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Project Runway 11: Two Unconventional Materials for the Price of One

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make outfits that Heidi could wear while promoting her new perfume.  She wanted two outfits:  one for a T.V. commercial and one for a P.R. event.  There were therefore two winners, from the seemingly invincible Team Keeping It Real (Team KIR):  Kate (commercial) and Daniel (P.R. event).  Cindy from the Dream Team was sent home.

The following morning, the designers get up and get ready.  Benjamin vows to do better.  Other designers wonder if there will be a team swap, as the Dream Team is down to five contestants, while Team KIR is eight strong.

In the workroom, they find lots of scented candles.  Tim explains that the candles are 2-in-1’s, which means they have two scents mixed into their wax.  Similarly, the designers face a 2-in-1 challenge.  It’s a take on the ever-popular “unconventional materials” challenge, in which the designers will be using two types of unconventional materials:  flowers and hardware.  Each team will make six cohesive looks, and the looks have to incorporate both flowers and hardware.  It’s the ultimate play on hard and soft.

Tim then notes how lopsided the teams have become.  He then invites the Dream Team to pick two designers from the other team.  After consulting in a huddle, they choose Stanley, for his organizational skills, and Layana, for her stylistic sense.  Tim then invites Team KIR to choose a new teammate, but specifies they can’t simply take Stanley or Layana back.  They have to pick somebody new.  They choose Michelle, who is less than thrilled, because she doesn’t like Patricia.  Team KIR now has seven players, while the Dream Team has six.

Each team will have 45 minutes to caucus, a budget of $2500, and two days to complete the challenge.  During the caucusing, Stanley suggests a theme:  1950’s Dior.  Everybody agrees this is a good idea, as it seems like a simple way to ensure a cohesive collection.  Over on Team KIR, the designers simply discuss what they’d like to make.  Upon discovering they have apparently similar ideas, Michelle and Richard decide to work together.  Another designer notes many of their proposed looks would be suitable for somebody like Bjork– who had once worn a dress incorporating a stuffed swan to the Academy Awards.

Tim then takes everybody shopping.  First, the designers spend thirty minutes at a hardware store.  Samantha decides to get most of her materials there.  Then it’s off to the flower shop, where they spend another thirty minutes.  Amanda tells us that she doesn’t like flowers with their rounded, organic shapes, as she prefers clean lines.  Joseph, on the other hand, does like flowers.

Back at the workshop, Amanda discovers that the moss she’d intended to be the base of her dress is falling apart.  Her teammates lend her an adhesive to help it stay together.  Similarly, Michelle and Richard are having problems with their chosen materials.  Ben on the Dream Team decides to make his own textile, worrying his teammates, as he’s had time management problems before.  Michelle and Richard figure out a way to make a bodice out of mini-blinds.

The next morning the designers get back to work.  Samantha is working on a lattice design for her look.  She’s worried because while she knows what to do for the top, she doesn’t have a clue what to do for the bottom.  Joseph has made a net.  His idea is to attach things to it and make a dress that way.  Daniel looks around and realizes that Team KIR’s looks aren’t cohesive.  Everybody is just doing their own thing.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Team KIR.  While he likes some individual designs, he does notice the lack of cohesiveness.  Team KIR then belatedly picks a theme:  “history of fashion.”  Each dress will represent a different decade.  That will explain the divergent looks.

Then it’s off to the Dream Team.  Tu shows off a vest and Benjamin displays the loom he has built in order to weave his own textile.  Samantha has cut out shapes she will assemble into a dress.  Tim, not surprisingly, cautions her and Benjamin to watch their time.

Then the models come in for their fitting.  Amanda is having problems with her moss dress and wishes she could start over.  Joe suggests a solution, ” Cut the flower petal panel off the back and put it in the front”.  She does so.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work.  Tim sends in the models.  Layana helps Samantha finish her look.  Michelle looks around and comments that Team KIR’s looks are still not cohesive and look as if they were made by people from different planets.  After the models go to hair and make-up, it’s time for the show.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judges, fashion blogger Leandra Medine and actress Bette Midler.  Team KIR is up first.

Daniel made a pale green sleeveless dress that flares out dramatically at the hips.  Just what every woman wants:  a dress that makes her look bigger.   Joseph used gray mesh to make a long-sleeved, boxy dress.  He then decorated it by draping red, green, and white flowers over it.

Richard and Michelle made a black framework out of mini- blinds with an exposed back.  The “skirt” consisted of the framework, plus a lot of greens and red, orange, and purple flowers.  Patricia started off with a brown mesh and then simply decorated it with greens and red and white flowers.

Amanda made a sleeveless snug mini-dress.  The bottom portion is made of green moss, while the middle is decorated with orange and yellow petals.  The top is a sort of yoke decorated with silver cotter pins.  Kate made a flared, sleeveless dress with a white halter that drapes over the upper portion of the skirt, which is mostly red, but the hem is black.  Most of the garment is covered with flowers.

Next up is the Dream Team.  Matthew is first, and he made a black and white bodice out of ropes and mopheads.  He also made a short skirt out of yellow moss.

Stanley made a sleeveless green dress with a flared skirt.  Tu made a light yellow vest out of rope and made a banded skirt out of greens and bright yellow flowers.  Benjamin made a sleeveless orange and yellow dress with an exposed back.

Samantha made a skirt out of translucent gray mesh and an overskirt out of the same material.  She then stuffed both pieces with green leaves and decorated the overskirt with yellow petals.  She also made a sleeveless top out of tan and white paper.  The white parts have a lattice effect.

Layana made a dress out of what looks like yellow rope or string.  She then decorated it with leaves and pale pink flowers.

Afterwards, Heidi announces that this was a very close contest.  The designs had been so beautiful it was hard for the judges to decide.  But, the Dream Team won by a narrow margin, and Team KIR “came in second.”  The Dream Team won for a not wholly unexpected reason:  Their collection was more cohesive.

The Dream Team face the judges first.  Bette calls their collection “whimsical and beautifully made.”  She also praises the group’s craftsmanship.  Leandra also praises the artistry of the collection.  Nina loved Samantha’s trapped leaves and Zac liked Layana’s cage.

Then it’s Team KIR’s turn to face the judges.  They explain that their collection was inspired by fashion history, with each designer working on a different decade.  Thus, Kate’s look was inspired by the 1950’s, Amanda’s by the 1960’s, Patricia’s by the 1970’s, Joseph’s by the future, Daniel’s by the 1980’s, and Richard and Michelle’s by the 1990’s.  Okay, in my humble opinion, unless somebody completely messed up their chosen decade, Joseph should go home.  The other contestants were working with real fashions and real decades, while Joseph was just making up stuff.

The judges did like their looks overall, but Nina hadn’t spotted the decade theme until after hearing it explained.  Richard and Michelle’s look reminded the judges of Madonna.  When Heidi asks Team KIR, which of them should go home, Richard nominates Amanda– and his teammates agree, citing Amanda’s struggles with the moss.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the Dream Team.  Benjamin had made his strongest piece yet, thus recovering nicely from earlier debacles.  The judges were also suitably impressed that he’d made his own loom.  Samantha and Layana’s pieces were Heidi’s favorites.   As for Team KIR, Amanda’s proportions were off, and she seemed defeated.  In my opinion, that last shouldn’t be a consideration unless there is no other way to make a decision.  The judges do discuss why everybody on Team KIR had nominated Amanda, with the consensus being it was a dog-pack mentality.  For whatever reason, everybody had just gone along with Richard’s suggestion.

Heidi then announces the winner:  Samantha.  The rest of the Dream Team is safe.  Kate, Daniel, Michelle, Richard, and Patricia are also safe, leaving Amanda and Joseph in the bottom.  Joseph is out, which means Amanda is in.

Backstage, everybody says good-bye to Joseph.  Then Tim comes in and announces that he has something else for the designers.  They need to meet him and Heidi on the runway in ten minutes.  To be continued…

Next week:  The cliffhanger is presumably resolved.