Project Runway Recap: S11 E4


Get your hardware and flowers on – it’s time for the unconventional challenge, dear readers! .

The Challenge: After the teams get re-shuffled, the designers are locked into a room filled with double-scented Glade candles until they’re stoned enough to create looks out of hardware AND flowers. (At least, that’s the only link I could find between shilling candles and making clothes out of nails and moss.)

Guest Judge: BETTE. MIDLER. As far as divas go, no prior guest judges can even COMPARE. Oh, and I think some fashion blogger was there too? But it wasn’t the Democracy Diva, so who cares. (Lifetime, I am also available for guest appearances with Bette Midler, especially if we get to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” together.)

Winning Team: Dream Team

MATTHEW ARTHUR
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

It wasn’t the most innovative or dramatic look on the runway, but this dress grew on me the more I looked at it. It’s got a sense of humor and whimsy that’s so important in this kind of challenge, and it expertly walks the line between wearable and over-the-top.

SAMANTHA BLACK
Winner
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

In almost a decade of Project Runway, I don’t think I’ve seen an idea as creative as Samantha’s effect of trapping the flowers and leaves inside that wiry mesh. The way she was able to construct an entire knee-length skirt with a flattering peplum out of that material was impressive, but the yellow flowers adorning the outside and the inside of the peplum looked so incredible over the leaf-printed skirt. The bodice was equally innovative and extraordinarily flattering – it’s rare that the most thought-provoking idea is also the most flattering one, but Samantha’s construction skills clearly match her creative imagination. This team had a few hits, but Samantha’s blew everyone else out of the water.

TU SUTHIWAT NAKCHAT
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I loved both pieces, though not necessarily together. The vest is an incredible piece, especially with that crazy necklace-collar, but I found the skirt a bit too cartoonish to be paired with that vest.

BENJAMIN MACH
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Benjamin constructed his own loom in the workroom, which I’ll admit was pretty fascinating to watch. But I just don’t think it was remotely worth the time and energy put into it, because this dress is only okay. The combination of the flowers and his homespun thread made her look weirdly lumpy in strange places.

STANLEY HUDSON
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Stunning. It lacked the innovation that some of his teammates had, which is why I wouldn’t have considered it for the win, but I can’t pretend this isn’t breathtaking. It looks like a wedding dress from a fairy tale, and I think that’s a sign of success in a challenge as bizarre as this one.

LAYANA AGUILAR
Top 2
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This was breathtaking – surprisingly delicate and feminine and all-around beautiful to look at. In fact, I think it’s more aesthetically pleasing than Samantha’s look, but since it lacked the same level of creativity, I’d still have given the win to Sam. Regardless, that cage-like skirt is so interesting, and the flowers cascading over it are absolutely heavenly. The colors are perfect, the execution is incredible, and the fact that she was able to construct a cut-out in the back was very impressive.

Losing Team: Keeping it Real. Although, according to Heidi, there wasn’t a losing team – it was an “almost-winning team.” I’m sure that made Joe feel much better when he was still eliminated. Also, I found it kind of pathetic that the judges refused to find anything to really criticize about too many of the looks. Don’t worry, dear readers – I won’t be so kind.

KATE PANKOKE

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

It’s quite cupcakey, which Kate clearly thought was a good thing. I don’t necessarily disagree, but that very bottom layer looks too much like chocolate frosting, making the cake effect way too literal. If she’d nixed that last little detail, I think she’d have had a much better look.

AMANDA VALENTINE
Bottom 2
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Amanda said it looked much better from the back than from the front, and she wasn’t wrong. I don’t think the moss looked nearly as nice as she’d hoped, which is why the more embellished back looks nicer than the front. She thought a little bit too small for the unconventional challenge, but she didn’t deserve to have her whole team complain about how difficult she was to work with when that didn’t seem particularly true.

PATRICIA MICHAELS
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Yeah, I’m going to call BS on the judges not even commenting on the burning-hot disaster that was this look. What, since Patricia’s annoying enough to have other designers be sick of her already, her terrible looks get a pass so that she can stay on the show and continue stirring up drama? This was one of the most aggressively ugly, ill-conceived looks in the show’s history, and not so much as a negative word about it from our crack-smoking judges.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Daniel’s done great work thusfar, but this was just difficult to look at without fearing that the model was about to explode into some evil lagoon creature.

MICHELLE LESNIAK FRANKLIN and RICHARD HALLMARQ
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Definitely the strongest look on this team (which isn’t saying too much). The colors of the flowers they used against the leaves in the skirt were perfect, and the cage-like skeleton they build around it looked extraordinarily cool (at least until you got to the Madonna bra).

JOSEPH AARON SEGAL
Eliminated
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

There’s no way this was worse than Patricia’s. And why does Joseph get criticized for making something too shapeless for a woman to wear when half the designers on the runway had weirder, less flattering silhouettes than this one? What about the molting green bowling balls on Daniel’s model’s hips? Joe got sent home for being the kind of weirdo who isn’t interesting to watch on television, not because he made any major errors here. I thought his wiry coat-dress was cool and the way used the flowers were beautifully – this was a matter of the judges not “getting it,” probably because they were too busy choking on the combination of crack smoke and Glade scented candles.

Judges’ Top 2: Samantha and Layana
Diva’s Top 2: Samantha and Layana
Judges’ Bottom 2: Amanda and Joseph
Diva’s Bottom 2: Daniel and Patricia


© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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7 responses to Project Runway Recap: S11 E4

  1. Sammy

    The biggest crime of this episode was the judges not declaring a “loser” BULLSHIT! It was so obvious that team keeping it real was so much worse of a team and then their supposed “decades theme” pleas give me a break!

  2. Diva–you totally nailed it this week. I always read your blog [and–ps–you are CRAZY good at picking out red carpet looks from fashion week and pairing them with stars!]. I don’t always agree on your take on the PR results, but for sure this is the best read of the looks I’ve come across. Kudos from a random observer. Also–I know the morale amongst many PR bloggers is low, but I hope you’ll keep at it. It’s the blogs and BPR in general that really make the show. Lifetime should be paying you all big-time royalties :)

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments! It’s gotten more and more tiresome to blog about the show – even New York Magazine gave up on recapping it! – but it’s comments like this that make me never want to give up. And I’d gladly pay down some of my hefty student loan debt with some Lifetime-sponsored cash! <3

  3. Just discovered your blog and I love this recap! I agree, that dress of Patricias’s was a disaster…but they’re thinking “ratings!” I suppose. I also didn’t like how they thru Amanda under the bus…and to think that the dude who got kicked off was the one who came up with the idea to save her dress! That sucks!

    • democracydiva – Author

      I totally forgot that it was Joe who came up with the idea that basically saved Amanda’s butt on the runway! That just makes his elimination doubly unfair. But he was clearly one of those deliciously weird, uber-creative types that never makes it to the end of Project Runway, so I knew his aufing wasn’t too far away. Thanks for commenting! <3

  4. Bdog

    This episode made me so angry-I thought Joe’s look was actually quite lovely, especially compared to Patricia’s and Daniel’s. Plus all the Amanda hate really pissed me off.

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