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A Very Good Place to Start

Posted By laurareineke 4:50am GMT

We're back with a new season of "Project Runway," and almost immediately the show reminds me of one of the things I like the most about it: Its commitment to casting diversity. The Season 11 group is comprised of a wide range of body types, ages, education levels and races, and that's a pleasure to see on a long-running reality show. Whether or not this diversity will be reflected as the race winnows down remains to be seen, but this is a good foot on which to start the season.

Episode 1 is a flurry of introductions, but some people stand out right away. Daniel has a fabulous mustache, Benjamin is Australian, Cindy is a funeral director and Patricia is the first Native American to appear on the show. [You can check out the full roster of designers here. Go ahead, I'll wait.]

The group assembles for the first time, and Heidi fills them in on the season's big twist: they'll be working in teams. At this point I have to pause my screener because I'm laughing so hard at the designers' reactions. They've still got smiles plastered on their faces but you can see the terror and annoyance in their eyes. It's admittedly a bummer of a twist for any designer who entered the competition expecting to work solo, but hey, we're eleven seasons in. I don't hate the idea of shaking things up a bit. Fashion is way more a team sport than this show usually acknowledges, and as Nina notes later in the episode, forcing the designers to interact with and depend on each other's garments will hopefully raise the bar for quality all around.

On to the challenge! The designers must create a garment that shows their personalities—built with input from the rest of the designers on their teams—inspired by a view of New York City. Team Keeping It Real (hold on while I pause my screener to laugh at that terrible name) takes a boat out on the Hudson, where the designers size each other up. Dream Team (again, terrible) does the same from the roof of Atlas.

There are more changes afoot. 1) To adapt to the team challenge format, Tim's critiques are now a kind of art-school-ish group critique session, which I'm anticipating will lead to a fair bit of drama. 2) The adorable/talented/fabulous Zac Posen has stepped in to fill Michael Kors' spot. 3) Since the judges are paying attention to the work of the group as well as the work of the individual, we're treated to a second group-walk down the runway after seeing each look. This hews a little more closely to industry standard for collection presentations.

Team Keeping It Real - Top Three
Daniel - A striking silk wool crepe suit, and probably the most NYC-feeling garment of the episode. I particularly loved the cut of the pant. The judges gave this look the crown and I totally agree that it was an exciting standout for the season's first runway show.
Richard - Zac Posen liked the use of asymmetry, and all the judges commented on the sporty elegance of the dress.
Patricia - I was nervous when Patricia first started to work on her fabric, but the end result, with the incorporation of the cobalt blue detailing and cut-outs, was very strong and totally wearable. She's the designer I most excited to follow as the season goes on.

Dream Team - Bottom Three
James - Yawn. Posen described it as "pedestrian," and that really sums it up: no one would protest this dress, and I've actually seen a number of people on my morning commute rocking the same basic ensemble, but there's nothing of substance or interest in it.
Cindy - A ho-hum but acceptable silhouette that's totally ruined by a mind-blowingly bizarre combination of prints.
Emily - Hot mess! Just a hot mess. A mishmash of silly pieces and poorly chosen fabrics, without even the benefit of smart construction to save it. I want to defend Emily (She's my age&3151;us eager early-twentysomethings have to stick together), but she was way over her head here and got the boot because of it.

I know y'all have a lot of feelings regarding the team challenge format, so chime in with your comments below. Should Cindy or James have gone home instead of Emily? Whose first look impressed you the most? And who are you planning to keep an eye on as the season moves forward?


Introducing the Season 11 Cast!

Posted By kim_messina 9:00am GMT

Project Runway Season 11 Cast

A team is only as strong as its weakest link…but only ONE Project Runway designer can be the winner, so who will play nice and who won’t this season? As 16 talented designers from across the country arrive to The Big Apple, they will have to prove they can create, construct and collaborate their way to Fashion Week for "Project Runway" Season 11 - Teams Edition, premiering Thursday, January 24, at 9.8c.

In the premiere episode, the designers will use New York as their inspiration to create their garments but discover working in teams for the entire season will challenge their patience and creativity. The designers will have to watch their backs while keeping their eyes on the prize as they work together to impress Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and featured judge Zac Posen and guest judge, Season 4 "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano.

And the Season 11 designers are:

Amanda Valentine, 31 - Hometown: Nashville, TN; Resides in Lincoln, NE

Benjamin Mach, 35 - Hometown: Sydney, Australia; Resides in London, England

Cindy Marlatt, 59 - Hometown: Kent, WA; Resides in Kent, WA

Daniel Esquivel, 48 - Hometown: Dallas, TX; Resides in Austin, TX

Emily Pollard, 24 - Hometown: Richfield, OH; Resides in Falls Church, VA

James Martinez, 29 - Hometown: Dallas, TX; Resides in Fort Worth, TX

Joseph Aaron Segal, 30 - Hometown: Framingham, MA; Resides in Providence, RI

Kate Pankoke, 23 - Hometown: Eau Claire, WI & Parkland, FL; Resides in Chicago, IL

Layana Aguilar, 28 - Hometown: Valadares, Brazil; Resides in New York, NY

Matthew Arthur, 30 - Hometown: Hammond, LA; Resides in New Orleans, LA

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, 34 - Hometown: Portland, OR; Resides in Portland, OR

Patricia Michaels, 46 - Hometown: Taos, NM; Resides in Taos, NM

Richard Hallmarq, 39 - Hometown: Saramento, CA; Resides in Sacramento, CA

Samantha Black, 28 - Hometown: Bronx, NY; Resides in Fairfield, CT

Stanley Hudson, 45 - Hometown: Lynwood, CA; Resides in West Hollywood, CA

Tu Suthiwat Nakchat, 26 - Hometown: Chacheangsao, Thailand; Resides in Springfield, VA


Season 11 = Teams Edition, Plus New Featured Judge!

Posted By kim_messina 1:12pm GMT

There is no "I" in "TEAM," but there is in "FASHION!" Project Runway’s Season 11 returns on January 24 at 9.8c with a twist...the 16 designers will be participating in the series’ first-ever Teams Edition! Yep, you read right. The normally controversial "team challenges" are taken to a whole new level when the designers must work together for every challenge while ensuring their own garments stand out on the runway.

"Project Runway" is also spicing up the judges panel this season with the addition of featured judge, award-winning fashion designer Zac Posen, to help rate the designs alongside Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia. Tim Gunn, will, once again, serve as the mentor, as they sew their way to New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center where Michael Kors will serve as the finale guest judge.

This season will also feature guest judges: Bette Midler, Oscar® winner Susan Sarandon, country music sensation and Grammy® Award winner Miranda Lambert, Grammy-winning singer songwriter John Legend, red-carpet fashion experts Joan and Melissa Rivers, Emmy Rossum, Kristin Davis, Jordana Brewster and designers Rachel Roy, Tracy Reese, Chris Benz and "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano.

Even though all the challenges are team challenges, there will only be one winner. As part of the winner’s prize package, this season’s victorious designer will receive $100,000 from L’Oréal Paris to start his/her own line, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a 2013 Lexus GS 350, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel to create his/her own vision and run his/her business and the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor. The model paired with the winner of Project Runway will also appear in the designer's Marie Claire editorial feature and receive $25,000 from L'Oréal Paris EverStyle.

React! What do you think about all team challenges? Do you think Zac Posen will make a good addition?


Exclusive Q&A With the WINNER of Season 10!

Posted By Tracy_Goldenberg 3:00pm GMT

Heidi Klum and Dmitry Sholokhov

Now that "Project Runway" Season 10 has a fashion champion, we couldn't wait to talk to the newly crowned winning designer, Dmitry Sholokhov, all about the anniversary season and what we can expect from him next! We also pooled questions from our loyal Twitter followers—read on to see if your question made the cut!


And the Winner Is...

Posted By Tracy_Goldenberg 5:00am GMT

Picking up right where we left off last week, Tim enters to tell the designers to not overthink the rest of the night. As much as I love Tim Gunn and want him to be my BFF, that is just plain crazy. The final four designers have just been told they're one step and a couple days away from making their ultimate dream come true, and now they're supposed to relax? Blasphemy! Their nerves are on fashion overload and they're hours away from the biggest show of their lives. It's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, baby! It's time to bring out the big scissors.

Side note: After living in New York City for six years, I just recently attended my first fashion show, featuring...you guessed it: Christopher, Melissa, Dmitry, and Fabio! Not only that, but I also interviewed each of them for the digital videos right before they left New York the first time around to work on their final collections. In case you were wondering, being at MBFW was amazing and so are the remaining designers. They are some of the most down-to-earth, cool people I have had the pleasure to meet. So, in their honor, I will be sharing what I loved about each designer this season, in addition to gossiping about their final collections and the craziness of MFBW. After all, they’ve made it this far, they certainly deserve the extra love!

Without further ado, the final four:

CHRISTOPHER: I have been Team Christopher from the beginning and I'm reminded why every time he does an impression of one of the judges, or rolls his eyes, or gives the "WTF?!" look to the camera. Christopher can say it all in a look, whether it be an outfit or in an interview.

My heart was breaking for Christopher during the majority of this episode. We haven't seen him this stressed all season and he just doesn't seem to have his emotions together. I think he was aiming too high and trying to bring too many ideas to life. Christopher, you have the talent. Just breathe and concentrate!

Christopher's collection is based on deconstruction and reconstruction, hence the X-ray that served as the design for his new print. So cool. Major kudos to Christopher for being the only one to make his own textile; it showed complete originality and totally rocked on the runway. The bleached leather was also very fresh and fashionable.

One of my favorite pieces was the one-shoulder print dress with the silver collar; I would totally want to wear that out on a Saturday night in New York. But the showstopper was his final gown. It was gorgeous and totally red carpet-worthy. Also, props to him for boldly ripping off the bottom so Claudia (the model) could actually walk in it. It was a much better presentation of the dress in comparison to the rehearsals earlier that morning. I know, I was there for both.

I'm no fashion expert, but I don't agree with the judges' assertion that this didn't look like a collection - save the blue-jacket-with-maroon-pants look. The jacket was great, but those pants did not belong. Aside from that, I thought it was a gorgeous collection.

MELISSA: Melissa is badass. I wish I were as cool as her. Who doesn't want to be a gorgeous, talented blonde who can rock a bunch of tattoos and rocker-chick style? I love Melissa's designs and you can bet I'll be shopping for her clothes when she has a fashion line. That said, she does struggle with using color and this time was no different. She was very smart to take the judges' advice and throw in the red dress.

When I was in the audience at Fashion Week, Melissa's blood-orange* dress was a show-stopper, so I was blown away to learn in this episode that she made it within her final three hours. YOU GO GIRL. Proof Melissa is badass.

*Christopher gets the quote of the week here: "Blood orange? She’s so pretentious. Shut up, it’s f***ing red." [Insert eye-roll here.]

Watching the model attempt to walk in the long white dress made me uncomfortable. I know every second of prep time mattered here, but if I were Melissa, I would have taken five of them to rip a slit in the side so the model could walk. The dress is super-chic, but no one wants to wear a dress they can’t even walk in.

Melissa's line, inspired by a new exploration of death to life, strikes me as the most wearable of the four final collections: The white leather jacket (Nina was right – it looks so much better without the cuffs), the leather vest over the black dress, the white sheer top with the black leather vest, and the black dress with white netted fabric in the back would all appeal to a modern woman. As Michael Kors and Nina Garcia put it, Melissa understands how a girl wants to look: Sexy, not slutty. Nina's concern is that Melissa won't be different from what's already out there, but I disagree. She may share the tough-girl-rocker style with other lines, but she cranks it up several notches and makes it classy and chic at the same time.

DMITRY: I love listening to Dmitry talk. His accent is as fabulous as the clothes he makes. As the season has progressed, I've found myself rooting for him more and more. His clothes have been fantastic from the beginning and I'd love to wear them, but personality-wise, it took time for my love to grow. I give Dmitry the award for Most Improved Awesomeness this season. He is also a Belarusian hunk.

Dmitry's collection is inspired by organic architecture and I think it's the most cohesive, glamorous collection of the bunch. The white pants with sheer black top is a classy and very sexy combo. I absolutely love the first dress with the fringe on the bottom; the neckline is gorgeous and totally eye-catching, and I love how just the zipper runs up the top of the back - again, sexy. Dmitry does sexy so well.

I wasn’t too fond of the yellow he chose to add in some of the looks, but I do think it was a nice splash of color that he used very well. The one-shoulder black silk top that he paired with the yellow skirt was to-die-for. I want it. Now. The black leather dress with one sleeve was also totally cool. I think Dmitry's final dress was stunning and belongs on the red carpet right along with Christopher's gown. It's even more beautiful in person. Another show-stopper, hands down.

Overall, it was an amazing collection, impeccably made as always. As glam-gal and guest judge Jennifer Hudson put it, Dmitry's clothes are strong, they are "now," and he is ready. I agree.

FABIO: I didn't really notice Fabio this season until he immersed himself so wholeheartedly in Heidi's Babies"R"Us challenge and took to his plastic baby as it if were real. So adorable. He's going to make a great dad one day. Maybe he'll even make all the baby's clothes. Was anyone else completely entertained watching Dmitry and Fabio just chillin' in the last few hours while Melissa and Christopher were running all over the place? Fabio even suggested they play games. Doing crossword puzzles with Fabio would be fun.

Fabio's final collection was much like Fabio himself: "Out there," but in a good way. It's called "Cosmic Tribalism" after all! Fabio definitely has a gift for draping and layering as Michael and Jennifer pointed out, and the collection was certainly cohesive, but I thought it lacked the sexiness of Dmitry's. I did love the first outfit with the striped blue shorts (which he made in the last few days) and the gray draped tunic that went over the white pants. I totally want to own that top and wear it out with some jeans and stilettos. Hot! The plain white satin dress was also beautiful.

Fabio's main issue, as the judges said, is that his collection is more conceptual. It is not "now." People don’t want it yet. But the judges swear they will. Time will tell. We're rooting for you, Fabio!

And the winner is…

I have to give major props to each and every one of the final four designers this season. Those who didn’t take home the winning title – Melissa, Christopher, and Fabio – are all very talented. Their collections were unique and impressive, and they made it to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week! That's a huge accomplishment. In my eyes, they're all winners. (Cheesy, but true.)

I thought the judges were spot on choosing Dmitry as the winner of "Project Runway" Season 10. His collection was glamorous, sophisticated, polished, and overall completely fantastic. I also love Dmitry's story: He left Belarus at the age of 18 with a backpack, some cash, and a big dream. It seems like his dream has come true. He's an incredible designer who deserved this win and I couldn’t be happier for him. You have your wings, Dmitry, now go and fly! (And please make me a dress while you’re at it!)

I'm excited to hear your thoughts on the finale. Which collection was your favorite? Which pieces could you see yourself wearing? Would you have crowned Dmitry or should someone else have taken the title?


Make the Cut With Your Favorite Season 10 Moments!

Posted By laurareineke 2:22pm GMT

Will your favorite Season 10 moment make the cut?

As "Project Runway" winds to a close, we want to hear about your favorite moments from the season! Maybe you loved one of Christopher's off-the-cuff quotes or one of Tim's critiques. Maybe a challenge - or one of Heidi's infamous twists - has stuck with you. Regardless of what your favorite moment might be, you can share it with us on Twitter for a chance to win a "Make it work!"-worthy prize!

Tweet us your favorite Season 10 moment between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to enter to win one of three pairs of bedazzled scissors (see above). Tweet us again between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. for a chance to win one of FOUR designs from "Project Runway" Season 10!

To enter, follow @ProjectRunway on Twitter and tweet us your favorite "Project Runway" Season 10 moments using the #ProjectRunway hashtag during the specified time periods. Can't pick a favorite? No worries - multiple tweets count for multiple entries.

The first sweeps begins today, Thursday, October 18 at 4 p.m. ET! Read the "Project Runway" Designs Twitter Sweepstakes Rules and the "Project Runway" Scissors Twitter Sweepstakes Rules for more info, and good luck!


Season 10 Q&A: Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn Dish About the Final Four

Posted By laurareineke 4:27pm GMT

Tim Gunn and Melissa Fleis

"Project Runway" seasons come and go, and with them all kinds of talented, promising designers. Judge Nina Garcia and mentor Tim Gunn have been around for all of them. The pair took the time during the run-up to the Season 10 finale to chat with us about this season's developments and to share their thoughts on the final four designers. Check out the Q&A below, and don't forget to watch the finale episode (full of Fashion Week goodness) tomorrow night at 9.8c.


Second Chances

Posted By kim_messina 4:29am GMT

The Fab Four? The Fierce Four? Either way, after a season of ups and downs, twists and turns, it has cumulated to Christopher, Dmitry, Fabio and Melissa representing Season 10 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. But of course, in true "Project Runway" fashion, their road to the big runway was anything but smooth...which fans got to watch play out in this week's episode. Instead of breaking down the episode bit by bit, I'm going to break it down by designer (a la Mila Hermanovski), because if you watched the episode [SPOILER ALERT], you know that all four designers make it to MBFW.

(I now welcome you to the interactive portion of this post…)

Christopher was the first designer to face the wrath of Tim Gunn on home turf. His family was just lovely — they sipped tea with Tim. Precious. Upon first glance, I was impressed with Christopher's progress. It's very my style, and I've gravitated toward his looks all season. But I also initially thought that he needed to step outside the box some more and push the envelope. (i.e. Using bleach on leather). I also thought using his mom's X-ray was a bold move and pretty damn creative. I was confused, however, as to why two out of the three looks he sent down the runway were booty shorts. Seeing as though Tim raved about two of his jackets during the home visit (the studded-leather and structured coats), I was shocked to see that neither of those pieces made the cut. However out of all the designers, I thought Christopher had the best styling.

First off, if I didn't know that Fabio's sick work space actually belonged to his friend, I would have been super confused that Freegan Fabio had such luxurious digs. If I'm being honest, all season Fabio's clothes have never been my style. But that being said, his creativity and vision for his collection was off the charts. I don't think I've ever heard of "Cosmic Tribalism" in my life, but I'm a believer now. The dyeing? Fab. The draping? Fab. The shoes? Not so much. (Can you imagine someone accidentally stepping on your toes while wearing them?) They scared me almost as much as the blunt bangs that Fabio's models wore on the runway. I think he showed the most diversity with his collection (I like that he did a pants outfit, skirt and dress), but I really had a hard time seeing past those bowl cuts. Oye.

Dmitry was working on his collection just a hop, skip and jump from where I live. Had I known, I would have put on my "Project Runway" super sleuth gear and scoped out the collection. Or at least would have tried to grab a cup of coffee with the Wonder from Belarus. I don't care if you do or do not like Dmitry's clothes — you can't argue with me for one second that they are not impeccably made. I truly think that his craftsmanship has given him an edge up on the competition all season. And as Dmitry put it, he's very "confident" in his collection. He should be. I thought the judges made a really good point that Dmitry has to watch his styling and try to make it "younger." They said you don't want the look to be so busy that you don't know where to focus, and I agree with that. (I also want that white dress.)

Throughout the entire season, Melissa has stayed true to herself and has really showed who she is a designer. Her collection is no different. However, I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. Don't get me wrong, I've very much been Team Melissa all season and I think her collection had some strong pieces, but it's Fashion Week! You don't want to play it safe. I can appreciate leaning towards the cautious side, but as Heidi said it didn't "knock me off my chair." I do think her collection was the most consumer and wearable. (PS: And how adorable is Melissa and her boyfriend?!)

All three judges echoed that sentiment to not just Melissa, but to Dmitry, Fabio and Christopher: if this was you're only chance to ever see your collection walk the runway, would you regret not showing your "best" pieces? All four said yes. Luckily, all four get a second chance.


Put Your Avant-Garde Up

Posted By kim_messina 5:12am GMT

It's the final countdown! After taking a week off and handing over this blog to my "Project Runway" partner in crime, Laura, I am back...and boy, do I have a lot to say about this week's episode.

When I first got wind that this episode was titled "In A Place Far Far, Away," I immediately thought the designers were either grabbing their passports and taking a private plane to a wonderfully fabulous foreign country...or that they were designing dresses for Disney Princesses. So you can imagine my surprise (and utter disappointment) when I saw that instead, they took a shuttle van to a castle...Long Island. (Fun Fact: Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle got married at Oheka Castle, as did Joey Fatone and his wife Kelly.)

The designers were told by Tim and Billy B. from L'Oreal (Who sorta looked a little like Ted Danson, no?) that their challenge was to create an avant-garde look not only inspired by the castle, but by L'Oreal's new Electric Fantasie line. Each designer was given a palette from one of the makeup sets (Artsy Muse, Enchanting Queen, Seductive Temptress, and Wise Mystic) to use as their muse. (Okay, so maybe when I thought Disney Princess earlier, I wasn't so far off. Tim kept referring to the pallets as "ladies.")

Annnnnnd the pressure is on. I feel like an avant-garde challenge is the perfect way to wrap up the competition. It basically gives the designers a free pass to, as Tim would say, design the s**t out of a garment, with very little restrictions. And honestly after last week's children's clothing challenge, I think the designers have really earned the right to be as creative as possible. But it seemed like instead of taking this challenge and running with it, they all put their avant-gardes up.

I think the designers were so fearful that they would get cut this episode, that they all over-thought the entire challenge — which Tim delightfully pointed out during his first check-up. He had the poor designers shaking in their boots. (Even the normally confident Christopher!) His "two days to make a look that would normally take two months" line slayed me.

As the episode progressed, I specific worries for each designer:
-Fabio: What was he going to do to fix that coat? (Well, before he turned it upside down.) And boy shorts? Oye.
-Melissa: Another high-neck? She's making herself a one-trick monkey, as Dmitry would say.
-Dmitry: A suit is avant-garde? Would you like some sneakers, socks and a scrunchie with that?
-Christopher: Is he creating a dress for Angelina Jolie's new movie "Maleficent"? It started to become borderline Disney evil witch at one point.
-Sonjia: Where is the Adam to her Eve? I felt terrible that she lost her gold fabric, but the kelly green does not scream seductress. At all.

But as always, despite my worries, the designers always seem to turn it out. Whether it'd be for good or bad, that's your call.

There's been very few times this season that I've disagreed with the judges, but I definitely think Melissa should have won. She's had a rough few weeks and I think she finally got herself together and created a look that was a nice balance between her aesthetic and avant-garde. It was chic, colorful, the print was fun and her leather work was fantastic.

There's no arguing that Dmitry's craftsmanship is impeccable, but his outfit was boring to me and was definitely not avant-garde. I 100 percent think that he deserved to go to Fashion Week, but his look this challenge did absolutely nothing for me. (Sidenote: Dmitry's little, "Yeah!" after Heidi told him the good news was super adorable.)

Christopher also deserved to right to show at Fashion Week. If I was sure of anything going into this episode, it was that with four wins this season, Christopher was a shoe-in.

As for the final two designers left on the runway, Fabio and Sonjia, I was torn if one, both or none should go home. Throughout the season, they each had their strong and weak moments. I thought the judges brought up a good point that none of Fabio's looks really stood out in the minds, and that Sonjia never fully performed to her potential. At the end, Sonjia was aufed. For a second I thought the judges were going to pull a Gunnar and cut no one, but I was wrong.


Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh!

Posted By laurareineke 4:37am GMT

Babies! They are the best, but also the worst. They're cute, but they can't hold a conversation; they wobble around adorably, but also spill stuff on themselves. But one thing's for sure: when you're watching them from the other side of a TV screen, they make for great entertainment.

The designers were herded into Babies"R"Us this week, where Heidi and Tim introduced the challenge: create a look for Heidi's new kidswear line, Truly Scrumptious. Christopher, Elena and Melissa designed for the girls while Fabio, Dmitry, and Sonjia created looks for the boys.

I am admittedly not much of a kid person, but seeing all those wide-eyed babies in their strollers melted my cold heart. Tiny feet! Chubby cheeks! Even the designers who seemed apprehensive at the initial challenge, like Elena and Dmitry, warmed up quickly to their teensy adorable clients.

Dmitry noted that "Heidi has like 105 kids." Sounds legit! (She has four.) But it highlighted an interesting point: Heidi designed a line for children based on her own real-life experiences raising and dressing her brood. The remaining "Runway" designers don't have a single child between them. We all know how Heidi loves to throw wrenches in the designers' plans, so it was no surprise that she decided to send a bunch of fake babies to the workroom to help bridge the designers' knowledge gap.

This sounded fine in theory, but immediately backfired when the fake kids wouldn't. Stop. Crying. The looks of total panic and exhasperation on the designers' faces were probably my favorite part of the episode. There are few things funnier than watching a group of already tired people hilariously grapple with sudden faux parenthood. Dmitry swinging his baby around nonchalantly; Fabio coo-ing like his was a real boy; Elena rolling her eyes and naming her kid "a**hole"; the whole group carting the kids off to Mood in slings...it was all great.

And Christopher gets my pick for best oneliner of the season so far: "Now I know why Judy went off the deep end with Liza." A+ work, Christopher.

Tim Gunn swooped in to babysit on Day 2, leaving the designers with a quiet workroom to finish their looks for the babies and the moms. Further proof (as if we needed it!) that Tim is a saint. I hope he and the babies enjoyed the imaginary afternoon play date I envisioned for them.

The runway show came off well for everyone involved, I think. The cute factor of the baby models certainly helped, but all the looks were solid, and I really enjoyed Hilary Duff's contributions to the judging panel (Though half the time I was yelling at the TV in denial, "Lizzie McGuire doesn't have kids!"). Even the last-minute twist of having the designers create a look for the toddlers' moms didn't trip anyone up. And I don't think I can recall Nina and Michael looking as relaxed and happy as they did watching the kids storm the runway. Babies are magical that way.

This was one of the first weeks that I actually agreed with the outcome! Sonjia's casual suit (Worn by the RIDICULOUSLY adorable and smiley Jude) deservedly won the day on the boys' side, and Christopher's understated occasion dress was easily the best girls' look.

On the not-so-great end, Melissa's flawed sheath dress was saved, barely, by an adorable vest. Elena's multi-colored look was inoffensive — I would totally dress my hypothetical future daughter in something like that for a romp around the park — but definitely the weakest of the lot, and way too busy to fit in with the rest of Heidi's line. I thought her elimination was fair.

But I also have to give Elena major props for really pushing herself out of her comfort zone over the course of the season. I don't think the Elena of the Times Square runway show could have - or would have - designed the look we saw last night, and that willingness to evolve is one of those marks of a good designer that we don't usually get the chance to celebrate on "Runway."