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Project Runway Recap: Quite the Blank Canvas

Project Runway
The Art of the Matter Season 9 • Episode 6

This week’s challenge just must have taped after one of the rare days off in a Project Runway season’s shooting schedule, because the designers all seem to awake refreshed, balanced, and ready to put their differences behind them. Even a particularly arbitrary design brief, involving schoolkids no less, didn’t really break their shiny happy veneer. And while this was a welcome change of pace after last week got a bit too nasty, it’s surely only a fleeting display of camaraderie (see: the end-of-episode teaser for next time around.)

Paired with a student from the Harlem School of the Arts, the designers watched — some more nervously than others — the kids paint, and helped a little bit too, covering canvasses with all sorts of designs: washed-out flowers, a dark sliced and diced werewolf, Kandinsky-esque cubism, and some impressionistic self-portraits with daubed-on crowns. Quelle coincidence, that crown adorned this week’s winner, before he even knew it. These works of art were then the inspiration for this season’s first round of dreaded — and in this end, dreadful — avant-garde looks.

From the moment we saw Joshua C. buying tacky red-tipped faux fur in Mood, it was clear his second time around this season wasn’t going to be much longer than his first. There’s even a random camera cutaway to a small dog in the store that's looking on disapprovingly. But there’s enough mess-ups in the workroom to make you doubt the eventual elimination is going to be quite that obvious: still-downtrodden Becky’s denim gown and crafty appliqué flummoxed Tim, as did Olivier’s sad-sack draped take on his kiddie artist’s vibrant dreamscape. We still love you Olivier, but color is your friend.

With precious little interpersonal drama, all the sniping this week came courtesy of the confessionals. And mostly courtesy of Viktor, who’s now bringing good enough game design-wise to back his snark up. He actually wins this week’s Kors-zinger award for an eyebrow-raising declaration that his look better not resemble a House of Deréon gown. That's a worse burn than the one(s) with which Laura treated her organza rufflefest. And a funny one, too, because the floaty fairy gown he ended up with could easily be a Beyoncé concert look.

Previews of this episode had hyped Olivier HOT GLUING his pieces onto a model. This was not actually as big a deal as Lifetime made it out to be, since, while he did use some glue, it was only to stop a bust line from getting droopy. And while this sounds terrifying, and it was a little bit, there’ve been some much more egregious glue/pin-jobs in the past, some holding whole outfits together on the runway. At least this incident amped up the tension pre-judging.

Nina was absent this episode, most likely to ensure she didn’t make small children cry. So Heidi, Michael, Nina's replacement and fellow Marie Claire-r Zanna Roberts Rassi, and guest Kenneth Cole held a quiet and insightful judging session. (Really, there was very little to argue about.) Anthony Ryan finally picked up a win for his brushstroke styling, and despite making us half close our eyes with fear that we might be losing Olivier after all, Joshua C. was auf'd again. That’s quite the revolving door.

Baseless Week #06 Prediction, Fashion Week Finalists: Anthony Ryan, Anya, Kimberly*

*we are so PAINED to have to drop Olivier from our projections, but goshdarnit it we’re determined to call the finalists correctly as early as possible.

Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime

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