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Project Runway, Aug. 27 – Mama Needs New Clothes


The designers and the models head to the runway. Rebecca Romijin is the guest judge, and Monique Lhuillier, a fashion designer, is subbing for the absent Michael Kors. All three women have been pregnant, so they know good maternity wear from bad.

Logan is up first. He made a white, short-sleeved tunic with black leggings that end just above the knee. Shirin made a dark red dress and a dark grey coat lined with a nice print.

Nicolas sends down a black cocktail dress. Christopher’s model is wearing a purple, one-sleeved tunic with black leggings. Mitchell’s outfit is another disaster: short, sloppy-looking brown shorts that look as if they were made for a 200-pound woman, and an extremely snug white sleeveless shirt with a tan sweater thrown over it.

Qristyl sends a down a rusty draped dress. Epperson made an off-white jump suit, the only set of pants. Louise’s sleeveless dress is scarlet satin with lots of detail. It has lace at the bottom and decorations on the right shoulder. Gordana made a navy blue tunic and leggings with a blue-gray sweater. Johnny sends down a black dress with blue trim. He wisely ditched the jacket, though.

Malvin laid an egg with his “egg.” His model is wearing a black top and pants, which aren’t bad. It’s the “egg” that’s the problem; it’s a white, asymetrical deal that hugs the body in places and hangs loosely in others, and it looks a bit like a baby sling.

Ra’Mon made a purple cocktail dress with lavender and pale grey insets. Carol Hannah made a blue-green dress with the world’s smallest tiered grey jacket; it ends right above the model’s stomach. The dress is okay, but that jacket looks silly. Althea sends down a floor-length navy blue dress with gold trim. It’s nice, but if she can only make fancy dresses, she might not be here very long. Irina sends down a two-toned, knee-length turquoise dress.

After the show, Heidi calls Louise, Mitchell, Malvin, Shirin, Ra’Mon, and Althea. She dismisses the other designers, telling them they have moved on to the next round. The six she called have the highest and lowest scores between them.

The judges start with Ra’Mon. His dress is a cocktail dress. Again, his dress is too safe, and it looks like it’s pointing to the baby. As I’m looking at a picture of it, I can see what the judges mean: The silver grey parts curve down and around in such a way that they appear to be calling attention to the model’s stomach. What woman wants that?

Louise explains the pleats in her dress make the bust adjustable, and she shows them the adjustable slip. Rebecca says she would wear it. Monique likes the details, and Nina appreciates how it was designed to accommodate different stages of pregnancy.

Althea made an evening dress that would be comfortable as well as attractive. Monique likes its color and tailoring, but says there should be more room in the bust. Nina likes its length, and Heidi says its beautiful.

Malvin had a “mother hen” in mind. He points out that his black top is made of silk organza, and that the collar has a feathery fringe. Nina likes the feathers, but thinks it looks as if she’s already had a baby and is wearing a sling. Heidi doesn’t think anybody would want to look like a chicken, and Malvin admits he may have been too married to his concept.

Mitchell wanted to make a casual outfit for lunch with girlfriends. Heidi likes his idea, but thinks the shorts are badly made. Nina thinks the shirt is much too tight. Rebecca appreciates the look he was trying for, but says it didn’t work out.

Shirin wanted to emphasize comfort. Rebecca loves the waistband, while Monique likes the draping. The judges tell Shirin she should pursue a career in maternity clothes. Nina thinks the dress is versatile and well-made.

The judges deliberate, and this time, they start with the ones they didn’t like.

Ra’Mon’s dress has an unfortunate pattern and resembles a “bowling ball bag.” Mitchell’s shorts were poorly sewn. Malvin’s outfit is dismissed with the remark, “No pregnant woman wants to look like a chicken.”

Shirin’s dress is both beautiful and wearable. Althea’s dress is slimming and elegant, and the judges loved her color choice. Louise’s dress is pretty with many well-executed details.

The judges then call everybody back in and announce their decisions. Louise is in. Heidi gives Rebecca the privilege of naming the winner, and Rebecca does so. Shirin is the winner and has immunity for the next week.

Althea and Ra’Mon are both in. Malvin and Mitchell are the bottom two. Malvin’s outfit is complicated and unflattering, while Mitchell’s is sloppy. Malvin is out, and Heidi tells Mitchell that he has “just squeaked by.” It’s easy to see why that would be: He was in the bottom last week, as well. It’s also easy to see what the judges were thinking: Mitchell’s outfit may have been poorly made, but he’d at least had a decent, workable idea, while Malvin’s notion was simply strange. It also showed an ignorance of what women actually want in their clothes. Still, construction problems tend to sink contestants early on, and they tend not be something a contestant can fix in short order. If Mitchell hasn’t learned to sew properly by now, he isn’t likely to learn by the next challenge.

Next week: The season’s first team challenge, in which the fourteen remaining designers work in pairs.

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