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A VERY Tall Order

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Aug. 12, 2011 ,12:23 am EDT

Every designer loves a tall model, but this challenge takes this to a whole other level. Pun intended. When Heidi walks the runway and is 10 feet tall, the designers look overwhelmingly puzzled. A supermodel rocking stilts is not a normal sight. The designers immediately thought this was a circus challenge. Heidi informs these designer hopefuls that they will be working with stilt-walking models and instructs them to create an eye-catching, imaginative, larger-than-life outfit. She explains that this challenge will also be the first in "Project Runway" history to be held outside with a LIVE audience and press. My hat goes off to the producers for always keeping us on our toes. I think the hardest part of this challenge would be deciding whether to design a more ready-to-wear look or a costume.

Heidi paired the designers into seven teams, and immediately the drama began to unfold. The first team announced was Viktor and Ber. Viktor was quite vocal that he was not excited about being paired with Bert. This set the tone for how their next 24 hours would unfold. I couldn't help but cringe watching the train wreck between the two designers. Bert seemed a little harder to work with, honestly, and had no couth in talking to Viktor. Bert belittled Viktor several times. The Elizabethan costume they created was extremely costume-y and poorly made. None of the judges liked their fabric choices, saying they looked like old curtains.

Julie and Joshua McKinley were not really a match made in heaven, either. The banter between these two was a little easier to watch than that between Bert and Viktor. Julie and Joshua have completely different styles, but at least they were pretty kind to each other. They also created a quite costume-y, over-the-top matador ensemble that frightened the judges. My least favorite part of their look was the cheap metallic red Lycra they used for the leotard top. This really cheapened the look and made it very confusing to the eye.

The biggest disaster pairing was definitely between Bryce and Fallene. She did not even know how to cut pattern pieces out on grain. This is rule one of pattern making. I fault Bryce a little for not teaching Fallene how to cut out her bustier on grain when he first learned she was clueless. Fallene completely fell apart in this challenge and basically only made a headband. Bryce constructed all of the other lackluster pieces for the model. This "Black Swan"–inspired ballerina costume turned out to be the ugly duckling and ultimately sent Fallene home this week.

Danielle and Cecilia as well as Olivier and Anya all created ready-to-wear looks that the judges complimented. These two towering garments looked very well made and flattering on the runway. These two teams worked well together for the most part and were safe to the next round.

Kimberly and Becky made a very tailored ready-to-wear look that the judges raved over. The pants were so beautiful that I thought Nina was going to book them for a photo shoot for the next issue of Marie Claire. The jacket was also quite stunning, even though the judges and I thought the collar was a little too theatrical. Yes, I am saying something was too much. This was definitely my second favorite look, though.

The most striking garment by far, in my opinion, was made by Anthony Ryan and Laura. This stunning red flyaway pantsuit was truly couture-looking, with petal shoulder detailing and shirred silk bodice. The flowing silk charmeuse train captured the natural breeze from being outdoors. Kim Kardashian and this live, press-filled setting vaulted the excitement. Laura deservingly won immunity with this gorgeous ensemble. The great teamwork between these two designers had to have played a little part in their victory.

I found it very interesting that all of the teams that chose to create more of a costume had the lowest scores. I mean, it is quite understandable, given Heidi's instruction of an "imaginative, truly larger-than-life outfit" for a stilt walker. Stilts are typically worn by clowns in circuses and carnivals!!!! This is what makes this show so tricky. When in doubt, make ready-to-wear, kids.