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Episode 3: Teams of Two Little, Too Late

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Jan. 29, 2010 ,4:00 am EST

Project Runway season seven designers in the third episode

This episode has it all: teams of two (including the hostess, Heidi, who always seems to be pregnant), the highest budget in “Project Runway” history, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what’s inspired by who, for how much, until your head is spinning. You may need a scorecard to keep things straight this time around. Tim takes the designers to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to meet 10 other designers — the icons ensconced in the Met’s Costume Collection. Chanels, Balenciagas and Diors — oh my! I was drooling on these gorgeous gowns, as were the runway kids. I hope they were Scotchgarded.

We all know that it’s time for the dreaded (and rightly so) team challenge. The teams are (get your scorecard ready!): Jay and Maya; Jesus and Amy; Anthony and Seth Aaron; Janeane and Ben; Mila and Jonathan; Ping and Jesse; Emilio and Anna.

The first partner of each team is the leader (Ping? Oh no! ...), and they are off to sketch and then spend a whopping $500 at Mood. The footage at Mood is so disparaging of Ping, it was hard to watch ... she loses sketchpads, fabric and money; argues with Jesse; and just looks like a chicken with her head cut off. We know that no good will come of this. Mila is one tough cookie who has decided to go for a ’60s futuristic look. Anthony and Seth Aaron (who, at one point, Anthony pricelessly refers to as “Seth-Ann”) are working on a red, yellow and black dress that Miss Anthony describes as “... a gown for the vice president of McDonald’s.” Love her. To death. I refuse to watch any more episodes if she gets kicked off. And then there’s the mess of Jesse and Ping .... I actually felt sorry for pirate-boy Jesse, who is just trying to “...rein in the crazy.” Perhaps a couture straitjacket would suit Ping perfectly.

But guess what, sports fans? There’s a twist! (Come on, you knew it was coming!) The teams have to make a second “look for less” with $50! And it has to be inspired by one of the OTHER team’s looks. Yipes. Me no likey. You can get out your scorecard and figure out who was inspired by whom, but this was all very confusing, and didn’t play out on the runway as fabulously as I think they planned.

Tim comes through the workroom to gleefully describe Ping’s choice of fabric for their cheap look as, well, cheap. Well, “cheap and cheerful wrapping paper,” to quote him completely. Anthony and Seth-Ann are having a disagreement in front of Tim, and Miss Anthony snaps, “Stop acting up in front of company!” Anthony has seen way too many episodes of “In Living Color” while beading his dress for “Paris Is Burning.” The morning of the runway show, he spits out the jewel, “I’m stacked, packed, and ready to attack!” Project Runway season seven designers Anthony Williams The snaps are flying, the hips are sashaying, the candy is being hidden, the shade is being thrown and the faces are at a full beat. In other words, it’s time for the runway. Throw the dice and steal the rice ....

The judges are: Michael “Tanning Bed” Kors, Nina “Fashion Predator” Garcia and guest judge Matthew Williamson. (As an aside, just to give all young designers hope .... I can remember eight years ago when Matthew Williamson didn’t even have a show at Bryant Park yet, so he got a store across the street to feature photos of his collection in their windows. Just look at him now!)

Team Anthony/Seth-Ann: Black and yellow hoop skirt for the “Queen Bee” in a school play about reproduction. (See left.)
* 4-less look: Kind of cute lace-overlay cocktail dress with pintucked tank top. Better than their couture look, to be sure.

Team Jesus/Amy: Burnout black fishtail dress with ruffled wheels that make a kind of bolero jacket. I kind of like both, but not together.
* 4-less look: Balloon pants that scream “Hammer Time!” You can’t touch this.  

Team Mila/Jonathan: Paco Rabanne meets Tim Burton in a Jane Fonda exercise video. With a little NASCAR couture thrown in? The judges liked this way more than I did.
* 4-less look-black and yellow babydoll dress for the “Queen Bee” in the JonBenet Ramsey version of the school play about reproduction.  Eeeww.

Team Janeane/Ben: Shorty-short-short pintucked blah dress with a blah vest. Most of their $500 must have been spent on crack.
* 4-less look: Tackling the ’60s look, they did a good job making a wearable outfit.

Team Emilio/Anna: Innovation-free black version of Simplicity Pattern #5108 “Easy to Sew” bridesmaid dress. Most of their $500 must have been spent on ... crack.
* 4-less look: Cute asymmetrical horizontal-striped dress that had absolutely nothing to do with the inspiration. (See above — “crack.”) Project Runway season seven designer Ping Wu

Team Jay/Maya: Fungus-shoulder gown with tendrils of of twists down the front that flutter as the model walks. It definitely grew on me.
* 4-less look: More elaborate than Janeane and Ben’s original? Almost an exact copy, though.

Team Ping/Jesse: Vintage-y lace top with a bottom that looks like the model sat in glue and then the bargain bin of scraps at Jo-Ann Fabrics. (See right.)
* 4-less look: A gray dress for sunning in the prison yard. Super boring and uninspired. (See above — “crack.”)

Whew! I know that was all very confusing, but all you need to know is that Mila wins with her Paco Rabanne–inspired space-stewardess look, and that Teams Anthony/Seth-Ann and Ping/Jesse end up in the bottom. Heidi warns that one or two (!) of them will be going home. Jesse and Seth are pronounced “safe,” leaving Ping and Anthony to walk the plank ... Oh no! They can’t get rid of Miss Anthony! She’s just getting warmed up with the quips and quotes! Please oh please let him stay ... Ping gets the pong, and Anthony is safe for another week of Southern belle antics.Yay! Poor Ping gives a tearful goodbye in a very sad exit interview. Oh, the cruel mistress that is reality TV.

See ya soon,

Chris