Project Runway Recap: S10 E12

Welcome, dear readers, to another round of Project Runway‘s favorite game, “How Vaguely Can We Define Avant-Garde so that Nothing on the Runway is Actually Avant-Garde?”

The Challenge: In two days, with a $400 budget, create an “avant-garde” look inspired by one of L’Oreal’s new makeup collections. You know, because nothing speaks to the innovation and creativity required for avant-garde quite like desperately pairing them with tacky makeup to make a quick buck, right?

Guest Judge: Zoe Saldana, by far the greatest actress/starlet to ever guest judge on this show. She was knowledgeable, invested in the show, and didn’t base her entire criticism on “I’d wear that” or “I wouldn’t wear that” the way every model/actress who comes on the show does. (Heidi, that includes you.)

Top 3

The best advice given during this episode was that avant-garde should not be a costume; that’s where a combination of Christopher and the producers failed miserably. Christopher made himself quite the little Mockingjay costume, but is that his fault? Each of the four L’Oreal makeups had some ridiculous name for the entirely nonexistent woman they were supposed to represent – this one was “Enchanted Queen.” And though I don’t have a lot of experiences with enchanted queens (my queens are more of the drag variety), I think it’s safe to say that this is what an enchanted queen would wear to her enchanted masquerade ball or wherever the fuck an enchanted queen goes. The feathers around her neck and shoulders were a good idea, even if the execution was less than perfect. But poor Christopher can’t do an extra-wide hip if his life depended on it – as the judges noted, if the model didn’t have such an itsy-bitsy waist, you’d never know that those are artistically enhanced hips for the purpose of being avant-garde, would you? And the eye was drawn immediately not to the beautiful shoulders or the stunning, haunting hair and makeup, but to that God-awful bustline. It’s sad, it’s crooked, it’s wrinkled, and it looks downright tortured.


I think that Dmitry’s look had enough innovation and seemingly unique cuts to give it a slightly avant-garde vibe, even though the look overall doesn’t come across as avant-garde to me. But the side-slits, the way the back fits, and the shape the front makes it just exquisite. And I think the judges were wrong about the collar – without it, this would have been just a suit. An impeccably-tailored suit, but just a suit nonetheless. It needed a piece for extra drama and intrigue, and I think the collar was just a phenomenal way to do that. It’s clearly a Dmitry and it’s executed to perfection, so kudos to him for this week’s win, even if the meaning of avant-garde is lost on the judges and contestants alike.

Bottom 2

Fabio’s got ideas and creativity, and that’s why I’m glad he’s made it this far in the competition. Turning the jacket upside-down was a game-changing moment for him, but I have to say, this was infinitely more impressive on television than it is in pictures. But the more Heidi refused to acknowledge this because it was “sad” and because it didn’t fit her personal aesthetic – which we all know is questionable at best, as evidenced by the hooker-tastic Herve Leger dress she wore at the beginning of the episode – the more I rooted for Fabio. The reversible jacket was innovative, and I don’t even hate the giant pants, but I do think the vertical strips of fabric in the bust weren’t executed well enough.

Top 3

Like every other entry, I’m not at all convinced that this is avant-garde, but it packed a fucking punch on the runway. The leather vest was incredibly sharp, and though the skirt looks a little stiff and uneven in photos, I thought it worked well on the runway, particularly with the color popping out. I believe Melissa is one of the more talented people left in the competition, but if she can’t push her creativity past high collars and leather, I won’t be rooting for her to win.


I really love Sonjia. I think her personal style is incredibly unique and fun, and I think she’s made some great pieces on this show. But I hated everything about this. I felt this was the least avant-garde of the bunch. Half the gowns we see on the red carpet use illusion netting for the faux-nude effect that Sonjia thought was so avant-garde, and she used it terribly. “She looks naked but isn’t” isn’t avant-garde, and when it’s done so terribly that there’s no way she could be confused for naked, it’s worthy of the auf.

Judges’ Top 3: Dmitry, Christopher, Melissa
Diva’s Top 3: Dmitry, Melissa, Fabio
Judges’ Bottom 2: Fabio and Sonjia
Diva’s Bottom 2: Christopher and Sonjia

Photos courtesy of Lifetime via New York Magazine.

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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8 responses to Project Runway Recap: S10 E12

  1. Van

    I only read your recaps of the shows to figure out what happens since I can’t bear to watch any more Project Runway and be disappointed with the horrible choices and comments the judges make so when you reference clothes that Heidi wears I wish you’d post a picture of that too. Can we add that to future Project Runway posts please??

    Thank you for keeping me up-to-date!

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thanks for commenting, Van! I’ll definitely try to include pictures in the future when I reference whatever awful thing Heidi is wearing. In the mean time, here she is in the dress I was talking about:

  2. Reli

    Hi, Diva! Long-time reader, first time commenter. I have to say, I disagree with your assessment of the results this week. I don’t think Sonjia should have been eliminated, not because her outfit was avant-garde (it wasn’t) or because it was gorgeous (it wasn’t!) but because the judges chose to consider the body of work of the designers. If you think back, Sonjia has logged more wins than some of the others who are going ahead to fashion week, and her work has been much more diverse. I especially think that Melissa is as much of a “one-way monkey” as Ven ever was. Week after week it is the same high collared dress, with very little variation. Even for a baby, for God’s sake. A baby! As a mom, I had to shake my head over that one. I also think that that the designers say she has no point of view, but in reality she has loads of ideas. That is more than I can say for many of the designers this season. I think that Sonjia has the ability to continually surprise us. I think Melissa should have been auf’d, if for no other reason than that the judges considered the body of work and she has presented the same thing week after week. Sonjia’s dress was unattractive and not avant-garde, but considering the body of work she deserved to stay. Oh, and I’m surprised you didn’t comment on the obviously producer-manipulated fabric loss that Sonjia suffered. No one offered to help, no one sent her back to Mood, and no other designers gave her scraps, all things which have happened in the past. What say you to that, Diva? Keep up the awesome blogging!

    • democracydiva – Author

      Reli, thanks so much for reading and commenting! First of all, you are so right about the “lost” fabric. Sonjia didn’t lose it – the producers stole it from her. In all honesty, I was traveling last weekend and by the time I wrote this recap, I forgot about the fabric debacle entirely. And I fully agree that it’s bullshit that while other designers get thrown money and free fabric when they need help, or even when they just feel like going over-budget, Sonjia got nothing. You make a good point about Melissa, too, and I thought her baby outfit was offensively bad. I’m no mom, but she was completely clueless to think that her ruched tube dress would make any sense on a baby. I still think she’s talented and creative (though I think the same for Sonjia), but I think Sonjia really dropped the ball on this challenge, even if she has been strong overall. Thanks again for your great critiques. ❤

  3. Reli

    Oh, I forgot to add one thing, but I think you have mentioned this before, as have many other designers. I keep hearing a lot of complaints from viewers that the designers who appear on the show are no longer as talented and creative as designers in the past. I don’t agree with this. I think that designers in the past were featured on Bravo, where they were given opportunities to do their work and be creative without insane time limits and inexplicable stunts just for the sake of having a stunt (fake babies, anyone?). So I think we continue to see talented designers who have a lot to offer, but they are no longer shown at their best on this show. Um, Ven Budhu excluded, since he is CLEARLY unable to do anything but flowers. I do agree with you that Melissa is talented and creative, but it grinds my gears to see her move on when she has gotten so much help throughout the season from other designers, and even conscripted the mom to help her in the baby challenge. I think that in fairness she should have gone weeks ago. Plus I’m really, really ticked not to see Sonjia get to compete for the final prize. I will hold out for all stars, just as I have done for Emilio. Alas!

  4. I’ve been rooting for Sonjia and Dmitry thoughout the season, so I was really disapointed to see Sonjia go, even though her work was the weakest that week. She was clearly tricked with the fabric thing and based on her body of work deserved a place in the finale. Oh well, the producers are pushing for oh so annoying Christopher and to a lesser extent Melissa.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I knew from episode one that Christopher would be my least favorite person to make it to the finals. You’re right, the producers are pushing for him, and they have been from the start even though he’s clearly too inexperienced. Thanks for commenting, Astrid! ❤

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