Project Runway Recap: The Republic of Cocktail Land

Every Thursday, we recap the previous night’s Project Runway. This week, we’re waving the red, white, and blue for some majorly patriotic fashions—along with the return of the skort. (Spoiler alert!)

The best and worst designs from last night's episode of Project Runway. All photos courtesy of Bravo.

And we’re back! Now four weeks in, the designer pool is being whittled down quickly, although the ones we think should have been kicked off weeks ago (ahem, Stella, Jerell) are still hanging around. This week, the designers are piled into vans with Tim Gunn and dispatched across the city. Jerell doesn’t care where they’re going; he just hopes it “has nothing to do with female wrestlers.” Um. Random! Kelli, on the other hand, hopes it has nothing to do with hospitals. Tim uses the time to quiz Blayne on his tanning schedule—it’s about every other day—which Blayne likens to his personal hobby. We’ve been liking Blayne more and more, but we’re starting to really worry about his risk of melanoma.
Next thing you know, we’re at a “ginormous!” (thank you, Suede) indoor track. And who is this skating around the track? Why it’s Olympian Apolo Ohno! (In Terri words, “he sold it” at the Olympics.) Tim reveals that the challenge will be to design an outfit for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics—this Friday night, kids!—which Apolo likens to “the Olympian’s version of a catwalk,” where “you walk in with honor.” We cut to photo of Apolo wearing a ridiculous beret, immediately undermining his statements.

Still, the designers are full of Olympic fever. Claims Blayne: “Heck, yeah, I’m going for the gold!” Goatee Joe is so excited to have a challenge that speaks to his middle-of-the-road, suburban roots. Stella is thinking, with grave seriousness, “Gladiator!” Only Daniel seems completely stumped. He admits to being “confused” by athletic wear. We think we know where this is going.

Daniel, turn around and look at Kenley’s shirt. THAT, my fabulous friend, is blue. (Actually, it’s cerulean, but we’re not gonna get all Devil Wears Prada on you.)

Off we go to Mood! Korto picks up some unusual fabrics but confidently states: “Don’t worry about me; worry about the plaid you’re picking up, okay?” Cut to Kenley picking out plaid. Oh, snap. Keith allegedly steals Terri’s fabric—when confronted, Keith plays it very fake-startled, which sort of seals his guilt—leading Terri to proclaim, “A sista got to keep one eye open, that’s all I’m saying.” Oooh. Tensions are running high!

Back at the workroom, poor Goatee Joe’s nerves are being grated by everyone. He hates that Daniel and Kenley are having fun! (Oh, the nerve!) He hates that Daniel has taken his special lucky machine! (For a second, I think he might burst into tears.) He hates the drama! (Although he seems to be the one creating it.) He does, however, really love his patriotic skort creation.

Tim and Blayne continue to widen their generation gap, this time over Tim’s Sgt. Pepper reference. Blayne: “I don’t even know what that is.” Tim (with exasperated hand-flippy dismissal): “Oh, god. Youth!” There are some discussions about how über-muscley female physiques will look in teensy pencil skirts. (Our prediction: very, very bad.) Stella issues somber, wide-eyed statements on the major importance of the Olympics. Goatee Joe continues to storm around in a huff. Suede, in a moment of unexpected clarity, declares the mounting drama to be completely “wackadoodle.”

Designing? More like writing her last will. Your days (on PR) are numbered, Leathaface!

And off we go to the runway! Heidi reintroduces Apolo as “one of the most stylish Olympians ever!” (Um, did she not see the beret photo?) Still, we all focus on the parade of red, white, and blue coming down the catwalk. We find Suede’s flippy mini-dress to be a near-exact replica of the outfit he won with two episodes ago. Goatee Joe—no longer in a funk, it seems—beams proudly at the sight of his USA-emblazoned skort. We find Leanimal’s little high-necked jacket-and-shorts combination absolutely fabulous, while Stella’s belly-button-baring stretchy suit might be the most hideous thing we’ve ever seen. (Seriously, it takes some really bad designing to make these models look overly fat, and yet Stella seems to manage it time and again.)

Kelli: How did I go from winning a challenge to being stuck listening to crazy surrealist girl? Sigh…

Then we’re down to the final six. (Personally, our winning vote went to Leanimal, but the judges voted her through in the middle of the pack.) The judges loved Terri’s blazer/trouser combo, completely ignoring the fact that the stripey tube top was way too small and made the models look uncomfortably weird. Jennifer’s cardigan/skirt set is absolute snoozeville. Poor Daniel gets raked through the coals for his 1940s-inspired cocktail-style dress, which we really don’t mind. (And seriously? The judges have a problem with this dress but not Kenley’s retro pencil skirt or Suede’s flippy mini? We think they’re all equally unathletic, but Daniel is the one who gets stuck dodging Michael Kors’s onslaught of contrived but witty barbs.) Joe gets lauded for his skort, which we fear gives him the encouragement he needs to create more hideously mediocre designs. And after weeks of slipping past the judges, Jerell finally gets called out for his terribly overdone designs—that hat! yuck!—which Nina describes as “Mary had a little lamb” and Michael Kors dismisses as completely “meshuggeneh.”

In the end, Korto and her inspiring Liberian-refugee story are the big winners! Jennifer and her totally unsurreal surrealist approach are out of here, quite possibly to a job designing for Talbots or Ann Taylor. We’re hoping next week’s challenge is a little less hokey. The teaser looks good: Brooke Shields! Stella hammers! Kenley continues to alienate the other contestants! We’re starting to get down to the good stuff. Carry on!

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

Read last week’s recap here, and check back next Thursday for Betsy’s Project Runway recap!

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