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Project Runway, Aug. 26 – A Team Effort


The fourth look consists of dark grey shorts, brown leggings, a long-sleeved gray shirt and a ridiculously long camel vest. The fifth look includes tight gray pants, the draped off-white cowl neck shirt that Michael C. had been working on, and a short camel jacket. The last outfit consists of a camel jacket over a dark minidress.

Heidi calls Team Military & Lace and tells them they’ve won. They’re ecstatic and promptly have a group hug, while Team Luxe is in shock. They go backstage while the judges talk to Team Military & Lace.

Valerie acts as Team Military & Lace’s spokeswoman. She tells the judges that her team wanted to play with masculine and feminine concepts while letting each designer keep his/her voice. Heidi likes the collection, as she thinks it’s young, fun, and colorful. Georgina sees both cohesiveness and each designer’s attitude. Backstage, Gretchen tells us that the only thing cohesive about the winning collection was the fact that everybody used lace, while Team Luxe’s collection didn’t look as if it had been made by any one designer. She calls it a Project Runway first, and I say that working together should not call for stifling individual creativity. The Borg aren’t exactly known for their prowess at fashion design.

Michael tells Team Military & Lace that combining their namesakes without having the results look like a costume is extremely difficult to do. Their designs, however, will actually have women wanting to wear them. Nina thinks the looks are versatile, and she loves the accessories and hairstyles they chose.

Heidi then asks who had made the white pants and lace top. When the team points to Casanova, Heidi says she wants to be the woman wearing this hot design. Michael says his couture quality shone this challenge. He also praises Peach’s edging on her blouse, and Nina says it’s her best work so far. Heidi asks Team Military & Lace who should win, and they suggest either Peach or Casanova.

Next up is Team Luxe. Gretchen pleads with the judges and explains that the idea had been to collaborate, rather than create designs as individuals. The idea had been to burnish everybody’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses, as well as to create six cohesive looks rather than six outfits that just happened to have a few things in common. Heidi asks Gretchen who the weakest designer is, and Gretchen refuses to answer.

Michael commends Team Luxe for wanting to stick together– but says it didn’t work, as the resulting collection was “vanilla boring.” Georgina comments that the striving for cohesion resulted in a loss of individual creativity. Nina says the biggest problem with the collection was the poor proportions of the outfits. She also called the sex appeal and colors “ghastly.” Michael says he got no “luxe” out of Team Luxe. (I agree; when I think “luxe,” I think really high-end pieces made of velvet or silk, not stuff that looks like it came from the suburbs.)

The judges especially hate Ivy’s outfit, which had been the outfit that had paired shorts with a “Golden Girls” long vest. Heidi also hates A.J.’s outfit, which had been the baggy shirt-dress. A.J. says that he’d wanted to work outside his comfort zone, and Michael retorts that he saw no scale, volume, or interest in the shirt-dress.

Gretchen then takes responsibility for the “crappy collection.” Heidi calls her out for loving it just a few minutes earlier. Michael demands to know who had the hardest time with the challenge and Gretchen names Michael C., because of his difficulty with the cowl neck. Michael C. also claims one of the blouses as his creation. Georgina says she loves the back of that blouse. Gretchen tells the judges that Michael C.’s technical skills are the weakest and that she’d had to help him a lot. Heidi expresses amazement at how quickly Gretchen has changed her tune.

Heidi then asks the team to name their weakest link, and Ivy says Michael C. She realizes that he’s immune, but she can’t think of any other weaklings. Christopher agrees that Michael C. is the weakest , but A.J. names himself as the weakest, since he couldn’t bring his unusual style to the collection. Andy also thinks that Michael C. was the worst, and Heidi retorts that it’s easy to blame the immune one. Gretchen complains that the judges are looking for a martyr and adds it isn’t going to be her. (She’s got a point. Nobody wants to be sent home, so of course everybody is going to try to cover their posteriors!)

Team Luxe then tells the judges exactly what everybody had worked on. Most people had worked on about three pieces– except for A.J., who had labored over the shirt-dress the whole time. The judges then send everybody backstage.

The judges chat about the winning team first. The judges agree that Team Military & Lace had put together a fun and cohesive collection. Peach and Casanova especially surprised the judges. Peach managed to make something modern, and Casanova showed that he’d listened to earlier critiques.

The judges discuss Team Luxe, which had turned out a bunch of unattractive outfits. Ivy’s outfit was hideous, but at least she’d made more than one piece, while A.J. had spent the whole time making an ill-fitting shirt-dress– and gave up his own aesthetic while he was at it. The team had tried to design with their hands cuffed together, which is like jumping off a bridge together.

The judges have reached their decision. Casanova is the winner, and his teammates are safe. Michael C. is also safe, and he’s upset by his teammates’ attacks. Christopher, Andy, and Ivy are also in, leaving Gretchen and A.J. in the bottom two. The judges scold Gretchen for making too many bad decisions and A.J. for his poor time management. Thanks to her earlier victories and status as resident jerk, Gretchen is in, while A.J. is sent home.

Backstage, Tim blasts Team Luxe for their behavior on the runway and for letting Gretchen take over. He tells them that A.J. wound up taking the bullet for them.

Next week: The designers get some new models and Tim has an unpleasant surprise for everybody.

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