Project Runway Recap: Episode 11

Managing Editor

Here we are, cherubs! We’re down to the final six, which apparently includes Goldilocks. Laura my love, you’re downright fabulous.

“This is for the Birds” introduces our L’Oreal challenge (read: hour and a half L’Oreal commercial, spliced with L’Oreal commercials). The designers will try to find inspiration in the beauty of some exotic birds, and they begin to feel the pressure when Tim announces they will be competing head-to-head in this important challenge. Well if that doesn’t have gravitas, I don’t know what does.

My predictions:

  • Not a single mention of Anthony.
  • Even the commercials will be drowned in L’Oreal make up.
  • Josh will be accused of cheating.
  • Anya won’t know how to sew something.
  • Kim will freak out.
  • Bert will have a fundamental issue with the challenge that just proves once again that he should have been gone a long time ago.
  • A surprise. Probably a second look.
  • Josh wins. Bright birds are right up his alley.
  • Bert is finally given the boot for being boring as crap. Finally.

Heidi gives the designers a clue to the challenge that proves the writers for this show are really just phoning it in these days. The designers hear “wings” and immediately think “skydiving.” Really? Skydiving fashion? Have you people ever seen this show? And now there’s twenty grand on the line.

Things are going to get a little vicious. Bert, of course, offers up this introspective gem: “If this had happened a few weeks ago, I think one of us would have killed the bird.” Darling, I’m not sure that won’t happen anyway.

Upon pressing StraightColin on a pithy comment on whether or not ravens are exotic (hint: they’re not), he says, “Yes. Straight away. I’ll deliver something pithy on Ornithology. Let me sharpen my witty Ornithology blade.” Touché, StraightColin. Touché.

Tim tells them they’re working in pairs, and we immediately cut to confessionals of everyone complaining about team challenges. Upon getting their assignments, the designers seem downright delighted. There’s something about this duality that really gets my inner soap opera lover positively gleeful. They’re then told they will be competing head to head, and they become catty as Eartha Kitt in a catsuit at a Hello Kitty store surrounded by cats.

And then Viktor delivers another glorious bit of insight: “I have to do something that just looks cool.” God, I love the Captain Obvious moments. Meanwhile, Bert is afraid that green/yellow looks “dime store.” Oh, Bert. You don’t have to worry. Your looks have all been dime store.

StraightColin says: Did Josh just lick a piece of fabric? “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”

Who said Anya had to design in one color? You’re not making a raven costume, you’re designing a look inspired by a raven. You’re to highlight make up that is not all black. And what is Josh’s problem? What is your problem? Neon feathers? You were just told you need to know how to edit!

We’re back in the work room after some clear stress on Kim’s part, when Tim walks in with a surprise: yes, a second look. I really begin to wonder if any of these designers have ever seen this show before. When there are only half the original designers left, start planning two looks. Pick you’re favorite first, and then when you’re “surprised,” pull out the second one. Also, learn better time management. Plan your success around the first day of work. That way surprises are less surprising.

In other news, I hope Laura sleeps in those curlers. I really, really do. Also, Josh says “frustrated”. That frustrates me. The best tension break of the episode goes to the cockroach. Seeing Kim jump on that table was the highlight of my life.

StraightColin says: What? Laura Croft? She just killed a bug, right? Did I miss an action sequence? Were there acrobatics? Did she kill it with two .45s or Desert Eagles or something? Solve some puzzles to kill a bug?

Bert thinks people understand him more. I think there are fewer people there to annoy the crap out of him.  Kim’s doubting herself, and I think rightfully so. This is a big outside the box challenge and those haven’t been her strongest. And I’m getting dizzy watching her pace back and forth about it.

The designers plug along, and Josh seems to be done with his first look. He’s not terribly sold on it and is going to start from scratching. Surprising but necessary, as it looks like something made especially for Hedda Lettuce. He needs help with a little bit of fabric, but Anya declines. It’s a competition, boo. You didn’t have to help her previously. She doesn’t have to help you now. Prepare for eventualities. You wasted your time making something over the top, and you can’t expect people to jump to your assistance because you’ve finished a garment you don’t like and want to do another.

StraightColin says: What the hell? Those are like the color choices of Van Gough when he was so poor he was eating paint.

Tim comes along for his usual critique and manages to prove what we’ve all been thinking: Josh is pretty, but not too bright. “What’s a Guessko say?” Something about saving on your car insurance, I think. To be fair, I had a similar conversation when I was 18 and working at Ikea. I was talking to my friend’s mother about a bedspread cover I wanted. She asks, “Duvet?” I replied, “Do they what?”

We get to Bert, and Tim flat out says he doesn’t see high fashion. Neither do I. Neither does anyone. I can’t understand how anyone ever has. Every single look has been dated and predictable.

StraightColin says: Tim, don’t argue with your elders.

Tim is such a lovely, sincere hugger. I want a hug from Tim Gunn. They always seem so eager to express care. Even with the quick, somewhat aggressive pats.

We move on to Josh’s critique, replete with complement on his editing. But because it’s Josh and it isn’t bedazzled, he’s clearly stealing from Bert. Give me a break, guys. We all know that even if someone was cheating, none of you have any qualms about calling them out for it on the runway. It’s fashion, it evolves, and frankly a draped sack dress is nothing new anyway. And the accusations keep flying! Everyone is copying everyone. Isn’t that fabulous? It must be that point in the season.

Tim joins us once again for yet another surprise: only one of their two looks will walk the runway! I find this both awesome and hilarious.

Bert goes for his bland, tired looking gown that hides all the color under the overskirt. Josh is forced to edit, which leaves him staring at his looks from a corner as if he’s trying to discern the meaning of life.

Also, does Anya ever hem her skirts? Ever?

What is this thing Viktor is sending down the runway? Did someone accidentally wash the cockatiel? It looks like a mildewed toilet brush. And he’s managed to make one side of a soft, flowy dress look heavy. Kim’s look walks right after his, and the similarities are blatant. I’m glad she decided to drape, but from my couch the look seems very rushed. And what the heck are those pearl things? Kimberly says the silhouette looks familiar, and that’s because it’s on Viktor’s models.

Both looks need more color. Bird feathers have a marbled look to them with layered colors. Sometimes they’re rather iridescent. There’s no coloring from the bird here. And while the look shouldn’t be literal, I think they let that fear overwhelm their design choices. The overall effect is kind of bland.

Bert’s look is just… odd. The color is hidden too hidden. When it finally pops out, it looks like the dress is trying to take its last breaths. Josh’s look is a stark contrast, but I think it’s over-edited. The corsage looks tacked on. I think that extra burst of color could have been incorporated much more smoothly.

I’ve seen this look Anya is sending down the runway. I think I’ve seen it on Project Runway before. The only thing that sets this apart is that it’s a single garment rather than separates. I see the raven, of course, but this feels a little too simple for me. Ten bucks says the judges wet themselves over it. I love Laura’s look. The pants are hot, and that coat is clean and fierce, but something tells me the judges will  find it too literal.

The judges are falling all over themselves for Anya’s look (shocker), but I’m not as floored. I’m just not sold on the half-pinned, military-inspired nightshirt. The good news, however, is that Nina didn’t poop on Laura’s look. She in fact had some rather nice things to say. This may or may not be a result of Laura looking as if she was being talked to by Miss Eva Ernst. Michael likes that Laura’s look is different from what she’s used to, But he thinks it’s a little costumey.

Moving on to Josh and Bert, Michael pins down that Bert’s look has nothing to do with the exuberance of the bird. It doesn’t bounce or pop. Bert’s response? “Yeah, it sucks.” Well, ok. I guess we know who’s leaving. Michael rightly enjoys Josh’s look, but nearly has a giggle fit over the corsage. Josh does well with the judges over all. The references aren’t literal, the exuberance (watchword!) is there, and he edited. Nicely done.

Did… did Kimberly try to throw Viktor under the bus for an accident on her part? In the confessional she says she was frustrated by her dress and threw it on an active hot glue gun. How is that Viktor’s fault? And girl, that pearl trim is hideous. Kimberly’s tailoring isn’t as strong, but they don’t like Viktor’s. It’s constructed quite well, and the faux feathers are intricate, but somehow Kimberly’s last-minute, thrown together chiton is the better choice. I just don’t understand.
StraightColin says: Did Michael just say fashion is a competitive sport? Maybe if PR were full-contact they’d have better ratings.

So we’re down to the bottom two, and it’s between Laura and Bert. I’m sorry, I haven’t been amazed by a single thing he’s done. Laura’s look tonight was no where near as literal as Viktor’s, and it was considerably outside her comfort zone. If she goes and Bert doesn’t, I’m going to poop myself.  And somehow Anya pulls out another win which astounds me. The garment had to be broken just for the model to get into. This seem ridiculous.

And thankfully, Bert gets the boot. He became tolerable to the audience and the other designers, meaning the lame excuses to keep him in weren’t worthwhile without the drama.

I hesitate to ask, dear readers, but what did you think? Did Anya’s look deserve to take flight? Was Bert’s look over-plucked? Tell me in the comments, and stay tuned tomorrow for Breaking Down the Looks!


  • Anonymous

    Yep, I kinda thought the same thing about the whole Laura Croft thing.

  • Uplutea

    How could they give the award to someone who constructed a dress you couldn’t get into and out of without cutting it open? Shouldn’t clothes be practical enough to wear without having tosew it up yourself? I think they should have disqualified Anya for being too incompetent to sew a zipper or buttons. Instead, they gave her the prize!

  • Kim_226

    @uplutea: I kind of disagree with you on the whole cutting the dress open…I mean, I see where you’re coming from, but if I understand it right, high fashion-looks are never meant to be worn on the street, or feeling confident. And PR is not a sewing competition, but a designer-one..
    And by the way, I thought Josh was a very sore loser. His whole “20.000 dollar would change my life”-speech was rather obvious. Which person on that show can honestly say that 20.000 dollar wouldn’t change their lives?

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