The designers are forced to form teams and try to revive past fashion no-no's; Victorya shows her bossy side; and Chris (sob!) is out


”Project Runway” recap: Everyone is out

For the first time this season, no one cried onProject Runway. No one, that is, except me.

I was so sure that, as the lights burned down on weepy Ricky and adorable Chris standing in the dreaded bottom two, Ricky would be the one to go. Especially following his pinned-together-zoot-suit fiasco from the previous challenge — the memory of which was still traumatizing Nina. But ’twas not to be. Ricky was safe. Chris was out.

I really will miss Chris. The guy was funny and sweet, and in a Romper Room of egomaniacs, he always behaved like a grown-up. I’ll admit that his design was unattractive — it looked like Joan Crawford hiding in your grandmother’s drapes. Though Steven’s dance-inspired shiny wrap-top number was even worse. Now Chris will never have the chance to prove that his gorgeous plum dress from the season premiere was no fluke. And so, friend, with a heavy heart, we bid you farewell and wish you luck. I’ll look for you in the ”salad ingredients” aisle the next time I go to Mood Designer Fabrics. They sell those, right?

After last week’s laugh riot — I swear I’m still giggling at the thought of Carmen’s insane-crotch pants — this episode was something of a downer. The bickering among contestants was rather dull. There were some bad outfits, yes, but you couldn’t qualify a single one as a veritable howler. The judges uttered no memorable zingers. Even Elisa, our dependable stand-by for comic relief, failed to deliver any lines worthy of being entered into the Jimenez Anthology of Spit Marks and Haiku Cuts. Unless you count what she said when her garment made its way down the runway: ”If I hadn’t known that I’d made that dress, I would never think that I had made that dress.” On second thought, yes, let’s record that one for posterity.

In groups of three, the designers had to craft a cohesive trio of looks that incorporated outdated trends but updated them. (Nina Garcia say whaaa?) Among those passé horrors, all apparently taken from the pages of Garcia’s own Elle magazine, were cutouts, shoulder pads, underwear worn as outerwear, and (cue the scag-o-meter) fringe. Jillian, who’s getting more and more screen time these days, chose overalls, which she just happened to be sporting. ”Am I completely dated by wearing them?” she asked. It looked as if that might indeed be the case when Tim Gunn commented on her team’s collection as reflecting her style specifically. Whoa! Is the lady naturellement démodée? Hardly. Her team’s sophisticated variations on the poodle skirt, Farmer Ted dungarees, and ’70s flares ended up winning. (And clearly, what Tim meant was that she infused her own fashion sense into each design.)

Of course, that’s not how Christian had imagined things going down. He’d already decided that in addition to being (surprise!) ”fierce,” he, Kit, and Jack were ”Team Star because Team Star is, like, hot — like star, like celebrity.” (Keep talking like that, Christian, and I’ll have no choice but to assume that Paris Hilton has taken up residence inside your brain.) The guy was gunning to win this challenge. Now, as a person with a fetish for bold patterns — especially black and white — I loved their chic spin on pleather, the zoot suit, and fringe. Yet it was only good enough for second place. The way Christian hung his head at this news, you’d think that Jack had just told him he was suspending his tote-bag-riding privileges indefinitely. (By the way: the ”fierce” count is up to 6.)

NEXT: Victorya busts a move

As famously as that team got along, Victorya and Ricky seemed to enjoy working together about as much as my cat likes the sound of the vacuum cleaner. They locked horns immediately, with Victorya undermining all of Ricky’s designs, and Ricky calling her passive-aggressive. ”I don’t like to be a bossy cow,” Victorya said. Which is to say, ”I don’t like it, but I’m the competitive, overachieving one, so I’m gonna act like one anyway.” Not to be too hard on her, or to ignore Ricky’s weak leadership, but Victorya did come off as manipulative and micro-managey last night. Even Nina remarked that Victorya’s ”personality” came out screaming this week. And what kind of woman wants her garments to be ”super-flat,” even on the bust? At least Ricky replied: ”I don’t think smashing [the model’s] boobs is a polished look.” Nope, never a classy thing, the smashed boobs. As for Team I Hate You!’s third member, Elisa stayed out of the fighting — perhaps because she was in the break room, performing a sacred love dance while smoking a peace pipe?

If she was, it helped her come up with a garment that was halfway decent. Her off-the-shoulder black dress was a thousand times more pleasing than Victorya’s trashy ice-skating-princess costume and Ricky’s Delia’s-meets-Frederick’s of Hollywood ensemble. You could argue that having to juggle the trifecta of ’80s nightmares — cutouts, neon, underwear on the outside — stacked this team’s deck from the beginning. But jeez, if someone can find the fabulous in fringe, there really are no excuses.

I’ll end with a thought that’s been nagging me since the premiere, when Tim Gunn declared that season 4’s contestants were the strongest ever. Really? I’ve yet to be convinced. What’s your take?

Also: Did you notice how Heidi morphed into a scary-stern schoolmarm when Sweet P took her time answering a question? (”Sweet P!”) Did you enjoy Ricky’s lessons on how to communicate with Elisa? And did Steven’s lame Tim Gunn imitation make you long for the days of Santino?

Episode Recaps


Project Runway

Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.

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