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The Project Runway Blog

Season 12, Episode 6: Glamping Is In-Tents

By laurareineke Fri., Aug. 23, 2013 ,4:59 am EDT

It says a lot about our designers' states of mind this week that upon hearing that they'll be treated to an overnight camping trip, they immediately start to brainstorm what sort of bizarre challenge will be thrown their way. "Worse case scenario: We can use our own blood to dye things," Kate says, and I don't doubt for a second she'd do just that.

Tim meets them at a remote, forest-y locale, where sponsor Resource Natural Spring Water has set up a first-class campsite. This not just a camping trip! It's a glamping trip, which is apparently a more glamorous version of camping complete with tents on risers, hammocks, lantern lighting, and a sit-down dinner at a real table.

Access to fresh air and fun activities seems to chill the whole group out considerably. They go rafting, take turns ziplining through the woods, and roast marshmallows over a crackling fire. As it turns out, outside the workroom they're an amiable, funny bunch of people. It's a relief to see them enjoy each other's company after five episodes of exhausting drama.

After last week's hodgepodge of requirements and inspirations, this challenge is blessedly straightforward: Design a high-end look inspired by the glamping trip. They get one day to work and a suggested budget of $300. The workroom is relatively subdued this week as Tim counsels the designers on fabric choice and color. Let's jump right to the runway (featuring guest judge Allison Williams):

Top Three
Alexandria - Modern basics: A long-sleeved zip-up chambray denim jacket with an upper back cutout and draping along the spine, paired with white drop-crotch knee-length pants. Alexandria gets unanimous approval for going out of the box with her design, and she takes the win.

Jeremy - Jeremy transcribed the text of a love letter he wrote to his family in script across the bodice of bias-cut white gown with white button details along the side. The panel is captivated by the romance of it, and Jeremy wins praise for the gown's easy elegance.

Alexander - A deep blue sleeveless floor-length gown with a leather train and handpainted details intended to resemble trees at midnight. Nina likes the drama of it, and Alexander gets kudos for impeccable construction. Zac doesn't seem all that excited, citing the gown's mid-thigh seam as a negative.

Bottom Three
Ken - A moss green wool knee-length dress with structured layering at the chest. Nina points out that seen in profile, the padded chest thing overpowers the rest of the dress; Allison and Heidi think the technique used to construct it might have been better utilized elsewhere. Zac calls it "a squished frog." Further thumbs down are given for the too-'80s styling.

Karen - A billowy yellow ombre dress cinched in just above the bust, accented with a brown belted strap, this one makes the judges frown. They toss around words like "trashy," "muumuu," and "runny eggs," and they call out the dissonance between the look's cowboy vibe and its alleged African safari inspiration.

Justin - In a move better suited for an unconventional materials challenge, Justin accented an airy gray gown with boatloads of dried hot glue. The effect is akin to "a foaming vagina," Nina says. The judges acknowledge that Justin was good to push himself to try something new, but as Heidi says, "At what point are you gonna say, 'I wanted to try something different but it actually looks really ugly, so I'm gonna stop myself'?" Justin is auf'd.

OR IS HE?! Many tears are shed by the rest of the designers, who clearly have a lot of affection for Justin. But then Tim Gunn pops in to announce that he will be using his Tim Gunn Save to keep Justin around for a little while longer. Problem solved!

What do you think? Should Tim Gunn have saved his save for someone else? Was Justin's garment bad enough to warrant his elimination? How do you feel about drop-crotch pants and Alexandria's execution of same? Bonus points if you have any fun camping stories to share. Let me hear 'em in the comments.