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06
THU

Project "I Don't Care How She Gets Into It"

Posted By LisaRaphael 5:09pm GMT

Anthony Ryan and his Hippy Dippy Navajo-print Girls are gone. Sigh. I fantasize that they're probably enrolling in a Women's Studies Program in New Mexico — with their mohawk'ed "Best Gay." For now, six designers are left. Now what? Here's a sampling: Birds, birds, and more birds, plus a head-to-head challenge with A LOT of twists and a $20,000 prize! There are glue-gun meltdowns and the infamous Project Seamstress or Project "Make It Work" Dilemma. It's enough to drive a boy to ... write a recap.

$20,000, Sweetie Darling
We begin with our fourth Advertorial Challenge (but who's counting!). This one is different. For starters, it's L'Oréal. Second, there are birds waiting for the designers back at Parsons as their next challenge is announced: they must create a high-fashion runway look inspired by a cockatoo, a parrot, a raven and (if you look closely …) an owl! The six designers are split into teams of two and given their Bird Inspiration. Anya and Laura get the raven, Joshua and Bert get "Sweetie" (how ironic) the parrot, and Viktor and Kimberly get the cockatoo. The owl gets left behind, unfortunately. Finally, what makes this challenge really different? The prize (besides the Marie Claire/L'Oréal advertorial): a $20,000 check. Shut. The. Front. Door.

Head to Runway Head
Twist No. 1: Instead of competing against the other teams, they are competing HEAD TO HEAD — against each other. As original as this "Head to Head" component was, I was a bit questionable of the idea: What if both members of a team were equally FABULOUS? What then? Moving on …

Twist No. 2: After the designers have been working for a full day, Tim walks in to announce that they are to create a SECOND look as well, and they are given $300! "Project Runway" has definitely upped the budget! I remember having $30 to make a flower dress!

Kimberly and Tim Gunn hug in the workroomThe Unraveling of Kim
Day 2, and stress is in the air. Joshua hates his first creation (with good reason — it looks like a pleated nightgown for a woman who pops a lot of pills!). He asks Anya if he can borrow fabric. She disregards him, acting as if he's speaking in tongues. Kimberly begins unraveling emotionally. She's having issues: She sews through her finger, and her fabric gets stained. Oh, and a glue gun melts a hole in her dress. Not a good Kimberly Day. Bathroom crying ensues. Anya and Laura console her, as well as Tim, who gives her a "Poppa Gunn" hug.

Girl, I Feel For You ...
I unraveled and almost threw in the Frette towel back in my season. It's a result of the abnormal and surreal work environment and pressures of the competition, so I get it, Kimberly. In my case, I had my own Anya and Laura in the form of my fellow designer (Daniel Vosovic) who pulled me aside and read me the "You've Lasted This Long ... Don't Give Up" Riot Act. I snapped back. So did Kimberly. She decides to make a new dress with only THREE hours remaining in the day. As Tim is about to lock the workroom doors, he announces Twist No. 3: Only one look will go down the runway. Stress relieved.

Project I-Don't-Care-How-She-Gets-Into-It
Runway Day, and Anya is struggling to get her model into her dress, after inexplicably forgetting to put an opening/closure. She seam-rips it open and sews it back (or glue-guns it, who knows?) Well, that little detail of construction ignorance did not sit well with Viktor and Joshua, the "Sewing & Construction Stepsisters."

Anya on the runway Here's the deal: I know it's frustrating when you see and know how some of your fellow designers can barely construct a garment but then are able to "Make It Work" come runway time. We all must come to realize that the judges don't care how the model gets into the outfit and arrives on the runway. They turn a blind eye to sloppy hand-sewing and glue guns. Yes, they praise good construction and sewing, but they praise design, presentation, good taste level and the "It Factor" more. There is NOTHING in the "Project Runway" Rulebook that says that it needs to be made so well that it can be sold in a store and worn by an actual non-model in an everyday situation THAT NIGHT. Is it fair? No. But again, as Ms. Kors has repeated several times this season, "It's NOT Project Seamstress, it's Project RUNWAY."

Miss Elie Saab 2011 or Miss Anya
Speaking of The Runway, Francisco Costa, Women's Wear Creative Director for Calvin Klein, is the guest judge for this challenge. Kimberly, Joshua and Anya are deemed the best. Kimberly's "3-Hour Gown" was very Elie Saab and yes, a little pageant-y, as Nina Garcia said. The construction was wonky (what were those unintentional mini-pleats in the waist?), but overall, it was an elegant and sensual representation of her bird. Joshua did a one-shoulder side-cowl draped orange cocktail number that wasn't Bedazzled or tacky-licious. Also — interestingly enough — it was VERY "Sophisticated '70s." Why didn't he do THAT dress in the previous challenge? Anya's edgy, black, high-necked, shoulder-capped dress was exceptional (minus the "How Does She Get Into It" factor). It was my favorite, in fact, reminding me a lot of the dresses Karl Lagerfeld just showed in his Chanel Spring 2012 Collection in Paris. She wins, much to the dismay of her "Construction Stepsisters."

Shredded vs. Un-Joyous
Viktor's shredded gown was not a favorite and was labeled too literal by the judges. For me, a bigger problem is why he didn't line the entire floor-length skirt? I know the whole transparency thing is "In," but there's a difference between when Frida Giannini of Gucci did it (Fall/Winter 2011) and when Viktor attempted it. Laura's too-tight skinny pants and bird-feather-like-neckline jacket was not High Fashion Runway. But poor Bert; his strapless faux-python-skin bustier with matching belt and multi-layered-skirt gown with a center front slit was oh-so-boring, not joyous and, more importantly — as the judges (again) correctly stated — not NEW or INTERESTING. It also looked like a Pageant Gown that a Miss Cayman Islands would wear — in 1998! And when Bert got the boot, even he concurred that "You (the judges) made the right choice." Yep, they finally did.

29
THU

The Unsophisticated '70s

Posted By LifetimeLisaR 3:34pm GMT

Hello, Blog Readers! Can you believe we've made it this far? (Don't answer that! It's a rhetorical question!) I LOVE reading everyone's comments, because they are always enlightening, thoughtful and make me feel at least somewhat "sane" when I get some people agreeing with me. I've discussed Joshua M. being a Mean Girl, and you agreed. I've also talked about Madonna — I mean Olivier — and my distaste for his "I Hate Fat People" comments. And, yes, y'all agreed. So, let's see if you agree with me on this week's analysis … Let's begin this week's Recap:

The designers during the Piperlime challengeLast Week Was NOT a '70s Challenge!
We are now down to seven designers, and Heidi tells them that they will have to "look to the past" for inspiration. First thing I thought was, "Oh, Ol' Man Bert should do well!" Cut to the Parsons workroom. They meet up with Tim Gunn and Heather Archibald of Piperlime, who tells them that they are to create a look inspired by the "Sophisticated '70s," and that the winning look will go into production and be sold on Piperlime.com. Instantly, the designers scoff, saying, "Well, the last challenge was '70s and that didn't go so well ..." Oh, sit down, kids. Poppa Nick needs to discuss something. Here's a news flash: Last week's challenge WAS NOT '70s! See, that was their problem. The Challenge was actually to Design a Look for a Rock Band. That shows you how much these designers didn't "get it." And by their comments in last night's episode, they still don't.

Bring a Purse to Mood, Ladies
They all go to Mood and Miss Anya loses her money (A very "Amazing Race" lose-your-passport moment!) and is generously given $11.50 by Anthony Ryan to buy one piece of fabric. If ever there was a Make It Work moment, it is now. There have been many "limited budget" "Project Runway" Challenges in the past, but never one in which one contestant had $11 and the rest had $100. If Anya hadn't already secured her role as Fan (and Judges') Favorite before, she sure has now!

They're Not Your Friends
Later, Tim informs the designers that they have to create a second look with an additional $50. They will have the same two days to complete both looks which should be no problem, right?! Not for these designers. In addition, the girls — the REAL girls, Anya, Laura and Kimberly — have made some sort of a "pact" that if one of them was doing something "Style Questionable," they would inform each other. Are you kidding me? Are we in high school? It's a COMPETITION. None of these people are your friends. Friends are what you have for, say, FIVE YEARS, not people you met THREE WEEKS ago. Viktor finally turns on his inner Sassy Chola Girl and enlightens the ladies on how SILLY this "Girls' Pact" is. Gracias, Viktor.

Two Days and Two Outfits
Let's get to the Fashion. Two days later, it's Runway Day, and some of the designers — Anya and Kimberly in particular — are barely finished. Seriously? Two days. These designers should not have a problem making one outfit per day. The only person who should have been struggling would be Viktor, with his tailored pantsuit, and he sailed through the challenge effortlessly. Nevertheless, Headmaster Gunn reins it all in and declares "Time's up," and somehow, they make it work. Guest Judge is socialite and red-carpet and fashion-show-front-row favorite Olivia Palermo. I didn't realize she also had a new position as well: Guest Editor for Piperlime.com. Interesante.

Anya's looks for the Piperlime challenge'70s Classy, NOT Trashy
The runway looks come out and instantly — in my eyes — Viktor's seems to be the most polished. He did two great looks, while most of the other designers missed the mark on one or BOTH. Bert's printed-chiffon one-shoulder tunic with black hot pants was OK but was verging on a "1982 Prostitute at 3 am." His second dress — which won the chance to be sold on Piperlime.com — was not that good. The hem was (unintentionally) pointed at the sides and, frankly, looked too "basic" even for It-Has-to-Sell-to-All-of-America Production. When Anya's jumper came out, I just knew she would be the winner. It had the print and silhouette that would be very Web-friendly and was chic enough that you could imagine it being worn to a posh resort in the Caribbean.

Just Because You Were Born in 1985 ...
At the bottom were Anthony Ryan and Joshua. Joshua's pieces were, as the judges said, schizophrenic. The plaid pants made the size 2 model look HUGE, and the mixing of prints was tasteless. It was over-the-top, and there was NOTHING sophisticated or '70s about it. While the judges were deliberating, "Mean Girl Joshua" reared his ugly head and got in a cat fight with Viktor when he tried to give excuses on how he didn't know what the '70s were since he was born in the '80s. Viktor got his Chola Girl out again and called him on it. Listen, I do A LOT of 1930s/1940s-inspired gowns for my NIKOLAKI Collection and I wasn't born until … (never mind!), but I have done my research and KNOW my fashion history. Joshua should too. No excuses.

Tasteless and Mean, or Boring and Nice?
In the end, it was NOT Joshua who went home, but Fan Favorite Anthony Ryan and his depressing Granola-Crunch Hippie-Dippie girls. While Joshua's were over-the-top bad fashion, Anthony Ryan's were boring and not-so-cute clothes made for Cult Girls who've drunk the "Ugly Fashion" Kool-Aid. So, I ask you: Is the final lesson that over-the-top, tasteless designs and being a b**** always win over Boring and Nice? Take those lessons and "talk amongst yourselves."

21
WED

Bears, Sheep Dogs and Woodstock Hippies

Posted By Antonia L. 12:50pm GMT

The episode begins, and once again, within 30 seconds, there are two ominous hints at what’s to come: Anya’s can’t-sew issues and Olivier’s time-management problems are both quickly revisited. Unless the editors are trying to throw me for a loop, I just have a feeling one of these two is going home. And I just KNOW it isn’t Anya — those judges have drunk the Anya Kool-Aid, and they’re not sending her back to Trinidad and Tobago, that’s for sure! Oh and yes, Olivier still hates fat people …

 Musique C’est Chic
Let’s begin. Last week, the designers thought that they were designing for men — when they saw nine guys walk onto the runway — and they weren’t happy. But as “‘Project Runway’ luck” would have it, they had to create looks for the men’s respective girlfriends/wives. Whew! That was a close one. Well, kids, don’t do the “happy dance” just yet. This week, the designers head out to Rockwood Music Hall, where they meet up with Monsieur Gunn and Peter Butler, Consulting Stylist for Garnier. There, Tim tells the designers that fashion and music are forever linked, adding, “Think The Beatles and,” um, “Lady Gaga.” (I know that took A LOT out of Tim to even mouth —the Lady Gaga part, that is).

The Dogs Get Groomed
It turns out that Garnier and Rolling Stone magazine have partnered to showcase a new band, The Sheep Dogs. Here’s the first catch: The “Project Runway” contestants would be responsible for creating the band’s fashion image, and the winning look would be worn by a band member at an event as well as be featured in a Marie Claire/Garnier advertorial. Here’s the second (more important) catch: They’re ALL men! Yes, kids, this is THE Menswear Challenge, officially. Third catch: They must work in teams ... again.

I Don’t Do Men
After a brief “Oh no, not teams again!” scuffle, the designers are told to make sure each band member looks like they belong with the band ... but they will be judged individually. Predictably, MOST of the designers have never done menswear, do not want to do menswear, and don’t know how to do menswear. Hello, why do you think the producers picked this Challenge?

A “Massive” Schooling, From Uncle Nicky
Team Harmony and Team Untitled are set up, and they “choose” their band members. Madonna, I mean Olivier, gets lead singer Ewan, who happens to be 6’3” and not a Man-o-rexic/no-carb-eating/Twinkie male-model size. In other words: A real MAN. Naturally, Olivier begins with the “I Hate Fatties” talk, complaining that he “got the biggest guy,” saying, “He’s MASSIVE” and “I never thought of designing for PLUS-SIZE people.” Back in the workroom, he continues his kvetching, now saying that there are no FAT MALE body forms for him to use. What a crock. First of all: Pad the form! Use fabric, muslin, shoulder pads. What an amateur! (Sorry, I am using my “Nick Loud Voice.”) Also, I don’t know what body-dysmorphic planet Olivier is living on, but his client AIN’T fat — maybe “thick,” but certainly not fat. And in fact, in some gay circles, he’d actually be considered kinda hot.

 Runway Rock Idol
It’s Runway Day with 30 minutes left and Olivier is having time-management issues (quelle surprise) and is leaving his client in his skivvies waiting for his outfit to be finished. Somehow, he makes it work (double-stick tape and pins, I guess). For the first time in “Project Runway” history, the fashion show will be in the form of a concert. Kors, Garcia and La Klum are on hand, as well as Lady Gaga!! Just kidding … it was singer Adam Lambert. The Sheep Dogs perform in their Team Harmony and Team Untitled looks. And honestly, even though the band members did say they liked a ’70s Boho vibe, BOTH teams’ looks were more reminiscent of cheap Jimi Hendrix mockumentary costumes. Kors must have been salivating, barely able to restrain himself from spewing out a cacophony of one-liners.

Our Buddies Back Home Are Going to Give Us (Blank)
As the teams are brought onstage to face the judges — with the band members standing beside each designer — I can’t help but notice the facial expressions of The Sheep Dogs. I so wish there were “pop-up” bubbles, because they would saying, “What the he** did we get ourselves into?” “This just might be the biggest mistake of our young careers!” and “Our buddies back home are going to give us s***!” But moving on, first up was Team Harmony. The judges all agreed that their creations were too literal and bad Woodstock-y. They liked “Old Man” Bert’s just for the plain fact that it didn’t look like a cheap costume from a bargain store in Omaha. Anya’s was a mess evoking the spirit of a bad Brady Bunch hippie costume. She even confessed that it was horrible. And wouldn’t you know it: She really can’t sew; her client’s jeans were splitting in the back. And I bet she makes it to the finals ...

Bye, Madonna
Team Untitled is next, and the judges love “I’m Not a Mean Girl Anymore” Josh’s cream bell-bottom pants look (what was up with all the cream pants?!) and think it’s “hip and sexy.” I wasn’t a fan of the contrast pockets and those flared legs, to be honest. They also liked Viktor’s fringed-and-braided pleather jacket, Western shirt and distressed jeans. I think that this one was the best — if only for that jacket alone. Viktor wins. In the bottom were Kimberly and, yes, Miss Olivier. Olivier did a too-cropped bedspread-print shirt and GREIGE pants for his BEAR of a client. On the positive side: It wasn’t a bad Jimi Hendrix costume. On the negative side: It was BORING, ill-fitting and not even FINISHED! Remember what I said at the start of this recap? Yep, I just knew he would be gone. He calls himself a menswear designer, yet he was out on the Menswear Challenge. Poor thang. At least now he’ll be able to go home and make endless greige collections for all his fantasy “size 2 only” clients. Good luck with that!

15
THU

"Double D" Drama

Posted By Antonia L. 11:27am GMT

Last night was the 8th episode of "Project Runway" Season 9. And Bryce was OUT …Yes, I just told you how it ends. Why? Because the editors ruined it for me too: The episode was barely 30 seconds in when Bryce laments that he’s never won a challenge — and in fact, has been at the bottom several times —and is wondering if he's the “Weakest Link.” Um, Ya Think So??? I immediately exclaimed (in my loud voice), “He's GONE!!” (Thanks, Editors). Oh, and did I mention Joshua won? Yep. Sorry to ruin that for you, but right as the nails were being pounded into Bryce’s "Project Runway" coffin, “Orange-ua Joshua” was stating how he was in a “Much better place today” ... Seriously, RIGHT AFTER Bryce. Thanks, Editors, Part Deux.

Body Prejudicial
 Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of the episode. The nine remaining designers (can we just get to the Top 5 PLEASE???) are sitting there as Miss Heidi Klum brings in what they think involves their next Challenge: nine men. Immediately, the Gay Claws start coming out as several of the designers don't want to pick “the Fatties” (Yes, I am talking to you, Madonna British Accent Olivier!). Jeeeesus! Now even the men have to deal with what women have been dealing with for AGES from these “kooky” Fashion Designers; it’s a syndrome I call BPB, short for Body Prejudicial Behavior, and this group has it in spades!

It’s the Women, Silly Kids
Soon enough — after several ignorant “I'm so pissed to be left with the FAT one!” comments, the designers find out that they will actually be designing for THEIR WIVES and/or GIRLFRIENDS, whom they haven't met yet. The designers meet with the men and discuss their thoughts on what would be nice and cute for their respective female partners. Frankly, I wish they had taken this to a whole other level and decided to make this a Gay & Lesbian Partners Challenge, in honor of the NYC Freedom to Marry Act. Now, that would have been a good one! Just sayin’.

Drag Olivier
Anyhow, the designers go shopping, and the highlight here is that Madonna — I mean Olivier — doesn't know what “Double D” means (supposedly that is his client’s bra size). Oh Olivier, I am about to slap you UPSIDE the head! First he does not like so-called “Fat Men”; now it’s the “Big Boobs.” That boy has some major issues. Wait until his metabolism hits. Or better yet, wait until he wants to design for the rest of America. Oh, and I do not believe for a HOT MINUTE that Olivier didn't know what a Double D was. Olivier looks like he is two free drink tickets away from doing Drag at Barracuda NYC. I think he would make a great Imelda Marcos, don't you?

Amateur Hour: The Private Client Edition
Back at Parsons, the designers are working on their creations under the watchful eye of their clients as Tim walks in after some lunch at Le Cirque (I’m just assuming!). He deems Viktor’s “Just perfect” (it was!). Bryce is contemplating his use of Pepto-Bismol pink in his dress creation (it looks really badly made!), but Tim assures him that his client looks good in that color. He questions Anya’s kimono sleeve addition a bit (I would too!). He calls Olivier’s design “crayon-y” and clocks him on having “time management issues.” At the same time, Olivier is having some problems connecting and interpreting his client’s desires — quelle surprise. It’s “Amateur Hour” up in here when it comes to little Olivier and working with non–size 0 people.

The Dress I Made in 1998
It’s the Day of the Runway and the judges are ready. Actress — and one of the models in my First Ever NIKOLAKI Los Angeles Fashion Week Show back in 2003! — Malin Akerman, was on hand as the Guest Judge. The results are in. The Top were Anya, Joshua and Viktor. Viktor created a perfect ensemble that looked chic and modern. I almost fell off my couch when they said Anya’s was one of the best. I think I designed and made that dress back in 1998. How was a one-shoulder, asymmetrical and high-low printed dress with a kimono sleeve relevant in 2011? And judge Michael Kors went on and on about how it was THE PERFECT Gallery Opening Dress. Maybe for South Beach in 1998. I actually liked Joshua’s creation. Yes, he’s a bully, and a whole lot of other things, but he was able to rein in the crazy and make a cute dress that, as I stated at the beginning of the post, won the challenge. Viktor’s was actually my favorite this week, and again, I couldn't understand why the judges did not choose him.

Pepto Bye
 The bottom 3 were Anthony Ryan, ol’ man Bert and Bryce. Bert’s plunging-neckline sheath dress was well made but yes, it’s already in EVERY STORE across America. Anthony Ryan’s creation was very “Retro-Vintage” but not in a good way and, as Kors said, reminded him of a “Super Hero Ice Skater” (love him!). So in the end it was Bryce’s time to go. The judges liked the pink, but the dress itself was badly made, fit poorly and had way too many details that didn’t work together. His departure was something so obvious to everyone involved that even the editors couldn’t wait until the end of the episode to let everyone know!

09
FRI

Rhymes With Witch

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Team Nuts and Bolts do not get along in the HP fabric challengeNo-Drama Thursdays ... NOT!
Last week, "Project Runway" viewers got a "drama reprieve." This week? The Drama Is Back, kids: We got an immediate amuse-bouche of things to come when the opening credits had barely finished and Josh McKinley was spouting things like "The Winning Look from last week's Avant-Garde Challenge should have been MINE!!!" So we knew it was only going to be a matter of time until the nails, gold-hoop earrings and wigs would be a-flying — once again.

Team Mean Girls Part Deux
So what brought the claws back out? Let's begin with the Challenge: As the 10 remaining designers sit with bated breath, their smiles are instantly turned into dropped heads and "Oh no's!" as Heidi announces that they are to be split into two teams of five, with no team leaders. However ... Anthony Ryan (the winner from the previous week's challenge) gets to pick who is on "his" team, and then Heidi gets to "randomly" pick from that bag who would be the other team "Non-Leader." Take a guess who it is? Just one guess … of course, it's Josh "Queen Mean Girls"! Do you think for a hot minute it would be anyone else? HELLLLLLSSSS no! Side note: I don't even think there are actual names on those chips in that bag, but if there were and Olivier's name came up first, even Miss Heidi would quickly throw the chip back in the bag and keep doing it until Josh's name was picked! Just sayin'.

Me! Me! Me!
Each team then chooses their members, and of course, "Old Man Bertie" is the last one standing. After this junior high-school P.E. class moment, they are at the Parsons workroom, where Tim Gunn — and the ageless fabulousness that is designer Betsey Johnson — announce that this week's challenge is the "HP & Intel Challenge," where each team is to create a five-look collection as well as design custom textile prints. Before departing and doing a cartwheel, Johnson reminds the ego-tastic designers (well, really, only Joshua M.!) to "throw away 'Me, Me, Me!'" and "Go, Team!" We'll see how long that will last.

Tim Gunn requests a prayer circle in the HP fabric challengeI Want Your Queen Card Back!
One-thousand one, one-thousand two ... nope, not long. "Team Chaos" (Anthony, Anya, Bryce, Olivier, Viktor) and "Team Nuts and Bolts" (Mean Girls Queen Josh, Laura, Kimberly, Becky, Bert) begin to caucus to choose which prints to use. As "Team Nuts and Bolts" are deciding, Bert is having printer issues: His print isn't coming out. No one in his team seems to care — especially Joshua, who begins berating Bert in such a volatile and evil manner that I feel embarrassed for Joshua. In fact, the entire Parsons workroom feels discomfort. He's being a very (Rhymes with Witch-y) Queen. I know that Bert is not always an innocent wallflower in these situations, but in this case Joshua M. is clearly in the wrong.

Apologies & Arguments
Hours later, after realizing how the cameras captured him looking nasty (just like when he exploded on Becky several episodes back), he returns to the workroom to make a "Public Service Announcement" offering an apology for his un-ladylike behavior. As Bert correctly stated, he could have come to him one-on-one and made his amends, but he didn't. Almost as soon as he finished his apology, Joshua was at it again, arguing with Tim, as Tim was trying to give him constructive criticism. Obnoxious and tacky. Even Tim tells him, "Let your ego go!" and forces "Team Nuts and Bolts" to hold hands and vow to get along.

Project Psychotherapy
Up next: "Project Psychotherapy." As soon as we get a major spoonful of "Evil Joshua," there has to come the "Let's Feel Sorry for Him" arc. Joshua calls his father; we get more into his mom's passing two years ago and how he is still grieving; and of course, there's lots of crying. In addition, he vents his anger and resentment over not being as successful as "he should be" after all his hard work. First off: A) I feel his pain for his grieving, but does that make it OK to bulldoze and bully people? And, B) I also have empathy for anyone who struggles to achieve their dream, but this isn't "Project Psychotherapy." Diary Rooms are meant to give us a little background — let your point of view be known — but not for getting out issues y'all should have worked out A LONG time ago on a professional's sofa! News flash: Probably EVERYBODY going on "Project Runway" is STRUGGLING to achieve their DREAM — that's the reason you are going on the show!

Next Time, COLOR PRINTS!
Let's get to Runway Day. Please. Besides Heidi, Michael and Nina, the gorgeous Rachel Roy and actress Rose Byrne are on hand for the judging (what happened to poor Betsey Johnson?). Fasten your seatbelts, LADIES — it's going to be a bumpy night. First off, BOTH teams only used black-and-white prints, AND both teams' prints were not-so-good. Can we please make it a rule for next season's "HP & Intel Challenge" that they HAVE to use COLOR?

Team Chaos' designs in the HP fabric challengeThe Perfect Mini Collection
Continuing ... The collection from Joshua's Team — oops, I mean "Team Nuts and Bolts" — was all over the place, design-wise, and "Team Chaos" was anything BUT chaotic. It was stunning, in fact; one of the best "Project Runway" group efforts in a LONG time. They win. And it's between Olivier (he did a perfectly tailored jacket, albeit in GRAY again!), Viktor (who did a stunning gown) and Anya (who created a sublime printed sheath dress). Anya surprisingly wins. I really thought it was going to go to Olivier or Viktor, but still it was well deserved! I love that the fashion still "ruled" on "Project Runway" — against all that "Joshua Drama."

Fragmented Team=Fragmented Collection
Speaking of ... it was down to "Team B**** Queen" to battle it out. Nina Garcia asks them about their "team interaction," but Joshua — rightly — pulls her back to the fashion (1 point for Joshua!). But here's the deal: Their fashion was disjointed! Joshua's geometric jacket ensemble was actually quite good (2 points for Joshua) and had some design quality, while Becky's was not. She did use Joshua's print, which had the words "canceled" and "delayed" on it (1 point off for Joshua!) but her look was almost "Missy" and, as Heidi stated, it was "weak ... in a weak collection." I knew Becky was going home the minute she landed on Joshua's Team. Hello!!!

02
FRI

Avant-Glue Gun!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Happy Times ...
Last night, on Season 9 “Project Runway,” the contestants were done with their bitchfest of last week, and as those introductory scenes from their Atlas Apartments proved, it was all “Kumbaya”/happy times/let’s just all get along with each other. As Queen Mean Girl said, “I’m done bitching, now I’m going to be nice.” Yes, GURL, you keep telling yourself that. Even Bert “I-Can’t-Stand-All-These-Kids Keeter wants to make amends ...We’ll see how long that will last.

Avant-garde challengeArt Class Is in Session
They all meet Monsieur Gunn at the Harlem School of the Arts to get their next challenge: to create an avant-garde look inspired by artwork from students of the school. Go Nicki Minaj at the MTV VMA’s or GO HOME. The “Project Runway” contestants meet their student artists and have a design “powwow” where the young kids (the Harlem School of the Arts students, in case you were confused) draw a painting that the designers will be inspired by. The one thing I got out of this was that somehow these young kids can DRAW better than the fashion designers on this season’s “Project Runway”! As an instructor of sketching (as well as draping and pattern-making), I am bit embarrassed that most (save for Bert) of these season’s contestants can barely sketch a proper croquis! Yes, I know it’s not a requirement to know how to draw as a fashion designer, but being that it is one of the more essential tools to communicate your vision, it seems absurd to not develop that skill.

Too Much Workroom
Afterward, they head to Mood Fabrics to shop, and then its back to the Parsons workroom. Speaking of the workroom; those segments were WAAAY too long for me this week. I know that they got extra time, but there wasn’t much going on, really. Miss Josh “I-Get-a-Second-Chance” Christensen picked faux fur (his student’s artwork featured a wolf) at Mood but is thinking twice about using it. Becky is having problems making little fabric-covered cubes reminiscent of a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac creation I’ve seen before. Olivier thinks that by using chiffon — a fabric he’s not accustomed to — it will instantly translate the garment into something avant-garde. Not so much! He’s also having time management issues. And we get a glimpse that Josh M. actually has a heart — in that the editors conveniently (after such a HATEFUL Josh M. episode last week) decide to tell us about his mother passing away from ovarian cancer not too long ago and how he’s been inspired by her. Oh, and the other thing I notice is that several of these designers LOVE the glue gun. If you are given two days for a challenge, you should NOT be using a glue gun. I think this says something about the level of talent.

Runway Day ... Almost
Let’s just get to Runway Day, because the Parsons workroom was a snoozefest and the everyone-is-getting-along and PLEASE-feel-bad-for-Josh M. thing is really getting on my last FASHION reality show editing nerve! Before the actual runway/judging, Tim walks in and “schools” Olivier, who seems to be GLUEING his model into his design. He is, but he tells Tim — in his faux Ohio-British accent — that since the glue didn’t actually stick to her skin, he’s not. Somehow, it’s all OK. Should it be?

Kenneth Cole for Avant-Garde?
Now, on to the runway. Kors and Klum are there, and Nina is missing. But the lovely Zanna Roberts Rossi (my L.A. casting co-judge) was on hand as her replacement. Kenneth Cole is the Guest Judge. At first, I said to myself: “Kenneth Cole for an Avant-Garde Challenge?” He subsequently proves me wrong, in that his insightful comments are actually very good. His multi-billion-dollar brand of clothing, shoes, accessories may be “basic” (by fashionista standards), but his marketing strategy has always been far from it.

Avant-garde challengeGlue-Gun Winners!!!
The Top 3: Joshua M. did a FAB ensemble featuring a hand-painted skirt as well as a “Fire Blazing” blouse, and Laura hot-glued her way into a structured-and-soft gown that was WAAAY too close to a Christian Siriano knockoff. But my favorite was Anthony Ryan, who was able to mesh the art with the fashion together the best, with a gown that featured “brushstroke” appliqué. With one eye on his students’ artwork and the other on his dress, you could see the connection, in a very “fashion” way. Judge Kenneth Cole thought it was a bit sloppy in terms of its execution, and there definitely was no denying that sloppy, raw hem. Also, I have to say, this gown — as much as I liked it — was still very much like his “Bird Seed Dress” from the Make a Dress From the Pet Store Challenge. In other words, he took a very basic base, and piled stuff on top of it. But he still won, after being in the Top 3 so many times.

Valium Clothes vs. Hooker in a Mall?
The Worst and NOT-so-Avant-Garde included Olivier, who is majorly FAILING for me. His students’ artwork was full of life and vibrant with color. His design, alas, was not. As Michael Kors said, “They’re like Valium clothes.” Gray and sad, kind of like the designer himself. La Kors also called Bert’s design — which was very Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011 — “something a Teletubby would wear to a party.” Cole said it was too “outside the box,” yet Miss Klum kind of liked it, and so did I. He was safe. Unfortunately, it was Josh C. who was once again sent packing, with his Hooker in a Mall/Victorian Cocktail Waitress creation that was far from avant-garde. The Project Runway Lesson of the Day: If you get a second chance, better go BIG or go home!!! Auf Wiedersehen, Joshy!

26
FRI

"Mean Girls": The Parsons Edition

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Five things I learned from watching last night's episode:
1) Joshua M. is mean. OK, he's downright CRUEL.
2) Bert is also mean, but in a Bitchy Old Queen sort of way
3) Mean and bitchy gets you places … at least on "Project Runway"
4) Reality shows LOVE a villain ... or two!
5) A basic tank maxi dress can win in a fashion design competition! Who knew?

Viktor and Olivier hugRunning With Pattern Shears
After last week's "Dress Nina la Diva" episode, the remaining contestants woke up only to find boxes in their Atlas Apartments. I started to get the shakes, as this reminded me of my Season 2 "Figure Skating/Make a Costume for Sasha Cohen" Challenge, when we received boxes of snap-on body suits and leggings to wear during our ice skating outing. Oh happy times! No figure skating for these kids; they were going to the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory. Heidi and Tim were there to tell them that they would be working in four teams of three. They all had to do a lap around the field, and the fastest four would be the captains/team leaders.

Adios, Cecilia
Before H & T said "Go!", "Death-Warmed-Over" Cecilia was DONE: She decided to quit. Fab — one less person to write about! Bah-bye. BTW, can we have those shiny new HK New Balance sneakers back? Sans Cecilia, the remaining contestants do their lap. Olivier falls and passes out (will a PA please get him some Craft Service! Stat!), Heidi helps "old" Bert make it to the end (in 6-inch heels!) and then we find out the captains: Joshua, Bryce, Anthony Ryan and Viktor. Yes, kids, The Gays can do sports!

The Heidi Challenge
The captains then choose their team members: Joshua picks Anya and Becky; Bryce is with Kimberly and Danielle; Viktor picks Olivier, and Anthony Ryan and Laura Kathleen are left with Bert (uh-oh!). Since Viktor has only one companion, they bring back Joshua C. to even it all out (lucky him!). Heidi then finally announces this week's Challenge: create 3 cohesive looks for her HK New Balance sneakers. "Think fashion," "Think 'basic with a twist,'" she tells them. The prize: The winning look will be sold and manufactured online on Amazon.com as part of Heidi's line.

Joshua: "Mean Girls" Queen
Back at the Parsons Workroom, the "Mean Girls" captain, Joshua, begins his needless cruelty by belittling Becky's design ability and basically making her his seamstress. He continues this throughout their entire time together, saying that she's someone who "does dowdy dresses" and not someone he would consider a "style icon." Ouch. He also gets WAAAY too close to copying my fellow Season 2 veteran Zulema Griffin's quote of "I don't care if you gotta cry and cut, but CRY and CUT. Don't stop and cry!" Let's discuss Joshua for a second: There are times that I just want to say some of the cruel things he said last night (to people who shall remain nameless), but I happen to have a filter/edit mechanism in my brain — especially when there's a camera 10 feet away from me — which stops me from being so cruel (also, my mom taught me better!). In addition, it's the WAY he says it, his intonation. It's actually quite disgusting. I'm done with Joshua.

Viktor and Olivier hugOh, Bert!
Anthony Ryan and Laura join Joshua as members of "Mean Girls": The Parsons Edition by being quite dismissive of poor ol' Bert. But as it turns out, Bert is not helping matters by being incredibly uncooperative and sour and making condescending statements under his breath — basically, just being a bitchy old queen. He also cannot remember his own team players' names (Henry?? No, Bert, its Anthony Ryan). Bert seems to be forming his own chapter of the Mean Girls Club! Ah, Bert: Sometimes after nine hours of teaching 19-year-olds at a fashion institute and grading, draping and correcting pattern assignments for another 12 hours, well, I feel like being a "Bitchy Old Queen" and snapping at an unsuspecting student. But I do not; I know better. Also, what part of "You will have to work with people who are NOT from your generation and who do not have your background and expertise" did you NOT understand when you signed up for "Project Runway"? Instead of being a condescending sourpuss, it might behoove you to be cordial, be a team player, and later — after you finish filming and return to your home in L.A. — bitch with your "girlfriends" over a Liza Minnelli Tribute at some piano bar in the Valley! Trust me, that's what I did!!

Motorcycle Ridin' With a "Generic" Tank Dress
OK, let's discuss the Runway Day and the results. Heidi, Michael, Nina and the guest judge, the sublimely gorgeous model Erin Wasson, were there to see the results from "Mean Girls": The HK New Balance Sneakers fashion show. It was a mixed bag, naturally, considering all the dysfunctional behavior happening among some of the teams. The judges were all over the place with their comments and who they liked and did not like. There were two "best," according to Heidi (since, after all, it was HER Challenge): Viktor's gray dress and black motorcycle jacket was the winner, and "Joshua's Team" with "their" maxi dress (created by Anya, by the way) also won. I loved Viktor's, and that win was well-deserved. I understood the salability of "Team Joshua's" maxi dress, but seriously, that gets commended in a DESIGN competition? It's a two-piece tank dress!

A First: Camel-Toe Romper
At the very bottom was Danielle and her green top and skirt (yes, she did ANOTHER chiffon green top!) and Anthony Ryan's diapers-looking romper. Poor Anthony Ryan's design was the worst (in my eyes). Even Michael Kors told him, "You've achieved the impossible: Your shorts are big and tight at the same time. She has camel toe in big shorts." But he's too cute to go away — well, in "TV Land," anyway! In the end, it was mousy Leanne Marshall — I mean, Danielle — who went home for her "Chiffon Addiction." If I were Danielle, I'd be happy to just be away from that "Mean Girls" environment once and for all. Now, what shall we do about Bitchy Bert and Cruel Joshua? Unfortunately, they're still in the show. Oh, yes, lest we forget, reality TV loves a villain ... or two. Mean Girls rule!!! (I hope not).

19
FRI

Do You Have a Plan C?

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:08am GMT

Nina challengeDesigning for a client: a rite of passage every fashion designer — amateur or established — must go through. The circus is gone (thank goodness), and this week it's all about designing for a REAL client: Nina Garcia. The Legend. The Diva. Born in Colombia to a wealthy importer (Wikipedia!). Attended an exclusive boarding school for girls in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Holds TWO bachelor's degrees, from Boston University and FIT, and (if that's not enough), she also attended the Ecole Supérieure de la Mode in Paris. Oh, and did I mention the woman has enough style and class to fill two football fields in Texas?

Couture Cab
Heidi announces that creating an Office-to-Fashion Event outfit for La Nina is the Challenge for this week. The prize: She will wear your creation, and it will be shot for a Marie Claire editorial, as well as featured on top of NYC taxicabs for one of the magazine's ads. "DEEEEEEsigners: Imagine arriving on your transcontinental flight from L.A. to NYC for that dreaded 'Project Runway' Reunion Episode, tired from being in 36D way back in Coach, only to wait in a 50+ person line for a taxi at JFK, and then seeing your outfit on top of one of those cabs!!! Just imagine! Well, this could be you!" Heidi tells them. Well, she doesn't really say that, it's just what I'm thinking in my jaded little head. Nina, in a polished black-and-white ensemble, then tells the contestants what she likes and doesn't like: classic with an edge, streamlined, clean silhouettes, NO loud patterns or bright colors. NO voluminous clothes. NO pleats … and most of all, NO WIRE HANGERS!!!

Outfit-Change Nina
Half an hour later the designers get a consultation with Nina, who has now ditched her white wide-lapeled jacket and black pants and is wearing a completely DIFFERENT look. Only Nina can do outfit changes in half-hour intervals. She's now featuring a black-and-silver beaded top with bright salmon-colored sleeves. (Side note: I thought she didn't like bright colors?) At the consultation, she doesn't hold back: "No Cowl, Bryce!" "Do Pants, Kimberly!" "Too 'Dynasty,' Cecilia!" And this continues when she later visits them to check in on their progress. I love the moments when Miss Nina asks several of the designers if they have a Plan B. And of course, they do not.

Bored and Uninspired
Many of them are having fabric and color issues with what they chose for Nina: Uninspired Cecilia is not happy with her boring gray fabric (which she cannot change). Just-Learned-How-to-Sew Anya chooses a not-so-Nina mustard yellow printed silk, which she decides to dye — with the help of her Best Gay Boyfriend, Anthony Ryan. And speaking of Anthony Ryan, he and Grew-Up-in-a-Cult Becky somehow pick the SAME fabric at Mood. There are THOUSANDS of different fabrics at Mood and you had to pick the SAME one? I'm also concerned from looking at some of the creations how (save for TWO) NONE of them look very Nina Garcia to me. Since when does Nina Garcia wear dresses with back cutouts (Joshua)? Or plunging necklines (Bert)? Or tricky coatdresses (Julie)? No.

Nina challenge gold top KimberlyStep Over, Michael and Nina, We Have a New DIVA in Town!
Cut to Runway Day, and there are LOTS of judges: Heidi, Michael, Nina (of course!), plus Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire (who, incidentally, gets an A+ in Bitchy Commentary for this "dress rehearsal" of her new position as "The Nina" for the upcoming "Project Runway All Stars") AND actress Kerry Washington, who was also a judge on Season 6 when I subbed for Michael Kors on one challenge. Sorry to be a "Negative Ninny" yet again this week, but: I was so bored and uninspired by the clothes that came down the runway. If I were Nina, I would have screamed, "Is there a Plan C?" I was really surprised Bryce wasn't in the "bottom" group. His wonky-hemmed dress looked like a first-semester Fashion School creation. He definitely has got some Lucky Fairy Dust around him, as he RAN to the "Safe" waiting room as fast as he could, hoping the judges wouldn't change their minds.

Work That Gold Top, Miss Nina
There were really only two good outfits this week. Yes, Anya's was there, but seriously, a mud-colored jumpsuit with a 1990s low-slung belt for Nina? No. Viktor and Kimberly's were the obvious best. Viktor's was chic, very Fashion Editor Diva, and SCREAMED "New York City" in its all-black sensibility. The only problem for me: the black! You couldn't see any of the details. If you can't see the details on TV, this dress AIN'T going to work on top of a NYC taxicab. Kimberly's look, on the other hand — besides those well-cut black trousers — included a FAB metallic gold top with directional seaming and styling. This outfit can stand out in an ad — and on a NYC cab rooftop. It also looked very Nina and could easily work from the office to front row of a Jason Wu Spring 2012 Runway Show. She wins.

A Flight Attendant Serves Drinks to a St. Paddy's Day Party Guest
But now, the worst: Mousy-girl Leanne Marshall — I mean Danielle — had a green chiffon blouse look that Kors deemed "pedestrian" and something one would wear to a Joan Crawford St. Paddy's Day party (his comment writers are getting better and better every season). No-Makeup Julie created a coatdress that looked like a rejected flight-attendant uniform for low-cost airline easyJet. How on earth did she ever think her creation was suitable for Nina? However, the worst — I thought — was Cecilia's: a one-shoulder gray cocktail dress. A) We all know that Nina Garcia would never be caught dead in a one-shoulder dress, and B) A silk jacquard cocktail dress for 10 am meetings in the Hearst Building? So, obviously Cecilia was OUT, right? Nope, she was IN! At this point I was so bored and uninspired with ALL OF IT that I didn't even care.

Bye, Julie — take your coatdress and book yourself an easyJet flight from Madrid to Croatia. Oh, and don't be surprised if you have to show the passengers where the emergency exits are.

12
FRI

Send in the Clowns

Posted By LifetimeLisaR 5:32am GMT

Off the Bat ...
I know that I will risk sounding like a big ol’ “Negative Ninny” right off the bat (I promise, just this week!), but ... boy, were these outfits AWFUL! Just awful! Good, I had to get that off my trimmed yet still hairy chest. Oh, and let me add the following while I am on a roll: I am all for Team Bert in this Viktor vs. Bert History of Fashion Terminology Lesson. Don’t say “Elizabethan” or “Victorian” or “Gothic” when you haven’t a CLUE what those terms refer to. Go buy François Boucher’s “20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment” and then talk to me. Don’t use the incorrect terminology and not expect to be clocked on it. OK, I am done for now. Let’s discuss this week’s Circus on the Runway Challenge.

Stilted
Miss Heidi walks out in front of the designers, wearing stilts, and announces that this week they are to create an outfit for a stilt walker, and in teams of two. Whoever came up with this idea A) must have just been to the circus and thought, “Gee, this might be a fun challenge filled with TACKY outfits that have nothing to do with being the Next Great American Designer” or B) was smoking something that’s only legal in certain “cafes” in Amsterdam. Well, at least it will make for a fun and very “visual” fashion show. After “picking” the teams from a bag (OK, no one believes these pairings are random anymore, who are we kidding?), la Klum tells them that this will be the FIRST OUTSIDE Runway Show in “Project Runway” history and sends the designers away with a “Think BIG ... really big!” adieu.

Two Bitchy Queens
The contestants make their first Mood Fabrics visit and return to the Parsons Workroom. As soon as their microphone pouches — with a fresh set of batteries — are on, the DRAMA and couples fighting ensue, primarily with “Bert-zilla” and his partner Viktor. Seeing them bicker and argue is like watching two old catty queens at a piano bar debate on whether Barbra or Liza is the better diva. This continues on right through to Tim’s visit, where he just sits and stares at them, probably thinking, “These two queens need to stop!” Speaking of queens, Joshua M. and Julie think they are creating a Toreador Duquesa, but something tells me that it’s one Bedazzler away from Tacky-land.

“Self-Taught” Badge
Hairstylist-turned-designer Fallene and “Bottom Two” Bryce are also having issues. Fallene can’t cut a top on the correct grain of the fabric, which is one of THE FIRST things you learn in design school. Alas, she didn’t go to school and was “self-taught.” “Well, how’s that working out for you?” I want to ask her. Bryce has to take charge and try to correct her lack of expertise. P.S.: I’m kind of tired of these contestants using the “I’m Self-Taught” epithet as a badge of honor, especially when they should be embarrassed by it. It’s one thing being self-taught and being AMAZING, but it’s another thing not even knowing the correct grain to cut a garment in.

Couples Counseling
The rest of the bunch is doing just fine, trying to stay as far away from the Couples Counseling Rehab situation that is surrounding them. I’m a bit surprised that Anya — whose team member is Olivier — never once reminds him that he better not slack off (he seems to be) because he has immunity and therefore risk her being eliminated. I guess, when she looked around at the Ringling Bros. messes, she knew she would be OK. And speaking of that: Why are most of these teams doing such unfashionable, costume-like creations? I can’t help but think that if I got this challenge, I would have thought, “Just do a fabulous, directional and chic look, but EXTEND it by 10 feet!” Done and done. Ignore the stilts and any references to the circus or how RIDICULOUS the challenge even is. Just move on! As Tim said, “Think couture,” not costume-y or tacky.

The Circus Comes to Battery Park
The next day, it’s time for the FIRST-EVER OUTDOORS Runway in “Project Runway” HISTORY (it bears repeating!), and Tim, the designers and their stilt-walker models are transported to Battery Park, where a stunning Robert Palmer Girl–esque Heidi awaits in an Alexander Wang one-shoulder dress and Jimmy Choo pumps. Kim Kardashian is also on hand as the guest judge — as well as an audience of onlookers, press and fans. The show starts and, as I began this blog recap saying, it was one awful costume creation after another.

Leg-o’-Mutton, Meet The Stepford Wife
Back in the Parsons Deliberation and Runway Room, the designers are hearing their fate. The Best include Daniella and Cecilia’s chiffon ensemble topped off with a bouffant hair-DON’T. The blouse and palazzo pants were well done (kudos for making the chiffon look flawless), but it did seem like the model was straight out of “The Stepford Wives” or “Valley of the Dolls.” Kimberly and Becky’s ensemble was great in its tailoring, but a one-shoulder striped jacket with a leg-o’-mutton sleeve and upturned asymmetrical collar? It was so “Fashion School Graduate Collection,” as my dear Tim Gunn would probably say. The clear winner was Anthony Ryan and Laura’s outfit. Laura was given the win, while A.R. got scolded for being too referential (read: knockoff!). I was left wondering why he was chastised, while she got the win. This will undoubtedly be his story arc.

Fallene’s Pas de Deux
The Bottom Bunch included Josh and Julie, whose red look was far from Toreador and more Circus Elephant Ringleader. The Dueling Ladies (a.k.a. Bert and Viktor) also ended up in the bottom, with their oh-so-tacky and costume-y dress that looked as if it was made with curtains and wallpaper from a 1970’s banquet hall. And poor Fallene and Bryce — they tried to do a “Black Swan”/Punk Princess but failed. As judge Nina Garcia said, “It had no effort, no creativity, nothing.” Kim K. mused that the top looked like something she sleeps in! It was “Self-Taught” Fallene’s time to say “bye-bye” to the Project Runway Circus and go straight to a store to buy a book on fabric cutting (one hopes). Again, lucky Bryce gets one more chance. I say have another Team Challenge and put him with Bert next week! More queens bitching!! I can’t wait!

05
FRI

Haute Pee Pee

Posted By LifetimeLisaR 3:09pm GMT

Camel-Toe Nightmares
Last week, Season 9 of "Project Runway" began with a Pajama Party BANG, as the 16 contestants designed looks from their sleepwear and a bed sheet. For some reason, most of the designers drank the "Ugly Crotch Kool-Aid" and decided that somehow we would be impressed with the results. Not so much. Hoochie-mama-too-tight-leggings designer Rafael was sent home, and I was left with one too many bad camel-toe nightmares. But, it's a new week, and new nightmares. This time involving puppies and pee-pee!

Intro Redux
As this week's episode begins, I am struck by the new "Intro" showcasing Miss Heidi, Nina, Michael and our beloved Tim. It was a cute twist on previous season's intros, but I kind of miss the old style in which each designer was introduced with a "catch phrase." It always helped us identify who's who and would give us an amuse bouche of their personalities.

Project Runway Season 9, Episode 2PetCo-uture
"Unleash your creativity," Heidi tells the designers as they sit and wonder if this will somehow be an S&M challenge. (Nope! Kids, it's Lifetime! Hello!) Cut to Tim Gunn in front of Petland Discounts as he announces the next challenge. Secretly, I wished that 15 puppies were about to come out and that they were going to have to design "Doggie Couture." Instead, they are to design an outfit using pet store supplies. Yep, welcome to the classic "Project Runway" favorite: the Unconventional Challenge.

Immediately, Monsieur Gunn reminds the fashion novices to NOT use the "conventional" fabrics (dog clothing, umbrella fabric, dog beds) from the pet store, and instead go for the unconventional.

Well, it's not my first time at the "Project Runway" rodeo, so I knew that SOMEONE would NOT get the memo and, of course, use CONVENTIONAL FABRICS... and then face the "Runway" guillotine as a result.

Clean Up on Aisle Parsons
Lots of leashes, puppy chow, doggie plastic neck protectors, bird food, and one-too-many "wee-wee" pads later, and the designers are back in the Parsons' workroom, trying to contend with what the heck they were going to come up with out of all that mess. The workroom looked like the day after a 90% off sale at a going-out-of-business pet store.

Most of the designers have no clue of what to do. I felt for them, reminding me of the "Flower Power" challenge when I had to create a dress using fresh flowers back in my season. I must have stood in front of my flower-filled pattern table for FOUR HOURS without a clue of where to start.

Classy not Assy
Soon enough, these contestants begin cutting, gluing and dumping dog and bird food and "making it work". Tim visits and we see that several of them are doing Depends dresses using those aforementioned potty training pads (Viktor and Bryce) and Miss "Real Housewives of St. Louis" Laura Kathleen, is trying to keep it classy not "assy." She soon realizes it's looking more like the latter, so she decides to change her "unconventional fabrication." (Good idea.) And the rest, well, are hot gluing their way till Parsons workroom closing time.

Haute Pet Runway
Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet on Project RunwayIt's the day of the runway and judges Heidi, Michael and Nina are present — as well as "Alice + Olivia" designer Stacey Bendet. (Love her, BTW! Sassy, fun and stylish!) The show gets under way, and as usual: lots of hot puppy messes and some "Is that a dress from Balenciaga Resort 2012?" beauties.

Incidentally, Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe Anya continues to do FAB work, and creates a cute outfit. (Now we know she can actually sew AND glue as well!) On the other hand, last week's winner Bert I-have-immunity-so-y'all-can-eat-it Keeter does a dress perfect for a retired Playboy Bunny living in Palm Springs, using what Tim said he shouldn't: conventional fabrics. He got the "memo," he just decided to not read it, I guess.

Conventional Fabric Wins (Say What?)
The judges' favorites are my favorites: "Southern Belle" Anthony does a very chic dress using bird seed. It was Heidi's most beloved. The neckline detail of sunflower seeds is DIVINE. Olivier's was the other favorite. His look — made out of hamster and dog bedding — was elegant and very editorial. The judges were ebullient with their adulation.

Olivier Side Note No. 1: His design was straight off the pages of "Vogue Italia," but didn't he use "conventional fabric" with his dog bedding top? And wasn't that a judge no-no?

Olivier Side Note No. 2: I just have a question about him and that accent. He says he's from Ohio and hadn't moved to London until he was 16, six years ago (he's only 22) but yet, he still sounds like Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge?! I just went to London and didn't come home with an accent! Oh well, pretentious accent or no accent, Olivier still won (against Heidi's wishes) and did it even while using conventional fabrics.

Going Pee Pee or Going to Señor Frog's
At the bottom were Bryce's neon blue hamster bedding and wee-wee pad ensemble and "the Other Josh" Christensen's doggie umbrella '90s dress. For Bryce's critique, Nina says it looks like part of the "Blue Man Group." I personally think it looked more like a reject from "Priscilla Queen of the Desert."

Michael Kors wants to puke from seeing it, and Heidi wants to pee on it. (Oh lord!) But it wasn't Bryce's wee-wee pad dress that went home. It was Josh No. 2 who got the "poo poo" this week.

Using doggie-printed umbrella fabric, he made a dress perfect for a girl attending a Spring Break party at Señor Frog's... in 1996! With that, he kissed his bromance boyfriend — Josh No. 1 — adieu and had a tearful goodbye with Tim and the entire cast... good thing there were plenty of extra pee-pads to dry those tears!