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Project Runway, Aug. 19 – The Mad Hatter

Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced the dreaded unconventional materials challenge. This time, they had to make outfits out of party favors. Andy won and Sarah was sent home. Ivy passed out in the hall of Atlas Apartments, and somebody called the ambulance.

This week’s episode picks up with the sickly Ivy being examined by the ambulance crew. They give her oxygen and take her to the nearest hospital. Valerie and Gretchen tell us how worried they are about her. Around 3 a.m., Ivy returns to the apartment. It turns out her problem was dehydration and the doctor has agreed to let her stay in the competition.

The next morning, everybody goes to the runway, where they are met by Heidi Klum. After Heidi welcomes them, their models come out, wearing massive hats. Heidi introduces the designers to Philip Treacy, hat designer extraordinaire. He will be this week’s guest judge.

The challenge itself is deceptively simple: Make an outfit inspired by and that can be worn with a Treacy hat. Treacy advises the designers to consider proportion and volume while designing, and to also keep the silhouette in mind.

Next it’s time to choose the hats. Unfortunately, Heidi ruins things by warning the designers they will have to work with the model actually wearing a given chapeau. Predictably, this means everybody chooses to work with their usual model, without apparently giving much thought to the hats. Andy, as last week’s winner, gets first pick, while Kristin, who is last, gets stuck with a hat that looks like an oversized striped orchid.

In the workroom, Tim Gunn tells the designers they have until 11:00 p.m. to finish and fifteen minutes to sketch, starting now. April tells us that her pink and white hat makes her think of a futuristic island, so she will design resort wear. Andy is relieved to have immunity and comments that his hat reminds him of royalty. Valerie thinks Treacy was stretching the definition of “hat” when he made her piece, because it looks more like a mask. As she’s a fan of David Bowie, she’s thinking about making something inspired by his movie The Labyrinth, only with a more modern feel.

Michael C. wants to make a halter dress, while Michael D. loves the architectural hat that frames his model’s face so well. He therefore wants to incorporate that in his dress. Kristin normally finds inspiration in her garden, but is still finding it tough to get inspired by the giant orchid that’s her hat.

The group then goes to mood with a budget of $150. Ivy buys some translucent material that reminds her of the hospital’s curtains. Kristin asks Tim if he thinks the fabric she’s picked out is too shiny, and Tim reminds her that the dress should not play second fiddle to the hat, but stand equal with it.

Back at the workroom, Casanova wonders aloud if he should quit. Ivy snarks that the queen’s drama is too much for other people in the room. Casanova knows that the judges have seen that he can sew well, but he now has to show them that he also has taste.

Meanwhile, Valerie has just discovered that she has forgotten to buy a zipper for her dress. Fortunately, Ivy has a spare that she’s willing to part with. Kristin is still at a loss as what to do. Her hat is a literal representation of an orchid, and she’s not used to that. She says that you can build stories around the other hats, but she can’t think of a story about an orchid. Valerie is worried that she could end up in the bottom this time around, while Ivy is confident she can finish her dress on time, providing she doesn’t pass out again.

Kristin finally comes up with an idea for her look: She remembers that she had worn orchids in her hair at her wedding, and thus decides to make a black evening gown with a touch of whimsy. She wants to convey romance through her dress– and she tells us that 1) she wants her husband, 2) flowers have both male and female parts, and 3) a flower’s parts look like female parts.

Michael C. tells us that today is Father’s Day, and that he’s hoping to talk to his six- year- old son, Giovanni. Ivy hopes Michael C.’s design gets better, since it’s a hot mess right now. Michael C. admits to himself that she’s right, as there are problems with the seam.