This week on Project Runway: The designers get tricked with the old switcheroo, Joshua M. holds back on the bling and the combative attitude, and the Olivier gets frustrated with the realities of a woman's body. Actress Malin Akerman (27 Dresses, The Proposal) is the guest judge.
When episode 8 ("What Women Want") opens, Heidi introduces the designers to their new clients: a group of men. Naturally, the designers smile and wave, all the while having an internal freakout over having to design menswear. But wait! There's a twist! When they get back to Parsons, Tim tells them that while the men are the clients, the challenge is to design for their clients' wives and girlfriends! A palpable wave of relief washes over the work room, and the designers begin quizzing the men on what their ladies like to wear. Questions like, "What colors does she like to wear?" and "If she were to go shopping, what store would she start in?" are met mostly with blank stares and stutters. I shudder to think about the garment my husband would conceptualize for me.
This episode is all about the boobs. Bert's client can't shut up about his wife's boobs, and, in fact, gives a graphic demonstration of his favorite boob move -- the motorboat -- using Bert's design form. Bert is amused, and happy to design for maximum cleavage at his client's request. On the other side of the workroom, Olivier is having the opposite reaction to the existence of breasts: "These boobs, to me, are trouble," he mourns. Olivier expresses all kinds of interesting opinions about women in this episode; apparently his ideal woman has no breasts, consists of sharp angles, and is completely silent and without an opinion on what she wears. Granted, the woman Olivier is designing for is fashionable and has a working knowledge of the current collections (she references the belts on the recent Gucci runway), which means she is also vocal and bossy but -- Olivier, you aren't going to design in a vacuum for the rest of your life. If you want to sell clothes, at some point you will need living, breathing clients who will also, presumably, talk.
And then there is poor, defeated Bryce. Of the remaining designers, Bryce is the only one who hasn't won a challenge. His confidence is flagging, and it's compounded by homesickness for his boyfriend. The rest of the designers try to cheer him up and bolster his confidence level, but frankly, his design skills are not at the top of this group. His pair of clients direct Bryce to make something fun and tailored in bright pink, but Bryce continually second-guesses himself. One thing that we have seen season after season on Project Runway is that lack of a clear vision, coupled with a lack of confidence, always results in dismissal. Always.
The other major story emerging from the work room this episode is Joshua, who picks himself up from the anger and depression of the last couple of episodes. Joshua is determined to tackle this challenge head on, and his attitude is impressive. When his clients tell him that they want something very simple, Joshua steels himself and puts away the bling-y notions he picked up at Mood. Determined to edit himself within an inch of his life, he creates a gorgeous, tailored black dress with a high, square neckline, elegant swing skirt, and dramatic, low-V back edged in lace. The only question is, will he bedazzle it before it hits the runway?
The women get to model the clothes that were designed for them, and all of them work the runway. It's adorable -- I love challenges when they design for *real* people.
Top Three: Anya, Viktor, Joshua
Bottom Three: Bert, Bryce, Anthony Ryan
From the Judges
Anya: Michael says, "I think the dress is fabulous. I think the culture clash is very cool." Heidi says, "I like this because I don't feel like I've seen it ten times already." Malin says, "I would wear that on a red carpet." Nina says, "The print is phenomenal. I think that (kimono) sleeve overwhelms her."
Viktor: Michael says, "I think she's over-accessorized because she's powerful-looking. It's really spot-on." Heidi says, "It's very 'fashion'." Nina says, "I think she's so charming. It's not too girly; it's just right." Malin says, "Beautiful lines." Joshua: Michael says, "You look like a modern Grace Kelly." Heidi says, "I'm shocked you did not bedazzle her. I'm glad you didn't. She looks really elegant; very chic." Nina says, "You managed to keep her comfortable and classic." Malin says, "I love the back. I think it's a great little black dress to have in your closet.
Bert: Michael says, "As usual for you, as a designer, it is made beautifully, cut well. But unfortunately, it looks like a dress you could buy in a million stores. It's very safe." Nina says, "It's a little tight, it's a little short, it's a little shiny. I've seen it from you before." Malin says, "It's a really nice dress, but it looks like a dress I've seen before."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Bryce: Michael says, "The tailoring is so off; every seam is puckered. It looks like she slept in the car on the way to the wedding." Heidi says, "The only thing I like is the color." Nina says, "What I dislike about this dress is that it's got too many details. She's swallowed up by all these details." Malin says, "I think the pockets are great, it's fun. The problem I had with it is that it doesn't look like it was made exactly for you."
Anthony Ryan: Michael says, "It almost looks like superhero ice skater. You wanted it to be quirky, but it's not." Heidi says, "She either looks like a little, little girl or an old lady. It doesn't look hip to me. I think it's super safe, and super boring." Nina says, "The white belt makes her look boxy and has no waist." Malin says, "The first thing I thought was, 'Oh, it's my old cheerleader outfit, or a cigarette girl.'"
The winner: Joshua
Out: Bryce, whose plan going forward is to lock himself in a room, listen to as much Lady Gaga as possible and design something genius. Good luck, Bryce!