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A Quinceañera “Project Runway” Party … After One Too Many Margaritas!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:05am GMT

What could be more fun than party dresses, a new Tim Junior in the workroom, Gretchen-hatin' and a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral? Oh, and yes, call the ambulances: We have a designer down! Yep, welcome to Episode 3 of "Project Runway" Season 8.

Where's the Party?
The day begins with a model elimination and Heidi announcing that Tim is throwing a party. I assume it is to celebrate that Jason "I'm a Straight Designer, Dude!" and his staples and safety pins are gone from the workroom. Nope, no such party. The 13 remaining designers meet up with Tim at the "Party Glitters" store (sounds like a drag club in Brooklyn), where he announces that this week's assignment is the "Unconventional Challenge," where they are to design an outfit using party-store supplies. He tells the designers that they should NOT use materials such as tablecloth or wrapping paper, since those are similar to actual textiles and the judges do not "likey-likey."

Unconventional challenge shopping.

Not a Fan
These challenges are usually the most unforgettable ones of each season: Remember Austin Scarlett's infamous dried-up corn-husk dress from Season 1? Or Mychael Knight's coffee-filter dress (Season 3)? Fans LOVE watching it, but I bet if you polled past alumni, 95 percent would not be fans. I HATED when this challenge came up in my season where we had to make a dress out of plants and flowers. I stood in front of my work table for about five hrs just staring at my soon-to-be-wilting banana leaves with not a single creative thought — and jealous of the designers around me already half-done with their "Flower Power" creations.

Where Do You Side?
Tim says that these challenges are really about pushing the boundaries and being innovative with materials you wouldn't normally use, but I argue on whether this really is a make-it-or-break-it challenge in deciding who gets to be "America's Next Great Designer." Honestly, I think it's more about the fun in watching what HOT MESSES the contestants will make, rather than "pushing creative boundaries."

Quinceañera Workroom
After the marathon party-store shopping, the designers head to the Parsons workroom, where it's quickly looking like a Quinceañera after way too many heavily spiked margaritas! There are several workroom dynamics simmering that revolve around Miss "I-Won-the-Last-Two-Challenges-So-You-Can-Suck-It" Gretchen. She's fast becoming this season's not-so-nice contestant (rhymes with RICH), which means you KNOW she makes it to the Top Three! And for some reason, she has taken it upon herself to be Tim Gunn's junior assistant, giving her (mostly unwarranted) two cents to everyone else.

Lupe, Part 2
I shake my head in wonderment EVERY TIME I see designers on "Project Runway" try to give advice to other designers — or ask it, for that matter. Lupe (Guadalupe Vidal) was my season's Gretchen, albeit in a much more naïve way. I watched her go from designer to designer giving advice, and all I kept thinking was, Huuuuuney, you better not even THINK of coming to my table … Alas, she didn't. If there's one big rule on "Project Runway" (future contestants, listen up!), it's this: Do Not Take (supposed) Advice From Your Fellow Contestants! It Is a Competition!

Wooly Ball Obsession and Casanova's Hearing Problem
Tim visits, and he is half-impressed and half-puzzled. Everyone (including Tim) is expecting great things from A.J. (who, incidentally, is no longer Daniel Vosovic Jr. but now has transformed himself into Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" lovechild!). He loves making "quirky dresses" using unconventional materials, but for some reason he is doubly stressed. Tim loves Ivy Higa's and (FIDM graduate) Sarah Trost's color palette (before she lets Gretchen sabotage her!). There's a very funny moment with Kristin, where we discover — much to everyone's delight — that Tim likes "Wooly Balls" (wink wink). And of course, Casanova, once again, is suffering from a hearing impediment when he somehow doesn't (or chooses not to) hear Tim say "No tablecloths." Cut to Casanova madly creating a gown out of …. TABLECLOTHS!

Tim Gunn has a giggle fit.

Heidi and Rihanna Fight It Out!
Runway Judging Day is upon us, and the guest judge is (drum roll!) Betsey Johnson! Who else could judge such a challenge? No one as well as Miss Betsey! Let the "Quinceañera Red Carpet" runway show begin. As expected, there are some stupendous designs and some, not so much. On the "Partyfabulous" side are Michael Costello and that showstopping red gown (wow, he made THAT in one day!), Valerie's napkin black & white dress, as well as Mondo's colorful mini creation (that bustier was hot!). But the best were Gretchen's (loved the pieces, HATED those boots!) and Andy's HOT black hand-twisted ribbon dress ideal for Heidi — or Rihanna — which eventually takes the prize (cut to Gretchen's snarly "I Hate You!" look).

Who Gets Kicked Out of this Quinceañera Party?
Now to the bottom: Poor Olivia Newton-John lovechild A.J. That was, as Nina Garcia said, a "hot mess." A fringed crotch? … A.J.? … Really? If only he would have just taken it 110 percent further!! Betsey Johnson was right on that one. It was a Heatherette DISASTER! Casanova's was THE WORST (in my eyes). I think I spit out my glass of cabernet when Michael Kors said it looked like a "transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral" dress. Amen. And Casanova tried to back it up by suggesting that he was a COUTURE designer. Couture with a "K" maybe! But it was "I-Shouldn't-Have-Listened-to-Gretchen" Sarah Trost who was kicked out of this Quinceañera Party for an uninspired, sad dress made from paper palm-tree cutouts. Adios, Sarah!

Designer Down?
And with that, we are back at the Atlas Apartments and … why are there ambulances? Say what? My first thought was: Did Gretchen punch Andy out for winning? Did Casanova cha-cha his way to Margarita-land and have one too many? Nope. Contestant Ivy Higa is down! Boy, I think this really must have been a crazy party!

Well, stay tuned …


"You're Either IN-finity … Or You're OUT!"

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

Hi, "Project Runway" kiddies! I am finally back from my trip to Europe. A little bit jet-lagged, but back! What better way to snap me out of my "Why am I waking up at 4 am ready to start my day?" time clock than watching my favorite show. There's nothing I love more than seeing Straight Designers remind me that they are Straight (and that safety pinning is their form of "construction"), watching Tim lower his glasses one more time, see so-called designers ask for pattern and styling help, and seeing judge Nina Garcia have an awkward moment with her boss, Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire. May I begin?

Michael studies Marie Claire

X-tra Large Marie Claire
The 16 contestants are very ecstatic to be "officially in" (even Casanova and Jason Staple Boy, much to my dismay!). The next day, they gather to have the unveiling of their first "official" challenge. Tim is there, and so is Heidi (still working her shag 'do). But they have a friend: Joanna Coles — in her best Knightsbridge upper-crust British accent — announces that they are to design a look that defines the Marie Claire Woman, who is five things: Intelligent, Practical, Fashion-Forward, Confident and Sexy. As a special bonus, the winning outfit will be displayed on a billboard in Times Square! Seriously BIG, figuratively and literally.

I Ain't Schooling You!
Back in the workroom, Miss I-Don't-Speak-English … or Do I? Casanova is asking Daniel Vosovic Jr. — I mean AJ — for pattern help. REALLY? OK, I admit, back in my season, several fellow designers (who shall remain nameless) asked me for help in making their sleeves, bustiers, etc., and I happily obliged. I guess it's the FIDM instructor in me. It wasn't until Chloe Dao (Season 2 winner and my good friend), took me aside and told me, "You need to stop doing that and helping them!" that I woke up and smelled the Reality Show Roses! So, it KILLS me when I see other designers ask for pattern help or draping help or any other type of help. You Are On Your Own, Ladies! And I guess that's what AJ told Senorita Casanova. On a similar note: What is Mondo doing asking fellow designer Valerie for styling advice? What part of "This is a competition" did you NOT understand?

"Golden Girls" Meets Figure 8's
Father Tim walks in, and instantly his glasses begin to slide down his nose. Tim deems Michael Costello's design too "Blanche Devereaux." (Michael probably didn't even understand; he was born in 1983!) Tim also calls Peach's design "discordant" (love those Tim-isms!), and questions Jason's (who looks like a doppelganger for "Dr. 90210" by the way) "Figure 8" creation. Tim then announces that there's another element to the challenge: There will be a photo shoot of their design, edited by the contestants themselves, which will be considered come runway time.

Mondo Is Back in High School
Back in the Atlas Apartments, Mondo is reliving high school all over again and feeling like an outcast since he's not with the "In Crowd". Bless his high-waisted Steve Urkel pants/kooky glasses/miss-matched ensemble heart! He's been in his apartment for less than five hours and already trippin'? Someone get him some liquor! Luckily, he snaps out of his "Pity Party" doldrums in time for the runway day.

Billboard Runway
It is Marie Claire Billboard Runway Time, and to no one's surprise, Miss Joanna Coles is the guest judge. It's her magazine on the line, after all! In my eyes, the designs were oh-so-safe and, well, rather yawn-invoking. But being that this was a very commercially oriented challenge, it isn't a surprise. This is not the time for avant-garde. But somehow, I wished I would have seen something that would have made my heart skip a beat. I did not.

But first, Le Good
Casanova actually did well! That bishop-sleeved blouse/jacket and skirt were actually muy bueno. The construction was sublime. So, I have a question: Did he really need AJ's pattern help? Was he then just acting as if he needed help? And if so, why? Both Nina and her boss, Joanna Coles, liked Mondo's look. First time they've ever agreed? Muy interesante. Can you say awkward?? The design was OK, but it felt a little more "Forever 21-meets-Teen Vogue" than Marie Claire. I agreed with the judges — and some of the designers — that Valerie's red high-necked, fitted red dress was one of the best. The color could "pop" in Times Square; it was both directional and still approachable, very Marie Claire. However, Miss Gretchen won, once again. Hers was a plunging-neck dark navy jumpsuit. It was VERY New York fashion magazine junior editor going out to the Standard Hotel "Boom Boom Room". With that, she win's the Times Square prize. PS: Can we see more of Coco Rocha jumping up and down?! She's worth EVERY penny she gets kids! Now THAT'S a model!

Michael studies Marie Claire

Marie Claire goes Amish…and Hoochie
Oh, Miss Peach! Her polka-dotted dress looked like a reject straight out of the closet of "Desperate Housewives'" Bree Van de Camp. And supposedly this was her THIRD creation?! I laughed when Michael called it an Amish cocktail dress. The fabric alone looked like a paper napkin from "Bed Bath & Beyond"! Michael Drummond's hoochie micro-mini dress was more Vibe magazine than Marie Claire. Nicholas' was BAD. The cape, the badly draped back, the wonky-hemmed skirt … yeah, not cute. Too bad, because his model was GORGEOUS!

No More Staples … and Safety Pins
BUT… my favorite Straight Designer, Jason, took the cake as WORST in my eyes: He wanted to design an "Infinity 8" dress and in fact made a safety-pinned, badly fitted Infinity MESS dress and then tried to show how it Could've, Would've Should've looked. NEXT! Surprise, surprise: Both Jason and Nicholas were gone. Heidi kept alluding to "One … or more of you will be gone," and it came true. No more staples. No more safety pins … and no more "Give Me a Break, I'm a Straight Designer!" excuses. No Marie Claire Billboards for you boys. Now, back to Nina and Joanna agreeing and Coco Rocha jumping!


It's Not Over Until the Dubai Pole Dancer Dances …

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

Bonjour, designers! I am in Europe and happen to be writing this first recap from Paris. The City of Light and The City of Fashion and Haute Couture! Yes, I know — Shut the Front Door! Thanks to the magic of hotel satellite TV, I can "make it work"! So let's get started.

Tim has dry-cleaned his suits and wiped his glasses clean; Heidi has a new shag-a-delic 'do, Michael is re-bronzed and Nina has polished her new Louboutins. This could only mean one thing: "Project Runway" is back! Seven seasons and over 110 contestants later, and still going strong. For Season 8, 17 bushy-tailed, bright-eyed and PR-agent-ready designers from across the U.S. arrive in New York and get to meet each other — "Real World"–style — at various NYC landmarks. From the brief introductions, they seem to be a very "colorful" bunch. Their names alone slay me: Mondo, Peach, Casanova? It sounds like the cast of a porn movie — or a Telemundo telenovela! Also, is Daniel Vosovic back, or is AJ his younger brother?

Luggage Couture

Luggage Couture

Once all together, they gather at Bryant Park — oops, I mean Lincoln Center, the new site of New York Fashion Week, where Headmaster Tim and Empress Heidi await. After Tim's requisite "You're Our Best Group EVAAAHHH!!!!!" speech, the 17 designers are then told that the audition process is not over yet. This first challenge will actually decide who gets to be in the "final cut" and eventually sleep soundly at Atlas Apartments. Heidi asks each designer to take out one favorite item of clothing from their suitcases (which is assumed to be what they will create their first look with).

Le Twist
But there's a "twist": They had to pass that item to the designer on their right. Each designer now had to create a look incorporating this item into the final runway ensemble and had only five hours to do it. Casanova somehow brought a pair of $1,070 Dolce & Gabbana pants, which he proudly took out but now will be ripped by a fellow designer. Side note: If Casanova can afford $1,070 pants, tell me why he needs $100,000 to start a line? I can barely afford Zara! But I digress.

Glasses on the Nose
Tim and the designers head straight to Parsons, where they get to work. Monsieur Gunn informs them that because of the unusually short work time, Mood Fabrics will come to them. I'm sure they breathed a sigh of relief that they didn't have to spend several hours traveling in a van — with enough security detail to protect the President of Afghanistan. After a brief time working, Tim comes in and gives his two cents. A clear sign that things are not going well is seeing how low Tim's glasses slip down his nose. There were several glasses-on-the-nose moments. Models come in for fittings, and we get glimpses of the messes that we're about to see walk down the runway.

Selma Blair

Le Premiere Runway
Along with Heidi, Michael and Nina, actress Selma Blair (looking very cute in a bangs-and-a-bob hairstyle) guest-judges this first "What's in Your Luggage?" runway show. Because it is 17 designers, this first presentation is always long! And it seemed even longer because, honestly, there were A LOT of messes.

Hot: Le Black
Only two really stood out as good for me: Andy's über-stylish all-black ensemble and Gretchen's chic black short-to-long cocktail dress with embroidered shoulders. The judges were unanimous that Gretchen's was the clear winner for its simplicity, elegance and wearability — as well as how she transformed a little capelet into a pretty and stylish cocktail number.

Not So Hot: 50-Year-Old Divorcees on Vacation Meets Dubai Strippers?
The bottom lot was not just a potpourri of ugly, but a whole buffet. I was surprised how some of my bottom picks sailed through, however: Peach's printed halter dress was a snooze and not fashionable or directional, and AJ's design was a bad prom tulle confection (was that bow made out of aluminum foil?). But the judges' bottom picks were worse, including Ivy's printed capri pants that she "re-made" … from pants! The whole outfit looked like a 50-year-old divorcee going out to dinner on her vacation in Pensacola. And then there was Jason's backwards kimono. Lord, was that BAD. His model looked like Kelly Osbourne before she got a stylist! Casanova's was equally bad, a Cavalli-meets-Versace circa 1992 disaster. It was just tackety-tacky. Dios mio!

Not My Choice for the Worst
Surprisingly (at least for moi), the judges' worst was McKell's shirtdress baby doll. I have to agree with Tim in that I actually thought it was cute. Was the styling dubious? (Love those Tim-isms!) Yes. That hair was dated, and the oversized bag, well, better suited for a millionaire's wife on her way to her Botox appointment. But are we judging the overall styling or the creation and design? Because in creation and design, McKell's exceeded over Jason's stapled-backwards kimono as well as Casanova's tasteless "cover-up" of a dress. Not so sure how McKell ended up being worse than those two. I was also a bit dubious (Hi, Tim!) on why the judges seemed to be making excuses for Jason and Casanova especially. Both Nina and Selma concurred, "It is fascinatingly bad … but still fascinating." Really? I thought it was just BAD!!! But that's the beauty of fashion. It's all very subjective. We'll see how much more stapling and stripper dresses those two continue making. For now, we bid a quick adieu to McKell. My final advice to future contestants: Pack CHEAPLY, and no more Dubai Pole Dancer Dresses!


Finale Episode Recap: An Angry Mentor, a Fashion Doyenne and a NY Warrior Princess

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:50am GMT

Althea fixes modelWell, kiddies, this is REALLY the end: Last night was the finale episode of “Project Runway” Season 6, which therefore also means that this is my final recap of the season (at least pretend you’re sad!). A sick girl, an angry mentor, a fashion doyenne with an updo to end all updo’s and Warrior Fashion Princesses who love the Big Apple. Yep, it’s the “Project Runway” Season Finale.

We Need More DayQuil on the Set!
When we last left our three ladies, they had been given the “Make It Work” last-minute twist to make a 13th look and received the aid of fellow “Project Runway” Season 6 alumni to assist them. Carol Hannah Whitfield got sick (did Irina put something in her Starbucks?), and there was A LOT of black and gray coming from them. As the episode begins, Carol Hannah is still sick (in fact, worse), and yes, there’s STILL lots of black and gray on the racks.

Makeup Copycatter
L’Oreal makeup and Garnier hair consultations follow, as well as last-minute model fittings, and Tim makes a visit to check on the girls’ 13th looks. Not only did Althea Harper (allegedly) copy Irina’s oversized chunky sweaters, but now she seems to be using the same makeup inspiration. Lord, someone might need to put blinders on Miss Althea. Like yesterday! Bryant Park is still a day away, but just from the quick shots of the models trying on their looks during their fittings, I already would have given Irina the “Project Runway” crown. Now it’s up to Carol Hannah or Althea to rip one of Irina’s zippers or accidentally spray bleach on her clothes … My guess is that it isn’t going to happen.

Don’t Mess With Tim
Finally the day of the Bryant Park Runway Show has arrived, and Carol Hannah finally got her DayQuil, because she seems to be feeling better. Even Irina Shabayeva seems to be acting nicer. All the girls are getting along — no bitching, man-stealing, or accusations of copying. As the hour is approaching, guests are arriving and models are getting dressed. It’s almost starting time, and no one is where they should be, and Headmistress Tim Gunn isn’t happy. He progressively gets angrier and angrier. The normally pinkish flush of his face grows more Cabernet Red. Not a good sign.

Carol Hannah at judgingAlthea’s UGGs
Heidi, Michael and Nina finally take their seats, along with guest judge and fashion DIVA Suzy Menkes, editor of the International Herald Tribune. Althea comes out onto the runway and she is wearing … wait for it … UGGs! In front of Suzy Godmother-of-Fashion Menkes? Oh, the travesty. I know that because it was Season 6, a lot of this was shot without an audience (to keep the secrecy), but did Althea forget she was going to be on national television? Her collection finally goes down the runway. Her theme is Sci-Fi Heroine. There are chunky sweaters, and lots of black leather and harem pants. Judge Suzy Menkes didn’t see much futurism in Althea’s collection, and frankly, neither did I. There was a lot of wearable sportswear, which Kors applauded her for. It was all very Zara or H&M, which can be a good thing, but maybe not for a Bryant Park runway show.

Carol Hannah’s Cowl-Draped Architecture
Carol Hannah is next. She explains that her collection is about architecture, yet for the most part it seemed more Grecian Goddess to me. She’s got great draping skill, which showed up in dress after dress. Nina Garcia liked the first look, and I, along with Suzy, loved the teal jersey gown — her 13th look — which Amanda Fields (model from Season 3) wore. However, there were SO MANY ideas, as Heidi suggested — enough for FIVE collections. She needs more time and experience to know that for a collection, especially a 13-piece “capsule,” she only needed to have about three strong ideas and not 14.

Irina on runwayQueena Irina
From the first two looks out, I knew this was BY FAR the best collection of the three. Irina’s theme was a Warrior Princess living, surviving and shielding herself in the Big Apple. I really liked it. The fit was spot-on, and so was the styling. As Michael and Nina concurred, her collection had such a strong sense of showmanship. From those fabulous equestrian-meets-Sparta hats to the purses and shoes. Also, the clothes looked as if they were made well; no hanging threads or puckered seams in sight. Kudos to Gordana for helping her finish it to perfection. If I saw one of Irina’s girls walk into a room, I would want to know who she was, where she was from and how I could have some of her fabulousness! But Nina was right: There was too much black. I understand it’s a Fall/Winter collection, but a shot of plum or violet or metallic would have broken it up. A girl — even in New York — can’t live on black alone.

Season 6 Redemption
But in the end, Irina’s was the best collection. I was happy to see that Miss Irina “brought it”! She stepped up to the plate and hit a fashion home run. It was on par with other great “Project Runway” finale collections like those of Christian Siriano, Rami Kashou, Jay McCarroll and Leanne Marshall. In a season where so many people discredited the contestants as being so uninspiring or lacking talent, her tough, modern and effortlessly chic collection proved naysayers wrong. Congratulations, Miss Irina — now take your $100,000, invest it in getting a great work studio, and go to Paris and take your much-deserved vacation with your dog, Princess.

See you in January for another fun and fashionable season of “Project Runway”!


Episode 13: Dirty Dancing, Return to the Big Apple and Cootie Kisses

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:40am GMT

The Final Three have been decided on Season 6 of “Project Runway,” and Althea, Carol Hannah and Irina emerge as the leaders. Last week, Christopher was out, as well as Gordana. It was the elimination “heard ’round the blogosphere.” The fans weren’t too happy with Gordana’s elimination (“She left TOOOO soon ... she was ROBBED!”). Justified or not, the show must go on!

Dirty Dancin’ Tim
Last night’s episode begins with Heidi giving the ladies their real FINAL challenge: to create a 12-piece collection for NY Fashion Week with $9,000 (the retail price of ONE Michael Kors gown!). Making a guest appearance on the runway, Tim Gunn then tells the designers that he will visit them in a few months to see their progress. With that, Tim and Heidi dirty dance away — yes, DIRTY DANCE — behind the “Project Runway” scrim. I thought I had seen EVERYTHNG when I saw “Flip-Flop Tim,” but “Dirty Dancing Tim”? Was he bootie-bumping Heidi? Please say it isn’t so ...

Carol Hannah and Tim Gunn on Long IslandTim’s Biscuits & Gravy
First up on “Tim’s American Snow Tour” is Carol Hannah. She has moved from South Carolina to the suburbs of New York to be more inspired (by the frozen tundra?). On a visit to Duke University, she was moved by the whimsical architecture, which became her theme. On display is gray, gray and more gray. Carol Hannah first shows Tim a tutu-like dress with a tie-neck bodice. She wants to add a beaded waist trim, but luckily, Tim advises her against it. She’s a trim away from Michelle Kwan territory. She’s also proud to show Tim that she made pants, shock of all shocks! Soon it is dinner time, and they go downstairs to an episode of “Meet the Whitfields,” Southern-cooking style. Tim quickly dons an apron and proceeds to make biscuits. Part of me would have loved to have seen him Shake ‘n Bake a bag of Southern fried chicken too!

Georgia, NY
After leaving Carol Hannah’s house in his snowmobile, Tim heads back to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where he checks in on Irina. He is greeted by her barking dog, Princess. I love how even her dog has a Bitchy McBitch attitude. Irina’s collection is inspired by Coney Island as well as a celebration of New York. On the racks are lots of chunky handmade sweaters and plenty of fur, as well as a sea of black. She also has some screen-printed T-shirts showing iconic Coney Island images. The requisite “family and friends” lunch follows, where we get more insight on Irina’s very supportive “Follow your dream” mom (it’s always the moms!) and “Marry a nice Georgian boy and cook for him!” father.

Tim Gunn visits Althea in OhioAlthea in Dayton, Ohio
Finally, Tim heads to cold and snowy Dayton, Ohio, to visit Althea. Althea seems to live in a loft formerly occupied by the Ohio chapter of the Midwest Mafia, by the looks of the rickety elevator and sketchy “turn left in the alley” surroundings. However, once inside, it is all “safe and sound.” Her theme involves sci-fi movies and their heroines. There are chunky sweater knits and lots of black. Wait, isn’t this Irina’s collection? Tim liked the sweaters but questioned a “Wild West” costume-y coat. I was happy to see some color, though. There’s a pretty raspberry-colored dress that seems to shout at the TV, saying, “Release me from this gray and all-black fashion jail!”

Cooties and Crickets: Return to the Big Apple
Five days before their Bryant Park show, and only two of the girls have arrived at their Manhattan Grand Hyatt suite. Carol Hannah has the stomach flu. The other two try to pass the time having very awkward, cricket-inducing forced conversation. The next day, they move into their cheerfully decorated New York workroom (which coincidentally looks just like the one they left behind back at FIDM). Carol Hannah finally shows up — two Theraflus later but still sick.

Ding-Dong, You Have Visitors!
Soon it becomes “A Christmas Carol: The ‘Project Runway’ Edition,” with one too many visits. First up, “Ghost of Runway Present” Tim arrives at the workroom to check the collections. Tim questions Irina’s black leather pants (chaps much?); but from what I can see, even among a sea of black, Irina looks like she has the strongest collection by miles. Tim then wonders who Althea and Carol Hannah’s customers are, since their collections seem a bit disjointed. To me, as a viewer, their collections looked very blah. Nothing excited me. I would take a pair of leather chaps over an Althea “Hillary Clinton” suit any day.

Season 6 finalists get help from Christopher, Gordana and LoganLook Who Showed Up
Then, “Ghosts of Runway Yet to Come” Nina I-OOZE-CHIC Garcia and Michael Kors visit to dish out advice to the girls. Amid all the counseling, somehow both Nina and Michael forgot to add: “And if we see one more GRAY look from you guys, we might SCREAM!” followed by a record-skipping sound effect. That would have been my “Uncle Nicky” advice.

Season 2 Redux: Lucky Number 13
Finally, Tim and Heidi, the “Ghosts of Runway Past,” visit the designers to tell them that there’s a twist: They must create a 13th look. In addition, they tell them that they will have help from their fellow Season 6 designers (SOOO Season 2!!). Centerfold Logan is picked by Althea, Momma Gordana goes to Irina, and Odd Duck Christopher winds up helping cootie-ridden Carol Hannah.

You Gotta Work … for That Round-Trip Economy Class Ticket to New York
I wonder if these three “helpers” knew what they were coming back to. I bet they thought “Oh fun, it’s the Reunion Episode: Let’s go drinking!” Not so much, darlings; time to Make It Work. You don’t get a free round-trip economy-class ticket to New York for nothing! Will Christopher make a poufy prom dress for Carol Hannah? Will Gordana find some gray pleated-and-tucked fabric and make a suit for Irina? Or will Logan add a touch of Judy Jetson to the mix? Tune in next week, when all will be revealed ...


Episode 12: Roadkill, Stalactites and Stiletto Fantasies

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:27am GMT

Project Runway Season Six Episode 12

Previously on “Project Runway” … The remaining designers were asked to make a companion piece for one of their previous winning looks. I was a guest-judge, along with actress Kerry Washington. We concluded that it was Logan who missed the mark. I deemed it a bit “Judy Jetson” and Miss Heidi said it was “too tricked out.” I also got slammed for my “She looks like an office worker from Poland” and now have half of that nation against me. Oh, and there were accusations of copycatters. Yes, more DRAMA on Season 6!

This Is It!
But it’s a new week with episode 12: This Is It! No, not the Michael Jackson concert documentary, it’s the final challenge. Only five remain to duke it out for Bryant Park. Heidi tells the designers they are to join Tim Gunn in a location that will be rich in culture and have priceless views. Are they going to Heidi Klum’s Malibu estate? Nope, they end up at the J. Paul Getty Center and Museum, where Tim is joined by the Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of L.A. I have met Mayor Villaraigosa several times, and he’s a big champion of Los Angeles fashion.

Use the 405 Freeway as Your Inspiration?
They announce that for this very important last challenge, the designers are to create a design using the Getty Center as inspiration. Yes, yet another “inspiration challenge.” Tim points out the “galleries filled with riches,” the “staggering architecture” and the “lush garden landscape.” Somehow he missed adding “and the PAIN-INDUCING 405 Freeway (the most congested freeway in the nation) traffic down below!” A gown made out of little toy cars, inspired by that freeway, would be HOT!

Don’t Let Christopher Near THAT Bed!
As the designers are joined by their “Models of the Runway” muses, they tour the museum for inspiration. Althea goes right for the architecture, since that’s “her thing.” Gordana gets emotional at a very gray Monet painting (quelle surprise). Irina also chooses a painting, Godward’s “Mischief and Repose.” Carol Hannah loves this immense Baroque bed and its drapery, and Christopher (I’m surprised he didn’t go straight for THAT bed!) decides on the Center’s “rock fountain. Althea Harper on Project Runway Season Six Episode 12

Mood Roadkill and Stalactite Fantasies
After their last Mood L.A. trip (bye, Mood, we’ll miss you!), the designers return to their FIDM workroom to create what should be their most “wow” piece of the entire season. Or so you would think. There is lots of tension in the room, of course (“Mean Girls” are at it again!). Tim makes his workroom visit to see who was paying attention to the museum tour and who was stuck in the back of the line. Self-described “odd duck” Christopher is making a gray dress (THE color of the season!). Tim is quixotic about some stalactite shapes Christopher is creating and advises him to “keep an editing eye.” Carol Hannah is told not to lose the sophistication, and Irina is warned that the rabbit fur she bought (to go along with her chiffons) is looking like roadkill (attagirl, Tim!). Althea’s architecture-inspired skirt (see photo) is looking like a building that is about to be demolished. There is unsightly puckering, making Tim want to recheck his eyeglass prescription. Finally, Gordana seems to be doing the best of all of them, making a garment which even at this stage resembles her inspirational painting.

Where Are Zoe and Zanna?
It is the final Runway Day and the last time the designers can enjoy their fabulous FIDM digs. Thank goodness for those colorful interiors — as it turned out, they were THE ONLY COLOR we would see this season! As the designers are leaving for the runway, Tim Gunn warns that they better knock the stilettos off of Nina’s feet. We’ll be the judge of that. Speaking of judges, since this was the last challenge, I was expecting an all-star panel of Nina and Michael replacements, especially the Marie Claire “Z Girls”: Zoe Glassner and Zanna Roberts. But no, it was designer Cynthia Rowley and the “OMG-she-looks-AMAZING” Cindy Crawford. Heidi then announces (surprise!) that TWO designers will be out. The looks come down the runway, and Nina Garcia’s stilettos are still on her feet, unfortunately. It’s all rather “middle of the road,” and you can tell by the judges’ comments.

Good … But Not Great
Althea’s look was confusing. The skirt looked sloppy and was still puckering. I felt bad for her, because she’s better than that. I loved Carol Hannah’s for her simplicity and quiet elegance, but that look did not belong in THAT ornate, over-the-top bed. On the other hand, the diaphanous shape of Irina’s dress looked like one of the nymphs in her painting, but I agreed with Nina and Cindy: The length was dowdy, and it suffered from over-styling. Maybe she was the drag queen missing from the painting!

“Miss World” Meets Rock Fountain Prom
I actually really liked Gordana’s strapless organza gown. After this is all said and done, she needs to contact a textile manufacturer who will produce Gordana Fabrics, recreating her amazing pleating and pin-tucking — but not in GRAY! Her model, Matar, looked like (wait for it) a GORGEOUS Miss World from Eastern Europe. Now, on to Christopher: Cynthia Rowley liked the top (a shirred halter top is not the sign of the new Marc Jacobs, however), but all the judges agreed that the skirt and the waist-cinching corset were too heavy and dated. So who would go?

Project Runway Season Six Episode 12 final designers

Girls’ Night In
Irina is In. So is Carol Hannah. Christopher Straub is Out, and it’s down to Althea and Gordana. Even though her architectural look was deemed a “mess” by Heidi, I believe the judges rewarded Althea for having a consistent vision and saw potential for growth. She was In. Gordana Gehlhausen was, shockingly, Out. It is a bit perplexing, since her gown was great and so closely resembled the Monet painting, but Nina felt Gordana’s biggest flaw was that she didn’t know who she was as a designer. It’s an All-Girl Final Three: Irina, Althea and Carol Hannah. Bryant Park will resemble a set of “Charlie’s Angels,” but with Tim as Bosley! [Editor's Note: Funny that both Andrae Gonzalo and Nick called the final three "Charlie's Angels" in their blogs!] Let’s hope there is more Girl Power and less “Mean Girls.”


Copycatter Dirty Ratter: A Story of Wrap Sweaters & Substituting for Michael Kors

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:41am GMT

The judges including past designer Nick Verreos in episode eleven of Project Runway season six

First off, there was nothing wrong with your TV set. Michael Kors did not all of a sudden grow a beard, step out of his all-black jacket-and-T-shirt uniform and decide to throw in a bit of color into his wardrobe — and have a new penchant for hankies. Yes, that was yours truly on episode eleven of “Project Runway.” But we will get to that a little later …

Boys vs. Girls
For now, there are two boys and four girls left. That’s what it has come down to on Season 6. The boys and girls of “Project Runway” are still living in separate lofts, for fear that Carol Hannah and Logan might consummate their love for each other and fall into “Real World” get-in-a-hot-tub territory. But there’s no time for that; it’s time for the next challenge.

Turn Around!
On the runway judging stage, the designers are asked to sit with their backs to the runway. Heidi Klum then beckons them to turn around, and jaws drop: Their “Best of the Best” designs are displayed on model forms. For this penultimate challenge, they are to create a companion piece for one of their past winning looks. Cutie Logan is perplexed, since he doesn’t have a winning design but is nonetheless happy to see his silver and black one-shoulder gown, very wrinkled, I might add (were there no steamers in the back?). I think this is a great challenge, since this is what true designers do: create groups of garments that, as a whole, tell a story; they are similar but NOT the same, offering a hint of “this is all from the same designer and from the same collection.”

Poufy Gowns for Dowdy Mothers
Back in the FIDM workroom, Tim Gunn visits, and Logan’s girlfriend, Carol Hannah, says that her own design is looking like a “big scary mess.” Tim agrees. Irina is making a dress out of tapestry fabric that matches her prior winning design really well. Tim is excited about Logan’s design, pronouncing that it could easily go into the “wow” category. Althea is constructing high-waisted of-the-moment pants, but they are verging on looking like “Adult Diaper Couture.” Still stuck in 1983, Christopher is on his way to making yet ANOTHER poufy gown. Tim proclaims it the “dowdy mother” to Christopher’s younger, much sexier winning cocktail dress.

Irina Shabayeva and Althea Harper's designs in episode eleven of Project Runway season six

Mean Girls
Meanwhile, in the lounge, drama is a-brewin’: Irina and Althea are being very “Mean Girls,” trash-talking Logan and his use of multiple zippers on his collar, accusing it of being very similar to one of Althea’s previous designs. “Meana-Irina” then takes it up another notch by dissing her supposed BFF, saying Althea is also copying her! (See photo.) Listen, I know that when it gets down to only five or six designers, the tension in the “Project Runway” workroom goes to stratospheric levels. Insecurities are heightened, and eyes may “wander.” I was there.

Substitute Teacher …
It’s Runway Day, and why am I sitting in Michael Kors’ seat? A week prior to the shoot, I received a call asking me if I would sub for Michael Kors and be a guest judge on one of the final challenges. In addition to being an instructor and spokesperson for the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, I have also judged the last five seasons’ castings of the show. I therefore felt comfortable sitting in between Heidi and Nina Garcia (oh, the joy!). When I found out that actress Kerry Washington would also be there: more joy! I was honored, excited and verklempt, to say the least. Now, let me tell you, as an insider: The judging day is TENSE! What you see in 20 minutes actually takes FOUR HOURS! (Check out some extended judging Project Runway video clips from episode eleven to see more!) It is nerve-racking to know that the future of these designers is in your hands. I, for one, wanted to comfort them and give them an “Uncle Nick” hug.

Which Sweater Wrap Came First?
My first impression of the designs as they came out was, “Why the somberness and lack of color?” I was also expecting more “wow” moments, especially knowing these were the Final Six. I still, however, liked Carol Hannah’s ’50s-inspired cocktail dress and Irina’s “Millionaire Trophy Wife” ensemble. I spotted the similarity in Althea and Irina’s sweater wraps, and, trust me, we spent a long time discussing it, but we all agreed that our favorite was Althea Harper’s and all loved those draped jodhpur pants. No adult diapers in sight!

East Berlin Office Worker vs. Judy Jetson
There was also no disagreement about who would be in the bottom: We did not like Gordana’s look. It reminded me of an office worker in East Berlin circa 1972. It did nothing to complement her winning dress. Christopher’s silver petal ball gown was very Carnival Float-Meets-a-Duvet-Cover. There was a pretty gown in there, but with all the other stuff, it got lost. Then there was Logan’s minidress with a zippered collar. He had such a wonderful quiet demeanor, but the truth was this fussy, poufy design had nothing to do with the clean lines of his one-shoulder original. Nick Verreos and Logan Neitzel after the airing of Project Runway season six We seriously deliberated for over two hours on this one, and in the end it was Logan Neitzel who was sent home. For days, I felt so bad over it!

Postscript: Logan=Class
Cut to several months ago: I was visiting Seattle to host an event, and there he was: Logan. I shook in my skinny jeans, thinking, “Oh dear, he’s going to slap me in the face.” Before letting me speak, he said to me, “No hard feelings — you are the best, Nick!” and proceeded to give me a gift: a custom-made Logan Neitzel wallet! Now, that’s class. I now feel I might have to fight with Carol Hannah over Logan the next time I see her! And, by the way, I love Judy Jetson!


Episode 10: Greece...Is Not The Word

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 2:30am GMT

Michael Kors in episode ten of Project Runway season six

It is getting down to the “Project Runway” wire. Out of 16 designers, only seven remain. There are some who are talented and, arguably, some who are not so talented. There are definitely a few in the bunch who probably shouldn’t have made it through so far. After the last “Sequin and Feathers” Christina Aguilera/Bob Mackie Challenge, it was probably time to bring it down one or two sequin notches, or so they thought. With that in mind, Heidi Klum tells the remaining designers they are to take a little trip to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, where Tim Gunn would await them.

Shakopee Trading Post to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Shakopee, Minnesota native and token “Podunk-er of Season 6” Christopher got excited at the prospect of going to Rodeo Drive, admitting that “there are no Guccis or Yves Saint Laurents in my mall …” That might be his problem. Maybe it’s time to get on a United Airlines flight and get thee to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or find a cheap flight to Paris to see that there are other designers and stores besides the Shakopee Trading Post. But I digress. With this challenge, the producers of “Project Runway” are doing their part in exposing little ol’ Christopher to a brand new world of fashion, and at least it’s a start.

Paris Hilton in Mykonos
The designers arrive at the Rodeo Drive West Coast Flagship of Michael Kors. Surprisingly, Kors was actually there: For a second I thought he might be at the store via SKYPE! He explains how many of his collections are inspired by his travels around the globe, to places such as Santa Fe, St. Tropez, Palm Beach and Greece. It is fitting, then, when he introduces the next challenge for episode ten: to create a look inspired by a fabulous locale. As a designer myself, I am always influenced by international locations, whether or not I have been there. But the whole point is that it provides me with a point of design inspiration. Sometimes too much so, as witnessed back in my season, when I kept referring to the outfits I created each week as “Paris Hilton in Mykonos” or “Diva in Capri.” Curiously enough, Michael Kors chastised me for doing that, which seems odd since that’s what he is all about.

Gordana Gehlhausen design in episode 10 of season six of Project Runway

Put Down the Necklace and Make a Dress
With that, the designers get their locales and are back at the FIDM workroom, post Mood shopping, to see who was actually paying attention in their geography classes back in high school — and who may need a new Eurail Pass. Tim makes his visit and first checks in on Gordana, who picked Park Avenue/Manhattan. She’s used up all her time making a beaded necklace (see photo), and Tim says he’s nervous to leave her without seeing an actual dress. Irina, who chose Aspen, looks as if she’s almost done. That girl is OUT OF CONTROL; she is Bitchy McBitch and Speedy Gonzalez all rolled up into one!

Carole Cook Palm Beach Caftan Fantasy
Althea’s inspiration is St. Tropez, and she is doing separates for a girl heading out to brunch on the French Riviera. Mall rat Christopher is working on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, look, which immediately makes me squirm. However, Tim is somewhat liking the Navajo-looking leather belt. Carol Hannah is going to Palm Beach, but stressed she may not have enough of her leaf-printed fabric. At one point, her drape was looking like a Carole Cook (look her up, kiddies!) caftan, and I was LOVING IT! Nicolas, who got my favorite locale, Greece, is inexplicably doing something that doesn’t look very Greece-inspired. He boasts about never having been to Greece, and Tim looks a bit worried. Soon he’s in the confessional saying that he doesn’t want to go home or be in the bottom three. That’s the moment I say, “Oh, Nicolas is SO GONE!”

Ukrainian Arms Dealer Trophy Wife Goes to Aspen
It’s Runway Day and, as usual, the kids are in a panic. Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge model/actress/designer Milla Jovovich are all on hand to see the “Project Runway” World Inspiration Tour. Carol Hannah’s sundress looks fabulous (I still secretly wish she would have done a caftan!), and she is praised for it by Jovovich, who says she would “live in that dress.” Gordana did get to make something to attach to her beaded necklace, and the judges liked it. It looked very uptown and classic, but I was yawning over her repeated use of gray. Irina Shabayeva’s après-ski look ended up being the winner. It looked luxe, and at least the girl had a vision — from head to toe! It was very “trophy wife of a Ukrainian mafia arms dealer.”

Logan Neitzel in episode ten of Project Runway season six

New Mexico Circa 1983
The bottom group was a Testosterone Fest: Logan, Christopher and Nicolas. Logan created a cute yet uninspired ensemble for his Hollywood locale. (See photo.) Logan frustrates me. Why he didn’t just go ahead and make a rockin’ hipster female version of himself is beyond me. Logan is more stylish than his own designs! Christopher’s Santa Fe creation was the opposite of Irina’s: It lacked vision. Heidi even said it was “sad and ugly.” But Milla liked the belt, saying it was very 1983. That would have been a compliment, if only the ENTIRE OUTFIT wasn’t so 1983! His look was something a (58-year-old) proprietor of a New Mexico turquoise shop would wear.

Athens, Afghanistan?
But it was Nicolas Putvinski who really “missed the ferry” from downtown L.A. to Patras, Greece, during this Fabulous Locale Challenge. His look had nothing reminding anyone of the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea and blue-capped buildings of the Greek isles. Sad, ill-fitting gray pants and a white cotton surplice-wrap top? Nicolas: It’s Greece, not AFGHANISTAN! With that, Heidi waved goodbye and gave him a gift certificate to the nearest gyro restaurant. Yassou, Nicolas!


Episode 9: “Hey Sista, Go Sista, Soul Sista, WITCHY Sista …”

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:50am GMT

Bob Mackie designs featured in episode nine of Project Runway Season six

I just have one word for episode nine: OMG!! But I will get to that in just a minute. Critics and some fans have argued that maybe some of the early challenges have been, well, a bit lackluster. However, I have been noticing that in the recent weeks, the show has been gaining “Challenge Momentum”: The Costume Challenge and Nicolas’ fierce Ice Queen; the Newspaper Challenge and Johnny’s lie and Bleeding Bird Dress; and last week’s Divorcée Re-Do and accidental Oktoberfest fashion disasters, have all made for major highlights. Our favorite show is definitely taking its “fashion vitamins.” And now Xtina AND Bob Mackie?! Can a gay man ask for anything more? It’s called absolute H-E-A-V-E-N.

Sequin Crazy at the FIDM Museum
Eight designers are left, and Heidi Klum walks in — looking especially HOT. She tells the designers that A) they have no immunity from now on, and B) this challenge will be their time to shine. With that, they follow Tim Gunn into the hallowed corridors of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum and Galleries, which, incidentally, houses one of the most comprehensive (12,000) archives of costumes, accessories and textiles from the 18th century through to the present day, including film and theater costumes. At the Gallery, “The Sultan of Sequins,” Bob Mackie — along with Tim Gunn — awaits them.

Bob Mackie=Sasha Cohen
Standing next to all the iconic costumes he has designed for Cher, Madonna and Diana Ross (see photo above), Bob Mackie introduces the next challenge: to create an extravagant stage look for pop SUPERSTAR Christina Aguilera. Nicolas “I-never-met-a-feather-or-sequin-I-didn’t-like” was DYING! When he saw Mackie, I was afraid a team of medics would have to be called in to calm his excitement! He acted the same way I did when I saw Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen in my Season 2 Figure Skating Costume Challenge — I guess Sasha Cohen was my Bob Mackie!

Vegas Drag Queens at the Ice Capades
$300 worth of Mood feathers and sequin fabric later, the designers return to their FIDM workrooms to begin their stage looks, which they have two days to create. The following morning, Tim arrives to see whose outfit would “Shut It Down!” and which ones would be worthy of showing at a Vegas off-the-strip Drag Queen Review. Gordana “I’m a DEEEEESIGNER” is safe (because of last week’s win) but stressed: Her beads keep falling off, and Tim thinks her dress (which she is remaking) looks matronly. Tim looks at Christopher’s outfit and calls it a “general disappointment” and adds that it reminds him of a 1999 ice skating look (Hi, Sasha!).

Irina Shabayeva in episode nine of Project Runway Season six

Guinevere-Vampira meets Irina McBitch
On the other hand, Tim thinks Carol Hannah’s look might have a “wow factor.” I’m just afraid of how dark the colors are. Nicolas — who should have this one in the bag — is making a “Mini-Me” of his winning Ice Queen design, and Tim calls him out on it. Shirin seems to have bought every tacky cheap sequined fabric at Mood, and her creation is looking like a “throw-in-everything-AND-the-kitchen-sink” dress. Tim says it looks like not only Guinevere-meets-Vampira but also a really bad prom dress for a 16-year-old. If I was Shirin, I would crawl under the table and hide until one of the production assistants slips me a BIG OL’ strong drink, and call it a night! But of course, you can’t really do that. On the sidelines, Bitchy McBitch, Irina, is at it once again, talking trash about everyone within a five-foot radius. She’s good at what she does, I’ll give her that, but it seems like an insecure mechanism (isn’t it always?) to be doing that, especially if you are so sure of how good you are.

Season 6 Supremes: Diana 2.0, Mini-Me Ice Queen, Elegant Xtina
Tensions are high on the day of the runway show as the designers are sewing their last sequin and feather on their figure skating outfit … I mean, 1999 Prom Dress … I mean, Stage Look for Christina Aguilera. At the judges’ seats are Nina Garcia (she’s finally returned from her lovely vacation in Cartagena), Bob Mackie (Nicolas is having a second cardiac arrest) and yes, the one and only Miss Christina Aguilera (EVERYONE is having a cardiac arrest now!). The Project Runway Stage Divas come down the runway, and Althea’s model, Tanisha, looks more Diana Ross than Christina, but that’s still good in my book — as well as the judges’. Aguilera loves Nicolas’ “Ice Queen Little Sister,” giving praise for its “booty-shaking” drama. But Carol Hannah Whitfield’s sophisticated black feathered gown takes home the Project Runway Grammy for Best Dress.

Shirin and Christopher's designs in episode nine of Project Runway Season six

Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Christopher?
While the top three looks were stunners, the bottom, not so much. I actually thought Logan’s look was cute, but it didn’t stand a chance next to the “you-can-me-see-from-row ZZ1,008” creations of Nicolas, Althea and Carol Hannah. The judges deemed it a bit “cavewoman,” and I agree; she looked like Wilma Flintstone going to the Nokia Theater. The bottom honors, however, went to Christopher and Persian Princess Shirin. Christopher’s look reminded me (and Bob Mackie) of a hoochie Pussycat Dolls costume. (See photo.) The judges nailed it when they told him it was reminiscent of Aguilera’s “Lady Marmalade” period. What was he thinking? Christina does not want to look like a cheap VH1 hooker anymore — that was Christina EIGHT years ago! And then there was poor Shirin. It was too much dress and suffered from the “student project” virus. It also reminded Heidi of a Halloween witch dress. So it was between Lady Marmalade Hoochie Soul Sista and Halloween Witch Couture. And with a wave of a broomstick, Heidi bid adieu to our little Shirin Askari.



Episode 8: Divorzillas at the Hofbrau

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:00am GMT

Divorced women who are the models on episode eight, the wedding dress challenge, of Last week we witnessed what one can do with a shower loofah and a bridesmaid dress, and it wasn’t pretty. We also saw the unfortunate marriage of a Disco Pumpkin and Ronald McDonald. On “Project Runway,” there’s always this unfortunate hope to see the fashion train wreck evolve and then make its way in front of Michael Kors. It’s part of the fun of watching the show. With every new episode, we secretly hope for those “oh no she didn’t” moments and, of course, to see glorious and inspiring fashions all on the same runway.

Keep Away From Matches
This week was no different in episode eight. The episode begins with Irina, bitching about how all the other designers must hate and be jealous of her (she’s won twice), and therefore building some sort of story arc that I am certain will play out in upcoming episodes. Heidi enters the runway and tells the designers that they have “new models.”

Suddenly nine women appear in the tackiest of wedding dresses. It looks like a going-out-of-business sale at Filene’s! Miss Klum then tells the designers that these women are divorcees and that they are wearing their old wedding gowns. I shriek at the thought that any of them actually had the impudence — I don’t care if it was FIFTEEN YEARS AGO — to choose such tasteless visions of acetate and tulle.

Divorzillas Get a Makeover
The challenge Heidi then gives them is to convert an old wedding dress into a fashionable new look. The designers choose their models. Irina, being first, picks the divorcee with the biggest “Gone With the Wind” gown (smart girl), while last-in-the-velvet-bag Persian Princess Shirin gets stuck with a client whose simple shift dress consists of maybe 1 1/2 yards of fabric. This challenge was to “test” the designers’ ability to work with a client who wasn’t 5'10" and a size 2.

It was about listening to the client, their wants and needs, as well as injecting your own design aesthetic. In past “Project Runway” client-designer challenges (the “Prom Challenge,” the “Mother Challenge,” etc.), the “real-life” clients were of varying body types. However, I noticed that for the most part, these divorcees were all consistently the same size. I feel that this was certainly to the designers’ advantage. It would have been nice to see more size diversity.

The designers meet their clients. Shirin is already having issues with her “model,” Charlie. You see, Shirin’s client wants to look like Cher — peacock feathers and all — and Shirin, rightfully, does not want to go there. They are off to Mood, where they are given $25 to purchase 2 yards of “other” fabric, and wouldn’t you know it, Shirin buys peacock feathers for her Cher-fabulous ensemble. (Don’t do it!)

Shirin Askari crying on episode eight, the wedding dress challenge, of season six of Project Runway Lost in Translation
The designers return to the FIDM workroom and begin constructing their looks. Tim visits and quickly has his patented “I’m perplexed” look. I love that the first reaction upon seeing Christopher’s design is “What is this?” That might not be a good start. Epperson tells Tim that he may have misunderstood the challenge, since he thought the task was to use “as little as possible” of the wedding dress fabric. Logan also seems confused and is using more of his purchased Mood fabric as opposed to the original wedding gown material. Is there a Berlitz translator who can help confused “Project Runway” contestants?

The Eastern Bloc contingency, Gordana and Irina, have both dyed their combustible fabrics and seem to be creating nice pieces. In another corner of the room, Shirin is having a meltdown, torn between wanting to make her client Cher-fabulous — and knowing it might end up like a train wreck ready for a Kors Teardown! Tim gives her a shoulder to cry on. Before heading off for his late-afternoon cocktail, Tim also reminds all the designers that the old tacky wedding dress MUST BE the core of their look. We’ll see if Epperson and Logan listen.

Fans, Rejoice: Michael Kors Has Not Left the Building
It’s Runway Day, and back at the judges’ chairs are Michael Kors (doves and hearts around his head), Marie Claire Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts, and Tamara Mellon, the chic founder of the Jimmy Choo empire and a member of the board of Halston. The designs come down, and Irina and Gordana’s are the best. Irina’s antique gold lace kimono-sleeved dress was age-appropriate and elegant. The gunmetal-gray dress deesigned by Gordana Gehlhausen was innovative and modern, and was made exquisitely. She wins as a result and gets the last “Project Runway” Immunity Idol.

Epperson and Logan's designs on episode eight, the wedding dress challenge, of Project Runway Season Six Luck Be a (Bad Dress) Lady Tonight
Now to the bad divorcees who got a lucky break: I CRIED with laughter as Nicolas confessed, "This is the most HIDEOUS thing I've ever made." (He was right!) Persian Princess Shirin changed her dress at the last minute, adding black contrasting topstitching. I was on the fence about her divorcee look and actually secretly wished she would have done a Cher-at-the-Oscars look instead of this "Oh so cute and safe" design! Michael Kors did not suffer fools with his critique of Christopher's metallic Hefty bag of a dress. Christopher's taste level seems to be dropping by the minute. Maybe he just needs "time out" in that gorgeous FIDM Hope Park.

Hofbrau Sisters
Logan and Epperson were at the bottom, however. Logan’s three-piece outfit was all over the place, and the client looked like a hostess at a Hofbrauhaus. I’m afraid he “bit off more than he could chew,” and if anyone knows about this, it’s me (remember the fully lined jacket, pants, dress shirt and scarf I made for Daniel Vosovic?). Epperson’s outfit was also another Oktoberfest waitress. Coincidence? (See photo of both designs.) Eventually, it was Epperson’s waitress from Heidi’s Hofbrau Restaurant that was sent home. She may be divorced, but she can cook a mean bratwurst in this dress!