Project Runway, Season Five, Episode 8

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Many apologies from the Manolo for the delay in posting this recapping of the most recent episode. The Manolo is travelling this week, and next, and the next, all of it in preparation for his big move at the end of the month to this place.

Manolo say, ayyyyy! The Diane von Furstenberg is the challenge and the guest judge! The Manolo loves her, and her flirty patterned dresses. so cool, and stylish, and feminine!

Oh, and thus we have yet another first rate challenge with the big payoff from the producers. They are truly going out of their way to make this season the best yet in terms of challenges.

Of the course, it is too bad that this week the designers were not cooperating with this attempt at excellence, as the outfits they offered up could be considered barely competent knockoffs of the DvF, the sort of things one might expect to find on the shelves at T.J. Maxx under the brand name “Sassy von Theilberg”, or “Misty von Richtoffen,” although no one would buy them.

It was not that they didn’t try mightily to turn out something worthy of the wearing, it is just that for the most part their aesthetic senses and styles did not comport well with those of DvF.

For the example, it is hard to imagine anyone further from the DvF world than this week’s loser Stella. She did the best she could, but the final result was the messy ugly pantsuit that was neither fish nor fowl, neither DvF, nor Stella Zoltis.

Likewise, Retro Girl Kenley, who is the mistress of kitsch, seized upon the Shanghai reference to produce the floral World of Suzy Wong dress that was cute, in the sort of Masque of the Red Monkey Hand, 1930’s B-movie, Charlie Chan way, but looked nothing like DvF.

Query: Has DvF ever done floral patterns? The Manolo associates her with geometric prints, not reddish flower prints.

As for the others, Terri did yet another of her pantsuits, which are looking increasingly tired. Look for her to be sent away soon if she does not start producing something better.

And Blayne continues to survive, barely. The Manolo had some hope that his artificially constructed “wacky” persona would provide much needed drama this season, but he has turned out to be the sweet character, one filled with honorable intentions and good wishes.

It is hard to wish him ill, or root against him, even when he produces something as laughable as this week’s knickerbockers and jacket set. They were only marginally worse than Joe, Suede and Jarrel’s outfits (and what is up with the stupid little cap, Miss J?).

As for the winner, Leanne, her dress did not especially impress the Manolo either with it’s awkward proportions or with the limp jacket. But props for the purple color.

And this leaves Korto, who again should have won the challenge, but this time only by default. Her choice of material and her skirt were both spot on. Unfortunately, the yellow did nothing to enhance the piece.

Still, for the Manolo, Korto is becoming the standout talent of this season, the most original of the bunch. She will certainly be in Bryant Park.


28 Responses to “Project Runway, Season Five, Episode 8”

  1. eric3000 Says:

    Well, I don’t know that I agree with you about this being the best season of challenges (other than the fact that there are fewer team challenges), but I certainly enjoy any excuse to see the amazing DVF!

  2. wannabe Says:

    Wow! The Manolo in BA? Sing it sister:

    “Stand back, Buenos Aires
    Because, you better know what you’re gonna get in me
    Just a little taste of STAR quality.”

    Enjoy. And nice recap, though I thought Leanne’s dress was spectacularly beautiful and the coat a throwaway.

  3. Long Island Says:

    I agree with the Manolo. Leanne’s dress was beautiful but the jacket was a distraction. I felt Kyoto’s dress could have seamlessly melded in with Diane von Furstenberg’s line. It just looked like a DvF creation.

  4. Ann Says:

    The Manolo is moving away? But…but…we need you here.

  5. Long Island Says:

    BTW sorry for confusing Korto with a Japanese city.

    Oh and I hated Kenley’s dress. When I saw she was selected from the larger group I was certain she was in the bottom 3. I was actually confused thinking what are they now doing a bottom 4. With all that crying she was doing I expecting something more.

    I did do the plaintive wail with last weeks announcement of the losing designer of, “STELLA”.

  6. Alessar Says:

    I really liked the yellow in Korto’s dress. The hint of it on top combined with the little flash in the skirt in front gave the visual suggestion that the dress was dual-layered. Of course, it really wasn’t as the single layer was lighter, and flowed better.

  7. angelhair Says:

    Buenos Aires? One of my favorite cities, full of the most beautiful people of all ages I have seen anywhere. Indeed, if I ever find myself single again, my plan is to immediately fly to BA to find a beautiful new lover. (Don’t worry, Mr. Angelhair, not gonna happen, but it’s a nice fantasy.)

    Manolo clearly does not have the love for Leanne’s work. She’s my favorite and I think her dress this week was stunning. I even liked the jacket. Though it didn’t quite work with the dress I understand what she was going for. I think that Leanne and Korto are both locks for Bryant Park. They are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of this bunch. As for the rest of the finalists, who cares? None of their work interests me very much. Let’s just let Leanne and Korto go at it for the win.

  8. klee Says:

    Yea, Leann! Two wins in a row! Now reward yourself with a kicky little haircut a la Kat[i]e Holmes and then maybe, just maybe, the Manolo will give you the respect you deserve.

  9. khazar Says:

    Joe’s outfit was a mass of colors vomited from a pit in knockoff Hell. Stella’s wasn’t great, but the colors went together & the back wasn’t sloppy. And what was with Blayne’s stupid knickers?

  10. NDC Says:

    The City of Good Airs! A long way away from The Capital of Our Nation; this is startling news, but we hope that The Manolo will not absent himself from this most amusing of blogs, even if he is absenting himself from our shores.

    It is my understanding that the appearance of many of the outfits was unavoidably adversely affected by the unavailability of notions and interfacing, which is necessary for proper garment structure. A lot of dissin’ of DvF and her stash o’ stuff goin’ on elsewhere.

    Joe should have received the auf; his was the poorest effort. It would have been cheering if Stella had remained for another episode… her attitude is/was refreshing.

    All the best,


  11. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    Fear not, dear friend. The Shoe Blog of the Manolo is not disappearing, even if the physical personage of the Manolo is relocating to the different hemisphere. Indeed, the Manolo hopes that the relocation will invigorate him creatively.

    As for Leanne’s work. The Manolo thinks that she is one of the better designers (certainly in the top four with Korto, Terri, and Jerrel) but he did not especially care for this week’s entry. The jacket especially was not to his taste.

  12. Minky Says:

    Jerrel… Jerrel. I like his personality very much and would like to see more of that. But, except in rare exceptions, his clothes have missed the mark. His color sense is off and he can make the willowy ladies and the cute queens look squat like garden gnomes.

    Maestro Manolo…. Maestro Manolo! Best wishes for your relocation to the exotic south of the border. Keep us updated on the chic trends down south!

  13. patni Says:

    I agree with the angelhair, the prettiest people in the world live in BA. As well as amazing food wine gut rot rum tango bread cheese music etcetc. I am jealous

  14. patni Says:

    And some really amazing custom shoemakers.

  15. Adrianne Says:


    I have a DvF dress with a floral pattern — it’s the Jeanne wrap in the Dahlia print (shown here in black and white; mine’s black and red). I’ve noticed that many of her vintage prints have a lot of nature-like patterns, not just geometric ones (i.e. the Ginkgo pattern and the Spotted-frog pattern). Some of the pieces in her S/S ’08 collection had floral details as well.

  16. Adrianne Says:

    The Dahlia pattern is still rather geometric, I suppose. I can’t think of a better example of her floral patterns, since most of my DvF dresses aren’t patterned. Can anyone else think of any? I know I’ve seen a few, especially recently.

  17. class of 83 Says:

    DvF did many a lovely floral pattern back in the 70’s and 80’s–in cotton jersey no less! So cool and summery. If only I still had them :-(
    Here’s a link:

  18. Virginia Postrel Says:

    All of the fabrics were from DVF’s collection, including the floral pattern. So by definition it was OK for a DVF dress.

  19. megaera Says:

    Oooooooh Buenos Aires! Does this mean that we will see Manolo at the milonga?

  20. valawhoo Says:

    My problem with Leanne is just that we don’t see much of her personality – except in the New York At Night challenge, I suppose. She seems to design so much to the challenge itself that she gets lost. Which is great if you want to win.

    Although, on second thought, perhaps it’s just that she’s a bit subdued and not quite as outrageous as some of the other designers…

  21. Christie Says:

    I loved Korto’s dress…especially the yellow accent…did you notice that it was the same fabric in the American Express commercials featuring DVF?

  22. patni Says:

    I have a vintage DVF which is black with white polka dots and little pink roses.

  23. Paige Says:

    Didn’t they choose the material from DVF’s own storeroom of material?

  24. VeddyVeddyBadAng Says:

    Paige, that’s what I was thinking. If the material was in her storeroom, than I would assume it would be suitable for DvF’s line.

    I also loved Leann’s dress, the color, the shape, the details, but hated the coat. Does anyone know where we can see the final product for sale? I’d like to see what they did to make the coat a little more structured, perhaps.

    Korto is not only a good designer, but I’m always impressed by how nice she looks, especially at the runway shows.

  25. Alison Says:

    Oh, when I clicked on your link, I thought for a moment that you were moving to La Boca! No, you seem a bit more Palermo to me:) I used to live in Buenos Aires, years ago. You are going to love it! The people are so sophisticated, lively and they all believe in therapy and good clothing. Please tell us all about it!

  26. La BellaDonna Says:

    Tsk! La BellaDonna is sorry she missed this challenge – sorrier still if the Stella was auf’d. Truly unnecessary, as it would, in the opinion of La BellaDonna, have been entertaining, attractive, and not difficult to combine the aesthetic of the Stella with that of Mme. von Furstenburg. The leather, the grommets, the lacing – yes, it would be possible to create the very pretty wrap dress utilizing these elements! So easy, in fact, that La BellaDonna, she is really not certain why there was Teh Fail on the part of Stella, and will investigate at the Television Without Pity. It would also have been possible to make the flirty wrap trousers, if the Stella was insistent upon using trousers in her design, and would have given the amusing element of surprise. Why are they designing for women at all?

    Indeed, what is Teh Fail here? If the challenge was to create something feminine and flattering and modern, and the designers did so poorly in the estimation of The Manolo, one can only ask what their design point of view and purpose is if it excludes the feminine, flattering and modern.

    And in more important news, AAAAAAAAYYYY! The Manolo is leaving us?! Yes, La BellaDonna understands that here at the website of The Manolo, he will still be with us, but no more the breathless, excited hope flickering in the heart that someday, perhaps, one might accidentally encounter The Manolo in person! It has happened to others, why could it not happen to oneself, one day? But no more. Still, as the Buenos Aires, it is filled with the prettiest people in the world, amazing food and wine and the tangoing, and the wonderful custom shoemakers, it is really no wonder that The Manolo, he is relocating there, and La BellaDonna wishes him a safe and trauma-free move, and the happy new home.

  27. La BellaDonna Says:

    Oh. My. La BellaDonna, she has seen the photographs, and she is … speechless. These, these are supposed to be part of a designer collection? Inspired by “A Foreign Affair”? What La BellaDonna is wearing today, it is a better fit for that inspiration. There was the occasional reasonably nice garment – and the little grey jacket, and the little black jacket, they were very appealing – but some of the decisions were puzzling. The Stella’s outfit was, in fact, more attractive than that of the Joe, which was horrible – but then, so were many of the others. Most of what was shown would not have drawn the first look from La BellaDonna, though, never mind the second. La BellaDonna must conclude that the Stella’s outfit did not fit the parameters of the challenge, although it was appealing. However, much of what remained behind was simply appalling, and the construction was not All That. While the Stella was mocked for the crotch being too long on her trousers, La BellaDonna noted that several of the other models appeared in danger of being bisected.

    Why are these people designing for women? What is their purpose, their reasoning? Most designers, they really do not make the Big Bucks, and as far as La BellaDonna can tell, most of these people on Season 5 have no clue as to what is attractive on a woman, and what is functional. Ugh. Just – ugh.

  28. Fausta Says:

    The Manolo in Buenos Aires! How wonderful!
    Will you take to tango? I started taking tango lessons this year and am totally addicted. Plus it gives me the chance to dance in these too.

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