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Project Runway recap: Male Ordure

Told to work on the dreaded menswear, the designers create some of the worst clothes in the show’s history, but at least they get to undress male models

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Project Runway

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

”Project Runway”: Pants panic

”The menswear has brought forth the claws.” Yes, Kit. It definitely did. But more than that, the menswear brought forth the comedy.

Honestly, I have never laughed so hard watching any episode of Project Runway — ever. Who knew designing for dudes could be so hilarious? First there was Sweet P’s wreck of a shirt, its sleeve visibly puckered at the shoulder and its floppy collar sized for Andre the Giant. (Hey, Tiki Barber did say he had a big neck.) Then came Carmen, who, after deeming the fit of her droopy drawers ”beyond horrible,” threw a piece of blue fabric around her model’s neck in a desperate attempt to disguise the thing as a scarf. In reality, it was the world’s blousiest dicky. Andthen, when the runway show began, I really lost it.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Time to calm down and back up a bit. (Breathe, Missy, breathe!) The previews for last night’s episode promised the most difficult challenge in PR history. Now, this being a show that thrives on off-the-wall tests of imagination, I assumed the task would be bonkers-nutso creative. You know, like the contestants would have to make an entire wardrobe out of today’s Gray’s Papaya lunch special. Yet in the end, the challenge wasn’t so much about artistry as it was about time management: Design an outfit for Tiki Barber, the Today Show correspondent and former New York Giants running back.

Duhn-duhn-duhn! The dreaded menswear! Run for your lives! That was the level of panic that nearly every contestant seemed to be feeling, primarily because none of them had ever so much as dabbled in the domain of Giorgio Armani. Only Kevin — wait, is he the straight guy? — had any menswear experience. And it showed: His ”European” pants-shirt-and-vest ensemble wasn’t quite slick enough to win, but it was neat and well constructed. In this challenge, that was as good as being Ralph Lauren.

Because seriously. For the designers who escaped the judges’ wrath last night, it came down to Do I dress my model in something innovative, or do I cover up my model’s privates? ”I feel confident because my garment is finished,” said Kit, proving which survival strategy she’d opted for. Her design — khakis, a shirt, and a navy fleece blazer — was smart and neat, but it was hardly the next coming of John Varvatos. I was surprised that Jillian’s three-piece suit and eye-catching blue shirt didn’t garner more attention. Yeah, the buttons on her vest looked sorta crooked, but come on! They were there, weren’t they? And the winning creation, by Jack — he whose pecs flex when he gets busy with the seam ripper — consisted of only two pieces: striped trousers and a shirt. (On a more serious note, Jack explained that, though he’s been HIV-positive for 17 years, he’s healthier than ever. If the gossip rags are to believed, his health will become an issue later in the season.)

The episode didn’t produce the most mind-blowing of looks, but I ask you: Do you really need your mind to be blown when your gut is busting? When Carmen’s too-short, butt-enhancing Members Only disaster arrived on the runway, I nearly died watching Michael Kors wrinkle his face as if he’d smelled a fart. His expression alone was enough to tell us that Carmen would get the boot. That was good news for Sweet P, whose design, topped off by a ginormous necktie, wasn’t much better. ”This is the worst thing I’ve ever made,” she said, simulating shooting herself in the head. ”I’m embarrassed in front of my peers.” Ms. P’s endearingly self-deprecating attitude was an absolute delight. I’m really starting to dig the tattoo-covered biker babe.

NEXT: How to undress your male model