OK, so maybe I was a little too skeptical of this week's Project Runway. I wasn't sold on the premise of yet another sponsored challenge (this time by the WWE Divas), but now, I'm not sure what I was so worried about. The wackiness of the challenge gave the designers freedom to break loose — not quite avant-garde loose, but close — and create some of the most inventive outfits we've seen yet. Plus, I seriously underestimated the hilarity of Tim Gunn in a room full of Amazonian pro wrestlers.
The designers were given two days and $100 (to be spent at Spandex House, not Mood, heh) to create competition outfits for their chosen divas, who ranged from Rami's "all-American girl" to Sweet P's "classic sexpot, not the whore sexpot." I loved the moment when the designers first spotted the Divas throwing each other to the ground and making what Christian described as "sex moans" — Jillian barely made it in the doorway, Rami turned a little red, and Chris summed all up this way: "These ladies throwing each other, kicking each other, pulling each other's hair . . . It was pretty great, actually."
Right from the start, Sweet P seemed to be struggling with her idea — surprise! — while Rami and Ricky also seemed out of their element. Chris, on the other hand, seemed right at home. To hear how things went in the workroom and see a gallery of all the getups, just read more.
This challenge was so utterly ridiculous, it seemed to bring the designers out of their shells a bit. I particularly loved Sweet P arm-wrestling Christian, taunting him with "Come over here, you skinny-armed twit!" (I thought Sweet P would take him, but Christian is surprisingly — wait for it — fierce.) Another great moment came from the sewing room, when the designers picked names for their own WWE divas. Sweet P chose Spreadeagle, while Christian settled on "Ferocia-couturea." Of course, Christian also delivered several of his trademark smackdowns (mostly to Sweet P), among them "It looks like a craft project I would make in the first grade" and "It looks like tranny ice queens" — the latter of which actually prompted Sweet P to add a feather boa to her outfit, as if that would somehow tone down the tranny ice queenness of it all.
Onto the runway. I must say, the WWE Divas strutted their stuff better than some of this season's actual models.
With only six designers left, everyone got a runway critique this week from Heidi, Nina, Michael — who said he "felt like the Pope in a sex club" — and the boys of Heatherette. Here were the good, the bad, and the ugly:
- Christian — I honestly don't know how he has time to do all that he does in these challenges; he never seems rushed, and yet his work is some of the most detailed week after week. Granted, the leather chaps and tight lace top probably didn't take all that long, but he threw all that extra time into the ruffly yet tough jacket that has become a signature piece of his.
- Jillian — Jillian's near-catatonic personality still doesn't make for good television, but I have to give her credit for a turnaround here. I wasn't impressed with her Levi's outfit at all, but she seemed surprisingly comfortable working with electric blue spandex. Her strappy top and boy shorts fit her Diva's personality well, and the outfit seemed like it could move straight into the ring.
- Chris — Chris March wins! Granted, this challenge probably wasn't much of a stretch for him: Make an outfit that reflects his style using sparkles and spandex? Sparkles and spandex are his style! But he created a stylish look that also seemed like a believable wrestling costume, with tough black straps and an adorable sequin-lined leopard-print hoodie. Also, how great that he matched his model on the runway?
- Rami — Without his normal fabrics and draping, and with the mandate to make something outlandish and flashy, Rami seemed paralyzed. He turned his blonde, big-haired model into a real-life Barbie, and not in the good way; the bubblegum pink spandex was simply cheesy.
- Sweet P — Sweet P had yet another of her weekly crises, going in a totally awful direction before some smack talk from Tim Gunn — and, in this case, her model, who hilariously pointed out that the outfit was so bland she could "buy it at the stripper store" — set her straight. This time, though, her mistake was not going crazy enough. I want Sweet P to stick around, but she's going to have to improve fast if she wants to make it through the next aufing.
- Ricky — As a lingerie designer, Ricky should have owned this challenge; instead he turned in a boring (and orange?) bathing suit that wasn't terribly flattering on his Diva, with a gold lame cover-up that was even worse. He complained early in the episode that even his win in the Levi's challenge hadn't seemed to get him respect from the other designers, and this is why. Bye, Ricky.
Were you shocked there were no tears at Ricky's goodbye? Did you think Chris' model looked like "a caged animal"? And what do you think is the astounding, amazing, every-designer's-dream field trip next week?
Photos courtesy of Bravo