Project Runway Recap: Fashion Competition Shows Are For The Birds

Previously: Anya Ayoung-Chee lost her money but managed to win the challenge. She may be new to sewing, but she’s certainly the luckiest contestant this show has ever seen.

This week: Heidi greets the designers in an adorable swishy dress, and tells them they’ll need to “spread their wings”, “elevate their designs”, and….well, those are the only two flying metaphors she could come up with, I guess. The contestants meet Tim Gunn, in what I believe is the waiting room for the runway, where they are greeted by a bunch of birds. It’s sort of terrifying. This week is the L’Oreal Paris challenge. Every corporate sponsor gets one! Tim is with Collier Strong, the show’s L’Oreal makeup artist, and he explains that the designers’ looks will need to be inspired by the birds. The winner’s design will be featured in a L’Oreal ad in Marie Claire, and they will also get a $20,000 cash prize. AND THEY’RE GOING TO BE WORKING IN PAIRS. “Quite frankly, I am over the team challenges,” Kimberly says, speaking for all of us.

Anya and Laura Kathleen get a raven, Joshua McKinley and Bert Keeter get a parrot, and Kimberly Goldson and Viktor Luna get a cockatiel. Also, each partner will be competing against the other — one will be in the top, and one will be in the bottom. The designers’ good humor about working with each other whooshes out of the room. OMG, the cockatiel knows how to say “Make it work!”

At Mood, Josh picks out some technicolor feathers. Oh, dear. Viktor talks a lot of smack in this episode, though he does compliment a fellow designer’s garment as “hello sexy, dot com.” Tim comes into the workroom and tells the contestants that they also have to design a second high fashion look inspired by their birds. When are these people going to sleep?!

The designers are worried about the time constraint of the challenge, especially Kimberly, whose worry is replaced by panic as she spots a cockroach in the workroom. Kimberly climbs on a table, screaming, and eventually Anya kills it with her shoe. “That was some, like, Lara Croft Tomb Raider sh*t” Josh tells her admiringly. They meet again with Collier Strong to consult on makeup for the runway. Poor Kimberly’s fabric has somehow gotten stained. Then, while working in the sewing room, she sews through her finger and has to go to the bathroom to cry. All of the pressure of the competition is really crushing her, and she explains that because she’s lost so many family members (her mother, brother, and stepdad), she’s used to gritting her teeth and getting through it alone. That is terribly sad. I want her to stay!

Josh asks Anya for some extra fabric, and she refuses on the grounds that the competition is much more serious than in previous weeks when she was handing out fabric like a one-woman textile mill. Josh and Laura get a little bit snippy about Anya’s lack of sewing experience. Poor Tim tries to raise Kimberly’s low spirits and offers a hug. Aww. But then her dress gets a hole burned through it with a hot glue gun. This poor girl.

The following day, Tim appears to tell the designers there’s one more twist — only one of their two looks will walk the runway, and they can choose which look to show. Predetermined, or a response to the designers’ lack of progress? As usual, everyone works until the last minute, and then it’s runway time! Please, please, please let Michael Kors make a “Quoth the raven, nevermore” joke.

During the show, the designers are mostly complimentary of each other’s work, except for (hold on to your hats) Viktor. Heidi loves Anya’s super-constructed black dress. They praise Laura for moving away from her comfort zone with her blazer and tight black leggings, but they don’t like that she used feathers. Bert’s silver and green dress is too pageant-y. Josh’s dress is praised for its simplicity, and rightfully derided for the stupid corsage on the shoulder. Kimberly’s dress is praised for the cut, and she also gets kudos for making it in about three hours. Viktor’s dress is beautiful, but the judges think his dress is too literal (though Viktor’s is acknowledged as the more skillfully made dress).

The judges agree that Bert and Laura were the least impressive this week. When they bring the other designers out, Anya wins! Oooh, the rest of them are not going to like that. Joshua is in. He congratulates Anya, but later says in an interview that he doesn’t think she ought to win as her model had to be cut out of her dress. Don’t they have rules about this? Kimberly is in. Viktor is in. And when it’s down to Laura and Bert, he goes home. He acknowledges that he dropped the ball and is totally self-aware about it and lovely when he says goodbye to the other designers.

Next week: it’s the final challenge! AND THE OTHER CONTESTANTS COME BACK AS ASSISTANTS!

Quote of the Week:  “It’s a lot better now. If this had happened a few weeks ago I think one of us would have killed the bird.” Bert and Joshua’s relationship is a lot better!

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