Project Runway recap: The Top 5 Finally Get to Design

But sadly for them, it's kind of a big yawn.

After Bert's untimely exit last week, the designers are off on a field trip to Governor's Island. The Island has its own buildings and structures, a park and a big outdoor sculpture exhibition by Mark Di Suvero

The designers are told they will have to design a mini-collection with three looks. All three must demonstrate a range. They have but one hour to explore the island and sketch, for which they are given a golf cart and camera. Then they will be taken directly to Mood, where they can spend $500 in 45 minutes. Overall, it's going to be a two-day challenge.

Kimberly: Is inspired by a "New Beginning" sculpture. (And can I just say that for all the talk about Kimberly's rough life, they haven't shared any of it with us ... how very un-reality TV-like!)

Josh: Is inspired by the island's past as a military base and the on-site chapel with stained glass. Fragility meets strength and power. Hard and soft. Again. He talks about that a lot. I have no comment.

Laura: Is inspired by circular shapes. 

Viktor: Is most inspired by the silhouettes of the island against the skyline of the city in the background.

Anya: Is inspired by the sculpture. And the negative and positive space. Which sounds like big words without really meaning anything. Isn't everything a combination of negative and positive space?

They're off to Mood, and I'm left to wonder: Did Swatch die? Seriously. I'm very disappointed we haven't seen Swatch in WEEKS.

After they're back at the workroom and think they're ready to get started, Tim comes in with the button bag. While the button bag is usually dreaded, this time it's a good thing. Tim's going to get them some help. (Of course he is, in the form of the past five eliminated designers.)

They get to pick their assistants, based on order of being pulled from the bag:

Kimberly chooses Becky.

Viktor chooses Olivier.

Laura chooses Anthony.

Anya chooses Bert (who doesn't get picked last, for once).

Josh chooses (or is left with) Bryce.

Image Courtesy Lifetime Productions

The rest of the episode until the runway was, let's be honest, dry as dust, dull as dirt. Josh is still incredibly bitter he didn't win the $20K last week for his orange sack with a lame corsage. He's his usual nasty self, dissing her as a "beauty queen," while also being his usual incredibly arrogant self, convinced he's the best designer ever.

The rest of the designers are boring, with Laura winning the "I want it so bad" award for her tearful recounting of herself as a child-seamstress.

Let's just go to the runway.

Heidi ... more black, more goth, what is up with her stylists this season? ... is joined by judges MK, ninagarcia and Zoe Saldana, who is the founder of a supposedly leading fashion resource? Whatevs. At least I've actually heard of this actress accessory.

As always, click on the links to see each look.

1. Josh

First look: Josh's first look was his best, a cream sleeveless shift dress with black netting across top.  Backless with three large buttons closing the netting in back at the nape. Simple. Not quite as easy and fluid as Bert's Jackie O dress but nice. But even so, there was lots of puckering because of the fabric choice. One more reason it didn't live up to Bert's similar effort a couple of weeks back. 


Second look: Josh's second look is a bizarre, almost schoolgirl-style outfit, consisting of a black vest with big huge lapels, a silver cheerleader style pleated skirt that makes her look very hippy and a red white and blue studded striped tank. Bizarre combo, kind of Clockwork Orange Anime. Even Josh admits it's too big to be flattering. 

Third look: To me, Josh's third look was the kind of gown beautiful-alien-women-that-Captain-Kirk-will-end-up-kissing wear on every episode of a Star Trek, featuring a short black sleeveless scoop neck mini-dress under a big metallic silver one-shouldered/sleeved toga drapy thing. Very amateur.

Bottom line: I'm underwhelmed. One decent look, two that were terrible.


2. Kimberly

First look: Kimberly's first look was a big orange knee-length coat with a big scarf and boots. The coat features big buttons off-center. The scarf really looks like a pair of tweed slacks tied around the neck. I mean this was nice, but there was nothing original about it. Except maybe that it was orange. Otherwise it was Burlington Coat Factory all the way.

Second look: A quite slutty-looking orange halter top with a huge gaping keyhole neck. Paired with a metallic skirt and worked, metallic, beaded belt. She's gathered up the fabric on one side on the skirt, for no apparent reason, creating this weird pouchy thing. Not flattering, not pretty.

Third look: A silver metallic cocktail dress with a lot of big folds and structure, not too dissimilar from Anya's look last week and extremely similar to Kimberly's own winning top for ninagarcia early in the season. The big folded sash across the hips and butt might be not only too big (that dreaded volume at the hips) but also a little poorly placed.

Bottom line: Pulled it out better than I expected, but still underwhelmed.


3. Laura

First look: Laura's first look featured a cream mini-skirt with a jacket of black and white circular shapes and black lapels. The jacket looks a little Chico's (well except for the gaps at the belly). The skirt had some swingy movement in the back, but overall it seemed bare, incomplete.

Second look: The second look was supposed to be a "cocktail dress," but it really looks like a negligee made out of a bedsheet. It's in blush-toned fabric with black piping. Not only is it, on its own, not impressive, but I'm not seeing the circular concept showing up at all.

Third look: Her third look was a long evening gown that also leveraged the circular lattice fabric. It's long with short sleeves and a open circle back. Nice but maybe a bit much. With that many circles it's not surprising some of them were unfortunately placed. Like in the back. Black circles don't belong everywhere, that's all I'll say.

Bottom line: Not a ton of range and a bit literal, too.


4. Anya

First look: Anya's first look was a black sleeveless dress with a modified cowl neck, much longer in the front than the back, where there was also has a plunging backline. It was kind of like a mullet ... business in the front and party in the back. Very simple styling throughout.

Second look: Her second look was two pieces: Rust colored palazzo pants with cut-away flaps in front and a big drapy one-shouldered rust colored top. A useless black strap holds the top up.

Third look: Her third look was a white sleeveless long dress with the same modified cowl neck and a very high slit up the side. I get the concept, but the execution was, in my opinion, truly poor. It looked like a sheet wrapped around the model, and there was so much puckering at every inch of every seam. I am shocked they didn't say a word about execution.

Bottom line: The challenge was supposed to show range. This collection showed no range. These outfits were all essentially the same, with slightly different bottom treatments. Sure, I liked them and saw their potential. But I thought it was a weak showing.


5. Viktor

First look: Viktor's first look included black cigarette pants with a graphic tee and a jacket with black leather sleeves and big pleaty mauve-ish lapels and back. (Not sure if the mauve was also leather.) Not my cuppa tea, personally, but well made.

Second look: Viktor's second look is a great day look with black skirt, awesome oversized gingham-ish short sleeve button shirt in black and gray and an orange belt. There are asymmetrical pleated folds across the skirt, but unlike the other such folks/pleats shown, they're a good proportion and add femininity, not unattractive volume. Not sure it needed the big exposed zipper down the back of skirt, but everything else about this outfit was impeccable.

Third look: The third look was a black strapless cocktail dress, which was very sleek, elegant and well made, although I have to say I wasn't a fan of the weird mini bustle around her hips .

Bottom line: Feel like Viktor was the winner, but they might say too simple.

The judges weigh in:

Josh: MK: Lots of diversity, in fact too much. Rah rah skirt. Zoe really liked short dress, didn't like the gown. Heidi liked the gown, but it looked inexpensive. nina says it looked cheap. Shiny can look cheap. Of course later they say it's better to have too many ideas than too few.

Kimberly: Zoe loves the slutty top. And likes the coat with outside scarf, calling it a risk ... I have to ask: That's a risk? MK: Dress is strongest piece. MK doesn't like the coat or the color palette. Heidi sees three different girls. But likes the dress. nina loves the dress, but the skirt should have been left alone without the weird pouch. They think Kimberly has great potential but she didn't deomnstrate it. And why did she not do any of those great pants she's known for???

Laura: Heidi: Complicated outfits. Like the gown, but the skirt looks like it took two minutes. Dress doesn't go. nina likes the lattice work. Doesn't like second look silhouette, but third dress doesn't fit. Zoe thinks it's '80s. Second look skirt looks like a slip, dress looks like a pillowcase with black tape around it. MK tells her she choked. Ouch. And later they pretty much say she'd win Project Seamstress, not Runway.

Anya: nina likes the different angles and says it feels modern. Looks like a concise collection. Heidi: Black dress is great, modern and fashion forward. White dress is a sheet. MK is pushing herself. Understand women's bodies. Zoe likes the cuts. No one mentions the obvious: It's the same outfit three times.

Viktor: Heidi: Not enough ideas. Not one piece I have to have. nina loved it and loved the touches of orange. Needed to turn up the volume. A little more oomph. Zoe likes the secretary look. And liked the LBD but wasn't a fan of the boning on the hip. MK: Has the most commercial collection. These are the clothes that are going to sell. Women will buy. And they're tailored. Turn up the volume for runway punch.

Then they do the dreaded "Why should you go to Fashion Week and who should go with you?" question.


Josh: He should go because with more time he could really do something great (um, you knew what the show was when you applied, RIGHT?) He would bring Viktor and Anya.

Kimberly: Would like to change the face of Fashion Week. She would bring Anya and Laura because they will show three different collections.

Anya: Says her point of view is solid and unique. She would bring Josh and Viktor.

Laura: Touts her strong skills and passion. And would bring Viktor and Anya.

Viktor: Apparently fashion is in his blood (sample-maker mom) much as he tried to resist it. And he would bring Josh and Anya.

In the end:

Anya is in.

Viktor is in.

Josh is in.

Laura is aufed.

Kimberly will design something, but it's unclear if she'll go right to Fashion Week.

It seems clear there will be one more elimination before the actual finals.

I can't be sad about Laura being aufed, but it would have been Kimberly or Josh if I had the power.

What about you?

Elisa Camahort Page
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