Project Runway Recap: The Art of the Matter
Sep 05 2011 12:00 pm CET

This week art imitates, uh, art as the Project Runway designers use paintings created by young talents to develop avant garde designs. Oliver's muted sadness and unfinished project almost violates the rules. Kenneth Cole guest judges.

Last week we lost two quiet, mousey contestants, leaving the brash, the criers, and Oliver. Anthony Ryan and Viktor tried their best to be cordial to Bert, though I wonder how long that would last. Did they promise to be nice to his face and smack talk in interviews? Bert then claimed to try to be less of a bitch as well. With the women dropping like flies, Becky had to move into the girl's yellow room. She didn't match the energy of Kimberly, Anya, and Laura, but had no choice. Josh C. was back in the green room, but he was running on borrowed time.

Heidi welcomed the group and announced that the contestants would be going "back to school" as she glared at Bert. Heidi may poke fun at Bert a lot, but she has become the voice of dissent that keeps Bert around. Tim brought the contestants to Harlem School of the Arts where they were introduced to several art students. For the challenge, the contestants would have to collaborate with the students and create an avant garde look for the runway. The contestants were randomly assigned students. Some of the students ranged from quiet 17-year-olds to the 12-year-old Skyy who was a nonstop talker. Did anyone notice that a girl named Maris painted something that looked like Mars? Oliver admitted to liking depressing music; it matches his taste in color. Anya's contestant had trees on fire which made me question how Anya would end up doing without that Caribbean vibe. Laura's partner, 11-year-old Kai, was her personal Dahli Lama giving fortune cookie advice. Anthony Ryan decided to make self-portraits of his student and him. For someone who is colorblind, it looked amazing.

After the students left the contestants were given 30 minutes to sketch. Oliver was left at a mental blank as he clutched his pencils. Joshua had no connection to the dead tree, horizon, and roots. Josh C. decided to use the emotion and less of the actual picture. Or so he said...

At Mood, the contestants had $300 to spend while Tim chased Patch around. The contestants were worried about yardage with the budget. Oliver decided to use chiffon because he never worked with it. Working with new materials doesn't make your work avant garde. That and it seems like every wannabe contestant needs to practice a little bit with chiffon. We're reminded that this trip to Mood was Josh's first: not only did he spent about $170, but he hasn't gotten used to the layout of the store.

Back at the work room, Viktor was confident about his clothes and his immunity as he bashed several contestants' fabric choices. How am I supposed to like these people when all they do is smack talk in their interviews? Even Anya who seems like the coolest to hang out with complains about people's work. Tim arrived and gave the contestants a minor pep talk noting that he would do consultations on day two. Would visiting on day two be too late to save already sinking ships? He reminded Bert that avant garde didn't mean red carpet. Each of the contestants defined their version of "avant garde" which included edge, (faux) fur, and bright colors. Of course we had an obligatory set of Lady GaGa shots. Thankfully it wasn't meat dress, Kermit dress, and bubble dress. Oliver continued to paint the world with depressing, drab colors. Joshua M. decided to do a forest fire and dedicate it to his mother. That didn't sound as sweet as it actually was.

Josh C. looked like a fool with his faux fur. I've seen good faux fur, but I wouldn't even want Josh's fabric on my floors. Bert played with dying his fabrics (a reminder that dye must be readily available) and dropping mannequins. Anthony Ryan wanted to make sure the fit was perfect on his dress. Laura wanted to use organza but had to burn the edges for fraying. She should have invested in a candle so she wouldn't have to keep turning on her lighter. Joshua M., narcissist that he is, was convinced that he changed Becky for the better after making her cry last week. Yes Joshua, you're the bees' knees. Bert opened up to some of the girls about his downward spiral after being with his partner. He had a video chat with his sister to boost his confidence. This is all supposed to boost our opinion on Bert, but it doesn't explain why he doesn't like people's suggestions.

At the end of day one, Kimberly was behind; nothing new for her. She'll turn out something fine in the end. Most of the contestants were at different stages of completion. At the apartment, Laura was worried about Josh's literal wolf. While he was excited, the girls were hoping he'd get cut yet again to save the four girls remaining.

Day two began and the contestants got back to work. Oliver continued to turtle his way through his construction. Tim arrived and brought the artists with their artwork to further connect the two pieces. Most of the students came in with positive feedback, except for Josh C. who was really trying to change everything. Tim came for his critiques and Anthony Ryan correctly decided to get rid of orange without Tim even pointing it out. Anya wanted to walk the line from avant garde to tasteful. Tim reassured her that she hasn't missed the mark on the taste level. Kimberly's feather sleeves were stupid looking and too literal. Laura's dress needed to be more provocative at the stage where it was. Becky had cubes, but Tim warned that it needed the dress to look less crafty. By not wowing Tim, you lose. The end.

Bert went a little too literal; while the dress was unexpected, it also didn't look good. Oliver didn't normally have color, so taking a chance with blue wasn't enough for Tim. Oliver's concept was okay, but it felt expected. Joshua's dress needed to stand on its own without having to explain the piece of art. Josh C., like Bert, was warned that his dress was too literal. Viktor's critique was boosted by Skyy's support of the dress. After thanking the students, Tim announced that they would be attending the runway show which meant that the gays couldn't be as snarky in front of the children.

Anthony Ryan's brush stroke concept finally came to fruition. Bryce thought that a straightjacket would add to the darkness of the dress. Oliver's slow pace started to concern the contestants. Anya was worried about Josh C's lack of commitment. The models arrived for their fittings and most of the girls had positive feedback, even with Bert's diaper pants. Becky was worried that she was middle-fodder, which isn't too bad if she wants to survive two or three more episodes. Laura resorted to hot gluing her curls onto her dress.

At the day of the Runway Show, the contestants were worried about how much they had to finish. Oliver worried about adding more pow. The girls were even more worried about Oliver finishing as though he was so fragile that they would carry him. We're reminded that subjectivity would play a big part in the challenge. The contestants had two hours of finishing time as the models arrived. Oliver had too much time with the top of his dress and he continued to doubt. At makeup, the contestants were looking for daring designs to match the avant garde nature. With time running out, Oliver tried to glue his top to his model. Tim magically popped up and told Oliver that it would be against the rules. He stopped, but it didn't look like the dress was ever attached to Carla's breast. I wonder if Josh had to nix his crystals on the center of his dress because he'd have to glue them on as well.

Heidi welcomed the contestants and the artists to the runway. Along with Michael Kors were Zanna Roberts Rassi and Kenneth Cole. At least Zanna said what she was thinking bluntly to the contestants.

Kimberly - I loved the lack of the sleeves and the high collar. You could see the bird in the dress without having wing flaps.

Becky - The flat cubes worked a lot better than the dangling cancer cubes on the top. The bottom could have used some more oomph because those cutouts screamed broken colander.

Oliver - The dress could easily be identified as Oliver, but it felt like he boosted his level up a small notch. The non-flowing areas looked pretty.

Joshua M. - The outfit looked better than I expected, even though the top was a bit too fluffy and fattening.

Bert - While Viktor liked the outfit, there's something awful about the whole thing as if he glued pillows to the dress and then shoved a pillow down the front.

Viktor - Skyy's dropped jaw was enough. I felt the flow, color choice, and how the holes worked great. Becky should take note.

Laura - The movement of the dress was beautiful, but something about the green undertone lines were a bit odd. It was only until after when Laura explained those were supposed to be thorn-like did I appreciate the dress.

Bryce - The straightjacket was a bit too literal, but I liked the choice of red on top. I thought the bottom was black, but if it is a midnight blue, the choice didn't work.

Josh C. - The outfit wasn't avant garde at all. It looked like an extension of his first dress he made out of bed sheets.

Anthony Ryan - There was something beautiful about the nude tones with the streaks. The colorblind guy picked the right colors yet again.

Anya - There's something tribal about the outfit that worked really well. She sold me with the overall design.

The top designers were Joshua (great painting on skirt, good contrast, poor styling), Laura (great play of hard and soft, creative inspiration) and Antony Ryan (powerful, correct attitude, questionable finishing). The bottom designers were Josh C. (Cocktail Waitress, Trashy Hooker proportions), Bert (poor harmonization, misshapen forms), and Oliver (sad, cheap fabric choices). The winner was Anthony Ryan, who was given immunity. He gleefully announced his bride status. The eliminations boiled down to Oliver and Josh. Oliver, as drab as he always is, was in. Josh was out. Again. Maybe if someone quits, Josh C. will have a third chance.

Next week on Project Runway: Another two team challenge causes drama for Bert.

Michael Pascua –

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