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Recap: Project Runway, Episode 9.8: “What’s a DD?”

It’s that time of year, kids. That inevitable occasion that, like a long Thanksgiving dinner with your drunk racist uncle, you just can’t avoid: the Project Runway “real woman” challenge.

Traditionally, this is the episode where they use women who aren’t models – and therefore aren’t built like models – and the designers regularly flip out because they don’t know how to make clothes around hips and boobs. It’s usually equal parts hilarious and infuriating.

Care to make it interesting? Pour yourself a drink. Take a sip every time a designer whines about someone’s size and finish your cocktail if the model’s body is blamed for a lousy final product. Please designate a driver.

Heidi comes out, awesome giant butterfly earrings a-blazing, and lets them know that they won’t be using their regular models, then brings out a group of men. Immediately the body snarking begins.

Joshua (I’ve decided to stop calling him J-Mac because it feels too much like a term of endearment) is oh-so-concerned about fabric budget constraints upon seeing some of the men’s waistlines, and his lap dog Laura thinks some of them would be exciting to work with, but others would be a challenge. Because only thin, hot dudes are worth working with. So we know the first two people who don’t have the creativity to dress anyone other than a model.

Anya chooses first and picks the most slender man up there. Olivier is distressed because only the big gross fat people are left when they get to him and, as he says, fat is fine, but not when he’s making clothes.

Good to know you’ve decided we’re allowed to exist, Olivier. We just aren’t allowed to have nice things. Thanks, bro.

I wonder if Olivier was wearing this shirt under his clothes.

By the way, all they’ve done is select men off the runway, and you should have taken four sips. It’s going to be a long night.

Surprise! They’re not actually designing for the men; they’re making clothes for the man’s wife or girlfriend. So their body-based judgments were irrelevant, because they haven’t seen the woman yet. Ha. This is where I secretly hope all the guys are chubby chasers and we’ll get to watch everyone self-destruct. I also say a silent prayer to the gods of fashion that his narrow-minded (ha) view earlier means Josh will completely melt down and fail.

The guys will be directing the fashions, not the women, so the challenge is how well the men know clothing and how well they know their better half.

As the stereotypes predict, several of these straight dudes know very little about women’s clothing. One doesn’t know what stores his lady shops at, and another can’t describe a color accurately. Bert’s client describes his wife as “a hot piece of tushie” and asks for something to be lower cut. It’s great that he’s that attracted to her, but it doesn’t really help the design out, unless of course Bert wants to make her a bikini. Or send her out naked. The guy Josh is working with said his significant other likes to keep things tame and simple. In case anyone has been under a rock for the past seven or so weeks, Josh does not do simple. Anthony Ryan is helping his client replace a dress of his wife’s that he lost, which should be interesting.

Olivier can’t handle that he will be working with giant boobs, because he thinks only flat chests make a good line. Drink. While at Mood, Josh freaks out that real women aren’t models. OMG, boobs! Hips! Big all over! You can drink three times for that if you want. Olivier has no idea what a DD breast means. All Tim knows is that it’s a bra size; he has no personal experience with it. So Olivier asks the female cashier. Drink. Heavily, just to get through this episode.

Motorboating a dress form may not be high on anyone’s to-do list, but Bert’s client did exactly that when they were back in the workroom. I wonder how many times in the history of fashion that has happened. Definitely not on the show. It’s a season of Project Runway firsts, people!

The women arrive. For all the designers’ whining, most of them appear to be pretty average-sized. Not model tall and thin, but hardly the big fat fatties everyone seemed so worried about. Laura’s model, Rebecca, is basically an older version of herself. The woman even says she has always wanted to be Barbie. This is apparently a match made in blond heaven. Olivier grapples with his model and his ego.

During Tim’s visit, we have the unfortunate experience of seeing that Josh’s dress is actually quite nice. His model has to go braless and Tim points out that it’s OK because she’s “firm.” You can decide for yourself if that merits a drink. Kind of like a wildcard.

The models come in for a final fitting, and yet again Olivier grapples with his people. Something about the butt crack on the pants. He would really prefer to work with someone who doesn’t speak or have opinions. Basically, Olivier wants to work with plastic dress forms. Skinny ones.

On the runway, we see that Laura’s dress kind of looks like a bad bridesmaid gown, Kimberly’s gave her model some pretty righteous curves, Olivier’s top is nice but his pants are kind of ill-fitting (and basically the same pants as last week) and Viktor’s is an adorable hipster-ish skirt and blouse. Kimberly, Laura and Olivier are safe. Bryce, Anthony Ryan, and Bert are the bottom. Anya, Viktor, and Josh (ugh) are at the top.

I was on this show called Project Runway. You probably haven't heard of it.

Bert’s dress was a little short, but Heidi can relate. Michael took this opportunity to make a little dig about how she normally wears “no skirt.” Let’s be fair – if my legs looked like that, I’d walk around pantsless as much as possible. Um, more than I already do.

She brought the girls with her.

Apparently I’m an old lady/child/sailor/cheerleader because I would actually wear Anthony Ryan’s dress. It may not have been the most runway-ready look, but I thought it was cute and vintage-y. I’d rock it pretty hard. Even with the white belt.

Haters gonna hate.

In the end, though, they picked Joshua’s simple little black dress because it was really pretty and he obviously didn’t have a big enough ego. I actually preferred Viktor’s outfit, but the judges thought it was over-accessorized.

Yeah, it's a really nice dress. I just don't like him, OK?

We said goodbye to Bryce for his ill-fitting pocketed Pepto-pink cocktail dress. As sweet as the guy seemed, it was probably time. He’s been consistently mediocre all season. His plan is to lock himself up, listen to Lady Gaga, and sketch until he has a genius collection. Good luck, fellow bearer of stretched ears.

I don't care what the judges say about thigh emphasis, I like dresses with pockets.

Also, final tally: nine drinks, ten if you counted Tim’s “firm” comment. Surprisingly, no one in the bottom really blamed their model’s body for their misdeeds. But you may still want to finish your drink, because next week is another team challenge.

By [E] Liza

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

19 replies on “Recap: Project Runway, Episode 9.8: “What’s a DD?””

During this ep, Mr. Cupcake and I plotted a one-shot graphic novel featuring Olivier as a Mad Fashion Designer (a fresh take on the Mad Scientist) determined to remove the breasts and tongues of all women so that they may better display the lines of his work.

We also determined that Mr. Cupcake would have been an awesome male-counterpart in this ep. When I have to shop for an event outfit, I routinely take him with me. Not only does he not complain, he excels at coordinating outfits for me and picks things I normally wouldn’t, but still look good.  But, he would have been one of the last guys picked cuz he’s big n’ tall n’hairy.

Personally, I would have picked Anya as the winner. Her dress grew on me the more I looked at it and it was the most fashion forward on the runway in this ep.


Think I’ll just pour myself a DD-sized gin and tonic and skip this episode.

I don’t understand how, if you’re going on a reality competition that has been running for 8 seasons, you would not be super aware of how this works. Would you not think, “there’ll probably be a challenge where I have to design for a ‘regular woman.’ Since at least 75% of the people watching the show are ‘regular women,’ maybe I better not act like their bodies are hideously offensive to my delicate sensibilities.”

(If I ever auditioned for PR, which I won’t because I can’t sew, I’d lock myself in a room for a few weeks and have friends and family hand me the most ridiculous challenges they could think of. I bet my sister would love playing Heidi: “Just kidding! You actually have only three hours to create looks for the entire women’s gymnastics team!”)

I’m pretty sure they’ve had one every season that I’ve watched, which is all except the first one and one or two in the middle somewhere. Like, just know this going in and prepare for it. At least plan not to be a complete tool about it on camera.

I mean…who do they think will be buying their Piperlime collection?

I was so pissed off that Olivier ended up in the middle.  He needed a stern talking to from the judges about how it’s really hard to get ahead in the real world if you expect everyone around you to just shut up and do what you want them to do.

And Bert’s client made me feel like I needed a shower.

For all their complaining and bitching I actually liked almost all the clothes this week!  And I also really liked Oliver’s shirt, but it really reminded me of Kimberly’s shirt that she won with at the Nina challenge. Josh’s dress was (regrettably) adorable, if only I could go braless.

Anyways, I really really really dislike Oliver and Josh.  They can gtfo.  Bert too.  And Bert’s booby obsessed client.

I’m sort of torn on Bert. On one hand, I think he has a valid complaint that some of the other designers don’t listen to any of his ideas during team challenges (possibly because of his age?), on the other hand a lot of his stuff is kind of blah and he can be a little surly. His client this week was pretty gross. WE GET IT. YOUR WIFE HAS NICE BOOBS.

Olivier clearly only knows how to make one style of pants, because I thought these were basically the same as last week, just in a different fabric. I’m starting to hope his time management comes back to haunt him soon.

There really isn’t anyone who completely blows me away this season. If I really think hard I’d say my top 3 are probably Anya, Anthony Ryan and Kimberly, but I had to think about it. Usually in other seasons there’s been at least one person who really stood out.

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