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The Project Runway Blog

“I’m So Confused!”

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Oct. 15, 2010 ,5:00 am EDT

Watch Project Runway Episode 12I find the “inspiration” challenges to be rather surprising. I tend to watch these episodes with my “Seriously?” face on when designers have an entire city at their disposal (concrete jungle that dreams are maaaaaaade of!) and pick their inspirational item based on what, curiously enough, is also the item that's nearest to them and doesn’t involve much, well, due diligence. Daniel Vosovic in Season 2 comes to mind; he picked the orchid centerpiece on Michael Kors’ NYC office table — the same place where the challenge was presented to him. The dude didn’t even need to call the elevator. It was “I Spy With My Little Eye …” -inspiration. I later shut up, when he made an amazing piece that still is memorable six seasons later.

I must remind myself that because it is subjective, if the designer is genuinely inspired by something like dirty gutter water (Andrae Gonzalo), who’s to say it’s not “inspiring” if the end product is beautiful and wearable?

The final five have Mayor Bloomberg’s personal permission to be the Lewis & Clark of 2010 and explore the vast reaches of the five boroughs. Yet two end up in the same place, and one of them has clearly only explored the wonders of New York City based on that one time they crashed on their old college roommate’s couch … and ended up on the Lower East Side … inspired by a nondescript apartment faade.

But, OK. I will wait until I see the designs to cast my final judgment.

Michael is once again creating a Plan B dress so that he has a backup plan at the ready in case the Statue of Liberty moment he’s having isn’t pleasing to Tim. Mondo is napping. And it’s clear that this is a competition, because no one is waking him up.

View more of April Johnston's designsIt becomes abundantly clear that Andy apparently visited a questionable-at-best area of Central Park — where the pigeon lady in “Home Alone 2” and unlicensed massage therapists reside — to come up with his location inspiration. Gretchen is making something the aforementioned pigeon lady would have worn in the aforementioned movie. April is making something in black. (Wow!) And Christopher Collins is not there. (Womp.)

Fast forward to the runway, and more-reserved-than-I-remember-him-being Season 4 winner Christian Siriano is in the guest-judge seat. Mondo has a better Brooklyn Bridge garment than April, who is taking heat for, you guessed it, making something in black. And this is where we pause.

Yes, April made something in black. April has made a lot of things in black this season — dating back even to what she showed at her audition. And a lot of things with asymmetry and a lot of things in a sheer fabric. However, never once until this penultimate point in time was she ever discouraged from doing it on the runway. Should she have realized her body of work was becoming one-note? Sure. But would it have helped to know that she was jumping into a black hole and pulling it in after her? Absolutely.

Instead, now we have Gretchen, Mondo, Michael and Andy vying for the three final Fashion Week spots, and maybe that outcome could have been different. (Hoshkepge!)

Who should have been sent packing this week?


In the end, I thought Michael’s dress moved beautifully, and his model shut it down once again (the side view of the look on Rate the Runway is a total Britney moment, if I say so myself), but I was once again left scratching my head saying, “Seriously?” Make a Chrysler Building dress, and then we’ll talk.