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Project Runway recap: Sewing Their Wild Haute

The designers are challenged to be avant-garde and high-fashion at the same time, but Kit’s Little Bo Peep dress makes her look sheepish

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Project Runway

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

”In all honesty,” said Christian last night, ”I know we’re gonna win.”

Well, duh!

This week’s episode was about as predictable as any Project Runway installment has ever been. Christian and Chris simply blew away the competition with their 45 yards of layered organza gorgeousness. In the workroom, Tim Gunn winkingly referred to them as Team Fierce. Much as I loathe that word (season total: 11), I have to admit Mr. Big and Mr. Little made one hell of a team. Even Nina Garcia, who smiles on the show about as often as Michael Kors pauses to let others speak, could not suppress a huge, joyous grin when their avant-garde explosion hit the catwalk. It was couture, it was sophisticated, it was worthy of a Björk red-carpet moment. It was simply stunning. (One thing, though: The way the model is hunched over in the photo on Bravo’s website makes me sad. Elle may call that ”high fashion.” I call it ”she looks like she has a really bad stomachache.”)

Over the past few months, I’ve blabbed plenty in these here parts about my admiration for Chris — his sense of humor, his warmth, his all-around great-guy-ness — so I’ll keep my praise to a minimum and simply pose this question: Shouldn’t the judges have rewarded both Team Fierce members for the design? The four of them were falling all over themselves congratulating the two Chrises for working so well together. But only the team leader gets immunity? You can’t tell me the gown’s more dramatic elements, like that gigantic thing that looked like a ruffley UFO that had landed on the model’s shoulder, weren’t from Chris’ outrageous mind.

Which is not to say Christian didn’t play his part. Last night, I found myself actually warming to him. In person, I’d probably tolerate about two minutes of his megalomania (”I don’t have that much press yet” — um, barf) before grinding my teeth to a fine powder. And yeah, it’s a little infuriating that he’s constantly disagreeing with the great Master Gunn. Still, I have to hand it to Christian: He’s got talent. Not that it was ever much of a question, but it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll be one of the finalists heading to Bryant Park. While his ranking each week fluctuates wildly — his prom dress brought him close to elimination a mere week ago — you’ll recall that previous finalists like Santino and Jeffrey found themselves in the bottom two numerous times. Christian consistently takes risks. The judges respond to that.

Who’s not such a risk taker? Hint: He loves draping flowy fabrics, and his name rhymes with ”mommy.” As soon as I saw Rami’s more-of-the-same gown coming together in the workroom, I knew he was doomed to get the signature Nina Garcia comment: Can you show us anything else? And Ms. Garcia did not disappoint. Nor was she wrong. Clearly, Rami is afflicted with Uli syndrome — with a strain of stubborn Santino-itis. Plus, he came off as horribly condescending to Sweet P last night, criticizing her for not working quickly enough and vetoing every single one of her ideas. He even made her cry! But — ha ha ha! — Sweet P got the last chuckle when the judges oohed and aahed over her lovely gun-metal-gray ready-to-wear minidress and turned up their noses at Rami’s Midsummer Night’s Banana Republic. Actually, that’s not true. Nina did not turn up her nose. She busted out an expression similar to the one I get when I change the cat box.

NEXT: Hoop nightmares