In the canine-couture challenge on ''Runway,'' Keith and Laura bare their fangs; meanwhile, Katherine gets cut despite another hideous Angela original

By Mark Harris
August 07, 2015 at 06:22 PM EDT
Project Runway: Mark Abrahams
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”Project Runway”: It’s dog-eat-dog

We’ll get to the dogs in a minute, but first, let’s take a deep breath and share our disappointment: We have to wait one more week for the piece of Project Runway humiliation-porn we’ve all been anticipating: the moment when Tim Gunn finally kicks somebody’s rule-breaking butt to the curb. Go, Tim! Frown sternly! Furrow that brow like it’s never been furrowed! Free the badass knuckle-rapper that you’ve kept locked inside your soul for too long!

Knowing what’s coming, it’s understandable, and probably inevitable, that this week’s installment felt slightly anticlimactic. The contest was to design matching pretty-lady-and-tiny-dog outfits (I was so hoping that when those canines toddled down the runway, Heidi would say, ”Remember, bitches, this is a competition for you too!”) This stunt felt dopey at the outset — if I wanted to watch a reality series on which the contestants aren’t toilet-trained and hump anything that moves, I’d still be hooked on Big Brother — but, as always on PR, the results shed some unexpected light on the competitors’ abilities.

I’m writing this at a slight disadvantage because, immediately upon seeing the 1985 Grape Bubblicious-colored horror show of a hooker skirt that Angela designed (not to mention the one she was wearing), I was struck blind. All I can remember is purple… and stomach… and wrinkles… and then darkness fell. Angela, who many of you seem to feel should have gone home last week, miraculously skated away as the judges swooped down on young Katherine Gerdes for a blah green dress that accomplished the near-impossible feat of making her model look fat; one hopes the remaining designers will take note of the fact that for the second week in a row, the losing designer was nailed for a raggedy, unfinished hem. Hems count, people! (Sorry: That was my inner Tim.)

Anyway, back to next week: Is Keith — whiny, head-lolling, sharp-fanged little Keith, with his affected drone and slurry ”I’m too bored to bother to fully form words or open my eyes” routine — getting ousted? It certainly feels possible, since he proved to be a cheater this week, not even bothering to design a doggie outfit because he felt the challenge was ”lame.” This appalling behavior actually got Heidi out of her chair for a dog inspection, after which she all but whacked Keith’s impudent little snout with a folded-up newspaper. I would say that Keith left the runway with his tail between his legs, but he’s much more cat than dog. I’m also going to go out on a limb (I can hear the branch snapping behind me) and say that, despite his huge sense of entitlement and rules-are-for-other-people self-presentation, Keith isn’t next week’s evictee; it’s too obvious, and he’s too good to lose.

Besides, when he’s not being a narcissistic creep, the guy has his moments: He designed a bodacious firecracker of a summer dress this week and also generously tried to help Bradley get his act together. Bradley, who hasn’t exhibited much spark so far, was this week’s pokey little puppy; the poor fragile thing could barely get an outfit done, and, looking glazed, murmured some morose threat of forfeiture. When his model appeared on the runway in a dull blue-gray skirt and a droopy bronze lunchbag of a blouse with built-in room for an osteoporosis hump in the back, I thought, Bottom three for sure. Instead, the judges loved the combo, and Nina Garcia even remarked, ”I could see shooting that for Elle.” (Nina, you know way more about fashion than I do, but… really?)

So here’s where things stand, now that we’re down to the final dozen. Uli, who won immunity this week for a lighthearted halter dress/jacket combo that made shrewd use of a well-selected print, and Alison, who’s been a low-profile personality but pulled together a sophisticated, near-monochrome knockout of a look, are worth watching. Laura, the architect who looked ready to unhinge her jaw like the mother-monster in Aliens and snap off Keith’s head this week, is showing some stress; when she talked about trying to get her dog’s costume on ”without strangling her,” her tone suggested she had seriously considered it as an option, and on the runway, her second big-fur-collar outfit in three weeks may mean she’s already running low on ideas. Kayne and Robert are both looking smart and adaptable, but the last two weeks have played to their strengths (doll clothes, more or less), so we’ll see what happens when the going gets tougher. And wacky hysteric Vincent shoved his model into black sausage-casing tights and still lived to fight another day.

What did you think? Should Angela have gone home instead of Katherine? Will Michael Kors ever come back? And who’s the first cheater in Project Runway‘s history?

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