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The Project Runway Blog

19
FRI

"No, No, No (Part Nina)"

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

My Destiny's Child reference may be lost on some (What? It's a classic!), but the fact that Nina Garcia is one tough lady to please will be lost on no one. She has a very particular editorial eye that's made her successful at her job as a fashion editor and here as a judge on "Runway." But when she's the client, watch out! Your Plan A better be banging, and your just-as-good-as-Plan-A Plan B better be waiting in the wings in the event that Plan A bursts into flame. Don't even mention a Plan C. (It's like "Fight Club." We don't talk about Plan C.)

Anya mustard jumpsuit Nina challengeGiven the constraints for this challenge (i.e., don't bore Nina, don't use crazy prints, cowl necks are the devil, no volume allowed), the designers had their work cut out for them after their one-on-one consults. Nina knows what she wants, and if you don't deliver it, you're in trouble.

Let's start with some questionable fabric choices:

Anya has decided to create a mustard jumpsuit for Nina. Maybe she can get the jumpsuit part through the pitch, but mustard is a hard sale for anyone, no less for THIS client. Mustard?!

Anthony Ryan and Becky, as different as their aesthetics can be, grab the same exact fabric. And we're talking EXACT, like odds-of-winning-the-lottery-with-the-same-numbers EXACT. Their (surprising) reaction is to play some bizarre game of fashion chicken with each other, and both designers decide on moving forward with it. What?!

Cecilia needs to visit her eye doctor ASAP, because even Mood's fluorescent glow cannot be blamed for the choices she made. Gray and beige?!

Surprise! Danielle is working with chiffon. Again?

Back in the workroom, Anya finally comes to terms with Nina not being a mustard kind of girl, remembers to throw on a pair of gloves (fast learner!) and dyes her fabric to make it work. Anthony Ryan spots her from the sidelines while he video-chats with his fiance. (Too-adorable-to-handle double Southern accents alert!)

Julie housecoat Nina challengeJulie is making a coat dress coatdress for Nina, which is kind of a hybrid of her first two challenge designs, creating one bad, unfinished, "no way in hell Nina would ever wear that, even while home sick" design. Cecilia is finally calling a spade a spade and doing whatever she can with her odd-couple fabrics, and has agreed to help sew Julie's sleeves on.

Laura Kathleen has also drunk the do-gooder Kool-Aid and is helping Anya finish the collar on her no-longer-mustard jumpsuit. I don't sew, so I don't know the effort involved in sewing a sleeve on or finishing a collar, but why is everyone sewing everyone else's stuff?! Maybe it's a simple gesture — I'll let the designers fight that fight! — but in a competition setting, you beginning to wonder if it's genuine or a tactic.

On the runway, I'm biting my nails as Anthony Ryan's and Becky's dresses follow one another in the run of show, making the fact that they used the same fabric go from obvious to NEON BLINKING LIGHT. They look like they're part of the same collection — a two-piece collection — that went rogue in the middle of an unrelated fashion show. I still don't understand how these two made it through safely without so much as a "Really?"

Maybe it's to her benefit to keep her mouth shut, but I was wondering why Anya didn't fess up to the collar help, only because the way she finished her garment came up and it landed her in the top.

Is Anya’s lack of sewing skills going to hurt her?


In the end, Kimberly takes the win with a look that really grew on me the more time I spent staring at it, and especially when Nina wore it to the office. Viktor really stepped it up this week and proved he has a well-deserved place on Season 9. (P.S. Bert NEEDS TO LEARN PEOPLE'S NAMES!)

As for next week's preview ... I really want to see this Olivier falling scene in slow motion.

17
WED

Live Tweet With @ProjectRunway and @NinaGarcia, Thursday at 9 et/8c

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 2:28pm GMT

Tweet with @projectrunway, special guest Nina Garcia (@NinaGarcia), Season 3 vet Mychael Knight (@mychaelknight), plus Episode 4 guest judge, actress Kerry Washington and her Krew (@KerryWashington), on Thursday night at 9 et/8c. Use #projectrunway in your tweets to follow the conversation!

17
WED

Enter Our Sketching Challenge, Judged by Mondo Guerra

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 12:25pm GMT

Show off your creativity for a chance to win cool tech prizes in the On the Runway Sketching Challenge, judged by Season 8 Project Runway Designer Mondo Guerra!

Grand Prize: HP TouchSmart 610t PC!
Plus four finalists will win an HP EliteBook tablet!

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12
FRI

Almost Curtains

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 12:12am GMT

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.

05
FRI

Find Out Who the "Project Runway All Stars" Are!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 7:41pm GMT

It's the announcement you've all been waiting for ... who are the designers of "Project Runway All Stars"? Stop pacing and start reading to find out who these 13 blasts from the pasts are, ready for another judgment day on the runway ... and who came back for a second stab at an all-star challenge!

04
THU

Birdseed vs. Hamster Beds

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 7:41pm GMT

It's true, Tim Gunn: I've never heard the words "Wee-Wee Pads" used as often as in last night's episode. Sponsorship opportunity next year, guys?! (I kid.)

This unconventional challenge was a fun one. Besides the aforementioned overuse of the words "wee" and pet puns, we got to peel back the layers a bit and see everyone's true spots. (I needed to get that last pun out of my system.)

In the pet store, some designers are considering purchasing perishable dog food, and I can only wonder why, considering the smell. But, more important, Josh M.'s first thoughts on the challenge are not that it involves pets, but that it perhaps involves S&M ("I like it, like it!"). Keep the leashes away from that guy!

As the contestants survey their final purchases, as I always say, they mirror some fine moments in "Runway" history:

Anthony Ryan Episode 2Anthony Ryan is playing the role of Chloe in the Season 2 plant challenge. He's taking 98 bird feeders' worth of seed and is going to glue on every stinking one of those things until every inch of muslin is covered. The collar he created was a nice touch to what could have just been a "construction paper covered in glue and sparkles" project, and gave it an immediate look of sophistication. As for the "too short" note from Nina, yeah, it probably could have used another two inches, but it was still impeccably made.

• Bert is playing the role of Daniel V. in the Season 2 makeover challenge: the person who has immunity and fails to rise to the occasion. Bert. Buddy. Pal. You just came off of an Episode 1 win and you approach the second challenge by phoning it in? It was clear that he didn't want to work with these types of materials, and was going to use whatever was the most fabric-like to get the job done. He would have been in some serious trouble without that immunity.

Fallene is Gretchen in the Season 8 team challenge. She acts as if she's completely in love with her materials and her final end product, but throws herself under the bus when it comes to a bottom placement in judging. This woman has no fight! Stick up for yourself and DEFEND your garment!

• Bryce is every contestant in every season who ever made a dress that resembled a napkin. The top was kind of cute if you had one contact lens in one eye, but he made it through only because there was some joy there. It wasn't boring.

Zzz ... zzz ...

Oh, sorry.

I just fell asleep thinking about Josh C.'s design. Although it looks like he and his model finally hugged out their "fit" issues, it really was kind of a snoozer. Sorry that I will not be seeing any more of the newly formed Josh-Squared bromance that was blossoming. Sigh.

Olivier Green Episode 2Josh M. provided the shot of fashion triple espresso I needed with that fantastic crop top and the wacky parrot mirror. It looks like Josh M. is the type of designer who has problems editing, and if he's not careful, he could have the potential to have really beautiful work fade into the background because jazz hands and bells and whistles are drowning it out on the runway.

• Laura Kathleen is Zulema/Ping in their respective challenges when they had WAY too much of their model's booty exposed, but at least she had the wherewithal to call a spade a spade (or a butt a butt) and create a new, more modest skirt before the judges saw it.

• Although my Magician Award went to Anya last week (and she seemed to pull it out of the hat again last night), this week it goes to Viktor. "Oh my Lord of the Rings!" is right! He took the beloved Wee-Wee Pad and transformed not only the color but the texture to create something completely unrecognizable. Nice job.

Olivier is playing the role of ... well, himself. He may have the Malan accent, but he's certainly a unique character. (Also, I've known enough people from the state of Ohio to know that they do not sound like that. Even if they did a very long study-abroad program, they would not have returned saying things like, well, everything he says.) But we move on. Everything from his color palette to the textures he chose to play with gave his design a very luxe feel. The thin clear-plastic belt was a chic touch.

A well-deserved win, even if I do believe that Anthony Ryan's garment was better executed. Speaking of which, who else was waiting for Heidi to slap Michael or Nina in the face, exclaiming, "This one's for Mondo!" and Jessica Simpson to stage-dive into the mix for backup? ... OK, so I may have been alone there.

Who deserved to win? Anthony Ryan or Olivier?


As for poor Josh C. leaving us this week, the only comfort is that when recapping these episodes every week, I will not have to indicate which Joshua I am referring to.

Here's to Josh M., a.k.a. the only Josh standing.

29
FRI

Want to Win "Project Runway"? Just Watch Past Seasons and Take Notes

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:31am GMT

Now in its ninth season, "Project Runway" has certainly set precedents in the show's history, like:

"You're the Daniel Franco." (Guy who goes home the first challenge)
"You're the Chris March!" (Guy who gets to come back)
"You're the Keith Michael?" (Guy who cheats and gets the boot)
"You're the Maya Luz." (Girl who leaves the show because she's done with competing)

With the Season 9 premiere, we've created a whole new precedent for you: the people who go home ... before the first challenge. That's right. We started off this season with 20 designers who soon learned that their place on the show is not as secure as they thought it was and that they still need to audition.

As we get into the final judging, Anya, a former Miss Universe contestant, shows off some pieces that have everyone puzzled. They truly do look too good to be made by someone with four (count 'em, four!) months of sewing experience. Tim Gunn gets curious enough to give them a look up close and personal. She's going to have a lot to prove this season.

I am more mesmerized by Anthony Ryan's mouse scarf than I am by his clothes, but there's something about a color-blind designer that's ridiculously intriguing to me. That's like a dentist who can't see white. I'm sold!

Olivier (whose name I want to pronounce "Olivier," as in Laurence, but is really "Oliver!," like the musical), is apparently so pretty that he can just skip ahead.

Bryce's jacket is very "Beyoncé photo shoot on a rooftop in Paris"-type material, and its fabulosity is duly noticed by Heidi, who must model it. Obviously.

After we say adios to David, Amanda, Gunnar and Serena, I'm surprised by how unemotional these people get after learning they won't even get the chance to take on a challenge. You gave up a wedding! You gave up ... burning roses with a Bic lighter by hand for hours on end! C'mon! But maybe that's the reason why they didn't make it through? Did they truly want it badly enough?

Now we toast to the 16 designers of Season 9, and I suddenly miss the rooftop of the Atlas for the champagne toast.

Eventually settled into bed for the first night, the contestants are unexpectedly awakened at 5 am by none other than Tim Gunn.

I like Tim Gunn. In fact, I love Tim Gunn, but I would not like Tim Gunn at 5 am. Also, bras are a critical part of crossing Fifth Avenue. Becky was right to ask. Do you know how many scantily clad tweens I've yelled at (in my mind) for a similar offense? Fashion designers in bedsheets are no exception.

In the workroom, the designers learn that the first challenge is to create a garment from their PJs, a white bedsheet and a dream. We also learn who has amazing skin.

Anya is already struggling with the machines and the fabric dyeing process, but is committed to proving that she has a place in this competition.

Bert has managed to use his Underoos in the bust area of his model's garment, and no one except me seems to be screaming, "I bet she wished that sucker came with a bathing suit hygienic strip right about now!" But hey, what we don't know won't kill us!

Speaking of models, I initially thought that Josh C. was using the "But the measurements on the card were wrong!" excuse, but let's call a spade a spade. I don't know if it was "tall friend who wants a modeling job" day or what, but by the time he got to the fitting, the measurements were obviously far from what he originally planned for. His real problem? Making it work. That panel down the front of that tank was bad news bears. As Michael Kors suggested, there were other ways to accommodate for size while making that garment way more flattering than it turned out to be.

Rafael, as amusing as he is, not only becomes the "Daniel Franco" of this season ("I barely got to know ya! See ya on Season 10!"), but he also becomes the "Kirsten Ehrig" of Season 9: the one who wouldn't sacrifice for the clothes-off-your-back challenge.

Tim Gunn gave Kirsten a talking-to about choosing not to use her scarf in her design in Season 2, and as things have a great way of repeating themselves, Rafael got the same speech. What you don't see on-camera was the backstory on Rafael's scarf; like Kirsten's, it had a personal sentimental value that made him reluctant to part with it. Was transforming it into a bib-like necklace at the eleventh hour the best use of it? Probably not. But I think the pants (and the vanity of not wanting his 5 am hair to be seen) were what did him in. It's always a matter of taste. And, just like Kirsten, he went home.

So, let's hear it:

Should Rafael have sacrificed the scarf?



P.S. New classic one-liner alert: "Are you speaking foreign?" and "An 'I like myself!' kinda pocket."

28
THU

Live Tweet With @ProjectRunway and Guests During Tonight's Premiere

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 1:26pm GMT

Tonight's the big night, people! Tune into Lifetime, beginning at 8/7c, for our "Road to the Runway" Season 9 casting special. Hosted by Tim Gunn, fans will see an in-depth look at the casting process and the inside scoop on this season's cast. Featured guest judges include Season 7 winner Seth Aaron Henderson, Season 2's Nick Verreos, Season 3's Laura Bennett, Season 5 winner Leanne Marshall, Season 8's Mondo Guerra and Marie Claire's Zanna Roberts Rassi.

Live tweet with Project Runway during the Season 9 premiere

At 9/8c, meet the 20 designers vying for a spot at Fashion Week. "Project Runway" favorites Johnathan Kayne (@projectkayne), Ramon Lawrence Coleman (@RamonLawrence), bloggers extraordinaire Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo), plus special guest Zanna Roberts Rassi (@zrobertsrassi) will be live tweeting with us during the episode.

Follow @projectrunway on Twitter and use the hashtag #projectrunway in your tweets to join the conversation!

25
MON

Before the Premiere, Don't Miss the Road to the Runway Casting Special

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:41pm GMT

Tune in to Lifetime on Thursday at 8/7c for our "Road to the Runway" Season 9 casting special. This hour-long special will introduce viewers to this season's designers. Hosted by Tim Gunn, fans will see an in-depth look at the casting process and the inside scoop on this season's cast.


Have a favorite designer picked? Then let us know! Vote for the Season 9 Fan Favorite all season long using Twitter. Get the "Project Runway" Fan Favorite details now, and don't miss the premiere, Thursday at 9/8c!

25
MON

Video: Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia on "Good Morning America"

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:22pm GMT

Check out Nina, Michael, Heidi on "Good Morning America" as they reveal some details about the premiere of Season 9, airing Thursday, July 28 at 9/8c: