Welcome to the penultimate episode of Project Runway; after this comes the finale. Last week, the designers had to make outfits inspired by certain musical genres — and they had to make the outfits for each other. Kenley was supposed to make a hip hop outfit for Leanne, but as they didn’t have hip hop in the 1950’s, she didn’t have a clue. Still, she squeaked by and Suede was sent home, while Korto won for making a punk outfit that Suede modeled.
The next morning, Korto tells us that she’s 33 years old and the oldest designer left. Leanne tells us how excited she is to be in the Top Four. Kenley, meanwhile, is furious with Leanne for not “selling” her so-called hip hop look, and she thinks Leanne sabotaged her. No, Kenley, you sabotaged yourself by trying to bluff your way through the challenge when everybody could tell that you didn’t have a clue what hip hop actually is. A quick consultation with Tim would have probably saved you considerable grief. Jerrell, the one remaining male, amuses himself with “dolls” representing Tim, Joe, and Suede.
At the runway, Heidi brings out Korto and Suede’s models, and invites Korto to choose between them. Korto decides to keep her model. Heidi then sends the designers to meet Tim in the lobby, as he is going to take them on a field trip. Tim takes them to the New York Botanical Gardens, where they meet Collier Strong, the consulting makeup artist for L’Oreal Paris.
Strong issues this week’s challenge: Make an evening gown inspired by nature. Of course, the designers all interpret this as “Make an evening gown inspired by flowers.” The designers have an hour to take pictures in the garden. Jerrell quickly finds some purple roses. Leanne is unnerved by the apparently large bee population and worries about getting stung. She finds several lavender plants and takes pictures of those. Korto tells us that she loves the garden and is drawn to a plant with yellow-orange blooms. Kenley feels very confident (as usual) because she uses a lot of bright colors.
Back at Parson’s the designers have 30 minutes to sort through their pictures and pick the one they find most inspiring. They also have a budget of $250.00 to spend at Mood and two days to make their evening gown. Kenley is thrilled to find a fuchsia snake skin fabric at Mood. Jerrell is tempted by a spangly yellow fabric, but is talked out of it by Tim, who points out that it looks low class.
Later, Leanne tells us that she wants her gown to have a “tiered” effect, like the arrangement of a lavender plant’s flowers. Kenley, to her horror, finds that she has left her tulle at Mood. Upon seeing her plight, Jerrell and Korto hide their tulle, which they have decided not to use, as they don’t want Kenley using it. (I’m of two minds on this. Yes, it was spiteful of them to do that. On the other hand, can you blame them for not wanting to help a competitor?) They both tell us that Kenley is rude to everybody.
The second day dawns and Kenley is not happy about not having her tulle. The other designers are not happy with her and avoid her. Yes, this also childish and spiteful of them, but they have been living with her for weeks now. Their collective patience is obviously exhausted by this point. I know that if I had a roommate like Kenley, I’d probably eventually be jailed for homicide. Not surprisingly, when Kenley asks Jerrell for his tulle, he refuses.
Tim stops in and Kenley tells him about her missing tulle. Tim assures her that if she’d paid for it, it will be on her receipt and Mood will have held on it for her. She will be able to retrieve it — but first it’s time for the models’ fitting. Afterwards, Collier Strong stops by to consult with the designers about the kind of make-up they want their models to have. Kenley, who is getting way too much airtime this episode, whines to the camera about being an outsider. She tells us that she grew up tough and that her father was a tugboat captain, so she was away from land a lot. She was allowed to be loud and obnoxious. “Rough around the edges” is one thing, but there’s a difference between being that and being a jerk. Three guesses which Kenley is.
After Kenley has retrieved her tulle from Mood, Tim makes his usual rounds. He doesn’t like the lace on Korto’s gown and says it looks too much like “Catherine the Great.” He visits Kenley next and tells her that the “petals” on the bottom of her dress look more like scales. Kenley thinks this is a compliment and thanks him. Tim reminds her that the challenge has a botanical theme, not an oceanic one — so the fact that her dress reminds him of a fish or lizard isn’t good. Tim thinks Jerrell’s gown has potential, but looks unfinished. Leanne’s dress reminds Tim of “Hello, Dolly,” which means it’s either old-fashioned or costumey or both. Leanne isn’t happy about being told this, as she feels very stressed. She tells us that she has wanted to show at Fashion Week ever since she was twelve years old.
On the morning of the show, the designers tell us again how badly they want to go to Fashion Week. Jerrell tells us that he feels good about making it this far and that this is the biggest moment of his life. Korto tells us how upset she will be if she’s eliminated today. She says many people have told her “no” over the years and it’s time somebody told her “yes.”
Tim comes in again and sends in the models to get dressed and made-up. Cue the usual montage of the models doing so. During this, Kenley tells us that she doesn’t like anybody else’s looks: Jerrell’s designs look like craft projects, while Leanne just does pleats and muted color palettes. At the runway, we’re introduced to tonight’s guest judge, Regina Chapman, co-founder and designer for Marchesea.
Korto’s model is first up, and she’s wearing a sleeveless, apricot gown with a plunging V-neck and lace trim.
Leanne made an asymmetrical lavender gown decorated with “sculptural” pleats coming down the front and trimming the sides. There’s also an odd piece of blue fabric hanging down the back in an apparent attempt at a short train.
Jerrell made a maroon gown that splits apart in the front to reveal a long red skirt. It is sleeveless and very low cut. The area around the model’s breasts is decorated with sparkles.
Kenley made a snug, sleeveless fuchsia gown. The bottom third has been decorated with the petals/scales that Tim and Kenley had discussed earlier. These decorations have purple trim. The model is also wearing a thin black belt.