Project Runway: Nevermore!

This week on Project Runway: Everyone has the warm fuzzies for Bert all of a sudden; Anya gets cutthroat while Kimberly has a breakdown; the designers have to draw inspiration from feathery, dead-eyed creatures--no, they didn't bring Olivier back. The prize is a L'Oreal advertorial in Marie Claire, and the winning designer receives $20,000 furnished by L'Oreal. Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa is the guest judge.

On the runway Heidi tells the six remaining designers that they are expected to "spread their wings" for this week's challenge. Upon returning to the workroom they are greeted by Tim, L'Oreal Paris makeup director Collier Strong, and three giant birds: a vibrant green parrot, a soft-white cockatoo, and an evil, glistening raven (more on that in a minute). The designers are instructed to create looks inspired by their assigned bird; designers will be paired--cue eyerolls over another team challenge--but wait! They won't be collaborating, but competing head to head! Twisty.

The designers are paired and assigned their bird. Joshua and Bert get the parrot--Bert thinks the parrot is garish looking, calling its feathers "dime store." Viktor and Kimberly are paired up and get the cockatoo, while Laura and Anya are given the raven. Designers are sent off to Mood with instructions to think inspiration, not literal. Because that always works out well.

So, about me and ravens--I hate them. Native cultures revere the raven, and when I lived in Alaska the symbolism was everywhere. But you know what? So were the loud, squawking, scavenging, too-smart-for-their-own good ravens, who sat outside my window, screeching ... and congregated in grocery store parking lots, stalking me ... and watched me all day, every day. I don't like birds that look that smart. They are scary.


The further we get into the competition, the truer everyone's colors become. Case-in-point: Anya. Remember last week's challenge, when she lost all of her money and had to rely on the other designers to give her their leftover scraps? Yeah, that's ancient history. When Joshua needs extra fabric, she hedges and says that it's "too far along" in the competition to be doing stuff like that, and that "a few weeks ago" it was one thing but now it's not a good idea to even ask another designer for help. Which is hilarious from the designer who has needed help on every. single. challenge. Anya, these challenges aren't a few weeks apart, and you have a short memory.

Tim keeps the designers on their toes this episode, announcing that they will create a second look inspired by their first look, which was inspired by the bird--it's sort of a Russian nesting dolls challenge. Kimberly is having a Murphy's Law kind of day, when her garment gets stained, and then burned when she throws it on top of a hot glue gun. Oh, and then she sews through her finger with the sewing machine needle. OMG. Kimberly puts together another dress in about three hours, and her finished product gives Viktor fits: it's a white, one-shouldered evening gown that bears a striking resemblance to his main look. Frankly, hers is prettier, but I can see why he is upset.

Tim returns to the workroom one more time to throw the designers one last twist: They will only send one of their looks down the runway! We made you go to Mood, design, and create another look for no reason! Duhn, duhn DUHN! The designers are half-annoyed, half-relieved and refocus their attention on one garment.

On the Runway

Laura vs. Anya (raven-inspired look): Anya wins

Josh griped earlier about the fact that Anya makes clothes that have to be cut off the models after the runway shows, and that is an area where her inexperience shows. While I agree, the fact remains is her garment looks better and she stepped way outside of her comfort zone with this structured, one-color dress.

Anya: Michael says, "I think that you found the inspiration but it's totally not literal. Interesting to look at, quite flattering." Nina says, "This is my favorite outfit you have produced so far. Beautiful, dramatic." Heidi, "I think it's really fashion forward, cool, edgy. I can see the raven but it's not gimmicky." says Francisco says, "Very urban, fantastic cut. It's really great."

Laura: Nina says it's too literal, while Heidi says she's seen it before and that the look is "too bird-y." Michael gives her credit for trying something new, and says it's edgier than her usual stuff, but it's costume-y. Francisco likes the cut of the jacket.

Josh vs. Bert (parrot-inspired look): Josh wins

Somehow Josh managed to keep the frou-frou to a minimum, though he couldn't resist an organza corsage-like embellishment on an otherwise elegant dress.

Bert: Michael calls it pageant-y, and compares the bustier to Wonder Woman. Francisco calls Bert out on lack of inspiration and confidence. Nina says the dress is "disappointing." Heidi likes the idea but says the execution didn't work.

Josh: Michael says the dress is cut well, and likes the draping and the details. Nina loves the minimalism. Francisco compliments Josh on not going too literal, calls the look exuberant.

Viktor vs. Kimberly (cockatoo-inspired look): Kimberly wins

Ouch! This one is going to sting for Viktor, as Kimberly clearly benefited from copying his dress. Unfortunately for Viktor his decision to fray organza to look like feathers was too literal for the judges.

Viktor: Francisco says the colors and technique are good, "fascinating." Michael likes the movement of the dress, but says it's too literal. Heidi alludes to the fact that the dresses look similar but she doesn't call Kimberly out; she points out that Viktor's is impeccable, but still likes Kimberly's more. Nina thinks the feathers went overboard and the dress lost its lightness and balance as a result.

Kimberly: Michael says, "I think it's great. I can live without the pearl trim but I think the cut is fabulous." Francisco says, "I think it's remarkable, fantastic, that you made this dress in three hours." Nina says, "There is something a little beauty pageant about it. There is something very seductive about this dress."

Winner: Anya. Josh is disappointed--he's totally broke--and frustrated because Anya's lack of experience remains behind the scenes.

Out: Bert, who is obviously grateful to have had the experience, and I think he made some friends on the show. He's a curmudgeon but I love him.

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