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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 18 - Rumble on the Runway

Glenn Rowley

bethenny-ramona-runway

Let's get ready to rumblllleee! It's New York Fashion Week on RHONY. Historically, NYFW delivers a plethora of dresses and drama on this show, and this season did not disappoint. Back when the season was being filmed, it was reported in the media that Sonja's fashion show would serve as part of the season finale, so I was pleasantly surprised that it's actually the penultimate episode. As a fan, I am more than happy to have one more episode before reunion time, because I just can't get enough of this season. 

The episode opens with Heather meeting Carole for dinner to catch up on the latter's adventures in London. After downloading her BFF on her new bond with Doris, Carole regales her bestie with a story of having to smuggle the bomb-shaped urn through the airport wrapped in Dorinda's fur coat. Going through security, the pair were stopped and questioned about...a tiny bottle of Clarin's hand lotion. Ok got it: urns yes, lotion no. Glad to know the security guidelines. What I really want to know is where were the cameras for this? In the end, Carole explains that having the urn back in her apartment makes her finally feel complete. The urn looks like it always belonged there, and it won't be moving again. Heather also fills Radzi in on Ramotional's bad behavior at the Boy Meets Skinnygirl party and the two come to the conclusion that Ramona might not know how to be single. Heather goes a step further to say that this is simply who the Singer Stinger is: rude and unfiltered with no manners. Maybe Ramona just needs to get laid? (But not in the Turks and Caicos, of course.)

sonja-bethenny-model casting

Next, Bethenny is visiting Sonja for some sort of unspecified meeting regarding the Sonja Morgan New York collection. Are they supposed to be looking at clothes? Is Lady Morgan finally showing her the collection? Whatever the reason, Bethenny can't find out right away because she beat Sonja to her own rented office space. B's literally left sitting in a conference room staring at the CEO and creative director of Sonja Morgan Brands until Sonja decides to actually show up. Once she does, Sonja informs the Skinnygirl that the meeting is actually a model casting for the collection's Fashion Week debut. Heather arrives to lend a hand, which makes sense to Bethenny since Ms. Yummie has actual experience working with models, but what in the world is she doing here? A model casting is clearly not this mogul's forte. Bethenny does point out in her interview, however, that she doesn't care if Sonja makes the clothes herself out of a pair of drapes - she wants Lady Morgan to succeed and all the other ladies to be proud of her. Sonja deserves her moment. 

heather-model-casting

However, the confusion starts almost immediately as Heather asks for clarification about what they're supposed to be looking for in the models. #TeamSonja starts rattling off vague terms like "heritage brand" but Bethenny and Heather don't grasp the concept since it's not a real thing. Once the first model comes in, Sonja immediately puts her foot in her mouth by dismissing the girl for having too much of a "Versace build" which simply won't do for the Sonja Morgan aesthetic. This poor girl. Bethenny tries to hush Sonja's inner monologue, but Lady Morgan insists that she used to be a model and they're used to such harsh critiques. Bethenny counters in her interview that even if models are used to that kind of treatment, there's no reason Sonja needs to contribute to a generation of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Sonja starts getting defensive, telling Heather that there's no way the models should be insulted because she's the one who selected them for the casting call. Heather quickly points out that if her opinions aren't welcome she can gladly leave, but Bethenny reminds Sonja that if she wants to be insulted by someone, it should be herself for making the comment in the first place. In her interview, Sonja petulantly claims that Heather always has to come across as the most successful businesswoman in the room because she has no other identity, and I'm sensing a little jealousy...Mind you, this entire argument is taking place in front of the next model, who's awkwardly standing in front of three reality stars just trying to book a job. 

Heather attempts to get the casting back on track by asking Sonja's hired executives which brands they see the collection positioned next to in department stores. This is a valid question coming from a respected and successful designer, but the CEO claims that the brand can't be compared to or put up against any other existing label because it simply has no competition. Ok. At this point, Bethenny is literally banging her head against a wall. There's seriously no way to get a simple answer when you're dealing with #TeamSonja.

dorinda-fur

On the Upper East Side, Dorinda and her fur collar are meeting Ramona for lunch. Ramotional is on a storytelling roll - first about how she got into the wrong car and had to take a cab to the restaurant and then about being treated to dinner by the owner of Cipriani's - before dropping the big bomb: she's officially getting divorced from Mario. And according to her interview, she's even dating wonderful, mature men who make her feel good about herself. Simply put, Ramona and Mario are on two different paths in life that won't ever come together again. Ever the supportive friend, Doris validates the situation by pointing out that Ramona has done a good job post-separation of giving it time and taking things day by day. Ultimately, it's a positive decision for her life and her future. Naturally, the pair then change gears and start hitting on the cute young waiter. Is he single? Because Dorinda has a nice daughter he would like...

kristen-elie-tahari

In the first Fashion Week event of the episode, Kristen, Carole and Heather arrive at the Elie Tahari presentation to celebrate the official launch of Pop of Color, which is collaborating with the legendary designer for the show. This is a huge win for Kristen and really the best possible way to debut her nail polish line. Yay Pretty Girl! While at the show, the trio discuss Sonja's fashion show later that evening. She's either been working on the line for a million years or two weeks, they're still not completely sure, and the show is going to be at the Carriage House rather than Lincoln Center. Carole says she's backdooring the event by using social media to promote it - maybe the best choice of words when talking about a Sonja Morgan event. Once Radzi does her nails and finishes her sandwich, they make their way into the fashion presentation, which features a bevy of models posing on turntables rather than a traditional runway show. For Kristen, it's surreal to see Pop of Color on all the models and even Elie Tahari himself makes an appearance to thank the ladies for coming.

sonja-show-prep

Meanwhile, Sonja is frantically prepping for her show. In her confessional, she states that she's been working on this collection for eons, and now that the big day is finally here she's running on pure adrenaline and fear. She says nothing will come between her and getting this show up, but several minor crises have already occurred: three models dropped out no one printed the seating for the major buyers and she's yelling at her army of interns while making seating cards for Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Saks. The other ladies start showing up before Sonja's even changed into her jumpsuit, and in their interviews, they all express support for Lady Morgan: Kristen calls it her moment of truth, Bethenny doesn't want her to be mocked or maligned and Heather knows Sonja can pack a house, but she's not seeing any of the buyers she expected to see on the front row. Honestly, the event seems a bit chaotic, with guests arriving before the seating is finished and the runway is laid down, but Dorinda's determined that Sonja can pull the rabbit out of the hat.

Ramona arrives and greets Bethenny by commenting on the crazy coincidence that their dresses happen to be similar lengths. B points out in her interview that given Ramona's penchant for stealing dresses from her show (remember that?), this coincidence shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Bethenny also questions the Ramonacoaster about this New Beginnings thing she got an email about, and Ramona has invited all the ladies to a themed party to commemorate all the New Beginnings that have been occurring in her life this season. Given Ramona's recent bad behavior on the Turks and Caicos trip and at the Boy Meets Skinnygirl party, Bethenny thinks she should call it the Old Bull**** party. You can't teach an old Ramonacoaster new tricks no matter how many times she tries to renew herself.

sonja-fashion-show

Backstage, Sonja is having a fit because not a single model has a chignon updo like she requested. Her team is making last minute jewelry changes and Sonja's screaming at her stylist Cesar for messing up the models' second looks and this whole thing is just not effing happening, OK? After an awkward waiting period for the guests out front and a barked order from the Asian stage manager, the show finally begins as the models descend the spiral staircase to the runway. The 'Wives ooh and ahh at the parade of fashions and all seem genuinely impressed by the collection. The Empress actually has clothes! And high-quality clothes at that. Way to go Sonja.

ramona-runway

There's a random intermission while the models rotate into their second looks, which is the perfect time for Bethenny and Ramona to start fighting over DressGate and gossip. Apparently Ramona's been telling the other girls that Bethenny cheated on her first husband, and it got back to the Skinnygirl via Heather the night of the Turks and Caicos cock block. When Bethenny confronts an indignant Ramona about the "desperate, nasty, entitled and selfish" lie, she tries to pull her excuse that she's going through a hard time so just crucify her and slit her wrists, but that's not working on Bethenny anymore. Being rude and then apologizing for it the next day simply doesn't fly. Ramona can't claim to be a new person throwing a New Beginnings party while exhibiting the same old bad behavior over and over. Has she really progressed that much if she's stolen two dresses from Bethenny's talk show and refused to give them back? Bethenny demands to know if we've seen the worst of Ramona's behavior or if we should expect further beginnings down the line, and at this point I'm laughing out loud. No one can put a Housewife in her place quite like Bethenny Frankel. Ramona accuses Bethenny of trying to pick a fight, but there's nowhere to run since they're stuck next to each other on the front row of a fashion show. Classic Housewives moment. 

Eventually the second round of looks come out and it's back to celebrating Sonja's success. Lady Morgan herself makes an appearance at the end of the show surrounded by the models in her clothes. Carole says the show was better than half of the ones she's seen at Lincoln Center and Ramona's up on her feet cheering (maybe to get away from Bethenny?). Sonja tells us via interview that everyone can say what they want, but she kept her eye on the ball and Sonja Morgan New York is officially an international fashion/lifestyle brand. So take that, world, Sonja Morgan is back.