Project Runway: Season 10, Episode 10

After this week’s episode of Project Runway, I’m going to have to rename the show Project Friendship. The producers can attempt to manufacture all the drama they want, but you cannot convince me that these designers aren’t friends. From the chatting at dinner to the funny moments in the workroom to everyone helping everyone else out, I have come to the conclusion that these designers are practically besties (except Dmitry and Elena, because, you know, that would mean hell had frozen over). I know the producers think nice people are lame, but I like seeing the camaraderie – it allows you to focus more on the fashion, which is (allegedly) the point of this show. With that said, let’s get to discussing those fashions.

The Challenge: The designers headed to Radio City Music Hall, where they were greeted by Tim and treated to a performance by the Rockettes. As the Rockettes took the stage (joined shortly thereafter by Heidi, who displayed a solid talent for kicking in time with the professionals), the challenge became obvious: the designers would have to create a costume for the Rockettes.

My Top Three:

  • Christopher: I absolutely LOVED Christopher’s skyline top. What a brilliant concept, and oh so perfect for the Rockettes. I agreed with the judges and too would have given Christopher the win because his idea was just so much better than anyone else’s. However, as with all the looks in my Top Three this week, I found flaws in Christopher’s dress. Namely, the skirt – it looked a little meh, and I don’t think it would work well during the trademark Rockette high kick sequences.
  • Dmitry: I was a bit on the fence on this look. I thought parts of it were amazing. The fringed skirt, for instance, was beautiful and moved well. I also adored his color palette: the midnight blue with the black was striking. On top of all that, the garment looked incredibly well-made; as the camera panned in on the details during the critique, you could see that everything was perfectly executed. I wasn’t wild, however, about the cutout zigzag thing going on. It almost looked space-like to me, a little “Star Trek meets Flapper.”
  • Melissa: I liked how modern this dress was – I think Melissa met one of the key requirements of the challenge, which was to create a splashy, sparkly uniform but also make it modern and cool. However, this costume was not without its problems. I’m not sure about the collar – that look works on Melissa’s more high concept designs, but maybe not on a Rockette costume. The dress was also undeniably short. In the words of Frau Klum, “You have to have your bits covered.”

My Bottom Three:

  • Ven: I did not find this look offensive, but it was a definite snoozefest. The shape was too simple and the pale color, while pretty, wasn’t providing the pizazz that Ven needed to do well with this challenge. Also, the fabric was quite odd; there appeared to be some sort of mesh netting thing going on?
  • Elena: Throughout the episode, people commented that Elena was making a marching band costume. Even Elena herself made this comment, yet – puzzlingly – she did nothing to remedy the situation. This look was just hideous. I’m not sure how Elena escaped elimination for creating something this tacky, unsophisticated, and cheap-looking.
  • Fabio: I really hated this, and I would have put Fabio’s look in the bottom before Sonjia’s (the judges, clearly, disagreed). Every season on PR, there’s a designer who skates through the competition, never making anything remarkable – and to me, that’s Fabio this season. I detested the bright, metallic silver fabric, and this look didn’t say “Rockettes” to me at all; it was more Xena: Warrior Princess.

Bitchy Lines of the Night:

  • “But honestly, it doesn’t read Rockettes…it reads cheerleader.” (Ven on Elena. Clearly their dinnertime bonding worked wonders).
  • “I feel like you should go to the Lord & Taylor accessory wall and look for a baton.” (Tim, on Elena’s band uniform-esque garment. I love that, even during a moment of fashion crisis, Tim remembered to get in his product placement. What a professional).
  • “Dmitry’s garment is very high school dance team.” (Christopher. Initially, I agreed with this assessment, but I think Dmitry – for lack of a better phrase – made this look work).
  • “When I look at Sonjia’s costume, all I think is bawk bawk bawk bawk…” (This soundbite was amazing. There’s nothing I can type that approximates the gloriousness of dour Dmitry imitating a chicken).
  • “I mean, just think about it. You’re going to see 36 identical dresses made of feathers. It might be like a turkey-fest up there.” (So good, Nina G. So good).
  • “To me, she looks like a Las Vegas cheerleader. I mean, it’s just tacky.” (Michael on Elena. I have to say, MK has not been as quotable the past few episodes. What’s going on, Kors?)
  • “It felt like it would actually be a beautiful costume…for the circus.” (Debra on Elena. Oh, snap).
  • “A molting group of Rockettes is not really something that would be great.” (Thank you, Debra Messing, for conjuring up this hilarious image in my mind).

Random Bits + Pieces:

  • Did anyone else think that Dmitry, as a former professional ballroom dancer, had a leg up on this challenge (Rockettes pun totally intended)? It seems like his background would be tremendously helpful here, and I guess it was since he made a fantastic garment.
  • They have never shown people going over budget at Mood before, and I have always wondered whether it happens, or if the producers intervene and give the designers more money. But I guess it does, as we saw Elena struggle with her budget ($150 over!) and end up with far less than she needed or wanted. Honestly, how can you go that far over and not realize it?
  • I typed the previous bullet at the beginning of the episode, but later on we learned: wait, the producers do intervene, in the form of giving the designers the chance to go back to Mood and get more fabric. This has never happened before, and I was a bit shocked they allowed it. My conspiracy theory? The producers loved Christopher’s garment and wanted it to win, so they gave him the opportunity to get the starry fabric he needed to complete the night sky portion of his dress.
  • Speaking of Christopher, he was flat-out adorable this episode. My favorite moment? “Thank you, Debra Messing.”
  • Sonjia’s head wraps are fabulous. I wish she designed clothing with a similar aesthetic to what she chooses to wear herself; she has such a cool personal style, but it doesn’t always translate to the runway.
  • This episode confirmed to me that Melissa must be a genuinely nice person, because all the designers were eager to help her: Christopher gave her money at Mood, Ven helped her sew her garment, and Fabio, Sonjia, and Christopher worked on reattaching her zipper.
  • Did anyone catch this? Elena said, “I think I’m going home” and there was Ven, nodding in agreement beside her. Sorry, buddy. The joke’s on you.
  • This week’s guest judge? Debra Messing, who makes an excellent judge. Normally, celebrities contribute very little to the conversation, but Messing always delivers thoughtful (and funny) critiques.
  • Hearing Tim say, “bitch slap that bitch” is fabulous. The end.

The Results: Whoa. I was shocked by this week’s result: in the battle for last place, the judges sent Ven packing before Elena. I truly thought Ven’s prior body of work, which was superior to Elena’s overall, would save him. Even Tim could not contain his surprise, saying, “Well, isn’t this a bit of a wake-up call? Look who’s going home. It’s a scenario I don’t think any of you wrote.” Indeed.

If you watched this week’s Project Runway, what did you think? Were you surprised that Ven (cross-dresser name Origami Rose, thank you Michael Kors) went home? Will Elena ever stop crying? And how bananas does next week’s baby clothes challenge look?

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

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