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Project Runway, Aug. 5 – Making the Big Time with Marie Claire


The judges start with Peach, who tells them she thinks polka dots are youthful and eye-catching. Heidi says she thinks “strong” and “fashion-forward,” when she thinks of Marie Claire – and sees none of that in Peach’s dress. It also has no sex appeal. Michael calls it an “Amish cocktail dress.” Nina says it’s neither young nor sophisticated. Joanna asks to see the “animal climbing down the back,” and the model obligingly turns to give her a better look at the trim, which she had added in an attempt at texture. Peach admits this is her third try at a dress, and the judges give her credit for making a lot in the time allowed.

Next up is Valerie, who had wanted to capture the spirit of New York in a simple but innovative piece. Nina thinks it’s sexy, yet conservative. Michael praises Valerie’s color choice, calling bright red a good color for a billboard. Heidi also likes the color, saying it’s powerful. Joanna declares she can tell that Valerie had thought about the Marie Claire woman.

Jason wanted a night-to-day look that incorporated the infinity symbol (a number eight on its side, for the mathematics-challenged) and a reference to this being the eighth season. Nina does not think his dress would look interesting on a billboard. Michael jeers that the night aspect of Jason’s dress is a satin bedspread, while the day aspect is a “hall of shame” look. Joanna comments that Jason’s model looks furious in the chosen photograph and that she can’t believe Jason had chosen a photograph that showed a visible hole in the dress. Jason says that he had planned to add a lot of snaps to make it possible to wear the dress in many ways. Jason then tries to show what some of those ways would have been and Heidi asks if he is showing his model’s underwear.

Gretchen tells the judges that her design can fill the page and could be worn by women ranging from their twenties to their forties. The front is adjustable. It can be very open for a nighttime look or relatively closed for a daytime look. Heidi thinks the design is for a cool woman and loves both the photo and the adjustability. Michael calls the design modern and likes the sportswear aspect of it. Joanna says the outfit looks easy to wear, and Nina says she gets Marie Claire from the design.

Nicholas talks about the circle shape he wanted to use for his blouse. Nina says there are too many details for a billboard, which needs a simple design. Joanna thinks it’s unsexy. Michael points out that Nicholas himself had realized that the cape would not photograph well, as his chosen photograph simply shows the model holding it, rather than wearing it. He does like the blouse – until he sees the cutaway back. Michael snarks that the model is naked without the cape and part of a religious sect with it.

Last up is Mondo, who wanted to make something whimsical, but still practical. Heidi likes both the design and the photograph, and Mondo adds that he was inspired by Mary Tyler Moore, to the judges’ delight. Joanna goes so far as to say that Mary Tyler Moore had inspired her to move to America. She says Mondo’s look is professional, but not corporate. Nina loves the black and white color scheme and the shoes.

The judges dismiss everybody to have their chat. Back in the waiting room, Jason whines that he’s misunderstood. The judges, meanwhile, start with the designers they liked. They enjoyed Mondo’s exuberant look and appreciated that he handled tweed in a feminine way. Gretchen’s look is both sophisticated and youthful, and she’d chosen a good photograph. Valerie’s dress is sexy, but not vulgar.

As for the designers they didn’t like. Jason offered too many excuses and explanations along with his look, which was terrible anyway. So was his photograph. Nicholas was overly ambitious and his blouse’s back looked “eaten.” Peach’s look reminded the judges of Desperate Housewives. It was well-made, but still completely wrong.

The judges call everybody back in and tell Mondo he’s in. He’s very happy and feels validated, even though he didn’t win. Gretchen is the winner, and Valerie is in. Peach is in, but Jason and Nicholas, who had both been in the bottom six last week, are out. Jason is fuming and doesn’t even wait for Tim to send him to his workspace; he just leaves. Nicholas is crushed, and the other designers comfort him.

After the judging, Gretchen has her photo shoot with Marie Claire, and she and the other designers admire her billboard in times Square.

Next week: It’s an unconventional materials challenge involving party favors. Plus, one of the women has to be taken to the hospital.

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