‘Project Runway’ recap: It’s All About Me

09.14.12 5 years ago 6 Comments


It’s the make-your-own textile challenge, everyone! Don’t you love this challenge? It’s just the thing for times when I want to feel seasick or pretend I’m playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?” after dropping acid. I realize designing a textile isn’t easy, but at this point in the challenge the designers are so overwhelmed and sleep-deprived that most of them seem to take this as an opportunity to vomit up whatever craziness is floating around in the back of their brain pan, and it’s not always easy to look at. More importantly, it’s not usually something you want to wear unless you’re a model or, say, a paranoid schizophrenic. 

Anyway, let’s get to it. Or, rather, let’s make sure we fluff up the episode with some pointless chatter and take a moment to let the designers share their emotions. Christopher is scared about the future, or rather his future, on the show. In other news, Dmitry wants Elena to die. Elena wants Dmitry to stay away from her, but has not apparently considered killing Dmitry as a way to make that happen. 

Finally, it’s time for the final eight to visit Heidi and for us to see a snippet from Gunnar’s interview. He would just love to win “Project Runway,” because he needs a new pair of boots and he’d like to buy his mom a boob job. Yes, that’s exactly what he said — he wants to buy his mom a boob job. He’s either a very good son or a very messed up son, but either way, I think Gunnar is oversharing. Heidi, who clearly insists on doing this pointless segment so she has an opportunity to flounce around in an extra outfit, drops a hint (“each of you will have a different and individual inspiration!) and then sends the poor, weary hamsters off to see Tim Gunn, who actually tells us what the challenge is. 

But wait! Mondo Guerra from season 8 (and the winner of the All-Stars season) is in the workroom! It’s the HP and Intel Challenge! Plug, plug! The designers must create a fabric and a modern runway look inspired by their cultural heritage. Mondo tells them that winning this particular challenge changed his life, which isn’t really overstating it, because his design was inspired by his HIV status and he told that little nugget of info to the world and his mom and made an awesome print, too. Mondo suggests they not be too literal, as a national costume will get them sent home. He may also want to tell them not to do pink ribbons or Livestrong bracelets or any disease-of-the-week patterns, because he totally used up the whole illness print angle, yo. 

Anyway, Mondo also created a carrying bag for the HP laptop. It’s available on HP.com. Plug, plug!

So, if it’s the textile challenge it’s also the week everyone gets a buddy! Mommies, wives, boyfriends and assorted loved ones swarm into the work room. Elena is so glad, because she needed her mommy! Ven does not need people, but he is mostly pleased to see his sister. There is much hugging and crying and general happiness.  

Gunnar is so glad to see his mom! Who does not appear to be in need of a boob job, but then, I feel too embarrassed for her to really look. Gunnar’s mom shows him pictures from his childhood and helps him doodle around to come up with a textile pattern. He wants it to be inspired by how he was bullied as a teenager, and what he comes up with is a hand and a bird and… well, it’s a hand and a bird. An unhappy hand and a black bird. I feel bullied just looking at it.

Elena is so happy when her mom shows her pictures of little Elena growing up in Ukraine. She was so happy then! She’s not usually a bitch, in case you were wondering! I appreciate that Elena is able to step outside herself and realize that she’s not only perceived as a bitch, but has actually been one. Unfortunately, Elena gets in touch with her happy, childlike self by designing a vomity looking print that seems to be what happens when you put two graffiti artists together, given them neon spray paint, and say, whoever punches a hole in the ozone first gets a cookie!

Christopher is troubled. He can’t decide on a print! His mom tells him he has to make it work. Tim Gunn, quick! Someone’s manhandling your motto!

At the end of the day, the designers go back to Atlas and are treated to a meal cooked by their collected loved ones! I’m guessing this is really all about take out pizza, because putting that many people into a New York kitchen and telling them to cook something is just mean. 

Though Christopher isn’t truly in love with his own print, he thinks everyone else’s prints are crazy. Elena’s is a doodle, Melissa’s is tropical, Dmitry’s looks like a cowboy “handkerchief” (I think he means bandana). Oh, and Fabio’s print? Fabio freely admits it’s penises and vaginas, which causes Christopher to clap a hand over his mouth in giddy horror.

Gunnar tells everyone the story behind his ugly print. Christopher feels so close to Gunnar after this. He was bullied, too! You guys, just go make out already. 

Everyone slaps together their designs, and soon it’s Tim time! Tim helps Christopher decide between the two looks he’s pondering. He tells Sonjia her pants have to fit perfectly, to which we say, duh. He tells Dmitry he needs to sex it up.  

But then, things get REALLY fun. Tim thinks Ven’s dress is an homage to a menstrual cycle. “It looks like cloths that have soaked up blood,” he adds. He asks the other designers if they see the maxi-pad thing he sees, and Dmitry admits, well, kinda. Tim shakes his head in horror. He just hopes no one’s offended by it. Ven is stunned. He loved his stinky maxi-pad dress!

Fabio is next. Fabio does not tell Tim about the penis and vagina thing, and it passes Tim right on by. He can see maxi-pads at twenty paces, but boy-girl sex stuff? Not a clue. Tim thinks Melissa’s print is beautiful but she needs a more wow design. Elena tells Tim she’s not really making hospital scrubs, despite appearances to the contrary. He’s so glad she said that, because he was totally thinking it! Tim tells Gunnar his jacket looks heavy, and Dmitry thinks it’s horribly put together. Dmitry and Tim are not wrong.

Ven, feeling hurt and crampy, is changing his design and possibly taking a Midol. He has to to get the maxi-pad imagery out of his head, so what does he do? He makes a ROSE DESIGN. Because we haven’t seen the fan effect before! 

Anyway, soon enough it’s time for hair and make-up and then it’s runway time! Each designer gets to sit with a loved one for a little while.  

The judges are Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and All-Star winner Mondo Guerra and Anya Ayoung-Chee, winner of season nine. Anya! 


These pants absolute remind me of that Art Nouveau/’70s Biba aesthetic. Don’t dig the side stripes, but the back of the shirt, with the low-cut drapey thing? Love. 


Yeah, still looks like hospital scrubs or a really weird track suit.


Yikes. It sort of looks like he got bored and just wadded up the leftover fabric in the center of the dress.


Ugh. I hate this. The print is just so bad, and it looks like a toga ran into a lei and had an unfortunate incident with a rose design from another dress. This is baaaad. Like time to go home bad.


I actually like this, but it reads a little blah on the runway. 


It’s a well-made dress, but it looks like something you could find in a department store. Still, it isn’t black, I guess. 


Woof. What’s with the black piping? And the cut of the jacket is just kind of Holly Hobbie. Still hate the print. Skirt is blah blah blah. This is like what Amish teens would wear for Rumspringa because, from their perspective, it’s sorta sexy. 


I think this is so clever. The cutouts are just great. The jacket looks like it’s floating over the skirt. This is a winner, most definitely. 

Elena, Fabio are on to the next round. Everyone else is the top and bottom. I am relieved to notice all of the family members have been ushered out of the room, probably to keep anyone from attacking Michael Kors for tossing one of his pithy descriptions at their little lumpkin. 

Melissa is up first. Michael thinks it’s uptown girl. Heidi thinks it’s a little uncool, and honestly I’m with Heidi. Nina thinks it looks chic and smart and sexy. Mondo thinks it’s pretty good, but both he and Anya think it could have been turned up a little. Honestly, I think this is pretty underwhelming, especially from Melissa. It’s like she went over to the Chiffonies’ side.  

Ven is next. Heidi thinks she looks like a Hawaiian Airlines hostess. Yes! The rose and hibiscus together looks weird. Michael says Ven has to go to the next thing. He’s a fabric florist. What this says to Nina is that Ven didn’t know how to deal with the print. Mondo knows he’s really good but it’s three dresses mushed up together, and it’s visually confusing. Even Mondo can’t save you now, Ven!

Dmitry is next. Michael thinks he did everything they wanted. Mondo thinks the jacket is a showstopper, but we can’t see the print. But we can see it’s designed well, but maybe over designed. Heidi thinks it’s great. She would buy it because it’s crazy good. Anya thinks it’s really powerful. Nina thinks the jacket is phenomenal. But he has to tone down the styling.

Gunnar talks about his bullying print. Heidi thinks it’s bizarre. Michael thinks the print looks like bird postage stamps. She looks like a twirler. Nina thinks the print is sad. Anya thought it was non-fashion in every way. Mondo thought the print was ugly and the whole thing look crafty.

Sonjia. Heidi thinks it works. Anya thinks it’s beautiful. Nina thinks it’s young, cool and chic. Mondo thinks it’s really good. Michael thinks it could have looked like Pac Man eating the model’s crotch, but it doesn’t. 

Christopher thinks his print is pretty. Heidi thinks his dress is fine, but that won’t help him win. Anya thinks it’s prom dress. Nina thinks it’s the most disappointing execution she’s seen from him. Mondo thinks it’s over designed. Michael thinks it’s kitchen-y. 

The judges talk. They are very unhappy with Ven. Heidi is ready to send him and Gunnar home together, really. Heidi is so thoroughly bugged by Ven’s reliance on the rose theme she calls Tim Gunn to come in and discuss the issue. Tim explains that he didn’t veto the rose this time because he didn’t see it — and then he tells them the menstrual cycle story. So, yes, this was bad, but the one before it was WORSE. And Tim adds that he’s had concerns about Ven for a while. 

Oh my goodness, is Ven going home? We can only hope. I know, I know, I loved him at the beginning — but that was before I saw those damn fan roses every week AND before he hated on that poor size 14 woman who came in. Go home, Ven! Go home!

Melissa is… in. Dmitry… is the winner. I don’t think Mondo is happy about this, but I love it. Sonjia is in. 

Christopher is… in. Gunnar is… out. Ven is in. Ven tells them he’s going to take the critique and just move forward. Heidi tells him if she sees one more rose from him he’s gone. I love Heidi sometimes.

Christopher and Gunnar bond, which is easy to do when one of you is leaving. 

Gunnar committed to the show, so he won. In his own way. Bye, Gunnar. 

I knew Gunnar would be cut simply because he was almost out the door before, and his skill set is not up to Ven’s level. That being said, Ven is becoming a hacky wedding designer with a mean streak. If he makes the final three, I think it will only be to make the finale must-see TV — sort of the way Mila was the villain of her season and gave everyone someone to root against. But who knows? Maybe he’ll sneak in one more stupid rose and Heidi will cut him like a knockwurst.

Do you think Gunnar should have gone home? Whose print did you like best? And are you sick of Ven, too?

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