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Season 13, Episode 6: Something Alternative

Posted By laurareineke 4:01am GMT

The subject of wedding gowns and creating them is not a foreign one to “Project Runway." Last night's episode had elements of a Throwback Thursday: Back in Season 6 the contestants had to reconstruct a divorcée's wedding gown into a new dress, and in Season 1 the designers created wedding gowns with their models as clients (how can we forget Morganza!). Now on Season 13, it’s time to revisit the Wedding Gown but with an “alternative” twist.

The episode begins quite awkwardly as Amanda and Korina are sitting in their Gotham West apartment surrounded by uncomfortable silence. It seems that Korina, out of the blue (according to Amanda), told her that she was “kind of a phony." Umm, okay. So either A) Korina is hatin’ on Amanda for winning a couple of challenges; B) Korina is just being Meany McMeany; or maybe, C) Amanda is a phony and we’re not seeing this via editing. Either way, WHO CARES? Well, soon we realize the producers sure did when they “randomly” paired them together for a challenge.

Cut to the designers arriving at Webster Music Hall. Tim Gunn and burlesque diva and lingerie designer Dita Von Teese enter arm and arm, walking down a makeshift aisle. They introduce the challenge, which is to create "alternative" wedding and reception looks for a bride. Tim says there are no rules, and advises the to unleash their creativity while making sure the looks are believable for a bride. Since the designers have to create TWO looks, it’s also a team challenge. The dreaded button bag comes out and Tim "randomly" names the couples who will be working together: Faye and Emily, Alexander and Samantha, Kini and Sean, Sandhya and Char, and of course Amanda and Korina. What were the chances that unhappy-roommate couple Amanda and Korina were going to end up working together? Very high.

After sketching and Mood time, the designer couples are back in the workroom. Sandhya and Char have chosen a highlighter-yellow fabric and tacky-looking lace and appliqué for their wedding and reception looks. The episode is barely into its first 15 minutes and you know this isn’t going to be good. Emily and Fade are going the goth route. Alexander and Samantha also got bit by the lace-and-appliqué bug. Kini and Sean are inspired by gay marriage. Finally, unhappy couple Korina and Amanda are doing a black-and-white suit and dress. Tim checks in and predictably calls Sandhya and Char out on their color choice and sloppy construction. He then spends a lot of time on Korina and Amanda, particularly discussing Korina’s lack of innovation in comparison to Amanda. To be honest, I liked both of their looks and felt that Tim was unnecessarily being too critical and too hands-on. Speaking of too hands-on, Tim told Kini and Sean that they should do a cummerbund for their tuxedo look. If I had ever done that to my designers on “Under The Gunn," Tim would have CHASED me out of the workroom -- and made sure it was all caught on camera.

Runway Day
There are lots of last-minute “Make it work" moments occurring prior to the runway. Korina has only made a jacket so Amanda takes on the responsibility of creating a pant, which ends up being too tight. I realize that Amanda has never worked with this particular model but does she know what adding extra seam allowance means? Sandhya and Char are a mess trying to put lipstick on two chartreuse pigs. Sean has spent the entire time making a pair of pants and has no top. Well, Kini to the rescue. He offers to make Sean's top and has it completely finished in just a few short hours. Soon it’s runway time. Joining Heidi, Zac, and Nina are Miss Von Teese and Chiara Ferragni, a fashion blogger who also goes by the name of “The Blonde Salad” and incidentally loves to enunciates every word as if she's a waitress in a Firenze restaurant.

Now, the wedding belles. First off, surprisingly (if you believe the editing and where it was all leading) unhappy couple Amanda and Korina are safe. My favorites were the creations from Kini and Kini’s “assistant” Sean. Both looks were sophisticated, chic and aspirational. I thought that Kini’s "wedding dress” looked like a couture doll and was impeccably made. Sean’s tuxedo pants were tailored perfectly and just right for a Power Fashion Lesbian. The blouse Kini made was seductive and added the right feminine touch to the pants. They were the obvious winning team. But who should win? I'm with Heidi. It should be Kini. Even Sean thought so, though he forgot to mention who made the blouse. The judges eventually gave it to Sean. I felt a little icky about Sean not giving Kini props in front of the judges, but at the same time, I understand it is a competition. He didn't want to point out his own flaws and throw himself under the bus.

The bad: Dita Von Teese and Zac thought Emily and Fade's goth gals were not-so-cute. However, I agreed with Heidi and Chiara and totally got it: I liked Emily's lace Goth Queen and loved Fade's sexy dress made from his unique fabric creation. Alexander and Samantha were also on the bottom for their oxblood lace looks; they were tacky, UBER appliquéd and honestly two seconds from a store in a mall (especially Samantha's). But without question, Char and Sandhya were the worst. Those chartreuse lace and corn-cob (thank you Alexander!) looking things were a total #FashionFail. I almost fell off the couch when Dita said that she was waiting for the "She's a lemon heiress" story: 10 Points for Dita. Both Char and Sandhya were not up to the task for this challenge. And draping, by the way, is not Sandhya's forte. Stick to fabric manipulation, darling. In the end, it was Char who went home. I loved how humble, honest and positively unassuming Char was in her exit interview. While I agree with the judges, I definitely think she has a bright future. Hopefully just not chartreuse bright!


Glamp It Up

Posted By kim_messina 4:46am GMT

Tim in a Camouflage suit? Heidi in a khaki ensemble? Is this THE "Kandahar Province Challenge"? Is the U.S. Army a new sponsor? No kids, relax, "Project Runway" is going Camping—as in tents, marshmallows and getting closer to nature...

Camping Convert
First things first, I'd like to take this time to discuss my abhorrence to camping. It may come to everyone reading this as a surprise, but once—very long ago—I was a Cub Scout. I HATED IT. In addition, the one time my dad tried to take me on a father-son camping trip, I cried the entire time. Suffice it to say, I don't do camping. So when Tim and Heidi announced that the designers were going on a camping trip,besides thinking bug bites, peeing in a river and snakes in my tent, I thought, "Thank goodness I wasn't there!" This all changed, however, the minute Camo-Tim mentioned that this would be more of "luxury camping"— a GLAMPING trip. I think my fuchsia-colored Prada Dopp Kit could definitely get with the GLAMPING program. I also realized that this "get out of the workroom" trip would have been a nice respite from the pressure cooker environment of the competition.

Time To Glamp It Up
I was ready to give Tim Gunn credit for coining a new word into the lexicon of hip 21st Century lingo...until I Googled "Glamping" and 1,330,000 results came back. Oh well Tim, not this time. The designers packed, got in their separate boy-girl vans, drove for hours and finally got to their Glamping site. Tim was waiting there, along with Seona Skwara, who has what could be the MOST OBSCURE TITLE in a Company EVER: she is the Head of Activation with Resource Natural Spring Water. One question: does she "activate" the Resource Natural Spring Water Spout? Inquiring minds want to know.

Nature Inspired
Along with Tim, Seona announces that "nature helps us discover our best," (Umm, I disagree, I think Paris Haute Couture does, but go on...) and that this is the Resource Water Challenge: to create a high-end fashion look inspired by nature. Tim reiterates that this must be a HIGH-END look and NOT something one would actually wear while camping. After some paddling, zip lining and sign-language teaching, the designers begin getting inspired by their surroundings. The following day, their 24 hour Glamping trip is over and it's back to the concrete jungle of the workroom.

Tents, Glue Guns, Bias Calligraphy and Kindergarten Thread Painting
Tim checks in. Karen is inspired by the tents and is making A TENT DRESS. Uh oh. Jeremy wrote a love poem to his husband and children, and is now transferring it onto a bias-cut gown he's making (a possible "wow"). Justin is using the glue from the glue gun to create a lace appliqué on his look. Uh oh part deux. Alexandria is being a loner7#151;and besides trying to avoid "Mean Girl Ken," she is concentrating on a drop-crotch and denim sporty look. Bradon is "thread painting" and Tim is questionable of the technique. He says it's coming off a bit "clunky" and childlike, but against his wishes, Bradon continues on with it. He struggles, however throughout the day not really even having anything to fit on his model.

"Project Runway" Sidebar: How Much Time To Finish?
It's Runway Day and Bradon begins the day with no dress. He goes into "Make It Work" mode, creating his look entirely in the pre-Runway time. Sidebar: one of the most asked questions from "Project Runway" fans is, "How much time do you really have the day of Runway to finish your garment?" It depends but usually we would arrive at the workroom around 8-9 am and would be told to stop around noon. There would be a "lunch break" and then it was Runway time. So, basically we had about 3 hours to either finish or—as in Bradon's case—make an entire dress.

The Safe
Guest Judge is HBO's "Girls" actress Allison Williams. The designs come out. Helen 's strapless gown with raw-edged treatment looks almost unfinished. Maybe that's the point. Bradon's just-made dress is questionable and certainly not up to the level of what we have seen from him. I liked Miranda's gown; it was very Flamenco Moderno, but also a tad obvious with the leaf detail. Dom re-worked her "Bow Tie Challenge" neckline for her dress and Kate's reminded me of something I'd seen before from Alexander McQueen; it was referential and the fit was odd, but also quite "Fairy Princess" cute.

The Top
Alexander's tree-inspired gown was a triumph of fit. The black leather hem did look a bit "oil slicky" but it added some edginess to the gown. I have to be honest that I thought Alexandria's drop-crotch and denim jacket look would land her in the bottom but boy was I surprised when she won. I understood the look, but to me it just didn't really scream high-end enough. The model is very HIGH FASHION, but her look wasn't. I thought that Jeremy's ivory bias-cut "love poem" gown should have won; this was ethereal, gorgeous, inspiring and high fashion. There's always (at least) one instance in every "Project Runway" season where the judges go for the unexpected as their favorite and this was that selection. Also, I've always said that the judges, especially Nina (and Michael Kors when he was a judge), do not really like gowns and here was a perfect example of that.

You're Out
It was down to Ken , Karen and Justin. Zac Posen called Ken's dress a "Frog Queen." I actually didn't think that was fair. I thought his dress looked very "Madame" and although very heavy up top, was an interesting dress that could have worked with a little tweaking. I also didn't think it was fair for Heidi to be complaining about all the front detail when she was featuring a very front-heavy (and feathered!) concoction herself. Karen made an ombré-dyed maxi dress inspired by the camping tents. It was a TENT DRESS(!) and the styling was so off: Cowboy booties, beach-y hair...what is happening here? But it was Justin's glue gun "appliqué" dress that, rightly so, was at the very bottom. Nina said that his model had a "foaming vagina" (Ayyy Dios Mio!). His technique backfired completely and the look was amateur at best. He was out.

...But Not For Long
As we know Tim gets to save ONE designer in the season. As Justin is saying his goodbyes to his teary fellow designers (I was kinda choking up as well), Tim walks in and announces that indeed he is saving Justin (after wiping his own tears). While this was very nice of Tim, I wondered if this was the right time to use his all-important "Tim Save." Did Tim use his "aww shucks" emotional voice as opposed to his rational-thinking voice? Should Justin have been out and stayed out. What if a (arguably) more talented designer like Bradon, Kate or Alexandria get the unfortunate "Auf"? What then? No saves for them. What do you guys think of all this? Lots to discuss and I can't wait to read your thoughts. Until next week....as Heidi says, "BYYYYEEEE!"


Mature Muse

Posted By kim_messina 4:30am GMT

When you combine Joan Rivers with the thrill of designing for "Mature Women" and then throw in my Fantasy "kooky" aunt from Boca…Boy you've really got my attention! Yes kids, this week on Season 11 "Project Runway: Teams Edition" (if it still could be called that) the designers were faced with the challenge of creating ensembles for "Ladies of a Certain Indeterminate Age." Let's Recap...

Who Do You Not Want To Work With? Because That's Who You'll Be Working With
Last week, Matthew was out and Richard was in. Michelle continued to be the "Bad Luck Charm” of the season—as well as the funniest and most "on point" commentator, and platinum-haired Aussie Benjamin is confident about getting such high praise from the judges in regards to his strapless-and-sexy Miranda Lambert gown. Cue the "He's going to be on the BOTTOM this week" thoughts in your head (or at least mine!). Heidi greets the remaining designers with the dreaded button bag and since last week Michelle was left without a partner, it's time to put her somewhere. Earlier, while at the Atlas Apartments, she comments about how she does NOT want to be paired up with Patricia. Well huney, I think you might want to think twice about using your loud voice around the producers because VOILA! Guess whose name Heidi draws from her button bag? Yep! Patricia. Coincidence? Not so mucheeey. This isn't my first time at this Reality Show Rodeo.

Mature Muse
Heidi then tells the designers that "Fashion is timeless" and with that, sends them off. They all meet at the Midtown Loft Dance Hall where there are several "mature ladies" in a dance class. Tim walks in and announces that the Challenge this week is to create a fashionable look for a mature client. The camera then pans to the designers as Richard flashes THE FAKEST smile EVAH. Mr. Gunn tells the designers who their clients are and soon afterward, it's time to consult and Mood shop—with $200 per look. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS EACH!? I flashback to the days when that would have been the budget for the Couture Challenge!

Not Following the "Teams" Point of All This
I am still unsure as to where the "teams" aspect of this whole thing comes into play since it seems that each designer is doing their own "thang". I'm thinking "are the mature ladies Lesbian partners?" Nope. This challenge was more about each designer going off and creating whatever they wanted and just praying the other person doesn’t mess up.

Poncho Patricia and "Get-It-Together" Amanda
Since the designers had only one day to do this challenge, the workroom was Stress Central. Tim walks in for a visit and surveys what they have been up to. He loves Michelle's look and is questionable of Patricia's poncho. I'm questionable of that poncho too. For goodness sakes, it is a mess and reminds me of a "Before" photo for a Jennie Craig ad. What is she thinking? When I see Michelle's on-point smack-talk confessionals, I almost want to give her a "Hey Gurl!" high-five. Moving on. Amanda is struggling and I have to admit that I can't understand why. IT'S A DRESS!! Amanda is a woman (the last time I checked) and her go-to line is that she designs for "real women", yet she is having issues. Stop the whining, put your nose to the pattern table and make a friggin' dress lady!

We Love You Joan!
Day of runway and Zac Posen is not there. Six episodes in and he's really become the new Michael Kors; showing up whenever he feels like it. The beautiful, talented and very successful Rachel Roy is there instead. In addition, the "Special Guest Judge" is the one-and-only Joan Rivers. PS: There is a GOD! Design for a Mature Client + Joan Rivers = Genius. Her daughter—and Executive Producer of E!'s "Fashion Police"—Melissa Rivers, is there, only because one figures, Joan needs a travel partner in First Class. The designs come out and here are my "Nick Two Cents":

Jumpsuit Polished vs. Fun Fab
I love Michelle's flower print dress with crystal beaded waist. In my opinion it was one of the best and most finished dresses on the runway. Patricia changed her "mumsie" poncho into a blue-and-gold wrap/shawl that looked elegant that still brought her threesome team down. She survived another week and we are guaranteed for more Michelle behind-the-scenes Patricia Hate Talk. My favorites on the runway were Samantha's chartreuse and animal print dress as well as Stanley's navy jumpsuit with matching bolero. Now, both of these designers had an "upper hand" since their clients were closer to a model's size than the other ladies. This isn't fair. When you look at these types of challenges in Project Runway history, it almost always seems to benefit the designers whose "real models" were of smaller sizes. But they both still designed solid garments. I agreed with Fab Joan (and disagreed with the judges) in that I thought Samantha's dress was really good and perfect for her client. Stanley's look was polished and chic but his client was having crotch issues and yes, those cropped pants were TOO cropped. Based on the color, fit and "young spirit"#151;I would have given Miss Samantha the prize. But it was Stanley who got the win.

Oh Amanda
Now, onto the Bottom: Team Kate and Tu and Team Benjamin and Amanda. No one, in their right mind watching this episode was surprised to see Tu or Amanda there. Tu's moss green dress was badly constructed and looked like a uniform for an airline I NEVER want to fly with. Now, let's discuss Amanda: the ENTIRE episode dealt with her and her whining and struggles. Her printed dress was a MESS. The sleeves, the unintentionally asymmetrical hem, the covered-up mistake in the center back...WOW, there was nothing right about this dress.

Grand Dame Auf
But Benjamin? I couldn't understand why he was there—until the judges went more in depth about his design during their deliberation. At first, I liked the dress he created; heck, even his client liked it. It looked very Oscar de la Renta…on a budget. But then I realized, "Oh, it looks Very Oscar de la Renta On a Budget!" Ooops. The sleeve cap was too tight, the skirt too poufy and the color too predictable for an "older lady." I guess if I were to choose which one of the two dresses was more innovative, it would be Amanda&3151;as bad as her construction was. So with that we say goodbye to the Aussie. He can at least sleep well knowing he made his ADORABLE client happy. And wasn’t that the main point anyway?!


You Ain't No Waif Yourself

Posted By kim_messina 4:47am GMT

On almost every season of "Project Runway" there is the "Dress A Real Person Challenge." In past seasons, designers have had to work with moms, bratty teenagers, and even on my season, we had to make over our fellow designers. Don't remind me the outcome of that one. Moving on... It's the challenge that both furthers the stereotype that (some) fashion designers are body dysmorphic creatures who worship and idolize the size 0, 6 foot tall, super human creatures (models), and at the same time, can show that we do care about a "real size" woman. It's an intelligent designer who can be successful at the latter, which is of course the most important factor, since most women are NOT a size 0, 2 or even an 8 for that matter. In actuality the average american woman is a size 14. So with that in mind, let's start this week's recap:

I Have Style ... But My Friend Doesn't

Heidi waltzes onto the "Runway" stage and announces that "for your next challenge, we have some new clients for you." Ten men and women enter and flank Miss Klum. Before the remaining 10 designers can whisper in disgust a, "Are we creating something for them?!" Heidi adds, "Well, these aren't your new clients ... you'll be creating looks for their FRIENDS." It's the L'Oreal Hair Challenge of Making Over a Friend. OK, now you can cut to the designers giving looks of "We have to dress REAL PEOPLE!?" Even Heidi noticed the "Oh no" looks as she tries to remind the designers that "this might be a lot of fun..." The operative word here is MIGHT. Even Heidi wasn't buying what she was selling — knowing there is bound to be designer/client drama. They all head to the Parsons workroom where Tim awaits with L'Oreal consulting hair stylist Johnny Lavoy, who will help in creating the friend makeover transformations.

Meet Your Clients

Time to meet each of the designers' "real life clients" who were (supposedly) chosen for each designer at random: Sonjia gets Amanda, a sweat pant-loving tomboy who hates to shop. Elena is handed Jenna, who is "bubbly" and loves color. Christopher gets Kate, who is hoping for a trendy jacket. Dmitry is paired with Angela who likes chunky jewelry and contrast. Alicia gets Martina, who wants men to marry her and women to BE her (at-a-girl!). And finally, Melissa gets Kannace who likes dresses.

Sexy with Swag and the Brawny Paper Towel (Wo)man

Nathan is paired with Liana — an Eastern European-sounding beauty who wants to be a pop/R&B singer. She wants something "Sexy with Swag." Fabio gets someone named Ko-Reply Pi who at first I thought was a boy, but then realized not-so-mucheey. She's afraid of wearing anything that might "sexualize" her — and she achieved that with her "Brawny Paper Towel Man" ensemble. Gunnar gets Kim, who is very excited at the prospect of being made over, and Ven? He gets a lovely woman by the name of Terri who works in finance and loves her t-shirts and 10-year-old jeans. She also happens to be one of the "larger ladies" in the room. Mon Dieu.

Plus Size Basher

As soon as you can say "Jenny Craig," Ven goes into "plus size bashing mode" disrespecting his client and basically all non-size 4 women in America. He says some doozies on his "direct-to-camera" interviews that would make anyone within earshot want to through some carb-filled Fettuccini Alfredo at him. Among other foot-in-mouth statements, he says that he was "shocked and disappointed" that he has to work with a real person and not a model. Then when Tim makes his workroom visit, he tells him that his client has no sense of style, isn't fashion forward, doesn't have any shape and oh, the pièce de résistance: that her "before" photo is "definitely a NIGHTMARE." In addition, he goes on to demean Terri (his client) to her face by saying that the belt he wants her to wear is "too small for her" and that he was "shocked" at how beautiful her transformation was after the haircut and color makeover. Wow Ven, you get the "Contemptuous and Discourteous Behavior Toward a Client" Trophy for Season 10.

You Ain't No Waif

Here we go: I'm just surprised that NO ONE — especially Terri his client or her friend Theo — turned around and said, "Huneyyyyy! You Ain't No Waif Yourself" (sorry for the bad double negative grammar). For someone like Ven, who is no Size Small himself, to have a complete disregard for his client’s sensitivity toward size-ism is just jaw-dropping. I would expect those types of things to be coming from say, waifish Gunnar (my UBER skinny gays can be so mean sometimes!), but lo and behold, Miss Gunnar was a complete and utter gentleman with his client who was basically the same dress size as Ven's client. If you're counting, it's ten points for Gunnar. Zero for Ven.

Bye Bye Brawny, Hello Chic Artist

It's Runway Day and the stage is set for "Will Ven be at the bottom for being so mean?" Alongside Nina, Michael and Heidi, is British fashion designer Alice Temperley of Temperley London, who counts Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge as a client. Let's do the good first: Gunnar, Fabio and Dmitry. First of all, Gunnar's client ROCKED the runway. I almost got up from my sofa and started clapping, hootin' and hollerin' as she was sashaying down the runway. Kim should get a "Lifetime Runway Award" come reunion show time. The judges also loved what she was wearing by the way (Me, not so much, to be honest). Dmitry made his client look edgy and cool. But it was Fabio who took the prize this week for creating such an original color-blocked dress for his plaid shirt-loving client. Nina described it as "phenomenal." A Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci Haute Couture gown is phenomenal, so I wouldn't go as far as that, but it was very good.

Hoochie Momma Bye

Now, back to Ven. No surprise that he was in the bottom along with Nathan and Sonjia. Sonjia's jersey twisted knot front dress was way too short and well, we've seen it before ... at every department store across the US. On a good note: she gets points for making her sweats-loving client look feminine and so different. Ven's creation reflected his unharmonious designer/client working relationship. The look didn't know whether it was going for cocktails (the shiny turquoise batwing top) or a job interview (black skirt with diagonal metal zipper). Ven never took the time to find out what his client really liked and wanted. Instead he verbally bashed Terri and went ahead creating something that wasn't her. It was Ven's way or the Jenny Craig Highway. As a result, he was where he should be, which is at the bottom. While Ven took complete control and failed, Nathan on the other hand, gave up control and allowed his client to dictate the entire look, making Nathan her private seamstress and not her designer. His client was all things Hoochie Momma. When I saw the illusion sides, I just about wondered out loud if we were in Vegas and it was 3 am! So with that, the judges said bye bye to Nathan.

A Note to Ven

You are a very talented designer and have a great chic style aesthetic but ... good luck getting ANYONE to buy your clothes when you're done with this. A public apology to the MILLIONS of average American size 14 women might be in your future plans.


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!