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Project Runway 304 Recap - Reap What You Sew: Macy's Storefront Challenge

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by Maeko

Guest Judge: Mehmet Tangoren, VP of Macy's Contempory Sportswear

The challenge posed in this week's tension filled episode is to create a three-piece woman's sportswear outfit for Inc. (AKA International Concepts), the most sold brand out of Macy's Department Stores.

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The designers are given half an hour to create a look. After the clock has ticked its final seconds, they are each to pitch their idea to Mehmet Tangoren of Macy's. He chooses four designers whose ideas have tickled his fancy to be team leaders:

Keith, the season's dubbed "villain", Robert, who helped create the winning gown in episode 2 with Kayne, Bonnie, a designer for Nike, and much to everyone's surprise (and dismay) ... Angela! What a shocker. Especially when her team is chosen. The team leaders' names are drawn at random out of a bag and from there teams of three are composed.


Keith chooses Allison and Jeffrey - local boy from L.A. with the Detroit tattoo on his neck. The two are happy to work with someone skilled, though his character is always questionable. Bonnie chooses her ally Uli and Bradley (the guy with time management slash priority issues). Robert goes with Kayne and Vincent. Angela chooses Laura (I like to forget that she has a name since she made it abundantly clear in the first couple of episodes that she has made success through her skill as an architect--henceforth she is "Architect") and Michael Knight, who so far has flown far beneath the radar though I don't understand why, because his tailored outfits are so fresh and sleek that he should've have won a challenge.

Aside to the camera, both Architect and Michael are unhappy that Angela has them as her team, but they have no choice but to work under her direction, so they cross their fingers.

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Up to this point, Keith has done well in other challenges. His designs are flawless and high fashion, even if his attitude is rather arrogant. If his designers are winners, his personality is definitely a loser. However, in this challenge, his weaknesses begin to surface and his resolve crumbles under the stress of the assignment. His specialty is menswear. The assignment is to create a three piece look for Inc which will then be marketed in Macy's stores. As the team leader, he delegates the skin tight pants to Jeffrey and the Jersey cotton tunic top to Allison. That leaves the jacket for him to design. Allison and Jeffrey can't help but note that Keith has delegated the most ambitious pieces to them while he hems and haws and questions his own work on the jacket while they try to construct the pieces they have been given.

Meanwhile, Bonnie, knowing Bradley's predilection for dilly-dallying on projects, continues to prod him to hurry on his work so that they can finish on time. The constant badgering bothers him and he remarks that it feels like Bonnie doesn't trust his skill at all. What a way to work, eh?

In Angela's team, surprise surprise, the team is getting on well. Architect and Michael Knight's sleek styles are a strong influence on Angela's quirky nature. They subtly veto her decisions to funkify the outfit. At one point she is sewing her crazy rosettes (small satin roses that she likes to attach to everything like a rose bush defecated all over her outfits), but Architect intervenes and they discover that instead of using them as decorations all over the outfit, they work as accent buttons in key locations on the jacket. In an untypical move, they put a trio of rosettes centered high on the back of the collar of the cropped jacket.

With a hard day of work at an end, everyone goes back to the "dorms" to turn in where the drama explodes.

Kayne finds how-to design and pattern-making books piled under Keith's bed. Any design help books are a direct violation of the terms of their stay in the competition. He brings this to Michael and Robert's attention, and the three of them hold an agitated pow-wow in one of their bedrooms. They agree that this is an extreme breach of contract.

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Flash to a shot of Keith admitting to the camera in interview in a prior episode, "Sometimes I like to break the rules just a little." Gotcha. And with a simpering expression on your face.

The violation is made known to Tim Gunn, who comes to the apartments. "This is a direct violation of the rules. Rules are rules. You leave tonight." He sacks Keith and tells him to pack up.

Before he leaves Keith comes up to the guys, Vincent, Robert, Michael and Kayne and appears to make an apology, but instead, he says that he never meant anything by it and he knows that people're upset, but now his "image has been tarnished forever" and he has been made a laughing stock. Well, you should've thought about that before you cheated, Keith.

I'm pretty sure no one shed tears in the scene of Keith walking through the hallway to the exit with his bags in tow.

You do reap what you sew. The only problem now is that his team is left without a leader and a third set of hands.

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In the morning, Tim makes it known to the group that Keith has had to go and that his teammates are just going to have to make do without him.

Allison is shaken and has a hard time trying to work on the outfit. She breaks down in tears in a hallway at Parsons.

However, they have no choice. With the clock counting down until runway time, they have no seconds to waste and get to, even without their team leader.

Then the runway begins.

First up: Angela's team. The model is in a tweed 3 piece. Flipped up collar on a short sleep utility crop jacket with rosette accent buttons. Underneath is a form fitting pink tight long sleeve top with ruched sleeves. Completing the look is a high-waisted pant with satin slit pockets. The hidden gem in the outfit is actually the jacket's lining which is an art deco kind of pattern inspired by the architecture of the Empire State Building.

Second: Keith's team minus Keith. Long funky flowing trench style jacket. Underneath, a jersey turtle neck long sleeve white tunic with cut-out accents on a curvy hem. Black woven skinny cigarette pants round out this hipster look. Not bad at all for a team that only had two pairs of hands to finish when things got tough!

Third: Bonnie's team. A-Line three-fourth sleeve belted camel trench over a coral coloured turtle neck tunic and wide-leg trousers.

Fourth: Robert's team. Sport jacket with elastic toggle tighteners over a two piece tailored pencil and shirt combo.

The highs chosen are, and, surprise again! Angela's team, who is lauded for the interesting rosette accents high up on the flipped collar and the groovy combination of a cropped jacket with a ruched top. Excitedly, she opens the jacket to show the judges the lining, and everyone is delighted. Kors gives her props and the rest of the team looks very self-satisfied.

The other high team is Keith's group. The first acknowledgment they are given is that they were able to even finish with their team leader. The second acknowledgment is that they did very well with his designs when there was no one to direct them in what to do. The pieces are well constructed and the execution was great.

The lows: Robert, whose outfit combination really didn't fit well together. Whoever has thought of putting a sport jacket over a tailored business-type of outfit? It just doesn't work unless she's going out in the Windy City on the most blustery of days.

And Bonnie's team, who I thought would do well, since she designs for the masses at her day job... instead, her tunic and trench combo bomb with the judges who say it is uninspired and makes a woman look old. What they want to see is fresh and creative. Women shopping at Macy's would not want that outfit, they say. Ouch.

The loser is announced. It's Bonnie. And they say nothing of the loser. Instead the two teams with the highest scores are taken to Macy's the next morning, where, in the window, showing through the sunlight gleaming on the pane, is Angela's outfit, ready to be marketed to the masses as the newest addition to the Inc. line at Macy's stores nationwide.

The darkhorse winner of the competition has shown that there much more to her than just a bunch of satin flowers.

In the next episode, now that Keith is gone, Jeffrey steps up as the newest jerk in the group. What tensions will rise? Stay tuned!