Project Runway Season 11: Episode 4 – Prickly Floral Cosby Sweater Dresses [Runway Rundown]

This was the week all the designers were dreading, but sick bitches like myself were waiting for: the first big Unconventional Materials Challenge! I love seeing designers get super creative with essentially miscellaneous junk, so let’s see how they fared this week. As always, watch the damn episode before reading any further as I am about to drop some spoilers.

As the designers awoke in their hideous sleep clothes and put a comb through their ratty do’s, it was time to re-evaluate and re-assess where they all stood in the competition. Some had a stronger resolve to push themselves outside of the box like Amanda who said “I don’t want to be afraid of going too far one way or another… I just keep ending up in the middle.” Yes Amanda, it is time to step up your game and show us something more fun than your normally conservative, yet stylish fare. (This is of course when you are watching and wonder: “Did they just throw in that tid-bit of interview cause that is exactly what blows up in her face this week?”)

As the designers entered the workroom to see what their new challenge would bring, everyone’s eyes began to water and people recoiled in horror as the overpowering smell of flaming urinal cakes sent everyone into convulsions… and then I’m guessing they reset and re-recorded the entrance after everyone was informed to pretend the room smelled amazing, as it was candlelit with tons of Glade’s new 2-in-1 candles. (Seriously, have you ever smelled a urinal cake on fire? I’m almost positive it smelled like that in there.) Tim informed the designers that this week’s challenge was inspired by these overpowering scented duo candles, and they would be playing with the duality of Hard and Soft. (Ok, still not really seeing how that works, other than some major product placement.) Each team needed to create six looks for a mini-collection, using only materials from a flower shop and a hardware store. Each look did not have to utilize materials from both places, but each collection had to utilize some parts from each store somewhere within their designs. They had 2 days and $2500 to spend at the 2 stores. After the rules were out of the way, Heidi said it was time to even the playing field. Team Dream on was obviously at a disadvantage with fewer members after losing so many challenges, so they were allowed to steal two members from Team Crappin’ It Real. They chose Stanley and Layana. THEN, Heidi said it was time for Team Crappin’ It Real to steal away one member of their choice from Team Dream On. They chose Michelle. “I don’t want to work with Patricia,” seemed to be Michelle’s mantra this week while Patricia seemed genuinely excited to have Michelle on her team. Good luck Michelle, I see a few awkward hugs in your future.

While discussing options and directions for the team, it became apparent that Stanley was taking the lead and driving Team Dream On toward a common goal. Michelle on the other hand, was just grasping at the first person that wasn’t Patricia to work with in this challenge. She ended up with Richard and started to seem genuinely frightened when such ideas came from his mouth as “It’s like RuPaul meets Gilligan’s Island.” Oh girl, say what?! Lord have mercy Richard, that made even me clench my design buttocks in horror.

Amanda started to explain how this wasn’t her challenge, “Flowers bore me… I don’t get the lines.” She settled on making a dress out of moss and nails, probably thinking about how well it worked for others in the past to glue a bunch of moss or birdseed on a dress… You know, how they always fret and toil, and a bunch still falls off but the judges give them a pass anyway because they put so much work into it. (Although that birdseed dress was something else!) Instead, Amanda ended up with a garment that Daniel so aptly pointed out looked like it had a bad case of Alopecia. #getmoregluegirl

Over at another table Albino Bellhop set out to do what he does best and mismanage his time by building a loom. Lets allow that to sink in for a second… he built a loom to weave together rope. Hey lady, you keep mismanaging your time and you are gonna be headin’ home. This was either the best idea he has had yet or the first sign that our dear bellhop was heading home.

Day 2 arrived and Tim made his obligatory visit. He loved the direction that Michelle and Richard’s Gaultier inspired garment was going, all made of black metal mini blinds. He deemed Kate’s oversized dress a “craft project” and that it looked “like the volcano I built in 3rd grade.” He finished by nailing the biggest issue for their team and that was COHESION. Where was their direction? As an afterthought to pull their designs into one storyline, Michelle tacked on the idea of Decades as the through line. Cute idea Michelle, you are bright, but even that clever take on a solution is beyond a safety net for this messy collection.

Over at Crappin’ It Real, Stanley had used the idea of Classic Dior as their collective direction. It seemed to help everyone’s looks come from a cohesive place, yet Samantha was terribly behind. During the crit, everyone also started dumping on Amanda’s moss dress. Joe suggested cutting off the petal portion on the back and moving some to the front to even it out. Voila! A solution. Everyone went back to work. Crisis seemed to be averted. We will revisit this moment later on the runway.

Later, after some reflection, Michelle picked up on what I was starting to think last week… She is a bad omen. Perhaps she is one of those cursed people that will outlast them all like a sadistic black widow. Time will tell Michelle, but if you arrived on my team I’d start shaking some chicken legs and put a ring of salt around your work table.

Now, for the runway presentation with this week’s guest judges: Leandra Medine from the blog “Man Repeller” (I see why your blog is titled that, what with that ugly t-shirt you wore to a show about fashion design) and for some bizarre reason Bette Midler! I’m still trying to figure out how any of these guest judges at all relate to the challenges. As Bette Midler is not a flaming urinal cake or the owner of a hardware store, I’m just going to assume she is judging this week because she is the epitome of a woman that shows both her soft feminine side and the abrasive ballsy hard side with equal gusto.

First let’s discuss our winning team this week: Team Dream On! Hurray you guys, you got rid of Michelle and nabbed yourself a solid win! The worst from the winning team this week had to be Stanley’s dress surprisingly. As he is the one who came up with Classic Dior as their direction, I found it odd that he didn’t really seem to know how best to emulate that. Perhaps he doesn’t know what Classic Dior really means as he showed us a sloppy ankle length leaf dress with white flowers on a full skirt in a sun ray pattern. It didn’t help that his model held her arms stiffly and looked like she was in hell. You are lucky your team won this week Stanley or you would so have been Auf’d!

Our win this week went to the surprisingly elegant and modern dress created by Samantha. She used wire mesh, and contact paper latticework to encase layers of leaves and flowers creating her own print. It played with transparency in a wonderful way, and she made a long tight skirt and blouse top with peplum out of the materials. I loved this look. She nailed it with it’s simplicity, and somehow made it look effortless. For a girl that was barely finished a day ago she really knew how to turn it out when the time was crunched.

I want to give a special nod to Tu who I think actually may have deserved the win more with his garment made from flowers, leaves and rope. His look was amazingly modern and if I didn’t know what it was made out of I would have sworn it walked in off the runways of Milan. Good job Tu!

Now for our newly cursed team… Team Crappin’ It Real. Let’s discuss the best of the worst this week. I really liked Michelle and Richard’s pseudo bondage look this week with the use of metal mini blinds all over a bed of flowers and leaves. It looked like a cage holding in her femininity which was fun, even if it did overly reference Madonna’s cone boob bustier. My bottom picks were Joe and Patricia, but alas they chose Joe and Amanda.

Everyone seemed to enjoy ganging up on Amanda during the critique this week, especially when they smelled blood in the water. Sadly Amanda let them trounce on her ambitions and badmouth her when in reality, they weren’t put upon at all… she worked on that garment herself and nobody but poor little Joe stepped up with a solution. All the other bitches just stood by the sidelines giving “I told you so” looks. In the end she was safe, but if I were you Amanda, I would watch your back and show those bitches who really belongs there. Her dress turned out ok, and even Nina said that had the others not thrown her under the bus and her giving in so quickly, they would have probably ignored the look entirely.

When it came to the runway, Joe’s schlumpy “sweater coat dress” made from wire mesh and flowers was just a shapeless mess, and it sent him packing. I didn’t see Joe’s as the worst look up there. My worst choice was definitely the ridiculous mess of nails, rope mesh and flowers that Patricia sent out there. Her model looked like she was wearing an ugly prickly Cosby sweater over a burlap sack skirt. Patricia, word of advice? Put down the peyote and come back to reality… Next week let’s make a real garment ok, not some Rose Parade Sea Hag garment I could find in the dollar bin at the thrift store.

Next week the designers will be making a garment for Country Superstar Amanda Lambert. Let’s see who becomes the first person to use spurs on the runway! I’m crossing my fingers there is a cow print to laugh at as well, see you all next week!

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