Roughly Speaking podcast: Halloween special: Best of horror movie music (episode 168)

'Project Runway': Stella wants me to keep walking

Project Runway is becoming a bit predictable. Designers guessing what the challenge will be and debating who will be that episode's guest star? Check. Suede talking in the third person? Check. Field trip to an undisclosed location? Check. Corporate sponsor? Check. Wednesday's episode was no different, but at least the looks didn't have to be designed using car parts.

First up: The designing women are wondering what the new challenge will be. Will they get to use REAL fabrics? Suede is sad that Keith, his roommate, is gone. I'm not. Then, they all head to the runway.

Car-part-challenge winner Leanne decides to keep Caroline as her model, which means that Keith's model, Alyssa, is out. (There sure hasn't been a lot of model-swapping going on this season.) Heidi Klum then describes the next challenge, saying a special person is there. Tim Gunn walks out, saying, "It's just little old me." He tells the contestants that they'll be designing for a fashion legend, whom they'll meet now. Field trip! (Here's hoping that he or she is an actual legend, unlike Brooke Shields.)

As they walk down a cobblestone street in New York's Meatpacking District, Blayne is crossing his fingers that the aforementioned legend is Mary-Kate Olsen. Yes, Michelle of Full House, who is 22 and often clad in oversized garments that resemble garbage bags, grandmotherly garb, etc. (Though she has been looking a bit better as of late.) "My first thought about the fashion legend is Mary-Kate Olsen. I want every challenge to be involved with Mary-Kate," he says. "I wanna marry Mary-Kate. Who doesn't? Besides Tim Gunn?" Everyone, raise your hand.



The swank building they enter is actually home to an office of Diane von Furstenberg, who makes fabulous printed wrap dresses that I cannot afford (but apparently Lorelai Gilmore can, because she wore them on about every other episode of Gilmore Girls). It's nice to have a challenge that is really fashion-oriented. (Not car-oriented! Not grocery store-oriented!) The designers must create an outfit for DVF's fall line based on the film A Foreign Affair. Of course, there is a sponsor tie-in: The winning look will be sold exclusively to American Express card members (DVF is a spokeswoman of sorts for the company). Part of the proceeds will go to CFDA (I needed to Google that. It means Council of Fashion Designers of America.) (Side note: Has Stella been looking prettier lately? Maybe it's her eyes? Is it a new makeup routine?) "It's huge," Joe says about the challenge. "This is what Project Runway is all about."

The designers get to pick out fabric from the DVF sample room. They are happy! Kenley is CRYING in her confessional, because she really wants to win. Back to real-time: Stella is having trouble reaching her fabric. She's weak! Kenley helps.

Back in the workroom, Leanne is happy she has immunity, but she still wants to win. The designers have a look book, which I'm assuming is the Fall '08 collection, which includes pieces with several layers. People seem to be doing three pieces, except Kenley is talking about making one "great" dress in her confessional. She still looks like she is going to cry.

As for the others: Suede is focused on "what Suede is here to do." Blayne has some fluorescent fabric, naturally. Terri is making more "androgynous" wear. She makes pants and shows them off (on her) while others make fun of her firework print behind her back. Korto is making something she hopes is chic and wearable for someone of any size. I'm sure it will be fabulous; I'm betting on her to get to Bryant Park. Stella, who won't tell her competitors what she is making, plans a cape, vest and pair of pants. (I bet they can guess that, Stella.) Joe crafts a backless pink shirt. Leanne, who is making a long purple gown and cropped trench, tells us that she has never been out of the country, thus has had no foreign affairs. However, she would love to be "Secret Agent Leanimal," and she "would hunt everyone down, like an animal." This would have been the funniest thing I saw on TV all night, but the shot of Sarah Palin's daughter, Piper, slicking down baby brother Trig’s hair by licking her hand and rubbing his head was slightly more cute and amusing.

As expected, Tim comes in to assess the designers' progress. He tells Suede that he isn't getting his awful print dress. Awful is my word, not Tim's. It looks a bit too full in the waist, and very dowdy. He tells Leanimal that her dress has a "sublime shape," but that as of now, the jacket is too long. Tim says Joe is being ambitious. Korto is making a black-and-white printed dress, with a bit of yellow peeking out from the neckline and, possibly, the bottom. Tim worries that the yellow looks like a bra strap. We all know what Stella is making (a biker outfit again). She thinks the last week's judges, especially Rachel Zoe, were clueless about her outfit. (FYI, they hated it). She's not going to listen to what anyone has to say. Tim likes Kenley's dress and says it has a "beautiful silhouette." But, K is still crying in her confessionals. Did she chop some onions? She says she hasn't worked for any big designers before -- only herself, Wal-mart or Kmart.

The next morning, we're exposed to a shot of Jerell in his underwear in a kitchen. Why? I'm not sure. Soon enough, the cameras are back in the workroom, where the designers are worried that unfinished garments will be going down the runway. Joe is fitting his model; Leanimal thinks his outfit looks like a cheap costume, and she's surprised he is still here. I'm surprised Stella is still here. I'm unsure why the judges haven't pulled a Remi on her (AKA telling her that she needs to change up her style).

Time for the runway. Fern Mallis, senior VP of IMG Fashion, is filling in for Nina Garcia. Mallis apparently puts together Bryant Park. Von Furstenberg is there, too. See all the runway outfits here. Pictures speak louder than words.

Terri, Blayne and Jerell are safe. No big surprises there. Korto's critique is first. DVF likes the yellow peeking out, and so do I. This dress is lovely. As a judge says, very international and also very New York. I didn't write down who said that, but it sounds like a MK (Michael Kors, not Mary-Kate!) comment, no?

DVF doesn't like Joe's open back. I think it was a good idea in theory, but it's messy-looking. The right side of the skirt is also a different length than the left. Michael says. "This could be a 'What was she thinking?' from behind." Everyone one is laughing -- everyone but Joe! (There was also a weird hooded cape like thing on the model. Yuck.)

As Kenley defends her decision to make only one piece, Leanimal rolls her eyes. "It's very easy getting away with one dress," Heidi says. But no matter -- DVF likes it. Fern says it's simple but chic. Things don't go as well for Stella. She says her "client" is traveling from Berlin to New York a la A Foreign Affair. (Note: She said "Paris' when describing it to Tim in the workroom. Her outfit is so not Paris-y.) "The tailoring is just not happening here," MK says, adding that there's no edge to the outfit.

I'm not a fan of Leanimal's jacket, but I do like the dress. As the judges note, the ruffles down the back add an element of softness. Words they use to describe it are "slinky' and "seductive." They also like the combo of a  man's jacket and woman's sexy dress. I'm going to say that Leanne is also going to make it to Bryant Park. She's really stepped up her game since being chewed out in the "green" challenge.

Suede: Ugh. She has no hips. Or maybe she does, they're just hidden by this God-awful fabric. There's an open back, which Heidi says is sexy, so therefore it doesn't need the awkward slit up the leg. And, worst of all, the outfit includes a herringbone jacket, which clashes with the print.


The judges deliberate. Fern says Kenley's outfit would have been a "home-run" with one other piece. Leanimal had "quite a lot of good design there," says DVF. Korto is praised again, much like other challenges. Suede's vest is bashed, and the dress was uninteresting, the judges conclude. Joe's outfit was "a little bit too Shanghai for my taste," says Heidi. MK says he didn't think "three-dimensionally." Stella's outfit is deemed a good idea by DVR (really?). But MK says
"It was more Transylvania than it was Shanghai."

(During the break, we see the DVF American Express commercial, of course. I swear a dress in the spot uses the SAME fabric Korto used in her awesome dress. Did anyone else notice this?)

Results: Kenley is in. Then ... congrats Leanimal! Your instincts paid off TWO challenges in a row. She wins even though she has immunity. "It feels so amazing!" she says. Buy her dress for $650 here. Korto comes in second. Again. Suede is in. It's down to two -- and I really hope Stella goes. She does. She's told that the entire look was a major misstep. Stella rolls her eyes a bit, then says, "My ego was way too big to stay here anyway. I've learned and I've grown, so thanks." Kenley is still crying, but this time because she'll miss Stella. I might miss Stella's funny comments, but I won't miss her outfits. I'm guessing she's not talking to me when she says, "If you like my stuff, come buy it." Oh, but she adds: "If you don't, keeping walking. I don't care." 


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