Project Runway: Season 10, Episode 13

By now, the rhythm of Project Runway has become familiar; this many seasons into the show, it wasn’t hard to predict how this episode would play out. The designers would leave, Tim would come visit them at home, the designers would return (so happy to see each other again! Besties!), and the designers would have mini-meltdowns as they tried to select which of their looks they would present to the judges to make it to Fashion Week. There were no trips to Mood, no montages of the designers sketching, and no wacky challenges – and while this made the hour relatively low-key, it also meant the focus was on the fashion. Which, given that this is a fashion competition, is probably just as it should be. So let’s get right to it: who’s going to Fashion Week?

The Challenge: Heidi and Tim informed the designers that they would each get $9000 to create their collections…but that not all four were guaranteed a spot in the finals. This was meant to be shocking, but since this happens pretty much every season, it barely registered. The designers headed home to create their looks and then, upon their return to New York, were told they would have to show three pieces to secure their places at Fashion Week.

Here are my thoughts on each designer’s look, from my most favorite to least.

Dmitry’s Three Looks:

  • Look One: I did not love how shapeless this dress was, but I adored the geometry of the piece – very cool.
  • Look Two: Not sure about this. I loved the pants – they were impeccably tailored and just all-around quite cool. Dmitry started to lose me on the top, though. Something about the sheerness of this just didn’t read “chic” to me, which is the word I typically associate with Dmitry’s style.
  • Look Three: Yikes! Not sure about the fringed arms on the jacket, and again, the sheer top underneath. But, the jacket (and the material it was made of) were fantastic.
  • Overall: I wanted to love this because I love Dmitry, but I just didn’t. These pieces were solid but not wonderful. You could see the architectural look that Dmitry was going for, and everything was impeccably made as per usual, but some of his choices just felt off. But, I thought everyone’s looks were lackluster last night – so I would still rate Dmitry’s mini-collection at the top.

Fabio’s Three Looks:

  • Look One: Loved the pants, loved the necklace. The top looked cheap to me (though I liked the fabric it was made of) and the vest wasn’t anything special.
  • Look Two: I hated the way this top puckered; it was an interesting idea with the geometric cutouts, but Fabio did not execute it well. The back of the top, with it’s lace panel, was quite pretty.
  • Look Three: Hated this. It just looked like a bedsheet, to be honest. I did love the geometric neckline though.
  • Overall: These pieces did look like a cohesive collection, and I loved the geometric flourishes Fabio added throughout. But, I wasn’t crazy about his color palette – it looked too washed out. And, as the judges noted, some of these pieces looked cheap. I still rate this above Melissa and Christopher though; at least Fabio tried to do something different and special, whereas what we saw from the other two were drab, blah messes.

Melissa’s Three Looks:

  • Look One: GAH! This look is a gothic nightmare. The shorts aren’t anything special (why did everyone think sending shorts down the runway was a great way to get a ticket to Fashion Week?!), and I hated the cut of the top. Also, the model’s wig is atrocious.
  • Look Two: I hated the asymmetry of the coat. I’m pretty sure it was a deliberate design choice, but to me, it just came off looking haphazardly made. I also wasn’t wild about the over-sized cuffs.
  • Look Three: I liked this dress – simple and chic, though not exactly groundbreaking. But, as per usual, Melissa just had to add an exaggerated collar. The judges love to complain when somebody is one note – so why haven’t they criticized Melissa more over her collar obsession?
  • Overall: This collection was very Melissa – of the four designers, her looks were the most predictable, based on what we saw from her throughout the course of the season. But, it contained a little too much black and a few too many exaggerated collars for my taste.

Christopher’s Three Looks:

  • Look One: This was WAY too simple. I mean, what was special or fashion-forward about this look? Simple shirt, simple shorts, simple vest. I just didn’t get why Christopher chose to send this down the runway.
  • Look Two: Again, what was special about this? The leather shorts were fine, but 99.9% of women couldn’t wear them. The ostrich belt, allegedly the cool detail here, was so tiny that I didn’t even notice it.
  • Look Three: And, again, SO simple. What the hell? This is a skirt and a bandeau top – no more, no less. Also, I hated the way Christopher placed his silly x-ray print on the back of the dress. It almost looked like his model had a tail!
  • Overall: I’m not sure why Christopher chose these three looks – they didn’t make much impact, and they were all too simple. They didn’t show off any of his skills! I would have liked to see Christopher show a gown to the judges, or at least something with more impact and workmanship.

Bitchy Lines of the Night:

  • “I really don’t feel like she pushed the envelope…her white collared jacket, I feel like I’ve seen it before. What’s so special about this?” (Christopher on Melissa’s collection. Dude may have had a point there).
  • “I’m definitely underwhelmed by Christopher’s collection. He has some very classic pieces and then he has some slutty pieces. It just doesn’t flow.” (Dmitry on Christopher’s collection)
  • “That little sweater and those shorts…if you have the opportunity to go to Fashion Week, you cannot send that down to the runway…It’s so boring. I don’t even understand why you would show this to us today.” (Heidi on one of Christopher’s pieces. I couldn’t agree more, Frau Klum).
  • “I would also rethink the sleeves on that jacket; they look a little Robin Hood to me…just cut them off” (Nina on Melissa’s jacket. It did have ridiculous sleeves).

Random Bits + Pieces:

  • Tim was killing it, wardrobe-wise, during his visits to each designer. His tie during his visit to Christopher was fabulous, especially when paired with his checkered shirt. And then his pocket squares when he visited Fabio were equally fabulous. So dapper, that Tim.
  • In an attempt to be innovative, Christopher played around with bleach on leather. Tim went nuts for the technique, but to me, it looked like…Christopher had accidentally spilled bleach on leather. I just didn’t get why this was so special.
  • I love when Tim mingles with the ordinary folks (aka, the designers’ families). Upon seeing the food Christopher’s family had provided: “This looks so…caloric!”
  • Melissa was super confident about her look when Tim came to visit her in San Francisco, but when she arrived back in New York and headed to the workroom, her confidence evaporated almost instantaneously. I’m not sure what it is with Melissa, but she really seems to choke under pressure. Fabio said it best: “She loves what she’s doing, but she’s not as confident as she should be.”
  • The designers only had five weeks to put together their collections?!? Anybody else remember the halcyon days of Project Runway when the designers had months to create their final collections? No wonder they were almost universally crappy. Producers, let’s adjust this, stat.
  • This week’s guest judge? There wasn’t one. I have to say, the show was just fine without an extra chair; it allowed us to focus on the judges whose opinions I actually respect: Nina, Michael, and, heck, even Heidi. When deciding between a vapid young actress and thin air for the guest judge, thin air appears to come out on top.

The Results: You’re going to Fashion Week! And you’re going to Fashion Week! And you’re going to Fashion Week! Sorry, I didn’t mean to go all Oprah there, but everybody got to move on, making this episode completely meaningless filler. I suppose I am glad that all four are still in it, since I like them all, but this episode was just a waste of time, and I’m a little bitter about that.

(Judges, contestants, and runway photos via Lifetime; Michael Kors’s face of brilliance via Entertainment Weekly)

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