After last week's drama-filled bitchfest, this week's episode of Project Runway was remarkably calm, to the point where I was a little bored. It was the first time this season that I felt the 90-minute format was far too long—this episode could've easily been an hour, and even then it might've dragged. So in order to avoid that issue here, let's get this thing moving and breakdown the episode, shall we?
- Challenge: Heidi told the designers they were going to "further their education," at which point they were whisked away to the Harlem School of the Arts and told they would be collaborating with a student to create a piece of art and then an avant-garde look inspired by it. While I loved some of the students' personalities (like 12-year old Sky), their participation was a little minimal for all the time they spent talking about it. Also, we should start this all off with a definition of avant-garde: experimental, forward-thinking, radical and innovative. For Project Runway, avant-garde typically just means "weird and not ready-to-wear," so any critiques are just going to use that definition. It's no use fighting the machine on this one.
- In the Workroom:
- Olivier really likes depressing music, which should shock absolutely no one. Now we just need to find out which ugly sweater party he raided before coming on the show.
- Josh C., who reminds me so much of Arrested Development's Tobias Fünke for every reason possible, only spends half his budget, which is one of the stupidest things you can do on this show. If they give you the money, spend it!
- Josh M. thinks he helped Becky focus and think outside the box by being completely heinous to her last week. I want to know what his planet is called.
- Olivier tries to glue fabric to his model because he wants her to be as sad as he is.
- The Judges: Nina was away at Haute Couture Week in Paris—probably seeing some actual avant-garde fashion—so Michael and Heidi were joined by two guest judges: Marie Claire's Zanna Roberts Rassie and designer Kenneth Cole. Did anyone else notice the eye rolls and glares Michael gave Kenneth? I'd love to know the backstory there!
- Top Three:
- Anthony Ryan - The inspiration Anthony took from the painting was risky, but the payoff was fantastic. I loved the idea of the brush strokes and the way the model's hair was styled to look like the crown in the painting. While this was certainly my favorite look of the bunch, I have to agree with Kenneth Cole that the execution was less than desirable. The strips looked poorly tacked on and the unfinished hem was an eyesore. Remember Emilio's winning dress from the first episode of Season 7? Now that is how it should've been executed!
- Josh M. - I wasn't as gaga over the painted skirt as the judges were, but it was certainly a clever technique to use in a challenge inspired by art. The whole look was a pop of drama and the flame texture of the top was one of the best techniques used in the episode. I know he was going for "avant-garde" with the hair and makeup, but I really wish he had toned it down—that blonde fro was way too much.
- Laura - Laura's dress didn't have the best "wow factor" on the runway. Instead, it was a collection of clever details, like the boning underneath the petaled bodice which gave it a cool contrast between soft and hard. I wouldn't have put it in the Top Three—this was a solid "safe" entry.
- Bottom Three:
- Bert - Ohhhh, Queen Mother. This one was quite a clunker, though it should be noted that he's one of the only ones who attempted to play with proportion and shape. That being said, it was just one big mess with kindergarten beanbags tacked all over it. The look was totally fashion-backward instead of forward. Heidi liked it, but we'll just ignore that. It was like a combination of Vincent's recycling challenge nightmare from Season 3 and Blayne's terrible astrology avant-garde look from Season 5. We're getting quite a history lesson today, aren't we?!
- Josh C. - Ohhhh, poor Tobias. Such delusions of grandeur, such false hope. Poor, poor Tobias. His wolf-inspired outfit looked like a trashy vampire schoolgirl. The high-waisted skirt was too tight and looked cheap—probably should've spent some more of that budget! The cutout in the front was vulgar and the neck-brace top was incredibly unflattering.
- Olivier - Sad, depressed Olivier made another sad, depressing dress that was sloppy and ugly. It didn't even fit the Project Runway definition of avant-garde, let alone the real one. The judges were giddy over the bodice of the dress, but I thought the entire thing was a disaster.
- Kors-ism of the Week: Michael had a one-two punch with Tobias this week, first calling the look a "Victorian cocktail waitress in Las Vegas," and then later, while he recounted Tobias' blind love for his garment, said, "He's still in love with his hooker!"
- And the winner is: Anthony Ryan! The execution may have been questionable, but it was certainly my favorite of the week and I was happy to see Anthony Ryan back on top.
- Auf Wiedersehen to: Tobias, who nervously laughed his way off the runway, out of the workroom and into a mental ward somewhere. Poor Tobias.
[Image Source: Lifetime]