"Project Runway" Recap: The Top 8 Go Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

And I bet I'm the ONLY one to pull out that bon mot, right?

Last week, Michael C. shocked the world, or at least his fellow Project Runway designers, by winning his second challenge. Even designers who don't make a full-time job out of being nasty seem to find Michael fair game. Instead of a lightning rod, he's a nasty rod. Which sounds really dirty. I'm sorry.

So when Michael C. says that "None of them were happy" when he won, and that it hurt, I had to wonder: Was he surprised?

Andy gets in one last dig about how Michael C., is the weakest, with a lack of skills, but even he has to concede: "I guess it's working." Um, yes it is, so maybe you all should take it down a notch.

I wouldn't have given Michael the win either time he won, either. BUT I would probably spend more time wondering what I'm missing and less time deciding that the judges you were kissing up to and admiring a few weeks ago have suddenly lost all brain function.

In other news: April has to move in with the beyotches.

We go to the runway, where MC Hammer -- oh, oops, I'm sorry, I mean Heidi Klum -- is wearing her most bizarre outfit yet. I swear those were Hammer pants, right? And also: WTF????

Heidi tells them to meet Tim and a special guest "at the marina." Um, if this was set in San Francisco, that would mean something. I'm not sure there's one "the marina" in NYC, am I wrong? And then she skitters her way off stage looking for her back-up dancers.

The guest at "the marina" is MK. The challenge is resort wear. This is the catalyst for varying reactions, including:

  • Michael C.: "I live in Palm Springs. I got this."
  • Michael D.: "I loves resorts, I loves vacation. I got this."
  • Mondo: "I don't go on vacation. Sitting in my underwear is my resort wear."

Um, do these guys go to formal dances and walk the red carpet when they're not on this show? Do they wear ball gowns, or mod '60s-inspired dresses, in Mondo's case? No. But they design them anyway, no? What makes them think their personal affinity for vacations or proximity to resorts is the harbinger of their ability to do this challenge? It's like when contestants on reality shows talk about how much they "want this," as though that's the criteria.

Break for HP plug: Blah blah blah Ginger!! Blah blah blah.

(Old Far Side reference. Anyone?)

Armed with their own personal affinity for resorting in hand, the designers head to Mood with $150 and 30 minutes to spend.

"Think resort," says Tim.

  • Andy is thinking glamourous bathing suit and coverup.
  • April is thinking taking a resort cruise to an asylum. Ooohkay.
  • Mondo is thinking boycut bikini with windbreaker and visor.
  • Ivy is advised to think with her heart and stomach.
  • Michael D? Well, Michael D is "dark." I personally never got that about him, but apparently: He's dark. He's moody. He's intense. In other words: Love HIM!!!! (Or if you're me, you're wondering how a guy who's so dark is the one talking about being a puppy with his head out the window of the yacht on which they were sailing.)

And in the highlight of the episode (no really, the absolute honest-to-god highlight...seriously...no irony allowed here): Swatch the Dog is here for the five-minute call, yay!!!!

I swear the producers have read my recaps and realize that people really need to know that Swatch is still alive. He's like our own Project Runway talisman.

Thank you Mood!

And back to the workroom, where Tim has a bag. They all hate the bag.

The "twist" is that they are all going to be put in teams of two. The designers will have to execute the designs of their partners. Because designers don't make their own work. Each designer will be held responsible for the quality of work of her partner, who is executing her design. This is making some of them very nervous -- and is making all of them hope that they don't get Michael C.

The teams are:

  • Valerie/Andy
  • April/Christopher
  • Casanova/Gretchen
  • Ivy/Michael D.
  • And Mondo draws Michael C., responding with a sarcastic and audible "Yay!" Nice.

Cut to Mondo, who seems like he'd be the meekest, nicest little guy around, being mean to Michael: "Your construction is awful, and you have immunity. I can't believe you don't have a ruler." And yet, can I point out that Mondo doesn't sketch, he makes notes?

I mean, neither of them uses spit marks to mark hem lines, so I think they're both ahead of the game.

Next we have Casanova with a hilarious monologue about how Gretchen thinks that because he has some language barriers he also won't understand sketches. She's making them really big, which is sort of the fashion equivalent of talking really loudly to a blind person.

But mostly they all continue obsessing about Michael C. All I have to say is: Get. Over. it. What whiny babies! Mondo wants to leave right now because Michael is his partner? OK, go for it.

But the nicest thing about this episode was how Mondo realized that Michael C. was a good guy and had his own talents and skills.

Mondo says: "I was being a dick." I say: "Indeed."

It's time for Tim's visit, and his special surprise this time is that MK is coming in to do these initial critiques with Tim.

We get some excellent MK bon mots at this point:

  • Casanova's isn't a young pant. Beige can be good, but make it youthful.
  • Gretchen also gets dinged for looking old.
  • Mondo is warned: That's a lot of pattern, a lot of color.
  • Michael C. has found a cool fabric, but it's a little "glammy puss" over the top. Keep it simple. Yes. MK said "Glammy puss."
  • April is planning a long maxi-sundress. But MK has an alternate suggestion: Make a tailored brief/boy short and have a shorter sheer overlay. "The shorts better fit. And no ass cheeks." I know it will come as a total surprise to you that when April makes what MK suggests, he likes it. I know, right?
  • Christopher wants to make something whimsical and flowy for going out to dinner in L.A. MK thinks the fabric wants to move, so let it move!
  • Ivy has a blouse that looks career-ish. That can't be good for this challenge.
  • Michael D. is warned that his armhole and back need to feel sexy, not a prison-matron sack.
  • Andy's bathing suit and wrap are looking promising.
  • Valerie gets absolutely reamed for "going back to colors that no one likes." This sets her off wondering how she could be in the top 3 four times now, but have no one see the value in what she does. Honey, being in the top four times IS them seeing value in what you do.

So, it's Valerie's turn to cry to Mom this week. She's upset and tired. 'Cause they're sewing every day. And she's made sacrifices. And then in the ultimate drama queen moment, she feels like if she doesn't win, "everything is gonna die." Really? Wow. She needs therapy.

More sweet guy-love, as Mondo is caught off-guard that Michael C. turns out not to be quite the complete loser. Only he says it nicer than that.

Finally, we are off to the runway.

Talk about Grandma! Here's Heidi in a bizarrely un-resorty black lace number.

She's joined by MK, ninagarcia. And Kristin Bell. 'Cause she's stylish. That's the bar now. For guest judges.

As always you can click on the designers' names to see their creations.

1. Andy

Andy created a barely-there one-piece bathing suit with long, flowy sarong skirt. Purple being my favorite color, of course I liked his palette, from the silvery lavender to the eggplant. I thought the front of suit was a bit more p0rn star than resort wear -- which was surprising, given that the top and the backside were tastefully executed, but overall this was feminine and pretty.

2. April

Apparently I do not understand this challenge. I thought it was for resort wear, not retro lingerie. I will grant you that diapers look better in black than in white, so April avoided making the same mistake twice. But is the cut of the black shorts in this outfit appreciably different than the cut of her diaper weeks back? They do fit better, but still. Top off the shorts with a sheer babydoll top with some marginally interesting strap configurations, and sure, i wouldn't send her home for it, but really? This is a top design? I am confused.

3. Casanova

OK, this outfit could have perhaps used a dash of color. I do understand that. I also thought it was sleek, well-made -- and, frankly, looks like a lot of resort wear you see in an actual store. And not just for senior citizens, but for grown-up women. Not everyone is a hip Sex and the City gal, but that doesn't mean not fashionable. I thought this outfit would be wearable and sellable from moment one. I apparently don't know what I'm talking about [spoiler alert.]

4. Christopher

Christopher also went with a pretty bland color palette. And his original concept of a longer, more flowy top with his print went away, in favor of a pretty static, one-shouldered blouse. And beige walking shorts. I would say Christopher and Casanova were in the same place: Wearable, realistic, well-made clothes. But therein, I guess, lies the problem: Clothing, not fashion.

5. Gretchen

Wow, this was just a big, over-sized, old-fashioned, saggy palazzo jumpsuit in beige and brown. I thought it was BUTT-ugly. Excuse my crassness, but seriously. Fugly to the max.

6. Ivy

Ivy's outfit wasn't ugly, but it wasn't, well, anything. It was blandness personified. A big shapeless, colorless blob. And a ridiculously stupid-looking headband.

7. Michael C.

For resort wear, this whole crew came up with some pretty colorless designs -- swinging between black and beige, and none of it screaming resort to me. Except Michael. He did go there with his tropical-print palazzo jumpsuit -- that, unlike Gretchen's, actually fit and showed off the model's body instead of hiding it.

8. Michael D.

Like April, I thought Michael D's outfit was more bedroom than upper deck. It also featured unusual strap configurations. It was a well-made black sheath dress with thin chain detailing. It didn't wow me. But apparently resort wear has changed a lot since I actually worked in the Garment District for two different designers who actually made resort collections. Of course, they both eventually went out of business, so perhaps I shouldn't be judging by them :)

9. Mondo

This was cute, and at least it was colorful. But yeah: Junior. A stripey boyshort bikini and a pretty incongruous lime-green tropical print windbreaker and visor. Uninspired. Especially for Mondo, who is usually overfilled with inspiration.

10. Valerie

This was like an outfit that didn't know what it wanted to be. Again, the black and taupe color palette doesn't scream resort. And the overall effect was like slutty office wear. The proportions were also pretty bad, making the model look squat and without a real figure. A little surprised it wasn't Bottom Three.

In the end:

The Top Three

Andy's design is praised for being commercial and looking expensive. Although I have to question their claim that lots of women could wear that.

April's creation is praised for being tough, punk babydoll. Kristin Bell said she'd wear it on the red carpet, but isn't that part of the problem?

Michael D. Even knowing he's already in the top, Ivy can't resist, you guessed it, throwing him under the bus. "Michael doesn't know how garments go on and off." But the judges turn that against Ivy: She's technical, but does she have design vision? Michael would have felt guilty had he won (because he did feel he didn't do a great job executing Ivy's garment). So I'm sure he's happy that:

April is the winner!

The Bottom Three

Casanova: The judges think it reads as an outfit for a grandma going to the mall and then coming home and watching TV. I think that's a damn elegant grandma.

Mondo: The judges think it was disappointing -- junior, inexpensive. And (thank you!) they call it a cop-out to say you've never been to a resort. Haven't these folks looked at other designers' resort collections, ever? But no matter, because now it's so cute that Michael and Mondo are new besties. Arms around each other and everything.

Ivy: She was going for the ocean. And she blames her failure on Michael D.'s limitations, saying they forced her to edit down a lot. But the judges don't buy it. She bought too many fabrics and not enough of them. No personality. A yawn. Good technically, but does she have ideas? The judges proceed to say "Throw him under the bus, the bus, the bus" way too many times, then close with the ultimate put-down: "She's a seamstress." Ouch.

And yet, Casanova is auf'ed.

Casanova wants us to know that he grabbed one ball of New York, and New York grabbed one of his, and really? What else needs be said?

Oh, except I can't wait to see any episode that invokes Jackie Kennedy and cameltoe in one sentence.

But that'll have to wait until next week.

What did you think of this week, kids?

Images courtesy Lifetime.

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