Project Runway Recap: S9 E4

Welcome back to the runway, dear readers.


Anthony Ryan presented the cutest moment of the episode (him and his fiancé? delicious!), if not the most interesting garment. He and Becky chose the same fabric – easy to see why, since you don’t really have to design anything when the print carries the dress. But it’s more difficult to see why they would both continue on as if their looks weren’t suspiciously similar. Mood is big, dear readers. Fabric need not be shared.

Regardless, this was a textbook middle-of-the-road entry. Like I said, the print does all the work; he designed a simple, well-constructed top and a skirt slightly too short for Nina. The styling is inoffensive, but there’s nothing memorable about this look.

ANYA (Top 3)

Anya started the challenge off with trouble – a brightly colored print that Nina hated, because Nina already said she hated prints and colors. Like, duh. So they over-praised Anya for having the genius to dye her fabric a color that would hide her shoddy sewing skills. That awful belt is so strategically placed that I bet it’s covering some truly awful construction in the back. The collar, which looks limp and is completely uneven, wasn’t even sewn on by Anya – she charmed an army of competitors into helping her, and got placed in the top for it. I love Anya’s personal style and I think she has an eye for fashion, but I cannot understand what the judges are seeing here. And can we step back and remember the challenge for a moment? Under what circumstances would Nina Garcia wear this outfit? And is a backless jumpsuit really appropriate workplace attire – even in the fashion industry?


I like the colorblocking and the pops of yellow, but once again, the print does all the work here. She made a T-shirt dress with some interesting strips of fabric across it. That’s pretty basic.


I know details are hard to see on black outfits, so there could be plenty about this outfit that just doesn’t show up in photos or even on TV. But we’ve seen Bert put absolutely no effort into other challenges, so I’m going to unfairly assume he phoned this one in as well. Nina doesn’t need a dress she already owns, Bert. The point is to show that you have a point of view, and this only shows that you’ve seen Donna Karan and Calvin Klein designs. There’s no originality here.


I truly can’t believe Bryce sneaked through this piece of shit. I’m sorry, but he should be ashamed of that hemline. None of the lines in the dress match or line up with one another, and he barely styled her. And why is the model wearing a raccoon stapled to the back of her head? Are those supposed to resemble hair extensions? This is the second episode in a row involving a complete hair disaster – someone at L’Oreal is getting aufed!

CECILIA (Bottom 3)

Poorly executed – every seam, the hem in the back, the twisted fabric at the neckline, it’s all a disaster. A disaster in ugly colors. Cecilia lives to see another challenge only because Julie’s been on the judges’ bad list for weeks.

DANIELLE (Bottom 3)

Like many of her peers, Danielle suffered from limp collar syndrome, but I didn’t have a big problem with this look overall. It’s not memorable, but it at least takes more skill to make this than what Cecilia, Bryce, or Bert made. And unlike those, it’s in a fun color (though maybe not a Nina color).


I’ll start with what I don’t like: From the back, it’s just too youthful/badass for Nina. Between the exposed zipper and the black trim around the zipper and the cut-outs – it’s not Nina. But that’s literally my only objection to this look, because I think this is a hell of a dress. I’m actually amazed he made something so complex and well-constructed in such a short amount of time. From the front, I think this is a chic, modern-mod dress that could easily transition from day to night with the right accessories. And I think it’s a dress that would look fantastic on Nina. But like I said, the back of the dress is for a 25-year-old party-goer, not a 46-year-old fashion editor. I love every bit of it, but I only love the front half for Nina.


This may or may not have been the worst thing on the runway, but Julie’s track record was against her, so she was the right choice for the auf. This sad little housecoat came from some potentially good ideas (the colors, the athletic take on a classic look) but was executed so badly, she really had no chance of making it through this challenge.


This was certainly one of the better-constructed garments on the runway, but it had so little to do with the challenge that I’m almost surprised it slid by into the safe zone. The color is too Christmas, and those sheer panels and arm cut-outs and the whole silhouette is just too little-girly for a woman like Nina.

KIMBERLY (Winner!)

I thought this was over-praised, but a worthy contender. That top is pretty fantastic, but I originally doubted whether it was Nina enough. Once I saw it on Nina, I felt that it worked. The pants are totally ordinary but perfectly executed, which we all know is a miracle on this show. The different panels and cut-outs on top keep it interesting, and again, she showed off her strong sewing skills.


I like the idea, but I think he had some construction issues, particularly in the baggy crotch and the uneven hem at the back of the shirt. But I love the concept of this modern suit thing, and I think Nina could work the hell out of it, if it were just made a little better.

VIKTOR (Top 3)

This was my pick for the win. Again, hard to see in photos, but the construction of this dress, which was all about the little details, was perfect. He thought about the day-to-night aspect, he thought about Nina’s personal taste, and he thought about how to construct a deceivingly simple dress with some actual wow factor. Out of all of these looks, this is the only one I could see both on a real runway AND on Nina Garcia.

Judges’ Top 3: Kimberly (winner!), Anya, Viktor
Diva’s Top 3: Viktor, Kimberly, Josh Eyebrows
Judges’ Bottom 3: Danielle, Cecilia, Julie (out)
Diva’s Bottom 3: Bryce, Cecilia, Julie

All photos courtesy of Lifetime via New York Magazine.

© Democracy Diva, 2011.
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