Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to work in pairs to make a red carpet look fit for the Emmys. They also had to make their frocks for actual clients, who were all former Project Runway contestants. Ven won by pleasing the loudly enthusiastic Kenley, while Raul was sent home for saddling Mila with an unflattering black dress. The next morning, Buffi and Melissa wake up to find that Andrea has disappeared in the night.
Christopher, who doesn’t know that Andrea has departed, worries about facing her at Parson’s, as he thinks he may have crossed a line during last week’s judging. Kooan DR’s that he doesn’t feel good, and Gunnar notes that he’s unusually quiet.
The designers then leave their apartment to meet Tim at Michael Kors’ new store on Madison Avenue. It’s huge and filled with everything a fashionista could want from clothes to accessories to make-up. The designers are suitably impressed.
Tim informs them that Andrea has left the competition; neither he nor anybody else has had any contact with her, but the folks in production believe she’s all right. The designers are shocked and disgusted by this news, as they know that thousands of people try out to be on the show. At least one comments that Andrea, a teacher, is setting a very poor example for her students. Michael comments, “Fashion’s not for sissies.” and Tim urges the designers to “bounce back” from any mishaps.
Michael then describes this week’s challenge. He starts by describing the type of client he wants them to have in mind: “a woman on the go.” She’s a work hard, play hard type who needs chic clothes that are practical and versatile. He advises the designers that textiles will be vitally important; they should avoid anything that wrinkles. It’s a one-day challenge, and they will have a budget of $150.00.
The designers then have the traditional half-hour to examine Michael’s goods and sketch. Several of them talk about Andrea instead. Tim tries to keep everybody on task by urging them to think about a typical day for their “woman on the go.” Fabio wants to make a dress with a black and white print, while Melissa wants to make a black dress. Gunnar plans to make a skirt using several different shades of brown.
At Mood, Buffi is drawn to pink fabric, while Dmitry is having trouble finding any fabric he likes. Fabio notes that Kooan seems quiet and distant. Christopher indulges in more breast-beating and blames himself for Andrea’s departure.
Back at Parson’s, Kooan has an announcement: He’s quitting. At first, some of the other designers think he’s joking, but he’s not. He really wants to leave. Christopher begs him to stay, and Nathan says he understands that the pressure of the competition can be tough to deal with. He admits that he’s been tempted to quit himself, but refuses to do so.
Tim stops by to announce that Andrea has sent an e-mail saying she’s fine and out of the competition. Kooan then tells Tim that he wants to leave, too. He adds that he “needs to find his own way” as a designer. The constraints of the challenges are apparently not for him. Tim at first tries to talk him out of it, but Kooan won’t change his mind. Tim then escorts Kooan out of the workroom. Sonjia comments that designers need “tough skin.” Buffi notes that people are “dropping like flies.”
Tim then returns and jokes that he’s afraid to make any more announcements, lest somebody else quit. He then announces that Raul has been brought back. Raul is delighted to be back and DR’s he’s confident he’ll win. I’d say that’s doubtful; the only returnee to make it very far was Chris March, way back in Season 4. Most returnees have short stays. Ven DR’s that he’s not at all happy about this development, since Raul complains constantly.
Tim then comes back to make his usual rounds. He starts with Dmitry who is making a black dress with a single seam. Tim is suitably impressed. Fabio is planning a leisure outfit including a jacket. Tim, noting how short the dress is, warns him to mind his proportions. He calls Ven’s look “fascinating” and warns Gunnar not to over-design. When Elena shows off a bulky-looking jacket, Tim warns her that the judges have seen the football player silhouette before. He warns Buffi not to over-design.
Christopher confesses his fears about ending up in the bottom again. Tim suggests his look may actually be too dressy. Tim warns Nathan to mind his proportions. Upon learning that Melissa is making an outfit with four garments, Tim comments that she has a lot of work to do, and lets her get to it.
After Tim leaves, the models come in for their fitting. Fabio discovers that his dress is indeed too short, and Buffi (rightly) deems her own dress to be shoddy. Melissa is worried because she hasn’t finished sewing her garments. On that note, it’s time to go home.
The next morning, the designers get back to work. Buffi frets about her look. Raul DR’s that he shouldn’t have been sent home; Ven disagrees. Christopher then suggests to Buffi that she should use some black chiffon instead of the coral fabric she’s got, and she angrily blows him off. Rude, yes, but I can sort of see where she’s coming from. First off, they’re in a competition, so why would he be helping her? Wouldn’t it be in his interest to just let her crash and burn? Second, Buffi prefers to use lots of color in her designs. Using a lot of black would go against her so-called aesthetic.
Tim sends in the models for their final fitting and Raul discovers a serious problem: His pants are way too small. They’re not even close to being able to close. Somehow he’s missed the mark by several inches. As the models go to hair and make-up, Dmitry tells us that he considers Christopher serious competition. Buffi tells us she has never used chiffon or jersey before, apparently hoping the judges will give her an A for effort. Just as Tim is calling everybody to take them to the runway, Raul finishes his pants– and then grabs some accessories. He hadn’t taken the time to pick them out before.
On the runway, Heidi talks about her disappointment in the two quitters. She then introduces the two guest judges, designer Rachel Roy and actress Hayden Panettiere, who is probably best known for playing Claire in Heroes. She apparently has another show coming out. No, I don’t know why she’s a guest judge either.
Sonjia is up first. She made a long-sleeved, knee-length dark gray dress. In the front, it has an asymmetrical collar with a knotted effect on one shoulder. In the back is a small v-neck.
Alicia made a white shirt with mid-length sleeves and put leather elbow patches on it. She also made gray knee breeches. I’m guessing it’s “casual day” at her client’s office.
Melissa made an outfit consisting of black leggings, a long-sleeved black tunic, and a black hoodie. She put a wide gray collar on the tunic and then added a scarf. It looked as if she’d decided to make a fall or winter look.
What was Buffi smoking?! She made a mini-dress with black and purple zebra stripes and then topped it with a coral smock or toga or whatever. It might work for a trip to the beach, but not as a day to night look.
Fabio made a black-and-white print mini-dress and paired it with a kid-sized black jacket with mid-length sleeves. It’s cute, but impractical, as the jacket would be utterly useless on a chilly night– and the overall look really only works as nighttime wear. The dress is way too short to wear to the office.
Gunnar made a sleeveless dark purple turtleneck top. It’s long enough to qualify as a tunic, but a lot more snug. It’s also open in the back, so his client would need a jacket to wear it to the office. He also made a knee-length skirt incorporating several shades of brown and off-white. He used a thin belt and a dark green clutch as accessories.
Nathan made a sleeveless, knee-length mustard-colored dress and attached a short cape to it. He attached some embroidered gold and purple detail to the neckline and added a purple clutch as an accessory.
Dmitry made a sleeveless dark grey dress. There’s strips of material criss-crossing the front, like a set of bandoliers. The dress also has a cut-out in the back, which means its owner would need a jacket or something in order to wear to the office. Dmitry also gave the model magenta shoes with 3- or 4-inch heels. His outfit is a good night-time look, but would need a jacket and different shoes to work as a daytime look.
Ven made a sleeveless, tan knee-length dress with a single shoulder. He put his usual pleats down the front, but they’re softer and less sculpted than usual. What looks like gold trim is actually a gold zipper. In the back is a small slit, and another gold zipper. It’s another dress that works better as nighttime wear than anything for the office.
Raul made a pair of gray pants, a sleeveless light gray shirt with a loose collar, and some kind of hybrid of jacket and vest made from black and gray print material. It’s obvious his accessories are last-minute additions. The big silver belt isn’t bad, but in what universe do royal blue shoes and a magenta clutch go together?
Elena’s look consists of a big gray jacket– think David Byrne’s oversized white jacket from the 1984 movie, Stop Making Sense. She also made a brown shirt and skinny black pants, and used sunglasses and a big gray handbag for accessories.
Christopher made a knee-length black dress with an odd train hanging down the right side. He also made a child-sized black leather jacket with mid-length sleeves. It’s well made, but I don’t get this trend for kid-sized jackets on grown women. I prefer jackets that might actually keep me warm on a chilly night.
Heidi then calls Gunnar, Ven, Nathan, Alicia, Melissa, and Elena. They are safe and will move on to the next round. It’s the other six who will have to face the judges. The safe designers gather backstage and try to guess who will be in the top and who will be in the bottom.
The judges start with Sanjia, who tells them her look is for a busy woman. Heidi and Michael both like it. Nina calls it “conservative, but sexy.” Rachel Roy notes that it could even work if worn reveresed, probably because of the asymmetrical collar.
Next up is Fabio. Michael says he’s surprised by the structured look of his outfit. Rachel notes that Fabio’s personal style is quite idiosyncratic and wishes it showed more in his design.
Christopher tells the judges that he made his look for a married working woman. Heidi thinks he did a great job and Hayden loves the jacket. Rachel deems it a good day-to-night look.
Buffi simply wanted to use prints and colors. She then demonstrates ways to belt the look in order to make it more versatile. Hayden likes the colors, but Heidi thinks the outfit looks cheap and that the colors clash. Rachel dings Buffi for depending on the belt. Michael (rightly) comments that the toga looks like a hair-dresser’s smock. Worse, when the judges ask Buffi to raise the toga to give them a better look at the dress, they find a poorly-sewn hem.
Raul calls his look “his interpretation of a suit.” Michael says he’s “confused.” Hayden hates the crotch of the pants. Nina thinks the jacket is too long.
Dmitry tells the judges that he loves dresses. Michael thinks it’s the best-made garment of the evening. Heidi likes it, but doesn’t consider it a “wow” dress. Nina praises the simple design, and Rachel thinks it’s good for evening wear.
The judges then have their chat, starting with their favorite designers. Sanjia made a great day-to-night dress that looked “effortless.” Nina considers Christopher the most editorial. Dmitry’s dress isn’t glamorous, but it’s well-made and he chose good fabric.
As for their not-so-favorites, Fabio simply made a boring dress. Buffi is “hiding behind kookiness” and her dress makes no sense. Raul bit off more than he could chew and has editing problems.
Heidi then calls the designers back in to announce the judges’ decision. Christopher is in and Sanjia is the winner. Hayden tells Sanjia that she would love to wear her dress to a red carpet event. Sanjia, of course, is delighted.
Dmitry and Raul are in, leaving Fabio and Buffi in the bottom. Buffi is out and Fabio is in.
Next week: Another team challenge. Plus, a photography session.
Also, Laura Bennett from Season 3 has a blog chockful of insights on the show. Find it here: www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway/blogs/laura-bennett-blog. This week, for example, she discusses the two quitters, and goes well beyond the self-righteous line “Fashion’s not for sissies!” For instance, losing designers are sequestered in their own version of Losers’ Lodge, so they can’t spill the beans about anything on the show. Andrea knew that– which is why she 1) bailed in the middle of the night, and 2) didn’t contact production until