Down and Out in Denver

Do You Wanna Hire Hitler? (a.k.a. Gretchen Jones)

Posted in fashion, tv by Blake on August 27, 2010

Gretchen Calls the Shots

April may have summed it up best, and it is from her that I take this post’s title, though even she had no idea what was in store for Team Luxe when she asked the question above. Hitler as a point of reference is undoubtedly extreme, but Gretchen proved herself the ultimate Project Runway villain last night.  And clearly she had already been practicing.

The sad thing, of course, is that while Gretchen is clearly a backstabbing, egocentric, arrogant evildoer, she is probably the most talented of the bunch.  She’s also tall, stylish, articulate (if verbose), and pretty.  Damn her!  Our only consolation is that this time she got a little comeuppance, and from the usually reticent Tim Gunn.  But first the episode…

As we settled in to watch PR last night with Alastair’s homemade caesar salad (anchovies!), a Fat Sully’s pepperoni pizza, and a bottle of chilled pinot grigio (97 in Denver yesterday!), we knew things were gonna get nasty as soon as Heidi announced a team challenge.  And big teams, at that.  I will admit that I didn’t think that the military lace gang had a shot from the get-go.  Yes, they had Valerie (who is probably our one hope to take down Gretchen), but they also had Casanova and April. Further, they were proposing Military Lace as their theme and fabric.  How could this end well?

And indeed I have to say that I don’t think that either collection actually worked out all that well, though Alastair and I both agreed with the judges that Team Luxe was the worst: ill-fitting, drab, baggy, and largely lifeless. But Team Military & Lace also just seemed a little tacky to me.  I kind of agreed with Ivy and the dreaded Gretchen that it wasn’t remarkably cohesive sometimes.  The blue popped up from time to time (the outfits of Peach and Valerie) but always seemed a little out of place.  And some of the lace and extra hardware appeared a wee bit tacky to me, like a shopping spree at Forever 21 or some such. But clearly it was leaps and bounds ahead of Team Luxe, who may have been all kinds of cooperative but also sent an ocean of beige boringness down the runway.

Gretchen and teammates in happier times

Let me just say that from the moment that Team Luxe vowed backstage that they would not turn on each other, I knew we were in for some true fun.  Because there was no way they were going to stick to it.  And indeed they did not.  I can see, of course, why they all turned on Michael Costello.  Not only did he have immunity (as the judges continually pointed out), but what the judges don’t seem to see is that he appears to be remarkably unskilled, and the other designers really did spend a good deal of time helping him out.  It doesn’t help matters that they were all so irked at what they believe (and I agreed) was his undeserved win of the week before.  But oh, Gretchen, you need to just shut up!  If you could keep a  lid on it, most people (the DOD boys included) wouldn’t hate you so much.  But she just can’t stop herself.  In the beginning she kept on bossily repeating — choking back the tears — that the judges needed to be “mindful” of how cooperatively they had worked and how proud of their collection they were. And then, when push came to shove, all of them — save A.J. — turned on Michael.  And Gretchen completed her 180 revolution, claiming falsely that she had never liked the collection and had tried valiantly to salvage it with styling at the last minute. At least Gretchen was reprimanded by the judges when she appeared in the final two, but it was clear to all watching that it was A.J. who would be saying auf wiedersehen.

Bless your heart, Tim Gunn.  Rare are the moments when he expresses any sort of opinion about what happens on the runway. (Long-time viewers may recall an earlier moment where he called out a designer who had lied outright to the judges.) But he went after Gretchen this time around. I cannot wait to see the fallout from this episode next week!

See our Season Finale Wrap-up Here.

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12 Responses

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  1. Alastair said, on August 27, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Team Bitch is more like it… riding high on their horses. It was GREAT to see them get knocked off and fall on their faces. Really, camel. I’ve never been a fan and find it difficult to work with. Oh, and I loved Michael K’s Golden Girls vest and granny shorts comment.

    • CultureChoc2010 said, on August 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

      I agree. What are Grandpa sweaters anyway????

      • Blake said, on August 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

        Great question, CultureChoc! I have no idea. Gretchen seemed so sure that they needed no further explanation, but at least one other designer seemed a little confused by them as well. I have re-watched the video of the Military Lace collection and I have to say it’s growing on me; I still find the blue a little jarring but a lot of the rest of it really works.

        And yes, bravo for Tim, giving voice to the viewing public’s collective rage!

    • Blake said, on August 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      I could see that vest on Dorothy any day, Alastair.

  2. CultureChoc2010 said, on August 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Well said. I agree but I did like the Military Lace collection. April predicted it and she was sooo right. Thank God Tim Gunn said something. Great episode last night!

  3. PDXFashion said, on September 1, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Trust me people – there is absolutely no creative editing happening here. You are seeing the real Gretchen Jones. I’m sure most Portlanders who know her personally (as I do) would concur. Her true colors have shown and it’s not pretty! The collection from Team Luxe was pure Gretchen. The entire thing looked exactly like the drab, poorly constructed pieces that we’ve seen from every collection this wannabe designer has produced. Gretchen is a liar, manipulative, ladder-climbing and terribly egocentric. I don’t believe that she will win, but if she does, there is something very wrong in the world.

    • Blake said, on September 1, 2010 at 9:19 am

      PDXFashion — thank you so much for the behind-the-scenes hometown insight! I was kind of thinking that it would be difficult to produce someone quite so horrible just through creative editing — she did say what she said, after all — but you have confirmed it for us.

      And I’m with you — let’s just hope she doesn’t win!

    • Morgaine Chya said, on September 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

      If you look at the extra video footage on the PR Lifetime website, it’s clear that the editors could have selected worse footage to run, if their goal was to cast her in a bad light.

      I think Tim Gunn has pristine ethics, and may have felt that, if he didn’t say anything about the throwing-MichaelC-under-the-bus antics of TeamSuxe, it would, by his silence, imply approval or that he felt it wasn’t bad enough to warrant a comment about it.

      This season has the most trash-talking I’ve heard yet on PR, especially in the waiting room while other designers are being tortured on the runway, and it’s usually GJ and her toady crew.

      If they spent half as much time and energy actually working on their own designs, they might actually be doing well enough that they don’t feel they have to tear down other designers to make themselves look good by comparison.

      I can’t imagine what a nightmare it would be to work in an environment that had GJ or her toadies in it. At the very best, it would be disruptive and decrease the quality and quantity of work produced…and it more likely would turn the environment toxic and poisonous.

      • Blake said, on September 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

        Morgaine — I love the description of Gretchen’s crew as “toadies.” Very well put!

        And I’m with you about Tim — he seems ethical to a fault. GJ, of course, is self-delusional to a fault, so who knows if it’ll sink in…

  4. anna said, on October 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    she is THE bitch!and so is Marika eVANGER!

    • Katie said, on January 30, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      Finally someone said something about Buffalo Exchange and how the manager Marika thinks she is hot shit…pllllease,that girl needs to wake up,I don’t shop there anymore…

  5. […] be reality TV stars without their own websites: Sandra Rinomato, Sarah Richardson, Mondo Guerra, Gretchen Jones, Tabatha Coffey (back soon on Bravo!) — we’ve also made some loyal reader friends along […]


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