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The official site for "Project Runway" Season 13 offers video, designer portfolios, Rate the Runway, blogs and more.

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Mila Hermanovski Blog

Season 13, Episode 4: Royale With Cheese

By laurareineke Mon., Aug. 11, 2014 ,12:30 pm EDT

OK, so for those of us who don’t really have a clue about the "Project Runway" Season 13 sponsor, this episode will enlighten us! You see, this is what they pay for. Apparently Red Robin is the “Home of the Gourmet Burger!” Tim says excitedly. The designers gather 'round to get the spiel from the Red Robin’s “President of Brand Transformation," a small man in a rather cheesy suit and tie. I can just see him now, planning his outfit: “I’m going to be on 'Project Runway,' so I need to be SUPER fashionable." A cacophony of men emerge in colorful, ill-fitting suits, some from the 1970s and some formal wear, which the designers find out will (along with a side of fries) serve as their inspiration AND their main fabric. They are to use as much of the suit fabric as possible to create a high-fashion look. The producers decide that Sandhya, the poor bullied girl who has no friends, will get her revenge by choosing a suit for each of her competitors. Of course the storyline of the rivalry between her and Hernan is amplified now, as he is convinced she selected the worst possible suit for him. Sabotage!

There certainly are some hideous suits there. I know now why they were all ill-fitting: because the producers tried to buy suits in larger sizes so the designers would have more fabric to work with. Honestly I don’t think Hernan got the worst suit; Sean did. Come on: Dijon-colored corduroy? What woman even wears corduroy anymore, and how the heck do you make it look high fashion?! Of course Sandhya chooses the most colorful one which is yellow and purple. Amanda is kvetching over her pink floral damask; Mitchell hates his denim leisure suit. I still don’t understand what any of this has to do with burgers.

The designers supplement their vintage polyesters with materials from Mood. I do think this is kind of a fun challenge, but I also think it sucks for the designers that in the first four episodes, they’ve been forced to use either materials which are not of their choosing, or “non-fabric” materials for all but one challenge. Tim visits the workroom and Amanda is going all krazy kwilt on us. I’m kind of scared of the crafty-patchwork direction. Kini, on the other hand, is apparently the speed sewer this season, and has already whipped up a very sharp-looking dress; Tim is impressed, but Alexander thinks his designs are bland and “understated." I’d hardly call that dress understated. Mitchell has taste issues again; it seems that in every challenge he only does slutty club dresses and talks crap about everyone else’s designs. Poor Sean is really struggling with his Dijon corduroy and attempts a deconstructed look by making a textile using the suit fabric and others which he bought at Mood, all in a similar palette; it’s not working and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of saving it. Hernan is also completely tanking. He blames Sandhya for giving him an awful suit, then becomes indignant about the whole thing and just wants to throw in the towel. We can see this train is headed to derailment as he cuts the dress and has no time to hem it. Ouch. There is nothing quite like the feeling on the morning of the runway when your heart is racing because you seem to have an impossible amount of work to do, and know you may not even finish. Then, when Tim gives his 10-minute warning, you have to think very quickly about what you can let go and what you can realistically do in such a short amount of time. Typically the judges are pretty unforgiving for a raw-edged hem.

Korina: Her red-and-black motorcycle jacket and skirt looks cheap. All I could think of was some JC Penney misses’ department ensemble which was supposed to be for the matronly customer who’s having a rebellious moment. It looked dated and the opposite of what a “high fashion” outfit should be.

Char: Ditto from last week. Everything she makes is starting to look the same to me. It’s fine, but there's nothing ground-breaking or particularly distinct about her POV.

Fade: Much better this week. His design had wonderful texture combinations and a great silhouette. It looked very Parisian.

Samantha: Not blown away, but it was an interesting LBD. I thought it would have been much more chic had the length been longer.

Hernan: What a disaster. Nina was being kind when she said the back looked perfect; certainly nothing about it looked perfect. Why oh why would he choose to add vinyl to the design? I’m all for a chevron, but not a gigantic “V” in the front of the skirt. There are just so many things wrong with this dress. Seems Sandhya’s voodoo worked and Hernan dug his own grave! Sadly, he seemed to know his auf was coming.

Alexander: I hate to say it after my reaction to last week’s judging, but I am glad he was spared because this design was really great. Not only did it look high fashion, but Alexander styled his model so well that she really looked like a little starlet on the red carpet or even at a Paris fashion week party. He did a great job and let’s hope we see more like this from him.

Mitchell: Where do I begin? Cheap, tacky, costumey, ill-fitting. Since when does vinyl equate with high fashion? I always wondered what the judges do when the low scores are tied between two or more designers, meaning they must decide who goes on the chopping block and who slides through to safety. Consult with the producers is my guess. I was imagining his score could have been just as low as Kristine’s perhaps, but because of the motorcycle jacket story line, and the fact that Mitchell talks crap about everyone, he slid through. Just a possible theory.

Sean: We all knew watching the episode that it would be very very difficult for Sean to make something good out of his “deconstructed” mustard creation. He was on the right track to break up the corduroy so it wasn’t distinguishable, but I think one fatal error (which he knew was a risk) was using the fraying/reverse side of the textile he created. I wouldn’t say the other side was “boring” -- he could have made a more interesting design, or a long dramatic gown which perhaps would have at least landed him into safety. He should have stuck with the entire outfit being made out of the same textile, rather than making an icky power mesh crop top. Come on, Sean, we know you can do better!

Kristine: Kristine got a suit made out of fabric that was also potentially difficult to work with: velour. When I saw her moto jacket in the workroom versus Korina’s, there was no question that hers looked better than Korina’s; however, Kristine spent so much time on the jacket that she was scrambling to make a pant for the outfit, and in doing so realized she did not have enough fabric, so she made a rushed, bad decision to add black organza to the pant legs in order to make them full length. I would have simply made them bermuda length or cropped pants if possible. She may have been able to get away with that and some cool styling. But those pants were very scary. The bad critique shook her up but at least she made it to the next round, because she has some great potential!

Amanda: Sorry, but I didn’t like the design unfolding in the workroom and I didn’t like it on the runway. To me it looked like some kooky thing you’d find in a thrift store that was hand-made by a hippie in a band. My first thought was Stevie Nicks, and then the model was totally doing the “Stevie twirls" during the deliberations! Tim called it when he said the fringe would be her saving grace. Sure, Amanda took polyester suit fabric and transformed it so you’d have never known its origin, but does that make it a winning design? Not in my book. I mean would you really think someone looked chic wearing that dress on the red carpet? Or would you be more impressed by Kini’s design? I stand firmly in betting that Amanda’s dress would make it onto US Weekly’s worst-dressed page. I’d like to know what Nina REALLY thinks about it.

Kini: Kini is making statements with his work. I am starting to see his POV as a designer, and that is what you want on "Project Runway." He did a fantastic job this week with the challenge. His look was strong, sexy, and had just enough detail. He was very clever to use neoprene as an accent, which added an edge and sculpted element. Now, you must admit that it is much easier to make grey pinstripes look chic as opposed to mustard corduroy or pink damask. But in the end it was a bit of “luck of the draw” (OR, whatever fate Sandhya has for you), with design and construction prowess. Undoubtedly Kini “made it work” and produced a very well-constructed, red-carpet-ready design which looked expensive. He was completely robbed of the win this week.

Sandhya: Another look from her which was undoubtedly original. However there were way too many elements going on and it needed editing. Even Tim seemed skeptical of her mustache stencil, which was too gimmicky. There is no denying there were some interesting elements to the look, and it was a creative and fun showing on the runway. For me though, personally, it went a bit too far, a la Jeremy Scott (whose designs I’m not a fan of), and ended up looking too much like student work.

Emily: Fantastic job again. Emily really understands what it is that trend-driven girls like to wear. This was a clever use of the plaid jacket. I love that she made cropped pants out of it as well. The look had great proportions and details and reminded me of Gwen Stefani’s “L.A.M.B.” line. If I had been a judge I’d have given this look a higher score than Amanda’s.

Now, who’s inspired to go try one of Red Robin’s 24 burgers? Do any of you know where I got the title of my blog this week? Something about a leisure suit and a cheeseburger made me think of this film...