One contestant quits and suddenly a bunch of others are thinking about following suit. Fashion is not for the faint of heart

By Stephan Lee
August 10, 2012 at 05:30 AM EDT
Barbara Nitke
  • TV Show
  • Bravo

My first thought upon hearing the news of Andrea’s self-kidnapping: Please don’t bring Raul back! I can’t bear to look at him again. More on that later.

While everyone was sleeping, Andrea packed up her things and ran away in the dead of the night after her teammate Chris threw her under the bus at last week’s judging. Chris and Gunnar, arguably the two least mature individuals of the season, were shocked by the immaturity of Andrea’s actions, and I have to say, I’m siding with the scrufftastic boys on this one. House mother Tim Gunn was worried sick to find Andrea hadn’t even left a note. I mean, how was it even possible for her to slip out like that without anyone from production knowing? Don’t reality TV contestants have Hunger Games-level supervision and surveillance surrounding them at all times? Did she have to leap across a fire pit in the lobby of the Atlas building to escape?

Either way, Project Runway isn’t some one night stand you can just sneak out on in the middle of the night. When Tim and the designers convened at the Michael Kors flagship to talk about this week’s “woman on the go” challenge, they took a moment to bask in their superiority over quitter Andrea. “Fashion is not for sissies!” Michael decreed. “The fashion industry is a shark,” Elena drawled. “If you can’t handle it, then maybe you shouldn’t be in this industry because that’s the way it is.” Just like the Ukraine, right? (Side note: From some angles, Elena bears a striking resemblance to Rachel Dratch).

Back in the work room, Kooan continued slumping around like the sad Zoloft egg from last week, and while Tim was updating the group on Andrea’s mysterious disappearance, Kooan suddenly announced that he wanted to leave, too. In a matter of seconds, the workroom devolved into an elementary school classroom in which all the kids start crying at once. Nathan tearfully confessed that he wanted to leave, too. It’s like when you were a kid and you saw that one kid got out of being in the Christmas pageant by throwing a hissy fit, so you throw a hissy fit too. For a second, it looked like there might be a cast-wide walkout. But instead, Kooan was the only casualty in this round of quitting, and he left our lives forever with a bow of his fluffy-haired head. I blame Mean-a Irina for this. I blame Mean-a Irina for most things.

Ugh. With Kooan out, Raul and his widow’s peak came back in with a big womp-womp. Will his comeback be glorious like Chris March’s, or will he be right back out like that, errr, “confused” Mormon from a couple of seasons ago? Let’s see what happens on the runway!

NEXT: Heroes star Hayden Panettiere and designer Rachel Roy guest-judge the women-on-the-go runway.



This is the first look by Alicia I really liked — very menswear. Had she made something like this but dressier for Mila last week, she might have won the challenge.


I’m not sure why Melissa was so confident about this fabric-heavy look. It was almost like a costume for some peasant widow stirring a pot of borscht. It certainly didn’t fit the parameters of the challenge.


Gunnar was “flabbergasted” about not being in the top group. While it certainly wasn’t one of the worst looks of the night, it kind of looked as though Gunnar were designing an outfit for a dessert-themed challenge and he’d chosen blueberry crumble with a lot of crust as his inspiration.

NEXT: We get it, Ven. You have a clear aesthetic.



Nathan knew his vaguely potato sack-y number wouldn’t wow the judges, but it wouldn’t be on the bottom. Things worked out just the way he expected.


For once, Ven wasn’t in the top group. And once again, he put the Ven Budhu stamp all over the dress — he has his trademark flowery pleating, kind of like Leann with her wave-inspired aesthetic. Some of his looks get repetitive, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.


Hayden Panettiere talked a lot about big shoulders this episode, so this jacket probably made her happy. It looks as though this woman could ball herself up and use the jacket as her own personal turtle shell/bomb shelter.

NEXT: A three-way race for top lookTOP


The theme of the top looks this week: strategic bunching/gathering/puckering of fabrics. Heidi couldn’t believe Chris pulled off a leather jacket for $150. I thought this was the most striking look of the night, and it could have easily won, but points off in my book for that silly “design story” he made up.


Dmitry finally made it into a top group, and it’s about time. His looks have all been underrated by the judges so far. They all thought Dmitry’s dress was the best crafted but perhaps not the most glamorous. I screen-grabbed a closeup of the model’s boobs so you can see the great detailing.

Sonjia – WINNER

Nina called Sonjia’s “conservative yet sexy.” Sonjia thought it could be worn anywhere, but I noticed when it was backlit, the gray jersey was very sheer. That probably wouldn’t be the best for whatever red carpet event Hayden wears it to!

NEXT: And we lose the little bit of color we had left this season …Raul

What a missed opportunity. It would have been so easy to knock Raul right back out of the competition because this horrible look was certainly auf-worthy. The construction was hideous and the asymmetry of those flappety-flap-flaps was NOT intentional. Don’t even get me started on those pants, which looked as if they’d been duct-taped together.


No, this was not imaginative in the least, but I’m sure Raul’s look didn’t belong above it. Michael kept saying he was more interested in Fabio’s personal style than his design, but that noose-around-the-neck look was so 10 years ago.


Okay, this look was awful, but was it really worse than Raul’s? I say flip a coin. Buffi definitely should have listened to Chris and gotten rid of the pink addition, which looked like an airy toga and had nothing to do with the print beneath it — except, as Nina pointed out, to hide the serious flaws in the hem. With her shaky construction skills, Buffi was on her way out soon anyway, but I’m sad that without her and Kooan, this season has become a lot less colorful and weird a little too early.

Was Buffi the right choice to leave? Are you cool with Raul coming back? Is this proving to be a season of quitters and whiners? Does Dmitry deserve to finally win a challenge? Sound off!

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