Last week, on Project Runway, the designers had to make red carpet looks out of environmentally friendly fabrics. Laura won and Althea was sent home.
The next morning, the designers go to the South Street Seaport to meet Carolyn and a special guest, Fawaz Gruosi, the founder and president of De Grisogono, which makes fine watches and jewelry. Gruosi is offering one of these watches as a prize to the winner of the challenge, which turns out to be the ever popular “unconventional materials” challenge. As Carolyn admits, the challenge is popular with the viewers, but not the designers. Both Emilio and Casanova groan upon hearing what the challenge entails, since both of them had crashed and burned during the “unconventional materials” challenges of their seasons. Emilio’s washer and pink string bikini is probably one of the more infamous designs in Project Runway history. Since every season has this type of challenge, every designer has faced it, and some have happier memories of the experience than others.
Carolyn then tells the designers they will have a budget of $350.00 plus thirty minutes to spend in a so-far-unnamed store. She also tells them the guest judge will be Kylie Minogue, an Australian performer. Some of the designers practically swoon upon hearing this.
After following Carolyn’s directions on how to get to the mystery store, the designers find themselves at a shop that sells… Christmas ornaments. Carolyn confirms that they will indeed be making clothes out of Christmas ornaments, and she warns them that the results shouldn’t look “Christmassy.” They’re to make fashionable clothes, not costumes. Anthony Ryan admits to being apprehensive about the challenge, since he hadn’t won it during his season, either. Laura wants to make a 60’s mod dress out of every silver ornament she can find. Emilio decides to avoid typical Christmas colors like red, green, and gold. He ends up getting a lot of purple.
Back at Parson’s the designers take the usual thirty minutes to sketch. Casanova and Ivy do even this together, and Uli comments they seem to be like “one person with two bodies.” Joshua finds that the pretty royal blue fabric he’d grabbed wasn’t the roll of fabric he’d been hoping for, but a casing for a truly tacky Hanukkah decoration. Ooops.
Uli decides on an “embellishment only” dress, with lots of silver and gold. Emilio talks about how he considers the “unconventional materials” challenge to be his Achilles’ heel. He knew there would be one, and he’d been dreading it.
Joanna comes in to make her rounds and starts with Joshua, who is making a red, blue, and gold “bra-let.” Casanova tells Joanna that he is “building a dress.” Emilio is using purple and pink materials to avoid any hint of Christmas in his look. Anthony Ryan is using a lot of silver and mirrored glass to create a dress with a wintry look. Uli is making a structured dress and Laura is using a lot of sparkly materials. Joanna notes that the “girls” seem to be ahead this time. Ivy is using garland to make a fringe for her look and Joanna wonders if she has enough.
After she leaves, Casanova decides to start over– even though he has only three hours left. The models come in for their fitting.
The next morning, Emilio, realizing he’s behind, dispenses with any sewing and starts gluing his dress together. Casanova, who is working on his third dress, begs his peers for materials he can use, and they give him some. Joshua works on yellow and green shorts made out of ribbon.
The models come in for their final fitting, plus hair and make-up. Joshua realizes his shorts are hideous– but hopes his top will be enough to save him. Emilio also isn’t happy with his work and hopes to be safe.
On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judges, Kylie Minogue and the actor/producer LaLa Anthony.
Anthony Ryan is up first. He made a sleeveless, sparkly dress of every silver and gold ornament he could get his hands on. As usual, his outfit exposes a lot of the model’s back.
Ivy made a yellow dress with a gold fringe decorating the skirt. The long sleeves and shoulders are made of a sheer yellow fabric, and there’s a keyhole in the front.
Joshua needs to stay away from shorts. He made a pair out of sparkly, striped gold and light green material. They are very abbreviated to the point of looking like swim suit bottoms or underpants. In the back is a sort of tail. There are large gold buttons across the front. The model’s top is a multicolored “bra-let,” which looks like a bikini top It is mostly gold and silver and studded with colorful jewels.
Uli made a sleeveless gold and silver dress decorated with every gold or silver embellishment that Uli could get her hands on. The sides of the dress are sheer and look a bit like translucent chain mail. She used a gold garland to decorate the collar.
Emilio made a sleeveless dress apparently made out of woven ribbons. The dress is metallic and a very bright red-purple.
Casanova made a sleeveless, yellow-orange dress. The top portion looks as if it were made of braided or woven yarn. It’s attached to fabric of the same color, while the folded skirt looks a bit more orange. In both the front and the back, Casanova added a pale yellow, crystal-studded band of fabric going down the middle– which just makes it look as if he’d run out of something else.
Laura made a sleeveless, sparkly white dress. It’s decorated with what appears to be tinsel and the same brightly colored jewel pieces that Joshua used. It also has a plunging back.
Carolyn then calls Casanova, Emilio, and Ivy and tells them that one of them is safe. That fortunate turns out to a very relieved Emilio. The other two have to face the judges along with their fellows.
The judges start with Anthony Ryan, who says he wanted to make a stage look that could be seen from the cheap seats. Isaac says it looks expensive and he likes the color. Georgina likes the embellishments– and the fact that he had “pauses” between the embellishments, that keep the dress looking clean and uncluttered. Kylie assures Anthony Ryan that his dress would indeed be visible from the back of the theater. LaLa, however, dings Anthony Ryan for using a giant snowflake in his look, saying that “reads Christmas.”
Laura tells the judges that she loves beading. Kylie likes the pockets, but says some of the jewel droplets look “thrown on.” Lala and Carolyn like the dress, but Isaac thinks the cut and proportions make the model look fat.
Casanova tells the judges about his struggles: He’d gone through three designs and wound up borrowing material from his peers. Georgina says she likes the dress even more now that she knows the story behind it. She says he could tell that he’d made the best of a bad situation. Even so, the dress feels heavy and the bust is a little too high. Isaac advises Casanova to consider the age of a likely client and says the dress “goes very old lady.”
As for Joshua, Isaac says he wants to both congratulate him and slap him on the wrist. He considers the top half “divine,” but says he could see inside the shorts as the model walked the runway. Ooops. “It doesn’t work to show your privates on the runway,” Isaac tells him. Kylie likes the top, but also dislikes the shorts.
Ivy talks about how she’d used garlands in her look. Georgina likes the 60’s vibe of the dress, but thinks the proportions look boxy. Carolyn says the look has no wow factor, while Isaac says it looks “junior.”
Last up is Uli, and Isaac calls her look “magic.” Carolyn likes the “sneak peek” on the sides. Georgina says it is a smart use of gold and silver, but dings Uli for the visible seam down the see-through sides.
The judges then have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked best. Anthony Ryan’s dress looks expensive and cool. Uli’s dress has excellent proportions. Laura’s dress seems to weigh the model down and makes the top three simply because it’s not as bad as the looks produced by the bottom designers.
Speaking of the bottom designers, Ivy’s dress is simply too safe and not very creative. Joshua made a spectacular top– and awful shorts. Casanova’s look is simply ill-conceived, and his problems were largely self-inflicted.
Carolyn then announces the judges’ decision. Laura is safe. Carolyn then asks Kylie to announce the winner, and it’s Uli. Anthony Ryan is also safe. Backstage, Fawaz Gruosi presents Uli with the luxury watch she’s just won. Carolyn tells Joshua that he’s safe, leaving Ivy and Casanova in the bottom two. Ivy is in and Casanova is out.
I think it’s safe to say that Ivy and Joshua will be the next two designers out. Anthony Ryan and Uli all but have a lock on two of the spots in the finals, while Laura and Emilio are duking it out for the third spot. The top four designers have all won at least once, while Joshua and Ivy have not.
Next week: The designers confront a fashion face-off.