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The Project Runway Blog

Almost Curtains

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Aug. 12, 2011 ,12:12 am EDT

The first team challenge on this season of “Runway” allowed us all to see how well the designers can compromise to reach a common goal: dressing a 700-foot-tall woman. Given the literal enormity of this challenge, the teams needed to be mindful of not making a giant costume (this is a model wearing stilts, after all), but to treat this as if they were dressing a tremendously tall person and make everything proportionate to that. And it seemed like that was the key to succeeding in this challenge. Those who made something costume-y ended up in the bottom, and those who made a ready-to-wear look were rewarded.

The walk is always critical to any great model, but the fact that some of these stilt walkers were walking like a tall, drunk John Wayne in a swimming pool wasn’t doing anyone any favors here.

As for the team pairings, you could tell which unions were doomed from the start (Bert and Viktor) and which would be complementary (Anthony Ryan and Laura Kathleen — a.k.a. Team Two First Names). Even though Josh M. (sorry, THE Josh) and Julie ended up in the bottom on this challenge, I’ve decided that they need their own show ASAP. I would watch those two in the workroom together any day making crazy romantic Mexican-hat-dance Liberace matador outfits. Please give us more!

After a 4:30 am breakfast midnight snack and Red Bull chug, the designers were off to the show’s first outdoor runway presentation.

This episode reminded us of the great divide between the self-taught designers and those who went to school for formal training. Team Bryce and Fallene (who behaved almost like they were a brother-and-sister team) should have done a better job of sizing up their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, Fallene doesn’t know how to cut on the grain. We get it. This was made abundantly clear. But if Bryce was the master of all things grain, whole wheat and otherwise, wouldn’t it have behooved them to transition her to the skirt to get the final look they wanted? Instead, we ended up with more soundbites from Bryce and a really tall bad dancer’s warm-up getup. (All that was missing was the leg warmers, some bandaged-up feet and the neck cut out of an oversized T-shirt. What a feelin’!)

How do you solve a problem like slightly lobster-color Bert? Not with those correctly-identified-as-”Sound of Music”-curtains fabric. I’m not sure what was worse: that tapestryesque fabric on the top, or the material on the skirt? In the words of fellow blogger Laura Bennett, SERIOUS UGLY. I’m sure Bert is wise and learned and well-read, but he missed the book that taught him that their garment was heinous. And I say “their” because it was a collective effort. Just like Team Two First Names should have JOINTLY won for their success, Bert and Viktor should have been jointly accountable for their failure. They both had a hand in that garment.

In the end, it’s time for Fallene to head back to hairdressing, and Viktor is spared. His Week 2 Wee Wee Pad dress that slipped under the radar last week may have saved him.