Episode 11 Recap: Feathers Fly!

October 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The judges' favorite looks from Joshua, Anya, and Kimberly (right to left)

With only six designers left, tensions are high and emotions are volatile. Everyone wants to make it to the tents at Lincoln Center (never mind the fact that even the losers showed decoy collections). Obviously, the time is ripe for the producers to really lay on the pressure and get into our designers heads with multiple twists. In return for all the emotional distress that they will experience is a L’Oreal Paris ad in Marie Claire and $20,000 in cold, hard cash.

Twist number one isn’t so much a twist as casual trickery. For their “design a high fashion look inspired by a bird” challenge, Tim brings out the button bag to pair the designers. Naturally, the designers believe that they have to work as a pair, but no, former friends become foes as the pairs go head-to-head with one designer who will be in the top and the other in the bottom. Anya and Laura must design a look inspired by the raven, which is sure to bring out the goth in both of them. Viktor and Kimberly go for soft and romantic based off of the cockatoo and its pale pink and ecru-colored feathers. Bert and Joshua get the Amazonian parrot that has grey and bright green and yellow plumage. True to character, Bert is “inspired” by the grey claws and goes for dull fabrics at mood while Joshua latches on to all the bright fabrics he can find.

After the designers begin working on their first look, Tim comes in to interrupt and tell them that yes, they must make a second high-fashion look to accompany the first. He gives them the same $300 budget and packs them off to Mood. Around this point, Kim begins to break down: she stabs her finger on the Brother, has a cry in the bathroom, and burns a whole in her second look. She is having an all-around bad day. The last incident, though, turns out to be a blessing in disguise. After a pep talk from Tim, Kim rallies and makes a new dress in the polyester fabric she was going to use as lining in about 3 hours.

Tim rolls in the morning of the show and tells the designers – surprise! – that only one look has to walk the runway. This is apparently a challenge in “editing” but obviously many of the designers are relieved to dump one of their looks. Interestingly though, many of the designers choose to go with their second looks, which often represented breaks of character. So who wins the head-to-heads?

The Good

All of the looks that won the head-to-heads shared similar qualities: they weren’t “literal” interpretations or too “birdy” as Heidi explained it, and they also represented a break away from what the designers are used to showing. From the looks of it, both of Anya’s looks were interesting, but her second piece, a highly structured, black dress with strong shoulders was out of her comfort zone. Heidi thought it was “fashion-forward, cool, and edgy” while Nina simply tells her, “This is probably my favorite outfit that you have made so far.” Guest judge Francisco Costa, the head of womenswear at Calvin Klein, rounds out the power panel and tells Anya that the look was “urban” with a “sense of goth.” The lines were interesting as the hemline curved to be longer in the back than the front. But while the dress looked wearable, the model actually had no way of getting in and out of the dress without a pair of scissors. Anya beats Laura in the head-to-head and wins the challenge overall.

Joshua’s second look was also much stronger than his first, an overwrought green jellyfish of a dress. His fluid, orange dress had an interesting silhouette and draped in all the right ways. In the workroom, Tim called it “sublime.” The judges are in love with the cut and minimalism of the gown. Nina thinks it looks “modern” while Francisco Costa calls it “refreshing.” Typical to Joshua though, he adds a bright feather corsage to the model that Michael thinks looks like she was drunk in the Caribbean. He chides, “You’ve got talent! You’ve just got to hold it in.”

The challenge also demonstrated that Kim just needs to go with her instincts more. In three hours, she created a sexy one-shoulder gown out of polyester, no less. While the judges were somewhat mixed on the result, they loved the effortlessness and the soft sleeve that fluttered when the model walked down the runway. But really, Kim (and the viewer) just got a lot of pleasure at seeing her beat Viktor.

The Bad

Viktor, Bert, and Laura (from right to left) find themselves in the bottom 3

Oh my my how times have changed. Remember early on in Project Runway when Bert was the mean old keeter and Viktor was the subdued dark horse? Well, the tables have turned and everybody loves old man Bert, but of course this means that Bert is no longer winning. He turned out a sad grey dress that barely opened at the slits to reveal the color underneath. His look was the weakest out of a fairly strong lineup and he was sent packing, just as we were beginning to like the guy. Damn you Lifetime for playing with our heartstrings!

Meanwhile Viktor is getting to be increasingly shrill and paranoid. He again thinks that someone is copying his style and suggests  Kim copied him by also making a one-shouldered dress. Luckily for him though, this is a design – and not a personality – competition.

The Ugly

We’re getting the feeling that things are about to get real ugly up in here. After being crowned runner-up, Joshua enters the lounge fuming. Anya asks him if he’s mad, and he passive aggressively denies it. He’s pissed that a rookie designer with less than half a year’s worth of sewing experience is not only beating him, but is the “clear winner” of the challenge.

Our prediction for the final three: Anya, Joshua, Viktor

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