‘Runway’ Recap: Mother of God, Models Have Creative Input!

Episode Title
Grass Is Always Greener
Season
5
Episode
2

Last night on Project Runway the producers came up with a very clever idea, particularly unorthodox in the world of fashion: They let the models get involved in the creative process! At first we feared we were in for a snooze when we learn the challenge involved ecofriendly fabrics. After the designers choose models, they learn the girls will double as their customers and they must design a cocktail dress for them. Ah yes, the challenge of challenges — a party dress for a tall, skinny, gorgeous girl. Much laughter and rejoicing ensued at the prospect of such an easy challenge, but leave it to Tim Gunn to unleash the dark cloud that quells their glee: He informs the designers the models would do the shopping at Mood fabric store. Without the designers. Freak-outs ensue! But before the designers could tell the models what to do or the models could tell the designers what they had in mind, Gunn takes the girls to Mood straightaway! The models confess they have no idea what they're doing, and we just KNOW that we're in for complete freaking chaos.

Three models chose the same ugly brown shiny satin fabric. God knows why. Poor Wesley's model delivered that awful stuff (satin, Wesley laments, shows every mistake) with a side of pale lime green stuff that doesn't go at all. He opts to just use the brown shiny stuff. As the designers work — locked in a room from morning till midnight with nothing but their sewing machines, shiny/ugly fabric, and outsize personalities — we get to know them better. Suede decides to cut his fabric into dozens of narrow strips and sew them haphazardly around the bodice of his dress. He's got a lot of strips to sew so he continually talks to no one in particular about how he wants to go home and cry, referring to himself in the third person a hundred thousand times. This is profoundly annoying and makes us too want him to go home and cry.

Stella is upset because her model asked for something flowy and earthy, but dammit, Stella's aesthetic is "urban" and she works with leather and studs and spikes! After a sad attempt at Rami-esque draping, Stella decides to screw what her model wants and make what she damn well pleases. Obviously, disregarding what the model wants is a good move. As she works she discusses her leather affinity to such an extent that Blayne starts mocking her. But we confess her breed of crazy really works on television and for us so we'll be on her team till the cows … get skinned or whatever.

Speaking of Blayne: Naturally, the man ragging on Stella struck as more irritating than she did. Yesterday we said we didn't think Blayne was trying to make "girlicious" the new "fierce." We stand by that today, but with clarification: Now it seems that he's just trying to make "licious" the new fierce. Never mind the "de" or the "girl" — just "licious." We never thought we'd say this, but "fierce" started sounding pretty good after the first two-thirds of last night's episode.

When judgment day dawns, poor Wesley looks charming in his shorts-jacket combo, but frets over the fit of his brown satin mess — er, dress. But the show must go on! And so, after Natalie Portman is introduced as the guest judge (OMG! Oh, wait — she's just plugging her unattractive vegan shoe line — but she's so pretty — oh, we ARE conflicted!), out march the models in crotch-skimming shiny frocks. We hope everything was so short because the models didn't buy enough fabric. Blayne managed to send something down the runway that actually wasn't bad-looking, even if it did appear to immobilize his model's left arm. And somehow Suede's dress looked polished even though it resembled an Easter egg basket.

In the end, Stella's Über-short asymmetrical number landed in the favorites group and Suede's Easter-egg-basket dress won, which means Bluefly will make 150 of them to sell at $280 a pop. Dear Wesley lost, suggesting that the spoiler chart that popped up on Wikipedia earlier this week was wrong. We admit, sending Wesley home made us a little sad: We knew in our heart of hearts his dress was truly the worst but hoped his puppy-dog eyes, nicely styled shorts, and the fact that he interned at Marc Jacobs would win over the judges. It seems a horrible challenge to lose it all on, given that so much was reliant on the models' decisions. But then again, if you can't deal with the personal anomalies of freaking models, you might be in trouble in this business.