The Challenge: In one day, create a look that fits into the Lord & Taylor for Project Runway Capsule Collection, which features designs by former contestants. Winner gets their dress sold and featured in the L&T windows on Fifth Avenue!
Guest Judge: Bonnie Brooks of Lord & Taylor. She was about as boring as she sounds.
ALICIA HARDESTY, Bottom 2
Alicia, darling, a word to the wise: never say the C-word (Chanel, that is) on the runway. It just invites a comparison that you can’t possibly win – certainly not with this strange tennis-turned-eveningwear debacle. Poorly constructed and haphazardly designed, this was a full-on disappointment. Alicia, churn out a fabulous suit before you get sent home, please!
CHRISTOPHER PALU, Winner
Apparently originality was important enough to almost send Gunnar home over, but not important enough to prevent Christopher from getting the win. Gotta love that even-handed judging, amirite? Christopher talked endlessly about how risky he was for doing that same shredded silk chiffon handiwork again, and I just wanted to bitchslap my television and say, “IT’S NOT RISKY TO NOT TAKE A RISK, CHRISTOPHER. PLEASE STOP SPEAKING.” The gown is lovely, but the fit isn’t great and the construction in the back leaves a lot to be desired. He has the benefit of a model who sells the hell out of his looks, so perhaps that’s tipping the scales in his favor. But this never would have snagged the win if the Democracy Diva were on the judging panel.
The clear winner of the challenge, in my not even remotely humble opinion, was Dmitry. He’s been robbed time and time again, but to put him in the safe pile and then proceed to announce that FOUR designs were better than his? Bullshit and a half. Aside from the slit in the back (a good idea, but poorly executed), this is fucking perfect. I’d buy this dress in a heartbeat. I love the color, the way he made a sort of paneled bodice out of the stripes, and the V-neck in the back. Dear readers, if you can explain to me how or why the judges overlooked this, I’d love to hear it. Especially if your response elaborates on how much crack Nina, Michael, and Heidi have clearly been smoking.
Well, somebody was just a panic attack away from being carted off to a mental institution during this episode, and that somebody was Elena. She had the “I’m too couture and avant-garde to make a dress that can be sold at Lord & Taylor” attitude throughout the episode, which is always astonishing to me. Bitch, after ten seasons of this show, you can’t act shocked to the point of a complete meltdown when there’s a “make a dress that can be sold” challenge. And to think of a challenge with such an amazing prize – your look in a Fifth Avenue window, for the love of McQueen – as a burden instead of an opportunity or at least an aspiration is absurd. Get your head together, Elena, and recognize that this is exactly what you signed up for.
This was yet another LBD, with the notable differences of having a harness and being really shiny. I’m not sure how that tipped the odds in her favor, because those details certainly didn’t impress me. At the end of the day, Elena did manage a decent melding of her aesthetic and a sellable product, but she rendered it in an incredibly cheap-looking fabric.
I want to rip that exposed zipper right off her back, but otherwise, Fabio did make a beautiful, classic dress that’s easy to mass produce and even easier to sell to a mass market. It’s still a simple LBD, which is why I’d still pick Dmitry for the win, but I love the easygoing nature of Fabio’s work. The subtle detailing on that perfectly asymmetrical hemline was a really excellent choice.
It’s shiny, it’s tacky, it’s a little on the cheap side, and it’s already sold at every department store in America. Heidi will wear anything short, tight, and glittery, so of course she liked it. But that doesn’t make it good, Gunnar. Best start upping the taste level before Nina starts questioning it, because once that happens, you’ll be auf-ed in the blink of an eye.
Melissa had a cryfest of her own, as she barely got this dress on the model in time. Somehow she garnered excessive praise from the judges, but I didn’t totally buy it. The dress has a fucking fish tail, the fabric is ugly, and the fit is a mess. I think it’s also too artistic to fit into this collection or be sold to the masses. I think it’s stylish and chic, and the neckline is definitely interesting and beautiful, but there were too many problems that I just couldn’t overlook.
Sonjia’s the only contestant I can remember who actually cried on her model. She got so overwhelmed and blinded by her own panic that I don’t think she actually realized she got her clothes on her model. Tim was utterly flabbergasted by Sonjia’s backstage meltdown, and I don’t blame him. This wasn’t a success – in fact, it was very 80s and had some major construction issues – but it wasn’t the utter disaster she thought it was. Sonjia, darling, take a Xanax and steer clear of the peplum skirts and 80s trends, and we’ll get through this together.
VEN BUDHU, Still a Misogynist Bastard with No Discernible Soul
After his truly disgusting antics last week, the producers were smart to barely show Ven at all this episode, save for an idiotic line about men being “stronger” designers than women. He proved that he’s got literally one trick in his bag, that already outplayed rose thing, so I’m hoping that means his auf-ing is imminent. He deserves no more of my time.
Judges’ Top 4: Christopher, Fabio, Elena, Melissa
Diva’s Top 4: Dmitry, Fabio, Christopher, Melissa
Judges’ Bottom 2: Alicia and Gunnar
Diva’s Bottom 2: Gunnar and Alicia
Photos courtesy of Lifetime, via New York Magazine.