Project Runway Recap: The Flowerpot Headpiece in the Room

This week, we whittle it down to the last three designers—finally.

Korto's wedding dress was just too hideous to be pictured. Don't believe us? Look it up. All photographs courtesy of Bravo.

And we’re back! In case you forgot where we were, the show is quick to remind us: Everyone hates Kenley! No one did very well in the last challenge. All four remaining designers get to go home and make full collections for the Bryant Park finale, although one will get eliminated just before the big show. How terribly cruel.

Everyone goes home to start working! Four weeks later, Tim Gunn heads to Arkansas to see Korto, who has a really lovely studio in the middle of the woods. Tim is mostly concerned about some overly suggestive cutouts in the cocktail dress, but otherwise he’s excited and we’re excited about her bright, pretty collection. The two head over to Korto’s house, where a spread has been laid out in Tim’s honor. Awkward communication in front of the camera follows. Tim says goodbye with his signature double-cheek kiss to Korto’s adorable little daughter, Elise.

Tim Gunn’s right hand on chin= Miranda Priestly’s pursing of the lips, which = total catastrophe.

And then we’re off to Portland. Leanimal! Whee! Leanne’s collection is inspired by waves, and it’s gorgeous. We swoon. Tim swoons. We all swoon some more. As if that wasn’t good enough, Leanne and Tim decide to go for a tandem-bike ride. How crunchy-Oregon of them. The sight of Tim in his little suit and royal-blue bike helmet, awkwardly pedaling through the park, is an image we will hold in our hearts for a long time.

On to LA, home of Jerell. Out of all the contestants, Jerell has caused the most animosity in my household. I love his personality, but I’ve never forgiven him for subjecting us to some really awful dresses. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is a full-fledged member of Team Jerell. As Tim lends his critical eye to Jerell’s (really not cute, in our opinion, and also Tim’s opinion) collection, a heated argument over Jerell’s talent (or lack thereof) erupts on my Crate & Barrel couch.
By the time Tim moves on to Brooklyn to visit Kenley, my boyfriend and I have huffily agreed to disagree. Poor Kenley. Unlike the other contestants, who have beautiful, light-filled spaces and lots of family and friends around, Kenley lives all alone in her tiny apartment with her loud, shrill voice. (Must everything be at such an insanely high volume? Our ears hurt.) Her collection looks pretty nice—we can’t believe she hand-painted those florals!—and that feathery wedding dress is (we grudgingly admit) totally fabulous.

Crocodile tears.

Before we know it, it’s time to reconvene in New York. The designers show up at their lavish New York hotel suite, where Kenley makes a passing attempt to apologize for her week of rude behavior. “I’m sorry I was being a bitch and everything!” she yells out randomly while rolling her suitcase through the room. Is it just us or did that reek of insincerity? The Project Runway producers know what this moment calls for: alcohol! Everyone’s favorite social lubricant! The designers pop huge bottles of Champagne and proceed to all be friends, at least when there’s a bit of bubbly in their systems.

The designers were instructed to prepare a wedding dress for the final challenge, but Tim shows up at the studio the next day with a twist: They’ve got to create a bridesmaid dress as well. No one is excited about this development at all, but off we go to Mood Fabrics, like good little contractually obligated reality-show contestants.

Tim comes through to make his rounds. He gets stuck on Jerell’s blue strapless bridesmaid dress, which he points out is horribly made and not really exciting at all. I agree, but the person at the other end of my couch really likes it for unfathomable reasons and even defends the large sprig of fake flowers that Jerell has stuck into the waistline. We are learning so much tonight about the contestants—and our relationship.
Tim leaves for the night, but not without a teary, heartfelt speech to everyone about working hard. He’s totally adorable, that Tim Gunn. He wells up, the designers well up, there’s sniffling everywhere. This is an incredibly teary crew this season.

The designers prep for the show without much incident, other than Kenley being “pissed” that Leanne and Korto also made short bridesmaid dresses. Oh, yes, Kenley, because you invented the knee-length dress! She such a ridiculous person, we can barely stand it.

Exactly, Korto. What were you thinking?!

On to the runway! It’s just Nina, Michael, and Heidi in the judges’ chairs. Jerell’s dress comes out first. We do like his wedding gown from the waist down, but the bodice is a huge mess and his bridesmaid dress—triple ugh. (My couchmate has the nerve to disagree. I am beginning to suspect that, much like Jerell, he has no taste.)

Kenley’s feathery concoction is really nice, but we’re finding the bridesmaid ensemble a bit micro-mini for our taste. Korto, God love her, has unfortunately created a really ugly wedding dress and an even less attractive bridesmaid dress. We love Korto, but we’re a little worried that she won’t make it through.

The lovely Leanimal ends the show on a major high note. Her reworked wedding gown is just spectacular—maybe the best thing we’ve ever seen on the show. (It even has pockets! We love gowns with pockets!) The bridesmaid dress is short and sweet and really stunning.

Not surprisingly, the judges love Leanne’s designs. They’re really down on Jerell, right down to flowery headpiece, which Michael Kors calls “the flowerpot growing out of her head.” As for Kenley, they can’t help but call her out on her gown’s incredible similarities to a McQueen design from last season, which is a little weird. Kenley doesn’t even argue too much—in fact, is it just us or does she look a little sheepish? Still, Heidi calls Kenley’s designs “crazy good.” Korto, not surprisingly, is also put through the ringer for her “overkill” design.

And for the second week in a row, we come down to the final four. Kenley and Leanimal are through; Jerell and Korto must stand there in horrible suspense. And the loser is . . . Jerell. We’re not surprised. (My couchmate is outraged, even going onto the show’s Wikipedia page to argue that Jerell’s three challenge wins prove that this is a major travesty. Tell it to the judges, I say.)

We’re sad to see Jerell’s witty barbs go but are excited for the finale. An all-woman show! Snarky barbs! And—we promise—some really, truly gorgeous clothes! See you next week for the exciting conclusion!

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