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Last Friday was the Project Runway show at Bryant Park for Fashion Week. As expected, all six designers currently on the show as it aired presented collections, so the challenge to those of us who took a look at the designs was to figure out the decoys. And really, at this point in this particular season, seeing who gets the boot is really the only fun left. Sure, there’s hope for drama, but so far we’ve come up fairly empty-handed. Let’s cross our fingers for some crazy antics tonight.

Mother-Daughter Day at PR.

As usual, before the designers learn of their next challenge, they get ready for Parsons at their Atlas apartments. Suede is bummed at how poorly his design was received in the last challenge and wants to fight to the end to prove himself to the judges. Leanne muses that the next challenge will be making evening gowns for infants, which would be totally awesome and tie in with a line of baby wigs. Kenley says that she’s going to continue to be an obstinate bitch and not listen to criticism stay true to herself and not care what the judges think.

Before we can delve any further into Kenley’s over-inflated sense of self, the designers find themselves once again at the runway at Parsons. Heidi comes out, velvet bag of choosiness in hand, and says that she’s got some special ladies to introduce. Out come a half-dozen middle-aged women. At first, the designers suspect that it is the “mothers” challenge, but it becomes rapidly apparent that these women aren’t related to the final six. Heidi then says, much to the relief of everyone, that these women aren’t the clients, but their daughters are. Out come six more, much younger, women. Jerell thinks they are all in high school and it’s another prom challenge, but, as it turns out, these young women have all just graduated from college and are there for a head-to-toe makeover to transition into working life.

Heidi does the pick-a-designer-from-the-bag thing and matches up the mother/daughter pairs to the designers. Kenley gets daughter Anna and mom Nancy; Korto gets daughter Megan and mom Amy; Joe gets daughter Laura and mom Janet; Leanne getsdaughter Holly and mom Ellie; Suede gets daughter Avital and mom Yaffa; and Jerell gets daughter Caitlin and mom Ellen. Heidi then sends the designers to the workroom to meet with Tim; he tells them that, really, both the mother and the daughter are the clients—they both have to be satisfied. The clients will come in shortly and the designers will have 30 minutes to meet and discuss ideas. Then the designers will head to Mood with $100 burning a hole in their pockets.

Joe, apparently a fan of stereotypes, believes that it is going to be hard to make something that both the mom and the daughter will like—after all, if the mom likes it the daughter won’t. It’s a fairly sexist view that mothers and adult daughters cannot get along, if you ask me. He repeats this mantra throughout the episode so I hope when he gets home his wife and/or daughters kick him in the nads for being so simple-minded.

Kenley’s client Anna is an accessory buyer and likes vintage stuff. Good thing for Anna, because she’s going to get vintage from Kenley no matter what. Anna’s mother wants to make sure the look is sophisticated. Korto’s client, Megan, was a botany major and is thinking of going to medical or graduate school. She works in a lab so Korto decides to make a wrap dress that can go well with a lab coat. Jerell’s client Caitlin works in the arts and will either be an instructor or an artist’s assistant. She has a bit of cute-art-nerdiness about her and doesn’t want anything too girly and prefers an almost androgynous look. Jerell totally identifies with Caitlin and excited to work with her.

Poor Leanne has gotten the loud, demanding pair. Holly, the client, is going to be an elementary school teacher and wants the outfit to reflect that she’s in charge and she’s not one of the kids. Holly’s mother demands to know if Leanne does animal prints and Leanne, to her credit, just merely gives her a slight look of horror and says no. Suede’s client, Avital, was a photography major and will be working as a photographer’s assistant. She’s got to have freedom to move around at a shoot and schlep equipment about, so she wants pants. Suede has issues with this because, apparently, he cannot make pants. Finally, Joe’s client, Laura, is a graphic designer but hasn’t gotten a job yet so she’ll be out interviewing. Joe thinks a suit is perfect for going on interviews, but Laura worries that it will be kind of blah and un-sexy. Laura has an amazing ability at forecasting the future; she should have a job at Magical Elves’ in the Foreshadowing Gnomes department.

Pocket squares for everyone!

Time is called on the client meetings, and off to Mood the designers go. Korto snatched the Queen of Leatha crown off of Stella’s head and buys some camel-colored leather. Joe heads to the men’s suiting section for fabrics while Suede hunts down a Pucci-like print in purple. Shopping goes by fast, but not before we find out that Mood has a really cute dog hanging around the shop. If these designers don’t pick up the drama, they should feature more of the dog in the show.

Back at Parsons, the designers have until midnight and then the whole next day to complete their looks. Of course, there’s no immunity for the winner and Bryant Park is looming in the near-distance.

Leanne has decided to make a dress with a jacket for Holly; while she always does a nice job, I’m kind of tired of the jacket/dress combo. Jerell is just happy as a clam about the makeover challenge and has a nearly impossibly positive outlook on things. I wish that were contagious…or he’d tell me what meds he’s on. Korto worries about the material she’s using for the jacket; it may be leather or it may be textured fabric, but it’s the same camel color she was looking at while at Mood. Suede is consternated at the notion of making pants, so he avoids that unpleasant task and fiddles with draping a jacket.

After a while, Tim comes in with the clients and their moms for a 30-minute fitting session. Jerell’s client likes the outfit so far. Suede’s client’s mother wants more of the colored fabric on the brown jacket, but Suede isn’t keen on the idea. Joe’s client doesn’t like the pinstripe menswear fabric, but he’s confident he can make it so she likes it. It really does look boring, though, so I can’t imagine what he’s going to do with it. Jerell, in addition to having a sunny disposition vis a vis the challenge, sure can bring the snark when it comes to Kenley; he correctly points out that she’s making the same 50’s/60’s dress she always does, because she can’t make anything else. Leanne’s client’s mother does not like the high neckline of the dress and thinks it smashes down the daughter’s chest. Again, Jerell brings it, and says that Leanne got the Hedda Lettuce in this challenge. First animal prints and then worrying how her elementary school teacher daughter’s boobs will be accentuated in the dress—the mom sure is a piece of work.

The clients take their leave and there are only three hours left on the day. Suede revises his jacket to make it a bit more “funky” while Leanne makes her teacher’s dress sexier. Suede then gives in and decides to make a dress and will just try to sell Avital on the idea. Joe continues to work on his traditional suit, which Kenley aptly describes as totally 80’s, and says he’s going to jazz it up with a pocket square of the print fabric he’s using for the blouse. Jerell and Kenley—and, admittedly, me—go into fits of giggles over giving a 20-something girl a pocket square. Yep, people, haven’t you heard? Pocket squares are IN! Go out and buy 30!

My The Limited jacket from 1990 makes an appearance.

On the second day, Tim arrives with the clients (sans mothers) for a second fitting. Joe is still sold on the suit idea, and his client likes it a bit better than before; Joe thinks the suit will show off his tailoring skills. Leanne has made the collar of the dress a bit more of a scoop, so now her client loves it. Nothing like a bit of décolletage when teaching the kiddos! Suede successfully sells his client on the dress and he breaths a sigh of relief at not having to make pants. Before the clients leave, Tim brings in special guest Jeanie Syfu, the lead stylist for TRESemme. She does consultations with each client about their new hairstyles. I wish I had that opportunity; I had to transition from “really cool college stylist” to “home town dullsville stylist.” It took me years to find someone to get back to the cool level and wasn’t afraid to experiment with color. Jeanie also says that the winner of the challenge will be featured, along with the client, in an ad for TRESemme that will run in a future issue of Elle.

Tim then comes back into the workroom to review the designs thus far. Tim has concerns with the pockets and sleeves on Suede’s jacket—they aren’t even at all—and it looks a bit old. The designers are convinced it is from 1992. Tim thinks Joe’s suit looks more appropriate for a lawyer or a banker; Joe counters that it is for interviewing and it doesn’t matter what kind of job she’s interviewing for. Jerell tells Tim that his client loves the skirt/blouse/long cardigan look and Tim agrees that it looks amazing. He does caution to watch the volume of the blousiness of the top. Kenley has made a print dress with a vest over it; Tim says that without the belt on the vest, the vest kind of looks manly. He also suggests that she think about making the skirt even with the tulle, so the pink tulle isn’t sticking out of the bottom. Kenley pays no attention to Tim.

Korto talks a bit about her four-year-old daughter and Joe starts missing his girls. He has a little conversation with them and confesses that he wants to be proof for them that they can be whatever they want to be. Then the designers all head back to Atlas to get some rest. Before bed, Kenley, Korto and Leanne dish about who will be going home. Their consensus is that Suede will get the boot because his outfit is a hot mess of ugly with an unintelligible aesthetic.

Even college graduates can work a runway.

It’s the day of the runway show, and back at Parsons, the clients get sent in to be dressed and have their hair and makeup done. Joe warns his client of the criticism that the suit is too suit-y and not appropriate for a graphic designer. She says an interview is an interview, and doesn’t worry the point too much. Kenley’s client practices working the runway; Kenley is sure she’s going to be in the top three.

Finally it is time for the show. The clients’ mothers sit with their daughters’ designers to watch. The judges are, as usual, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia; they are joined by Cynthia Rowley. The six designs then fly down the runway:

Joe’s client Laura, the graphic designer, comes out in a black blazer, black pin-striped straight short skirt and a wrap blouse made of purple striped fabric. Her hair make over looks good; the suit looks common, even with the pocket square.
Leanne’s client Holly, the teacher, wears a dark navy dress, the top of which is completely covered by a short grey jacket.
Jerell’s client Caitlin, the artist’s assistant, comes out in a three piece brown outfit. The high-waisted pencil skirt is solid dark brown, the top is a blousy brown satin with a bit of see-through feminine detailing at the sight scoop collar, and she has a long brown sweater made of a thin knit that has nice movement.
Korto’s client, Megan, the biologist who may go to med or grad school, wears a wrap dress made of a bright and light green abstract leaf print topped with a fitted jacket that closes at the Mandarin collar and again under the bust line.
Suede’s client Avital, the photographer, comes out in the purple print dress that looks pretty decent but it is obscured by the ugly brown jacket that Avital instinctively takes off before even getting half way down the runway.
Kenley’s client Anna, the fashion buyer, wears a dress of pink and orange flowery print, topped with a brown vest and brought in at the waist with a wide yellow belt.

Heidi dismisses the moms and brings the designers and clients on the runway to face the judges. Kenley, up first, says she liked Anna’s style to begin with and wanted her to look fun, fresh, and cute. Heidi comments that Kenley found her own Mini-Me to dress; Anna admits that they have similar styles. Nina thinks the outfit is cute, Cynthia likes the belt in particular, and while she finds it a big fairy tale, the look is okay. Michael thinks the style is right for Anna’s job.

Joe then says he looked at the challenge and decided the best course of action was to make a suit for an interview so Laura could look like a professional. Cynthia thinks there were many other options besides a suit; Laura admits she likes the outfit better without the jacket. Michael says the look is something a 60 year old would think was what someone young should wear, what with the pinstripes and pocket square. This causes Kenley and Anna to giggle some more. Nina finds the whole outfit to be a total cliché.

Korto explains that Megan loves green and wanted something fun and young. Michael thinks the look is very current, professional, but age-appropriate. Megan loves the outfit, and Cynthia is particularly impressed by Korto’s jacket. Nina concludes that the outfit was well-made, modern, young, and professional-looking.

Leanne says that Holly is a teacher and wants to look in charge of the class. They ask Holly to take off the jacket, and Nina likes the dress much better without the jacket. Cynthia comments that most elementary school teachers dress more casually than this outfit would suggest.

Jerell explains that Caitlin into androgynous looks and that’s why he added the long brown cardigan over the pencil skirt and shiny brown blouse. Heidi loves the outfit and would hire Caitlin based on it. Cynthia comments that the look is perfect for Caitlin’s body type. Nina likes the juxtaposition of the cardigan and the girly top.

Finally, Suede says he wanted to convey a strong artistic look. Cynthia says, again, the jacket is too much and, in this case, it doesn’t work with the dress. Michael says he’d never guess Avital was a photographer. Suede continues to defend his look, saying he wanted something that would go from day to night; Cynthia suggests going home and changing clothes. Nina is more circumspect; she has issues with the shape of the jacket and its paring with the dress, but that is just the tip of the iceberg and will say no more.

The designers are sent away for the deliberations. They like Jerell’s total transformation of Caitlin and see a level of sophistication without looking old. Kenley is praised for her ability to find interesting prints and fabrics; her dress it works on Anna even though it is another vintage look. Korto’s outfit for Megan is perfectly tailored and looked expensive. The judges had nothing nice to say about Suede: his jacket is shockingly bad and the outfit make Avital look old and from another decade. Leanne’s look is not fresh and there is no reason an authoritative look needs to be frumpy. Finally, Joe’s outfit seems out of touch, like a poorly done home ec project, and a bit too much of Working Girl cliché.

With the decisions made, the six remaining are called out onto the runway. Korto is in and Jerell is declared the winner (despite sporting a silly hat that looks like Keith made it with his fringe-obsessed hands). Kenley is also in, as is Leanne. It comes down to Joe and Suede. Heidi says Joe took a beautiful girl and aged her 25 years and turned in an outfit that was a drab cliché. Suede, on the other hand, presented a dated look that was overworked and completely impractical. After a beat, Heidi says that Joe is out and Suede lives on to rock more early 90s looks poorly.

On his way out, Joe says that his young daughter thought, while watching past seasons of Project Runway, that Heidi’s “auf wiedersehen” was really “outsy daisy.” So outsy daisy Joe goes; he feels strongly about what he’s done and thinks he’s displayed his versatility. Moreover, he says he’s proven what he wanted to prove for daughters: follow your dreams. Well, that is better than following bliss, I suppose.

After the judging, Jerell and Caitlin stick around for their TRESemme shoot for the ad that will appear in Elle. Then we’re treated to some juicy teasers for next week: will Jerell sabotage Suede? Will Tim give Kenley a good what-for? Will hip-hop be the downfall of several contestants? Tune in next week to find out! If no drama ensues, I suggest an hour of “A Day in the Life of Mood’s Dog” be the next episode.