Holy drama! Two of our strong-willed designers break down in this episode, which was called "Oh My Lord & Taylor" but might as well have been called "Boys Against Girls." The very first minutes featured scenes where the girls discussed a need to knock another guy, specifically, out of the competition. The battle of the sexes is certainly not a new theme for Project Runway, but it was particularly strong in this ep.
The designers met up with Tim Gunn (yay, Tim!) and Bonnie Brooks (president of L&T) at Lord & Taylor's Fifth Avenue store in New York City (if you haven't been, you must go, it is such a beautiful store). The nine mannequins before them are wearing designs by former Project Runway contestants, one from each season. Together, they are the incomplete Project Runway for Lord & Taylor Capsule Collection. The winning designer's look will complete the collection, and represent Season 10. The whole collection is now available on Lord & Taylor's website, by the way. Our favorite designs are from Nick Verreos (Season 2), Uli Herzner (Season 3), Korto Momolu (Season 5) and Mondo Guerra (Season 8). Let us know who you like in the comments!
The designers start sketching looks that represent them, fit into the collection, and will retail for between $200 and $300. Christopher Palu is the only one to note that there are seven cocktail dresses and only two gowns in the collection, and he proceeds to create a third gown. Very smart. We kind of can't believe was the only person to do that. Dmitry Sholokhov says, "I aim to make sharp, clean, beautiful dresses. That's what I do." Yeah, you do! We are sure this is Dmitry's time to shine. He also notes that it is more difficult to make simple dresses than elaborate ones, because you can't hide mistakes behind other design details. Immediately following this statement, Elena Slivnyak says she finds it easier to make more complicated designs than simple ones. Oh, editors. Good job, there.
Melissa Fleis' problems start during fabric selection, which was handled differently because the materials they had to choose from were provided by the would-be manufacturer of the garments. She doesn't want to use anything anyone else is using, and she gives up a fabric to Ven Budhu. To Ven! Who we have still not forgiven, and who was edited down to about three minutes of screen time this episode. Again, good job, editors. This week, Ven told us that men are stronger designers, and women are more practical. We're not sure why those things are mutually exclusive. Does he mean men or more creative? If so, get the hell out of here, Ven. Sonjia Williams notes that the men in the competition seem to design what they would like to see women wear, while the women design what they actually want to wear. That was a good way of saying what Ven said, without insulting half the population. Anyway, while Melissa managed to not completely lose it, we were shocked to see her scrambling around until the last second (although that's what's going to happen when you cut an entirely new dress halfway through your work time). She's usually so decisive. Elena was just as emotional as she usually is, except this time we saw the softer side of Elena come out. The side that doesn't scream at everyone. Although she incessantly whined that she "doesn't work like this" and "this isn't her challenge," Elena was still able to take advice from Tim and in the end, she made something quite cute. Maybe Elena isn't so bad. We like that she doesn't give up.
By far the most heartbreaking part of the episode was Sonjia's breakdown. It came out of nowhere. She was practically whistling while she worked, and then, just before the runway show, her dress wouldn't go on the model. Oh. My. God. The tears start escaping, she whispers, "Elena, can you help me, please?" Superwoman E comes over and starts tugging away on the dress. Sonjia is wailing. Fabio Costa says it was hard to watch. Seriously, it was hard to watch on TV. We can't imagine actually being there in the moment. We shed a few tears along with her!
However. After all of that, we must say we were quite pleased by the runway, although we wish there were some bolder color choices. This time, there are four top looks and two bottom looks.
Ven, who made another freaking flower bodice thing, is safe. So is a relieved Sonjia. And Dmitry. WHAT? We loved his dress… the stucture, the seaming, the kind of jagged neckline, the fabric. "WHY AM I HERE?!" Dmitry wailed in confessional. We don't know, D. We wish you weren't! When is Dmitry going to win something? For goodness' sake. He makes beautiful things, and he makes them perfectly. And he was a ballroom dancer. And he can iron his shirt while he's wearing it. (Did anyone else see that?) What does it take, judges?
Alicia Hardesty's dress was, in our opinion, the weakest. But, it was our favorite thing from her so far. We liked what she was trying to accomplish with the drop waist and we like that she doesn't make "princess dresses" (except that one time). Still, this was the best thing we have seen by Alicia and Michael Kors likened it to a field hockey uniform worn by an Amish teen. Glean from that whatever you may. She lands in the bottom.
Also in the bottom: Gunnar Deatherage, for being too safe. "I've seen this dress before, Gunnar," Nina Garcia said. "I don't need to see it again." We get that, but we still liked Gunnar's dress, and we thought the pattern he created with the sequins gave it a little edge.
That put Fabio, Melissa, Elena and Christopher in the top. Fabio? Fabio? Listen, we like Fabio. We even like his little flower halo he was rocking last night. But there was nothing spectacular about this dress. If you've seen Gunnar's dress, you have surely seen Fabio's dress, and it was certainly less interesting than Dmitry's. The best part was the necklace, which was from the Lord & Taylor Accessory Wall. It's a good thing he made that back, the way he did, because we're not jumping for joy over an asymmetrical hem, and we're not sure why the judges were.
Elena cried AGAIN when she found out she was in the top. We thought her dominatrix/baby doll dress was too big in the butt, but it was cute. The back was our favorite part, it was different and interesting. Well done, overall.
Melissa was our favorite. And considering how quickly she put it together, we were downright amazed. We love that bronze fabric, and the dramatic shape of that neckline… oh, the entire thing was just awesome. Plus, it's nice to see a strapless dress that doesn't let the boobs spill out all over the place. Michael said he thinks her asymmetrical hemline, in comparison to Fabio's, was too severe. Eh. Maybe. We loved the drama of the whole thing, it was hard to find fault. If this had been the winning look, we would have bought it already. All of them, for everyone here, and we would have had a big, "Wear Melissa's Dress to the Office" Party. But, alas, she was not the winner.
WINNER: Christopher. Sigh. It's not that we didn't like his gown, we did. We just didn't think it was the most fabulous thing up there. Christopher got called out for doing his shredding thing again. Hasn't he only done it twice? The first challenge and the skirt in the team challenge? "If I win, this is what I want to be known for," he said of his technique. We aren't as sick of the shredding as everyone else is, apparently, and with that logical statement, he had our support. But we don't expect to see it again: when Heidi Klum, Michael and Nina tell you to do something else, it's in your best interest to do something else. By the way, if you'd like to see Christopher, we suggest pacing around outside the L&T store on Fifth Avenue, where his dress is displayed in the window. He said he would be unable to leave the area if that happened, so you might find him directing everyone toward the display.
OUT: NO ONE! Yay! They tried to make us think Gunnar would be out, which would have been totally unfair. Heidi explained that they thought everyone rose to the challenge this week. Agreed!
What did you think of the challenge, people? Are you purchasing anything from Lord & Taylor today? Wink, wink. If you are, or if you wish you could, tell us what it is!