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Project Runway 9, Premiere – The Height of Fashion

Last week, on Project Runway, the designers confronted the “unconventional materials” challenge, in which they had to make garments out of pet store supplies. Tim also strongly urged them to avoid fabrics. Anthony made a fantastic dress covered with bird seed – and was robbed, since Olivier won. Joshua C. was sent home.

The next morning finds a couple of the guys talking about how Fallene should have gone home instead of Joshua C., while Anthony hopes for a first win. When the designers get to the runway, they’re greeted by Heidi – who enters on a set of long stilts. She tells them to “think big,” and then summons some models, who are also on stilts. Heidi issues the challenge: make an “eye-catching” look for a stilt-walker. In other words, it’s time for the “ridiculously small niche” challenge. In previous seasons, designers had made outfits for pro wrestlers and drag queens.

Heidi then tells everybody that this will be a team challenge, and the designers will work in pairs. She then draws names out of a black velvet bag. Bert and Viktor are the first team, to their mutual displeasure. Anthony and Laura, Joshua and Julie, Danielle and Cecilia, Anya and Olivier, and Kimberly and Becky are all assigned to each other. That leaves Bryce and Fallene, who aren’t happy to be paired with a designer who’s been in the bottom.

Heidi has one last surprise for them: The show will take place on an outdoor runway, and the press will be there. The public will get to see their creations – and their disasters.

In the workroom, the pairs start discussing ideas; Viktor wants to do “old Hollywood.” Tim brings in the stilt-walkers, and tells the teams that they will have a half-hour to consult with them. The teams will then shop at Mood and they will have a budget of $500.00.

Before going to Mood, Laura says she wants to do “Grecian couture,” which means she wants to do a lot of draping. Bryce and Fallene want to do a “dark ballerina” with a big full skirt. Viktor talks about making the model look like “Queen Victoria” — and then says he wants to make something that exposes the model’s breasts. Bert DR’s that Queen Victoria spent 50 years in morning and is therefore not his idea of a fashion icon. He also tells Viktor that it was Queen Elizabeth who’d worn outfits that showed her breasts. Viktor calls Bert a know-it-all and Bert retorts that Viktor needs to read more. It’s official: we already know which team is going to spend the whole episode sniping at each other.

At Mood, Tim tells Anya and Olivier he expects great things from them and even calls them a “dream team.” Way to put pressure on the youngest guy and least experienced woman, Mr. Gunn. Bryce and Fallene can’t agree on a color scheme: she doesn’t want to do an all-black look and he wants to use a lot of black. Bert and Viktor have agreed to do a big hoop dress – and are now arguing about fabric. Specifically, they are “discussing” what looks like purple velvet decorated with gold roses. It looks great – for my grandmother’s sofa. Viktor thinks it’s ugly, while Bert likes it. During the fight, Viktor accuses Bert of immaturity. He tells us Bert may be sabotaging him. Tim tells the designers they will have only until 9:00 that night, as he escorts them back to Parson’s.

Back at the workshop, Laura tells us that the design has to be both chic and safe; she and Anthony can’t make something that might trip the stilt-walker. They plan to make a hoop skirt. Olivier and Anya are pleased by their ability to get along with each other. Joshua M. – now just Joshua – notes that tomboyish Julie is more masculine than he is and comments they could swap genders. Cecilia is happy to be working with chiffon, a material that infamously trips up many designers. She’s even happier that Danielle also likes working with it.

Fallene and Bryce are working on a black tutu – and arguing about some turquoise cloth. She wants to use it, and he doesn’t. Anthony and Laura have tried making a cage to support their hoop skirt, and they realize it isn’t going to work. They scrap it and go back to the drawing board. Kimberly and Becky are debating whether or not to use gold lamé for their outfit. Bryce DR’s that he’s worried about Fallene being self-taught; he went to design school himself. He tells us she doesn’t know how to read a fabric grain or cut it properly. He spends the episode telling everybody else about her shortcomings.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, and he starts with Joshua and Julie, who are making a matador costume. They have completed a pair of pants with bold, wavy black and white stripes going down their length. Tim likes them. Cecilia and Danielle show off their flowing chiffon garments, and Tim advises them to watch proportions. Bert and Viktor start arguing in front of Tim, who points out they do have to work together.

Laura and Ashley are making a bright red outfit, and Tim asks if they can “control” it. Kimberly and Becky tell him that they and the model agreed to combine punk and military. They divided the labor simply by discussing who was best at making what. Kimberly is best at making pants, while Becky excels at making jackets. He stops by Fallene and Bryce, who are both really nervous about their look. He tells Olivier and Anya that their fabric choice is “unexpected”; they’ve chosen blue and grey fabrics.

After Tim leaves, Fallene worries she will take too long on the bodice. Joshua shows Julie how to rouche a belt. The models come in for their fitting, and Fallene and Bryce discover their bodice doesn’t fit. It is also off-grain, and they fear ending up in the bottom again.