Project Runway: It's the Menswear Challenge!

This week on Project Runway: It's the Garnier Fructis challenge, and we know this because they say "Garnier" eleventy billion times; It's PR's first! ever! live! musical! performance! We learn that in addition to hating real, live women, Olivier hates real, live men. The guest judge is former AI contestant and current glam-rocker Adam Lambert.

It's here! The dreaded menswear challenge! The designers are set loose to create a look for rockabilly newcomers The Sheepdogs, who recently won a contest to become the first unsigned band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. It so happens that I just finished reading said cover story, and this group of musicians from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, seems like low-maintenance, relaxed dudes, which could prove difficult for some designers. (I'm looking at you, Joshua M.)

Olivier is trying to find his way back from oblivion in this episode, and recognizes that he has lost his way among the other designers. He is confident that his menswear background will give him an advantage in this episode.

Immunity is no longer part of the prize for winning, so it's game on for everyone for the rest of the season. In addition to safety and bragging rights, this week's winner will have their look featured in Garnier Fructis advertorials in both Marie Claire and Rolling Stone. The designers are divided into two groups of four, which elicits groans and eye-rolls until Tim announces that they won't be judged as a group, and the looks need not be cohesive. Each designer will create a "head-to-toe look" for a member of the band, and their look will be judged on its own merits.

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Olivier, Viktor, Joshua and Kimberly make up Team Untitled; Bert, Laura, Anthony Ryan and Bert make up Team Harmony. To give the designers a sense of their music and personalities, the Sheepdogs perform a song. Olivier covers his ears against their raging blend of jam-band and country rock. Seriously, the song they are playing is way chill and Olivier is acting like it's thrash metal.

Normally I don't mind the product placement on PR. Sure, it's blatant, but this is fashion! What's really cringe-worthy about this episode are the styling "consultations" among the designers, the musicians and the Garnier stylists. These guys don't use "product" and they all have long, flow-y rocker-boy hair, so when the Garnier stylist suggests a specific product -- and is then shown using it -- for each Sheepdog, it's just awkward.

The menswear episode is always illuminating because even the strongest designers can falter. Kimberly and Anya, who are consistently in the top, know that they are in trouble. Joshua designs for men, but primarily gay men, so the external crotch zipper on his pant is an opportunity for him and Tim to debate whether drawing attention to the crotch is a plus or a minus. Viktor is creating a leather jacket with fringe cascading down from woven shoulders and it's going to be the best piece that goes down the runway, period.

Olivier spends the entire episode talking about how "big" Ewan (the lead singer) is, and at one point even goes so far as to say, "I never really thought of making things for plus-sized people." Ewan is not plus-sized; he's tall, and maybe "husky," but not PLUS SIZED. Olivier complains about Ewan's size to the other designers, and to Ewan himself. Olivier is basically an asshole.

 

Top Three: Joshua, Viktor, Bert

Bottom Three: Olivier, Anya, Kimberly

From the Judges

Joshua: The crotch zipper goes over well with all of the judges, particularly Adam Lambert (and Heidi). Michael Kors likes the fringed vest Joshua created, but the judges take issue with Joshua's ability to edit his looks. They all love the funky, native-print tank top Joshua created.

Viktor: The judges freak out over his jacket. "It looks like a $2,000 jacket," gushes Heidi. Michael Kors calls it "insane," but he means it in a good way.

Bert: Nina gives Bert props for styling, of all things. Bert put Ewan in braided pigtails, which give him a "look" according to Nina; Heidi hates the pigtails. All of the judges love the look, and give a nod to Bert's experience (read: age) for informing his ability to combine the '70s classic rock look with a modern edge.

Olivier: Heidi thinks Olivier has managed to create "dad jeans," the hideous male answer to "mom jeans." Nina calls the look feminine, while Michael calls out Olivier for producing something so terrible when he is the only one with extensive menswear experience. Olivier calls Ewan big again, on the runway.

Anya: Nina and Heidi both wrote "Pocahontas" on their score cards in regard to Anya's terribly designed, terribly sewn poncho. Michael calls the look "reggae Jesus with a suede lobster bib."

Kimberly: Kors calls Kimberly's look "Peter Brady at an autumn harvest" while Nina thinks the shirt looks like it came from an old man's pajamas. Heidi thinks Kimberly was designing for a "forest elf." Ouch.

Look out, Saskatoon!
Look out, Saskatoon!

In: Viktor, who made pleather look like a $2,000 leather jacket.

Out: Olivier, the menswear designer who can't design menswear. This one goes out to all the talking, walking, opinion-having, food-eating folks out there, Olivier -- take a lesson from it.


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