Greetings and salutations, PR fans. Before we get to the penultimate episode of Project Runway: 90210, a brief apology from me, your master of blogging ceremonies, Kevin Van Valkenburg. 

My "other" writing job (sports) and a tragic TiVo malfunction managed to get in the way of recapping the last two weeks, which made me feel incredibly guilty. After complaining about Michael and Nina missing multiple episodes this year, I essentially became them by letting other interests get in the way of what's really important: bad fashion designing recapped with bad jokes.

Bad form, that was.


And sadly, perhaps in an effort to punish me in absentia, Heidi and the Weinsteins decided to eliminate my two greatest comic devices, Nicolas and Logan. A part of me already misses Nicolas' crazy cackle, Logan's raw sex appeal, Nicolas' phony sense of entitlement, and Logan's ability to use his raw sex appeal to coast through 10 weeks of shoddy designs. 

It's pretty clear this has been a strange season for Project Runway. Sure, Irina has been a noble villain, serving as the producers' go-to designer for snark and sass in talking heads all season long. After all this time in Los Angeles, I'm starting to suspect she's actually Kobe Bryant's notoriously nutty wife, Vanessa -- seriously, look at the two of them here and here -- and that in the final episode, she'll strut off the stage in Bryant Park, slap a Kardashian (but hopefully not Bruce Jenner), and then sit down next to Kobe, Pau Gasol and the Beckhams.

There really hasn't been a counterweight to "Mean-a-Irina" (as Logan dubbed her last episode) at any point this year, which has made the season difficult to embrace. She and Nicolas traded a few barbs, but you mostly just prayed for mutual destruction whenever that happened. Personally, I would have loved to see Irina and Santino go at it for 12 weeks, if only because I'm certain Irina would have pointed out that Santino looks like a homeless orthodox rabbi, and Santino would have responded in kind. ("It's 5 p.m., do you know where Kobe is?") Alas, we'll just have to pray for a sequel to the Project Runway All-Stars show that aired earlier this year. By the way, you can order "Santino!" t-shirts off Rice's website if you like for just $40, which seems about $38 too much if you ask me, but who am I to say?

Let's get to the show, shall we? Time to find out who is going to Bryant Park!

The episode begins with Irina making excuses for why she's such a gigantic be-yotch. But instead of pointing out that she briefly joined forces with Althea to mock Logan's zipper turtleneck last episode, only to turn around and try to get Althea bounced on the runway by whining that her look had been plagiarized, she claims she's disliked by others because no one can handle her raw honesty. Also, for some reason, she won't get out of bed, preferring to lie there with the covers tucked to her chin so she can make evil eyes at everyone. (BTW, are we sure Logan isn't being held captive under those sheets? It would be just like Irina to belittle his designs but drug him and keep him in her bed to torture other designers like Carol Hannah.)

"I always say that I won't say anything behind your back that I wouldn't say to your face, but I guess people would rather you just say it behind their back," Irina says. 

Christopher informs us that boys' room is lonely, and then he laments the absence of talented male designers like Nicolas and Ra'mon, and marvels at the fact that he's still in the competition and they're not. If I were Epperson, and I was watching this while drinking away my sorrows at an Oktoberfest bar, I'd be pretty peeved Nicolas got name-checked and I didn't.

The Heidibot 3000 shows up to give us her usual cryptic spiel that always, always begins with a short " 'ello!" and ends with "byyyyyyyyye!" I don't know why it just dawned on me, but I'm certain that some poor failed screenwriter actually writes these little oracle bits for Heidi, because there is no way she's up late the night before crossing out words and making notes in the margins. Not with four kids, anyway.

Carol Hannah continues to win the award given out by my heart for "Most Adorable" by telling us her own heart beats really fast every time she thinks about going to Bryant Park. I'm starting to wonder if her earnest, Southern politeness might single-handedly redeem the entire state of South Carolina for Mark Sandford's "Appalachian Trail" non-hiking, and the whole Joe Wilson "You lie!" debacle earlier this year. She's basically Amy Adams from Enchanted, which is fitting when you consider Irina is obviously Susan Sarandon, the evil dragon queen.

Beam me up, Timmy! Our five remaining designers teleport to the The J. Paul Getty Museum, where Tim Gunn is waiting with a surprise guest. Hey, what do you know? It's LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the guy who cheated on his wife while she was undergoing cancer treatments! And then after he reconciled with his wife, he cheated on her again with a journalist! Seriously, Weinsteins, was Gary Condit not available?


"The fact that the mayor would take the time to welcome Project Runway really makes it hit home that this is a very serious thing," says Carol Hannah.

I guess it could be that, hon. It could also be that he saw the way Althea constantly designs outfits with crummy bra support and wanted to see if he could offer some private, professional tutoring, but that's just speculation on my part. Villaraigosa, by the way, looks like he's wearing lipstick. He disappears after all of 15 seconds on screen. Places to go, people to bone, I guess.

The challenge this week is to use something from the museum as inspiration for an outfit of your choice. Tim leads the models and designers on a tour of the museum, and I think I realize for the first time that Althea is like 7 feet tall.

Carol Hannah decides she's inspired by a gigantic French bed, which I'm certain she likes because it's easy to envision poor Logan tied up and covered in rose pedals. Irina decides on a painting by John William Godward called "Mischief and Repose" that has something to do with the mixture of "fur and flesh." Christopher and his dynamic chin beard are inspired by mold on a fountain. Seriously. Gordana, who continues to play up the "I'm just a poor girl from Bosnia" angle, picks a painting the reminds her of the drab, depressing beauty of Europe. I sure wish Jack Nicholson or Robert Evans (or the two of them together!) had stumbled onto the lawn of the Getty Museum with a harem of 19-year-old models and passed out in Christopher's fountain. Now that would have been a true Los Angeles experience to be inspired by.

Mood, we hardly knew ye this year. I don't think it's even worth pausing to recap what happened between your endless stacks of fabric, other than to point out a sweet line by Tim, who corrected Irina when she said she was buying a ton of "rabbit fur" by pointing out that "It would have to be a really giant Scandinavian rabbit."

It's time for everyone to drink a little Haterade and use their talking head to claw at the throats of everyone else. When Carol Hannah breaks up a fake fight between Irina and Gordana, Gordana tells my girl Carol Hannah "Too bad you not want to hear me. I not here to serve you!"

Me grammar, you no!


In a rare moment of candor, Irina confesses that her Georgian father is stressed out that she's not married and doesn't quite understand what she's doing with her life, so getting to Bryant Park would be a big personal step for her. Then Gordana tells us how she grew up dirt poor in Bosnia, and that she can't believe she made it this far when not all that long ago she was practically wrestling bears for money on the Serbia circus, or something like that. My goodness, who can predict what will happen next on As The World Of Failed Socialist Republics Turns?


Let's see if I can cover the next 20 minutes of the show in three sentences. Tim Gunn tells Irina not to dress her model in all furs like she's Raquel Welch in the movie One Million Years B.C. Irina makes some mean comments about everyone else's work. Carol Hannah says she feels like she's in one of those adventure movies where she's running really fast, but the bridge beneath her keeps breaking away and she's about to fall. (Sounds like Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull to me, girl. And I feel your pain.)

Runway show. Michael Kors is, of course, not here. And really, why should he be? It's only the most important challenge of the year, but he'd rather be in a tanning bed somewhere getting rubbed with coco butter by a Hugh Jackman look-a-like.

Cindy Crawford is a guest judge this week, however, and I'm kind of impressed. If Heidi is the Joe Montana of the supermodel world, then Cindy is probably the equivalent of Dan Marino. I hope somehow Richard Gere just saw that sentence and felt at least as weird reading it as I did writing it.

Althea's design looks like it was made with reflector tape. Carol Hannah has crafted a beautiful gold dress that should probably win. Christopher's algae inspired look seems like it's in danger to me. Gordana outfit, which she feels was inspired by angels, is pretty but also a little safe. Irina's outfit looks like something Robin Hood's girlfriend would wear to the Nottingham Spring Dance, and had to fight off a pack of wolves to get there.

Heidi calls Althea's outfit a "mess fest." Crawford and Heidi demand Irina's model de-accessorize and she begins stripping on the runway. (Future career training?) Nina Garcia doesn't think Gordana has taken a chance with her designs, and later says she still doesn't know who Gordana is. (Maybe you should have shown up for more than four episode then, Ms. Garcia! Just kidding Nina, I still love you. BTW, if you still don't know who Gordana is, let me offer this quick primer: She's a sassy divorcee from Bosnia!) Carol Hannah gets tons of love for execution, but not inspiration. When he's asked if he's confident with his look, Christopher cries (of course he does), soaking his chinbeard with tears of defiance.

Now comes the fun part. Each designer has to verbally make their case to go to Fashion Week, and also say which two designers should go along with them. It's like putting six raccoons in a bag for 12 weeks, shaking it up, then pulling them out and asking them to say at least one nice thing about two fellow raccoons. Considering the massive amount of eye make-up Carol Hannah wears, I think she has an advantage the further I can take this metaphor.

Gordana tells a story about shaving goats and designing fabric out of corn husks in Bosnia, but I may have gotten the details wrong because I'm no longer listening, having heard this story like five times already. She says she'd take Irina and Christopher.

Althea points out that she's never been in the bottom, then says she thinks Carol Hannah and (bites her lip) Irina also deserve to be there.

Carol Hannah flips the script and dismisses her South Carolina roots as a reason to bring her to New York, and simply points out that she makes clothes women actually want to wear. She'd bring Christopher and Althea.

In a surprising turn of events, Irina gets choked up when trying to make her case, and it's like watching Darth Vader take of his mask at the end of Return of the Jedi. I think her tears are made of battery acid and motor oil. As much as it pains her to compliment anyone, she says she'd vote for Althea and Gordana to go to Bryant Park.

Christopher manages to hold back tears long enough to recommend Carol Hannah and (gasp!) Irina for Fashion Week.

Gab, gab, gab, talk, talk, talk, Cindy Crawford still looks stunning at 43, Nina Garcia is the only judge unafraid to go against the grain, Heidi radiates sunshine, and suddenly it's time for our final judgment day.   

Irina gets the first nod, as expected, and zips backstage to begin plotting her next move with her advisers, Lord Voldemort and The Joker.

Christopher gets bounced, and when he goes back stage and breaks the news to Irina, he gets a hug and cries. I can't tell if it's because he's upset, or because Irina's icy embrace lowered his body temperature 20 degrees, but I suspect it's a little of both.

Carol Hannah gets the second nod, leaving the final spot up for grabs between Althea and Gordana.

The scary music seems extra heavy on the drums this week, but when the final thump gives way to cheesy guitar strumming, it's Althea's name that gets called, not Gordana's.

So there it is. After a season of misfit designers and high comedy, we're down to Irina, Carol Hannah and Althea.

Someone get Michael Kors out of the tanning bed! It's time for Bryant Park, baby.

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