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Surprise! Welcome to the Fight Club, Designers

By kim_messina Fri., Feb. 8, 2013 ,4:26 am EST

The rooster hasn’t even cleared its throat yet but the designers are already up and primping for their third challenge. We enter into the infamous Atlas Apartments where the designers have barely had enough time to gulp down a "haute" cup of Joe and wipe Mr. Sandman from their eyes before they start pointing out the "weakest links" of their respective teams. LORD, "Can a girl get some breakfast and put on her bronzer game face before you start throwing her under the bus?" Following last week’s challenge it's clear the designers are still "SPiNning" out of control trying to measure up one another’s skills and talents. Cindy is certain that her team is in "a world of hurt," while Michelle’s considering a visit to the doctor for a prescription of a "happy drug." Psst Michelle, let me know who your doctor is. I’m going to need a double dosage on my end as well!

Amid brushing her Rapunzel hair and applying CoverGirl, Kate is taping up her fists and throwing on the boxing gloves to join Mike Tyson in the ring. Let's just hope the fighter in her doesn’t bring out the inner Hannibal Lector because blood stains on couture is just a down right shame, and frankly should be a felony. Speaking of boxing, over in the boys room they are quick to point out all the "lightweights" of the competition. Quoting Daniel, "Patricia is weak, Joe is weak and Kate is weak." In my mind, weak is a state of mind and strength comes from within. Now certainly one can be keen on pointing out whose craft is not as polished as theirs, however "Project Runway" is more than about being strong. It's about having a solid vision and a perspective in design. It's about having the courage and the conviction to stand tall, believe in what you do, have faith that out there in this massive world someone believes in you even more then you do and know that what you are doing on whatever scale that may be is IN FACT helping to change and aid the world to be a better, more inspired place.

This week there's a big "surprise' in more ways than one. Heidi Klum is the designer's client and she's launching a new fragrance "Surprise."

Side note: On Season 9, Episode 5, we had the pleasure of designing looks for Heidi Klum for New Balance, having won that challenge, from experience I can guarantee you she is a woman who knows what she wants and her demographic is NOT "40 to death!"

The designers are informed that they are not only designing looks for the campaign commercial, but also press options. I realize she was describing the scents notes of pink pepper, mandarin and jasmine, however I couldn’t help but wonder if the scent was born during a recent trip to a Las Vegas all-you-can-eat buffet. Just like the licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop, "the world my never know."

In Mood we discover that Matthew is intimidated by the challenge because he is not a dressmaker, ironically did anyone hear Heidi say she was opposed to a pant option for press? It’s upsetting to always see the designers resort to dresses. However Matthew, who is afraid of being "generic," had the perfect opportunity to separate himself from the pack and instead chose to bore us with a tube dress!

Design note: a tube dress on Season 11 of "Project Runway," really? As a viewer you should feel cheated and if you don’t, well…you should have higher expectations.

Even Matthew’s words verbatim: "The colors are boring, the material is boring, my idea is boring." Well handsome, switch it up a bit and have some fun, but to waste this opportunity boring you, and us, is design robbery!

On the contrary, Benjamin is terrified because he feels this challenge is completely in his comfort zone. Never a good thing seeing how there is anything but comfort when designing, cutting, constructing and fitting a gown in one day. Honestly all the rules are out the window and with such tight parameters for each challenge you have to act on impulse and have an immaculate focus on time management and precision. Case in point: Cindy said hunched over the machine, "This is so much harder than it looks on TV!"

Viewer note: the time that is specified by Tim for each challenge is actual, there is no off-camera work time given to the designers.

Perhaps if Cindy was made aware of that she would have reconsidered? Then again, her shantung fabric choice this week could have used a bit of "micro-management." However she seems to have scared her team off last with her vocalization of not wanting help and it seems she got it, having returned to 1407 with the most appalling shades of iridescent pink shantung, it is truly a "Make it Work" moment!

I’m overcome with annoyance that Kate has the audacity to call Daniel out for not using a "silk" for his gorgeous gown. What Kate has failed to realize is that Daniel politely stepped in and gave her and Layana money towards their deficit of over 100 dollars!

Fabric note: with superior fabric technologies today, some polyester blends are extremely difficult to differentiate from the real thing and at times even carry a better "hand."

Speaking of the eveningwear duo, who else was completely uncomfortable with their critique? From Layana’s erratic, marionette doll movements to high pitched shrieks regarding the fabric color, as a viewer I felt awkward watching—the kind of awkward you feel when you realize your zipper has been down and you can't recall for how long and how many people noticed. And ironically in turn I found myself feeling bad for Kate being totally caught off guard by Layana’s rant.

Patricia worked out a very tedious fabric textile and the potential it would have had with more time would be mind-blowing! However it still looked very much unfinished to me, but I do applaud her out-of-the-box design and I look forward to seeing what else she has in her design technique Rolodex!

Side note: I’ve said in seasons past, "Don’t always rely on an expensive fabric to do your design work."

In the case of Stanley and Richard this challenge, they both gravitated to the "over a 100 dollar a yard sequin fabrics" and with such over-styling on Stanley's end (I know it all too well!) and over-designing on Richard's end (and again, I know it all too well!), it really shows how difficult it is to find a balance with some over-the-top fabrics without relying too heavily on the fabric alone to make the design.

Joshua note: I LOVE a little glitz and glam! As well as anything that sparkles and shines!

I think Heidi and the gang made the right decision by choosing to go with Daniel's look for her press events, even though Daniel had originally designed for the campaign commercial. His dress was stunning and I loved the juxtaposition of the leather against the slinky jersey. So Heidi! So sexy!

Benjamin clearly missed the mark here and Kiera Knightley is now without a costume for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" reunion special. But what gives me faith is that he knows it himself and you could feel the devastation and pain he lived over the course of this challenge. Chin up doll!

In closing, we say goodbye to the lovely Cindy and we stand up and applaud her for following her dream of design. It indeed is "much harder than it looks on TV," but what is easy about it is that you get to discover more about your dream every day, and that my dear is a gift!

Well Kate, congratulations. Brad Pitt called—welcome to the "Fight Club!"