Project Runway: Season 10, Episode 3

The Challenge: This week, Tim tasked the designers with creating a look for a designer from past seasons to wear at the Emmys. And, in a bit of egregious product placement, the designers had to use the color of the Lexus they travelled in to meet their “client” into their design. The designers were paired up randomly, which thrilled nobody and caused Elena to gripe, “I don’t like to work with anyone. And who does?” The pairings were as follows:

  • Christopher and Andrea designing for Anya. At first, I liked this pairing – Christopher expressed respect for Andrea and said he would use the opportunity to learn from Andrea since she has the most experience of any designer (read: she is old). However, Christopher’s enthusiasm quickly devolved into an all-out freakout at Andrea’s slow working speed. You keep it classy, Christopher.
  • Elena and Buffi designing for Laura. Elena again displayed her sunny personality by assessing her partnership with Buffi: “My heart sinks down to my stomach. My worst fear came true.” Honestly, I could care less about Elena and Buffi – I was just excited to see Laura Bennett, one of my all-time favorite PR designers, back on the show.
  • Ven and Fabio designing for Kenley, who surprised me by being gracious, enthusiastic, and helpful throughout this challenge. Where was that attitude when she was actually competing?
  • Gunnar and Kooan designing for Irina. Though there was tension between these three, I expected even more fireworks given that Irina is one of the harshest contestants ever. She expressed disgust over Gunnar and Kooan’s sewing skills but otherwise kept things relatively drama-free.
  • Melissa and Dmitry designing for April. This pairing seemed like a complementary match of aesthetics, but I must admit I was rooting for Dmitry and Elena, the dour Soviet wonder twins, to be paired together.
  • Alicia and Raul designing for Mila. This was a very “meh” trio, mostly because I could not have told you Raul was a contestant on this show.
  • Sonjia and Nathan designing for Valerie. When their designer was revealed, my reaction was: “Who?” I barely remember Valerie existing on this show, and I couldn’t tell you what season she was on. Couldn’t the producers get any other female designers to come back? I was hoping to see Jillian or Ulee.

While I found the episode’s premise intriguing and thought it sure to produce ample drama (designing for Irina, Kenley, and Laura?!), the finished looks were lackluster overall and the episode was not as compelling as expected.

My Top Three:

  • Ven and Fabio: This was a fantastic dress; it was true to Kenley’s style, but with a classier, more refined twist. The fabric they chose was gorgeous and the pleating was very Ven. That’s clearly his signature move and, for now at least, I love it (but how long until it bores Nina?). I agreed with the judges that this dress looked expensive. I’m glad Ven got the win; there really was no other candidate.
  • Gunnar and Kooan: This dress grew on me the more I thought about it. The gown was sleek and well-fitted and suited Irina quite nicely. The silver neckline (or was that just a necklace?) was an awesome touch. While the sashes in back were a bit long, the dress was otherwise successful.
  • Sonjia and Nathan: I don’t think their gown photographed well, but I liked it on the runway. It fit well and looked elegant. I also liked that they added a few pieces of non-glitter fabric, which you can’t see here but which added visual interest and were a clever touch.

My Bottom Three:

  • Buffi and Elena: Ladies, how could you do this to fabulous Laura? This was like a gothic bridal nightmare; it looked wrinkled and poorly made. This dress baffled me because Laura has such a distinct style – how could they not draw inspiration from that? Full credit to Laura though: she smiled on the runway and attempted to work this dress.
  • Melissa and Dmitry: I don’t like this dress at all, but I will give Melissa and Dmitry credit: this look was very much in keeping with April’s personal style. But, I hated the dress – it resembled a piece of silver fabric that was draped across the front of her body and then pinned in back (which is possibly just what they did). Overall, this look was boring and unflattering, though I liked the back of the dress much more than the front.
  • Raul and Alicia: One word: BORING. Okay, two words: boring and drab. Essentially, what we have here is a shapeless, basic black dress with a tiny red belt. There really didn’t seem to be any design or effort put into this look.

Bitchy Lines of the Night:

  • “I can’t tell if it’s arrogance or confusion. I just want to smack her.” (Gunnar on Irina. Way to respect your client, dude).
  • “Ven and Fabio’s dress…to me, the fact that that dress could be worn at the Emmy’s is mind-boggling. She could go to church in that dress and nobody would think twice.” (Sonjia. All I have to say is: that’s way harsh, Tai. Ven and Fabio’s dress was fabulous).
  • “It is boring. It is really boring, and it has not one piece of sex appeal.” (Heidi on Raul and Alicia’s dress).
  • “This is like you guys made zero effort. Where was the effort here?” (Nina on Raul and Alicia. Her delivery was much more scathing and filled-with-disgust than it sounds if you just read the quote).
  • “I think that this looks like a Halloween costume you can get at a drug store. Sorry guys.” (Krysten on Andrea and Christopher).

Random Bits + Pieces:

  • Kooan’s voice is strongly reminiscent of Franck from Father of the Bride. Am I right or am I right?
  • The great thing about Kenley is that she never changes; her self-delusion is as rampant as ever: “I like to think I’m young…and cool…and fresh…and fabulous.”
  • Gunnar continues to be uber-annoying, though I did feel slightly bad for him being paired with Kooan. It looked like Gunnar really carried the team.
  • Dear Melissa and Dmitry: if silk charmeuse is SO difficult to work with, why did you choose to work with it??
  • Dear Raul: if you hate the red carpet, Project Runway is not the show for you. You always have to create red carpet gowns on this show!
  • Loved this accurate assesment of Elena, via Christopher: “Elena’s personality sometimes seems like she escaped from the woods and she’s ravenous and she will bite your head off until she gets what she wants.”
  • Krysten Ritter amused me as a guest judge; she was snarky and pulled no punches. I loved that she could barely suppress her laughter when Christopher started crying on the runway. Supreme bitchiness at its finest – and the perfect match for Project Runway.

The Results: The judges sent Raul home. Honestly, I’m puzzled why this wasn’t a double elimination – when the designers work in pairs, it’s hard to say who exactly is to blame. Especially in this situation, where neither designer had any good ideas, it seemed like Raul and Alicia were equally deserving of Heidi’s auf wiedersehen.

What did you think of last night’s episode? Did the judges send the right person home? And can anyone stop Ven?

(Runway and judges photos via Lifetime; Michael Kors’s face of brilliance via Entertainment Weekly)

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