Project Runway Recap: Rockette Science

project runway rockettesIs it worse to have 36 beautiful women in the same super-boring dress, or to put them all in bedazzled blue band costumes from hell? And would it make a difference if the super-boring dress was designed by the dude who showed an open disdain for working with a “real-sized woman” just a few weeks back?

Those were the questions facing the Project Runway judges (including a fab Debra Messing) as the seven remaining designers competed to make a modern yet classic costume that would be produced and worn by the Radio City Rockettes. (Side note: Was the whole challenge simply an excuse to let Heidi Klum don a skimpy sequined dress and join the famed troupe for their legendary chorus line? I’m fine with it either way, really.)

There was, as always, some drama in the workroom. Elena went way over her budget on fabric, yet still ended up with “50 shades of band uniform” that she admitted she hated. Melissa got crazy ambitious and planned on a pattern with 18 separate pieces and hand beading. Sonjia struggled to get inspired. And Ven secretly sat there thinking a few of those Rockettes could probably stand to lose a few pounds (or so I like to imagine).

The designers got treated to a night out at dinner, which produced another deadpan Dmitry moment: “Elena, well, she actually apologized to me,” he said. “Even Ven is opening up. I think it’s wine. Wine is working.”

The Tim Gunn Judgment Hour produced several great punch lines, too, from Tim suggesting Elena head to the Lord & Taylor accessory wall “to look for a baton” to his instruction to Fabio on how to deal with his tricky fabric. “Bitch-slap that bitch!”


As the runway show approached, Melissa struggled with time. Ven shockingly pitched in and did some hand stitching for her, but only after personally measuring her waist and confirming she really was a Size 4. (Okay, we didn’t see that last part happening, but it’s not that hard to imagine, is it?)

Anyway, let’s dish the judges’ picks for best and worst. (Fabio somehow was sent to safety despite making a costume that looked like it fell out of the dumpster behind the set of Spartacus: Vengeance.)

Christopher: The most obvious challenge winner in Project Runway history? Hell, yeah. On paper, the idea of his “NYC skyline” bustline sounded kind of jank, but in practice (pictured, second from right) it was a thing of elegant, art-deco beauty. As La Kors noted, Christopher had himself a “Bob Mackie moment.”

Dmitry: The beaded fringe skirt indeed had great movement, but I agreed with Christopher that the zig-zag cutout top was a not-terribly-interesting riff on a basic dance-team design. Still, the tailoring and exection — in classic Dmitry style — were terrific.

Melissa: A distant third-place, as the judges noted that the outfit looked worse the more they examined it. Even the designer herself found new flaws once the cigarette-girl homage hit the runway. “How did I not see that I had colorblocked in black sequins a No. 1 across her chest?” she asked. Also, Ms. Messing was right in pointing out the floating neckline wasn’t really Rockette-friendly.

Ven: What is there to say about Ven, other than the fact that he’s pretty much (to quote Dmitry) a “one-way monkey.” When he’s not doing his folded fan effect, his garments are basic and dreary, as was this silver minidress (pictured, second from left) that looked bulky and heavy and not at all dancer-friendly. Elena’s outfit was uglier, but I wasn’t sorry to see Ven get auf’d. Let’s leave with this parting shot from MK: “That could be his drag name: Origami Rose.”

Elena: Elena’s choice of blue, shiny fabric (pictured, right) looked super cheap, and the design itself was like a home-sewn skater’s costume. All of the cutouts and rhinestone trim seemed to pucker in the most unflattering way, and the crystal neckpiece was an eyesore beneath the lights. As Heidi noted, “It’s, like, 2012. It’s very hard to look at.”

Sonjia: I’m going to just quote the judges on this mess (pictured left), since their comments were a thing of bitchy beauty. Heidi: “She looks very boxy.” La Kors: “It’s disco turkey! I don’t know what else it could be?” Ms. Messing: “A molting group of Rockettes is not really something that would be great.” I second those motions!

What did you think of this week’s Project Runway? Use the comments section thoughtfully!

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. George says:

    Any way you look at it I was glad to see Ven go, but I really didn’t like the idea of doing a challenge like this, this far into the competition. These very specific, costume-like challenges should be done earlier in the competition, and the designers who are left at this stage in the game should be able to compete in challenges where they’re able to show there own point of view off a bit more.

    • D says:

      They are going to be designing for *infants* next week. Don’t see how that will be any better than this one.

      • ohlala says:

        it’s not. and it’s a mistake on the part of the producer’s. it’s kind of like rigging the outcome, in that they’re screwing over talented designers (using “talented” lightly, no worries) by throwing them curveballs that, no, do not really contribute to their oeuvre. it’s just frustrating. . .this baby challenge is gonna be the hottest mess ever. i pity those who remain.

    • teatime says:

      You make an excellent point. It is a little unfair at this point for a great designer to go home because they are in the bottom for an odd challenge.

  2. MJ says:

    The “Origami Rose” comment was classic. I laughed so hard at that, but it really could be his drag name.

    • Summer says:

      “Origami Rose”, “Crazy Disco Turkey”, and “Bitch slap that bitch!”

      But the best part? Ven being auf’d!

      I’m mortified by next week’s challenge, though. WTF?

  3. Daisy says:

    “Bitch slap that bitch” coming out of Tim Gunn’s mouth was clearly the best bon mot (can it be a bon mot if it’s a whole sentence? :) in PR history. I nearly choked on the water I was drinking and hooted with laughter, then rewound that about 10 times. I suspect that someone will autotune that and it’s going to be great. Could Tim be any more fabulous? As usual, Michael, your observations are spot on. I think Christopher was the clear winner, though I wonder if they will tweak the costume in actuality so that it will play more to the people sitting in the back. His choice of color fabric might not really be visible from the “cheap seats”, but the design and execution was fantastic. I, too, was kind of surprised that Fabio was ‘safe’–Spartacus Vengeance–EXACTLY, but then when I compared it with Peacock Barney, Origami Rose, and Las Vegas Cheerleader, his didn’t seem so bad (though Fabio’s model didn’t do his garment any favors).Thanks for the great recap (of this show, Glee, and SYTYCD–love them all)!

    • Anna says:

      I said the same thing about Christopher’s the moment it went down the runway- it would have been better if he outlined in darker colored rhinestones or something. Anything to give the skyline more contrast.

      On a side note, Dmitry’s costume was better than everyone is giving him credit for. Technically, the Rockettes ARE a dance team. The geometry and one-arm would look fabulous on 36 dancers hooked up for a kickline or one of their many other angular formations.

      • D says:

        It seemed a little too ballroom for me, but definitely deserved 2nd place and it was way better than anyone else’s but Christophers IMO. Also, don’t know how the fringe would have held up with all of the kicking going on.

      • Tess says:

        Dimitry’s costume was beautiful and probably would’ve won had it not been for Christopher exectuting his concept perfectly. You look at Christopher’s costume and it has “Rockettes” written all over it. Sort of shocking they never had anything like it before actually. But they would’ve looked great in Dimitry’s too.

        So happy to see my top 3 was the top 3 this week and Ven finally was auf’ed – it should’ve happened weeks ago but thankfully the judges finally came to their senses. It’s quite clear on this show that a poorly executed design will always triumph over a decently constrcuted bore. Elena and Sonjia’s costumes were worse designs than Ven’s, but his was a yawner.

  4. Kim says:

    I loved Dmitry’s the most. It was elegant and visually interesting, plus the beaded fringe gave it amazing movement. Chris’s was lovely but the details wouldn’t show up on stage and it was stiff–perhaps a more swingy skirt or more contrast in the colors would’ve helped. All of the other six were horrible.

    • Tim says:

      I agree. Dmitri’s was maybe the best thing I’ve ever seen on this show. And I can’t believe Sonjia survived with that mess of a bird outfit.

  5. the real wendy says:

    Is anyone else completely hot for Dmitry? I don’t get it… but I’m in love!

    • D says:

      He doesn’t have the body-type I am interested but face, personality, talent, the guy has it is spades! He would just have to gain about 80 pounds for me.

    • PR Fan says:

      You are not the only one. I have biggest crush on him. There is just something about Dmitry that I love.

      • Coco says:

        Dmitri was robbed again. That is the 3rd challenge AT LEAST where he had the best design. And he has always been worthy of the top 3.

        • ohlala says:

          I would eat Dmitri alive. That man is perfect, and he seems like secretly wise or something. His accent? JESUS H CHRIST! I always want more of him. . . I’d pay a million dollars to adopt a baby made by him and Elena, on a side note

        • Rain says:

          Agree. I’m not sure what the judges aren’t seeing when it comes to him!

      • Jasper says:

        More and more, Dmitry reminds me of Severus Snapes’ younger, more charming brother.

    • Rain says:

      He’s not in any way, shape, or form my type, but I have a giant crush on him anyway!!

    • Cassandra says:

      I am late to respond to this, but I have the hots for Dmitri too. I only found this board because I am trying to figure out if he’s straight or what =/

    • oganali says:

      There has been a lot of discussion as to whether or not this man is straight. Who cares? I adore his fashions and I adore him. If he was straight, I wasn’t in a relationship with a designer from St. Petersberg, and by some miracle he was interested, I could definitely be enticed to share a fine glass of wine. BUT, is not the case. It doesn’t matter. Be happy for him!!!

      Dmitry is a great designer. I do wish he would design something for a normal-slender hipped, DDcup (but not fat) woman. No designer will ever do that. Mine are natural but I can’t figure out why any woman would want to enhance their bust and make them round like a ball. I can never wear designer unless they are separates and altered, which is the norm.

      Mine are natural but I can’t figure out why any woman would want to enhance their bust. I can never wear designer unless they are separates and altered, which is the norm for me.
      Anyway, leave Dmitry alone. Let his “PRIVATE” life be private (no one knows). One day he will announce a new wife or husband. Then you will know.

  6. rochelle says:

    Im sad we won’t get to see Ven’s line. I bet his runway show would be immaculate. I’ve forgiven him for hating fattys. (as a fatty, I can do that) I loved that he he never smiled.

    That said, Go Dimitri!

    • Corky says:

      But you can see Ven’s line. The top 8’s lines are posted because they all had to show because the fashion show was before this aired. Ven’s is exactly what he showed when he was selected. Gunnar’s is very different from anything we saw on the show, very “tribal.” Elena’s surprised me.

  7. Allyson says:

    I was so happy and relieved Ven went home! He should have gone home the week of the client challenge. I thought that dress of his was boring as well. I think the judges got fed up with Ven and finally sent him home! I thought Chris’s costume was pretty good. I was impressed.

  8. CA says:

    I don’t think I laughed as much at PR as I did last night. And the biggest reason was Tim’s observations during the mentoring phase. His look of abject horror when he approached Elena’s was classic as was his almost speechless moment with Melissa. What did he say about the length of Melissa’s dress — “You need to cover up their bits?” or something like that.

    -And the term Disco Turkey and molting Rockettes needs to be preserved for PR history.

    -I think Christopher won for a variety of reasons, the most being pulling off the design of the sky line. I thought Dimity’s was fabulous but since he went with black and blue, a audience member would be no more able to see all his intricate bead work from a distance, then they would Christopher’s homage to NYC, which probably could have benefited from an outline of a contrasting color on the buildings. But I could have lived with either one of them winning and can see either one of them taking the entire competition.

  9. Anna says:

    FINALLY another Project Runway recap! Thanks for doing this, I love these!
    I’m extremely happy Christopher won the challenge (he’s my favourite, so that’s always nice) and I’m even happier Ven got kicked out. It was about time!
    But looking at the promo for next week’s episode – I can’t believe they’re going there. Dressing BABIES?! Seriously?! Whoever gets auf’d next week – it’s not deserved, because a Project Runway designer shouldn’t have to be able to dress BABIES. I wonder if they’ll put them in a cute cocktail dress… sadly, Ven isn’t there anymore, I’m sure his origami-stuff would’ve been extremely cute on an infant!

  10. Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

    I thought the judging was a wonderful retun to form, as in before the last two horrifying seasons. They sent home the contestant who had bored them too many times and bored them again, rather than the crazy fugly over-the-top outfit. I was thrilled.

    I laughed over Tim’s comment as well as Christophers’ Judy line in the upcoming preview. I’m glad they’re figuring it out, more comedy, less manufactured drama!

  11. forwarddad says:

    Glad to see recap. Would have liked to hear your thought on Gunnar being aufed. Disagree about Debra Messing. I thought it was like they photoshopped her in. Found her very bland. Would have been much better with the Rockettes Choreographer.

  12. Kristen says:

    Happy the recap is back as well!

    Ok let’s answer a question, is Dmitry straight or gay?

    • jane says:

      Pretty sure he’s gay. There’s a video of him pulling out a sequin and see-thru dress and saying it’s his favorite thing to ware around the house. I’m sure there are straight men who like to ware shiny dresses, but odds say he’s probably batting for the other team.

    • Jen says:

      If you follow his Twitter I’m pretty sure you’ll come to the conclusion that he is definitely straight. The sequin outfit he pulled out during his home visit clip was a lounging outfit- not a dress. While it may not be uber masculine, I think it wouldn’t be unusual for a designer to wear such an outfit.

  13. Lana 1 says:

    My fantasy is that Dimitry and Eleana are secretly hot for each other and will one day start screaming at each other and then suddenly they are kissing passionately. Hey it could happen!! I’m thrilled to see the recap for Project Runway back and hope it is here to stay. I was really disappointed to see that Ven could not do anything besides his Orgami as he really mad sewing skills but he didn’t seem to be able to do any other type of design. Dimitry always impresses me but I really was blown away with Christopher’s New York’s sky line and thought it was perfect for a Rockett number. I want a Dimitry, Christopher and Eleana finale.

  14. JMill33 says:

    The torches and pitchforks bandwagon has built up a good head of steam, and he’s far from being a cuddly little teddy bear, and certainly in need of an attitude adjustment, but Ven got jobbed. Boring? Without a doubt. But beaten with an ugly stick is a bigger sin than boring and Elena’s… creation… was as ugly as they come. And quite frankly, Melissa’s wasn’t that far behind; it looked like she had sewn a throw pillow from K-Mart to the front of her model.

    Ven. He had taken a step or three down the road to redemption, this was at least the second episode where he was shown helping out another designer in distress, and, as monotone as his personality seems, I was a little surprised how well liked he seemed to be when he went back to the waiting room after being auf’ed; other designers have gotten a much cooler reaction to their leaving.

  15. Mara says:

    Im thrilled these recaps are back :D
    Christopher’s was the most creative, but the skirt of so… bad. Like it was bland and just ‘there’. It needed a skirt like Dimitry’s. Dimitry’s dress was definitely made much better and was more flattering in my opinion. Christopher’s was more interesting, so I dont mind him winning.
    So glad Ven is gone!
    LOL at the babies for next week. Wtf?! did they run out of ideas???

  16. Karen says:

    the babies thing is all about promoting Heidi’s new product line.

  17. teatime says:

    The biggest issue with Melissa’s neckline is that she keeps doing that same weird high straight neckline. I get that it is her thing, but she can’t keep doing it. They should tell her that. I thought her design was very creative and unique otherwise. She deserved to be in distant third place.
    I am glad Sonjia did not go home because she has created some amazing outfits. I have been expecting her to be in the top 3. I don’t know what happened to her this week. She started out with the idea for the skirt which I think would have been fine if the top was not a complete nothing. How could she have spent so much of her time doing nothing?
    Ven was the right one to go home. That outfit was an ill fitting sack and he has been in the bottom before.
    Dmitry’s was lovely, again. I’ll be shocked if he is not in the top 3.

  18. marcus says:

    Christopher is Jesus-handsome. Omigod. I am totally fangurrling over him every second of my day!

    I think Dmitry’s sense of mystique and his wry sense of humor is very appealing. He’s cute.

    Sonjia I loved. I love me a strong black woman. Way to go!

    Melissa I felt was very independent and distinct as well. She’s not Taylor Swift, which I like.

    Fabio is proof that you can be gay and not bitchy. And his BF is sweeet!

    Gunner I felt didn’t deserve to go home. He is very talented and I think his sometimes standish front is actually a shield against being bullied.

    Elena I was OK with. I didn’t expect her to make it that far, and I felt like she played the sympathy card quite harshly, but I did enjoy her rapport with the other designers. And, yes, Tim put it aptly, we all miss her “F*CK F*CK F*CK F*CK F*CK F*CK.”

    I hated Ven from the start, his attitude sucks, and, he hates fat people, which is so ironic. Ugh, and the flower thing. OMG Tim cracked me up when he commented on Ven’s pink hibiscuses, that it reminded him of “a homage to the menstrual cycle.” LOLz.

    The rest of the cast were pretty unimpressionable. Can’t remember their names.

  19. azartist says:

    I always am confused when some men (perhaps closeted?) do not let you know in some way their sexuality. I suppose it is none of my business, but it is a show about people, not just fashion, and I really like knowing everything about them. I also have a crush from time to time, and when I know I have a chance, I like it even more! Like I have a chance with a stranger in another state!! Lol, who am I kidding??