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
Project Runway

”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

If Christian and Chris were Team Fierce, then what to call Jillian and Victorya? Team Battle of the Control Freaks? Team Passive-Aggressive? Team Poor Time Management? Going with the racing-clock theme, I sympathized with the two of them as they stressed about making their deadline. It just so happens that I’ve blown a few deadlines myself this week. In fact, I’m blowing one this very second. And will probably blow another one by tomorrow. Thank God my editor is more forgiving than the hard-asses on this show. (Hi, Nicholas!) Poor Jillian even had a meltdown at the sewing machine. I’ve been there, sister. Just ask my husband, who once had to leave our apartment as I sat at the table, cursing up a storm after sewing a crooked stitch for the 800th time.

For all their fretting, Jillian and Victorya managed to pull off a spectacular, punk-inspired number that almost made me forget that their model was sporting a Sanjaya ‘do. Their avant-garde outfit was like a hyperkinetic cross between Vivienne Westwood and Ralph Lauren. I still preferred Team Chris(tian)’s creation, but those two gals really rocked it last night. If only overachieving, über-competitive Victorya hadn’t ruined the fun by exclaiming, ”We had three looks, so we should win!” Somebody needs to slip that girl a Xanax.

And now to this week’s losing team. Kit and Ricky — poor, sad, pathetic Kit and Ricky. Given Kit’s edgy sensibility, I was shocked that she tanked the avant-garde challenge so spectacularly. There was nothing forward looking or daring about her hoop-skirt apron thingie — unless you know something about Little Bo Beep that I don’t. For once, it was the guest judge, Alberta Ferretti, who was the most unabashed in her crushing comments. ”Eeet eees Scarlett O’Hada eeen a cheeeep way,” Ferretti said, in a textbook example of European frankness. Never willing to be one-upped in the department of heavy-handed zingers, Kors quickly chimed in that it wasn’t just a cheap Scarlett O’Hara — it was Scarlett O’Hara after she pulled the sheets off the bed and ran out the door. Ho, ho, Michael. You are such a card.

There’s no denying that the hoop dress was fugly, but I was sad to see Kit get the ax. She is clearly talented, but she has somehow flown under the judges’ radar all season. (I still think she should have won that damn Tiki Barber challenge.) Yet I never dreamed it was possible that she’d fly low enough for Leaky Faucet Ricky to dodge another bullet. His pathetic little halter dress was like Hooker Holly Hobby. That’s not an image I want in my head.

Now, friends, I must get back to that aforementioned assignment. I’ve got to finish it before I head to the Sundance Film Festival, where I’ll be during next week’s episode. (It looks like the designers are going to visit a New Jersey Port Authority something or other.) While I’m gone, my colleague and EW office neighbor Kate Ward will be filling in for me. I know you’ll show her the love she deserves.

And with that, I’ll leave it to you. What did you think?

Want more? See what Kit told Jessica Shaw today about her exit last night from Project Runway

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Project Runway

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

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