven: My client really doesn't have a shape. She's definitely not fashion forward, she doesn't have any sense of style whatsoever.
Tim: Are you leading her forward?
(Fabio comment to camera: Ven's client is beautiful and curvy and obviously this is a challenge about real women. She came down here hoping to get special treatment and she's stuck with a designer who is not going to give her what she wants.)
Ven: The before picture is definitely a nightmare and the after picture will definitely be something that is drastically different.
(Elena to camera regarding Ven: I kind of lost all respect for him.)
At that point all the other designers in the room are giving him dirty looks and Tim is staring at him with a half-troubled, half-concerned look on his face.
A nightmare? Really?
She looks like a perfectly normal person to me. There's nothing nightmarish about her. I saw about three women who were roughly the same size; none of these women were huge. On camera, they were overweight. In person, probably not so much. And I gotta tell you, Ven is no lightweight himself.
Continuing on with the mouth that won't stop. Cut back to Tim.
Tim: Well, I mean, clothes, when done correctly, they provide a kind of optical illusion. That's your challenge.
Ven: I'm also considering her age. She's, what, almost 40, I think. Maybe late 30s.
Tim: (sarcastically) She's an old lady. (Perhaps thinking that Ven didn't realize he was joking?) Not.
Tim: No, she's just coming into her own in a matter of speaking and this could be like a whole, new debut.
Ven: Mmm hmm.
Tim: You know? The ideal here would be for you to give her a kind of epiphany about who she can be. And have her really transform. Just think about it.
I love you, Tim. I really do.
Now to the fitting.
Ven: Your hair looks great.
Terri: You like it?
(Ven to camera: Terri comes in for the fitting and her hair looks beautiful. It's exactly the direction that I was going for.)
Ven: So the look is very polished, I think it's going to be great. And black is also very slimming.
(camera looks at Terri's face, with its expression of, "Okay, I get it, I'm no size 2," and then Theo's unhappy face)
Ven: But you have a very beautiful face, I think the black with your light complexion will be gorgeous.
(Ven to camera: Terri is obviously a very full-figured, plus size woman.)
Ven: (giving her a belt) Can you try to just see how this works? (she tries it and it is too small) Like, this would be great but it's too small. But I'll ask, um, if they have bigger ones.
(Gunnar to camera: Ven is just dogging his girl and it's like extremely rude. First of all, you don't talk to somebody like that. Especially your client. And it's just, everyone in the room just senses how bad it is.)
Ven: They're just too small. I thought these would be bigger. But they're all the same size.
Um, did you think about checking them before she got there? Just to see? So she only would have had to try on one? Poor Terri was holding back tears at this point and Theo was not happy.
The next morning shows Gunnar, Dmitry and Fabio as they get ready. Gunnar says, "Ven's in trouble. He could have done some good things. She's not that big of a girl."
Fabio, to camera: After seeing how Ven treated his customer, and how he spoke of her, I don't think he's sophisticated, refined, or elegant.
Ven to camera: You know, there were other designers who had clients who were the same size as their model, it was definitely much easier for them.
Quit your whining, infant!
The final fitting...
Ven: I actually think it's very slimming here.
Theo: I mean, Terri, it's up to you.
Ven: But I think when it's all done, she's going to look beautiful and that's, that's...
Terri: I'm not doubting that it's a beautiful outfit. It's just not me. (Hmm, could that be because Ven hasn't listened to anything you say?)
Terri: So the belt is going to go here, right, if they get a fat enough belt?
Ven: They'll definitely, I mean, I requested the belts, but the ones we have here were too small, which we tried on yesterday, but...
Terri: Yeah, you keep saying that, it's embarrassing. I'm fat.
Ven: No, no, not at all, but that's what they provided and I did take them.
(Ven to camera: She's telling me that what I'm saying is making it seem like she's fat or that she's big. And not at all did I ever say that. That's the way she's feeling cause nothing that I brought fits her.)
Well why'd you keep bringing her stuff that you knew wouldn't fit? And why did you keep repeating that nothing fit? She was aware of it, man! She is obviously a sensitive person and feels insecure about her weight. You could tell that from the moment she walked into the room. At least, if you looked at her and didn't keep talking to Theo like Terri wasn't even in the room.
And after, Theo had a talk with Ven about how upset Terri was and that she wanted Terri to feel special. Ven dug himself even deeper.
Ven: Right now, the objective is to put it on and tack and fix what needs to look good. That's the goal right now and I think with the beautiful hair that they did and the makeup, it's going to look gorgeous. And very modern and young, cause, you know, I was surprised yesterday when you walked in, how beautiful you looked, so, um, so...
Terri: (laughs) Thanks.
By now, we've reached the runway show. Ven makes the bottom three and has the audacity to be surprised. While defending himself, the judges ask Terri and Theo what they think. Theo speaks up and starts to cry and the friends hug. Unfortunately, they didn't throw Ven under the bus as he deserved. I so wanted all the other designers to be on the runway with them so Ven could say he was not mean to his client and everyone else could look at him with incredulous disbelief. Ven was horrible! Does he suffer from some malady that makes him totally unaware of the social niceties, that makes it impossible for him to speak to another human being with intelligence and respect? I think so. At least Heidi told him flat out that the judges liked Terri but did not like Ven's outfit.
The judges conversed. This week, it was Heidi, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and guest judge Alice Temperly.
Heidi: What did you think about Ven?
Michael: From the get go he told us well, I've never really designed for someone-
Michael: Real women.
Heidi: I wrote it down. I mean, hello? I was like, what are you talking about, Ven?
Michael: But I think the reason he ran out of time, actually, is he didn't really work with his client at all. I think he just wanted to do what he wanted to do.
Nina: It was a little bit selfish not to listen to this women that needed him.
Heidi: And that's why her friend was crying, because she knew how much she needed that.
Alice: And that look wouldn't have traveled four hours a day and it wouldn't make her feel easy, and I think it's sad. And she needs versatility out of her clothes.
Michael: I don't think he cared about her life, I don't think he cared about what was right for her. I think he cared about Ven.
Did Ven make it out of the bottom three? Unfortunately, yes. They sent Nathan home instead. Happily, I was just visiting the Project Runway blog and voted on who I thought should have won (Fabio, who did win) and who I thought should have gone home (Ven!) and saw that 85% of voters felt Ven should have gone home. We can only hope it happens next week. He was already going down in my estimation after I noticed problems with his work in my last review. After this week, he'd have to save a litter of puppies from a burning building before I'd grow some esteem for him again. And a little old lady. And his fellow designers. And keep his mouth shut the whole time.
Please show him the door!