Project Runway Recap: No Fatties Allowed

Every year, the Project Runway designers have a challenge where they are asked to make a garment for a normal-sized person. And every time, at least some of the designers moan and whine and cry about how difficult it is going to be to dress a real live human being because “they have to use more fabric” or “the patterns are going to be more difficult to cut” or they just unabashedly hate fat people. This would be odious on its own, except I believe that given then nature of this show, the elimination for this challenge ought to be based on how well the designer treated his/her client. Period. In fact, let the clients decide who to send home!

Hear me out: obviously Project Runway designers want to gain entry into the world of high fashion. Obviously their intention is not to design for the mall (even though that’s certainly where some of them have ended up — what up, Christian Siriano for Payless!), but even if they are dead set on working in the highest echelon of designer fashion for only the most exclusive clients they are still going to need to make those clients feel good. Anyone who makes their client feel like they are too fat or ugly to wear their clothes should be eliminated, both for their sociopathic failure to make the person for whom they are working feel good about what they are wearing, and for doubting their own design skills to the point of not being sure if they can possibly make a functional garment for anyone who isn’t a human clothes hanger.

This season, it’s Ven Budhu who is incapable of treating his real-person model with a modicum of respect (also, I feel like the worst offenders tend to be male designers, which is a whole other can of worms. If female bodies are so offensive to you, get another career!) and makes everyone uncomfortable in the process. Gunnar Deatherage goes a long way toward assuaging my earlier hatred of him by being charming and lovely to his client. Elena Slivnyak, who was also a total nightmare last week, is much more tolerable for this challenge. Sonjia Williams, Nathan Paul, Fabio Costa, Melissa Fleis, Christopher Palu, Alicia Hardesty, and Dmitry Molokhov all also manage not to emotionally abuse their clients.

After the runway show, Dmitry, Fabio and Gunnar are in the top three, and Fabio takes top honors for this week. I’m happy for him, but a little disappointed that my personal favorite Dmitry has yet to win a challenge despite turning out beautiful work every week. Nathan, Sonjia, and Ven are in the bottom, and Nathan gets sent home. Alicia rightly tells Ven off when he implies that it was his client’s excess body mass that landed him in the bottom three, but he’s sticking around for at least another week. And what a relief, right? I mean, I would love to have Ven design for me! He seems like he’s really good at making women look and feel amazing, if by “amazing” you mean “like jumping off a bridge.”

You can see the top three and bottom three looks below, via

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