Project Runway Recap: Panic! At the Disco Era

Before we kick off this week’s Project Runway recap, let’s review a few fashion rules for the uninitiated, courtesy of Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and Heidi Klum: An animal print is okay, but an acid-colored animal print is “a problem.” Women love to show their shoulders, but don’t like to have their derrieres elongated to fun-house proportions. And “schmatta” is what a German woman throws onto her body when the occasion calls for a total lack of glamour.

There, caveperson! You are now at least mildly-to-moderately qualified to root around in your dank hovel of a closet, select a so-called garment, and head out into the runways of the world (aka sidewalks). But beware: Nina’s judgmental eye is upon you, and she is currently feeling “bristly” about your taste level.

So anyway…this week’s challenge found the seven remaining designers asked to create two looks — with respective fabric budgets of $100 and $50 — inspired by the “sophisticated ’70s” and with the potential to be thoughtfully and liberally sold on piperlime.com.

Joshua, who had just finished some snarl-faced griping about Anya and Kimberly using their lack of menswear experience as an excuse in the previous challenge, began whining about how he “never lived in that time” — even though the show’s producers had provided a “dossier” of ’70s looks, the better to promote the HP Intel technology that the designers so selfishly refuse to use for their sketches.

In what seemed like a completely unfair turn of events, Anya was limited to $11 worth of fabric after she lost her envelope of cash, and was forced to rely on Anthony Ryan’s leftover change. (Why, pray tell, doesn’t the show simply have a standing agreement to pay Mood via a producer’s credit card, instead of adding to the designers’ list of responsibilities and making them carry cash through the city streets?) Anya was also allowed to use her muslin — the “corn flakes” of fabric, she mused sadly — and yet somehow managed to pull off a surprise victory thanks to Look A: a slightly too-short pant in a fantastic print, paired with an intricately pleated blouse the color of chewed Dentyne (Michael Kors’ description, not mine); and Look B: A flowy jumpsuit with a nifty sheer back that had all the judges (even La Kors) whipping out their credit cards and heading to piperlime for a shopping spree. To my eyes, the second look was a slam-dunk from the waist up (the daring neckline somehow came off as classy, not trashy), but the bottom half turned her model’s hips and legs into a shapeless blob.

I’d have given the win to Viktor — my favorite for three or four weeks running now — for a sensational safari jacket and chic pant, but the judges couldn’t get past the audacity of pairing the look with a shirt. I mean, how awful, right? Nothing compliments a woman’s suit like a fully exposed breastbone! Everyone knows this! (Add it to the list of fashion rules from Paragraph No. 1 of this recap.) Viktor’s flirty black dress, which also employed that snakeskin effect, was pretty hot, too.

The judges also decided to reward Bert by sending his beige and cream minidress into Piperlime production, but to steal a critique from MK, it just seemed like clothes, not fashion, to me. Plus, the neckline looked a wee bit sloppy, no? Our guest judge, Piperlime Guest Editor Olivia Palermo, spazzed out over the silver-knot ends of Bert’s minidress belt, but again, is that really revolutionary? Or maybe the real problem was judging an entire runway show built around the ability to move merchandise on a mass-market clothing website? I don’t even know anymore. Let’s talk about the looks that flopped, shall we?

* Laura: I wasn’t a huge fan of Laura’s garments this week, but I wasn’t deeply offended by her conflicting patterns, either. Nina seemed quite pleased to declare Laura’s chevron top as a “prison uniform,” but she liked it well enough 10 out of the 15 times Mila sent that look down the runway in Season 7, no? Nina should be careful, though, in case her face freezes into the mask of horror that popped up when Laura said that, yeah, she would actually wear the garments she designed this week.

* Joshua: Suddenly getting a hardcore villain edit with vague accusations of copycatting off Viktor — those kinds of insinuations always make me skittish without solid evidence — but I’d say his real crimes were those plaid pants that stretched the model’s derriere and waist (while adding peculiar lumps) and a hideous pink tuxedo blouse that looked like it arrived from a consignment shop in 1986. (As Kors put it, the pants were an affront to any law of fashion in any era.) Oh, and I can’t disagree with Nina that Joshua’s maxidress print was “HOR-REN-DOUS!” I wouldn’t use it to scrub the bathroom floor, for fear that monstrosity would stain the tiles.

* And finally, we come to Anthony Ryan, whose choice of prints teased a genius sound bite out of Bert: “It looks like something from the late ’80s: Girl going to the mall, or going to bury something in the woods.” But as haphazard as Anthony was in his fabric choices, I think he ultimately went home for a skirt that hugged his model’s butt like she was “working” the corner in the rough part of town. La Kors let out a genuine gasp when his eyes were assaulted by the sight of it all. Add to it a maxi-dress that might’ve doubled as a slip cover for a sectional sofa, and it was clear that Anthony — who’s zigged and zagged between brilliance and dubiousness all season, without stirring up producer-approved dramz — was going to get auf’d. Any final words on the looks, Nina? “Two boring girls that are part of a cult.” Ahh, thanks for that.

What did you think of this week’s Runway? Did you find the ruling on Anya’s lost money a little unfair? Did the right contestant win? And did Anthony Ryan deserve to go home? (Anyone notice how Tim was genuinely upset to bid him adieu, as opposed to last week’s comparably cold send-off to Olivier?) Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!