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The Project Runway Blog

Straight Men Can't Shop

By CaitlinBergmann Thu., Sep. 15, 2011 ,11:13 pm EDT

One of the most frequent questions I get is "When are you going to bring back the menswear challenge, already?!" And now I can finally tell you! ... Not this week. (But VERY soon!)

The designers and their male clientsBelieve you me, I was fooled just like the rest of you when Tim threw in the "You're not making menswear" caveat, and momentarily even thought that the designers would be making something for the most rugged-looking drag queens of all time, until the wives and girlfriend showed up in the workroom.

Nonetheless, this was a great challenge. The key to doing well here was really how adept one's boyfriend or husband was at articulating their significant other's style. And this is probably trickier than one would think, because straight men can't shop. (If this episode didn't help prove that, I don't know what will.)

The situation kind of reminds me of that reality TV show where two people date in the dark and each tries to blindly guess what the other person looks like based on personality alone, and then once the lights flick on, they are either pleasantly surprised or running for the exit. If whatever these men conveyed about their partner's wardrobes didn't match reality, a designer was headed to the exit.

Viktor's client should have had it easier than anyone. His girlfriend's sense of personal style was clear. We know she's spent some quality time at the local Anthropologie, whereas Bert's client tempted me to just go ahead and call this blog post "What a Boob." I'm still trying to recuperate from watching husband Anthony motorboat a dress form, no less the fact that I got paid to write the word "motorboat" just now. But we move on ...

Anthony Ryan's client was a dear. The fact that he knew enough to use this challenge as a way to come across as a hero on national TV by replacing his girlfriend's two lost dresses was precious. Marry that man now, Caitlin!

Olivier was so petrified by boobs that he had to ask Tim Gunn for clarity on what the words "Double D" meant (hilarious moment alert!), and then was so overwhelmed by his clients' wishes that I think he got a bit railroaded. If he didn't end up being safe in this challenge, he for sure would have had to defend a garment the client didn't really like and neither did he.

It looked as though he pulled a P. Diddy and sampled the vibe of Kimberly's winning garment for the Nina Garcia challenge (especially the back), and was stuck on that yellow fabric that made a cameo in his Harlem School of the Arts challenge dress until Tim snapped him out of it. That may have ultimately saved him. And the fact that his model worked it out on the runway. (P.S. Did you see that RING?!)

Viktor Luna's final look with his clientI loved Anya's print choice, but the belt threw me off. Although a matter of taste, I was somewhat surprised she landed in the top.

Joshua's "Ode to Betty Draper" dress really surprised me. He showed a lot of restraint in not bedazzling the crap out of that thing, and the client certainly adored it.

But, I ultimately disagree with the judges' decision. Viktor should have taken this one home. I feel like Joshua just created a beautiful dress for a girl who loves beautiful dresses. That could be any girl. I don't think it was indicative of who she is. Viktor really hit the nail on the head from, as Bryce accurately noted, head to toe. Her look and her personal style were in harmony.

As for Bryce being given the big adios, I must say I didn't totally hate his pink-pocketed dress. Yeah, the fit was wonky, but if the girl enjoys oversized pockets and wants to use them as personal cubbies, have at it, sister!