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Recap: Project Runway, Episode 9.6: “Unexpected Balloon Thighs”

Well, well, well, here we are again. How are we doing tonight? Are you ready for some fashion? If we revisit where we left off, Cecelia quit, Josh C came back, Anthony Ryan and Bert had some bad blood, and J-Mac acted like a total turd toward Becky yet won immunity off of Anya’s design.

This week, Heidi sends them up to the Harlem School of the Arts, where they have been randomly assigned (or so they say, but do we really believe anything is truly random on this show?) to work with art students.

Now, up to this point I have been decidedly on Team Not Viktor. I don’t like him. His designs are all right, but his attitude has rubbed me the wrong way pretty much the whole time. He managed to endear himself to me a little bit tonight by having roughly the same response to working with kids as I would: a sarcastic “How… cute.” And later he suggests he would have a much easier time dealing with a talkative 12-year-old if he had a cocktail with him. Maybe I’ll leave Team Not Viktor and join Team Drinking When You Have To Be Around Kids.

The designers and their kid companions start painting together. Laura uses the opportunity to start kvetching about everything with her painting buddy, who actually acts like a therapist and doles out some advice. Ah, yes. Sagely 11-year-old wisdom, is there anything like it?

When they’re done painting and start sketching, J-Mac mentions he can’t do organic because he likes things that are fake. I and everyone else in the room with me cried out “CLEARLY” at the exact same time. As did everyone on the planet who was watching the show at this very moment. All the Project Runway viewers across the land were interconnected in a moment of recognition for Josh’s obscene love of bedazzling, reflective tape and shellac hair spray.

The designers, sans young ‘uns, head over to Mood. Tim takes an opportunity to chase Swatch, the store mascot, around. I LOVE WHEN TIM CHASES THE DOG. In lieu of animated gifs, please accept this video from last season:

I really want Josh C to make a wolf costume, because, well, they painted a wolf. I know, I know, avant-garde does not equal costume. But that’s what I want to see. He buys faux fur (and gets some side-eye from me when Tim has to remind him that real fur is off-limits), so I have my fingers crossed.

Back at the work room, Viktor is making fun of everyone’s fabric. J-Mac is putting a tree carving in his design. I want to make fun of him but he then says he’s carving his mom’s initials because she died of ovarian cancer two years ago. Come on, man. It’s either genuinely mean to make fun of the tree carving or he’s playing me. I manage to feel a lot less sympathetic when he goes to see what Becky is doing then launches into a speech about how his direction might have taught her. I might have to fight to keep the burrito I had for dinner from making a comeback.

The designers somehow get to the topic Bert’s late partner, how he died and Bert’s resulting alcohol problem. Segue to him video chatting with his sister and her kids, as well as his dog. Was this a heartfelt and natural workroom conversation or did they make them work it in because HP needed some product placement this episode? The world may never know.

At one point Anya asks if anyone has “a really long, long” something, and all the boys giggle. It’s OK, boys, so did I.

On workroom day 2, the kids bring in their paintings and give input in the dresses. Tim suggests they avoid giving Michael the opportunity to call it a “Hiawatha moment.” That’s oddly specific. I hope this doesn’t mean the orange good Mr. Kors has become predictable in his snark.

Bert is making weird balloon thigh pants, but Tim seems to like them and calls them “unexpected.” Which they are. I definitely expected neither chest baubles nor pants that make the model look like she’s carrying a load in her Depends.

Viktor’s girl totally sells his dress to Tim during the evaluation and he has finally learned to like her. She’s sassy, and his Grinch heart grew three sizes that day.

Now the worry is that Josh C might be getting too literal, so he needs to beware not to turn his dress into the model’s werewolf bat mitzvah. The whole room has an opinion, most of which involve vampires or something. Yeah, OK, maybe he should have saved the faux-fur mohawk that he was playing around with and put it on his model. Punk rock wereworlf is the way to go. Trust.

After every single designer asks for big hair in the product placement salon, we see that Olivier started gluing the top of his dress to the model, which Tim informs him is against the rules. So he de-glues. That’s a word now. I’m not really sure how Monsieur. Gunn found out; whether he was watching from above in his omniscient glory or if someone ratted him out. The sequence makes it look like Viktor has a massive problem with it, but we don’t know if he said something or if that was creative editing.

IT’S RUNWAY TIME MOFOS. The kids are here to watch, and looking snazzy. They are also palpably excited that Kenneth Cole is a guest judge.

Kimberly’s makes me think of Black Swan. I guess with the red feathers it’s (spoiler alert) post-mirror stabbing. I was afraid Becky’s would look like a craft show with the puffy block things, but I actually really like it. Viktor’s is really interesting, but I kept thinking that I might need to buy toilet paper. Anthony Ryan’s is painting-like. Anya’s is really interesting and funky with feathers and tapestry-esque fabrics.

To do: buy Charmin.
Let's remember that this is the woman who just learned know how to sew.
I will stand by my love of the cubes.

In the safe room, Bryce – whose dress involved straightjacket sleeves – has one notable quotable moment: “If Bert wins, I am jumping out that @$^%ing window.” Wowza, B. Harsh. Though not entirely unwarranted. The balloon pants seem to be either love ’em or hate ’em, with a lot of hating ’em. I still haven’t decided where I stand. Heidi likes them, but the other judges say they are too avant-garde. Except that was the whole point of the challenge. WHERE IS THE LINE.

Why is her crotch so big? Is it full of secrets?

The judges are pretty gaga over Laura’s sheer raw silk over corset boning (admit it, you just giggled at “boning”), Anthony Ryan’s brush strokes (which, Heidi reminded us, are pretty amazing considering he’s color blind) and Josh M’s tree fire thing. Michael points out that J-Mac overdid the styling and made it look Tim Burton-eque. Though I am solidly in favor of anything Burton does, so I fail to see how this is a bad thing.

Heh, boning.
It's a forest fire of fashion.

Aside from Bert – whose look was hated by everyone but Heidi – Olivier’s drab palette of nothingness was in the bottom with Josh C’s not-at-all avant-garde vampire-hooker-cocktail-waitress ensemble.

Everyone thinks Olivier’s looks sad and boring. Except Kenneth Cole who thinks there are too many details. The bodice is well-constructed, however. Kors grunted and told him to push it. Also, her entire leg is out. Entire. Leg. To the hip bone. Like, if you don’t have a Brazilian wax don’t even bother. Underpants are firmly out of the question here.

No pubes or underpants allowed.

The grand champion of the evening is the painterly strokes of Anthony Ryan. I was actually pulling for Laura, but I wasn’t completely sure which one they were going to pick.

Strokin' it for the win.

And we had to say goodbye to Josh C. Again. This is what happens when you overthink things, JC. If you had stuck with the faux fur like we discussed, maybe things would have turned out better for you.

New rule: always go for the punk werewolf look.

By [E] Liza

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

2 replies on “Recap: Project Runway, Episode 9.6: “Unexpected Balloon Thighs””

I had to laugh at how excited the kids got about Kenneth Cole. I got a pair of Kenneth Cole patent leather platform mary janes for my freshman Christmas ball dance, and I thought I was the SHIT and so high fashion. It is quite funny how our perceptions change throughout the years.

And yes, I still, 18 years (oh jesus lord, really?!? Fuck me.) later, I still have them in a box somewhere because I cannot get rid of them. They were my first pair of grown-up shoes, and what got me started on a life-long love of awesomely high heels.

p.s. your recaps make me happy. Love them!

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