Heading into the fourth episode of Project Runway the designers are starting to get the feel of the competition – some are starting to get really nervous about the mounting pressure – and it’s about to get scarier! After last’s weeks ridiculous, bad, pointless challenge that left fans gritting their teeth – this week Runway is back to ‘design a pretty dress for a celebrity!’ At least the celebrity isn’t Heidi – another challenge of stuffing her into some skin-tight crotchtastic casing of a dress would make me explode.

This week, the designers are forced to contend with something a lot scarier than ten-feet tall stiltwalkers or Mrs. Seal’s lady region – this week they must make a day-to-evening look for the Bitchtress, herself – Ms. Nina Garcia, HBIC! And Nina does not mess around with the frou-frou, the sequins, the fuss, the volume, the loud wacktastic prints and cray-cray colors the contestants often use to distract from poor construction or fit. Nope, this time the designers have to actually *gasp* – CONSTRUCT, and sew, and tailor – in monochromatic hues.


Before sending her minions off to the slaughter, Nina announces all the parameters: she likes streamlined, tailored, and classic with an edge; she does not do fussy or crazy. These queens and ladies have their work cut out for them! Punkrock Beauty Queen (aka Anya) and Eyebrows McSequins (aka Joshua) are in trouble. Heidi announces the winner of the challenge will receive bragging rights that Nina did not light their outfit on fire and denounce it trash; and they will have their look featured in a Marie Claire Magazine ad that will run on top of NYC Taxi Cabs. Holy Exposure. As a bonus prize, the look will get a fashion editorial in Marie Claire. Sew like the wind, designers!

The designers are given 30 minutes to sketch and a portfolio of Nina’s looks for intimidation inspiration. Then they go to face their doom: a one-on-one consultation with La Nina to discuss their designs. Ugh. I think I’d rather have a personal consultation with Ghengis Khan – Nina is scary, but luckily very direct about what she wants and expects. Further complicating things, she asks Tim Gunn to issue the following directive: No boring and No runway filled with grey clothes. Well, what do you like Nina? No boring, no fun, no funky, no costume-y, no minimalist. Le sigh.

Speaking of grey, apparently Southern Comfort (aka Anthony Ryan) and Becky chose the same grey printed fabric. Fashion Face Off! Who copied whom? Anthony claims Becky swiped it from his scraps at Mood.

The guest judges for the Dress Nina Garcia Challenge are Editor-in-chief of Marie Clair Magazine, Joanna Coles and actress, Kerry Washington. As the runway show begins Celia is peeing her pants nervous and Anya is very confident given all the extra, ahem, help she received.

Ok, Let’s trash discuss some looks!

Joshua – well, hmmm… kinda reminded me of an etch-a-sketch. Loved the shape of the dress, but the neon color, piped in black, with grey panel front was a little off kilter seeming. The cutouts in the back were a phenomenal and pretty much made the dress. Construction was sublime – the man can sew and he is innovative, but his styling and his sense of fancifulness are a little over-the-top.

Bert –Calvin Klein circa 1999, but very elegant in an Audrey Hepburn goes to work way. Of the two all black dresses – I preferred his. Very well constructed! Bert has the skillz to pay the billz!

Olivier –Star Trek meets Equestrian. Ew. Well fitted, but the color combination (the same one he uses week, after week, after week) was vomit – literally – the color of vomit or spilled latte. MIX IT UP, KID!

Fashion War Time: the battle of the grey reverse-ombre print fabric:

Southern Comfort, Anthony Ryan – Dull. Skirt had an interesting effect, but was a little boxy, especially with the emphasis on the faux hips – it needed to be longer and more fitted to be chic. It reminded me a little of club kid 90’s in style (certainly not color). Was incongruous with the shirt. Which I personally did not like at all – what was the nautical style collar and the little belt – too confusing.

Becky – I thought the fabric inserts read like Zebra stripes on the runway and were distracting from the print. Which I actually liked, of the two designers, I felt Becky clearly used it better. I liked the pop of yellow Becky added – it was just enough for Nina, but against the big heavy black stripes it was lost and basically unnoticeable on the runway, however when I looked at still pictures the dress everything looked much more cohesive. Becky’s styling was poor – she should play up the yellow accents with accessories, and with all the stuff going on around the neckline put that model’s hair UP.

Bryce– This was SO boring and done. to. death. Also, that hem was woooonky. Did you catch Heidi’s expression?! Yeah, mine too. This would have been in the bottom 3 if there weren’t so many other trainwrecks.

Laura – Jessica McClintock Christmas dance circa 1987. The sleeves! That material! The pouf at the hips! The sheer inserts almost to gynecological levels. The fit at the bust and waist made the model look thick and who uses green taffeta for a person over the age of 8? All of this to me was a big ol’ hot mess. Although, she does have some sewing skills. Excellent finishing.

Top Three:

THE WINNER: Kimberly– definitely one of the most interesting looks and given all the fuss from the other contestants about how Nina would never wear that shirt, the judges were practically fighting over it. I loved gold top – very untraditional while still being modern and not frou-frou, despite the color and fabric choice. Joanna called it “transformative.” The pants were sublime. The styling was chic and well-thought out. The judges praised it to the hilt, particularly the detail to accessorizing. Definitely deserved the win in my book!

Viktor – Copyright Infringement time! Stolen from Victoria Beckham who stole it from Roland Mouret. The only interesting detail was that it can be divided it into separates. Of course, Nina would wear it – she probably already has it from the original designers! Can we please get over the exposed zippers people? Interestingly, the judges praised this as different and what’s new – which struck me as odd considering I’ve seen this dress a zillion times – haven’t you?

Anya –it was interesting and definitely fun, as the judges stated. But was it Nina? Yes, surprisingly! I would have thought It was a little too young and cutesy for Nina. Although I thought the color was interesting, the sewing seemed sloppy in places and the fit was a little off to me (although Michael Kors seemed to disagree). Girl needs to learn how to fit a crotch if she is going to insist on making pants, cause honey women do not need extra room down there, if you get my drift. Heidi and Joanna also adored this – of course, Heidi would: tight, revealing, and shiny.

I’m also really surprised the judges would praise this as office-friendly – even for fashion. Anya herself has fantastic instincts for style and that comes through in her designs, but this was very low-cut and a jumpsuit – for work – how does one remove that for bathroom breaks? Clearly, I am a jumpsuit novice. They scare me. Insights, anyone? Another thing, as Viktor pointed out many of the elements of this jumpsuit were constructed in conjunction with Laura and Joshua, such as the dying, the finishing, and the collar. Cheating or Fair game?

Bottom Three:

Auf Wiedersehen Julie! This was definitely interesting and different – although that doesn’t mean good. The sleeves – the material seemed scuba to me, and the color read like a Crossing Guard vest. Nina felt it deviated significantly from the sketch in terms of the collar being too open and the style. Michael Kors, aka Queen Tangerine dubbed it a “house coat,” well yes it was, but I do think it had some interesting aspects and the construction was very good (if you didn’t know about the glue of course). Joanna felt Nina would only wear it were she looking to get fired. I think least in Julie’s favor was the fact that it did not seem particularly day OR night or work or casual. Where does one wear a sort of raincoat looking dress with reflective sleeves and a strangely open collar? Heidi mentions that Michael praises Julie every week, but she has been living on the bottom week after week. And that is true – Julie just did not seem ready for this competition. Best of luck, Julie!

Celia – This dress was slapped together and hellish, she really did just throw in the towel for this challenge! Joanna was practically having a conniption fit about the horrors of this ummm.. garment. This fabric looked like a burlap sack and felt like it belonged in an unconventional materials challenge – it didn’t help that the grey piping looked like a seatbelt. EW. The construction was very unfinished and totally uninspired. Nina felt it was sad and the material seemed cheap- agreed! Also, the boots paired with it were totally inappropriate given the feel of the dress. I don’t know how you go from TOO Dynasty to desperately needing an anti-depressant, but yeah, some how Celia pulled it off.

Danielle: Nina had high hopes for this, and you can tell Danielle can SEW, but this was a big ol’ mess of boring, old, and dated. Totally 9-5 without Dolly Pardon’s spunk or pizaz; basically depressed secretary ala Maggie Gyllenhal BEFORE the S&M affair with her boss and that’s not a compliment. Also, the color of the blouse was, as Michael Kors stated: “Joan Crawford at a St. Paddy’s Day party!” haha This looked like “mall clothes” and was so boring, or as Michael called it: “pedestrian.” Nina felt this was over-ambitious for the time allowed, and yes – it was to complicated, given the fabrics and planned details. Kerry was kind in calling it pretty, just not for Nina. Joanna felt this outfit needed Prozac and possibly so did Danielle! Hehe. Sheesh – Joanna is harsher than Her Bitchness!

After the deliberation, Kimberly is announced the winner and Julie is OUT! Kimberly visited the Marie Claire offices and we saw Nina in Kimberly’s outfit. She did look sophisticated and elegant. Julie is sent to the workroom to clean up her stuff.

And that’s it! One more auf’d as we count down to Mercedes-Benz Fashion week!

Next week: Team Challenge! Some sort of… sports? Olivier wipes out! And everyone else dissolves into DRAMZ!

So, thoughts – what were your least favorite and favorite looks? Did Kimberly deserve to win? What do you think about Anya receiving help with her construction? Should Julie have been sent home over Celia?

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