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Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 12

Posted By laurareineke 4:05am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Justin "Amazing transformation. Would wear both looks."
BOTTOM Bradon "Bad reconstruction. First look drowns model."

TOP Dom "Fun and fabulous. New Betsey Johnson."
BOTTOM Helen "Neither look is as strong as it should be."

TOP Justin "Love the piping sculpture on the neckline."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Looks disjointed."

TOP Dom "Nailed it with the avant garde look. Amazing transformation on second look."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Great attempt but sloppy vision."

TOP Bradon "Love his first look. Fabric is beautiful."
BOTTOM Helen "Lacking inspiration in first look. Did not use any of original design on second."


Season 12, Episode 11: Printastic

Posted By laurareineke 4:44am GMT

Rob Le Bras-Brown, the Senior VP of HP Worldwide Marketing, accompanies Tim into the workroom at the top of the episode because it's the HP INTEL PRINT CHALLENGE! "I've been waiting to do [the HP Intel print challenge] since the beginning of this competition," Bradon says, and he's not the only one counting down to this moment. The print challenge has been a big deal since Mondo crushed it back in Season 8. This is for a couple reasons, I think. Making their own prints requires the designers to 1) use prints at all, which many avoid like the plague during the rest of the season; 2) think a little more adventurously about color; 3) get introspective about incorporating their personalities into their looks instead of just their aesthetic taste.

Le Bras-Brown fills them in on the twists and turns. The designers will be paired up with a group of next-generation thinkers and innovators who will serve as their muses. (Hear that? Not models, not clients: Muses.) The designers splinter off to meet their muses. The group includes Nigel Sylvester, a professional BMX rider (paired with Bradon); Ilana Greenberg, creative Director at graphic design mag GD USA (paired with Alexandria); Tiago Silva, executive pastry chef at Catch, a seafood restaurant in NYC (paired with Alexander); Maria Gonzalez, a 17-year-old who works with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that teaches computer science skills to young women (paired with Kate); nonprofit co-founder and Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriweather (paired with Justin); Premal Sha, co-founder of crowd-funded lending network Kiva (paired with Dom); and Ryan Keeley, an abstract artist and photographer (paired with Helen).

Pretty standard workroom this week, save for Helen whining about how she's "not good at prints." The judges will be the judge of that! Along with guest judge, designer Peter Som. Runway time:

Top Three
Dom - Taking inspiration from the Internet's role in connecting people, Dom made a high-necked, long-sleeve sheath dress out of a white, black, and hot pink print comprised of dashed lines. "Runway ready," Zac says, complimenting the butterfly-like patterns on the arms; Nina likes that it's sort of tribal and very modern; Heidi throws down a lot of good adjectives including "dynamic" and "fashion-forward." Peter Som thinks it's sophisticated and blessedly un-costumey. Dom wins! Deservedly so.

Helen - A crop top and fitted skirt made out of paneled ivory fabric and Helen's starry print. Heidi likes that the print is sort of patriotic but nitpicks the fit. Peter Som calls it "Star-Spangled Hipster," which, yes. Perfect summary. Everyone is pleased that Helen decided to cut the garment into two sections instead of leaving it as a one-piece dress.

Bradon - Turning his muse's career as a BMX biker into a kinetic blue, black, and white print, Bradon made a bomber jacket over a form-fitting black dress with a removable neckline. Nina says it's sporty chic, comparing it to jazz music, and Zac goes so far as to call it Bradon's best work this season.

Bottom Three
Justin - Justin made a fitted bodice with a sweetheart neckline out of his X-ray-like print, then added a floor-length white skirt. Heidi's the first to call out the shoddy see-through construction where the skirt meets the bodice. Nina says she wishes it'd been a shorter dress: "From the waist up she looks fabulous and sexy. From the waist down it's just very drab." Peter Som loves the idea of the print but thinks something got lost in translation, and Zac echoes all these sentiments, saying that he would have preferred the print continue to the bottom instead of allowing the garment to look like a snake shedding its skin.

Alexander - "Even though I'm super gay I've never decorated a cake," Alexander says before introducing his cake-inspired open-backed brown dress with dolman sleeves and a white stripe accent (meant to play off the religious symbolism of his last name, Pope). Zac likes the cut of the dress but doesn't like how decidedly un-sexy the brown print is: "She looks like a cult leader. Of chocolate." Heidi thinks the white accent looks like masking tape and Nina takes issue with the seriousness and modesty of the garment. Alexander's out.

Kate - I quite like Kate and I've enjoyed her work this season, but this is objectively awful. I don't even know how to describe it. I guess it's a sleeveless collared belted dress made of sheer fabric gathered into pleated sections at the bottom, layered over her baby-blue print (which you can barely discern is a print). "Oh God," Nina sighs. She's overwhelmed by the pleats and confused by the belt. Peter Som nails it again: "She looks like she fell into a Kleenex box." Zac says it's sad.

Sometimes Heidi does a "One...OR MORE...people will be going home" fake-out, but unfortunately for Kate, this week's threat was 100% true. Kate gets auf'd for the second time. It's gotta sting to come back for a second round of "Runway" and make it so much closer to Fashion Week only to lose again, but aside from her tears Kate handles it well.

Onward we march toward the season's end. How do you feel about this week's double elimination? Were you as shocked as I was that Alexandria's look didn't land her in the bottom? Who are you most excited to see duke it out next week for the coveted Fashion Week spots? Let me know in the comments.


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 11

Posted By laurareineke 4:09am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Bradon "Awesome jacket."
BOTTOM Kate "Little House on the Prairie threw up."

TOP Bradon "Wearable, fun, cool print."
BOTTOM Helen "Confused by entire design."

TOP Justin "Love the print. Looks like an X-ray in a fun way."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Print, silouette and construction are weak."

TOP Kate "Love the play on transparency."
BOTTOM Alexander "Didn't like the silhouette."


Season 12, Episode 10: Cranky Makeover

Posted By laurareineke 4:55am GMT

We open this week with Tim. He tells us that eight "Project Runway" super-fans have been flown in to have "the ultimate 'Project Runway' experience," which includes a tour of NYC and participation in this season's Real Women makeover challenge. We see Tim lead the women on a tour of the "Runway" facilities before introducing them to (and pairing them off with) our designers, who dive right in on creating makeover looks for their new clients.

Parameters: 2 full days to work! Hallelujah! Plus 30 minutes to sketch and a suggested budget in the $200-$400 range.

The women are so thrilled! They're thrilled to meet Tim, to work with the designers, to go to Mood. They're excited and eager and clearly loving every second, and their joy is contagious: The designers are dedicated to nailing the challenge and doing right by their fans. As a bonus for viewers, this is the first Real Women challenge I can recall that doesn't involve a designer passive-aggressively complaining about having to work with a woman larger than the usual size-0 models. High-fives for everyone.

But it's not all fun. Last week we heard Ken's mom ask him, "Has that 'other side' come out yet?" and this week we get another look at the dual personalities she was talking about.

Because of Jeremy's elimination, Alexander and Bradon pack up to move into Justin and Ken's room. But Ken, who clearly isn't hot on the idea of new roommates, blocks their entrance to the door, blithely taking his sweet time to iron a shirt. Alexander and Bradon ask nicely to be let in. Ken ignores them. Finally Alexander squeezes past, knocking the iron off the ironing board as he does: "I can throw drama, too, honey."

This sets Ken off on a rampage mightier and scarier than we've seen from him yet this season (and we've seen a few). Face slathered in a mud mask, he screams at the top of lungs to the crew about the inconvenience of changing his living arrangements. It's...uncomfortable. The next morning Tim mediates an apology session between Ken, Alexander, and the rest of the designers, but the alarming unpredictability of Ken's temper tantrums hangs over the rest of the episode.

Back in good-time land, the clients are getting buffed and polished, with brand new hairstyles and makeup courtesy of L'Oreal. Let's fast-forward to the runway, where our guest judges are designer Erin Fetherston and Marie Claire Senior Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts Rassi. (Nina's out this week.)

Top Three
Helen - A wallflower with wholly outdated style, Helen's client, Jamie, wanted an Oscars red carpet dress to match her drastic makeover. Helen made a silky navy blue dress with a sweetheart neckline, corset bodice, and gathered back. The sleek look earns raves. Helen wins for the...I've actually lost count how many times she's won now.

Bradon - His client, Jennifer, wanted to look "intimidating, powerful, and classy, with a major edge," so Bradon made a black sleevless v-neck dress with shiny details and a leather vest with an embellished shoulder. Zanna and Zac think the shimmery pieces on the dress might've looked better (read: more expensive) in leather, but that's the only criticism.

Justin - Justin's model had quite a list of requirements for her garment. It had to be modest, to respect her Mormon faith; fitted to flatter her figure, which has undergone fairly extreme weight loss; something personal, to reflect the uniqueness of her experience on the show. Justin rose to the occasion with a knee-length black dress featuring his model's signature sewn on the front, fitted underneath with a custom corset. The judges are impressed by the personal touch of the signature, and they love that he was able to incorporate all the model's requests in a good-looking garment.

Bottom Three
Alexandria - Super-fan Stephanie is a 20-year-old art history student who wants something to interview for jobs and internships in. Alexandria created a grey jacket and a printed skirt. The judges are bored and don't think the garment suits the model's age or interests at all. "It doesn't look hip or modern," says Heidi. "Maternity librarian," says Zac. "There's no visual impact," says Erin.

Alexander - For his client Alexander made a straight-up awful tan skirt-suit with black organza contrast details on the top. Zac dislikes the graphic breakup of the organza, Zanna thinks it's boring, and everyone comments on the horrible construction, which Alexander admits suffered because he didn't have enough time to finish properly.

Ken - To jazz up his stay-at-home-mom client, Ken put her in a green dress with leather accents. Heidi dislikes the placement of said accents and Zanna points out that it's not particularly well crafted. Heidi: "There's not much fashion here."

Annnnnd Ken is out. Alexander lets out a "Wow." when they tell him he's safe, and it's hard to blame him for being surprised. It is a bit bizarre that an unfinished garment sent down the runway this late in the season wouldn't get its designer sent home. That said, I'm sure the other designers breathed a great big sigh of relief at the news of Ken's auf-ing, too. The person who really needed a makeover this episode was cranky Ken.

What do you think? Should Alexander have been sent packing for his unfinished suit? Should Ken have been disqualified for his temper tantrum? Which client do you think received the best makeover? And as we near Fashion Week, which designers do you think will make it all the way? Chime in below!


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 10

Posted By laurareineke 4:19am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Bradon "HOT."
BOTTOM Ken "Crazy! Duh!"

TOP Ken "Model was most enthusiastic."
BOTTOM Helen "Didn't invent a new look for her."

TOP Justin "Made her client feel like a million bucks!"
BOTTOM Alexandria "Heard she returned to work room after time was called."

TOP Justin "Love the signature on front of dress."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Dated/old/bad color combo."


Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn Win Emmy Award!

Posted By kim_messina 11:49am GMT

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn at the 2013 EmmysAs if we needed confirmation that Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn know how to make it work! Yesterday the "Project Runway" hosts took home the 2013 Emmy award for Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program. "OMG, I am in a state of apoplexy! Love to everyone," Tim tweeted after their win. And Heidi echoed his sentiment, tweeting, "We won!!!!!!! yay!!!!!"

Send Heidi and Tim your congrats!

Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images


Season 12, Episode 9: Belle of the Brunch

Posted By laurareineke 4:07am GMT

We're nine challenges in and the designers have wised up. When Heidi and Tim offer them a relaxed sit-down brunch, the gang immediately starts to brainstorm how it might tie in to their next task. "Do you think we're designing for a garden party?" "Mad Hatter's tea party." "Socialite women." "Maybe [the clients are] our servers." Tim finally clues them in: They'll be designing for the modern Southern woman, or more specifically, the Belk customer. The look can be for day or evening. 30 minutes to sketch, a suggested Mood budget between $200 and $250, and -- as usual so far this season -- they have a day to finish. The winning look will be sold in Belk stores and on belk.com.

"Southern" means different things to different people. Alexander, Alexandria, and Helen admit outright that they don't know who this customer is at all. On the other end of the spectrum, Dom and Ken feel self-assured since they both hail from Southern families. (Dom's family is from New Orleans; Ken's is from Birmingham, Alabama.) Dom and Ken roll their eyes at the stereotypical understanding of the South that their fellow designers latch on to. "Tim said to design for the modern Southern woman, not 'Little House on the Prairie,'" Ken says as Bradon, Alexander and Alexandria gravitate toward plaid fabrics and flouncy skirts. Dom agrees: "The women in my family? They're not going to throw some polyester plaid dress on. These aren't farm boys. They're people who live in cities."

Interestingly, the judges feel the opposite about the looks that are eventually sent down the runway. They dislike the bottom three -- Dom, Jeremy, and Ken -- so much that they send those designers back to the workroom for 60 minutes to either create a new look or alter the garments they've already made to better match the goal of the challenge. Twist! (Helen, Alexander and Kate are brought in as reinforcements, thank goodness.)

Our guest judges: Belk's Executive VP of Private Brands, John Thomas, and "Supermarket Superstar" host Stacy Keibler.

Top Three
Bradon - A sleeveless cotton shirtdress with a high-low hemline done in a sort of pastel madras plaid. The judges really like it, citing the sex appeal and modern feel of the silhouette as a huge plus. Plus it's made well. Bradon wins.

Kate - An empire-waist dress with cap sleeves in a bright orange, white, and pink print. Heidi thinks the model looks pregnant (no surprise -- she never seems to like empire waists, which do add volume to thin women but are usually very flattering on average- or plus-size figures) but Nina and Stacy both adore the colors and the print.

Alexander - A painted-plaid patterned handkerchief-hem dress with a sweetheart neckline at the fitted bodice. John and Stacy both love the way it moves on the runway. The bodice earns praise for being nicely constructed and the judging panel agrees that the overall look is fresh and young.

Bottom Three
Dom - Dom, frustrated with landing in the safe zone nearly every challenge so far, wants to show the judges that she's capable of making tightly designed, pattern-free work, so she sends this floor-length cap-sleeved purple and green gown down the runway. Nina is disappointed in the color and Zac just seems bored.

Heidi LOVES Dom's second, totally different look, an asymmetrically draped, flirty dress in a black and white pattern. Zac, Nina, and Stacy love its effortless style, and John Thomas loves it so much that he decides to produce it for Belk along with Bradon's. This means that Dom is a winner of the challenge, too. Yay Dom!

Ken - A floor-length deep purple racerback gown. Zac likes the color but calls the dress "a beautifully-cut purple nightgown." Heidi and Ken have a staring contest after she says she doesn't find the gown very flattering. John says he's seen the look before.

Ken's second look is a glammed-up version of his gown. He keeps the racerback, adds a drapy dolman sleeve, and shortens the length to make it more of a bodycon mini-dress. The judges are placated. Ken's safe.

Jeremy - A sleeveless, knee-length V-neck dress in a pink-hued floral print, paired with a red jacket. Heidi's quick to let Jeremy know that she finds it old and un-sexy. Zac is disappointed by the jacket. Nina hates the print. When he gets a closer look at it, Zac says, "It looks like a college fashion show in a non-metropolitan city," which I think sums it up: It's inoffensive, but absolutely been-there-done-that in terms of cut, fit and color choice.

Jeremy goes in the opposite direction with his new look, a bias-cut sleeveless beige dress. The judges appreciate that this look is considerably more youthful and brunch-appropriate but it's still a little too boring. Auf wiedersehen, Jeremy.(He takes the loss with a good attitude: "I get to see my kids...and I get to f***ing drink tonight!" Cheers.)

Were you as disappointed in the runway looks as the judges were? Did you think the new looks were an improvement for the bottom three designers? How well do you think the group captured the idea of the modern Southern woman? Let me know in the comments.


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 9

Posted By laurareineke 4:00am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Bradon "Work the plaid!"
BOTTOM Alexandria "WTF?! Again!!!"

TOP Justin "Sophisticated and cool color. Made the model look amazing."
BOTTOM Jeremy "Looks old and dated."

TOP Dom "Sexy, fresh, and is great for the Belk customer and more!"
BOTTOM Justin "Interesting pattern, but not the right fabric for the cut."

TOP Helen "Love the lace detail all over the dress."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Doesn't look well-sewn."


Season 12, Episode 8: Activewear Volcano

Posted By laurareineke 4:00am GMT

The designers meet activewear-clad Heidi and Tim at the Upper East Side's Asphalt Green recreation area, where they're tasked with completing an obstacle course consisting of a three-legged race, a tire run, a wheelbarrow race, and a flag grab. They have to complete the race in pairs, but thankfully this isn't a team challenge. But it's one we've seen before: Design an activewear look for Heidi's New Balance line. The pair that wins the obstacle course will choose their fabric first, AND they'll get an extra hour to work on our garments.

Dom and Justin win the thing (and celebrate with an adorable chest-bump); meanwhile, Heidi's screaming at Bradon and Helen: "IT'S A FLAG. IT HAS A STICK ON IT." Jeremy and Alexander come in dead last. The gang grabs their fabric ($50 worth, per person, from stuff approved for Heidi's line) and get to sketching.

Back in the workroom, Ken has a for-real freakout at Helen for...no real reason? I've re-watched it a few times and all I can glean is that he's already frustrated by the usual competition-related things when Helen's weird self-centered melodramatic tendencies start to grate a little too much, so all his crabbiness gets directed her way in a loud, uncomfortable argument. Helen feels threatened (understandably) and asks Tim to intervene. Ken's eventual apology seems sincere, Helen accepts, and that is, thankfully, the end of that.

This week's guest judge is the magical Michael Kors!!! Three exclamation points because Michael is the best.

Top Three
Helen - Black cinch-waisted, flowy zip-up hooded jacket, black and grey mid-calf leggings, and a tee with kangaroo pocket. The jacket gets raves from everyone. Nina loves that it covers the butt and thighs, the gentlemen give it complimentary names (Zac: "Elvira at the gym," Kors: "Stevie Nicks active"), Heidi says she'd wear it in a heartbeat. There's no love for the rest of her outfit, so it's clear the jacket alone is responsible for Helen's win.

Kate - Black pants, long-sleeved kangaroo-pocketed pullover with a zipper up the back and a pop of red at the loose cowl neck. Nina loves the fashion-with-function combination, and Zac -- who has without a doubt taken a liking to Kate's work this season anyway -- digs it, too, noting that Kate understands flattering lines.

Alexander - Black, purple, and heather grey bra top, pant, and jacket. Everyone on the panel loves the fit of the pants -- draped without an outside seam, as is proper for form-fitting fabrics -- but the asymmetry of the top and the color-blocking on the pants gets debated a little bit. "It looks like something you'd see on a sale rack in an active department," Kors says. "It's in a store though! It might be on sale, but it's in a store. It got there."

Bottom Three
Alexandria - Black drop-crotch knee-length pants and long-sleeved zip-up jacket, both with a pop of purple, layered over a light grey tee. Zac is disappointed over the drop-crotch pants (accented by what Kors calls "pleasure-me pockets"), and Nina calls out the silliness of the trio of gashes on the stomach of the t-shirt. Heidi likes this look (no surprise) but not enough to help it land in the top.

Ken - A long purple tank top with black and purple knee-length leggings. Kors thinks Ken thought too much about function and not about fashion. When he gets up close to it, Zac frowns at the harness-y straps in back and the proportion of the top.

Karen - This utterly perfunctory black sweatshirt-sweatpant combo is the direct result of Heidi's awful critique of Karen's original take on the challenge. I'm not convinced Karen's first design would have turned out quite as horrifically as Heidi imagined. Regardless, Karen's actual runway look is unflattering and bo-o-o-ring, so she's auf'd.

What say you? Should Karen have ignored Heidi and risked an even more embarrassing elimination? Was Helen's jacket really special enough to cancel out her so-so shirt and leggings? Were you terrified or just annoyed by Ken's outburst? And now that immunity is off the table, who do you think will be the next to go? Let me know what you think in the comments!


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 8

Posted By laurareineke 3:59am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Alexander "Awesome cut on the jacket!"
BOTTOM Jeremy "It looks old and dated, bad color combinations."

TOP Dom "Super cute moto-cross/scuba look."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Poopy pants."

TOP Ken "Love detailing in back of top."
BOTTOM Jeremy "Don't see the concept/idea behind it."

TOP Bradon "Perfectly executed and compliments any body type."
BOTTOM Justin "Poor construction."