Project Runway: A bore and a pair

In this episode that didn't feature much pre-challenge chatter (Suede didn't want new roommates, so Suede is sad), and an episode that we knew would feature one of the huge names in fashion (Diane von Furstenberg), you'd think it'd be all business, all the time.

And yet there were still two scenes set during meals in the Project Runway Lounge. Why?

A truly unpleasant two-car pileup occurred in my brain when Blayne's unhealthy (and apropos of almost nothing) fascination with Mary Kate Olsen and the designers' walk to the Meat Packing district were juxtaposed on the screen.

But that's where the esteemed DVF makes the magic happen, and she descended a grand-ish staircase to really open the show. You will design a look for my upcoming collection, she announces, and it will be inspired by the 1948 noir-comedy film, A Foreign Affair.

It's worth noting that, at this point, Kenley is dehydrating herself panting and weeping over the presence of Ms. Von Furstenberg. It's kind of embarrassing.

The designers will get to use DVF's fabrics from her Sample Room (admittedly, pretty cool even to a non-designer like me), and the winner's look will be made available for purchase to American Express cardholders (y'know, Tina Fey?). The proceeds will go to CFDA, which stands for Council of Fashion Designers of America, and I might have missed why they need the money, but oh well.

Stella demonstrates her uselessness once again, unable to pull the bolts of fabric down from the wall on her own. Throughout the episode, she's a crabby, obstinate, bitter pain in the ass--a bore, if you will--and sets about putting the lockdown on her creative process. Ain't no one gonna see what Stella's up to.

While everyone latches onto the layered aesthetic shown in DVF's look book, Kenley decides she's going to do just a dress. The inspiration from the movie comes from its three main locales--Berlin, Shanghai, and New York. You'd expect that a lot of uninspired Mandarin collars would follow, and they do. Including Kenley's. And it really seems like she's gonna be the sore thumb.

When Tim checks in, it's more like Project Runway normally is: Tim's concerned, confused, and occasionally impressed but worried about time. Last week was such an anomaly. Personally, I'm worried, because Blayne's sketch looks really promising, and he's not doing the colorsplosion thing. Plus, he takes a shot at Terri's (counting in head) seventy-fifth return to the Pants well. I don't want to have to like him, too!

It seems to me that the way to really excel was to go for the German influence. China is just so easy to underwhelm with (ooh, look at the buttons all the way up to the collar!), and while the potential to bomb out with a German look is there, it's got a higher reward potential.

But a lot are going Chinese. Joe is; Tim appreciates his ambition, worries about his time. Korto is, but she's actually doing it in a cool way. Her print is a little more modern Chinese, but is really pretty too. Tim recommends an editing eye with regards to the placement of Korto's (developing signature) yellow flash. Suede's look is too hippy, Stella bitches about the guest judge last week, and Leanne needs to refine the look of her jacket. Oh, and Kenley blubbers some more.

When show day arrives, it's shocking how unfinished the designers' looks are. This is Diane von Frickin' Furstenberg. Get your shit in gear! Terri shouts out "60-second skirts," and she ain't kidding. But even Kenley, with her low-impact single piece look, is still stitching like mad, and Stella's got a 900-number of a vest going out the workroom door. The thoughts?
  • Joe: Better than it looked in the workroom, but still baggy and sloppy.
  • Leanne: Could Leanne be the first since Jeffrey Sebelia to win with immunity? Yes. Yes she could.
  • Terri: C'mon Terri. It's fine, but break out!
  • Jerell: Way too costumey.
  • Korto: I'm not feeling the 40's inspiration, although that could just be me. It's pretty, though!
  • Blayne: Oh Blayne. Such promise with your sketch. Shoulda known better.
  • Suede: Hello, HIPS.
  • Stella: Meh. What's up with that crotch?
  • Kenley: Decent construction, but no "wow" to speak of.

Terri's pants, Jerell's crazy hat, and Blayne's diaper pants are safe. The rest will be judged. Fern Mallis from IMG is subbing for Nina.

Right off the bat, I will say that my immediate reaction is that Leanne has to win this one. Her ruffles down the back are a favorite of the judges, and the coat has been adequately tailored and shrunken. But Korto provides ample challenge, as the judges appreciate her blending of international and New York influence. They all like the placement of the yellow (remember Tim's advice, which she followed--sign of a potential winner). These two designers are the definitive force to be reckoned with this season. I'm consistently impressed.

The other surprise contender for the win is Kenley, whose simple Chinese silhouette nevertheless attracts the judges' favor. Although, like the superfan who insists that she and the object of her affection should really be together!, Kenley makes the innocent mistake of telling DVF that her look is what the collection is missing. And she keeps on cutting Heidi off. What's gonna happen in her head when she doesn't win this (cause she won't, no chance)? She's gonna put someone's bunny in a stew pot.

The three bottoms are all worthy of dismissal. Joe continues to display a lack of design awareness, as his look turns uneven, messy, and non-cohesive when it's actually walking down the runway. Stella's inspiration isn't the inspiration the challenge asked for, and the tailoring (hello, crotch) is awful. And Suede turns a pencil into a pear with the weight at the model's hips, and color, pattern, and cut are all a mess.

Fern puns it up throughout the judges' kibbutz, but they all agree that Leanne had a lot of really good design going on with her look. Very thoughtful. And while it turns out to be Kenley who takes (unofficial) second place, Leanne rightfully takes the win. My last-minute guess of Joe as the loser turns out to be wrong, but he does fall to the bottom two. It is Stella who gets the boot, and she puts a smiling face on a shitty disposition.

I didn't get Tim's comment about being happy to tell her to clean up her space, but everyone else in the room did, because it wasn't edited as controversial. Whatever. Just go home, Stella. Ratbones is waiting for his Hot Pocket.

Next week: Nina's back, and she's pooping fabric! (see how I edited that?)