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Season 9, Episode 2 Recap

By LifetimeLisaR Thu., Aug. 4, 2011 ,7:46 pm EDT

Anthony Ryan Episode 2Let's get this straight right from the start: Anthony's dress was not constructed of birdseed. It was constructed of muslin, which is a textile not purchased at the pet store, and embellished with birdseed. I'm not saying the end result wasn't spectacular, I'm just saying his holier-than-thou attitude and him being all "I didn't go for leashes or fabric like everybody else" makes me want to slap him until he is rocking none.

The Unconventional challenge is always my favorite challenge of the season. I love it when a designer's DNA shows through so clearly despite the use of wacky materials. These challenges push the designers out of their comfort zone and tend to separate the wheat from the chaff. The successful results tend to be some of the best work all season and certainly the most memorable (Austin's Season 1 Corn Husk dress, a "Project Runway" icon), and the unsuccessful ones are bad beyond comprehension. Either way, it makes great television.

Upon entering the pet store, Tim gave the designers the advice that the judges don't respond well to fabric. "You don't want your look to be a reconstructed dog bed." (Cut to Bert asking for help reaching a dog bed, the best editing moment of the episode.) I don't think this advice is exactly accurate. What the judges don't like is when you use a fabric with no manipulation. The perfect example was Bryce's straight-out-of-the-box wee-wee pads versus Viktor's dyed-and-manipulated-beyond-recognition wee-wee pads. But really, what they go for is a garment that doesn't look like it's made from crazy materials, whether the fabric came from a dog bed or not. Personally, I would much rather see a top made of dog bed fabric or a skirt made of reptile carrier fabric than a complete muslin garment hot-glued in aquarium decor.

We did learn a lot about the designers in this challenge. Bert was disappointing. I was thinking Mrs. Robinson but, Viktor described it as Shirley MacLaine playing the hooker, which was accurate too. It definitely had a sixties boudoir vibe in a really bad way. I am rooting for Bert — after all, 102-year-olds have to stick together — but if he is going to be this hit-or-miss, I will be forced to leave him for a younger man. Anya is turning out to be a one-note. Her entry was successful, but I need to see something other than a halter-top from her next week. Laura has questionable taste. Her cone skirt was assy, not classy. All those upper-class single-digit years in Neiman Marcus taught her nothing. I did like the texture of her do-over cardboard skirt, though. Julie is one to watch. She was passed by on the runway, but her manipulation of the dog food bags was impressive, and she seemed to understand how best to use the material she created. She does seem to be plagued by self-doubt, which doesn't suggest that she will fare well in the long run. Cecelia, Kimberly and Danielle, for the second week in a row, have sent out outfits that are mediocre at best. I don't see any of them sticking around for long.

The top two garments were fabulous. Both were modern and more than a little reminiscent of the late, great Alexander McQueen. In the Heidi vs. Nina showdown, I was with Nina and believed Olivier should take the win, but I had issues with Anthony's attitude this week. Heidi wanted to give the win to Anthony. In a Heidi/Nina knockout — and we have seen these before (last season Heidi wanted Mondo to win, but Nina held out to give it to Gretchen) — Heidi always eventually gives in to Nina.

While I agree with the judges' top two garments and the dilemma that ensued, I disagreed with some of their other choices to be left standing on the runway. Standoff. I don't think Joshua's aquarium gravel garment deserved to be in the top. While his skirt was palatable, there was nothing tasteful about that top. It came right out of a Cyndi Lauper '80s video with no modern update. I also hate his overwrought shoes. I would have instead chosen Viktor's fitted ruched dress. I may be an autumn on the Color Me Beautiful wheel, but I didn't think Fallene's garment was so horrible. The silhouette was simple, but that was hardly the biggest crime on the runway; the top two silhouettes were simple too. I didn't find the color to be so offensive and I certainly didn't associate it with candy-corn teeth.

To me the worst offenders were Bryce and Josh C., and in my mind Bryce was the loser with his grade-school craft project. But alas, he stays. On to the next challenge.