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Project Runway 9, Episode 11 – A Challenge That's for the Birds


Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make two outfits that 1) were inspired by the 1970′s and 2) could be sold on Piperlime.com. Anya lost her money envelope and thus had to borrow money and fabric from her fellows. She won the challenge anyway. The guest judge, Olivia Palermos, fell in love with Bert’s white dress and decided to sell it along with Anya’s winning jumpsuit. Anthony was sent home.

Next morning, Laura talks about how she misses Anthony. Viktor tells us that he see Josh as his chief competition, but adds that Josh has trouble editing. Then it’s off to the runway, where Heidi tells them they will have to “spread their wings” and “elevate their looks.” The designers guess they will be making something for skydivers. Um, we’ve already had “the ridiculously small niche challenge,” back when they had to make outfits for stilt-walkers.

The designers go back to the workroom, where Tim will “fill them in on the details.” He’s there, all right, but so is Collier Strong, the make-up artist from L’Oreal Paris, plus four birds: an owl, a raven, a cockatoo, and an Amazon parrot. It turns out that L’Oreal is putting out a make-up line inspired by the aforementioned birds, which means there really is some eye-shadow called “Raven,” which I predict will be a hit in Baltimore, at least during the football season.

Tim and Collier then explain the challenge: Make a runway look inspired by one of the birds. The look will also incorporate the relevant make-up. The winner will get both an editorial in Marie Claire magazine and 20 grand from L’Oreal Paris. The designers will have two days to work on the challenge.

To the designers’ dismay, Tim then tells them that this will be a team challenge. He then announces the teams: Anya and Laura, Josh and Bert, Viktor and Kimberly. He then assigns each team a bird: Anya and Laura get the raven, Josh and Bert are assigned the parrot, and Viktor and Kimberly get the cockatoo. Tim then informs the teams that they will not be working together after all. Instead they will be competing against each other head to head. One teammate will be given the high score, while the other will get the low score.

While the designers sketch, Bert tells us that he’s not happy having to use the parrot. He doesn’t find the bird particularly inspiring, and he thinks green and yellow look cheap. Uh-oh, now’s not the time to decide to blow off a challenge! Kimberly points out that she had used a bird-inspired look in an earlier challenge, so she will have to come up with something that won’t strike the judges as repetitive.

At Mood, Kimberly picks out nude chiffon, which isn’t something she normally uses. Anya realizes she will have to work outside her comfort zone. As a raven is solid black, her usual prints won’t fly. (Sorry.) She tells us she’s not used to working with just solids. Josh decides to buy some feathers. Viktor is also buying feathers, since he wants to make a gown with an airy look. Laura decides to make pants and a tailored jacket.

No sooner have the designers begun work on their designs then Tim comes in to announce a twist: They have to design a second look. As they begin to sketch, Anya decides she’s make something more structured than her usual. At Mood, Josh asks Tim if it’s okay if he uses fabric that’s a different color from the parrot. Tim answers that it doesn’t matter. Laura picks out some velvet ribbons.

Back at the workroom, everybody’s worried about time. Laura vows to show off her tailoring skills, which she believes to be superior to Anya’s. Kimberly knows that Viktor has the advantage when it comes to construction– and she’s intimidated by that fact. Bert thinks the differences between himself and Josh will work to advantage, since they aren’t likely to copy each other.

The next day, Kimberly jokes about calling in sick. At the workroom, Laura is almost finished her first look. Josh studies his first look, a striped green and yellow monstrosity, and decides he hates it. Kimberly is struggling with her look, as she’s using fabrics she’s not accustomed to. (Why will designers do that to themselves? I understand the desire to not look like a one-trick pony, but completely new techniques and materials should be saved for Fashion Week.) She then spots a cockroach and vaults onto a table, freaking out. (I thought women only did that in cartoons, not real life.) Anya grabs a shoe from the accessory wall and bashes the offending insect.

Collier comes by for the make-up consultations. Naturally, everybody is using the eye-shadow associated with their assigned bird. Bert, who’s 57, comments that he thinks the others have adjusted to him by now. Roach-phobic Kimberly is the next oldest at 35, so there’s definitely a generation gap here. Viktor and Laura also comment that it’s easier to get along with Bert these days.


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