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Fleur de Hardware

By kim_messina Fri., Feb. 15, 2013 ,4:41 am EST

Dear Future "Project Runway" Contestants
It is imperative that you watch previous seasons—yes ALL THE WAY BACK to the beginning—before you even think about going on "Project Runway." If so, one particular designer this season would not have made the mistake she did on this week’s challenge-which incidentally, almost caused her to get the big ol' Auf. It seems to be chic to say that you’ve never EVER watched previous seasons of the show before. How do I know this? Because I hear it ALL the time from contestants as well as EVERY year during the castings. But, as everybody knows "Project Runway" is a competition that requires the knowledge of its history, as well as the obvious skills to do well in it. You would do yourself a disservice by ignoring the former. And if Amanda had done her "Project Runway" history homework, she might have remembered that my dear fellow Season 2 contestant, Andrae Gonzalo, was eliminated for making a dress out of (drum roll) GREEN MOSS, the same plant she chose. And so it goes…

Flowers Are Back
Fans and viewers of "Project Runway" LOVE the Unconventional Challenge. It’s one of the most popular challenges. But for me it was torture. For my Season 2 Unconventional Challenge, we had to make dresses out of flowers. I stood for about five hours in the workroom just spraying water on them because I had NO IDEA what I was going to do. I also kept thinking, "How does this prove to the judges that a designer is worthy of showing at NY Fashion Week?" In my opinion, it doesn’t. It took nine seasons to bring the flowers back and this time it was with a twist. The results were surprisingly whimsical as well as stylishly sublime. For this season of designers there were few mental road blocks and it ended up being one of the best runway shows in PR history.

Smells Like Another Sponsor Tie-In
Team Keeping It Real and Dream Team gather at their workroom to find Tim overlooking many fragranced candles. Another fragranced-themed challenge, I thought? As if reading my mind, Gunn quickly explains that these were Glade 2-in-1 candles and they were there because this was the Glade 2-in-1 Unconventional Challenge. First, he says that the teams will make something using flowers, but that’s not all. Heidi walks in to announce the "2" of the 2-in-1: they will also be using hardware. Each team is to create a cohesive line of 6 looks which will have to include both hard (hardware) and soft (flowers) elements.

Almost Even Teams
Coming off last week’s "Heidi Klum Challenge," Team Keeping It Real is still celebrating its winning streak and Dream Team is feeling defeated, and then there’s the issue of team number inequality. Tim’s gonna fix that: he tells the five-member Dream Team that they can choose two designers from the other team. They chose a boy and a girl (how gender diplomatic!), Stanley and Layana. Then, Tim tells Team Keeping It Real that they are to chose a designer from Dream Team. They pick Michelle which does not make her happy.

Bigger Budget Envy
Both teams head to a hardware store and then to the flower mart to get their supplies with a whopping budget of $2,500. Side note: have the budgets for these designers gotten bigger and bigger as the seasons have progressed? I had $100 to make my "Flower Power" dress in Season 2 and these kids got approximately $400 EACH!

A Gay Disaster Bunker
After buying all the leaves, calla lilies, chicken wire, buckets, blinds and hot glue needed to make a Gay Bunker To Protect Yourself from a Nuclear Disaster…the teams are back in the workroom for two days of creating. Team Keeping It Real is soon realizing they have no cohesion with their designs and when Tim Gunn makes his visit on Day 2, he tells them so. Keeping It Real’s Michelle uses her loud voice once again and decides their theme should be "Decades of Fashion." Amanda is making a dress out of green moss and it’s falling apart and not looking cute. Her teammates help by offering advice. On Dream Team, Stanley takes the lead and suggests they create looks based on Dior. They’re looking pretty good. Could this be their time to finally win a challenge?

Woo Hoo It’s Bette Midler!
Day of the runway show and Bette Midler is welcomed as the Next Coming of Christ (I would have been excited too!). A fashion blogger is there as well as judges Heidi, Nina and Zac. Both teams did exceptional work and both received "job well done" nods from all the judges (With all that money they had, they should’ve!). Of the two teams, however, Dream Team was the best for the first time this season and for that: congrats!

Dream Team: My Two Cents
Matthew created a nicely done halter dress using mops for the top and yellow moss for the skirt section. Benjamin hand-loomed his own fabric using strings and made a one-shoulder asymmetrical top and did a flared skirt of flowers. Stanley created a very sophisticated dress using white roses and green leaves. His was one of my favorites. Tu’s was another of my favorites. He used rope and calla lilies, making a vest, an original necklace and a wonderful skirt. The judges sort of skipped over him and how great his ensemble was. Not sure why. Layana made a caged dress out of hydrangeas, wire and string. Hers could have easily been on a Paris Couture runway. Very new Dior meets Valentino. It was finished and flawlessly elegant. But it was Samantha who got the win with her contact paper, mesh and green leaves dress. The leaves were "trapped" within a wire mesh pencil and peplum’ed skirt and the judges agreed that it looked fragile, delicate yet so fashion week ready. But I still would have voted for Layana as the Winner.

Team Keeping It Real: My Two Cents
Team Keeping It Real received the "Almost Winning Team" title this week, coming in second. Daniel’s metal mesh net, PVC pipe, lamb’s ear flower dress was UBER chic and reminiscent of recent Giambattista Valli Haute Couture, especially with that full front peplum. Once again, it was referential, but still fab. I also loved the model’s hair. That hairstyle should get a special award from L’Oreal Paris. Richard and Michelle made a caged Gaultier-like dress using blinds, leaves and flowers. I loved how the flowers and leaves hid in between the blinds. Patricia made a that was verging on a stylish Miss Papua New Guinea. Kate’s was a well executed tea-length gown of calla lilies and carnations. It looked expensive and appropriate for Le Crillon Debutante Ball. Good job kids!

The Flower and Hardware Bombs: Mumsie Joe and Moss Shift Amanda
There were two underwhelming designs in Dream Team, however, which brought them down: "Cat Sweater" for his design. It was mumsie with wrong proportions and an unflattering style. He should have gone over-the-top volume (as judge Zac Posen suggested) or at least balanced the fullness up top with slimness at the bottom. It was one of the worst…in an otherwise good bunch. Now, onto Amanda: her green moss with cotter pins shift dress was also at the bottom (See: Andrae Season 2). After so much struggling in the workroom, her final dress wasn’t half bad. Her team, however really threw her under the "Project Runway" bus when Heidi asked them who they thought should be eliminated. Interesting that in this Team situation, they all agreed. It was a very "Survivor" reality show mentality. But in the end, it was Joe’s time to go. And I agreed completely with that decision.

But wait…
As the episode is ending, Tim walks in and announces to the teams that "it’s not over" and Heidi had some news…I wonder what this could be? An extra green moss challenge? Andrae Gonzalo from Season 2 was outside waiting to de-moss-ify all the designs? Heidi was being attacked by kittens revolting against her decision to Auf Joe? What could it be? Stay tuned… Until then, make sure to rent all the previous seasons of the show and do your "Project Runway" history homework, kids!