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Project Runway 11: Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Last week on Project Runway, the designers were divided into teams of four.  Their challenge was to make performance outfits for a troupe of male dancers.  Thanks to a combination of ridiculous time constraints and inexperience in making men’s wear, everybody did poorly, so nobody won.  Amanda was sent home.

The next morning, Richard is upset because Amanda and Layana “threw him under the bus” during judging at the last challenge.  Over in the women’s room, Layana opines that Richard should have been sent home rather than Amanda.

On the runway, Heidi talks about the designers having a “spring in their step.”  She then sends them off to meet Tim at Lord & Taylor.  There, Tim tells them that the judges have further tweaked the teams.  The judges have split Team Shades of Gray in half, with Patricia and Stanley as one pair and Daniel and Michelle as the other.  Richard, Samantha, and Layana are still together, much to their dismay.  Richard and Layana aren’t on speaking terms.

Tim then introduces the designers to Suzanne Timmins, the senior vice president and fashion director of Lord & Taylor.  Together, Tim and Suzanne describe the challenge:  Make a ready-to-wear look inspired by the Lord & Taylor rose.  The look has to be a spring outfit.  The winner of the challenge will have their look sold by Lord & Taylor, both in stores and on-line.  The winner’s look will also be displayed in the window of Lord & Taylor’s NYC building.

The outfit must have a retail price of under $250.  The duos are responsible for two looks apiece, while the trio has to make three looks.  In other words, each designer will be making an outfit.  The duos will each get a budget of $150 to spend at Mood, while the trio gets $220.

The designers get the usual thirty minutes to sketch and talk things over.  Michelle comes from someplace with rainy springs, so she’s thinking rainwear.  Daniel wants to make a jacket and shorts combo.  Stanley wants to reign in what he considers to be Patricia’s kookiness, and she does not appreciate that.  As for the trio, Richard ignores Layana and talks only to Samantha.  Have I mentioned that Richard, at 39, is the oldest member of the trio?  Have I mentioned that he needs to act his age, and not his shoe size?

At Mood, Daniel gets the brightest shade of hot pink that he can get his hands on.  Some of the other designers, going with the rose theme, follow suit.  Richard gets pink and black fabrics.  Layana opts for a floral print.

Back at the workshop, Stanley DR’s that he is too controlling– but he really wants to win.  He’s never been on a losing team yet and wants to keep it that way.  He also thinks Patricia is being too defensive.  She, for her part, decides to just smile and nod and let him speak his piece, since getting into a fight with him would just waste time.

Richard and Layana continue to ignore each other, speaking only to Samantha, who is apparently the only adult and professional in the trio.  Michelle dislikes the pink fabric Daniel got and tells him so.  (I don’t blame her, as it’s about the same color as Pepto-Bismol.)

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with the trio.  Samantha is making a junior look with a heart cut-out in the back.  Tim likes it, but recommends making it as separates, rather than a dress.  Samantha agrees this is a good idea.  Tim then foolishly asks Richard what he thinks of Layana’s dress and Richard he responds that he dislikes the leather accents.  Layana retorts that she doesn’t like the pink in his dress.  She adds that his dress is also uncreative.

On to Patricia and Stanley.  Patricia is working on capri pants and a draped top, and Tim thinks the outfit will retail for more than $250.  Patricia ends up deciding to make a simpler shirt.  As for Stanley and his dress, Tim just asks, “What’s new about it?”

Tim doesn’t like Michelle’s vest, which he thinks looks “apocalyptic.”  He’s right; the vest looks more Mad Max than springtime fashion.  He does like the green dress she’s sketched, and he urges Michelle to scrap the vest and concentrate on the dress.  Tim also notices that Michelle dislikes Daniel’s pink jacket– and he agrees with her, saying the color is unsophisticated.  Michelle thinks it looks too old.  After Tim leaves, they have a ridiculous spat about how Michelle had worded her critique.  Basically, Daniel accuses Michelle of telling him that he needed to design for twenty-one-year-olds and she denies saying that.  Daniel also angrily declares that he doesn’t sell to twenty-one-year-olds.  In the end, Daniel reluctantly cuts up his jacket to make a dress.  He tells us the he makes happy clothes for happy people or something to that effect.

The models come in try on their frocks.  Stanley and Patricia are both happy with the results, and they make up.  Stanley even compliments Patrica, saying he likes the new top.  Layana is also pleased.  Michelle doesn’t have much for her model to try on, other than the vest she won’t be using anyway, as she’s just started working on the dress.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  Michelle and Daniel decide to bury the hatchet.  Tim sends in the models, who get dressed and go to hair and make-up.  During this Samantha notices that her skirt is too short.  She tries to quickly fix it.

On the runway, Heidi introduces Rachel Roy, who is subbing for the absent Zac.  The guest judge is Bonnie Brooks, the president of Lord & Taylor.

Patricia is up first.  She made a draped, sleeveless orange top and a pair of coral capri pants.  Stanley made a very basic, sleeveless orange dress.   Richard made a long, sleeveless dress.  It has color-blocked black and pink fabric.

Samantha made a sleeveless, very short dress.  The skirt consists of tan, orange, and black in pleated layers.  It is apparently supposed to be reminiscent of a flower.  The top is tan and orange with royal blue panels down the side.  There’s also a heart-shaped cut-out in the back, which means nobody over thirteen is likely to buy the dress.  Do kids that age even shop at Lord & Taylor?  Layana made a long dress with a halter-top and an exposed back.  She made the dress out of a mostly coral print.  She used black leather for a wide belt and as trim for the halter-top.

Daniel made a knee-length, short-sleeved hot pink dress.  It has a V-neck collar and a slit up one leg.  It also has exaggerated shoulders, just like dresses or shirts from the 1980’s.  Michelle made a sleeveless gray and chartreuse mini-dress.  It has a plunging back.

After the show, Heidi tells Patricia and Stanley that they are safe.  Michelle and Daniel are the winning team, while the trio are the losing team.

The judges start with Michelle, who told the judges she’d been thinking of rosebuds, which explains the shade of green she chose.  She’d used silk and leather in her look.  Heidi loves it, at least partly because it’s not as literal as many of the others.  Nina thinks it’s a great-looking dress that will work well with many sizes and body types.  Bonnie adds that Michelle made the best use of Lord & Taylor’s accessories.

Daniel wanted to make something a confident woman would wear.  Bonnie calls it a fantastic dress and says she loves the color.  Nina notes that the dress has a conservative shape, despite the bold color.  She does like the shoulders.  Heidi says it’s a dress that they’ve seen before.

Samantha wanted to make a younger look.  Heidi thinks the skirt looks like a “wilted rose.”  Rachel thinks it’s youthful and adorable.  Nina praises Samantha’s “attempt” to take a risk.  Bonnie thinks the dress is cute and fun.

As for Richard’s dress, Heidi likes it, but Nina dismisses it as “generic.”  Bonnie isn’t sure when somebody would wear it, since it looks like a beach dress, but is too dressy for the beach.  Rachel dislikes the styling.

Layana is last.  Nina likes the details of the dress, but really wishes Layana had picked another fabric.  She calls the print an “old lady fabric.”  Bonnie and Rachel both like the dress, while Heidi agrees with Nina.  She describes Layana’s look as “a hot dress with a horrible print.”

Heidi then asks the trio which of them should go home.  The women nominate Richard, who names Samantha as the weakest link.

The judges then have their chat.  Michelle’s dress is the clear winner, as it was simple but had details including a beautiful neckline.  Layana made a good dress that was marred by a hideous print.  Samantha’s look showed creativity, but was too junior.  Richard’s look was well-constructed, but uncreative.

The judges then announce their decision.  Michelle is the winner and Daniel is safe.  Layana is also safe, leaving Richard and Samantha in the bottom.  Richard is in– and I suspect producer meddling.  I’m sure the producers love the idea of Layana and Richard going at each other next week.  In any case, Samantha is out.

Four months later, Michelle is delighted to see her dress in the window of Lord & Taylor.

Next week:  The designers go to the Guggenheim Museum.  They also face the textile challenge.