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It's Week Three of Project Runway, and the ever-expanding Heidi Klum tells our designers that they'll be taken to meet "the most iconic fashion designers of all time." Of course, this is Lifetime, so we're expecting it to be Jessica Simpson and Lauren Conrad. But we're wrong. Tim introduces the contestants to the likes of Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Balenciaga—not their corpses, but their dresses, displayed on mannequins at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The designers are then told that their challenge is to form teams of two and make a museum-worthy outfit. Later, they are also instructed that they must make a second, cheaper outfit, inspired by another team's signature look. We think this is a brilliant idea, or at least we did when the producers assigned a similar challenge in Season Four. At the Met. To teams of two, who were told to create a couture piece inspired by a piece of art. And then told to create a separate, cheaper outfit based on their own high-end piece. Sadly, the only thing they couldn't copy from that challenge was the wonderful design team of Christian Siriano and Chris March.
When reality shows force contestants to work together in teams, trouble generally ensues, and this week's Project Runway is no exception. Jonathan spends almost every interview segment bashing his partner Mila. Even worse is the very vocal antagonism between Jesse and Ping. The Hutus and Tutsis got along better.
The designers are allowed to spend five hundred dollars at Mood, the largest amount ever allotted on Project Runway for one look. They're also given two full days to complete their outfits. Given access to this relative cornucopia of fabric choices and time, you'd think the final designs would be spectacular, but nope. And once again, when Runway designers are told to create a couture or signature gown, someone inevitably makes a big poofy shoulder or neck piece. How we long for Jeffrey Sebelia's innovative yellow tartan couture gown.
Michael and Nina judge together again, for the third week in a row. It's almost enough to make us forget Los Angeles. Joining them as our guest judge is...drum roll, please...British designer Matthew Williamson. That's right, Matthew Williamson. A real designer. A respected designer. An innovative designer. Hallelujah! Mathew doesn't offer many great insights on the runway, but at this point he could chew his own toenails during the judging and we'd still be thrilled to see him.
This week our top two teams are Team Jay/Maya, with their glamorous gown with its big poofy shoulder piece (!), and their impeccable tribute to Janeanne's signature black suit; and Team Mila/Jonathan. The judges are mad for Mila's black and white jacket and pants, which looks to us like a track suit for an aging Batman. Although the judges trash Mila and Jonathan for making their second piece a baby-doll version of Anthony's and Seth Aaron's dress, they choose Mila as this week's winner. In the bottom are Team Anthony/Seth Aaron, whose gown is described as "costumey" and whose cheaper lace dress just looks cheap; and Team Ping/Jesse whose signature piece was so draped that when the model lowered her arm, the dress collapsed. Their cheaper second dress looks inconsequential and ill fitting, possibly because Ping never bothered to fit it on the model. So this week, we finally bid "auf Wiedersehen" to Ping. We'll miss you Ping, mainly because you gave us so much material for this column.
And in our As Tears Go By count, Ping cries on the runway, after she leaves the runway, and during her post-aufing interview, thus bringing this season's number of crying jags to eight.
And now for this week's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...
10). The designers are told to create a signature outfit that is museum-worthy. Ping translates this to mean "make a collage."
9). Mila says she wants to design something influenced by "the Sixties." We didn't realize she meant the age group.
8). Ping wears great eyeglasses. Finally she brings something stylish to the runway.
7). Anthony surpasses the wit of any of Michael's critiques by describing his own bright yellow, red and black garment as "a gown for the Vice President of McDonald's."
6). After Ping forgets to put one of her contact lenses in and says "I can only see through one eye," Anne-Marie responds with, "Maybe that will help your design." Thanks Anne-Marie for writing this one for us.
5). Sob sister Janeanne says she wants to cry. But doesn't.
4). Jesus predicts, "In order to go forward in this competition, I need to be me and I need to design what Jesus Estrada designs." Ironically, to stay out of the bottom two, he had to "design" what Amy designed.
3). Ping is forgetful. She forgets her shoes, her contact lenses and last week she forgot to cover her model's butt.
2). Tim says, "You're designers, not plagiarists." Obviously this isn't the Forever 21 Challenge.
1). Matthew Williamson!