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Project Runway Recap: A Little Bit Janky
This week, we narrow it down to the final three. Or do we? Dum-dum-dum . . . By Betsy Lowther
All photographs courtesy of Bravo.
Comments () | Published October 2, 2008

For weeks and weeks (and weeks and weeks), we’ve endured Olympians and drag queens, incessant hammering and very ’licious looks (oh, Blayne, we hardly knew ye). And it’s finally boiled down to this show: The final elimination, where three designers will be sent on to Bryant Park, while one will go home.

Now the irony here is, because New York Fashion Week happened in early September and Bravo didn’t want to offer any possible spoilers, all of the designers (along with the now-ousted Joe and Suede) actually showed in Bryant Park. So basically, what’s on the table is that only three of the designers will have their shows shown on TV and the other one will have to settle for rampant Internet exposure. Which seems like a pretty nice tradeoff. But I guess, from Heidi’s standpoint, that’s kind of a mouthful to explain. So let’s just play along.

He can't even keep his own cleavage appropriately covered!
Truthfully—having witnessed the taping of the Fashion Week finale weeks ago—we’re not sure what to expect. From the runway shows, it was clear that Suede and Joe both showed completely subpar, obviously filler shows (so no surprised to us that they both were eliminated in the past two weeks). But the remaining four designers all clearly spent time, energy, and money on their collections—and we really have no idea which three were doing it for real and which one was just doing it out of contractual obligations.

And so our episode unfolds. The three remaining women—Leanne, Korto and Kenley—are awkwardly getting ready to head to the studio for the remaining challenge. Oh, but wait: Kenley isn’t speaking to Leanne because she didn’t think Leanne made nearly enough of an effort to sell Kenley’s horrific non-hip-hop design in the last episode. (Cut to Leanne uncomfortably strutting down the runway, gamely trying to look as hip-hop as a girl from Portland wearing hideous high-waisted jeans and the worst hairstyle ever could possibly be.) Leanne attempts to make clumsy conversation, and Kenley just walks away without response. The silent treatment? Are we in third grade? Seriously?

In the men’s apartment, only Jerell is left. Well, Jerell and his fruit. He acts out a slightly unsettling conversation between himself, the Tim Gunn bobblehead doll, an Aunt Jemima syrup bottle, and two large grapefruit. Yes, really. We have no words.
Over on the runway, Heidi steps out in a slinky and insanely skimpy leopard-print micro-mini. (Nina Garcia’s words immediately come to mind: “Shiny, tight, and short is the quickest way to look cheap!” Oh, Heidi. Have we learned nothing this season? She’s a prime candidate for blogger Daddy Likey’s hilarious series, Don’t Show-cha Your Chocha. Highly recommended.) She sends the designers off in a van with Tim Gunn for their next challenge and heads backstage to—we hope—put on some pants.
Sorry Korto, but the look on the model's face says it all about your dress.
Tim takes them to the New York Botanical Garden, where he looks positively giddy and the designers look incredibly weary. (Most random comment ever, by Tim: The garden “is therapeutic, unless you’re Joan Crawford, and a control freak, and you don’t want the bloom to fade.” Um. Okay? For the first time, I start to suspect that Tim might be morphing into a crazy old man.)

Why, look! It’s Collier Strong! From L’Oréal Paris! He gives a maybe-20-second speech, telling the designers that they’re there to find inspiration. And then he’s done. Really? They made him trek out to the Bronx for that?

The designers grab their trusty cameras and head into the gardens. Leanne quickly demonstrates that she is one of those people who are absolutely petrified by bees. (We have theories that people fall into two distinct categories: They’re either pretty fine with bees or they’re so incredibly terrified by them that they’re reduced to shrieking, jerking about wildly, and sprinting away somewhat nonsensically to escape them. Leanne, it should be noted, is definitely the latter. It really livens up the gardens trip.)

Photos in hand, we’re off to Mood Fabrics, where the designers run about gathering their material. As they depart, Korto asks—kind of quietly, in our opinion—if the pile of black tulle left on the countertop belongs to someone. The camera lingers on the pile as the designers leave. We would now like to cue some ominous music! Dum-dum-dum . . . .
The designers get down to business. And then, finally! Kenley realizes she was the one who left her tulle behind. The rest of the designers indulge in a bit of gleeful schadenfreude at her misfortune. Oh, Kenley, you are just not making any friends, are you? After some fun drama where the other designers purposely hide their own tulle, lest she think she’s getting her grubby little hands on it, Tim Gunn says he’ll let Kenley go back to Mood for it. Crisis averted. Seriously, after the way Kenley’s been treating Tim, we would have left her to the wolves. Tim is clearly a bigger person than we are.
Fug and (ZOMG!) fuglier.
Collier Strong is back for a completely irrelevant and somewhat fruitless makeup consultation, in which our opinions of L’Oréal Paris are actually worsened. (That yellow eye shadow for Jerell’s model? Um. Ew.)

After some frantic finishing and more extensive model-makeup consultations (Um, hello! What was the point of all that time with Collier Strong? Other than gratuitous sponsor back-scratching?), we are off to the runway. Lucky for us (and not so lucky for some of you male viewers), Heidi has decided to fully cover up in a tuxedo suit. Oh, but lest you think she’s making a move toward more tasteful and tame, she puts a sparkly bra top underneath. Oh, who are we kidding? She’s Heidi Klum! She can get away with almost everything, even sequined bras.

Korto’s gown is first—a fairly hideous halter in shades of peach with touches of lacy beading that even Korto herself describes as “janky” (which we know, from a previous episode and also from Urban Dictionary, means crappy. Project Runway: fashion and language lessons rolled into one!)

Leanne’s lavender gown is next, with its draped skirt and ruched detailing. Leanimal can do no wrong in our eyes, not even with that weirdly tacked-on section of blue fabric in the back.

Jerell goes next with an incredibly low-cut gown (this isn’t the first time he’s failed us in the bodice department. Seriously, does he just not understand how to deal with breasts?). The layering on the bottom—including green sequins and red taffeta, is utterly Christmas-esque. Also, can no one get these designers a steamer? Wrinkles everywhere.

Kenley is last with a form-fitting, hot-pink snakeskin gown with a fishtail hemline that actually looks like fish scales. It’s a bit—how do we put this delicately?—overly literal. And kind of ridiculously hideous. But we digress.

The judges—joined by Marchesa codesigner and Harvey Weinstein wife Georgina Chapman, who has a delightful English accent—weigh in. Both Jerell and our Leanne get a general thumbs-up (we cheer quietly in our heads!), while Korto and Kenley are generally lambasted for their looks.

Kenley in particular is universally criticized for her scales-meets-scales gown, which Nina aptly describes as “creepy.” If there’s one thing we at home know, it’s that Kenley is not happy to be criticized! She sets off on a defensive back-and-forth with the judges, culminating in Heidi commenting that the fishtail hem “doesn’t look very elegant.” Argues Kenley, who seems completely un-self-aware of her insanely bad attitude: “I wasn’t going for elegance, Heidi.” What was she going for? Tackiness and bad taste? Heidi—whom we’ve never seen ruffled in five seasons of the show and even when Jennifer Lopez was a last-minute no-show to be a guest judge for the grand finale—looks ready to throttle her.

All of the designers are asked why they should go to Bryant Park and who else they think should be there. And here come the tears! Jerell goes first, crying and choking out that he, Leanne, and Korto should go to fashion week. (Kenley butts in, prompting Jerell to dry up and retort, “I think they will get to you in just a second, so at that point you can start speaking.” Snap!)

Leanne picks Jerell and Korto. Korto, not surprisingly, picks Jerell and Leanne. Kenley—now thoroughly trashed by everyone else—defends her aggressive attitude. “I feel like I’ve been fighting my way through life!” she claims, not once but twice. In case it wasn’t clear. She seems genuinely contrite, but is it too late? Suspense!

The judges debate the show. “Not their best moment,” Michael Kors says, stating the obvious. They like everyone in general. They hated everyone’s work today. Who will win? Who will lose? Will Georgina Chapman say anything relevant? More suspense!

In the end, everyone gets to go home and make a fashion-week collection. (Well, gee, that’s not much of stretch. As we stated in the beginning, everyone—even Suede and Joe—had to go and do that anyway.) “But only three of you will compete at New York Fashion Week,” Heidi says. “When you return to New York, one of you will be out.” A twist! We love twists. We can’t wait!

Tim engages everyone in a group hug. Kenley pouts and sits it out. We’re relieved. They’re relieved. Tim Gunn is relieved! “I’ve been a wreck!” he says. A Joan Collinsy wreck!

Next week: We all get to go through the same range of emotions again! See you there. . .

What did you think of this week’s Project Runway episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Posted at 08:17 AM/ET, 10/02/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs