The Project Runway challenge a couple of years back where the designers had to dress other contestants' mothers was a nightmare, so it's no wonder that when this year's crop of designers saw a bunch of average-looking, middle-aged women walk out onto the runway, they feared the worst. But the Project Runway team had something new up its sleeve in Wednesday's episode: This time, the designers had to dress the women's daughters, hip young women just out of college and looking for jobs.
Of course, it still could have been a disaster, with pushy mothers overruling what their daughters wanted, but for the most part (save for Leanne's family, and even then only slightly) the challenge proceeded with little drama. In fact, the episode was almost a little boring: relatively calm workroom, relatively good designs, relatively happy clients. Hey, at least we had Jerell to light the room up with his wit. From "Come on, Joe, you can work on Nancy Reagan tomorrow" to his story of working at McDonald's and "getting all kinds of free Big-n-Tasties," our boy was on fire last night!
Meanwhile, Kenley dressed her mini-me, we saw pictures of the designers in their own just-entering-the-workforce days, and the fabulous Cynthia Rowley stopped by to judge, so to see my thoughts on the episode, just read more.
- During client selection, Leanne took one look at her client and said, "There's no way this girl just graduated college. She looks like she's 12." Leanne, you look like you're 12!
- Did we know Korto was a mom? The pictures of her daughter were adorable.
- There's a Mood dog, and his/her name is Swatch? Awesome.
- Kenley's conversations with Tim Gunn are amazing. She manages to hear his critiques as glowing compliments. Tim laments that something looks too "menswear," and Kenley responds happily, "right, right, professional!"
- I cracked up at this line from Cynthia Rowley when Suede said his client wanted something to go from day to evening: "I say just change your clothes before you go out."
Now, as for the designs:
- Kenley — Kenley made a variation of her standard '50s dress, this time with a short vest and shiny belt. She lucked out, because the look worked for her mini-me. She also seemed to be holding her tongue on the runway, even if she did crack up (along with her mini-me) during Joe's critique.
- Joe — The minute Joe told his punky, Kelly Osbourne-ish client that he was going to make her a business suit, I was pretty sure he was a goner. Add in some pinstripes and an ill-fitting wrap shirt ("Becky Home Ec-y," as Kors said), and it was exactly what you'd imagine wearing to a job interview . . . in 1988.
- Korto — I didn't get a great look at Korto's dress, but that hardly matters, because I would buy her jacket right now. The judges loved it (Cynthia Rowley admiringly said it looked like it could have been really expensive), and she was easily in the top three.
- Suede — Suede's client was a photographer, so she wanted something that would be easy to move in, and instead, she got a short-ish dress with one of the most wickity-whack jackets we've seen on the runway in a long time. I think it could have worked as a maxidress and without that awful craziness on the jacket sleeves.
- Jerell — Jerell said he wanted to make his client an outfit that was "flirty and sexy in its own awkward way," and he accomplished it with a pencil skirt, a fancy blouse, and a man-ish cardigan. It was a great look for his client, who instantly looked more grownup without a hint of dowdiness.
- Leanne — Leanne got the toughest of the clients (more accurately, the toughest of the mothers), but she still managed to come up with something that would please everyone. It wasn't her best, just a relatively simple dress with a boxy jacket the judges hated (but I liked), but it was enough to get her through.
In the end, Jerell nabbed his second win in a row, while Joe went "outsie-daisy." Ah well — at least he still got to show at Bryant Park. If Suede goes next, I'll be perfectly happy with the top four. You?
Photos courtesy of Bravo