Project Runway Recap: Freaks and Sneaks

It was pretty obvious there wouldn’t be a whole lot of memorable fashion on this week’s Project Runway when Heidi Klum forced the remaining designers into gym clothes, demanded they compete in a foot race, and then asked them to create “basics with a twist” to complement her line of New Balance sneakers. (Somewhere on a Manhattan soundstage, you could just imagine Nina Garcia gasping “Sneakers?!” as Michael Kors somberly shook his head.)

But what the episode lacked in memorable frocks it more than made up for in good old-fashioned bitchery. I suspected it was about to get all 1-800-Major-Dramz when producers treated Cecilia’s voluntary exit from the competition with all the significance of Swatch yipping goodbye at Mood. The minute the sullen designer shared her decision with Tim and Heidi, you could see a lightbulb pop up over the head of our German headmistress, illuminating the idea of bringing adorable Josh C back to the competition.

And then the race was on. Joshua proved his feet were as quick as his tongue and earned himself the first of four team-leader positions, followed by Bryce, Anthony, and Viktor. Olivier, meanwhile, tumbled heavily to the ground, almost hard enough to knock the fake European accent out of him. Granted, his bruised and swollen knee was uglier than his ombré dog-bed skirt, but his claim of having a subsequent panic attack was as ludicrous as that outfit’s Best in Show status in the pet-store challenge.

“They’re dropping like flies on Project Runway,” exclaimed The Talented Mr. Gunn, as Heidi jauntily sprinted in deadly heels alongside sour Bert for the final few yards.

Perhaps physical exertion brings out the vicious in fashion types, but as soon as teams were chosen — Joshua with Anya and Becky; Bryce with Kimbelry and Danielle; Anthony with Laura and Bert; Viktor with Olivier and Josh C — the levels of dismissiveness, derisiveness, and disgust began to rise precipitously. Joshua started reacting to Becky’s every suggestion — leggings! ruching! — as if she’d taken steaming piles of dog feces and hurled them in his face. Laura got a case of the vapors when Bert suggested pairing panty hose with tennis shoes. Bert found Anthony so insignificant he started referring to him as Henry.

Then Tim and Heidi visited the workroom to respectively check out the unfinished frocks and fill everyone with nameless dread. Bryce’s cowlneck hoodie was deemed an abject failure. Olivier’s Amish skirt and Viktor’s leather jacket were deemed incompatible. (“Auntie Em’s not gonna get onto a motorcycle,” mused Tim.) “A Grecian goddess high-waisted skirt?” Heidi sniffed when viewing Laura and Anthony’s collaboration.

Heidi’s guns of harsh truth left the designers bleeding vitriol — particularly Joshua, who decided Becky should be used strictly a seamstress. “I don’t really need Becky to be thinking too much and designing really anything at all,” he confessionalized, as Becky was locked in the castle attic to complete her sewing, surrounded by her whistling animated forest friends. When Becky finally piped up that, um, perhaps, maybe she should have some input on the design side, Joshua wasn’t having it. “Becky, you do dowdy dresses, you know that,” Joshua hissed, before realizing he sounded like a monster and trying to spin his comment as a positive. “How is dowdy a good word in any situation?” Becky asked incredulously.

Before it was all said and done, Joshua had delivered one of my favorite put-downs in recent Project Runway memory (“Her demographic is 40 to death!”), Becky was reduced to tears in the ladies room, and then Joshua, Anya, and Becky hugged it out in a bathroom stall.

Bert, for his part, continued to antagonize not only his teammates, but his competitors as well. When Joshua attempted to lift his leg and mark a particular sewing machine as his territory, another verbal dogfight began:

Bert: Drop dead!
Joshua: Drop dead? Bert, you’re closer to death than I am, so I would be careful what you say.
Bert: Death might be a blessing with you around!

It was like an extremely dark, incredibly campy Bette Davis-Joan Crawford vehicle, only gayer.

Then it was time for the runway, where Heidi paired sequins and sneakers to dismal effect.

The judges, who seemed to have put down their hallucinogenics for a minute, correctly heaped praise on Bryce’s chic, darted minidress, Anya’s fetching, flattering maxidress (with a lovely pop of color suggested by Joshua), and Viktor’s luxe-looking Michelin Man motorcycle jacket.

But who would go home? Would it be Anthony, for a drab gray garment that reminded me of the pair of bedraggled sweatshorts everyone has in the back of their dresser drawer, the pair of indeterminate origin that’s so hideous you might wear them for, perhaps, painting a room or unclogging a drain, but probably not even to bed. Michael noted that Anthony had done the impossible — giving his model “cameltoe in big shorts.” Guest judge Erin Wasson summed it up thusly: “That poor girl! The way her crotch was looking!”

Or would it be Danielle, whose teal silk tanktop with a strange black jersey lining had Wasson wondering if there was a bra peeping out. “The turquoise silk rag tank is just terrible,” announced Michael. “The blouse is just like a souffle that flopped!”

Or would it be Olivier, whose beast of a skirt had Michael imaging pretzels in the beer garden, and Heidi noting it looked “very farm”? (No, sillies, it would not be Olivier! His faux fauxness is bound to keep our panel hypnotized at least through mid-September, no?)

In the end, Heidi wanted to boot Anthony, because in her mind, judging should be a week-to-week affair. “One day you’re in, and the next you’re out,” she argued. But Nina and Michael felt that Anthony’s body of work should save him. “Do you remember anything Danielle has done that you liked,” Nina asked, in the one moment this season I didn’t want to douse her with dishwater and watch her melt into the floorboards.

And so it was Danielle who got auf’d — “Even if Becky the Queen of Sewing helped her out, it would still be a rag,” reasoned Michael — while Anthony, who called Bert a “f****** liar” on the runway, will live to fight another day.

What did you think of this week’s Project Runway? Did the right person go home? Were you happy with the co-victories by Viktor and Joshua? Did Anya get the short end of the stick when her dress was chosen to be manufactured, but her team leader got the immunity? Were you happy to see Josh C return? And was it just me or were the judges overly kind to his “backpack holsters”? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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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  1. P-Run Fan says:

    To quote one of my favorite P-Run designers ever — Laura Bennett — “There is some serious ugly in this room.” OMG, how hideous were most of those pieces?

    • Aunt Sassy says:

      I totally agree – but then again I didn’t have high hopes when I heard what the challenge was. Sorry, but Anthony should have gone home – and frankly I am so dismayed that Heidi is actually the voice of reason on this show. I wish someone would ambush the set and take Nina and Michael out – seriously, I don’t know how much more OVER both of them I could be. And if I were Becky I would have gone back and cut up each article of clothing I had sewed up to that point and I would have told Joshua that A) he wears entirely WAY too much makeup and B) that he could go F himself and sew his own sh!t. Sorry, but he is a SERIOUSLY obnoxious Ahole.

      • kate says:

        if anthony had gone home instead of danielle, there would have been an absolute s***storm. and anthony is a better designer, by FAR, than most of the people in that room, but he just pooped the bed in a huge way on that challenge. granted, that was one of the all-time worst garments ever produced by a project runway contestants, but sending him home would’ve been hugely disastrous. there was no way the producers or Lifetime would’ve let it happen, either.

        • kate says:

          also, in the interest of defending anthony against anyone who cares to claim he was “acting bitchy” after someone he’s shared a room with for weeks called him “henry…” (crickets…) if someone snickered in my ear and said my garment gave the model “camel butt,” i would’ve slapped a bitch right there on the runway. just sayin.

          • Heidi says:

            I totally agree. I was rooting for Bert the first week but his true colors have begun to show and even I can’t stand him now. He was so obnoxious when Anthony and Laura were being critiqued. What a JERK! I’m so glad they kept Anthony.

          • nodak says:

            The judges had to notice how Bert stood there laughing and making snide comments when they were giving their critiques of Anthony Ryan’s and Laura’s designs. They had to notice how immature he was acting and they must realize how difficult he is to work with. (I hope)

          • Aunt Sassy says:

            Sorry, but Anthony and Laura deserved to be laughed at – after acting like snotty little spoiled princesses during the whole challenge and telling Bert that if they were in the bottom it would be because of his design – I’d be laughing too if I were up there. Look, Bert is certainly no angel, but he’s surrounded by what appears to be a bunch of entitled cliquey snots who think they are above and beyond everyone else. Going into the challenge and knowing what he knows about Bert, if Anthony was a good leader he would have figured out a way to work with him from the start. Instead he & Laura started acting like mean girls and excluded and dismissed him – so they got what they gave. Anthony should have gone home – plain and simple. His garment this week was a total and complete mess and it doesn’t matter what he’s done in the past – it is supposed to be based on what is standing on the runway.

        • Gretchen says:

          But isn’t it a week-by-week competition? I have never once heard the judges argue “body of work” until that one. If it is week-by-week, then too bad, so sad, Anthony. What is being judged is what is on the runway at that moment. He was given a break he didn’t deserve.

          If the producers want him back after that, they could have done one of the “bringing back eliminated designers and they have to win the challenge to return” challenges as they have in the past.

          His remaining after that garment makes the judges and producers look terrible. Favoritism reigns, I guess.

        • Jenny says:

          Well the producers allowed for Gretchen to win the entire season last year, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did something stupid like send Anythony home. As much as I didn’t want him to go, I wish Heidi would win an argument for once!!! She’s got to stop letting them walk all over her. Otherwise, her being a judge is really irrelevant.

          • Amber says:

            Exactly! Once Heidi started arguing for Anthony to go home I knew he wouldn’t be. They never listen to her.

  2. Jonathan says:


    Don’t give Joshua M. too much credit for that “40 to death” line. He stole it from the musical Mame (not sure if it’s in the original Auntie Mame play or film). In the song “Bosom Buddies,” the interchange goes like this:
    Mame: How old are you really, Vera? The truth.
    Vera: How old do you think?
    Mame: I’d say somewhere between 40 and death…BUT Sweeeeee-tie.
    Both: We’ll always be bosom buddies…

    • Bobbi says:

      I started singing that song as soon as I heard him come out with that line! LOL! Love that song. It was in the play and on the cast recording.

    • D says:

      I didn’t know that. I was horrified at this comment while watching, and not to pleased that Slezak seemed to think it was so humorous. Maybe it is funny in the context of Mame, but on PR, it just seemed awfully mean.

  3. BWags says:

    Does anyone else find the challenges so far this season ridiculous? Stiltwalkers, pet products, and designs to go with tennis shoes made out of denim and leather but don’t think workout wear? Joshua and Bert both lost me as a fan last night because they both became such raving bitches. In the end, even though the design was truly hideous, I’m happy Anthony Ryan didn’t go!

    • djm says:

      Seriously? I wanted Anthony to go home – his outfit was truly heinous – almost as bad as that pantsuit that Santino designed for Kara back in the day. He is bitchy and I am glad that Bert stood up to him and laughed in his face when the judges tore him apart – he deserved it. He also deserved to go home 1,000,000 times more than Danielle – at least her outfit could be worn in public by some nice cat lady (which it who Danielle appears to be and who she is designing for). As for the challenges – I could not be more over the group challenges. I tune in to watch 14 designers design 14 looks – and let’s face it – this show does not need the drama because designers are drama queens to begin with.

    • Jenks says:

      Not only are the challenges ridick, but these one-day challenges are killing this show. Thanks for that, Lifetime. I guess that’s part of their chintzy (teehee) production values, but it makes for awful runway shows. Granted, some people comes up with clothes that are half-way decent, but it would really be nice to see what they can do when given a reasonable deadline.

  4. Bobbi says:

    Bert was definitely obnoxious, but I wasn’t pleased with the way either of the older designers were treated. They were right that both of them and their opinions were dismissed from the very start. A little respect for people would have gone a long way in last night’s episode.

    • Aunt Sassy says:

      Seriously. It’s like watching a bunch of mean high school girls gang up on the fat girl. I get that Bert and Becky have their issues, but the people on their teams showed as much respect for them as they would a dead rat in the street – none. Oh well, hopefully someday when they are old some young snot will put them in their place and they’ll realize that you get what you give.

    • tammy says:

      bert is an ass if the judges would just watch with out him knowing and see how he talks and treats everyone i am a truely loyal fan never missed an episode but he is so rude and mean i am tempted to quit watching project runway anyone else notice how when judges walks in the room he starts sucking up he is two faced he needs to go he is taking the show down please get rid of ass BERT

  5. DL says:

    I don’t think Oliver was having a panic attack. Granted, I don’t care for his usual languid-dramatic flair, but in this case the experience he described was exactly what happened to me a few minutes after I fell and got a hairline wrist fracture some years back. Obviously he didn’t break anything, but I think it was just his body’s response to injury, so I don’t think it was inauthentic.
    Also, Bert, my goodness, someone needs to give that man a hug. I don’t what happened to him that he is so mistrustful of everyone, but he clearly needs some love and therapy. The way he is reacting to people is just… wow.

    • zaza says:

      Yes, Bert seems very bitter. I know his career went off the rails because of him experiencing some tragedy and becoming an alcoholic as result. And he’s probably bitter about all the time he lost…what might have been. Still, bitterness and regret are not productive and clearly, his attitude doesn’t make him happy.

  6. CA says:

    Oh how I look forward to your recap! Only you can make the campy nastiness that was last night’s Project Runway amusing!
    Josh pretty much lost me last night as a fan. (Bert lost me two weeks ago when he refused to even TRY the pet items competition). There is a difference between constructively criticizing (even while sound bitchy) and being mean, cruel and bitchy. Josh did the latter and did it with a sense of glee that was simply unattractive and unappealing. I was a bit appalled that the judges felt compelled to praise him for his actions.

    I am torn on who should have gone home. If it is a weekly competition, then Anthony Ryan should have been sent packing. I am a far from being a fashion maven, but even I know that thing was hideous. But there is no denying that Danielle has yet to impress with the OCD towards chiffon.

    • kayk says:

      I am officially dubbing Danielle “Chiffonielle” or “Daniffon.”
      I didn’t like her chiffon concoction the first time and I didn’t like the variation on that same theme every time after that either! Auf wiedersen, baby!

  7. Julie says:

    “in the one moment this season I didn’t want to douse her with dishwater and watch her melt into the floorboards.”

    Hear hear! Well said.

  8. Frank says:

    Anya was robbed, her dress won! but no immunity

    • Haikutv says:

      Anya’s dress was waaaaay too similar to a dress Uli made seasons prior:

      But I agree that if they loved it she should’ve been given the win.

      • Meridith says:

        Yeah, but going with that theory, it should have gone to Becky, because Anya can’t sew. That dress would have never been made without Becky.

  9. Maj says:

    well he IS a recovering alcoholic after all. At first I was like: awww, survived his partner’s death, is an alcoholic, is old but at this point I’m just SO over him.

  10. cirob says:

    I didn’t necessarily want Anthony to go (I’m as over Danielle as anyone), but I’m kinda pissed that Heidi is still getting steamrolled by Nina and Michael. It stinks of last year’s Gretchen debacle.

    • nodak says:

      Yea, I agree- What’s the scoop with her always having to give in to Nina and Michael? Heidi’s opinion is usually the most sensible. N&M reside in some alternate universe.

  11. maryb says:

    I’m conflicted about this. What Anthony Ryan did was an absolute abomination and I can’t think of anyone wearing it under any circumstances. However, I felt bad for him because you could tell by looking at him that he was sick. Plus, Bert was an absolute prick and has been for awhile. I was just as disgusted with his behaviour as I was with that rag Anthony did. If Bert was mature and had a nicer way to deal with people, I do think they could have worked together. My impression was that Anthony got his back up because of how Bert was from the beginning. And I don’t even want talk about the diva that is Joshua. He was unsufferable. He was mean. He was insensitive and IMO doesn’t have much to back up his own hype.

    • Gretchen says:

      I don’t think Anthony Ryan/Laura were willing to work with Bert from the get-go, I don’t put all the blame on Bert.

      And really, who wouldn’t giggle when those who ignored ideas he presented are called for producing horrible looks while his are praised? Karma!

      • J says:

        theres a difference between giggling at your teammates for not believing your ideas and making immature snide comments. I’m so disgusted by bert, for someone with so much experience he acts like a diva and a brat

  12. nodak says:

    “It was like an extremely dark, incredibly campy Bette Davis-Joan Crawford vehicle, only gayer.” I loved this comment- I laughed out loud. I missed your PR comments last week. Welcome back!

  13. jef says:

    Is Heidi losing control of her own show? I’m not sorry that what’s her name got ousted except for the fact that as Heidi said, it’s a week to week competition, and as such a body of work shouldn’t really be considered.

  14. Gretchen says:

    Joshua should have been removed by the producers during the sewing. His words were verbally abusive and should not be endorsed by PR. Instead, they reward him with a win. That is disturbing. His attitude is awful–is that how he treats those he works with? If he doesn’t deem a person cool enough, then he verbally abuses them? And please, he’s not all that. What’s with the pseudo-combover hairdo, for one?

    Bert was bad–but I don’t blame him with how Anthony Ryan and the entitled Laura treated him. And what was with her “oh, that was awful, we were such victims” at the end? Grow up, Laura. Face some real adversity in your life, beyond your manicure chipping! Were I in Bert’s shoes, I would have laughed at the comments Anthony Ryan and Laura’s garments received as well. Karma.

    Viktor’s was the best look–I didn’t like the maxi dress at all and can’t wait for Anya, Joshua and Laura to take the falls they deserve. Preferably in a team challenge where a team of Bert, Becky and Viktor win.

  15. Mikaela says:

    The only design I didn’t hate was Bert’s. In the context of the challenge I thought he did the best. The dress he made was clean, finsihed! and looked amazing. I’m not sure who said it but his model looked like every other NYC fashionista who wore her sneakers with her dress as to not ruin her amazing shoes. Anthony Ryan should have gone home for that disaster.

  16. Jenny says:

    I can’t wait for Bert to leave the show. He needs to be gone so much! He’s not even a love to hate for me- I just can’t stand him.

    If the show really is week-to-week (as it probably should be) than Anthony Ryan should have gone. His outfit was awful, awful, awful! However, I do agree with Nina and Michael that Danielle is completely forgettable. Therefore, I’m not at all upset about the outcome. I think Anthony Ryan at least has potential to be really good (his past work has proven he has talent). Danielle was always just waiting until everyone worse than her was gone.

  17. Noel says:

    I am so over Bert. Anthony Ryan is so wonderful. He tried so hard to talk to Bert throughout the entire episode and Bert wouldn’t budge. So glad Anthony Ryan is still on the show! He is the reason I watch this season. He is the only one who has produced any good garments: seed dress, stilts and I really liked what he did for Nina.

    I don’t think Heidi can have it both ways. It’s either the search for the next top designer. Or it’s eliminate the worst look each time. I don’t see how you can not take into account the body of work if this show is actually looking for the next designer.

    • Gretchen says:

      Anthony Ryan ridiculed Bert and wouldn’t listen to him and then goes on to produce a hideous garment that should have had him packing up and leaving.

      Hopefully he and his oversized ego will be gone in 2 episodes!

      • Lana says:

        I have to admit after seeing Anthony and Laura diss Bert’s every suggestion I was cracking up at their outfits and critiques, in fact if I had been there Bert and I would have been laughing at the same statements. They deserved to be laughed at, however I think Joshua’s treatment of Becky was far worse. I would have thrown away every piece I sewed for Anya and Joshua. In fact Anya’s outfit would never had been made if it weren’t for Becky and Joshua did not move me with his apology I would have walked out before forgiving or hugging him. I do hope he falls off his pedestal soon. This is the second challenge that Anya did not acknowledge the help she received with the outfits. I agree Lifetime has ruined the show with the one day challenges, I really enjoy the runway and this year they haven’t had alot of great outfits and I do believe that the time has something to do with that. However this group of designers are not enjoyable to watch, they aren’t as nice to each other as they have been in the past, I enjoy a little bitcheness but I like nice thrown in. Also I hope the assignments get better as they have really sucked so far.

  18. Joey says:

    I thought Laura & Anthony Ryan’s mutual victimhood was perhaps one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. Bert’s maniacal giggling was incredibly Ron Swanson-esque. I love him. He hasn’t designed anything worthwhile but I can’t help but side with him in every fight. He’s not having bossy 25 year olds with beyond fuzzy knowledge of fashion history get their way.

  19. Beth T says:

    “Oh how I look forward to your recap! Only you can make the campy nastiness that was last night’s Project Runway amusing!”
    I have to agree with this comment from CA!
    This week’s results have me very conflicted. I totally agreed with Viktor’s win, but I thught for sure when Heidi said there would be two winners the other would have been Bryce.
    How Joshua was given the win for a dress Anya designed and Backy sewed was beyond me – I will be checking the PR blogs for some insight. Was he deemed winner for his “leadership”? In quotes because I can’t fathom how hs “honesty” – as Heidi put it – about choosing Becky only for her sewing somehow made him a good leader. Especially when it was Heidi expressing incredulity about that in the workroom.
    I think the teaming situation was not fair, as Anthony – who finished ahead of Viktor – HAD to take Bert,then Viktor was given a choice of 4 designers. To be totally fair, I think the decision to bring back a designer sould have been on the table at the get-go, so all the top 4 runners knew about that option.
    I can see both sides of the Bert situation – I do think it was obvious from the start Anthony and Laura teamed against him, but I also think Anthony made attemts to include him, and Bert acted poorly himself – he as made no secret of the fact he hates working with anyone. And his “genertions” excuse just grates (and I’m Bert’s generation!). That team was doomed from the start.
    I did think it ironic that after criticising Bert’s outfit, it was better than Laura’s and Anthony’s. I did think Anthony’s outfit was the worst by far, but I am glad he was given another chance. If Heidi was overruled, oh well – she was the one who said rules were being broken this year so why not? And FTR – I would guess more producer influence than Nina/Michael influence in the final outcome.

  20. barbaraS says:

    This season is so sad. Cecelia can’t even muster the enthusiasm to quit till they suggest a foot race, Bert seems like he couldn’t care less about the challenges and competitors and the challenges (as others have noted) are too weird and too short a timeframe to even get great clothes. Feels way flat. Thank god for Michael Slezak to at least add some interest.

  21. D says:

    Not much Anya discussion here. Some people were criticizing her for not being forceful enough in disagreeing with Josh about the way he was treating Becky. She has a very nice personality, I think, and she uses it to charm her way into people helping her.

    • Teresa says:

      Yeah. She’s sort of reminding me of Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The question posed when she was chosen was if she overcome her lack of experience. But, like Shangela, she’s concentrating on getting other people to do her work for her.

  22. justafan says:

    am i not remembering correctly…when something like this happened before (someone leaving who was not voted out) , didn’t the last designer voted off come back…didn’t tim as much say that was kinda the way it should be?

    • justafan says:

      forgot to add… no, i am NOT a fan of having “adorable” josh c back in the competition…he should have been out the first week…that error was rectified the 2nd week… he has no business being in that competition…he doesn’t have what it takes… being “adorable” doesn’t cut it!

      • justafan says:

        just went back and checked…it definitely happened at least once (though i seem to recall it might have been at other times)… anthony from season 7 was brought back after a contestant dropped out becasue he was the last one voted off… so i guess there are no rules about that…they just make them up as they go along

  23. susela says:

    Cecelia should have had the courtesy to take herself out of the competition at the previous challenge, when she was in the bottom two with Julie. To allow Julie to get auf’ed and then quit the *next morning* was poor form. It was then especially egregious that the judges didn’t follow the “last out/first back” rule and instead brought back Josh C. I think they were anxious to get rid of dowdy, what-the-heck-is-up-with-that-hair Julie, no matter how talented she may have been.

  24. nicky says:

    Good thing they brought Josh C. back. Most of the people I liked so far really disappointed me with their behaviours this week.

    So, I hope Bryce and Josh C. can step up their game and make it to the finals…