Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make a look that 1) would complement nine other looks made by Project Runway alumnae, and 2) could be and would be sold by Lord and Taylor. As everybody met the parameters of the challenge, at least in the sense of no obvious train wrecks, the judges decided not to send anybody home. The real reason, of course, was two designers bailed unexpectedly a few weeks ago. Keeping everybody after this challenge enabled the producers to bring the numbers back up where they wanted them. Christopher won the challenge.
Speaking of Christopher, he’s not at all happy about the decision to keep his arch-rival Gunnar, who would have been sent home if things had gone normally. Ven is also unhappy that there was no elimination.
At the runway, Heidi asks the contestants who among them is a good negotiator. Everybody, including Elena and Ven, whose people skills have been shown to be sorely lacking, raises their hand. Heidi, bemused, then sends everybody to meet Tim, who will fill them in on the details.
When the designers get to Parson’s, they find the place looking like a summer camp rather than design studio. Everyone’s work space is covered with arts and crafts supplies, including glitter, much to Elena’s horror. Tim explains that this week, there is no budget for Mood. The designers will have to earn their money for Mood by making craft projects and then trying to sell them to the good people of New York. The designers will have three hours to make stuff.
Tim then twists the knife by announcing that this will be a team challenge, in which everybody will work in trios. There will be no group leader, either. Cue the moans and groans. Christopher tells us he does not want to work with Gunnar, while Dmitry informs he doesn’t want to work with Elena. Their prayers go unanswered as Tim announces the teams. Team 1 consists Christopher, Sonjia, and Gunnar; Team 2 will have Dmitry, Elena, and Alicia; Team 3 consists of Ven, Melissa, and Fabio. Team 3 seems to have two distinct advantages: no known rivalries between the members, and said members have all won at least once. Fabio himself notes the second advantage.
The three teams start work on decorating their t-shirts and totebags. Elena, naturally, dislikes the results of her group’s efforts. Sonjia seconds that opinion and says the shirts look like something a homeless person would wear.
After that, Tim gives the teams two hours to sell their wares. He adds that they can try to sell other things, too, like fashion tips. During this part of the challenge, Elena demonstrates that she would make a lousy sales clerk, as she actually describes the shirts as “crappy.” Even the designers who try to put a positive spin on things find there is a very limited market for their goods. Team 1 eventually resorts to having Sonjia sing for their supper– so to speak. At the end, Team 1 has earned $684.00, Team 2 has earned $500.00, and Team 3 has earned $800.48. (Somebody paid them in change.)
Tim then describes the challenge itself: Make two fall looks. At least one of the looks will have to include outerwear. Sonjia is delighted to hear this, since it will give her the opportunity to make a coat or jacket. The three teams are then given the traditional thirty minutes to sketch and plan their looks. Team 1 decides to use leather and hunter green in their looks. Elena on Team 2 thinks they should concentrate on picking fabrics and worry about color later. Well, we all know that she and Dmitry will probably pick black or gray, anyway. Surprise, surprise, Team 2 starts picking out shades of gray when the gang goes to Mood. At least they’re getting stuff. Team 1 has problems making up its collective mind, and they eventually decide to split up to get things.
Back at Parson’s, the contestants get to work. Well, most of them get to work. Elena and Dmitry spend precious time squabbling over whether to do a dress or separates. Listening to them, Christopher likens them to Boris and Natasha from Bullwinkle. I’m amazed he knows about them, since that cartoon aired in the early 60’s. On the other hand, there was a movie, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, that was made in 2000. He probably saw that as a kid. Alicia, meantime, decides to avoid them and just work.
Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Team 2. Dmitry is working on a dress and fringed shawl, while Elena is making a coat and Alicia is making pants and a shirt. Tim finds the sleeves on the coat “distracting,” and he warns Alicia to mind the crotch of her pants. He visibly shudders when he sees that Dmitry has opted for exposed darts on his dress.
Next up are Team 3. Ven has been working on a fanned skirt that Tim decrees is not cohesive with the rest of the collection, which include a coat, a jacket, and pants.
Team 1 is last, and they tell Tim that they’re shooting for an “Army feel.” Christopher is working on a trench coat while Sonjia is making a jacket. Gunnar is making two dresses. Both Christopher and Sonjia discuss the possibility of using leather for their sleeves, and Tim thinks that’s overkill. He tells them not to overdesign and to mind their proportions. Details will be crucial to this collection.
Over on Team 3, Ven reluctantly scraps his skirt and starts work on another one.
The models come in for their fitting, and Christopher finds his coat doesn’t quite fit, so he needs to fix it. Gunnar’s dresses, however, seem to be fine so far. Alicia also finds that her pants don’t quite fit, and Elena chews her out about this. Dmitry points out that “tailored” doesn’t mean “tighter,” thus getting into another fight with Elena. Alicia just tries to fix her pants and ignore them.
On the day of the runway show, Fabio works on his coat, while the oft-surly Ven works on Melissa’s pants so she can finish her white jacket. Tim sends in the models, who get dressed and go to hair and make-up.