Project Runway Recap: What Nina Doesn't Like

This week’s Project Runway featured the scariest challenge yet. No, it didn’t involve having to design an outfit for freaky tall stilt walkers or make a dress out of a napkin or something else absurd. The designers had to create a day-to-evening outfit for a client. Sounds simple enough until you find out the name of said client: judge Nina Garcia. Everyone was all smiles when Nina walked out onto the runway, but Bryce summed up what they were really thinking when he said, “Oh s–t.”

He had reason to be scared. Nina quickly gave a description of what she wanted — clean, tailored, classic with a edge — before launching into a list of what she doesn’t like: Anything overly voluminous, loud colors or patterns — my immediate thought was, “You’re so screwed, Anya” — pleats, boring grey, breathing. You know, the stuff you always do, designers. The hate train continued in the work room as she checked out the designers’ progress. Add Bryce’s cowl collar, Cecilia’s sad color palette, Anya’s mustard yellow print, Julie’s big collar, Danielle’s too soft blouse and Laura’s Christmas green to the Nina Hates This list. I was disappointed Anya dyed her fabric because I loved the yellow, but Cecilia’s grey was, indeed, so very sad. She thought it looked purple under the Mood store lights, which made me wonder if she was really the colorblind one and not Anthony Ryan.

But the prize for the winning look this week was big. And balancing out the toughness of trying to impress Nina as both a judge and a client, not to mention two guest judges — actress Kerry Washington and Marie Claire Editor in Chief Joanna Coles — was daunting. Not sure why Washington was necessary when you had Coles, who was tougher than Nina and doled out more one-liners than Michael Kors this week. But back to the prize… Not only would Nina wear the outfit, it would also be featured in a Marie Claire ad on taxi cabs across New York and in a Marie Claire editorial. Not too shabby.

THE BEST | The top three were Anya, Viktor and Kimberly. The dyed color on Anya’s jumpsuit actually turned out to be quite nice, so I forgive her for not sticking to her guns and getting rid of the yellow. There was still a hint of yellow, and as the judges pointed out, the back was divine. Anya’s model also deserves some props. She worked that outfit, and the bob was great, the styling sleek. But Anya failed to mention that Laura helped her sew the outfit when Heidi marveled at how quickly she’s picked up the trade. Anya just smiled and said she was a quick learner. A little deceitful, if you ask me. A part of me wonders if maybe Anya is underplaying her sewing skills to position herself better. When she creates something bad, it’s, “Oh, well, she can’t sew. But she’s trying.” When she makes something good, it becomes a “Wow!” moment.

Viktor was very smart to make his little black dress into two separate garments, giving Nina the option to mix and match it with other pieces. And the outfit’s unusual shape took it from a nice, but safe LBD — cough, Bert, cough — to something a little more interesting. It looked sophisticated, polished and completely worthy of a fashion editor.

But the winning look was Kimberly’s gold top and navy pants. Given how much Nina disliked Anya’s yellow, I’m surprised she went for the shiny, golden top, which was the very definition of “loud colors.” While the pants were tailored to perfection, I just couldn’t get over how much the top looked like gift wrap I once bought at Rite Aid. It also looked constricting and uncomfortable. I would have given the win to Anya just because I don’t quite believe Nina when she says she’d wear a jumpsuit. I want to see her in it!

THE WORST | Danielle’s simple black pants and green blouse ended up being safe, but not before they bore the brunt of the judges’ wrath. Michael said it looked like something Joan Crawford would wear to a St. Patrick’s Day party. (That’s a bad thing?) Nina called it pedestrian. But Coles took the cake, saying she’d think Nina was ill if she came into work wearing it and that it looked like something a housewife might wear while making pureed acorn squash for her kids. First, what in the world?! Second, who’d wear that while cooking? Third, are her kids squirrels?

Then there’s Cecilia. Maybe instead of helping Julie, you should have spent more time on your outfit? There really was nothing redeeming or unique about it. But it was Julie who ended up going home after confusing the judges with her “droat.” They thought her dresscoat looked more like a housecoat. I thought it was more of a tracksuit dress. I could see there being a customer for it, but it’s definitely not Nina.

THE REST | In the battle of the same fabric, I liked Becky’s dress over Anthony Ryan’s dull top, but both of their outfits looked like they had fallen into wet cement. Not sure how Bryce escaped the bottom 3. His outfit looked like a rejected Star Trek uniform, and the hem was horrible. While I wouldn’t put them in the Top 3 as is, Laura and Joshua M’s outfits intrigued me. I liked Laura’s peekaboo skirt, but the drop sleeves had got to go. The color and back of Joshua’s dress were very eye-catching (and also revealed that Nina never wears a bra, thanks TMI!), but the front was odd. It looked like the pattern for the dress had been placed on top. And that’s it… Oh, wait, Olivier’s still here? He’s so quiet and unassuming that I keep forgetting he exists — as did Bert, who spoke about Olivier being on the runway when he was sitting right next to him! Both he and his outfit were forgettable this week. Pump up the volume, kid!

What did you think of this week’s episode of Project Runway? Was it Julie’s time to go? Did you agree with the winning look?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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27 Comments
  1. susela says:

    I’m not sure Julie’s outfit was the worst, but I had the feeling that the judges were waiting for the chance to let her go. They tend to like the contestants who are themselves fashionable, and Julie always looks like an unfinished garment hastily pinned together.

    • DL says:

      I think it also had to do with her being consistently in the bottom. She had zero trajectory on the show. I kept hoping she would pull it out in the end, but alas, no dice.

    • 3dhouseofmagic says:

      I agree! I actually liked the coatdress and think the Marie Claire editor was “way harsh, Tai!” it almost seems like they had been watching reruns of that awful Fashion Show with how mean they were being about the looks. Didn’t they rip on jumpsuits in the last season? Have some consistency, folks! That green see-through thing was horrid, even though she had immunity). I do have to admit I am tired of hearing Cecelia whine, so I was hoping she would go.

  2. Roxie says:

    I am so over Anya. I think people like her more so because she is pretty than for having actual talent. She probably wouldn’t have been able to finish her outfit if Laura hadn’t helped her, and Joshua gave her the idea to dye the fabric, it wasn’t her own. She didn’t give either of them credit while talking to the judges, and I see that as being deceitful as well. I also don’t think she has much talent. I think the outfit her and Olivier made last week was hideous, and I was surprised they didn’t get called out for that. I know that Olivier had immunity, but people who have immunity have been criticized before on the show. Did they get away with having a fugly outfit because Heidi thinks Olivier is cute, and Anya is attractive and new to sewing, so she deserves their pity? If so, I think that is BS. This is a fashion competition not a looks or personality competition. I also think the top of her jumpsuit this week looked like a lot like the top she made during one of the first two competitions. Not only can’t she sew, but she only seems capable of making halter tops and pants. Not very inventive at all. I actually love some drama on PR so I was hoping Viktor would call her out on having help, and I was disappointed that he didn’t have the stones to do it. Next week looks like it will be full of drama, so maybe it will make up for that.

    • Lauren says:

      I was actually really impressed that Victor didn’t throw Anya under the bus. Usually catty back fighting and vicious accusations are par for the course but it only makes the person complaining look bad. Victor was smart and he was 100% right. If she can’t sew it’s going to come out eventually and in the meantime he doesn’t have to look like an A-hole by being the one to out her. I think that she really can sew but she thought it would give her an edge to be like “oh, look at me I’m a prodigy” You have to keep in mind that she probably lost at least 3 or 4 hours when dying that fabric. First you have to let the dye set and then the fabric would have to dry before she could proceed. If she hadn’t had to dye it she would have been well within time. That’s probably why Laura helped her. Whereas Julie had no excuse. She was no where near finishing her garment and she actually GLUED the hem. That is totally inexcusable. Time will tell whether Anya is a one trick pony but the perfect tailoring on all of her garments so far definitely makes me think that she is lying about her amount of experience in sewing. Not that it matters. It’s probably just an angle to try to stand out. Like Olivier’s accent. I’m not sure if he doesn’t have an accent and he is faking one or if he does have an accent and he is fighting it. It can be really easy to start talking with an accent if you live abroad and have a good ear but it can be harder to switch back. Sometimes when he’s talking it sounds to me like certain British actors trying to have an American accent and not quite getting there. ::shrug::

  3. nodak says:

    Nothing against you, Vlada, but where, oh where, is Michael Slezak? I was looking forward to his witty take on PR this week.

  4. Jack says:

    Anya wins the whole thing… so, if you don’t like her, stop watching the season.

    • Roxie says:

      Do you know this for a fact or are you just guessing? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Anya won. After they let Gretchen win instead of Mondo, I am starting to think that the judges aren’t basing their criteria on who is the best designer any more, and instead are letting their biases towards the contestants choose the winner. Most people hated Wretchen, thought her clothes were fugly, but Nina and Michael loved her for some reason that I fail to understand, so she won. Anya is milking her I’m a newbie thing for all it’s worth (I don’t believe her, even though I don’t like her designs, it is hard to believe she has only been sewing for a few months) and the judges are eating that crap up. So you’re right she probably will win, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop watching. I like other designers and seeing their work, this isn’t the Anya show for me. Even if she does win, I can still enjoy it and root for other designers.

  5. Regina says:

    I was laughing out loud at your recap…my husband was wondering what was wrong with me! I didn’t even notice it was written by Vlada and not Michael. Great work!

  6. jenna says:

    I’m glad kimberly won, her pants looked amazing on the model

  7. Lana says:

    I loved Anya’s jumpsuit but I felt it was too young for Nina, she picked the right one to wear. I loved the gold top. I too felt that Anya should have at least, in front of the judges, thanked everyone who helped her and if she thought that they would think she cheated, then she did cheat. There were quite a few outfits that I thought were horrible and only a few that seem great. As for Viktor I wasn’t blown away by the black suit, I didn’t like the zipper being so silver and I wasn’t crazy about the tailoring. However I love to see how an outfit is designed from sketch to runway, I envy that talent.

  8. vickie says:

    Did anyone else find it ironic that right after Nina declared her personal style muted and subdued (colors) with no wild prints, the camera panned back only to reveal her weird silver metallic greek key embellished shirt with Cal-Trans orange sleeves? And that while wearing that same assault-on-the-eyes shirt, she had the audacity to tell Anya that the mustard fabric was too much??? I guess that just proves why Gretchen won last year.

    • Jenks says:

      I agree. Nina’s hate list wasn’t quite consistent with what she was shown wearing. Also totally agree about Gretchen. I wonder how many spreads Gretchen has had in Marie Claire since winning? Has anyone heard anything about her? Anyone? Anyone?

    • topsyturvy says:

      EXACTLY! Muted and subdued my ass. I was really hoping the tiresome Cecilia was gone. (Didn’t love the skirt Anthony Ryan made. Didn’t love it a lot. I was afraid it was in the bottom three because of it.) I can’t imagine (and don’t want to see) Nina in the top from Anya’s look.

  9. Rachel says:

    SO glad Kimberley won – hers was edgy, fun, and so well-done. Anya’s was good, and I loved the dye-job, but (as everyone has said), I really haven’t seen Nina in ANYTHING like it, so I’m just not convinced it’s for her. As for the bottom – I wish Cecelia had gone home. Girl even admitted to the other contestants she would’ve given up her spot to keep Julie. It was so obvious, even before she started talking, that she’d given up on her outfit. Annoying.

  10. Jenks says:

    The gold top was hardly the “very definition of loud colors.” It was almost a neutral. And it didn’t look that shiny to me. I imagine it looked much better in person, but if anyone paid attention, they would have seen Nina in metallics more than once.

    • D says:

      Agreed. It was a subdued metallic. It was more subdued than the orange/black/silver monstrosity she wore during the show.

  11. Gretchen says:

    I loved Kimberley’s top and pants–Viktor’s and Anya’s not so much. I’ve seen the sleeves Viktor did before and those sleeves would not be flattering on the average woman’s upper arms. Anya’s was too junior-section and not something I could imagine anyone over 24 years old wearing.

    I liked Becky’s and even thought Julie’s dress/coat/”drote” was better than Viktor’s boringness. “Don’t be safe and boring” was Nina’s call to the designers, if not in those precise words…there is nothing more safe or boring than a little black dress, is there?

    Can’t wait for next week, wonder if Olivier gets a pity nod to being a “captain” for collapsing, as he seemed to do in the preview?

  12. Keith G. says:

    I loved Kimberly’s design but I was worried it might be too “Loud,” Also I love Anya but I get what everyone is saying – I think we know either she will get disqualified or do BAD work. Remember a few seasons ago a contestant was disqualified for using pattern or something …
    Just want to add she is soooooooooo HOT.

  13. emma says:

    What this season lacks: 1) the go-to person for funny, catty sound-bites, and 2) the super talented, in-their-own-league contestants.
    I predict that the mousy women will be cut next, and that Victor & Anya will be the top two. (Also, I think that Anya is a fake-fake-fake.)

    • Gretchen says:

      I have Anya, Olivier, Viktor as the top three. They are the ones who seem like the judges’ “pets” so far.

      • kate says:

        #pr9anthonyryan #pr9anthonyryan #9pr9anthonyryan

        there is a small part of me that recognizes he often gets a free pass because he is charming and because the camera loves him and because he says funny stuff (it’s almost ridiculous the amount of screen time he gets relative to the other contestants) but I’m okay with it because i think he’s got talent. the really interesting thing is, is PR needs a marketable winner right now, and unlike american idol, the vote is in their hands, not the viewers’. which is good for them, because they can keep anthony ryan around as long as they want because he makes good tv and he’s winning the popularity contest. honestly, i wouldn’t be surprised if they use him to make up for the mondo vs. grtechen fiasco last year. they need a fan-fave winner this season.

  14. Trisha says:

    My fav was Becky’s dress including the “wet cement” pattern. I think she’s a force, just wait. I also couldn’t believe that Bryce wasn’t in the bottom – I was waiting for all judges (yes, what was Kerry W. doing there?) to say it was a Jr. design, including his styling of the model, and it looked ill-made and sad. Didn’t like all the plunging necklines and plunging backs (especially Anya’s). I know Nina works in “fashion” and that people dress creatively, stylishly just for the office, but do people really wear things like that to work? I also couldn’t believe Nina (let alone any woman) would wear a jumpsuit! Um, styling aside, you have to get completely undressed to use the restroom – ewwwwh! Impractical! I wish she’d selected Viktor’s 2-piece – elegant, innovative, and black!

  15. Mary says:

    Did anyone notice how the safe contestants tried to guess who was in the top and who was in the bottom? Hilarious! Laura had it ALL wrong. She thought Kimberly would be in the bottom, but really, Kimberly’s outfit was awesome! Very flattering and just what Nina asked her to make.

  16. Melissa says:

    I disliked Kimberly’s outfit, and attitude she annoys me, I don’t ones that are too cocky, confident is one thing, too much is annoying.
    Anya will go far, she is a little different the judges always like that, but she isn’t my favorite, I hope Cecilia goes soon; I was hoping she would leave the first episode, ugly and a whines too much
    Why does it seem so many designers this year don’t want to be there?

    Surprisingly I like Laura, even though I really thought I wouldn’t
    I am excited for next week

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