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Episode 11: Reject Runway

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:53am GMT

Well, well, well … "Project Runway" goes on — and like life, the more it changes, the more it stays the same. This week the super-drama unfolds both on the runway and behind the scenes, only to prove Emily Dickinson right: The world ends not with a bang, but a whimper. What I am talking about? Let's start with the challenge — to make a red carpet dress for the one and only German ubermodel of the universe, Heidi Klum herself. She warns the six remaining designers that she is "opinionated, headstrong and knows what she wants." Obviously, making za Kluminator unhappy is verboten. The workroom sketching becomes ultra-tense because there is a lot on the line and only $300 and one day to complete it. The designers start digging into their bag of tricks, when one by one, they start to notice that Maya is missing.

Where did she go? To have a serious talk with Tim. Very serious. For some reason, she tells Tim that she has decided to leave the competition, claiming that she is "not ready." Not ready? For what? A mental institution? She has already endured 10 harrowing challenges (where, I might add, her looks were all interesting and should have won many times when they didn't) and the attitudes of the other designers and all of the judges, only to quit now? Don't do it! But she did do it, quietly announcing to the workroom that she has decided to leave. Shock, dismay and general malaise take over the proceedings, and deep-dish disbelief is being served for lunch.

But — did I say but? In true "Project Runway" tradition, they stir things up by announcing that one of the eliminated designers will be brought back. Hmm … let me guess which one. Miss Anthony bursts through the workroom door doing her best Mama Rose ("Here she is, boys!") and everyone is happy again in Runwayland. Anthony joins in the challenge, and lights up the workroom with his wit and laughter. Gee, sounds familiar.

But enough about me. Did you know that I designed Meryl Streep's gown for this year's Academy Awards? So I have precious knowledge of the stress these designers are under. They don't want Heidi to end up on the dreaded "Worst Dressed List." You must take into consideration every angle of the dress, the color, the fabric, the workmanship, the fit, age appropriateness, length, walkability and basically every criticism you can imagine to create the perfect concoction that slays the considerable competition. This is the Super Bowl of fashion, and literally, the world is watching. And when you end up on the best-dressed list, there's no feeling of accomplishment quite like it. But enough about me.

The workroom is buzzing with some kind of ugly stuff. Have these people never watched a red carpet event? Some of the chosen colors are especially strange. How is Jay's poorly constructed gray-on-gray cotton twill cocktail swirl dress going to look next to a couture Valentino? Mila's weird metallic rainbow cleavage-exposer? Next to a Marchesa or an Armani? Please, they would be laughed out of town. The only ones who are on the right track seem to be Emilio and Seth. At least they are designing long gowns in black or rich colors that look somewhat expensive. Sorry to knock everyone so hard, but this is the harshness of the real world. Kathy Griffin tells the story that at one red carpet event, she got back to her hotel room in time to look online and see that she was on the worst-dressed list — while still wearing the dress. Hollywood is brutal.

The judges are going to be brutal to Jonathan and his taupe, black and coral toga. He keeps saying that he sends beautiful things down the runway and they hate them. So why not send something hideous and see if they love it? Good logic on that one, cutie. More mini-drama ensues as Seth's model can't make the runway, and he gets stuck with a model he's never worked with before. Yawn. It was a little bit of fun when Heidi visited the workroom, and they should have had that go on forever — it was hilarious. Alas, Heidi returns to her position on the runway and it's time for the show.

Our judges are the crispy-skinned Michael Kors, the sharp-tongued Nina Garcia and guest judge Jessica Alba.

Jay: Gray-on-gray short dress that doesn't fit, makes the model's butt look huge and might be okay if the red carpet event takes place at a prison.

Mila: Black short dress (short? again?) with metallic rainbow racing-stripe details and that looks less like a red carpet dress and more like NASCAR couture.

Anthony: Hmm … If this black and white gown was perfectly sewn and tweaked a little, I would love it. To me, it came off a little messy, almost looking like fabric draped on a mannequin in a fabric store window.

Seth Aaron: What fit his mannequin perfectly turned out to be messy on the model, with too many studs for my taste. Heidi says it lacks a "wow" factor. But it's basically a tasteful black gown.

Jonathan: Whoops! It looks like three fabrics were pulled off a toilet paper roll and slung around the poor model to make this taupe, coral and black mess. He complained that he only had two hours — what did he do with the other hour and a half? Yikes!

Emilio: While I admire that he made the dress properly — with a boned understructure — it is pretty boring and all about the sequined fabric. If we are going to give out prizes for proper dressmaking, let's change the title of the show to "Project Seamstress."

They tried to end the show with a bang, but it ended up being just a big whimper. Heidi decides there are TWO winners — Emilio and Anthony. Huh? Because Jessica Alba wants to wear Anthony's dress. I guess this was meant to shock us, but it really didn't do anything but make me puzzled, since it has no bearing on the outcome. Why not have everyone win? But they didn't, as Jonathan and Jay ended up in the bottom. The sanctimonious Jonathan was sent home, full of excuses and accusations about the judging. Bang? No, just a whimper.

See ya soon,