Fans of Lifetime’s “Project Runway” got a big surprise Thursday night when one designer survived extremely poor construction, one survived poor taste, and the one sent home got the axe for simply being too boring.
In the second episode of Season 12, designers had to create an elegant look for over $30 million of fine jewelry loaned to them for the runway. The top three looks belonged to Dom Streater, Sandro Masmanidi, who was in the bottom three last week when one of the judges said his model looked like a “slutty cat toy,” and Katie Pankoke, a previous contestant who won a spot to come back on this season’s show.
Streater designed a green and white print gown with asymmetrical hemline, and an off the shoulder draping detail on one shoulder to compliment the emerald and diamond necklace she used. The judges felt it took something that could have been matronly and made it “young.”
Masmanidi designed a very tailored knee-length dress in beige with black lace straps and side panels of black sheer fabric, plus black piping details. The top had a mid-section cutout, and a difficult bustline, showing great sewing technique. Judge Zac Posen felt it bordered on being a bit trashy, but supermodel and uber-judge Heidi Klum felt Masmanidi’s tendency to go overboard with details actually worked this week.
But Pankoke took the top prize of the day with her trademark corseting and an asymmetrical gown that looked a bit like a corseted Victoria Secret model rolled out of bed and wrapped herself in a sheet. Of course, when we ordinary mortals do that, it is a disaster, but when a Victoria’s Secret model does it, it looks fabulous. And apparently the judges agreed, giving Pankoke immunity for next week with the win.
And then there was the bottom three.
Poor Helen Castillo became a victim of her own ambition, trying to do a piece far too complex to finish in the time they had. Even before her model came out, she was shaking and had broken down in tears to the point that Klum asked mentor Tim Gunn to go talk to her, holding the runway till she recovered a bit. The full length gown had many flaws, including an unshaped bustline, unintentional shirring in the back and an attempt to texturize the fabric on the hips. But to her credit, not only was Castillo ambitious, but she knew she had filed to deliver which is more than one can say for many designers who crash and burn.
Which brings us to Timothy Westbrook. Westbrook made the bottom three last week with a disastrous dress and the worst styling ever… no styling at all. As Westbrook will tell you every five minutes, he’s an environmentally-conscious designer daggone it! And in his world, that means, first of all, no electric sewing machines. That also meant no makeup, hairstyling products and no use of any electrical hair styling instruments for his poor model last week, who was in tears. Then as if that wasn;t bad enough, he was trying to get her to do some kind of theater performance instead of a runway walk, which thank goodness Gunn had the luck to see him rehearsing with her and intercept to tone it down, and which the model herself had enough wisodm to drop and just walk the runway.
Smart move, sister.
Of course, the hilarious irony last week was that had done some burning on the parachute fabric they had to use last week, and Posen pointed out to him that burning that released tons of toxic fumes into the environment.
Thank you, Zac.
So our tree-hugging designer this week decided to use scrap fabric for his green angle, including a tacky blue velvet David Lynch would reject. As Gunn went around to dispense device, he straight-up told Westbrook he was looking at a ticket home given the direction he was heading. But even with re-grouping, the end result was this weird reverse T-back dress in blue velvet with white fabric running vertically along the sides, completely stripping the wearer of any curves and creating a straight, unflattering silhouette. He did at least allow his model some eye makeup this week, but the hair was so unfinished with no styling products or tools, and the final look just didn’t work.
However, unlike Castillo, Westbrook was utterly clueless how bad it was. Not a good sign. With his performance last week, he seemed a shoe-in to go home. But he survived, perhaps solely for entertainment value, as it’s hard to imagine any other reason.
Instead, Kahindo Mateene found herself packing up her workstation for a dress Klum called “boring” and “too simple.” Other judge comments included it looked like it came off the sale rack. The print was covered by a sheer tulle fabric to tone it down at Gunn’s suggestion, and he said he felt bad when the judges were deliberating. But then when he showed them the original fabric, the judges were far more horrified, and it seems they felt her lack of judgment selecting it and the drab dress were far greater sins in their eyes, so they sent her home.
This season, Gunn is allowed one save for a booted designer, but he passed on using it this episode, as he said he had to agree with the judges on their critique.
What do you guys think of the judges’ decision tonight?
“Project Runway” airs Thursday nights on Lifetime.