Project Runway: "All About Nina"

This week on Project Runway: The designers are assigned a "celebrity client," Becky and Anthony Ryan choose the same print out of the gazillions of choices at Mood, Anya's sewing abilities begin to fray, and I think I'm starting to like Minnesota Barbie.

On the runway, Heidi presents the designers with this week's challenge: designing for a celebrity client who knows a lot about fashion. Is it Heidi? No! It's Nina Garcia! Most of the designers looked panicked, and those who don't? Those are the ones who should really be scared. Nina tells them she likes "classic with an edge, streamlined, tailored silhouettes" and tells them to 86 pleats, patterns and loud colors. The look needs to be office appropriate, but also needs to easily transition from day to evening. The prize is immunity and NYC taxicab advertisements featuring the winning design.

I predict a minimum of ten little black dresses on the runway by episode's end.

The designers head to the workroom to sketch, and then consult with Nina. Most of the designers seem to realize how important this challenge is -- feedback from the editor of Marie Claire is priceless. During consults, Viktor gushes, Bryce simpers and Julie worries that she is running out of chances with the judges. Why would you think that, Julie?

During Cecelia's consultation with Nina, Nina comments that the design "looks a little Dynasty." I think Cecelia's blank look isn't so much that she doesn't have a Plan B as much as I suspect she isn't completely familiar with '80s glam television. Either way, Cecelia is getting that defeated look that we have seen on so many designers in the past -- a look that usually signals design disaster.

At Mood, everything falls apart. Anthony Ryan and Becky both glom onto the same print/ombre hybrid fabric, Cecelia walks in circles in dismay while Anya picks a wacky print in a bright, mustard yellow. What will Nina say? Only two designers are creating a little black dress, and I see a lot more pants than I expected.

Back at the workroom, Nina focuses on telling the designers how much she hates most of what they have done so far. Maybe one of the designers can permanently knit Nina's eyebrows together -- like an accessory -- so she doesn't have to keep scrunching them all by herself. After ripping every single design apart, Nina thanks them for the beautiful designs (?) and announces an additional prize: an editorial in Marie Claire.


Runway day begins with a lot of stress. Anya bemoans her lack of time management and sewing skills, while Cecelia just hates her garment -- her confidence is rapidly deflating. When Tim comes in to give the two-hour warning, every single designer is in the sewing room, he is panicked, saying: "You have a ton of work to do. I'm really alarmed. Honestly! I'm sweating through my suit." As if the most dapper man on the planet perspires ... but I see his point.

Cecelia jumps in to help Julie finish sewing her garment. And suddenly Laura Kathleen (a.k.a. Minnesota Barbie), seeing that Anya is in the weeds, starts helping sew Anya's garment. Viktor is all pissed off about the helpers helping, and calls it cheating. As far as I'm concerned, LK has proven she's not just a snotty hotty who has been shopping at Neiman's since she was ten.

On the runway, Kimberly proves she is the Queen of Pants. I want her gold top and navy pant ensemble, and I'm pretty sure Nina will, too. Anya dyed the mustard fabric to a black/gold and her jumpsuit looks amazing. I can't believe I just wrote that. Viktor's two-piece black suit with an external zipper looks very high-end. Cecelia's dress looks like she gave up on it, while Melissa's kelly-green blouse looks wilted. Julie's is uneven; I'm all for skipping "matchy-matchy," but when you are color blocking you need some sort of eyeline. Bryce's dress has a wonky hem -- are they going to let him get away with it, or send him packing?

Our guest judges this week are actress Kerry Washington and Marie Claire Editor in Chief Joanna Coles.


Top Three

Viktor: Heidi: "You can never go wrong with a beautiful black dress." Nina: "I like the versatility." Michael: "I think it looks tailored, polished, well-made." Kerry: "Youth in the shape of the skirt." Joanna: "Answers a lot of working women's issues" about transitioning from day to night."

Anya: Nina: "I am amazed at the transformation." Heidi: "I love this jumpsuit. I'm shocked that you learned how to sew four months ago." Joanna: "I really like the shape of it." Kerry: "I love this. It's so fun." Michael "It's beautifully tailored."

Kimberly: Nina: "I think it looks great. I like the way you styled it." Heidi: "I like this look. You don't need to do anything to it because you gave everything already." Michael: "I love that it's separates." Joanna: "This is a special shirt."

Bottom Three

Julie: Nina: "Not my favorite." Kerry: "I don't understand it." Michael: "It looks like a housecoat. She could have a pocket with Kleenex in it while she dusts." Heidi: "It does not look like Nina at all." Joanna: "Unwearable. If Nina wore this to the office, I would think she was asking to be fired."

Cecelia: Joanna: "I can't imagine what the fashion department would say if you came in dressed like that." Michael: "The fabric is a disaster. The colors are tough for her. It's not for Nina." Kerry: "I don't know how this fits within the context of the office." Nina: "The choice of color was very sad."

Danielle: Michael: "It's very pedestrian." Later he continues, "Unless you are going to a Joan Crawford St. Paddy's Day party, who is wearing this blouse?" Kerry: "I don't hate this. It is not a garment for Nina." Joanna: "If Nina came in wearing that, I would think she was ill."

Winner: Kimberly, whose strong shirt design and impeccably tailored pants were a clear standout, even against Viktor's beautiful two-piece suit.

Loser: Julie. If there is a market for off-kilter coat dresses, she should be fine.

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