Project Runway Recap: The Very Unsophisticated Seventies Part Deux

On last night’s episode of Project Runway, the designers repeated the same challenge from the week before – except this time they got to use real models – and most of the looks STILL didn’t improve! Ok, just kidding – last week they weren’t supposed to be recreating bad 70’s Halloween costumes, they just all did, incidentally. BUT last night the challenge was to look to the past. Also, I’m just gonna put this out there – the winner and the loser essentially made the same thing…

Tim Gunn meets the designers in the workroom where he is standing with Heather Archibald, Head Apparel Designer for I don’t know if you were aware, based on the fact that they repeat it over and over, but Piperlime provides all the accessories for the show. The challenge is actually to make a sophisticated seventies INSPIRED (not recreated) look. And it has to be separates. The winning design will be produced and sold on – guess where? Piperlime!


Tim emphasizes sophisticated again. Not literal, not vintage, but inspired by 1970’s fashions. Too late – in their minds nearly everyone ran towards big, earth colored prints completely ignoring the fantastic Halston/Calvin Klein 70’s – well, everyone but Bert, who worked at Halston. At Mood, Anya accidentally drops her money envelope and despite looking everywhere is unable to find it. Tim informs her of the options: get money from fellow designers or use muslin. Anthony Ryan gives her his $11 change and she is able to get one yard of cute-ish material, a zipper, and some buttons. Yikes! She ends up dying muslin through her tears.

Viktor informs us that Josh is a bit of a copy-catter in the workroom and he is not planning to help him at all by giving him any ideas. And sure enough, Josh makes a top with the same inverted pleat in the back as Viktor’s jacket. An unhappy Viktor states: “I’m not drivin’ you no more, Miss Daisy!”

The highlight of the episode was Bert revealing he partied at Studio 54. I would have been grilling him for Bianca Jagger drama all day!

Suddenly Tim appears and announces the designers will be responsible for a second look! And since most of them don’t have the creativity or ingenuity to handle one look, this is definitely putting them ovah the top. The second look must be one-piece (no separates, this time!). They have $50 and 15-minutes to sketch. Like a big girl, Anya safetypins her money to her blouse, so she won’t lose it again. Honey – it’s called a purse. Get one.

As Tim cruises the workroom looking to dispel some bad news, he gives Laura a little lecture about her “taste” upon seeing those chevrons mixed with an acid trip gone wrong. Tim warns Laura that Nina Garcia is questioning her taste and out. to. get. her. Laura is confused, because sometimes her taste is even “too refined.” Remember she has like the Neiman Marcus aesthetic…

The Guest Judge is Olivia Palermo who also happens to be a Piperlime Guest editor. I must say, after her less then intelligent behavior on The City, she shocked me by being an insightful, well-spoken, and knowledgeable judge. Whose brain did she steal? I also appreciated that she kept mentioning how things would photograph, which is an important concept, that none of the designers, save for Bert, considered. And then Heidi Klum stars the show!

Ok, let’s trash discuss some looks!


Look 1: The floral print was really garish and mumu-esque. If you wanted to make a Mrs. Roper caftan this was your print! I really liked her original concept of a secretarial look, but something went wrong and she scrapped it for some reason. She should have also scrapped that floral fabric! Also, the shape was SIXTIES not seventies. The swing top was too voluminous and looked costumey. I was surprised she was safe.

Look 2: I think this look kept her in the safe zone. The pants were really beautiful and given adequate time and better time management, Kimberly is a very insightful and detailed designer. The fit issues on the top of this jumpsuit were a mess. The peekaboo at the waist looked accidental and bizarre. This look did embody the kind of casual, very movement oriented clothes of the decade.

Top Three:

Congratulations Anya! I am VERY confused by the win here. And I don’t even think I need to discuss why, I get that they were celebrating her “make it work” attitude, but this competition is about design. That jumpsuit was a mess and the first look – I am flabbergasted that THOSE pants and that ill-fitted disaster of a top were considered a contender for the win along side Viktor’s and Bert’s pieces! She was given the win because the judges like her and she is judges pet. Oh and they were into her whole sob story about the $11 look. Get over yourselves.

Look 1: The top was the color of hospital scrubs with a few pintucks and was gaping all over the front. It was nothing to get excited over. Also, those pants were a terrifying mess of poor construction, bad fit, and questionable styling. I liked the pattern though.

Look 2: And the jumpsuit – it was decent – I did really like the bust; it was sexy without being overly revealing. I liked the sheer in the back also, but the legs were ridiculously wide and unkempt. I don’t want to wear it right now as the judges claim all women do. And really, Anthony Ryan’s dress was essentially the same thing and he was sent home for being “boring” and frumpy. Nothing revolutionary to see here folks, keep moving! One more thing – her and Laura often use the same elements in their designs – both used chiffon. Interesting…


Look 1: Holy HOT PANTS! Those were more like underwear! That model looked like an extra from Boogie Nights! This moved beautifully on the runway, the fabric was interesting and dynamic, and really it did make you feel vacation-y. I thought the judges were overly enthusiastic about this outfit as a whole but agreed with their consensus that the top was stunning and beautiful. And fun! I would buy it. Of course, Heidi liked the shorts… of course.

Look 2: This dress was the embodiment of the chic, breezy, relaxed seventies of Halston. It looked expensive and elegant; it was a perfect summer dress. I do agree with Michael Kors that Bert showcased two very important parts of seventies style: “streamlined and glamorama.” The construction was impeccable and Olivia was right to point out the little details that made it a stand out. I also liked that the visual interest was in the two different fabrics and no other details overtook the aesthetic. The judges aren’t calling your looks “dated” now! Although Bert did not win, Olivia announced his dress will be produced and sold on Piperlime as well.


Look 1: This was impeccably tailored, but the jacket was too boxy and looked like it was the wrong size for the model. It was beautiful though – and very well done for both the budget and the time! Viktor can work the magic. It was both referential and modern. I agree with the judges, that the t-shirt was the wrong choice under the jacket and he should have done a drapey halter instead. The snakeskin was a great idea – it’s both very trendy and was very popular in the 70’s. This look did majorly lack sex appeal which if he was going for YSL, should have been a no-brainer!

Look 2: He should have made a top like the one on the dress for under his jacket. This was a simple, easy look and both very modern and very vintage. The wrap dress was a great idea, but I noticed no one complained about him using black, which is apparently not a good choice for photographs (eye roll). I wasn’t totally crazy about the drastic asymmetrical hem – it looked a bit sloppy and rushed (because likely given the ridiculous time constraints it was). All in all good showing, V and you would have definitely been my pick for the win over sloppy britches, Anya!

Bottom Three:

Auf Wiedersehen Anthony Ryan! Oh my poor southern sassy pants got sent home for basically making the same garment that will be sold nationwide on Piperlime. I shall not be buying that!


Look 1: I agree this was a hot mess and all together too much. I’m not sure what he was going for with the skirt, it seemed 80’s to me not seventies and the bad upholstery fabric vest? Very confusing. I don’t even want to talk about the fit of that skirt – because it speaks for itself.

Olivia made the astute suggestion that he should have made skorts or culottes because WHO exactly over the age of 10 is wearing either of those things in 2011? If anything would have sent an big antenna up for the judges it would be making something extremely dated like culottes. But then again, what was Olivia wearing during judging? A Little House On The Prairie Skirt?

I liked the pattern on the tank top and did agree having sleeves would have improved it dramatically and made it more appropriate to the decade, but the look all together was wan and a mess. I didn’t find it as offensive as the judges did, but they seem a mite insane.


Look 2: The judges were horrified by this caftan, which is both very in and very similar to what Anya made – right down to the open back, the geometric earth-hued material, and super loose fit. I don’t thing either looks (hers or his) was “show stopping” or innovative, but I also don’t think this dress was the “cult member” horror show depicted by the apoplectic judges, who basically just wanted to give Anya the win because of her tough time. Joshua’s look was faaaar more offensive than this slightly ridiculous and over-sized rendering of a maxidress.

I also don’t think every single runway look needs to evoke sex appeal, and Michael was right to point out that Anthony Ryan was attempting to reference the early, hippy seventies which is clearly not a time appreciated by Heidi or Nina who were up in arms about how atrocious this dress was (did I hear Nina compare it to a Charles Mansion cult member dress? – a little OTT, Ninakins). Anyways, because he didn’t make hoochie wear or his name wasn’t Anya he was sent home.


Look 1: In my mind, she was competing for Eyebrows McSequins for the worst looks on the runway and AR should have been safe. Both her looks were a garish eye-sore of ridiculous, tasteless, and bland. Nina was FREAKING OUT and rightly called the top a “prison uniform!” Those patterns were a hot mess! What was she thinking?! The Y-back seemed interesting, but up close it reminded me of something Debbie Gibson would be rocking on her mall tour! I also agree with Olivia – who could wear either of those thing without looking 10lbs heavier?!

Laura made the mistake of making “vintage” not updating the seventies. Both her looks were extremely dated and basically replicas of clothing from the decade.

Look 2: Not much better. Sloppy, over-worked, silly. Also drab. But once again, not much different from what Anya or AR created. This was pure replica at it’s worst.


Look 1: Also in the what was he thinking category?! I think he was actually confusing 1977 with 1987! The blouse was a freak show, the colors were nauseating and those pants made me want to gouge my eyes out! If you can make a size 0, 5’10 woman’s ass look fat the rest of America is doomed. That he even considered sending that mess of bad taste, bad construction, uninspired, hideous crap down the runway was enough – he should have been sent home on the first bus home!

Look 2: This warrants no discussion. The top looked like a swimsuit and the print was Jimi Hendrix’s worst nightmare. I agree with Nina: “hor-ren-dous!” I thought Nina was going to need a paper bag to breathe into she was so upset. The producers demanded he stay for drama purposes and really it’s not worth it if we have to look at this schlock for another few weeks!

Hey, it’s not Josh’s fault he, like, wasn’t born in the 70’s!

After deliberation, which included more assignations about bad taste, Anthony Ryan was chosen to be sent home. Heidi looked very sad to send him home and I think she was gunning for Eyebrows to get the boot. Anthony left graciously and Eyebrows McSequins chose to make AR’s departure all about him by sobbing and dabbing his eyes oh so carefully to not smudge his make-up. Ugh.

Next week: Birds serve as the inspiration and cause all kinds of issues. The designers are competing against each other on a team or something and Kimberly and Anya are having issues which means one of them will win.

Thoughts on the episode? Were you shocked by the outcome? Are you so over Eyebrows McSequins and Laura Kathleen or is that just me?