Project Runway Recap: S9 E8

It’s runway time, dear readers.

The “Real Woman” Challenge: Design a look for the wife/girlfriend of your male client, who will display a 1950s-style ignorance of anything about his significant other’s style or size – except her breasts, of course.

ANTHONY RYAN (bottom 3)

It’s as basic as can be, and I didn’t disagree with the judges calling this cheerleader-esque. Anthony Ryan didn’t exactly stretch himself in terms of design or styling, but this look isn’t bad. It’s just boring.

ANYA (top 3)

Anya’s take on a kimono actually came out looking interesting and stylish. I normally rag on the judges for over-praising the beauty queen, but with the exception of the black tulle attached to the bottom of the skirt (which looks cheap), I thought Anya’s look was a solid effort. The sleeve is too long and looks poorly made, but the rest of the garment is at least interesting from a design perspective, which is more than can be said for almost any other garment on the runway.

BERT (bottom 3)

A very, very played-out dress in a print that we’ve all seen a hundred times. From head to toe, there’s not a shred of uniqueness to be found here. For that, Bert deserved his spot in the bottom.

BRYCE (out)

Though it was long past Bryce’s turn to go home (he’s been churning out average-to-crappy garments since the competition began), I’d like to defend some aspects of this dress. The color is actually lovely on her skin, and though there were obviously a significant amount of construction issues (poorly fit, uneven pockets, puckering seams), this has more design to it than Bert’s look, or Anthony’s, or even Josh’s, which snagged the win this week. He may have done a craptastic job executing his ideas, and I certainly don’t disagree with his auf-ing, but I believe in encouraging the designers to take risks by rewarding risk-takers and punishing the dull. Unfortunately, the designers chose to rag on those who made a dress you could find in any department store, while eliminating one of the only designers who made something that looked original.


I don’t disagree with this win, because I do believe Josh did a beautiful job this week. The dress, though simple, and perhaps too simple for some, was thoughtfully designed and impeccably executed. It’s not revolutionary and it’s not unique, but this is much more than a basic LBD. It fits her perfectly; the skirt hits at exactly the right spot on the knee; that bottom layer of black crinoline actually adds some sophistication and elegance, and the way he did the detailing of the lace in the front and back of the garment was really quite exquisite. As far as I’m concerned, Josh showed a strong intuition of what the judges were looking for from him – something at the skill level of his other garments, but without that impossibly, extravagantly flamboyant touch that makes most of his stuff unwearable.


I was leaning towards Kimberly as a potential finalist for a few weeks, but I’ve concluded that everything she makes from week to week looks the same. The only reason the judges haven’t called her out on it is that more often than not, she’s in the safe pile, free from critiques or worshipping remarks from the judges. The exposed zippers are so far beyond over, it’s a little ridiculous – I mean, I was writing LAST Project Runway season about how sick I was of zippers being everyone’s favorite trick to pull out on every damn garment. And you know what? That skirt could have been a lot more flattering without the giant zipper down the middle. I mean, it still would have suffered from some SAS (“Saggy Ass Syndrome”) because of improper fit, and as usual, her skirts are too tight in the butt and too short in the hem. The blouse looks pretty great from the front, and it’s extraordinarily flattering, but again, the back zipper is stupid and the bodice is so tight that from the back, she looks a little squeezed.


Good color choice, and she managed to make a semi-functional evening gown in two days, which is no easy feat. I think the draped bodice is supremely derivative but nicely done, and I think the rest of the garment looks like it was trampled by an elephant before it hit the runway. From the waist down, Laura could have easily been eliminated for this garment. It had literally no originality and surprisingly poor construction for Laura, who at least can usually sew her way out of a paper bag. But from the styling to the fit to the construction, this was a big old mess.


Olivier’s disgust at working with 1) a non-model 2) a woman who dares to have … BREASTS, which obviously God/Olivier never intended us to have, and 3) someone who is allowed to express an opinion about his work moved him from the top to the bottom of my personal list. Olivier, if you think I’m rooting for you after that hilariously immature, completely oblivious and inexperienced rant against the women in his clothes having tits or thoughts, you’ve got another thing coming. But my own personal diatribe aside, this was a pretty standard middle-of-the-road entry. The top is a little too tight, but it’s got style and enough design elements to keep it interesting, without going over the top. I see nothing redeeming about those pants, but at least he made an interesting top that looks nice.

VIKTOR (top 3)

Definitely the best-styled look of the runway, but that didn’t make it the most deserving of the win. The yellow purse was so darn cute, and the head-to-toe look so eye-catching, that it was easy to skip over the imperfections that robbed Viktor of the women. Although the skirt is adorable, it’s not remotely original. And the blouse is neither original nor well-made – it’s awfully droopy, from collar to sleeves, and the seams in back pucker. The skirt looks like the client was born to wear it, which is a sure sign that you’ve nailed the challenge, but his usually strong construction skills cost him the win this week.

Judges’ Top 3: Josh (winner!), Viktor, Anya
Diva’s Top 3: Josh, Viktor, Anya
Judges’ Bottom 3: Anthony Ryan, Bert, Bryce (out)
Diva’s Bottom 3: Laura, Bert, Bryce

All photos courtesy of Lifetime.

© Democracy Diva, 2011.
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3 responses to Project Runway Recap: S9 E8

  1. Camgi

    I was rolling my eyes at Oliver last night. He seemed so disgusted about dressing a normal-sized woman, and it was weird that he kept asking everyone what a DD cup was. I think if you’re a designer, you should know how to dress ALL shapes. Most women are NOT a size two. Jeez.

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