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The Project Runway Blog

The Hat Trick: Never Use Taffeta

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Aug. 20, 2010 ,6:00 am EDT

This was one of the more perplexing episodes of “Project Runway” I’ve seen in a long time. Hats off to judging that made little to no sense!

Let’s start from the beginning. Hat designer Philip Treacy is serving as this week’s guest judge, bringing a fun new element of style to the table and helping satisfy the “someone with a pretty Irish accent on the show” quota for Season 8.

Maybe the designers are trying to prove an allegiance to their models, or maybe they just don’t want to fit someone new this week, but if you have the option to pick the Philip Treacy hat that is going to either make or break you and you willingly stick with one you admittedly don’t like just because the model you had for the past three challenges is wearing it, you are a moron. “Mothereffing walk-offs” were caused over less! This is a competition!

We also learn Ivy is alive and well after her fainting spell and is hydrating herself, while Gretchen is suddenly back in the in-crowd in the workroom. Casanova is bringing the ’80s back with his Donna Karan-esque black dress, but at least his design is within a taste level no one can chastise this week. THIS week.

Elsewhere, Michael C. is celebrating Father’s Day by having a fabric crisis. We have puckering, people! Thankfully, Tim Gunn is there to talk him down from the ledge and have him embrace a whole new silhouette, with mere hours to sew. Other Michael is working hard at redeeming himself from — and Laura Bennett will back me up on this — last week’s equivalent of a “Whoa! I got my lip gloss through Customs!” slide of the season, by creating something truly worthy of Philip’s architectural hat.

Kristin's Afternoon Delight

Now segue to Kristin having an “afternoon delight” moment with her orchid hat, which is both amusing and disturbing. I am pretty sure this is the first time in the show’s history that anyone has uttered the word “vagina,” which will henceforth be called “the good china,” per Peach Carr’s genius unrelated one-liner.

April, as much as I love her personality, has undoubtedly created diaper shorts, which somehow became dubbed the “triple panty” by the time it hit the runway. But she was dead-on with the resort motif. Christopher, conversely, has created an amazing look around his hat, but is struggling with the styling and is looking toward the options on the Piperlime Accessories Wall for help.

I have this mental-picture backstory, if you will, of the camera and sound crew coming across Gretchen, covered head to toe in makeup and hair products, in the L’Oral Paris Makeup Room and Garnier Hair Studio the morning of the show. They make eye contact with her, only to slowly back out of the room with the mutual understanding that “we never saw you here.” Seriously, though! Where did this Plain Jane–to-Jezebel look, with the hair all down and sassy, come from? The mystery of Gretchen continues, but her winning streak does not.

As the “safe” folk are paraded backstage (I’m loving these Designers Dish moments, by the way), I am left with what I was assuming to be the top and bottom six. However, if this were Vegas, or at least Atlantic City, I would have lost — badly!

More reasons to love Chris...

I’m sorry, I loved Valerie’s design, but it was so reminiscent to me of her Episode 2 look that I just couldn’t get past it. I figured for sure that she must be getting some feedback from the judges on the danger of being one-note. I also was betting that Christopher “I love you more every episode for reasons unbeknownst to me” Collins was getting the “Hey, we know who you are this week!” judging speech. I know he wasn’t in love with the possible pirate styling he inadvertently stumbled into, but in a way I was thankful it went there. I wanted it to differ from the “ladies who lunch and have a fabulous wardrobe” moments he had been creating since week one. Like the rest of the universe, taffeta or not, I thought he was in the top.

We know Michael D. was certainly on top for his great use of textures and symmetry, but I was on the fence about Michael C.’s concept. Yeah, you made it in negative two hours, but I feel like I’ve seen this dress in front of a trillion step-and-repeats (and apparently, on my last trip to Puerto Rico). It was just OK for me. Kristin’s, though, really fell short of the mark, and it was clear that even with April’s misstep, she was going home.

Ivy takes a lot of heat for her comments, but truer words have never been spoken than the ones that came from her when we were subjected to Michael C.’s self-congratulatory monologue. Thank you! We get it, guy. You won! Philip thought it was deeeee-vine. We’ve moved on. I hope for the designers’ sake they have, too, if they want to survive next week’s team challenge!

What Did You Think of This Week’s Judging?


P.S. Did anyone else immediately think that their iTunes playlist suddenly went rogue as Heidi strutted onto the runway to her hubby’s Grammy-winning song? ’Cause clearly, I did. And, yes, I own that song.