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Project Runway 11: Don’t Disappoint Nina!

Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced the textile challenge in which they had to design their own print.  Each team also had to make an avant-garde piece inspired by something in the Guggenheim Museum plus a ready-to-wear companion piece.  Stanley won and Richard was sent home.

Immediately after the judging, Tim summons the designers back to the runway.  Heidi then makes an announcement that the designers have probably been waiting to hear:  No more teams.  From now on, each designer will work on his or her own– sort of.  They’ll be getting assistants to help them with their next challenge, which will test their leadership and communication skills.  Heidi also tells the designers they will be going on a field trip the next day.

That day, the designers meet Tim and Nina at the Hearst Corporation, which is the home of Marie Claire magazine.  Nina then issues the challenge:  Make a fashion-forward editorial look for the spring season.  The winner will have their look photographed for Marie Claire and worn by the actress Jordana Brewster.  Nina also gives instructions detailing what she does and does not want.  She wants bold colors and silhouettes; she does not want gowns, red carpet looks, or pants and t-shirt combos.  In other words, she doesn’t want the designers to make any of their usuals.

The designers get their traditional thirty minutes to sketch.  Layana is inspired by the exterior of the Hearst Building itself and decides to make something incorporating leather and a cobalt blue material.  Patricia decides on an organic look.

Then it’s off to Mood, where each designer gets $250.00 to spend.  Daniel has decided to make a jacket and shorts and is drawn to some yellow linen.  Michelle decides to make pants and a shirt, despite Nina’s instructions to the contrary.  That outfit is going to have to be spectacular in order for Nina to forgive Michelle’s disregarding her instructions.

Back at Parson’s, Tim introduces the design assistants, who, unsurprisingly, are the most recently eliminated designers.  That includes Richard, who nobody wants for a partner.  This is especially true of Patricia, who had been saddled with him in the last challenge.  Stanley, as the winner, is given the traditional first pick, and chooses Tu, citing his sewing prowess.  Michelle picks Amanda, Daniel selects Samantha, Layana chooses Kate, leaving Patricia with Richard.  To say neither one is happy to be working together again would be an understatement.

After Tim explains that the designers are in charge of design, time management, etc, while the eliminated contestants really are just assistants, the designers get to work.  Tu starts work on a jacket, noting how exacting and demanding Stanley is.  Layana starts making an outfit out of pieces of cobalt blue leather.  Patricia tells us that she doesn’t trust Richard or his abilities.  Richard, for his part, decides to just wait in the lounge until Patricia summons him.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and starts with Michelle, who shows off a pair of green pants.   Tim questions the wisdom of making a top out of a translucent material– and then pairing it with a black bra.  Michelle essentially ignores him.  Daniel is working on a jacket and shorts combo, and both are bright yellow.  Tim points out that linen wrinkles very easily.  Stanley is making a three-piece look consisting of culottes, a sleeveless blouse, and a jacket.  Stanley’s look would have the advantage of allowing some mixing and matching.  Next up is Layana, who has been making a bodice out of piece of blue leather.  Tim likes the proportions.  Patricia has been working on a dress and is considering adding a cape.  Tim advises against this and recommends concentrating on the dress.

After Tim leaves, Patricia shows Richard how to do a French seam.  Stanley scolds Tu for not pinning fabric before sewing.  The models come in for their fitting, and Stanley finds that his look fits perfectly, much to his delight and relief.

On the day of the runway show, some of the designers speculate who will be sent home.  Both Patricia and Daniel are mentioned as likely candidates.  Then it’s off to the workroom, where Patricia tries to embellish her dress.

The models come in to get dressed and go to hair and make-up.  Samantha, having finished Daniel’s look, goes to help Patricia with hers.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the judges.  Zac is back from his vacation.  The guest judge is Jordana Brewster, the actress who will be wearing the winning look.

Michelle made loose, olive green pants and a black bandeau.  She then made a white, sleeveless top out of a translucent material, and added wide bands of black and tan leather to the bottom.

Daniel made a sleeveless jacket with exaggerated, wing-like shoulders and a V-shaped neckline.  He also made a pair of short shorts.  Both pieces are canary yellow.

Stanley made a pair of creamy culottes that look like a mid-length skirt.  He also made a brown jacket with mid-length sleeves and a blouse with a black and white print.

Patricia made a one-shoulder turquoise dress with an asymmetrical hem  She tried to liven it up with strips of fringed leather, but the results look crude and amateurish.

Layana made a bodice out of cobalt blue leather pieces.  She had painstakingly attached the leather pieces to each other with silver chain links.  She also made a knee-length white skirt that looked as if it took about five minutes to make.

The judges decide to talk to everybody, starting with Patricia.  Nina considers the shape to be unflattering, and Zac says there’s not much movement.  Jordana thinks it looks unfinished, but Heidi likes the color palette

Stanley took advantage of having a helper by making three pieces.  Nina loves the culottes, and Heidi thinks the outfit looks fresh and expensive.  Jordana likes the pockets in the culottes.  Nina thinks the look is very editorial.

Daniel says that he tried to take Nina’s instructions to heart, especially her requests for “fantasy, bold, and color.”  He then demonstrates how the shoulder pieces can be manipulated.  Heidi thinks the outfit is too gimmicky and looks like something from Victoria’s Secret.  Zac agrees, but Jordana likes the color.  She thinks the look would have worked better with a skirt, though.  Nina concedes the look is memorable, but too “Eastery.”

Layana talks about having been inspired by the Hearst Building.  Zac likes the top and Jordana agrees, saying she likes its color.  Heidi thinks it would photograph well, which is what one wants for an editorial look.

Michelle simply wanted to make a casual look.  Heidi praises Michelle’s sewing skills.  Nina doesn’t think there’s enough fantasy in the look, and reminds Michelle that she had specifically told the designers not to make a pants and t-shirt combo.  Jordana says the look would be great for everyday wear, but not for an editorial photoshoot.

The judges then have their chat.  Layana had made a beautiful top.  Stanley’s culottes were well-made, but hard for women to wear.  He also made several pieces.  Daniel’s look was well-made but costumey.  Michelle’s look was also well-made, but too simple.  Patricia had been hampered by Richard’s lack of help.  While she has an original point of view, her dress was basically a “fringed tent.”

Heidi then announces the judges’ decision.  Stanley is the winner.  Layana and Daniel are both in, leaving Patricia and Michelle in the bottom two.  Patricia is in, but Michelle isn’t out.  She’s getting a second chance, a “do or die” moment.  The judges will explain it more fully.

Next week:  Michelle’s second chance.  Plus, the challenge that will determine who goes on to Fashion Week.  Europe is somehow involved.