‘Project Runway’ recap: What do you think of the final 4?

04.12.13 5 years ago 19 Comments


Before we start, I have a question. Last week, did Michelle just tune out when Nina Garcia said not to make a damn T-shirt and a pair of pants, or did she just not care? Or did she not realize she made a damn T-shirt and a pair of pants? I love Michelle’s aesthetic, so for her to so completely whiff the ball last week (I should say, though, nice outfit, even though it was A DAMN T-SHIRT AND A PAIR OF PANTS) was simply distressing. I guess she thought that, because it was a nice ensemble, that was enough. No, it landed her in danger of going home — and, as Heidi says OVER AND OVER AND OVER again, Michelle needed to fight for her life this week. Or, really, design for her life. She doesn’t have to get into an MMA fight or anything. Jeez, Heidi.

Anyway, we return to the designers sitting around and stressing out. Tim tells them to stop whining, because no one is going home. Layana is impatient. She’s glad Michelle got a second chance, but gah, she wants someone to go home, jeez! She’s in a rush to get to Fashion Week! For the record, I hate Layana a little bit. Okay, a lot of bit. 

When Heidi announces to Daniel, Stanley, Patricia and Layana that they will be going to Europe for one day to get inspiration and to buy fabric, Daniel gets weepy. He’s never been to Europe! He’s never been anywhere! Although Daniel’s taste has been questionable along the way, you can’t argue that he’s the nicest guy in the competition and possibly the world. 

Michelle will not be going anywhere, as she needs to focus on fighting for her life. But hey, there’s an upside! No recycled airplane air! No jet lag! No sitting squashed into an economy seat because “Project Runway” doesn’t spend the big bucks on nobodies! Michelle seems deeply disappointed she’s stuck in New York, but I think she needs to cheer the hell up and realize she’s getting more rest, access to Mood (this will be important later) and a break no one else is getting. She can go to friggin’ Berlin or wherever when she wins the whole thing. 

Heidi announces that each designer (EXCEPT FOR MICHELLE, who will be expected to wash dishes at a local restaurant, pick through dumpsters and get a manicurist license in order to trim the toenails of angry, elderly executives with foot fungus) will be going to a different country. Thus: 

Layana – Barcelona, Spain

Patricia – Paris, France

Daniel – Berlin, Germany

Stanley – London, England

Michelle – She’s staying in New York to cry and suffer. 

The good news is that everyone will be getting an assistant. Four of these people get to go to Europe! One of them is stuck with Michelle in stinky New York City. Wah.

Layana gets Samantha

Patricia gets Kate

Daniel gets Amanda

Stanley is stuck with Richard

Michelle gets Tu

Um, everyone hates Richard. No one wants Richard. Patricia is still traumatized from having been paired with Richard not once but twice and has nightmares about teaching him how to sew French seams. Why is Richard still here? I guess that if he has to stick around,  it’s best that Stanley is stuck with him. Stanley will just tell him to shut up, go away and let him do what he needs to do. An absent Richard is the least damaging Richard, after all.

The challenge is to create a high-end runway look, and they will get $1,000 to spend on fabric. Whoot!

This would be where Mood proves itself a fabulous resource to which only Michelle gets access. After the other designers take pictures and scream and run around their respective cities, they must go to a local shop to buy fabric. This is the point where the fairy tale adventure reveals itself to be a pretty raw  deal, sort of like the horse drawn carriage turning into a pumpkin or a 1989 Dodge Caravan. 

Daniel is sent to a local fabric store in Berlin that does not carry leather, silk, or anything remotely un-sucky. He is finally inspired by white pleather. Yes, pleather. I am hoping Daniel is able to find the glamour in this, but it’s going to require some imagination and very skillful sewing.

In Paris, Patricia finds lots of lovely fabric — the problem is that it’s more expensive than she expects and she can’t really communicate with the saleslady. And, just as it would on a jaunt to Mood, the clock is ticking. Patricia takes a wad of random stuff and declares herself happy. 

Sidebar: I don’t get it. Patricia has made a few things that interested me, but the rest has been arts and crafts projects. Why is she still in this competition? Why? She should just get some kind of sponsorship deal with Michael’s, teach macaroni sculpture to small children, and stay out of people’s closets. 

Layana picks Spanish lace. It looks like an old lady’s shawl, but she LOVES it. Layana loves Spain. She loves life! I think Layana needed to sleep more on the flight over. 

Stanley finds a fabulous fabric, but also finds that everything is damn expensive in London. He gets just enough fabric — and if he makes one mistake, he’s screwed.

See, Michelle? Mood, totally better! She gets cashmere, leather, all sorts of wonderful stuff! And doesn’t even worry about going over budget! And no jet lag! It’s all good!

Back in Europe, everyone cries. Daniel cries, Patricia cries, Stanley… well, he doesn’t cry, ever. I half expect someone to turn his head 180 degrees and remove a panel to reveal his brain is made up of circuitry. But for a robot, he does make a very nice A-line dress. 

Everyone returns to New York (except Michelle, who was busy doing street sweeping and sleeping on dirty mattresses in the middle of vacant lots) and squeals with excitement in the workroom. Michelle tells them not to touch her and growls. Oh, Michelle!  Layana thinks she’s being ridiculous and smirks at her with that cooler-than-thou mean girl attitude of hers. Yeah, hate a whole lot of bit, that Layana.

The designers cut and trim and design and Tim Gunn drops in. I love Tim time, don’t you? He likes everything except Patricia’s big, marshmallow mess. He suggests she make a marshmallow shirt instead of a marshmallow jacket, and Patricia grins. That solves all her problems! I would suggest making anything that looks like a marshmallow may be the real problem, but oh well. 

Tim also suggests that Layana’s coat is too elaborate to be finished in time. I would say it’s too ugly to be finished ever, but okay. I really do hate this. It looks like something that would be on sale at Wet Seal. It looks ’90s. Not in an interesting, retro way, just ’90s. Cheap mall fashion of the ’90s. Hate, hate, hate it.

He also gives Michelle some good advice. She wants to create an ombre effect with her cashmere fabric. He tells her to go for it — smear fabric paint all over your dress! Stanley is disgusted, but I think Stanley just doesn’t get it. I think it’s going to be awfully cool, really.

We are treated to a brief interview with Layana, in which she says she’s been waiting for Fashion Week for 20 years. Excuse me while I throw up. Seriously? She hasn’t been waiting for anything for 20 years. If you count any time before you were fully potty trained, spelled multisyllabic words correctly or paid your own bills as part of your career path, you are an ass. 

Finally, it’s runway time! Nina Garcia, Zac Posen and… John Legend are the judges. I like John Legend, but I don’t completely get this. He likes the ladies? He was the only celebrity available? He’s nice and mostly clean and well-groomed? Whatever, he’s there and seems willing to take notes. I’ll give him points for taking the runway seriously. 


Still hate this. The monochrome palette isn’t working with the lace, the black framing is disjointed and the seams don’t meet, and the shirt sleeves! Oh, oh no. It looks like a pastel Morticia Addams dress stuck under a ’90s tailored coat. This is just awful. It doesn’t help that the model looks like she just finished a samba class, either. Yes, it screams Barcelona — the cliche of Barcelona. All she needed was a bullfighting cape to finish it off. 


Oh, I love this. The skirt has wonderful movement, the breast plate is a fresh idea, the ombre of the skirt is just edgy enough. It could be darker, but overall? Well-played. Michelle has just enough “Mad Max” sensibility to make things fun, doesn’t she? 


He has to go to Fashion Week for this outfit. Best design of the season so far. To use that sequined material for the lining is genius. So clean, so simple, but so well done. Swoon. 


Yes, she looks like the Michelin Man, but I still kind of like this. It is different and, while I think there are problems in the execution, I will hand it to her. This is unique. I can’t believe I actually sort of like something Patricia’s done. But I liked her high fashion look, too. If she’s allowed to be weird, sometimes it works. Not that I’d buy this. Or wear it. But it’s interesting in a junior Commes des Garcons kind of way. 


Wow! Working with Amanda really paid off for Daniel. This is hip and young and, yes, pleather, but it looks luxurious and edgy. I am amazed. Daniel goes edgy! Daniel has an edge! Or edges! Daniel!

Layana is the only one who blew, really. 

Daniel is first. Nina thinks it’s very Berlin, and she loves the jacket and the boots. The boots made it a showpiece. Nina thinks the dress is phenomenal, too. John Legend sees Berlin in this. Zac thinks he was brave to work in pleather, and he pulled it off. Even Heidi was impressed. 

Stanley. Nina absolutely loves it. The glimpse of luxury on the inside did it for her. Heidi thinks he turned up the volume, but kept it strong and simple. Zac thinks it’s elegant and surprising. John Legend thinks it’s sleek and elegant. Heidi is happy to see Stanley smile. Heidi natters on and on about this. Calm down, Heidi. Robots only smile when they’re programmed that way. 

Layana. Zac thinks she made smart choices in the materials. It looks nicely made, but the sleeves are an eyesore. Nina thinks the sleeves are awful, too. She thinks it looks old-fashioned. Heidi thought the neckline i interesting but thinks the model looks like an old lady wearing a housecoat. John Legend thinks it’s frumpy. Heidi thinks it makes her look older. Everyone is happier with the jacket gone. But Layana likes her jacket! Stoopid judges! 

Layana, pack a bag.

Patricia. Zac thinks it’s trash couture. He likes the idea of painting with fabric, but he thinks it looks messy. Heidi likes it, though.

Everyone agrees — Michelle really delivered. The quilting of the breast plate impresses everyone as well.

The designers are asked who they’d take to Fashion Week with them. Everyone picks Michelle and Stanley (Stanley picks Michelle and Daniel and Michelle picks Stanley and Layana). 

The judges talk and talk and TALK, and really, did this episode need to be two hours? In short, Nina hates Patricia’s artsy fartsy stuff. Really? Then why did she gush over the really ugly stuff early in the competition? Fine, I get it. Heidi fights for Patricia, and so does Zac. She may be weird, she may make ugly clothes, but she won’t be boring!

Who will be boring is Layana. But she’s commercial! But who wants commercial? Sometimes the judges do, and sometimes they don’t. In the past, people have advanced because they’re dull enough to sell clothes to Macy’s. In this case, that’s a terrible thing. Oh, “Project Runway,” you make my head spin. Good thing I don’t care which of these two designers gets the boot, really. I’m sick of them both.

Finally, Stanley is going to Fashion Week, Daniel is going to Fashion Week, Michelle is going to Fashion Week… and so is Patricia. Layana is out.

Okay, does anyone notice that Tim Gunn, sweet and avuncular Tim Gunn, comes thisclose to telling Layana not to let the door hit her in the ass on her way out? Usually he gets weepy and offers encouragement and hugs, but this week he says, you should be proud, but you need to go clean up your stuff, see ya. To me, this just confirms that Layana was as much of a narcissistic pain in the ass as she appeared to be. Or maybe Tim Gunn needs a season off, who knows?

Who do you want to win “Project Runway”? What do you think of the final four? Do you think the trip to Europe was a blessing or a curse? 

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