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Project Runway Recap: A Loss of Balance and Composure

Project Runway
Off The Track Season 9 • Episode 5

Most looking less than chipper, the designers awoke this week to boxes of snazzy New Balance shoes and sportswear. Yay, gifts! They correctly guessed that they’d be making activewear — at least of sorts. Heidi met them at a running track in Washington Heights, where she explained that they’ll be making pieces to complement her new New Balance line, the best of which will be sold online. (You might have noticed, but there’s a bit of product placement going on here.) Moreover, they’ll be working in teams of three, which, judging by most of the designers’ expressions, is a prospect they relish about as much as a style consultation with Nina Garcia. There’s a footrace to determine the four team leaders, and the speediest end up being all of the young guys remaining in the contest, apart from our sentimental favorite, Olivier, who fell over and had a panic attack, poor thing. And Bertzilla is not only last in the race, but picked last to join a team, too, go figure.

Oh, and Cecelia quit — particularly poor form considering her mind seemed to have been made up even prior to last week’s runway when her BFF Julie got the auf. In her place, baldie Joshua C (previously eliminated in Episode 2) comes back, no doubt to cry lots and make these recaps more complicated because there’s now two guys with the same name again.

Back in the workroom, two teams (Viktor, Olivier, and Joshua C; Bryce, Kimberly, and Danielle) seem to motor along nicely, and thus received very little screen time outside of their crits with Tim and Heidi. The other teams, not so much — it’s down to resident drama queens Bert and Joshua M, respectively, to do their thing, and by thing we mean bitchery: Bert continues to hate everything his teammates produce on principle; Joshua M reduces his teammate Becky to tears after a barrage of all-too-stereotypically “fierce” snipes and jabs. (But then, who doesn’t love a little crying-in-the-bathroom-stall segment?) Eventually, the two instigators take each other on in a fun but really quite pointless back-and-forth that culminates in Bert telling Joshua to drop dead. How pleasant.

Even with Heidi allowing the designers extra time to complete their looks, it’s still, of course, a last-minute rush in the workroom to finish. Very few of the designers seem too happy with their outfits, and as the runway show begins it’s quite apparent why — even by sportswear standards, most are just not very good. Really, though, with the challenge’s “guidelines” proving to be a contradiction in terms again — workout wear to go with sneakers, but not workout wear, but yes workout wear — it’s not that surprising.

And let’s just say it, the judging was as big of a mess, if not more so. After again ignoring the fact that Bert has the teamwork skills of, well, a grumpy old man, the judges decided (most unfairly, we think) to pin all the blame for the lackluster trio of outfits on his team’s leader, Anthony Ryan. Furthermore, they continued to reward really bad behavior by awarding Joshua M the win — for a messy maxi dress, no less — in conjunction with Viktor, whose polished look actually warranted praise.

For this week’s loser, it came down to Anthony Ryan and Danielle, seemingly plucked out of nowhere because the judges were bored by her aesthetic. Heidi certainly earned her “Klum of DOOM” nickname — say it out loud, it rhymes — by enthusiastically throwing Anthony Ryan under the bus despite his previous good work, but was overruled by Michael, Nina, and the rather dull guest judge Erin Wasson. Danielle therefore got the auf, and left in a nice and classy manner, wishing her fellow contestants well. (Unfortunately for her, it’s probably that middle-of-the-road temperament that killed her chances.) In his closing words, Tim also thanked the designers for “their honesty” on the runway, which left us wondering if he’d been listening to a different judging session altogether.

Baseless Week #05 Prediction, Fashion Week Finalists: Anya, Kimberly, Olivier.

Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime

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