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Project Runway recap: (Eye) Shadow Conspiracy

An uninspired challenge (sponsored by L’Oréal!) leads to an ‘unbelievably tight race for hideous.’

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Project Runway Valerie
Barbara Nitke/Lifetime Television

Project Runway

TV Show
Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen
Current Status:
In Season

At least they weren’t trying to make clothes for Jackie Kennedy. And…uh, that’s about as much as I can say in praise of last night’s Project Runway challenge, which was: Craft a high-fashion look inspired by…eye shadow.

Lo! It’s the dreaded L’Oréal challenge, wherein aspiring couturiers pay homage to the great and powerful cosmetics muse! Oh, buuuuuuh. It says a lot about an episode when the most exciting part was either Mondo’s yellow Superman boots or the sight of Tim Gunn scurrying after Swatch in the aisles of Mood.

Awaiting the winner of this shameless shilling corporate-sponsored task? An advertorial and $20,000, both courtesy of L’Oréal. Okay, that’s a pretty fantastic prize for a starving artist. So let me put down my Ché Guevara placards and get on with it.

The gang had two days (o, miracle!) and $300, which soon became $400 when Tim announced, of course, that they’d all have to make a prêt-à-porter outfit to complement their haute couture. Obvious as this “twist” was, the designers played along, their mouths dropping open like trap doors. “I think I’m going to pee my pants,” said a shocked Mondo. That’s his second reference to trouser-wetting in three weeks. Does somebody have an incontinence problem?

Much was made of the tension between Michael C. and Gretchen, who both selected fabrics that live in the same zip code on the color wheel: bordello red. (A hue that just screams high fashion.) “Those are my colors and he’s using them as well,” said Gretchen. “I don’t feel threatened by him. I’m just insulted that maybe some boundaries were crossed. Echhh. Somehow, I’ve created a monster.” I really have no idea what she meant here. Was she taking credit for Michael C.’s fabric choices? Was she admitting she’s a monster? Naturally, the whole thing was much ado about nothing. In truth, their fabrics had little in common. And as soon as they started sewing, there were no further “Teacher! Teacher! He’s copying me!” insinuations.

You may recall that earlier in the season, Valerie came to Casanova’s rescue when he indulged in a stress-induced hissy fit. Last night, it was her turn to break down. Following a tepid critique from Tim, she fled to the bathroom (the sacred crying zone in any workplace) and sobbed that she’d wasted a day and a half of work, that she’d be making an “ass” of herself on the runway. Ivy and Gretchen, out of the goodness of their own black hearts, raced to her side. Her tires duly reinflated, Val went back to work. She was grateful to Gretchen and Ivy: “I really felt loved that they came to talk with me… They didn’t have to come and talk to me. They had other things to do to.” Like, oh, say… complaining about you behind your back? “Valerie tends to complain a lot,” bitched Ivy. “Echh… It’s just very wearying.” Time to find a new best friend, Valerie.

NEXT: Let hem who is without sin cast the first stone!