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Project Runway 11: Time to Surprise Heidi

Last week on Project Runway. the designers had to make new uniforms for Susan Sarandon’s ping-pong club, SPiN.  Layana from Team Keeping It Real (KIR) won, while James of the Dream Team was sent home.

The next day, at Atlas, the designers get ready to face a new day.  Members of the Dream Team fret about their losses, while some of the guys on Team KIR discuss who they think the weaker designers on their team are.  Oddly, somebody mentions Patricia, who was in the top three in the first episode.

Then it’s off to Parson’s, where the designers find a bunch of pink boxes and a glass tray full of rose petals, leaves, and the like waiting for them.  Tim explains that their next challenge will be a client challenge.  Said client is opinionated and demanding– and it’s Heidi.  She is launching a new perfume called “Surprise,” and needs new clothes.  Specifically, she needs two outfits:  one for a T.V. commercial and one for a P.R. event.

Each team will make six outfits:  four for the T.V. ad and two for the P.R. event.  The winning team will produce two winners.  Heidi then shows the designers the contents of the pink boxes, and they turn out to be items associated with the perfume and that should serve as the designers’ inspiration.  Heidi then tells them that the colors associated with “Surprise” are pink, gold, and black.  The designers are to work with that palette.

The designers will have thirty minutes to sketch and caucus.  Each team will have a budget of 1200.00.  Team Keeping It Real discusses who will do what.  They have eight designers working on six looks, so Amanda and Joseph team up, as do Layana and Kate.  Amanda and Joseph will work on a P.R. look as will Patricia.  Over on the Dream Team, everybody will work on a single look, which they desperately hope will work to their advantage.  Cindy and Benjamin both opt to work on T.V. ad looks.  Amanda and Joseph on Team KIR quickly discover a problem:  They have very different aesthetics.  She likes very structured looks, while prefers draping and whimsy.

At Mood, Patricia decides to make a leather mesh textile.  For a one day challenge.  Daniel tells us that his look will be inspired by Bond girls.  Matthew admits to being nervous and tells us he’s not a dressmaker.  Joseph and Amanda still aren’t sure what to do or how to bridge their different tastes.  Kate and Layna find they are over-budget, and Daniel gentlemanly gives them his left-over money.  Some of their other teammates also contribute.  I’m guessing Team KIR will continue to play nice like this until the Dream Team is more or less gone, at which point it will become every designer for himself or herself.  Another possibility is that alliances start forming, as pairs or trios work together to get their look to the top, or at least keep it out of the bottom.

Back at the workroom, everybody gets to work, except for Amanda and Joseph, who are still sketching and discussing what to make.  Cindy has bought several bolts of pink fabric and she asks Benjamin which one he likes best.  He picks an iridescent gold-pink fabric.  I’m not convinced how good that will look on T.V.  Amanda and Joseph likewise go to Richard for advice.  Joseph wants to do something avant-garde, but Amanda suggests otherwise.  She and Joseph eventually decide on a low-cut dress with a lattice design.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with the Dream Team.  Benjamin shows off his sketch; he isn’t very far along with his actual dress.  Tim advises him that gold fabric should look as if it were all one piece.  Tu talks about how his look was inspired by rose petals.  Matthew is making something out of leather– and is bored by his own design.  Cindy is working on a short sheath dress and had also added a cover-up, which Tim advises her to ditch.  He does like Michelle’s design.

Tim then stops by Team KIR.  Amanda and Joseph explain the problems they’ve had, while Patricia shows off her pink leather mesh.  Richard is making a black dress, and Stanley is making a gold dress.  Daniel is making a gown, and Tim likes what he sees so far.  Kate and Layana are working on a corseted dress, and they’re having disagreements about the color scheme.  Is there too much pink or too much black?

After Tim leaves, Daniel realizes his gown needs something to liven it up, and asks Patricia for some black leather that she’s not using.  She gives it to him.  He decides to use it for a contrasting trim.  The models then come in for their fittings.  Cindy finds this frustrating, and comments, “This is so much harder than it looks on T.V.”  Benjamin is also feeling the pressure, and breaks down, talking about how he’d recently gotten out of an emotionally abusive relationship.  Given that he’s unraveling before our eyes, I think Benjamin came on the show earlier than was good for him.  He’d needed time to recover more fully from his ordeal.  It looks as if he may have made the same mistake as Johnny Sakalis from Season 6.  Johnny was a recently recovered drug addict who found the rigors of a competitive reality too much to cope with– and ended up an early casualty, after crashing and burning on T.V.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work.  Tim sends in the models and reminds everybody to use the accessory wall thoughtfully.  Daniel reminds us that he’s self-taught.  Benjamin, meanwhile, has fallen behind in his look, and Cindy tries to help him.  They end up wrapping leather straps around the model.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judge, Kristin Davis, who had played Charlotte York Goldenblatt in Sex and the City.  Team KIR is up first.

Daniel made a long, draped creamy gown with a slit going up one side.  The plunging neckline is trimmed with black leather, which also serves as a yoke.

Patricia made a rather plain, sleeveless beige dress that has a plunging back.  She livened it up with a pale pink vest made out of leather mesh, which consists of little squares sewn catty-corner to each other, so every four squares enclose a square hole of negative space.  The bottom of the vest is trimmed with a fringe made of larger gold squares.

Josepha and Amanda made a sleeveless black dress with a plunging v-neck collar.  The front is decorated with a black and brown lattice-work design.  Richard made a one-shouldered black and silver mini-dress.  Nice.  Unfortunately, he lost his mind and added a massive black ruffle or bustle to the rear.  Not so nice.

Layana and Kate made a long black shoulderless dress.  It has a long slit up one side.  It also has a pink and black corset.  The back is laced and the front has a bow or flower detail.  Stanley made a one-shouldered gold lamé dress with black trim at the top.  He then ruins it by seriously overdoing the jewelry, most notably with several gold chains around the model’s neck.  That’s overkill, pal.

Next up is the Dream Team.  Michelle is first, and she made a short, sleeveless black dress with an exposed back.  The shoulder portion is made of black leather and decorated with brass studs.  Matthew made a black mini-dress that shows a lot of skin.  It has bare shoulders and a bare back.  He then made a black leather collar with a leash attached to it.  Dude, the dress is for a press event, not a Halloween party.

Cindy made a short, sleeveless dress out of an iridescent, shimmering pink/yellow fabric.  It has a slit down the front of the bodice, and a plunging back.  In back, the dress, seems to be poorly fitted.  Samantha made a long black dress with a slit up the front.  Part of the top is made of illusion.

Benjamin made a long pink dress with a long slit up one side.  It’s shoulderless and he plainly did not finish whatever supports he was making for the bodice.  He ends up using gold leather straps to hold the bodice in place.  Even so, it still looks as if it’s about to slide off the model’s breasts.  Tu made a sleeveless black dress that is short in front but has a train in the back.

After the show, Heidi announces the winning team and it’s Team KIR again.  Okay, it’s official:  They need to mix up the teams.  It’s getting boring seeing the same team win over and over.  Not only that, but the better designers on the Dream Team like Tu shouldn’t go home before the weaker designers on Team KIR just because they have the bad luck to be on the losing team.

The judges decide to start with the Dream Team, so Team KIR goes backstage to wait.  Heidi then announces that Matt, Cindy, and Benjamin are the ones in the bottom.

Matt explains that he was going for a 90′s fetish vibe after hearing Heidi use the word “bondage”
when describing her perfume bottle design.  Zac understands, but thinks the collar and leash look trashy, not sexy.  Heidi says the look makes her think, “Where’s my whip?” and adds that she couldn’t wear it to an event.  Kristin says she would “die” if somebody asked her to wear it.  (Presumably of embarrassment.)  Nina says she doesn’t understand how he could have dropped the ball on such a simple challenge.

Cindy wanted to make something sexier than her usual style.  She also thought the color was elegant.  Heidi explains that it’s fit that makes a dress sexy, not a slit down the front.  Zac hates the fabric and explains it wouldn’t photograph well.  Nina adds that the fabric looks cheap, as iridescent fabric often does.  Kristin says it looks like something she would have worn on Sex and the City– about 10 years ago.

Benjamin says he chose a fabric that was the same color as the perfume.  He also used chiffon because it was light, like a spritz of perfume.  Kristin likes the color, but thinks the bodice looks upsetting and painful.  Heidi had written “droopy boobs” on her card.  Nina says it’s the worst construction she’s ever seen and adds that the model looks as if she’s been shipwrecked.  Zac scolds Benjamin for making excuses for his bad work.

Then it’s Team KIR’s turn to face the judges.  Before starting, Heidi scolds Richard and Stanley for their lackluster efforts in this challenge, pointing out they are safe by virtue of being on the winning team.  The top designers are Daniel, Patricia, and Layana/Kate.

Patricia starts by explaining that she cut the pieces of her mesh by hand in order to create a light look for a traditionally tough fabric.  Nina likes the look and calls it “interesting.”  Zac enjoys the fact that Patricia makes her own fabrics and thereby put her own stamp on her designs.  Heidi adds that Patricia does things they’ve never seen before.  Kristin thinks the look is interesting, but wonders if it could be cut into a more flattering shape.  Zac adds that the dress could be made for a younger woman.  Heidi likes that it’s boxy and unexpected.  The rest of Team KIR praise Patricia for her hard work.

Next up are Kate and Layana.  Kate explains that she wanted a fitted look that would show off Heidi’s body.  Both women claim equal credit for the look, in execution and ideas.  Heidi loves the mix of soft and hard in the dress.  She also likes the boning in the corset, which she says looks good from every angle.  Zac likes the draping, but adds he would have added one more layer over the pink corset.  Nina thought the dress’ movement coming down the runway was beautiful and would work well in a photoshoot.  Kristin loves the color scheme, which reminds her of ballet.  When asked which of them should win, if the dress id the winning look, both women declare that having Heidi wear their dress is a big enough win in itself.

Last up is Daniel, who talks about his Bond girl inspiration.  He admits the leather was an afterthought.  Heidi admires the lines of the dress, which are simple and sophisticated.  Kristin thinks it’s flattering.  Nina loves the construction and the shape, but has reservations about the fabric choice.  Zac thinks it’s well-done, but thinks the color isn’t the best choice for photography.

The judges have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Patricia’s look was cool and fresh.  Layana and Kate had made a stunning dress.  Daniel’s look was elegant with a sexy silhouette.  As for the losing designers, Matthew had gone overboard with his sexual theme.  Cindy had chosen poorly when it came to fabric, and Benjamin’s construction was horrible.

Heidi then announces the judges’ decision.  Kate is the winner for the ad campaign, so Layana is safe.  Daniel is the winner for the P.R. event, even though he’d actually made his dress for the T.V. ad.  Patricia and Matthew are safe, leaving Cindy and Benjamin in the bottom.  Cindy is out, after three trips to the bottom, so Benjamin is in.

Next week:  It’s the unconventional materials challenge.

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