Project Runway Recap: This One’s For The Birds

Last night’s episode of Project Runway was FOR THE BIRDS. Literally. And as far as innovation goes, it suffered a broken wing. Warning: I’m feeling feisty and the snark might ruffle some feathers!

Heidi Klum issues the challenge clue: “Spread your wings!” and sends the designers into the workroom where Tim Gunn is with some … BIRDS! Oh, and Loreal Paris’ Collier Strong! Tim announces the birds will serve as inspiration for a high fashion runway look, which will correspond with Loreal’s new Take Flight make-up collection. The winning design will be featured in a Loreal Paris Advertorial in Marie Claire and the winning designer will also receive $20K.

Tim also announces the designers are working in pairs, but instead of being a team they are actually going head-to-head; one designer will be best look, and the other worst! Tim randomly draws names to choose teams: Besties, Anya and Laura, who will be using the raven for inspiration, Viktor and Kimberly who will be using a beautiful pink bird, and Bert and Eyebrows McSequins who will be basing their design on an Amazon Parrot.


In the workroom, I notice the eternally chic Laura Kathleen is dressed like a hobo. Long dumpy skirts do not work on short girls (see: Simpson, Jessica).

At Mood, Anya decides to push herself by using a solid color palette to reference an all-black bird. So innovative! Joshua gets exactly the same colors as the bird and Viktor grabs zillions of feathers. At least Viktor has an interesting idea to feather chiffon and incorporate it with actual feathers.

Tim reveals there will be another dimension to the challenge: a second high fashion look inspired by their bird! Anya decides to do a structured dress, forgetting that she actually can’t put in a zipper or do any sort of complicated construction, which is why she always does a halter dress! Every challenge is just so much harder for Anya because it involves something she’s never done before! Did you know she’s never threaded a needle, either?!

Kimberly struggles to construct a garment totally out of her comfort zone and incurs a host of problems. First she stains her material, then she sews her finger to the machine, then she burns her dress and has to start all over and make a new one with three hours remaining! Poor Kimberly dissolves into a total meltdown, but Tim encourages her to stop thinking and just feel. Then he gives her a confidence-boosting hug and she manages to turn it around completely!

Tim returns to the workroom to give the designers a final twist! Only one of their two looks will walk the runway. The designers get to choose which garment to show the judges and the true challenge is their ability to edit!

Anya realizes she didn’t put in a closure in her dress, so she is literally cutting it open so the model can get it on and then sewing it back shut. Right. I’m just going to stop acknowledging the ridiculousness of her winning or even being on a show that was once about actual design. I’m pretty sure when she walks out onto the runway, the judges just look at her and think “ooooohhhh, pretty!” and automatically award her the win because she looks like a model. I’ll just continue to grade her on the curve like the judges do. Good job, Anya you cut your fabric in a straight line! Oh and you only used staples to attach the waistband instead of duct tape. Improvements! AMAZING! See you at Paris Couture week!

The guest judge is Francisco Costa, designer for Calvin Klein Women’s Wear.

The three teams go head to head. Team Matrix (Anya and Laura) Team Prom Dress (Viktor and Kim), and Team Malibu Barbie (Bert and Joshua). Seriously, none of these designers referenced the bird, they mimicked it exactly and used totally literal references. Oh, a the raven is a black mysterious bird, I’ll make a structured jacket in black! The only team that thought slightly outside the box, were Malibu Barbie.

Ok, let’s trash discuss some looks!

Bottom Three:

Auf Wiedersehen Bert! Well, this wasn’t Bert’s finest hour. He was uninspired by a stupid challenge to make a dress based on a bird that wasn’t supposed to look like a bird. Yeah, I was uninspired too. I will say that dress moved beautifully and the proportions were fantastic. I’m not sure what he was trying to do here, but it was a mess. The colors were murky and muddled. The bustier, while beautifully cut and super fun (loved the silver leather), was totally superhero. The slit was gynecological. It was just a mess and he didn’t even bother to defend it. The judges noticed the lack of inspiration immediately and while Heidi liked the idea of having the bright colors peeking out of the skirt, it didn’t work out. Heidi likes Bert. Should Bert have been the one to go home for a mildly uninspired but beautifully constructed garment? No. But you know, the judges are hell-bent on keeping the worst of the worst so Laura stayed.

Viktor: This had a lot of movement and visual interest, unfortunately it fell sort of flat and looked over-worked. It was kind of bunchy and bulky on one side, with the feathers oddly placed, and I can’t believe I am saying this but Viktor needed to take a step back from his big idea and evaluate his look – in other words he needed to edit and use constructive evaluation. All that detail on one side gave it a bathmatt-y feel and it did not look light and ethereal. Also, I agree with Francisco that it was too literal and the lack of balance made it lose it’s lightness. The technique of fraying the chiffon was nice. Also, I think he should have chosen a different color for the dress instead of white.

Laura Kathleen: Um… it’s like Laura Croft’s dress up suit. Those pants were too tight and poorly constructed. The material looked incredibly cheap.The jacket was silly and over-worked. The interpretation was far too literal and it looked like a movie villain’s costume. The entire look was silly, actually. She did think outside of her comfort zone, but she still gave us something that screams “taste issue” and following week after week of being on the bottom she definitely should not have stayed. I’m thinking La Nina was narrowly out-voted. Big disappointment here.

Top Three:

Congratulations Anya! I know I shouldn’t be taking it out on Anya that the judges love her and give her passes they would never, ever permit the other designers, but still it irks me. This look was just as literal and silly and over-done as Laura’s, yet the judges praised the overly dramatic and poorly rendered epaulets as amazing. Um… they were so enormous and the way they jettisoned out from the dress! The truly did look like wings! The skirt was bunchy and you could tell a mess. And she didn’t put an effing zipper in the garment. And the neckline was a wrinkled disaster that you know was incidental not purposeful.

I will say it’s her best look conceptually, so far, and there are a lot of interesting details with the fabric that provide depth, but still. I guess, considering all the crap up there this was the lesser of three evils, to a degree. I hope for the photoshoot somebody managed to sew a closure inside that thing so the poor model could actually get in and out without being cut out. They probably made Bert stay and do it. The judges should stop kissing her a$$ because she’s pretty and tells a good story.

And her simpering wheedling to Josh in the workroom following her win was pathetic and a true demonstration of her character. She knows she didn’t deserve to win, particularly when everyone else helped her week after week and after she refused to help Josh when he (yes, I agree inappropriately) asked to borrow fabric. Viktor has her number pegged and he knows to swim away from the sharks; swiftly, quietly, and without much splashing.

Kimberly: This felt pageant-y to me, but it did have a lot of elegant movement and I liked the little details like the leather waistband, the pearls, and cut-outs. She integrated them all well without it looking over-designed and silly. I don’t think she should have gotten a pass for pulling together something cute out in only three hours, since the construction had some seriously shoddy elements. But the concept and the instincts were fantastic. I wish she would have used a brighter color, but I guess you know she didn’t have time to reconsider! All in all, a nice, chic showing that would make a killer red carpet gown!

Eyebrows McSequins: Eeeehhh… cute dress, loved the chain detail, liked that he used a less literal color, but c’mom a draped Grecian mini? Done. To. Death. Also the fit was little tortured and boxy. Agreed with the judges that Destination Wedding Mother of the Bride corsage was a no.

During the judges deliberation, in which I was sure they were leaning towards boring and tasteless Laura who has been on the bottom time and time again; they ultimately decided Bert’s uninspired and generic dress was worse than Laura’s uninspired and over-designed suit. Bert’s exit was gracious, professional, and truly moving. Bert, I think you had a stunning collection at fashion week and you demonstrated an ability to make beautiful and timeless clothes! Oh yeah and your Piperlime dress from last week sold out in a matter of minutes!

This show is disgrace. Someone who can’t sew a zipper in a dress is winning week after week for poorly constructed, boring designs that have no excitement and no forward-thinking. I’m officially over Project Delusion. xoxo, Bertram!

Thoughts on the episode and challenge? Are you surprised by the results? Will you miss Bert as much as I will? Are you officially over the “Project Anya”?