home Archive Project Runway 9, Episode 4 – Designing for Nina

Project Runway 9, Episode 4 – Designing for Nina

Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced a “ridiculously small niche” challenge”: They had to design a look for female stilt-walkers. They also had to work in teams. Viktor and Bert acted like a couple of jackasses, Laura won, and Fallene was sent home, to the relief of my spell-checker.

The next morning, Becky and some of the other women discuss the departed Fallene, and Cecilia tells us she’s feeling more confident, now that she’s weathered the first few eliminations, the ones that typically identify the weakest performers. Bryce and Viktor, on the other hand, are feeling the pressure more intensely.

At the runway, Heidi tells the designers that they will be designing for a client who has considerable clout within the fashion industry: Nina Garcia herself. Bryce and Becky both tell us they’re scared by the prospect of designing for the persnickety Ms. Garcia. Nina instructs the designers to make her a day-to-evening look, and she tells them she likes tailored, streamlined attire, but dislikes voluminous clothing, pleats, and bright colors. In addition to the usual immunity, the winner will see their look in an ad for Marie Claire displayed on every taxi in New York City. The designers will have 30 minutes to sketch, and then they will consult with Nina.

Anya is the first designer Nina summons. She has drawn a couple of possible designs for Nina, who picks the one she likes best. Next up is Bryce, who learns to his dismay that Nina hates cowl necks. Danielle shows Nina a green pantsuit and Nina seems to like it. She tells Julie she likes the silhouette of her design. Kimberly, who is afraid of being pigeon-holed as a one-trick pony, wisely plans to do a dress instead of her usual pants – only to learn that Nina has her heart set on a pair of Kimberly’s pants. Cecilia shows Nina a design for a jacket and dress combo, and Nina hates the jacket, saying it looks like something from Dynasty – which aired back in the 80’s. She urges Cecilia to concentrate on the dress.

Tim comes in and advises everybody not to bore Nina. He also adds that, despite Nina’s dislike of bright colors, he doesn’t want to see a bunch of gray outfits on the runway. (That sounds more like, “Don’t bore Tim.”) He escorts everybody to Mood. While there, we learn that Julie used to be a bartender and that she has recently graduated from design school. Becky and Anthony discover, to their mutual dismay, that they have both taken the same distinctive, speckled black and white fabric.

Back at the workshop, Tim and Nina come in to make some rounds. They start with Danielle, who is making a green outfit. Nina tells Danielle that she thinks the look is too soft, and that she had been drawn by the interplay of hard and soft depicted in the sketch. Next up is Julie, and Nina tells her that her collar is too big. Both Nina and Tim are horrified by the mustard print that Anya has selected, and Nina goes so far as to ask if there’s “a Plan B.” When Anya regretfully tells her no, Tim encourages her to make the mustard outfit stunning.

Nina doesn’t like Bert’s look either, since his neckline plunges so deeply that it borders on the indecent. Viktor shows off the black outfit he’s making, and Nina seems to like it. Both Nina and Tim are very unimpressed with Cecilia’s garment. Cecilia had bought what she’d believed to be purple fabric, but has just discovered that it’s actually gray. Nina and Tim both agree that the resultant dress looks sad and mousy. Kimberly is making a blue outfit with gold trim, and Nina thinks there’s too much blue.

After finishing the rounds, Nina announces that there will be yet another prize: An editorial spread in Marie Claire. Kimberly DR’s about her family: her mother died when she was 17, and her brother died recently. At Joshua’s suggestion, Anya decides to dye her mustard print. Anthony calls his fiancé, Matthew, and tells us they’ve been together for two years. After the models come in for their fitting, the designers go home for the night.

The next morning, Viktor and Bert talk about how they think Kimberly is in trouble. Anya comments that she needs to work on her time management. She’s apparently not the only one who’s behind though, for when Tim comes to announce the models’ arrival, he’s horrified to find everybody in the sewing room, still working. Viktor is making separates, while Cecilia is making a beige and gray dress. Cecilia finishes (or gives up) and decides to help Julie, while Laura, who has also finished her garment, decides to give Anya a hand.

As far as I know, there’s nothing in the rules against designers helping each other. I will note that designers who help their competitors do not feel threatened by said competitors — and that we’ll see less of this behavior as the competition continues and the numbers dwindle. Viktor tells us he disapproves of the helping, as he considers it akin to cheating. Given that the producers tape everything this side of somebody picking their nose (and maybe even that), I think somebody, like Tim, would have already intervened if Cecilia, Julie, Anya, and Laura were breaking any rules.

With that said, it’s off to the runway, where we find two guest judges for the price of one: Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, and Kerry Washington, an actress.

Joshua is up first and sends down a sleeveless orange and gray dress with black trim and a large zipper going down the back. Bert made a little black dress with a plunging neckline and back. It might work for evening wear, but I can’t see Nina or anybody else wearing it to the office. Olivier made gray pants and a two-toned cream jacket.