Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Project Runway: “It’s My Way On The Runway”

Illustration for article titled Project Runway: “It’s My Way On The Runway”

Raul’s last minute return notwithstanding, the Project Runway contestants are still noticeably off put by last week’s mysterious Andrea disappearance and the unexpected loss of Kooan. Elena was already beginning to look like a contender for the villain of this season, but the shift away from Christopher’s simmering resentment and guilt for the whole Andrea thing means that the spotlight shines squarely on Elena’s drawn face for this episode. She pouts, sighs loudly, rolls her eyes, and is generally a font of negativity the whole time. Perfect timing.

This week’s challenge involves Heidi’s famed button bag, the (forgive me) sorting hat of Project Runway. Heidi yodels to backstage and out pops Nina Garcia, who explains that the designers have to present mini-collections suited for the pages Marie Claire @ Work. That’s one outfit per designer, but they have to work in two teams—a prospect inspires everything from trepidation to severe despondency. “Honestly, I want to kill myself,” Raul deadpans. “I’d rather eat dirt than work with Elena,” Gunnar says.

Making women’s workwear is depressingly simple to the challenge from last week, and without the tacky, tacky stylings of Buffi or Kooan’s zaniness, this episode practically drips with angst. On Team Six—so named for the number of members it has—Raul is determined to avoid getting auf’ed, and willing to sacrifice any sort of teamwork in order to get his personal vision across. Before anyone even touches a form, there’s a minor Mood-related crisis. One of the bags full of fabric goes missing, and of course it contains Elena’s choices. She complains bitterly, and doesn’t stop huffing the whole time she’s sewing. “I feel like Elena just escaped from the woods,” Christopher comments, pretty aptly describing Elena's class-A sourpuss behavior.

Though Sonjia delegates each Sixer two garments according to their strengths, Raul decides to go rogue with his tops. One has voluminous ruffles that scream “rejected pirate blouse” and the other is a lackluster leather tank top. Without everyone communicating, everyone basically goes off to do his or her own thing. The results still look vaguely related, but more, say, second-cousins than a tight-knit nuclear family. Elena greets Tim with a pointed sulky sigh, but he bolsters their confidence about the whole ordeal.

Team Five is the all boys club—Ven, Gunnar, Christopher, Nathan, and Fabio. Elena dubs the Christopher, Gunnar, and Nathan trio the “Silk Chiffonies,” thanks to their love for the utterly impractical fabric for every outfit. Every day office wear, it’s probably not, but the collection from Team Five does seem to have more of an actual theme. “Our concept is color,” Gunnar explains, dubiously. Tim isn’t quite so sure though. He describes on outfit as both matronly and costume-y, which is Project Runway bingo for a bad outfit, pretty much. (See also Nina questioning your taste level.)

Both teams have to present their outfits at a photo shoot and select the shot they want on the pages of Marie Claire. Elena is, of course, an utter nightmare on set. She yells at Melissa and tells the photographer that one of the models looks like she’s taking a shit. She freaks out about prop use. Her tantrum is one that would give Veruca Salt a run for her money.


On the runway, Team Six has some surprise hits. Melissa’s gorgeous electric blue dress gets approval all around from the judges. Sonjia’s neat pencil skirt also looks sharp, as does Dmitry’s checkerboard dress. Heidi and guest judge Joanna Coles disagree about the appropriateness of the triangular back cutouts, which probably wouldn’t fly in a courtroom or corporate office. Elena’s leather jacket goes over well, but her huge-shouldered pleated number doesn’t. If she wants to be a long-lasting villain, Elena’s going to have to move out of her bizarre Lady Gaga phase.

Team Five has some more interesting disasters. Gunnar’s dress is bad enough that Heidi can’t even restrain herself until after the runway show. “Floating soufflé boobs,” she whispers, and you know it can’t be good. Joanna described the look, breasts-wise, as “two puppies wrestling in a sack,” which is definitely not what you’re trying to achieve in a form-fitting dress, am I right ladies? Heidi’s confrontation of Gunnar is one of the best I’ve seen her do. “Explain,” she snaps. He can’t, really.


Both teams get the same score, so it’s individual elimination. Melissa wins with her frock, and the bottom two are Gunnar, with his ill-shaped dress, and Raul’s unimpressive tops. Raul gets the axe again, but makes sure to make a personal vendetta against Elena clear before he clears up his workspace.

Stray observations:

  • Dmitry on Ven: “I think Ven is one-way monkey. Oh no, I mean, he is one trick pony.” Both?
  • Michael considers the teams successful because “They didn’t kill each other. “ Just you wait.
  • Was anyone else bothered by Heidi’s giant seahorse necklace? It looked like a creature was slowly, glamorously choking her.