Project Runway: We're All Connected

This week on Project Runway: Viktor channels Chanel, Joshua revisits proper editing and styling, Kimberly channels early Queen Latifah through accessories, Anya remains Queen of Last Minute Construction. Also, I cry. A lot.

The episode before Fashion Week is always my favorite episode of Project Runway, because Tim Gunn visits the designers in their homes, meets their families, and we learn more about the designers and their backgrounds. I really love the questions Tim asks the families and his genuine approach to learning more about each designer. We meet Joshua's sister, Kimberly's sister and best friends, Viktor's boyfriend and Anya's brothers. During Tim's visits, we learn that each of the designers has experienced a significant loss in their families -- Joshua and Kimberly's had been well-documented this season, but Anya and Viktor each lost a brother. The show doesn't dwell too much on these points, but it was very affecting and shows each designer in a vulnerable light. That's the part where I cried a lot.

When Tim visits Kimberly (White Plains, MD), she shows him her vision for an urban girl, transformed. She wants to reference pre-gentrification Brooklyn, but keep it modern. The silhouettes are hard to make out when the garments are on hangers, but she shows Tim these huge two-tone metallic bracelets and earrings that I think might be too literal a reference and distract from the clothes. Next Tim visits Anya in Trinidad, and we learn about the death of her brother Pilar (that explains that tattoo on her hand) and meet her two living brothers, Yves and Will. Unfortunately, Anya has nothing to show Tim but a color palette and fabric. I have never, ever seen a designer not show even a single garment when Tim visits. Back in New York Tim visits Viktor first, and as expected his clothes are sharp, modern and impeccably constructed. Tim advises Viktor on a few tweaks and reminds him that he needs to "effing knock their socks off" on the runway. *I Heart Tim Gunn* Finally we brace ourselves for Joshua. After meeting Josh and his sister for lunch (where we learn Joshua was a track and field star who turned down scholarships to pursue his fashion dreams), we head off to see his collection. On Tim's advice, Joshua tosses five or six bright fabrics Tim calls "sherbet-y," but the collection seems to have great bones and Tim responds well to many of the main pieces, including a dress and a jacket.

Everyone returns to New York and prepares for the three-look mini-runway show that will whittle the final four down to three for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Tim comes in for another round of critiques, the worst of which go to Anya, whose collection Tim is just seeing for the first time. He basically said it was a lot of what the judges had already seen and she should be prepared to be called out on that. It rattled her, and there were many tears.

On the Runway

General impressions: Kimberly's collection does look overly styled and I think the accessories too heavily reference the late '80s/early '90s Brooklyn vibe; the clothes reflect her aesthetic, which the judges usually love. Viktor's collection is busy-busy, but sewed to perfection. Joshua's design aesthetic isn't necessarily for me, but he's kept things sleek and minimal; we'll see how the judges respond to his unusual use of fabrics (i.e., neoprene LBD). Anya sent a swimsuit down the runway -- OMG.

Viktor: Michael loves the first two looks, and Viktor's use of print. Everyone goes crazy over the white leather jacket with pearl studding on the arms. Michael doesn't love some of the styling, calling it distracting. Heidi loves Viktor's transparent tank with mirrored embellishments -- no surprise, since Heidi has been seen in a mirrored piece or two on the red carpet. The judges restyle two-thirds of his looks, and tell him to edit carefully and let the big pieces stand on their own.

Joshua: Heidi likes a lot of the designs, and only takes issue with a seatbelt-like belt. Michael disagrees and likes the seatbelt belt. Michael calls Joshua out -- rightly -- on his dress from the front/jumpsuit from the back, calling the leggings "Olivia Newton-John." Nina says, "Believe it or not...you have the better styling. I am so impressed; you are a very good designer."

Kimberly: Michael loves that he sees her in the clothes, and that she has reflected sex appeal but still covered up the models. He calls her out on the styling, tells her to ditch the big bracelets and earrings. Nina also pans Kim's accessories and styling. Heidi hates the pink skirt, which has an exaggerated pleating that creates a "bubble butt."

Anya: The judges all like the short, print dress. Heidi thinks the bathing suit is unflattering and the caftan is sad and drab, and the gown is bad. Michael says the gown is tortured, and hates the "Wonder Woman" belt, and the styling all around; he thinks her vibe is right, but the styling is too old. Nina advises her to embrace what she's good at and not try to be someone else.

In: Joshua, Viktor, Kimberly...and Anya! I knew the judges were not going to cut her -- they're in the bag for her like the lamestream media was in the bag for Barack Obama in 2008! (That's my Sarah Palin impression, what did you think?)

Bonus features: Joshua and Viktor are first to be called "in" and Kimberly is next. When she joins the two guys in the kiss-and-cry area, they congratulate her and give her a big, long hug; when they break from the hug, Joshua looks at her and says, "You, right?" It doesn't write as hilarious as it watches. Second, Joshua is SO PISSED that Anya made it through that he is practically spitting nails. Nostrils flaring, he welcomes Anya to the finals with plenty of eye-rolling and a couple of passive-aggressive Joshua classics: "You are SUCH A MESS!" he screeches before he says, "If you weren't so beautiful, I'd be pissed off right now!" The last four minutes of Joshua footage angsting over Anya's inclusion in the finals is worth this entire season.

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