Project Runway Recap: You Weep What You Sew

This week’s Project Runway found the nine remaining designers tackling the “Push Everybody to the Brink of Emotional Collapse” challenge. Sonjia and Elena wound up sobbing as though someone had snuck into Parsons in the middle of the night and used the Lord & Taylor Accessory Wall thoughtlessly and haphazardly. Melissa scrapped her dress and started a new one with, like, 11 minutes left in the workday. And Tim was reduced to chanting ridiculous platitudes like “Channel your inner winner!” (Perhaps it’s best The Revolution didn’t get a second season after all.)

Okay, okay…actually this week featured the Lord & Taylor challenge — yes, apparently every week of Season 10 will feature some kind of synergistic shout-out to a Project Runway judge and/or corporate partner — but the idea was a pretty cool one. To celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary, the retailer put into production a Project Runway Collection consisting of nine cocktail or evening dresses — one from a designer from every season the show has aired. The Season 10 contestants were tasked with designing the 10th and final frock, one that could fit in seamlessly with the other looks, stay true to their own points of view, and retail for $200-$300.

The idea of having a look mass-produced and sold in a major department store seemed to energize most of the designers. Even “He Who Gags at the Sight of a ‘Real-Sized’ Woman” suddenly began saying that he had to “think about the customers” (or at least the customers who are Size 4 and under).

But the honeymoon was short-lived, especially for the female designers. (“Men are usually stronger designers, while women are a little more practical,” quipped “He Who Reduced a Working Mother to Tears in the Middle of Her Fantasy Makeover.” Nothing like a little rampant sexism to woo your female customer base!)

Anyhow, Elena grumbled and gurgled and fretted and cried about having to compromise her avant garde style to suit a mass-market audience. Melissa spiraled into a frenzy when her chosen brocade fabric proved unforgiving to potential design flaws, scrapping her garment and starting it from the very beginning with only a few hours left. And as the runway show approached, Sonjia wept openly while trying to fit her dress onto her model. I thought it was sweet how Elena (Our Lady of Eastern European Heartlessness) came to her friend’s rescue with some last-minute assistance.

dmitry project runway lord taylor challengeThe judges — including guest Bonnie Brooks of L&T — chose a Top 4 and a Bottom 2 this week. For some reason, they not only failed to give the win to Dmitry’s silver stunner (with its flawless fit, “city skyline” neckline, and flattering vertical seams, pictured at top), they relegated him to the “safe” pile along with Sonjia and Ven (whose “bodice rose” detail is growing really tiresome). Anyone have a theory why Dmitry gets less respect from the judges than a substitute teacher on the last day of school? Please help me to understand!

Anyhow, let’s dive into the week’s highest- and lowest-scoring designs:

Judges’ Top 3
CHRISTOPHER: I agreed with Christopher that his gown (pictured, second from the top) looked really expensive, plus it fit his model beautifully. I didn’t even mind him repeating his raggedy-silk-strips technique — except for the fact that the frayed edges looked really sloppy on that open back. All in all, Christopher’s victory would’ve made total sense — if Dmitry’s superior garment hadn’t been held hostage in the designer’s lounge.

MELISSA: I’ll admit I howled with laughter when Michael Kors suggested a little bell get placed on the end of Melissa’s 1-800-too-much fishtail back. But that flaw aside, her copper brocade dress had a quirky sexiness about it, and while that strapless neckline panel wasn’t exactly the stuff of mass-market success, it certainly wasn’t boring. (Side note: What the heck was with La Kors’ cryptic comment that “half the battle at night is from the waist up”?)

ELENA: I’m not sure I loved what Elena’s dress did to her model’s breasts; they seemed caught in a trap between the “harness” and the babydoll straps. Plus, the back of the skirt made her model’s hindquarters look pretty bulky. But the dress certainly had more of an individual point of view than most of Elena’s competitors, and I have to admit I was touched when she burst into tears at the news she was among the top-scoring contestants.

fabio project runway lord taylorFABIO: Fabio seems like a sweetie, but come ON. His little black dress (pictured, second from the bottom) was as plain as a piece of unbuttered toast, save for the asymetrical hem and atrociously executed back zipper. I agreed with pink-disco-ball-wearin’ Heidi: This one could’ve been more exciting. In fact, I’d have put Fabio at the bottom of the pack along with Alicia.

Judges’ Bottom 2
GUNNAR: “Why the f— am I in the bottom?” asked Gunnar, and honestly, I don’t know. Yeah, okay, so his short lace number with the matte sequins (pictured at bottom) wasn’t exactly revolutionary, but neither was Christopher’s winning garment. I mean, when I really think about it, I bought a Michael Kors suit last year at a department store, and it’s made from a nice fabric, and well cut, but at the end of the day it’s still just a mass-market gray suit that doesn’t really look all that different from a gray suit from Calvin Klein or Hugo Boss or DKNY. And it doesn’t mean Michael Kors should be auf’d. I think 90 women out of 100 would rather wear Gunnar’s dress than He Who Will Not Be Named’s “alien ripping out of the chest-flower” nonsense, no? Okay, I’m rambling, but I’m not really sure what criteria put Gunnar at risk of going home. To quote Heidi Klum, “I quite liked it!”

ALICIA: Yeah, this one was a little too plastic-bag chic, and probably the right choice to go home, if someone was gong to go home. But despite Michael’s disdain for the “field-hockey uniform” style, Alicia, along with Gunnar, was spared an air kiss from Heidi. The judges felt everyone had passed the Lord & Taylor test — and also with the double drop-out of Andrea and Kooan, they needed to buy another week for Lifetime — and so no one was sent to the workroom to clean up his or her space. Hoory? Okay, hooray.

What did you think of last night’s Project Runway? Did you agree with the Top 4 and Bottom 2? Would you have sent someone home? If so, who? Use the comments section thoughtfully to express yourself!

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. CA says:

    Who does Dmitry have to kill and/or bribe to get a win on this show?!! Christopher’s design was ok but there was no comparison to what Dmitry put out on the runway.

    Sonji’s observation about the difference between male and female designers (or at least the ones on this show) was dead on — men tend to design clothes for women they want to see us wear, and women tend to design clothes the women want to wear.

    • I totally agree with your comment about Dimitry. I uttered a very loud and profane “What the f*%#!” When she declared him safe. What is wrong with the judges that they keep overlooking his fabulously executed tailored gowns??? However, I disagree with yours (and Sonji’s ) perspective on the designers. I think the men design things that more women CAN wear and the women design things that women WISH they could wear. Let’s face it, how many women can wear that skin tight strapless dress that Melissa designed or that ultra tight suit dress of Sonji’s? Their designs are totally impractical for anyone without a near perfect figure. No pear shapes or big bodice women are sneaking into those clothes. While the male designers dresses are fitted the silhouettes are generally more forgiving of different shapes and even have the possibility of wearing bras ::gasp:: I actually think that may be what helped Christopher win…. in addition to the fact that Dimitry was robbed.

      • CA says:

        And I could counter with any number of designs from men on all seasons of PR as well as big name designers beyond this show that no woman would actually 1) be able to wear and 2) would want to wear.

        • I was just referring to this season. Not designers in general. I wouldn’t dream of being vain enough to make a comprehensive statement about fashion in general. Just what I see in these contestants.

  2. Theresa says:

    Dmitry should have one. His dress was the best by far. I thought Chris’s dress was boring.

  3. PRfan says:

    Love your recaps!!!

  4. Lauren says:

    Can someone explain to me how Elena is winning the Fan Favorite poll on the official site? Is there something about her I am not seeing? And she does know that the winner gets to make a line of clothing that actual women will…you know…wear in situations other than on a catwalk, right?

    • erin says:

      I have no idea… I am baffled. As far as design goes, I’d have to give my vote to Dimitry first, followed by Melissa and/or Christopher. Elena has an awful personality, so she’s certainly not getting votes there. Plus, Dimitry always has awesome one liners that should earn him votes.

    • D says:

      Apparently you can only vote on that if you have a Twitter account. Lots of people don’t have them and don’t want them, me included.

    • itsmemartu says:

      Elena is bipolar, I’m sure of it! One second she’s all bubbly and happy and then she snaps into bitch mode! She’s not likable at all!

  5. Corky St. Clair says:

    I was beginning to question my taste — I thought Dmitry’s was the best by far. I would wear it in a heartbeat. But what I really want to wear is Heidi’s pink disco ball dress. Too bad I don’t have as many opportunities as she does to wear cocktail dresses on weekday mornings.

    • D says:

      Excellent post. I find myself buying more and more “going out” clothing, when I don’t go out that much! I did love Heidi’s striped dress last week better though. That was fantastic.

      • rp says:

        Me too- I was yelling at my screen for her to take it off after the show and mail it to me. That striped dress was awesome.

  6. I knew you were gonna say Dmitry should’ve won this one, Michael, and I couldn’t agree more. I was flabbergasted when Heidi said he was safe.

    Also, Elena’s dress looked like a cut out trash bag with a matching harness. I didn’t see the appeal.

    I disagree with you on Fabio, though. The zipper may have been unfortunate, but I think the rest of the dress was very elegant and very well executed.

    • Rain says:

      The first thing I said when Elena’s dress walked out was “It looks like she wrapped her model up in a Hefty bag!” The only way that dress would have been worthy of a top spot is if this had been the dollar store challenge!

  7. Alyssa says:

    The only reason I can think for not letting Dmitry win is so it will seem more dramatic when he is in the final. He’s not very dramatic because he’s level headed, nice and a great designer so I guess they’re trying to create drama somehow.

  8. Rain says:

    I was yelling at my tv last night. Dmitry has had some of the most beautiful designs and totally deserved the win last night. If I were thin and had any reason to wear a cocktail dress I would buy his in a heartbeat, it was stunning!

    I love Christopher, but I kept thinking his dress looked like something an Amish girl would wear to a fancy event. It was just so boring and I disagree with Heidi, I hate that pale pink on someone so fair – it totally washed her out.

    While I would have liked someone to go last night (namely Ven or any of the girls) I’m glad they didn’t because Gunner didn’t deserve to be in the bottom. His was my second favorite of the night! Plus, I just adore him so I want him sticking around.

    I’m not sure what women Sonji was talking about, I don’t know anyone that would want to wear the majority of what this group of ladies has designed this season. At least the things the men are designing are pretty to look at! Go Team Chiffonies!!

    • Cassie says:

      “I love Christopher, but I kept thinking his dress looked like something an Amish girl would wear to a fancy event.” — THIS! I can’t believe the judges loved his dress. The top was OK, but used a technique he’s done twice already. And the bottom, to me, just looked like a big ol’ sack — an impression I can tell you as a Size 16 woman, that would only be exaggerated if anyone but a skinny model wore it. Christopher is my favorite person on the show this season, but this look did nothing for me.

  9. BTM says:

    La Kors’ comment wasn’t cryptic at all. He was talking about how the skirt part of evening wear is easy to design and select but, but it’s tough to create an interesting, fresh, wearable bodice.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Dmitry has an awful model, that is the only reason I can think of that can explain why he didn’t win/wasn’t in the top this challenge. The entire time she was walking down the runway I kept yelling at my television. It was like she was just walking down the grocery store aisle. She didn’t smile, or have any expression on her face and she didn’t work the dress at all. A model can make or break an outfit, no matter how nice it is, and his model does not do him any favors.

    • D says:

      You know, I wished there was a little more focus on the models, as in seasons past. They don’t need their own show, but I used to like the tousseling (sp?) over picking the models.

  11. I don’t know why Dmitri gets no love!! His dress was awesome : D

  12. Also, that dress with the shredding it looked like a train wreck, so unpolished! and that neckline was so bleh.

  13. Aria says:

    Why are there four entries in the “Judges’ Top 3”?

  14. LisaM says:

    There have been 3 instances where I felt Dimitry should have won and he wasn’t even in the top 3. the Candy Challenge, the Red Carpet challenge and last night’s challenge. I don’t understand what the judges are seeing or not seeing. I hear/read alot of comments from people who feel the same way. I agree that his model isn’t all that terrific but even so, when a majority of the viewing audience is agreeing that Dimitry’s being robbed, it’s obvious his dresses are overcoming the bad modeling. What gives????

  15. Oh, Michael, you are so funny. I love that we are now going to be referring to Ven in a Voldemort-esque fashion. His misogynistic comments are really getting out of hand. I can’t wait to see if he realizes when he gets off the show how much damage he has done to his career with his mouth. Also, I almost fell off my chair laughing at “Our Lady of Eastern European Heartlessness”. I think I’m ok with the construction issues with Christopher’s gown because I know how hard the time constraints must be on them. I know they’ll fix it before it goes to production. Although I still think Dimitry should have won.

  16. Mike says:

    I was also shocked, and appalled, that Dmitry was in the safe group when his dress seemed like the winner to me. It was heartening to know that the judges actually pretty much liked all of the looks, but still. I don’t know how Fabio and Elena (thrilled for her; love her) ended up in a group of four clearly higher scores and Dmitry didn’t. I also kind of thought Sonjia would end up in the bottom, but I’m glad she didn’t. I did like her dress better than Gunnar and Alicia’s but barely.

  17. Summer says:

    Dmitry needs a win at this point, and it’s ridiculous that he hasn’t gotten one. His clothes are AMAZING. This last challenge’s dress completely lit up the runway. As much as I like Christopher, his winning look this time around was essentially a rehash of Sharon Stone wearing a Gap t-shirt with the Valentino skirt back in 1996. Only with some shredding action this time around.

    Also…I think I might be one of the few, but I really, really dug the idea behind Alicia’s dress.

    • rochelle says:

      Sharon Stone wore a men’s Gap button down with a fairly voluminous ball gown skirt. the looks were completely different.

      • D says:

        Rochelle- I agree that the looks were completely different. I am also remembering her wearing short-sleeved black turleneck. Also completely different.

  18. Lana says:

    I also agree that Dimitry was robbed once again. I don’t understand why the Judges can’t see the beauty in his designs and actual thought Fabio’s was better than his. Elena’s was different and though I didn’t think it was better than Dimitry’s it wasn’t as boring as Fabio’s. I definately felt Dimitry’s was the best of the night. I am tired of the girls bashing the men as I do believe the men are the better designers in this group and their jealousy is sad.

  19. ATLgroove says:

    RE: Side note: What the heck was with La Kors’ cryptic comment that “half the battle at night is from the waist up”?

    Anytime I go out with my girls in their party dresses, about halfway through the night, they start tugging on their dresses to prevent the dreaded nip slip. The skirt portion of the dress never has any problems. Since the judges were heaping on the praise that Melissa created a strapless dress, I imagine that’s what Kors meant.

  20. Mara says:

    I can’t believe Dimitry didn’t win, let alone get in the top!
    Are the judges blind? Christopher’s dress was so bland and the colour was not good on the model at all. Elena’s dress looked like a garbage bag, and Fabio’s looked even more generic than Christopher’s.
    Gunners wasn’t that bad, and I thought Alicia’s was an interesting concept. Sonja, Ven and Elena should have been bottom.

    Dimitry better win next week! :/

  21. Whatever says:

    I thought Dimitry’s dress was a lock for the win. WTF is going on !
    This is getting ridiculous Dimitry doesn’t seem to be getting a fair shake.
    Christopher’s dress was good too and if anyone was going to beat Dimitry I’d rather it be Chris.
    Ven with the rose bodice ,oh please.
    The harness on Elena’s dress wasn’t very flattering in the front not top 3 material.
    I’m glad Gunner wasn’t Auf’d . Thankfully he has moved passed playing “diva” for the cameras and gotten down to business.

  22. anne says:

    I could not believe Dmitry didn’t win! It was so obviously the winner. And Elena was so obviously the loser. Her dress was butt ugly!!

  23. Jeannine R says:

    Where is your recap of the most recent episode of Project Runway? I look forward to it every week!

  24. Kim Tuzzo says:

    Le Kors was referring to Diana Vreeland who said it only mattered how you looked when you were sitting at the dinner table.

  25. Coco says:

    Vote for Dmitry! He’s moved up several slots in just a couple of weeks. Keep that witch from cheating her wat to the top!

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