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Project Runway recap: Formal Follows Dysfunction

The contestants face their toughest clients yet when they have to make dresses for a New Jersey high school prom

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Project Runway

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

”Project Runway” recap: Going to prom

One of these days on Project Runway, Heidi is going to walk out onto the runway, do her smiley-wave-happy-hello! thing, and chirp, ”Are you guys ready for your next challenge?” The designers will scream, ”No, we ain’t, beeyotch!” and then start busting up the place, smashing chairs and shouting nonsensically about the injustice of zigzag stitches.

Okay, fine, so the chances of that actually happening are about as good as Tim Gunn showing up to work in the geisha outfit from Chris’ portfolio, but it’d be a fun change and inject some needed energy into the opening proceedings. I can’t be the only one who noticed how dreadfully lackluster the group sounded last night, responding to Heidi’s (rhetorical) question with a muffled chorus of ”Mmm-hmm…yes…sure.”

However blasé the contestants appeared, they snapped to it once Heidi announced the task: design a prom dress for one of the New Jersey high schoolers standing in front of them. Most of the designers seemed to think the challenge was funny, except Christian, who called prom ”horrible and tacky and gross.” Victorya apparently agreed, seeing as she struggled to mask her pained, ”this is beneath me” look. Which is kind of ironic, considering she ended up winning. Doubly so since her model, Jessica, didn’t even seek Victorya out; the poor teen got stuck with her when she was the last to choose her designer. But that was ”fine,” Jessica very sweetly assured the Vickster. ”I liked your portfolio.” Aww, a teenager with manners!

Maybe it’s because when I hear the words ”prom dress,” I suddenly find myself in a cold-sweat panic, fearful that I’ll somehow have to jump back 15 years and return to the fiery pits of hell known as South Hadley High School, but the fruits of last night’s challenge failed to wow me. Kit’s dress looked like a Smurf had mated with the electronic memory game Simon; Jillian’s was a sea foam yawner seemingly inspired by The Little Mermaid; and Kevin’s could have been a leftover from the bargain bin at Forever 21. Or, according to the girl’s mother, A Pea in the Pod. (Way to instill self-esteem in your daughter, lady.)

Then there was Christian. It didn’t take long to figure out that his being coupled with an opinionated young gal — one who, calling herself a designer, quickly snatched the pencil from his hand to show him exactly what she wanted — was gonna be bad news. And it was. Suddenly stripped of his typically cocksure, ”I’m awesome and know better than all of you!” attitude once he was face to face with a determined little 17-year-old named Maddie, Christian floundered from the beginning. Not only was he not ”feeling very fierce” (total season count: 10), but for the first time, he failed to inject his own much-bragged-about vision into what turned out to be an unflattering brown pouf covered in black lace and shiny things. (In Christian parlance, ”tickety-tackery.”) Ultimately, the dress wasn’t much chicer than the off-the-rack frocks worn by the two gals standing next to the teenage Christian in his prom snapshot. (Kudos to the high school that crowned a boy sporting a sparkly vest and spiked hair best dressed. Honestly, those flashback pictures were so genius I could write a whole TV Watch on them alone: Kevin loved mousse, Kit was once a demure brunette prom princess, and Sweet P went to the dance with Jeff Spicoli!)

It was odd to see Christian so uncharacteristically thrown last night. He couldn’t even bring himself to tell his model she looked ”very cute” without looking like he was about to lose his lunch. And so, Mr. Mega-Ego found himself in the bottom two this week, after his eagerness to blame Maddie rubbed Nina the wrong way. The one-two punch of Christian’s chastised expression and Nina’s angry, furrowed brow was genius.

NEXT: Age-inappropriate dressing