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Project Runway 9, Episode 5 – Are you Ready to Rock?

Last week on Project Runway, the designers panicked when they thought they were going to have to make menswear. As it turned out, they actually had to make outfits for their male clients’ significant others. Josh won and Bryce was sent home. Also, there’s no more immunity.

The next morning, the designers discuss what the next challenge might be. Josh tells us you have to be tough to get through the competition, while Anya notes that it’s sad to see friends get sent home– but that’s inevitable since it’s a competition. Olivier is feeling unconfident. He’s also sick of landing in the middle. Usually, when somebody is shown making that kind of comment, they either win the challenge or get sent home.

On the runway, Heidi tells the designers, “Image is everything.” With that cryptic comment, she sends them to meet Tim, who is waiting for them at a music hall. Upon hearing their destination, Anthony guesses they will be designing something inspired by pictures of old rock stars.

When they get there, Tim begins by telling them about the link between music and fashion. He then introduces Peter Butler, the stylist from Garnier. Tim then talks about the Sheepdogs, an up-and-coming rock band who will be featured in Rolling Stone magazine. The designers will have to design outfits for the band members. The winner’s look will be featured in Garnier advertisements, Marie Claire, and Rolling Stone. The designers will have two days to complete the challenge.

Not only that, but this is a team challenge. Tim then pulls out the Ominous Velvet Bag of Unnecessary Drama and calls Olivier, Kimberly, Viktor, and Josh. They will all be on one team together. Anthony, Bert, Laura, and Anya form the other team. Laura tells us that she’s sick of being teamed with Bert: They’ve been on the same team three times already! Anthony notes that the last time he, Laura, and Bert were on a team together, it didn’t work out that well.

Tim then introduces the Sheepdogs– who turn out to be all guys. After last week’s fake-out, the designers will face a menswear challenge after all. Anya and Kimberly are both horrified by this development, as neither one has made menswear before. Josh notes that the fit and tailoring of menswear is typically more involved than that of women’s clothing. The band starts to play, and Olivier registers his displeasure by covering his ears.

Laura asks the band about what kind of image they want to project. Ewan, the big blond lead singer, tells her they’re inspired by classic rock, especially stuff from the 1970′s. Sam, the drummer, likes his dashiki, a kind of loose top that originated in West Africa. Anya’s excited by the prospect of trying to modernize Sam’s dashiki. Josh is intrigued by Ryan, the bass player, who is sporting snakeskin boots. The lead guitarist Leot asks for red jeans and Laura plans to fulfill his wishes. Olivier is feeling confident with this challenge because he has a background in menswear.

Tim then explains that while each team will make a collection, each designer is responsible for one singer. Cohesion isn’t a big deal this time, so long as the singers look as they’re all “from the same planet.” Viktor is relieved he won’t have to match his teammates’ looks.

The designers then pick their clients: Laura chooses Leot, Anya picks Sam, Anthony chooses Ryan, and Bert gets Ewan. They decide to call themselves Team Harmony. (Time will tell if that’s wishful thinking…) As for the other team, Kimberly picks Sam, while Viktor chooses Leot and decides to make a leather jacket for him. Olivier chooses Ewan and immediately decides to make something slimming for him, leaving Ryan for Josh, who is quite happy to get him. The second team will be called Team Untitled.

After that, the designers sketch. Team Harmony decides to concentrate on a vintage 70′s look for the Sheepdogs. After that, the designers go to Mood, which has everything but the red denim Laura wants. She decides to buy some pale denim and red dye. Anya can’t decide what to get and thus has nothing five minutes before it’s time to leave. She’s later shocked by what she ended up grabbing. Olivier has trouble finding the perfect shade of beige. Laura, to her horror, has gone way over budget, but Bert has enough to cover what she needs. She jokes that she takes back every bad thing she said about him.

Back at the workroom, Olivier complains that his client is significantly bigger than the mannequin. This makes it the second week that Olivier’s complained about a client’s size. Anya tells us that, in the real world, designers sometimes have to make garments for people who aren’t mannequin-sized.

Josh tells us that this challenge seems more like an individual challenge than a team challenge and he doubts there will be winning or losing teams. Viktor’s curious about what Olivier will do, but Anya finds his color scheme boring. (That makes two of us.)

Tim, Peter, and the Sheepdogs come in for a hair consultation. Bert and Olivier tell Peter what they’d like him to do to Ewan’s hair; Laura, Viktor, and Leot discuss what to do with Leot’s hair; Anya, Kimberly, and Sam discuss Sam’s hair, while Josh, Anthony, and Ryan caucus about Ryan’s hair.

Viktor talks about his own background in menswear. He used to make clothes for himself and his friends. On that note, it’s time to go home for the night.

The following morning, Bert is horrified to discover that he’s running low on fabric. He has about a yard and a half left. Viktor is working on jeans. Bert had dyed his garments with navy dye, but for some reason, the fabric is about the same color as grape juice. Purple for a man is tough to pull off.

Tim comes in to make his rounds, with the Sheepdogs in tow. Tim decides to start with Team Harmony. More specifically, he starts with Laura, who has dyed a pair of pants. Tim and Leot agree they look more pink than red and urge her to make them darker. Leot also asks for a higher neckline on his tank-top, as he doesn’t want to show a lot of chest hair.

Anya is using panels and prints and Tim assures Sam that she is a master with the latter. Sam and Tim like her ideas so far. Anthony is also using prints and he shows Ryan some of his choices. Ryan chooses a print that looks like wood. Bert shows the flowing purple top and pants he’s made for Ewan and Tim tells him it looks much too feminine. Bert doesn’t make things any better when he calls the top a blouse.

Onto Team Untitled. Viktor is basing his look on what Leot’s already wearing, but says he wants to keep the “crispiness.” Um, you mean “crispness,” right? “Crispiness” is usually applied to food, not clothing. Tim worries the outfit will look cheap. Viktor also has ideas for a pleather jacket. Kimberly’s making brown corduroy pants and a plaid tunic for Sam, since brown is his favorite color. Anya has, for some unfathomable reason, given Kimberly some of her fabric. Sam likes Kimberly’s idea, but asks for a different pattern.

Josh has made pants with a massive zipper over the crotch. Tim notes that will draw people’s attention to that area. Josh doesn’t consider this a problem and he tells us he usually makes clothes for gay men. Olivier isn’t making the kinds of things that Ewan has asked for. Instead, he’s making clothes he thinks will make Ewan look better. One of his pieces is a long-sleeved, yellow shirt with a swan pattern. For a man. During the consultation, Olivier tells Ewan, “You’re big,” and then complains about the difference about the size difference between Ewan and the dress maker’s dummy. Tim isn’t sympathetic and basically repeats what Anya had said earlier: Designers have to get used to making things for people of different sizes– including stocky men who are over six feet tall. (Olivier may have worked with menswear before, but it’s obvious he’s never made something for someone who shops in the Big and Tall department.)

After Tim and the Sheepdogs leave, Bert dyes his clothes again, hoping to get them a color that’s a bit more masculine. Olivier complains about his client’s size again.

Tim brings the Sheepdogs back for their fittings. Leot comments that Bert’s clothes make Ewan look like he’s about to fight in the Coliseum. I suppose that means Bert’s clothes now look suitably masculine. Viktor predicts that Kimberly and Anya, who tend to make feminine, flowing clothes will nonetheless pull off menswear. (He may have a point. Even if they botch this challenge, neither one has been in the bottom, and most of the other designers have.) Speaking of Kimberly, she discovers she is going to have to recut her shirt. She tells us that menswear calls for a different set of skills. Tim then checks on Olivier, whose pants don’t fit Ewan all that well. Tim then gives him pointers on how to correct the fit.

After Tim leaves, Viktor begins sewing decorations onto his jacket. Kimberly tells us she would love a few more hours, while Anya can’t believe she’s so behind on a two-day challenge. With that, it’s time to head home for the night.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work. Kimberly talks about how precise menswear is. Tim comes in and tells the designers there will be two firsts today: the designers will be sharing models, and the Sheepdogs will play two songs, one in each team’s outfits. Team Harmony’s looks will be shown first.

The Sheepdogs come in for their last fitting. Bert had tie-dyed his shirt, so it’s partly brown and partly purple. The Sheepdogs get dressed– except for Ewan, who is waiting for Olivier to finish. Ewan jokes about the emperor’s new clothes and hopes his guitar will cover his crotch. Olivier finally brings his clothes to Ewan for his fitting, but he doesn’t have much time to fix things– like the fact there’s no fastener to hold the pants decently closed. Ewan jokingly asks if Olivier will hold the pants shut while he performs. Bert comments that Kimberly’s dashiki looks more a fast-food worker’s uniform. He’s right, unfortunately.

Then it’s off to hair and make-up, where Ewan gets braids. Anya tells us she hates the look she’s made, saying it’s poorly designed and constructed. She’s sure that she and Kimberly will be in the bottom. Then it’s off to the show, where Heidi introduces everybody to the guest judge, singer and American Idol contestant Adam Lambert.

As promised, the band puts on a concert. They perform their first concert wearing Team Harmony’s duds. Anthony made Ryan white bellbottom jeans and a sleeveless patterned tan shirt with a long brown fringe coming down the back. Anya made Sam dark jeans and a two-toned brown dashiki with metallic trim.

Laura made Leot some red jeans. She also made a tank-top spattered with red dye that has the unfortunate effect of making Leot look like he’d bled on his own shirt. She then added a loose purple jacket and a patterned red scarf. Bert made striped purple pants for Ewan. He also tie-dyed Ewan’s shirt and jacket, so both would be brown and purple. He had the hairstylist give Ewan braids.

The band then changes into the clothes Team Untitled made foe them. Josh made white bellbottoms for Ryan– and decorated the crotch area with a massive zipper. He also added brown patches to the back pockets and the outer sides of the legs. He then added white buttons to the patches on the legs. Josh also made an orange, brown, and white shirt with a busy pattern and a striped blue vest that is not only decorated with brown fringe, but has brown fringe for “sleeves.” Kimberly made Sam a pair of dark brown pants and an orange shirt decorated with brown trim.

Viktor made Leot distressed dark blue jeans. He added a yellow and white shirt with large flowers on it. He then added a dark brown pleather jacket with braiding on the top and a long fringe down the back. Olivier made Ewan a pair of white pants. He also made a long-sleeved yellow shirt with swans and flowers on it. He made pockets and the collar out of some very pale blue material.

After that, Team Untitled is sent backstage, while Team Harmony has to face the judges. Heidi doesn’t say if Ream Harmony is the winning team or not. Heidi then asks if there was a theme, and Anya answers that they’d been inspired by Jimi Hendrix. Michael answers that he doesn’t see it, as their looks have no swagger– and rock singers generally have a swagger. Nina adds that they had needed to do something unique. Michael uses Adam as an example, since he does borrow from other people’s looks, but still makes the resultant look unique.

Laura then talks about how Leot had wanted red pants, so she’d dyed him a pair. She also tie-dyed some of his other garments. Leot likes the look, and Heidi says it’s one of her favorites. She praises the fit of the pants. Michael doesn’t like the dye job on the shirt, as the red dye looks like blood. Nina thinks the jacket looks too feminine, while the scarf looks like something from the mall.

Ewan admits that Bert’s look is outside of his comfort zone, but adds that’s his problem, not Bert’s. Adam thinks it’s chic, and Michael’s impressed that Bert, of all people, could pull off a rocker look without turning it into a costume. Heidi likes the fabric, but not the braids. Nina, however, does like the braids, saying they make Ewan look like a Viking. They help give him a persona.

Nina and Heidi both think Sam looks like Pocahontas in Anya’s dashiki. It’s too literal. Sam likes the vibe, but admits the clothes themselves are rather bad. The pants are especially poorly made and Michael comments that this is the first time that Anya’s lack of experience has really shown. Adam thinks Sam looks like he’s in an eighth grade production of Hair.

Ryan doesn’t normally like sleeveless shirts, but he does like the one Anthony made. The judges think Ryan looks too polished. Heidi wishes the pants were tighter, while Michael says the look reminds him of the Golden Girls. Adam likes the cut of the shirt, but not the style.

Onto Team Untitled. Olivier wanted to give Ewan a Western look. Ewan wishes Olivier had picked a simpler style and he especially dislikes the color of the pants. Heidi asks Olivier why he’d make light pants for somebody who wanted dark pants. She adds that the color scheme is boring. Michael calls the look too feminine. Adam thinks the cut is unflattering. Heidi then asks Ewan to roll down his sleeves, and when he does, he reveals unfinished hems. Olivier’s time management problems have tripped him up big time.

Kimberly tells the judges that her client loves the color brown. Sam likes the pants, but not the shirt. Kimberly also tells the judges that she’d never made menswear before. Michael thinks Sam looks like “Peter Brady at an autumn harvest.” He also thinks the shirt looks like a bowling shirt.

Viktor distressed Leot’s pants in order to make them look like vintage jeans. He also braided the fringe on the shoulders of the jacket. Leot likes the shirt and jeans, but isn’t as crazy as the jacket, which the judges love. Michael’s impressed by the fit of Viktor’s jeans.

Last up is Josh, who loved working with brown suede. He’d used a graphic print. Ryan likes the look. Heidi does like the big zipper, but the judges agree that there are a few things too many. Adam dislikes the pants pockets. Michael and Nina like the vest.

The judges then have their chat. They agree that Anya and Kimberly, who usually do very well, showed their inexperience this week. Olivier didn’t have that excuse, and he still made an unfinished outfit that didn’t suit a lead singer who stands 6’3″. As for the designers they did like, Josh made a hip and sexy outfit. Viktor made a fantastic jacket and everything fit perfectly. Bert’s look was modern, powerful, and sexy, and he gave Ewan a persona.

The judges then call everybody back in to announce their decision. Bert is in, while Viktor is the winner. Laura, Josh, Anthony, and Anya are in, leaving Kimberly and Olivier in the bottom two. Kimberly is in, while Olivier is out. Later on, Viktor and Leot go the Garnier advertising shoot.

With Olivier gone, the last obvious weak link is gone. Between his time management problems, his refusal to listen to clients, and his boring color sense, Olivier was not finals material. But just as there are no obvious weak links left, there is also no obvious front runner. Usually by this time in the show, I can point to a given designer and say that they all but have a lock on Fashion Week. That’s not the case here. Josh, the self-proclaimed front-runner, does indeed have two wins to his name — but he’s also been in the bottom twice. Viktor has also won twice, as he and Josh shared a victory, and he’s been in the bottom only once so far. He and Josh have also been in the top three times apiece, but I believe Viktor has edged out Josh for the front-runner spot. Bert has been in the bottom four times, so his next trip there will almost certainly be his last. Laura and Kimberly have landed in the middle most of the time, but that middle is rapidly disappearing. The next few challenges will be make or break for them. Anya and Anthony have generally been strong contenders, so either one could grab a spot in the Finals.

Next week: Anya loses her money while shopping at Mood. The designers face something from the past.

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