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Project Runway Recap: Project Runway, Episode 9.2: “Think Outside the Litter Box”

Picture it: New York, 2011. The Project Runway contestants are shootin’ the breeze inside the Atlas apartments.

Josh C., who was nearly eliminated for his hacked-together sportswear summer camp project last week says he “can only only go up.” To which I think, no Josh, you can go down from there. There are lots of ways. You could be eliminated. You could be hit by a car. You could have a severe allergic reaction to Michael Kors’ spray tanner.

Anyway, it’s assignment time. Heidi tells them they are going to unleash their creativity.

Joshua McKinley (henceforth known as J-Mac) wonders if she means fetish and S&M because she said “leash.” Ha, nope. They meet Tim at 14th St. and Ave. B, which is absolutely nowhere near the Central Park establishing shot they showed. It’s a Petland Discount. They are using materials from a pet store to create their next garment.

They totally don't sell scratching posts at Neiman Marcus.

I can’t help but wonder why they selected a chain store that still sells live animals when there are zillions of independently-owned pet supply shops around the city. Maybe I’m biased because I used to work at one, but it would have been nice. Bert asks if the live animals are off-limits, which they are. I am not sure but I really hope he was joking. He gets some side-eye for that comment, though.

Fallene, who used a cut-out of a clown barfing rainbows on her dress last week, is stoked because, shockingly, she loves whimsical novelty things and doesn’t think we should take fashion too seriously. I’m with you, girl, which probably explains about 90% of my wardrobe.

Uniballer Anthony decides to head away from where everyone else is going, which is usually a good idea on a show that’s supposed to be about creativity and innovation. He ends up buying an aviary’s worth of birdseed and some grass for the skirt. This could be awesome or horrible. It might also attract a Hitchcockian flock of pigeons to the workroom if they aren’t careful. Oh, well. That’s the price you pay for fashion.

Bert is clearly phoning this one in because he has immunity. As soon as Tim says they should stay away from using too many materials that are already fabric, he heads over to the dog beds. Gasp. My min pin could nap hard on those and you’re just going to cut them up? There are sleepy dogs all over this city that would love to get their paws on those, dude. Why won’t anyone think of the puppies? Also, Bert, if you’re not into making clothing out of weird things, maybe Project Runway wasn’t the best choice. Have you seen this show before?

Laura, a.k.a. Designer Barbie, says she is going to make pet stores as refined as possible, then inexplicably decides to make a skirt out of those clear plastic cone collars that are used to keep dogs from biting themselves. Because nothing says refined like “don’t lick the place where your nuts used to be.” Everyone else is buying wee wee pads, apparently. My psychic powers predict this will lead to workroom hilarity.

Back at Parsons, we see Julie planning to use dog food bags to make a dress. She’s weaving strips of the paper together into a fabric. I’ve handled many a bag of dog food in my day, and they always smell funky and have a weird, oily feel, which isn’t really something I associate with high fashion.

Olivier is using two different colors of the wood chip-like fill used in bunny cages to create an ombre pattern, with fabric from a dog bed that really, really looks like it’s from a dog bed for the top. Fun fact: I assumed he was British because of his accent, but apparently he grew up in Ohio and moved to Europe as a young adult.

There’s a minute of faux drama when J-Mac realizes he didn’t buy some connector thing that’s supposed to go with the his aquarium tubing. Viktor has some on his work table. Oh noes, there will be blood. Or not, because we cut to commercial and never hear mention of it again.

Lots of people are dyeing wee wee pads to use as fabric. It kind of looks like some puppies with serious health issues have gotten loose in the workroom. Viktor has bunched his up to make a tight little number, to which Tim Gunn comments, “It’s like a Depends dress. You never have to get up from your barstool.” He also mentions he’s never said “wee wee pad” this many times in a single day before. I wonder what his previous record was.

My rule for all reality shows is to drink when someone says “wow factor.” Kimberly points out that another dress does not have said factor of wow. Drink.

When the models come in, Julie’s kind of looks like a doormat. Designer Barbie, who loves to talk about her middle class upbringing and how she’s been shopping at Neiman’s since she was in single digits, is having a serious problem with her cone-collar skirt. By “serious problem,” I mean there was so much model butt cheek showing that Lifetime kind of blurred it. She decides to re-do her skirt with cat scratch cardboard.

Lots of redesigning happens after the fitting and before the runway, while the ladies are off in the product-placement beauty studios. Anthony decides to scrap the grass skirt and cover the whole dress in birdseed. J-Mac ditches the tubing (so the manufactured moment of drama wasn’t even necessary) for aquarium rocks. There’s also lots of gluing. Olivier wants to glue bunny stuff to his model’s eyebrows, and the makeup guy asks if she has medical insurance. Just about everyone is gluing dress parts to their models while they’re already in the clothes.

The runway show commences. There seems to be a slight reduction in the use of labia as an accessory compared to last week. Becky Ross used fake aquarium plants in spashy colors, and it’s cool but kind of looks like a gourmet salad. I’m calling is CSA-chic. Julie’s woven and presumably greasy/smelly dog food bag dress is actually kind of cool, though it looks a little stiff. Non-sewer extraordinaire Anya made a surprisingly-cute halter top out of rope dog toys. Laura’s redesign looks better than the ass cone. She claims she didn’t use a single piece of fabric. Unless you count dog leashes as fabric, which they kind of are. Viktor’s wee wee pad dress looks like a pink maxi pad that was picked out of a wedgie, and yet I still like it.

Josh made a dress out of an umbrella. Also, he is worried about his lack of “wow factor.” Drink. But it made Nina sigh, so he is right to be concerned.

Bryce’s blue wee wee pad and hamster fluff dress looks like Cookie Monster barfed up a sad, non-awesome version of Bjork’s swan dress. Also, the first napkin skirt of the season. Congrats, Bryce.

What, what, what are you doing?

Danielle, Julie, Laura, Victor, Becky, Cecelia, Kimberly, Anya and Bert are safe, though Heidi calls Bert out for half-assing it. He agrees that he’s lucky he has immunity. Anthony, Oliver, J-Mac are the top three, Bryce, Josh C, and Fallene are the bottom.

Pretend you want to be there, Bert.

The judges are gaga over Olivier’s beige number, which I thought looked kind of old and sad. His work with the ombre on the skirt was pretty great, but I thought the top looked like a dead muppet. Fallene’s glued-on aquarium plant skirt seemed like a good idea, but it didn’t come together and ultimately looked blah. The judges are also enamored of Anthony’s birdseed, which is pretty amazing if a little too short. Someone had to bring back the cervix accessory.

Do not wear to the park.

J-Mac’s skirt was see-through and weirdly not one of the judges mentioned it. That seems kind of important. At least his model is wearing underpants. But the shape is fantastic, as is his work with the aquarium rocks on the top. Kors rightly points out that the styling makes her look like Sea Vixen Barbie.

I would rock that top with my belly pooch underneath it.

DRAMA! Choosing between Anthony and Oliver to win is a standoff between Heidi and Nina. Ultimately Heidi is overruled and Olivier’s ombre bunny muppet is crowned the winner. I’m firmly Team Klum in this debate.

Really, this won.

Alas, we must say auf wiedersehen to Josh C. for his overuse of fabric and his garment’s resemblance to ’90s club wear. So his previous assertion that he could only go up turned out to be far from true.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

13 replies on “Project Runway Recap: Project Runway, Episode 9.2: “Think Outside the Litter Box””

I definitely revised my opinions on some of the contestants after this show.

I liked Bert the first week, but like you said, does he even know what this show is about? He doesn’t want to do funky challenges? I’m rethinking my Bert love.

Also, I liked Laura much better this week. Her personality seems easily manipulated by editing, so I wonder what she’s really like IRL.

Also, seriously, Oliver won over the birdseed? Ugh. The skirt was cool, the top was made of FABRIC (seriously, why didn’t the judges mention this?) and ill-fitting.

Team Klum FTW.

I felt the same way. I was all Team Old Guy Recovering Junkie!! But then this week I was like, eh…no…you still need to work. They’ll just be harder on him next time.
And YES about the fabric!! When I saw that it was the dog bed or whatever I thought they would never go for it. I was just a dogbed with sleeves. GOD.

I have a lot of feelings about this show.

I know. I liked both Anthony’s and J-Mac’s better than Olivier’s. Actually, there were probably some in the safe group that I preferred as well.

I think Laura bugs me because she starts every sentence by reminding us of her suburban, upper middle class upbringing. Which is probably fairly similar to my own childhood, but I don’t need to talk about it every time I open my mouth. Her actual garments aren’t bad, she just irks me.

It’s kind of hard to gauge personality at this point because there are still so many people that everyone gets so little screen time. Maybe as they progress, assuming she sticks around for awhile, we’ll be able to get a better handle on her.

I absolutely can. not. with Olivier’s faux accent. It is not a real accent. He is from Ohio FFS! Also his real name is totally Oliver and he added that extra I. I just know it. He is horrible. I hate that pretentious spacey art accent nonsense he has going on. And his top totally looked like a dead muppet. Birdseed dress was robbed!

I think he left Ohio at 16 and headed to London, then also spent time in Italy(??), but I seriously doubt this would result in such a strange accent. I rewound a couple of times to listen to him more closely, and I almost feel like there might be a speech impediment on top of the faux-accent; it’s really unplaceable.

oh if he has a speech impediment I’ll feel like a jerk. I know that some people claim that living abroad as an adult (for our purposes we’ll call 16 an adult) can result in picking up an accent. But literally every person I’ve known who has claimed to have picked up an accent from being abroad (or simply by being around someone speaking with an accent) has always been a put-on or trying to fit in. I’m not buying his. I keep thinking of the line in Mrs. Doubtfire where Pierce Brosnan tells Mrs. D her accent is muddled.

I may be totally wrong – maybe the affectation is just so awkward that it sounds like an impediment. I think 16 is definitely an adult in terms of developing accent – I feel like at that age your general pronunciation of words wouldn’t change that much, but the cadence, syntax and the vernacular easily could.

I’ll feel like a jerk too. But to me it sounds like an affectation. I mean, I’ve moved a few times and you do pick things up, but for me it’s more like some local slang or maybe the pronunciation of a few words, not an overhaul of my entire way of speaking.

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