Nothing strikes fear into a Project Runway designer’s heart like the words “TEAM CHALLENGE.” Tim delivered the terrifying news at the South Street Seaport amid a fleet of brand new Lexuses. After an especially blatant sales pitch from a Lexus exec — the cars were barely folded into the challenge in some oblique way that’s not even worth describing — the designers drew car keys to see who they’d be paired with.
Some of the teams were hilariously mismatched, like Elena and Buffi. Those two being on the same team is like a stringray mating with a peacock — the combo goes against nature, and it’s morally and spiritually wrong. I was also thrilled by the pairing of Gunnar with Kooan, the most motor-mouthed contestant working with the hardest one to understand. “When it comes to fashion, I’m a controlling bitch,” Gunnar proclaimed. Nooooo, really? The way Chris, one of the youngest designers, jumped at the chance to work with Andrea, the oldest, was sort of sweet at first. Chris displayed some heartening respect for his elders. We all know how terribly wrong that went.
So the designers had to create a red carpet Emmy look for a “special client.” Raoul and Alicia were instantly nervous, because as Raoul reminded us every three seconds, they’re both into designing menswear. Kooan was nervous for an altogether different reason: “This elegantness is the part that makes me feel like ARRRRRRRRitsgonnabedifficult.” The special clients, as it turned out, were designers of seasons past, probably chosen for being potentially difficult to please. I was displeased to see the awful Mean-a Irina and “Bad Mommy” Laura Bennett, happy to see Anya and I guess Kenley, and “blah” on Mila and April, who was sporting some half-assed metallic purple hair. Kenley, with her ludicrous Peter Pan collar, looked like a cross between Gilly and Little Orphan Annie.
Some of the teams immediately started butting heads in the workroom. Elena kept insisting, in the drippiest, drawlingest voice possible, that Buffi wasn’t at the same skill level as she was — that may have been true, but Elena was a walking example of the fact that most of the time, people defeat themselves with their own stanky attitude and demeanor. She exerted her hammer-and-sickle work ethic on the spacier and more lackadaisical Buffi, depriving her of a dinner break so they could work. Save Buffi, the downtrodden laborer! As Chris explained it, “Elena’s personality sometimes seems like she escaped from the woods and she’s ravenous and she will bite your head off until she gets what she wants.”
NEXT: Generations collide in ugly ways when Chris and Andrea fail to play nice.