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Fish Tank or Tank Top? BOTH!!!

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Aug. 5, 2011 ,7:50 pm EDT

I would first like to mention none of the animals of the pet store were harmed during the filming of this episode. How fabulous would it have been to have a little Chinchilla fur to work with? Even a little python belt could have been fierce. Sorry, PETA. This southern boy loves his fur and leather. Some of these designers soared to the top while the rest just went cuckoo.

The hardest part of a challenge like this is to pick the materials that you are going to work with. On this show, you have such little time to plan how you are going to construct a garment. It is virtually impossible to know how puppy pee pads will sew or if aquarium rocks will glue onto fabric and withstand the runway strut. A challenge like this is an awesome platform for designers to show their creative genius by manipulating such unconventional materials ... on a budget ... in a time crunch ... while being sleep deprived ... on national television. Not quite the zen design environment we hope for.

Every year "Project Runway" pushes the limits of these designers by adding a challenge like this and you always hear don't choose products that are or look like fabric. History has shown though that it is not completely taboo to use fabric items. I remember in our first challenge on Season 3, Keith won with a blue halter dress made from curtains. And of course Olivier excelled last night using dog bedding fabric. Not surprising Nina loved this design, it's so her style. My main complaint was that it was unflattering on the model, the top was made from fabric, and the skirt was more of a glue gun craft project. Just look back at the Rate the Runway pictures and I think you will agree.

There was a lot of hot gluing going on this week. Anthony Ryan's dress was also all glued-on birdseed. The judges and I agree that it was one of our favorites because of the striking silhouette and "bead-like" pattern. Lord knows I love my beads. Who knew birdseed could look so chic? The design of the dress was pretty simple, but effective. The way that he used the sunflower kernels was exquisite.

Another great hot-glued creation was the flirty neon number by my boyfriend, Joshua McKinley. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm sure after reading my blog he will call me. His sparkling aquarium gravel tank top truly came from the tank, and was brilliantly paired with a simple black skirt. I have to agree with the judges that the look was over-accessorized, but we forgive you, Joshua. The biggest trend of the night was belts!!! 10 out of the 15 designers had belts on their designs! I found this very interesting.

Two designers I felt were overlooked were Kimberly and Viktor. Both of these designs were very sexy and definitely didn't look like they came out of a pet shop. Their cocktail dresses fit beautifully and looked expensive. I would definitely keep an eye out for them as the season progresses.

A few dogs were released on the runway as well, starting with Bryce's blue puppy pee pad dress. Heidi commented that she wanted to "pee all over those wee wee pads." I slightly wish she would have hiked her German drumstick and just peed on it. I honestly thought he was a goner after seeing it on the runway. Bert underwhelmed me on this challenge as well. His little black and pink dress looked like something on a dollar store Barbie and didn't really make sense. He should feel very lucky that he won immunity last week. This saddened me because I am a Bert fan. I will give him another week to wow me.

As bad as these outfits were, I was truly surprised when our Mormon man Joshua Christensen was eliminated. I mean, no one wanted to pee on this one! I wasn't really excited about his use of materials, but it did fit well and I thought was pretty wearable. The pop of green in the belt also was a complimentary touch to the purple halter. Several designers (including the winner) used fabric materials, so it couldn't be that Joshua C. used the umbrella fabric for the bodice. Perhaps the judge's decision was based on what he had shown them collectively. I guess my hopes of a "Project Runway" "tape" scandal starring the Joshuas will have to wait. Boo.