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Project Runway recap: Wrappers Delight

In the first really wacky challenge of the season, the designers raid a candy store for materials, but a few fail to have any fun

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Project Runway

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

”Project Runway” recap: Sweet inspirations

Happy new year, TV Watchers! I hope your holidays were swell and you’re less worn out from all the revelry than I am. If you’re anything like me, any post-festivities blues you might be feeling these days disappeared Wednesday evening for at least an hour. After two weeks of reruns, Project Runway has returned — and with an episode worth getting excited about.

Well, at least in terms of the ingenuity of last night’s challenge. Why we had to wait until episode 6 for a task that involved materials not found (at least partially) at Mood is beyond me. By this point last season, the designers had torn up their apartment and visited a recycling plant. But this week, it finally felt as if theRunway producers had snapped out of some boring spell that had them sending the contestants back to the same old fabric store over and over again. No dis to Mood — I shop there myself — but could the shop’s owners be some sort of sorcerers who have bewitched our Bravo friends? (Such are the crackpot theories that come to me at 2 a.m., as my new kitten, Miko, is curled up and purring on my lap. Oh, to be a cat, a creature who knows not the concept of deadlines…)

I’m never a fan of blatant product placement, but I did enjoy watching the designers tear through the Times Square Hershey’s shop, grabbing giant Kit Kats and colossal Kisses like a gang of naughty diabetics who’d just injected themselves with the world’s most potent dose of insulin. Their five-minute grab-bag mayhem came after they all undoubtedly stifled a guffaw or 12 while listening to Hershey’s rep Michelle Gloeckler speak with all the gusto of a stale Twizzler. ”Welcome. To. The. Sweetest. Place. In. New York,” she said, sounding like Mr. Roboto’s blond cousin. ”Surrounding. You. Are. All. Sorts. Of. Delicious. Brands. For. You. To. Create. Your. Designs.” I can only imagine how many times she had to repeat her lines before theRunway producers threw up their hands in resignation, cursing themselves for not going with the more telegenic folks at Mars or Cadbury.

So, candy. The designers had to make ensembles from materials having to do with candy. As Chris pointed out early on, sewing actual foodstuffs (like salad ingredients!) can be a nightmare, so he and most of the others used wrappers, bags, and plush Hershey paraphernalia instead of actual sweets. Only Jillian dared make use of edible products. Ultimately, her efforts paid off, with Michael Kors dubbing her Twizzler bustier and fringed skirt ”deliciously chic.” But for a while, the gal seemed to be in serious trouble. First, she feared damaging her scissors by cutting through all those sticky bits of licorice. (Cutting nonfabric materials can dull sewing shears something awful. Just ask my mother, who was forced to leave ”Hands Off!” warning labels on her fancy scissors after I ruined a previous pair by trimming a third-grade papier-mâché science project or something. Sorry, Mom.) Then Jillian just couldn’t attach the damn Twizzlers to the bodice fast enough. When midnight struck and the contestants had to head home, the poor woman fretted that she was ”in really bad shape.” Indeed, she looked as shaken as someone with her preternaturally laid-back attitude possibly could be.

Making good on her name, Sweet P comforted Jillian, but given that her own design had already gone through three increasingly uninspired incarnations, the ex-biker could have used some divine intervention herself. ”Hello? Hello? That doesn’t even go!” said Christian, denouncing Sweet P’s first skirt, a splotchy thing with a belt made of broken pottery. (All I can say is ”ouch.”) Then along came Master Gunn, whose critique of P’s second design was even harsher: ”This is a skirt?” he asked, glancing at the bit of fabric on the floor. ”I mean, it looks like a coffee filter or a maxi pad….You have to make this upbeat.” As always, Tim tells no lies. Despite what Kotex would have us ladies believe, feminine hygiene products are in factnot the very definition of carefree ebullience.

NEXT: Elisa’s sad story