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Arts and Entertainment

Project Runway #310 - "Black and White"

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Challenge: Create a cocktail dress using only a black and white palette, incorporating all material purchased in the overall look. No leftover scraps are permitted. They are given one day to construct.

Guest Judge: Designer Zac Posen.

Heidi wasn’t kidding when she said the challenges would get harder. Starting from last challenge, immunity was dissolved. This week’s episode twist is more like a wrench thrown into the spokes of a moving bicycle. Heidi announces two surprise guests who turn out to be designers who have won previous challenges but were later auf’d. Surprise! Woody (Vincent L.) and Holly Hobbie (Angela) turn up. (Keith Michael would’ve been eligible for comeback, but his cheating disqualified him.) In t his challenge, instead of one auf, there will be three.

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I think if a designer was booted, there was a good reason. Particularly in Vincent’s case. I don’t even know how he lasted so long. He should have been booted in the first episode. He put a basket on Camilla’s head! Where in the world does that not scream, “no!” Maybe where daily duties call for baskets to be placed on your head, serving some function essential in everyday life. I, like Nina Garcia, do not understand this man.

Of course, of course, Jeffrey is unhappy. His Detroit neck tattoo throbs as he searches for the good thing about this particular challenge and ultimately draws a blank. He can be so childish. Like a thirteen year old boy who wants to give into the temptation to rub his boogers in the nerdy girl’s hair.

The challenge is not hard in and of itself: Create a cocktail dress. The criterion, though, are hard. Stick to black and white, both must be incorporated. Use all the material purchased, no scraps. This presents a problem. Purchase too much, purchase too little, and you’re pretty much S.O.L. The makeup and hair will be incorporated as the final accessory and complement to the overall look.

Once again, we are given insight into McKnight’s brilliant design intelligence. He purchases almost exactly what he needs, uses a cotton jersey fabric and some sparing back lace and patent material for a cumberbunded jersey off-shoulder cocktail dress.

Three people are having problems: Kayne, having been told his tacky design needs to grow up and transform into elegant, is having a hard time creating a look without pseudo-edgy, weighed down gaudy details. His dress becomes a simple matte jersey bat-wing, backless number. His number of belts, patent, vinyl make the dress look piece-y and cheap. He ends up putting custom grommets along the seam of the back cutout and stringing black and white ribbon in and out of it. It looks like fishing tackle with the cleaning rag for the fish threaded into it. It looked better on the dress form than on Amanda.

Laura, well into her first trimester of pregnancy is losing steam, emotionally and physically. Thrown from the criticism last challenge, she doubts her ability to create a look that won’t appear overly mature. Her black lace overlay onto an empire waist baby-doll sleeved shift appears to me to un-exuberant of youth. Maybe I just feel that way because Architect always designs with herself in mind. She is slagged and hormonal, and breaks down crying in one of her confessionals to the camera.

Vincent is up the creek, floating on a canoe made of too much fabric. To consume the extra, he ruches and ruches and ruches then creates a capelet that conflicts with the short tube dress. His model looks as if she is about to hail a sports car from the street corner and I don’t have to tell you the rest of my scenario because her dress is too short and the ruching makes it ride up when she walks. The capelet does not fit the look. The judges unanimously agree the excess fabric could’ve gone into creating an extension in the skirt to bring it to knee length—an appropriate and elegant longer line is more sophisticated. Chic, not cheap. Maybe Vincent’s hearing is bad.

Uli, we have seen this dress before. Flowy, light fabrics with crazy prints. The detail and the pattern of the outfit always differ a bit, but all of her looks have been consistently similar. Apart from the gowns, that is. But she’s safe.

On the runway, the judges surprisingly have nothing bad to say about Architect’s baby doll lace shift. It’s younger and chic. Again, they have nothing bad to say about McKnight. Kors praises Michael’s design astuteness. He thinks to the very detail. I think Kors is secretly rooting for McKnight to win. I am not so secret. I believe he can make it to the final three. He is consistent, talented and brilliant. These two designers are the only two with nothing but praise. Laura takes the win, her first, and Michael is safely in.

Angela’s Edwardian collar on a leather bolero shrug attached to a cutout back satin dress with pin-tuck hem is a disaster. It looks like the cotton pulp custom paper is made out of crossed with papier mâché. Popcorn cotton cable. The bolero is all wrong and the pin-tuck hemming is sloppy. The dress isn’t made for her model’s body. Satin doesn’t fall right on some women with flat hips and miniscule breasts. And she finishes out the disaster with her signature floret in the center of her breastless model’s chest. She is auf’d for this nightmare of Wagnerian proportions.

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Vincent’s street-walking tube dress is history. Which is appropriate, because Vincent thinks of himself as legendary. “I was making beautiful music before this show and I will continue to make beautiful music. I do it so damn well.” I think he was singing off-key, cause his music was rarely, if ever, good.

Which leaves Kayne’s bat-wing jersey and Jeffrey’s 80’s, thigh-high legwarmer-clad, polka-dot off-shoulder tank blouson mini dress. Kayne’s lack of white is a low-point. Jeffrey’s edgy design aesthetic is Gwen Stefani from week to week. At least the boy is consistent which is more than I can say for Angela. I’ll save you the drama. Jeffrey proves his mettle: L.A. rock is more fashionable than Oklahoma pageantry glam. Kayne goes bye-bye and we can see Jeffrey’s Detroit neck again for another week at least.

Next week: the final three are selected and one last designer gets sacked. Don’t get sad yet. Friday is NY fashion week and the Top 4 unveil their collections (to keep people guessing until the episode airs). I won’t make any predictions, but I hope McKnight is all up in it. I also have hopes for Detroit Neck, but that’s just because I like rock and I live in Detroit.

Images via BravoTV

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