Project Runway Season 10: Episode 12 Well Blah Dee Blah! [Runway Rundown]

It seems every year I need to define the term “Avante Garde” for you all and this year I can add the judges to the list of people who might do with a good once over of the definition of the term. Avante Garde is defined as the following: the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods. Think unorthodox or daring; radical. I’m getting ahead of myself here so let’s explain this week’s challenge.

Guess what? By now you should know there are spoilers so if you haven’t seen this episode yet kids, go watch it and then come back to read! Better yet, read up on last week then take in this column filled with the highs and lows of reality television realness! Got it? Ok, away we go!

As this is the final challenge for our designers before they either go home with their tail between their legs or with the crazy task of making an entire collection in a matter of weeks, the stakes are about as high as they can get on this show. (The nerves are too.) Nobody wants to choke this week, but the sad truth is that somebody is always left on the doorstep as the party bus drives away at this juncture.

This week the designers had the task of making an avante garde outfit using inspiration from both Oheka Castle, which they visited, as well as the new Electric Fantasie make-up collection by L’Oreal Paris. Each designer was assigned one of the collections that were named: The Enchanted Queen, The Seductive Temptress, The Wise Mystic, and The Artsy Muse.

With two days and four hundred dollars they were expected to pull out all the stops and make a garment that looked like it took months to make. It is very doable, do you remember what Christian Siriano and Chris March whipped up for the show a few seasons back? Okay, they had a little more money, two people working on it and a little more time, but what they made was fricking outstanding!

With the parameters set, they headed off to MOOD where we got our typical dose of Christopher explaining how he was gonna blow everyone away with his amazing brilliance, Sonjia not knowing what she was going to make, and Melissa spending her time telling us how she doesn’t work with these colors. (She also kept telling us how she really wanted to be assigned the Enchanted Queen…) We know Melissa, you like black! After forgetting her gold lame fabric at MOOD, Sonjia switched amazingly well into “Make it work mode.” I would have been tearing my hair out and crying.

When Tim paid his visit later on the first day, he explained that it was to help catch any issues earlier before they couldn’t change things as easily. He nailed Dmitry on hinging his whole avante garde look on a simple batwing sleeve, Fabio was bordering on costume with his overly heavy red coat, and in Tim’s opinion Sonjia just hasn’t been showing us her full potential. I agreed on all counts. Batwing looked blah, Fabio’s coat looked like a community theater production of Oliver, and Sonjia needs to really step it up in the planning before she gets frazzled and let the damn ideas flow out of her. Something told me that this week she might choke again just like in the Rockettes challenge.

The middle of the episode was kind of blur of jealous catty bitch looks across the work room. So and so would get nailed by a Tim critique and everyone would get that look on their face like they were watching a sibling get scolded. You could almost hear them saying internally “Oooooooo Burn!!!!”

Instead of analyzing their bitchiness much more can we talk about the remake of Steel Magnolias that’s airing this Sunday on Lifetime? Are you gonna watch it? Let’s start a drinking game, every time somebody replaces the word “hairdo” with “weave” take a drink. Or how about every time you think to yourself “God this is an amazing cast of extremely talented women, how on Earth did they get talked into doing this for LIFETIME TV for God’s sake?!!!!” take a drink. I bet we are all shit faced within the first 5 minutes.

Alright now on to the judging… Zoe Saldana was this week’s guest judge. While she is a sweetheart in person, and did a great turn as Neytiri in Avatar among other films, I can’t draw the parallel between her and Avante Garde design. Hmmm, another case of WTF from the producers and casting agents over at PR. I would have just thrown Philip Glass in there to shake things up. Michael Kors: “Hey Philip, what do you think?” Philip: “Well Michael, 7…4….2…9….6….burrito… dun nun nun nun, dun nun nun nun….5…5…5…5…5…9…”

Melissa was up first with an amazingly strong (almost warrior) look for her “Artsy Muse.” She designed a long slitted B+W patterned dress with coral lining, a turquoise blue high collar leather shrug jacket, a black textured bodice and arm bands made of leather. All in all a very striking look and an unexpected pop of color from the queen of black. Great job in my opinion.

Fabio was next with an “Enchanted Queen,” layering a black sheer and slitted dress, a red under blouse, black “boy shorts,” and a red puffy reversible waistcoat. Truly an interesting mish-mash of design and I definitely think he nailed the avante garde look, but in the end the drama ended at the waist. That skirt or those shorts should have been something more interesting to tie it all together.

Dmitry hauled out more of the same for his “Wise Mystic” [pictured] with a very safe, navy blue, modern lined, structured dress. To me it looked like a futuristic stewardess outfit. For all you nerds out there it was really just a slightly more stylish take on that blue dress in the movie The Fifth Element and made me wish I was heading to Fhloston Paradise. This wasn’t really that avante garde in my opinion, and of all the looks seemed more like something I could buy at the store if I looked hard enough.

Sonjia sent down the runway a green structured gown with some nude panels on the bodice and back for her “Seductive Temptress.” This look reminded me a little bit of that forgettable girl who won a few years back for always making wave pleats in things. (The early version of Ven now that I think about it.) We’ll just call her whatshername or pleat girl for now. Well, pleat girl has reared her head in this and seemed to forget there is a back to this look as well. Sonjia, i’m afraid you choked my dear. This dress looks exactly like Michael Kors described it: “The banquet blew all over her.” …napkins and all.

Christopher also was assigned the “Enchanted Queen” and he definitely stuck to a safe pallet of black on black on black. His look was total goth chick with beads and a feathered neckline, padded hips and weird feathered wands off her arms. All in all it looked like someone trying too hard. In the end I hated it. I don’t hate you Christopher, but the whole look just appeared like you were running through your Rolodex of other designers work and seeing what Michael’s Craft Store you could raid to accomplish it.

In the end, Dmitry won the challenge and everyone is going to Fashion Week! Well, except for Sonjia. Sorry girl… You did choke afterall and truthfully you fell prey to exactly what I hoped you wouldn’t. Your work was amazing this season and I know you will do amazing things out there in the industry, I’m just bummed you won’t hit the finale cause you were my favorite. *insert tear here

*NEXT WEEK! Our final episode before the finale! The remaining designers aren’t out of the woods yet! They all will make a collection but will be competing for the final three spots to be able to show their work! Tune in, we are in the damn homestretch!