Project Runway Recap: Nina Garcia Hates Your Outfit, Probably

As a reminder for those of us who didn’t spend the past week trembling with anticipation, this is the episode in which the contestants designed for NINA GARCIA! The woman who perfected the moue! If only they knew what they were in for!

At the beginning of the episode, the designers speculated blindly about their newest challenge, but didn’t come up with anything besides the notion that it would be “something horrible.” (In other news, Bert Keeter continued to delight us all with his sunny disposition.) Then Heidi Klum broke the exciting news about their new client, and Nina joined her to give them a more specific challenge: to create a look that she could wear to the office and then to an industry event in the evening. She also informed them that the winning look would be featured in an ad that would run on top of yellow cabs in New York City, and in an editorial spread in Marie Claire. Nina also reminded the designers that she hates everything. Well, not everything, but definitely “too many pleats,” “voluminous clothing” and about ten other things that caused the designers to deflate in their chairs.

The designers pitched their sketches directly to Nina, and she pulled no punches. A few examples:
“I hate cowl.”
“Do you have a Plan B?”
“Are you going to be able to sew this?” (This one was posed to Anya Ayoung-Chee, and in her case was sort of valid.)

Tim Gunn also dropped by to let the designers know that Nina told him she “[did] not want boring,” and if she saw a sea of gray on the runway she’d have them all murdered. (Paraphrasing.)

When Tim came to check on their progress, he brought Nina with him. Though she had different comments for each designer, just about all of them could be summed up with “Barf.” She was especially disapproving of Anya’s choice of yellow silk, which I actually thought she’d love. The thing that was bothersome about this challenge, which was also bothersome when the designers created sportswear looks for Heidi last year, is that Nina seemed to want to test their composure in the face of rudeness just as much as she wanted to help them with their process. Given their line of work, they’ll surely run into more than a few demanding clients, but it was a little silly to look at muslin on a dress form on Day One of a two-day challenge and ask Anya where her “Plan B” was. Then again, I’m not a designer and/or there. Please don’t be mad at me, Nina Garcia!

A few of the contestants, including Joshua McKinley, either kindly or diabolically suggested that Anya dye her yellow fabric. She claimed she was nervous, as she didn’t have much experience with dye, but she apparently pulled it off and turned the silk from mustard to a really gorgeous burnished copper. Is she a prodigy or a huckster? I’m still on the fence.

Tim checked in on Day Two, and was horrified to find the designers still sewing. He gave them their two hour hair and makeup warning, which he said he has never had to go to the sewing room to do. Anya, in particular, was much further behind than the rest. Cecilia Motwani finished her look in time, and either out of kindness or knowledge that she’ll definitely be in the bottom, decided to help her new bestie Julie Tierney finish her dress. Laura Kathleen, who was also finished, assisted Anya with the final touches on her jumpsuit.

On the runway, with the exception of a horrendous hem on Bryce Black’s model, all the garments looked quite well made. The guest judges this week were Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles and the always gorgeous Kerry Washington. In the middle this week were Laura, Olivier Green, Bryce, Bert, Joshua, Becky Ross and Anthony Ryan Auld. The top three looks were Viktor Luna’s black skirt and top, Kimberly Goldson’s gold top and  slate gray pants, and Anya’s copper jumpsuit. Julie’s orange and gray coat dress was panned as a “housecoat,” and Cecilia’s one-shoulder beige dress was also universally hated. Danielle Everine’s green blouse and pants were rightly criticized as pedestrian. During the Q&A, Anya did not cop to having help when she was praised for her outfit’s construction. Everyone’s probably just going to let that go, though, right?

This week’s winner: Kimberly! She was super giddy about it and, after the revelation that she lost her mother young and her brother recently, was very easy to root for. With little fanfare, Julie was sent home after being in the bottom every single week. Next week: the designers are asked to exercise and everyone dies, I think!

Quote of the week: ”If Nina came to the office in [Julie's dress] I would think she was asking to be fired.” – Joanna Coles, who probably fires 3-5 people per day based on their scent alone. The woman suffers no fools.

Insult of the week: “[Danielle's outfit] makes me think your model’s depressed; it makes me think you might be depressed too…if Nina came in wearing that I would think she was ill. Sorry.” Joanna Coles, who is so NOT SORRY!

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