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Episode 8

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Mar. 12, 2010 ,5:22 am EST

This week on “Runway,” we find ourselves being one with nature ... or sort of confused with nature, depending on which designer you’re referencing.

You can tell that the designers are starting to feel the pressure this week. There is definitely a point at which you realize that you aren’t just outrunning the slowest person anymore. When everyone is a strong contender, you feel fairly on edge. I tried to have fun throughout the whole competition, but it definitely got significantly more stressful about halfway through. You simultaneously bond with and try to defeat the people around you, and the group starts to feel reeeeeeally small.

It’s interesting to see how people’s minds work in this sort of challenge. It’s definitely the type of challenge where you can get into trouble by thinking too hard, as perhaps was the case with Amy. The interpretation of the inspiration certainly doesn’t need to be literal (fire=red, air=see-through fabric),but one too many derivations can lead to total detachment from the original idea. The journey from inspiration to final product makes sense to you, but may not always make sense to someone else.

I thought that Jay’s look was very interesting and well thought-out, and I like that he and Seth Aaron both took a darker approach to air. I like Jay’s concept of the tornado and the fact that he was able to use something as sharp and concrete as bold stripes to portray something so intangible and transparent as air. Plus, the kid loves a good flowy train and thus sucks me into the realm of Jay Love. Seth Aaron is really showing some great tailoring skills here, and his looks are usually pulled-together and complete.

Jonathan’s look was beautiful — no doubt about that. The whole bit about it being based on laughter made me gag a little, buuuuut that’s OK. It was by far the best work that we’ve seen from him. As I said last week, Jonathan seems to be totally hit-or-miss, which makes it ironic to me that he has been safe in the middle so much. Kudos for the win, but I think he’s really going to bomb it big time at some point in the coming weeks. We shall see.

Maya’s dress was obviously great, but I was more excited about the concept she was talking about in the workroom involving a siren coming out of the water. Oh well. It’s only one day, after all!

I have to say I was a little surprised to see Ben go so soon. I feel like he had a lot of potential, but that maybe he held back a bit. There was a certain element of reserve to his work that made you wonder what he would create under less limiting circumstances. It kind of stinks for him to leave after being safe so much. The feedback from industry gurus is one of the best learning experiences a designer can reap from the show, so it’s unfortunate that he didn’t get that opportunity.

One last note: I think if Maya and Mila get any more attached to each Other, they are going to show up in the mother-daughter outfits from the children’s-wear challenge. And it will be glorious.