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Which Do You Want First?

By Antonia L. Thu., Sep. 22, 2011 ,11:20 am EDT

The Good News: The Challenge, the Music and the Band Members
I really liked this challenge. I thought it was original, but not in a cheesy for-the-first-time-in-“Project-Runway”-history kind of way. I also thought it was appropriate. Designers, usually working together with stylists, often help create and convey the image of the client they are working with.

 The team aspect of this challenge made sense and incurred none of the usual drama. It wasn't really a team challenge; it only required enough cooperation for each team to assign musicians to designers, but it was necessary. They could not have four outfits for one band member and none for another.

The band was great. They seemed to go along with the entire design process willingly and without the tiniest hint of divadom. I even liked their music. I could see them developing into an Allman Brothers kind of band, with their down-home, beer-drinking Southern rock. Most of all, they couldn't have been kinder or more tolerant about wearing bad, bad clothes.

The Bad News: The Designs
 Here we go again. I am running out of ways to say these designers are less than impressive. Week after week I sound like a broken record. I get that menswear is not most of these designers' usual thing, but come on, costume design isn't their usual thing either, and they seemed to carry that off quite well.

Across the board the '70s hippie-rock thing was taken literally. No nuance, subtlety or modernization of the theme, with the possible exception of Joshua's tacky exposed crotch zipper, a design move right up there with bubble hems — both recent trends that are overdue to be ushered out.

Even Viktor's faux-leather jacket and jeans, clearly the best outfit on the runway, featured no updated elements. Braided fringe and distressed jeans? Color me not surprised. Don't get me wrong — he totally deserved the win, but again only because it was acceptable work on a runway filled with crap, and fringed crap at that. I never heard a single one of the musicians utter the word “fringe.” How did we end up with so much? This is actually the third week in a row Viktor deserved to win

And speaking of crap, Laura's tie-dye technique made her musician look like he had been shot by a concertgoer gone postal because the beer line was too long. I can't even believe it was in the top.

 I liked Bert's pants, but again, they were completely retro, nothing modern about them at all, and the draped sweater he made to go with them was too feminine. I did like the tie-dye effect on the back, but something similar on the front might have made more sense. Just an idea.

Fan favorite Anya's Hiawatha tunic was hideous. It wasn't even fit for a high school performance of “Hair”; it was suited for a grade school performance. She gets a pass because it is the first all-out hideous thing she has sent out all season. Even worse was Kimberly's version of the tunic. Girlfriend is lucky the judges don't make decisions based on the outfit in front of them this season, but take the designer's entire body of work into account, because though I wasn't crazy about Olivier's foray into print and his WTF choice of toile, Kimberly's buttoned bowling shirt was hideous. It looked like a rejected Dunkin Donuts uniform.

At this point in the competition I am ready to declare that Viktor is my choice for the win, but he still needs to clarify his point of view. Skill and taste can get you far, but without a clear point of view, anyone can sneak up on you and snag the win.

Notable Quotables (because sometimes my commenters say it better than I)

“Who the heck is Malin Akerman…?”

“I'm sure [Laura] will have a long and happy career designing for the Real Housewives of Atlanta.”