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Project Runway 9, Episode 5 – Of Artists and Avant-Garde


Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make an outfit that could be worn with New Balance tennis shoes, and they had to work in teams of three. Cecilia quit, thus paving the way for the return of Josh C. Josh M. acted like a prize horse’s ass throughout the episode and was downright hateful to his teammate Becky. (I apologize to anybody who owns a horse.) The judges lost their (tiny) minds and named Viktor and Josh M. the winners. Not only did they fail to pick just one winner, but they also : 1) rewarded Josh M. for his bitchery, and 2) robbed Anya, who had made the winning garment. Danielle was sent home for making yet another lousy green chiffon top.

Next morning, Anthony unsurprisingly tells us that he doesn’t like being in the bottom. Becky, whose roommates have all departed over the last few weeks, moves in with the other women. They agree it’s time for a guy to be sent home.

On the runway, Heidi tells the designers that she’s sending them “back to school.” Tim will meet them there and fill them in on the details. The designers than duly meet Tim at the Harlem School for the Arts. He explains this week’s challenge, which will involve their collaborating with some of the students. Each designer will make an avant-garde look inspired by a student’s painting. They will have two days to work on their piece.

Each designer is then randomly assigned a student, and the artists seem to range in age from eleven to seventeen. Viktor is working with Skyy, who is twelve, talkative, and opinionated. He isn’t sure he likes her. Bert proves he can get along with people after all– at least if they’re quiet teenagers like Antonio. Laura confides to Kai about her near loss of the previous week, and Kai notes, “Failure is opportunity in disguise.” Did I mention that Kai is eleven?!

After the artists finish their paintings, the designers are given the usual thirty minutes to sketch. Bert thinks Antonio’s work looks cubist, while Josh M. is wondering what he can do with a painting of a tree. He tells us he’s finding it hard to get inspired by said painting.

Then it’s off to Mood, and the designers have a budget of $300.00 Bert tells us that he finds the trips to Mood to be the most difficult aspect of the challenges. Once you’ve made your selections, you’re stuck with the results, since you can’t go back and either exchange items or replenish them. Olivier decides to buy chiffon, since he’s never worked with that before. While I agree the judges do like to see new techniques, they prefer to see techniques designers actually seem to know. There’s also more to avant-garde design than simply using a new material. Laura tells us that she considers Lady Gaga as an example of somebody who wears avant-garde attire. She also notes that avant-garde clothing is not suitable for the “real world,” and that you need a lot of fabric to make it. Josh C. finds himself wondering how he managed to spend only slightly more than half his budget. I’d guess he either didn’t buy enough material or he bought very cheap material. Either possibility could sink him.

Back at Parson’s, Viktor critiques his fellow’s purchases and assures us that at least a third of them are in trouble. Saying somebody like Kimberly is in trouble probably falls into the category of “wishful thinking,” but it seems to be true of Josh C., who had bought lots of fake fur. His art student did a dynamic painting of a leaping black wolf, so he’s going to use fur in his look.

Tim comes in to tell the designers they will have two days to make their avant-garde look. They will have until 11:00 tonight all of the next day. He then reminds everybody that they are making avant-garde pieces, not red-carpet looks.

After Tim leaves, Josh M. DR’s about how his mother had died two years ago. Bert dyes his look and tells us he hopes his pants don’t end up looking silly. He plans to have them balloon over the model’s hips, which sounds problematic at best. Women tend to prefer clothes that make them look slimmer that they really are, not fatter or heavier.

Laura, who is working with organza, asks Bert if he’d married. He answers that he’s a widower, and that his partner died after 18 years of marriage. A bit later, Bert calls his sister on a view screen. Then it’s time for everybody to go home.

The next morning, the designers get back to work. A couple of them note that Olivier seems to be falling behind. He’s a perfectionist and likes to take his time. In this show, which is basically a series of races, either trait could get him sent home.

Tim comes in, with the art students in tow. As the designers show their garments to the kids, Tim makes his rounds. He starts with Anthony, who is making a dress out of strips of colored cloth to mimic the brush strokes of his painting. He cautions Anya not to make her look too costumey, and advises Kimberly, who is using feathers in her design, not to give Michael Kors the opportunity to make a Hiawatha joke. He worries that Laura’s look may be “too pretty” and more like a prom dress than anything avant-garde. Becky has made a black dress and attached black and green cubes to it. Tim warns her that the look resembles an “arts and crafts project,” which isn’t good.


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