Project Runway Recap: Battle Of The Sexes

The contest between the female and male designers that has been brewing all season, whose opening shots were the dwindling number of female designers and the girls branding the remaining dudes the “Silk Chiffon(z)ies,” finally came to a head last night. What should have been an individual competition to get a dress included in a collection commemorating the 10 seasons of Project Runway at Lord & Taylor turned into a battle of the sexes.

As the challenge began, some of the designers (mostly Sonjia Williams and Melissa Fleis) were complaining that the male designers constantly offer up “pretty” and “feminine” clothes that are much less interesting than the garments that some of the female designers come up with. As a counterpoint, Ven Budhu argued that male designers tend to be stronger because female designers are preoccupied with being practical. The designers had to create a cocktail/evening-wear look that would fit into the collection, designed by past contestants (though not necessarily winners).

Fabio Costa and Gunnar Deatherage took to the challenge right away. Ven did the same rose/fan construction thingy he’s been doing all season. Christopher Palu decided to create a gown to stand out among all the cocktail dresses, but created a top out of shredded chiffon and charmeuse, a technique he has already used several times before. Dmitry Molokhov was also confident, making a kind of shimmery gray cocktail length dress that several of the other designers complimented.

Melissa freaked out about the bronze brocade fabric she chose and the cut of the dress on her model. Elena Slivnyak worried that her aesthetic was “too modern” and “too high fashion” for the challenge and the judges. It was sad when she broke down and cried about it (and was comforted, nicely, by Gunnar) but still — get over yourself. Alicia Hardesty was annoyed about having to create yet another dress. Sonjia didn’t leave enough room in her dress for a zipper and had to pour her model into it seconds before leaving for the runway. The stress made her cry and she was comforted by a bemused Tim Gunn, who basically told her “All’s well that ends well”, and that her model looked good.

Tim knows what he’s talking about, and Sonjia was in the middle, saved along with Ven and Dmitry. Whennnn will Dmitry win a challenge, jeez. The high scores were Melissa, Fabio, Elena (who wept) and Christopher, who won even though the judges warned him to stop using the shredding trick. Gunnar was in the bottom, for creating a serviceable sequined dress that the judges felt like they had seen before, and Alicia was in the bottom for creating a weird boxy leather number. In the end, the judges saved Alicia, rather surprisingly. I guess they want to see what she can do for the menswear challenge? And it looks like Gunnar is going home, until they save him too! You can see the top four and bottom two looks below, via

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