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Iridescent Surprise!

By kim_messina Fri., Feb. 8, 2013 ,4:46 am EST

This episode should have been sponsored by Kleenex and Klonopin. Seriously. Every other contestant on both the Dream Team and Team Keeping It Real was either crying or freaking out to the camera describing the need for validation or a gold star for "making it." Only three challenges in (about a week in real-time filming) and yep, it’s Stress Nation up in "Project Runway" Land. Why are these kids so stressed? Because it’s a "Heidi Klum Challenge" of course!

Four Time's a Charm
For the fourth time in 11 seasons, it’s "Heidi Time"...again! In Season 7, the designers had to create a red carpet look for Miss Klum; Season 8 was when the contestants had to create designs for Heidi’s New Balance active wear line; last season (10) had the designers creating outfits for Heidi’s Babies"R"Us line of children's wear.

Smells Like a Gorgeous German Model
As the designers stand in front of pink boxes wrapped in black ribbon and spice-and-fruit baskets, Tim announces that, it's time for another Heidi Klum Challenge. She is launching a new fragrance, entitled "Surprise" and needs outfits to wear for the launch campaign. The challenge for each team is to create six looks for her and she will pick two winning outfits-one for the commercial and one for the launch press event.

Client Heidi
Heidi specifies that they should follow the colors of the packaging (pink, black and gold) and the designs should mix femininity with something "hard." It should look good from all angles and be sexy NOT slutty. Sounds easy enough (Well, at least for me). Give me an actress, singer and I know what styles from my collection would work best for them. In terms of Heidi, I’ve been lucky enough to have had her wear not one but two of my designs—in an appearance on the Conan O’Brien show and on Season 7 "Project Runway" while she was preggers—so it was interesting to see what these designers were going to come up with.

Let the Kitten Sweaters Go
Consulting, sketching, Mood shopping and divvying up of duties follow. As it’s become the norm now, some designers take entire outfits individually and some work in twos. I was a bit frightened for Team Keeping It Real's Amanda and Joe since her design aesthetic is more structured while his consists of sweaters with kittens. When questioned on his design direction and warned that it may end up on "What Not To Wear," he said he’d be proud of that. I almost wanted to slap his glasses off his face and yell, "Well darling, THIS IS NOT THAT Challenge!" Luckily, he came to his senses and realized that this was the time to let go of his "Kitten Sweater Designer Ego."

Brazilian Doubts, Matthew Boring and Aussie Crashing
Layana and her partner Kate seem to be going back and forth on the direction and color scheme of their design. Layana decides to use her quiet voice loudly and emotionally admits her discomfort with their design in front of Tim Gunn. Matthew, who told Tim back at Mood that he’s not a "dressmaker" (Umm, time to be one huney!), is also stressed because he sees his fetish-inspired design as boring. Patricia is coming to terms that her original, but time consuming, leather design might make her have an unfinished dress when it's runway time. Aussie Ben is having emotional and design breakdowns, or as Momma Cindy said, "Crashing and burning." He tearfully admits to camera that he had just ended an abusive relationship and was emotionally drained. Here's some too late advice Benny darlin': this may not have been the best time to do an UBER-stressful COMPETITIVE REALITY SHOW!

Team Keeping It Real: Red Carpet Fab, Vegas Girls...and Pooping Ruffles
Many Kleenexes—and anti-anxiety pill-popping later—it's runway show time. Guest judge actress Kristin Davis is ready to help decide what Heidi will wear for her "Surprise" commercial and press launch. Team Keeping It Real was up first. Daniel's nude jersey gown is a stunner, very red carpet-ready and well-done. There were some wonky-looking front and back mini-pleats I didn’t understand, but overall: Heidi fab. Patricia's was very flapper girl Prada-on-a-budget and I could see Heidi wearing it. She is known to do "kooky." Amanda and Joe’s black lattice-work dress was OK, but had no "PR launch" appeal whatsoever. Good for a cute girl going out to a Vegas nightclub. Richard's pooping ruffle dress was a HOT MESS. What was he thinking? Stanley’s was over-accessorized and looked like something Carol Burnett might have worn in the 80s. Those two were the bad (design) apples in an otherwise good team.

Dream Team: Hot gowns, Bunny Dominatrix and Iridescent 1992 Shantung
Dream Team was next. Michelle's short tunic dress with studded detail was cute enough for a New Year’s Eve house party, but not for a Heidi Klum fragrance ad campaign. Come on designers, do you understand the challenge? Tu did a directional black gown with a gold exposed back zipper; now that’s better. Samantha's black and illusion gown with a structured shoulder was HOT and very Stephane Rolland-esque. I likey. Matthew's too-short leather mini dress was bad Hoochie Dominatrix Playboy Bunny. Again, do you know who your client is? Cindy did an iridescent shantung (looked like taffeta to me, which doesn't make it any better) dress with a keyhole front neckline. The dress was average at best, but there was certainly nothing fashion forward about it. Oh, and then there was that fabric. Iridescent shantung. Those two words scream 1992. Finally, there was "I Need a Klonopin Benjamin." His mess of a gown was inexcusable. It seems his gown broke down around the same time he did. Benjamin is better than that. I just know it.

Three For Three
Team Keeping It Real got the highest votes and won. For the third time in a row. Pink-hatin' Layana and her team mate Kate won for their gown, with Kate getting the top individual prize. Daniel won the press event prize for his nude jersey and black leather trimmed "Bond Girl" gown. He, of course, got all emotional with a "I've worked so hard, and deserve this" validation interview. While it was heartfelt, it almost seemed slightly angry and bitter as well. Maybe it was just me...

Shipwrecked and Iridescent Adieu
The worst were Benjamin (quelle surprise!) with a dress that Nina deemed as "probably the worst construction" in "Project Runway" history. Didn't she say that about Emily's dress two challenges ago? Boy, this season's worst must be really bad. Nina also added that she thought Benjamin's model looked shipwrecked. Ouch. But it was Cindy who went home for her iridescent shantung non-creative dress. I am not sure what happened here. Maybe the judges—and especially Heidi—thought that while Ben's design was crude and tragic, it wasn't dated. Cindy's was finished, but it might have been about a decade behind in its styling and fabrication-choice. Now, the only question I have is will we actually see Kate and Daniel's Dresses on Heidi? Stay tuned.