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Project Runway 9, Episode 11 – Who Will Go to Fashion Week


Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced the final challenge to see who would go on to Fashion Week. They visited Governor’s Island for inspiration. Laura was sent home while the other four were told to make collections and bring them back to New York.

On the runway, Heidi begins by congratulating the four finalists. She then spells out the rules: Everybody will make a collection, but only three will go on to Fashion Week. They will have a budget of $9,000.00 towards a ten-piece collection. They will have five weeks to make said collection.

WHAT?!?!

Five measly weeks?! In earlier seasons, the designers used to get several months to put their collections together. Those months gave the designers time to process everything they’d learned during the earlier competitions, polish existing techniques, learn new ones, and experiment. The experiments weren’t always successful, as witness Season 4′s Chris March and his use of human hair, but they were often interesting.

A five-week prep time just about kills all of that. Five weeks means that the designers will have to crank out two outfits a week. They won’t have time to play around or experiment. In the interest of getting everything done on time, at least some of them will retreat to their comfort zones, so they can make things they know they can make quickly. A short prep time like this also greatly increases the chances of rush jobs.

The designers go back to Atlas to pack up. Anya confides to Kimberly that she didn’t unpack everything because she didn’t expect to stay very long. She’d assumed her inexperience would make her an early casualty. Both she and Kimberly are amazed that they’ve made it this far. All of the designers are excited to be going home and working on their collections.

Three weeks later, Tim starts visiting the designers at their homes. He starts with Kimberly, who lives in White Plains, Maryland. He admires her home and studio. Kimberly tells Tim that she’d grown up in Brooklyn and is thus using Brooklyn– both the Brooklyn of her childhood and the current one– as her inspiration. She’s urban and wants her collection to reflect that. Said collection includes a leather jackets and a lot of brightly-colored clothes. Tim calls the collection “very Kimberly.” He encourages her to take risks and “wow” the judges.

Kimberly then introduces Tim to her sister, her sister’s family, and two close friends. Kimberly’s niece, a toddler, has been going around the house saying, “Tim Gunn. Work.” Kimberly tells us that her sister and friends have been very supportive. She also talks about her late mother, who she believes is the source of her fashion sense. She wants to make her mother proud. Kimberly also notes that if she won, she would be the first Africa-American winner in Project Runway history. (She’s right. The only other minority winner was Season 2′s Chloe Dao, who is of Vietnamese ancestry. Blacks like Mychael Knight of Season 3 and Korto Momolu of Season 5 have made the finals, but have yet to win.)

Then it’s off to Trinidad to see Anya. She takes Tim on a boat ride, and tells how excited she is to show him where she comes from. She then takes him home to meet her two brothers, who are her biggest fans. The brothers tell Tim that when Anya was in pageants, people used to talk about how beautiful she was. Now they talk about how talented she is. Anya had a third brother, who had died at 18. She feels the need to live life fully, since he didn’t get to. She’s named her clothing line after him, Pilar.

Anya then takes Tim to her studio, where she’s hung up pictures of Tobago, which she visited shortly after getting back home. She will use it as her inspiration. Unfortunately, she hasn’t done anything beyond pick out some lovely fabrics as she’s apparently been afflicted with the designer’s equivalent of writer’s block. Oh, not good. Anya’s muse picked a rotten time to desert her. Tim reminds her that she can’t have anybody help her construct the clothes. He advises her to use muslin to play around with shapes and jump-start her creativity.

Tim then heads back to New York to look in on Viktor, who had gone to Guadalajara to honor the anniversary of his brother’s death. This makes it unanimous: all four of the finalists have buried at least one close relative. Viktor’s collection is inspired by Guadalajara. Tim is impressed by the fact that Viktor has a clear vision — but less impressed with some of the pieces, which he doesn’t get. Tim admires a jacket, but dislikes a dress. He warns Viktor not to overthink.

Viktor then introduces Tim to his lover, David. They had met at a bar and were immediately attracted to each other. Tim asks David his opinion of the collection, since he’d also gone to Guadalajara. Viktor tells us that he’s the youngest of seven children, and that his parents had come from Mexico. They’d moved to New York when they were in their 30′s. Viktor feels like he’s getting a chance to fulfill the American Dream.


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