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Project Runway 9, Episode 10 – Return of the Me Decade

Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced the dreaded menswear challenge when they had to design a suitably retro look for the Sheepdogs, a 70′s inspired rock band. Olivier was thrown for a major loop when he had to design for the lead singer, who stood over six feet tall. His experience with menswear had apparently not prepared him for men who shop in the Big and Tall department. Consequently, Olivier was sent home, while Viktor won by making a fantastic jacket for his client.

For a change of pace, Lifetime catches up with the designers right after the challenge. They’re at their apartment getting ready for bed and discussing the challenge.

The next morning, the designers meet up with Heidi, who tells them to “look to the past.” She then sends them to the workroom to meet Tim and a “special guest,” who turns out to be Heather Archibald from Piperlime.com. According to her, the 70′s are due for a revival, and she wants the designers to make a 70′s inspired outfit, which has to be separates. The winner of the challenge will be able to sell their look on Piperlime.com.

The designers will have thirty minutes to sketch plus a budget of $100.00 to spend at Mood. Bert promptly grabs a some glittery gold platform shoes that look something that might have been worn at a disco and decides to build his look around them. Josh, who is the youngest of the remaining designers, apparently doesn’t know anything about the 70′s and is consequently feeling rather lost. (Um, Josh, you’re a fan of the Village People, right? They did get their start in the 70′s…) Kimberly tells us that her mother had been a secretary during the 70′s. She will therefore make a sexier version of her mom’s clothes.

At Mood, Kimberly, Bert, and several other designers seek out prints. Anya wants burgundy and/or brown as those are colors she associates with the 1970′s. Unfortunately, her dress has no pockets, which means she has no real place to put her money envelope, which she tucks in one of her dress’ straps. Unfortunately, she loses the money. After frantic searching, she turns to Tim for help, and he spells out her options: 1) use muslin and/or 2) beg money from her fellows. Unfortunately, her fellow designers have all spent their share– except for Anthony who has 11.00 left over. He gives it to her, and she buys some fabric, plus a few buttons and a zipper.

Back at the workshop, some of the other designers, after some prodding from Tim, who reminds them that Anya has often shared her fabrics with them, give her materials they’re not using. (Tim’s right, by the way, Anya gave Kimberly some fabric just last episode.) Viktor doesn’t, though. He DR’s that he’d like to help, but this is a competition, so he won’t.

At 57, Bert has lived through the 70′s. Viktor takes advantage of this to ask him which of the shoes on the accessory wall are patterned after 70′s shoes. Josh tells us that he has some familiarity with the glam, disco 1970′s, but he needs something salable. Laura is enjoying this challenge because she likes vintage clothing. Viktor suspects Josh is stealing ideas from other designers but decides to keep his opinion to himself. He assures himself that he’s a better designer and tailor than Josh, so it doesn’t matter if Josh steals his ideas or not.

Anya decides to dye her muslin, and the result is a sort of rusty orange. While Kimberly is making pants, Anya talks about how the three women had made a pact to help each other. Bert is using gold lame. He talks about how he used to go to Study 54 and hang out with people like Halston and Dianna Ross. It’s then time to go home.

The following morning, Tim tells the designers that there’s a twist to the challenge. They have to make a second look, and it has to be a one-piece of some kind. They have a $50.00 budget and 15 minutes to sketch, starting now. Kimberly decides not to sketch, but continues working on her first look, hoping that she’ll get an idea while working. When the gang goes to Mood, Anya pins her money to her shirt, so she won’t lose it again.

After the designers return from Mood and start working, Tim comes in to make his rounds. He starts with Anthony, who is making a “midi-skirt.” In other words, it will be about knee-length. Tim thinks it looks old. He then checks in with Anya, who has started her second look, a jumpsuit. Tim stops by Bert, and thinks Bert’s look might actually be too vintage. Kimberly is working on a fitted jumper, while Viktor is making a safari jacket for his first look. Josh is making a hot pink top and tells Tim he’s shooting for an androgynous look. Laura is making a jumpsuit for her second look, and Tim warns her to mind her taste, as Nina has questioned her taste level.

The models then come in for their fitting and Bert’s model comments that his outfit reminds her of Charlie’s Angels. If she’s talking about the 70′s show, that’s good, but if she’s talking about the more recent movie, Bert could have problems. Anthony asks Anya her opinion about something; he tells us that she’s the girl he would dress. Having a muse for inspiration for can be helpful, but I’m not sure if Anya’s look is vintage enough for this challenge. After the models leave, it’s time for the designers to go back home.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work. Tim sends in the models for hair and make-up. Kimberly now discovers that her waistband doesn’t fit the model, so she has to cut and make a new one. Anya is also running behind and tells us that just once she would like to truly finish on time. Then it’s off to the runway, where the designers meet Olivia Palermo, a “guest editor” for Piperlime.com.

First up is Kimberly. Her first look is a black circle skirt paired with a flowing, sleeveless, patterned black and white shirt.

Anthony made a black and grey vest with a zig-zagging pattern. Nice, but he paired it with a gray and maroon mini-dress with a sloppy neckline. It also has a light orange belt. His second look is a short-sleeved maxi-dress made of black, red, and white plaid with a wide orange belt.

Bert made short black shorts and a gold lame tube-top. He then added a gauzy, translucent, patterned cover-up. His second look was a sleeveless mini-dress with a white front and abeige back. He added a skinny belt with silver tips.

Laura’s first look consists of a sleeveless black and white top in a chevron pattern teamed with a yellow, green, and black skirt that looks like it was the victim of a very bad tie-dye job. Her second look consists of black pants and a sleeveless grey top.

For his first look, Josh made a black and pink top that looks the offspring of a tuxedo and a track suit. From the front, it looks, a bit like a tuxedo shirt, but it has broad racing stripes down the side. Josh’s love of embellishment ran away with him… again. He added skinny black and white plaid pants and a very skinny animal print belt. His second look consists of a black sleeveless top and a long black skirt with multi-colored animal prints on it.

Anya’s first look consists of a sleeveless rust shirt, with patterned black and tan pants and a wide tan belt. Her second look is a jumpsuit made of patterned black, tan, and white fabric with billowing pants.

Last up is Viktor, whose first look is a pale grey pant suit with a safari jacket that has 3/4 length sleeves. He also made a patterned black and white shirt. His second look is a knee-length black skirt paired with a sleeveless grey shirt that has a snake-skin pattern.

After the show, Heidi calls Kimberly and tells her she’s safe. The remaining designers have the highest and the lowest scores. The judges start with Laura, who tells them she loves color and prints. Heidi doesn’t like the combined patterns of the first look. Nina agrees, calling it a prison top/flowery skirt combination. She adds the black skirt of the second look wouldn’t show up online– which is important if it’s to be sold on Piperlime.com. Michael simply says they don’t look like fashion.

Viktor says he had his heart set on making a safari jacket. The judges don’t like the t-shirt combined with the jacket, but they agree it looks great with the pants. Nina thinks the first look is a bit conservative, but she loves the t-shirt and black skirt from the second look.

Josh wanted to contrast his masculine first look with his feminine second look. Michael thinks the looks are schizophrenic. He asks the model to turn around, and literally cries out in horror when he sees the plaid converging in a way that makes the model’s derriere look bigger than it presumably is. Heidi calls the first look one of the worst outfits she’s ever seen, and Olivia calls the “tablecloth pants” scary. Nina also dislikes the fabric he’d used for the skirt in his second look.

Anya tells the judges about her money woes, and she admits the top for the first look is made of muslin. Heidi is impressed that he first look cost only a little over eleven dollars. She and Nina both like the print used in the second look.

Anthony says he was inspired by the 70′s music and feeling of freedom. Olivia thinks the looks seem incomplete, and the dress looks like a tent. Nina says the layering of the skirt with the vest and shirt doesn’t work, and it isn’t luxe. Heidi says the looks have no sex appeal, and Michael adds they make the models look like hippy sisters.

Bert is last. Heidi likes the fabric used in the first outfit, and she thinks the second outfit looks both expensive and elegant. Michael is pleased and notes that women like to show their shoulders. Olivia thinks the first outfit is very sexy and just the thing for the beach. She loves the belt on the second outfit.

Backstage, Josh complains about how he was born in the 1980′s and therefore couldn’t be expected to know anything about the 1970′s. Viktor, with some asperity, points out there books and movies about said decade, and a good designer needs to know the history of their chosen craft.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the designers they didn’t like. Josh can’t edit and he can’t take criticism. His pants didn’t fit and the neon animal print skirt was ugly. Anthony’s clothes were boring and he can’t mix prints. Nor would his clothes photograph well. Laura also used a poor mix of prints.

Anya, on the other hand knows how to pick good prints. She made a sexy, wearable jumpsuit. The judges didn’t like the rust-colored top, but they salute her ability to solve problems. Bert also did a nice job and he made clothes that would photograph well. His dress could work well in just about any color. Viktor made great pieces that could be mixed and matched with each other. He made a fantastic jacket. He also knows how to choose good snakeskin, which can easily look cheap.

The judges announce their decision, and the winner is Anya. Her jumpsuit will be produced and sold on Piperlime.com. Bert is in, and Olivia tells him that she likes his dress so much she wants to sell it on Piperlime.com, too. Viktor and Laura are in, leaving Josh and Anthony in the bottom two. Josh is in and Anthony is out.

Backstage, Anya tells Anthony she’ll miss him. Tim tells Anthony and the others that there is no shame in being cut at this point. Tim calls the endgame “Designer Olympics,” as the very last designers are all good. He’s got a point. The early cuts were often people who had construction problems. But we’re now past the point of somebody getting sent home for a sloppy hem.

So who’s a good bet to go to Fashion Week? Viktor arguably has the best chance of both going and winning. He’s a meticulous craftsman with a good eye for fabrics and styles.

Anya’s chief weakness is her lack of experience. She can sew well– just a bit more slowly than the others given her susceptibility to time crunches. On the plus side, she has a good eye for prints, a cool head, and resourcefulness. (Imagine what would have happened if Josh had been the one to lose his money. He’d have had a total meltdown and sulked his way out of the competition.)

Bert started strong, then went through a bad patch, and has now recovered nicely. He probably knows more fashion history than anybody else, and sews beautifully. His main weakness is that his clothes tend to be old-fashioned and simple. If he can update his fashion sense, he stands a decent chance.

Josh seems to be the long-lost younger brother of Season 5′s Kenley. Like her, he’s talented, obnoxious, and opinionated. He has a strong point of view, but he can’t edit to save his life, and, again like Kenley, he seriously needs to bone up on his fashion history. Also like Kenley, he’s not above copying other designers. He might make it to Fashion Week, but he probably won’t win.

Kimberly’s clothes, other than her pants, have apparently made little impression on the judges. She might make it past somebody who make a horrific outfit– or she might get sent home for being boring. Laura probably has the least chance of getting to Fashion Week. She has made just as little impression on the judges as Kimberly for the most part, except for Nina, who doesn’t like her taste. Laura’s days are probably numbered.

Next week: The designers have to make outfits inspired by birds.

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