<i>Project Runway</i> Episode 11 Recap: Idaho? You Da Ho!

I wonder, do the camera people just sit the designers down and go, "Say something cliche and obvious. OK, good. Now, Irina, shit all over someone's design."
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Hello, lovelies. Let's get ready to... RUNWAY.

Previously on: A geographical challenge revealed that Michael Kors' favorite vacation spots include Amish Country and Olivia Newton John's costume closet. Despite being once, twice, three times in the bottom two, Chris was spared and Nic was set free to take his John Hodgman impersonation on the road.

We begin this week in the men's room. Not literally. Logan and Chris, the only two Y-chromosome possessors left in the competition, spread out in their now-palatial accommodations. Logan says that it's time for everyone to step outside of their comfort zones. Is he subtly hitting on Chris? Chris says that he's put out designs he loves but he has to make the judges "get it." He then acknowledges that they think his last looks have sucked ... which I think means that they do, in fact, get it. You can lead a slutty Mary Magdalene costume to panel but you can't make it pretty. Hey-oh!

Over in the ladies' quarters, Irina says she is glad that so many women are left in the competition. She notes that the fashion world is dominated by men. Which totally explains the infantalizing romper trend, not to mention the polarizing I Dream of Jeannie harem pant and the skinny jeans and rib-crushing metal belts of years past. Althea interviews that she thinks the best designers left are herself, Irina and Carol Hannah. Gordana, lounging on a bed, looks like she's tired of all these bitches. Carol Hannah worries that she needs to show the judges that she can make more than just dresses.

At FIDM, the designers are all seated facing away from the runway like dunces. Chris, whom I shall rename Captain Obvious, notes that this is unusual. Heidi comes out onto the runway, and Chris says, "You hear this rustling ... it's one of the most horrifying moments." I love that Heidi coming out on the runway is, like, Leatherface coming through the fields in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Happy Halloween, everybody. Heidi is coming to kill you.

Sadly, when the designers turn around Heidi is not holding up the skins of eliminated contestants for them to stitch into fringed vests and chaps for a Fright Night performance of Annie Get Your Gun. Instead, she is surrounded by the winning looks from each designer--Gordana's grey repurposed wedding dress, Carol Hannah's feathered Macki number, Irina's Aspen outfit, Chris's red carpet look from the first challenge, Althea's "model industry event" challenge short shorts and suit jacket (seriously, that was the Worst. Challenge. Ever.), and Logan's red carpet gown (which did not win, but Logan hasn't won any challenge yet). "This is a reminder of some of your best moments," she says. "Your challenge is to create a companion piece that complements this look." Logan is glad the judges chose the look they did for his piece. Irina thinks that this challenge will point out where real talent is, and where lucky wins were (ever snarky, the editors cut to Chris as she says this).

Back in the workroom, Tim tells them that they have 30 minutes to sketch and will have only one day to complete the challenge. Althea wants to do pants and a big jacket that plays with volume. Irina says that she's happy to work with the Aspen look, and notes that expanding on a theme is the way you build a collection. Gordana is planning a blazer, top and pants. Chris nonsensically interviews that this challenge, more than any of the others, means that the designers have to take their own inspiration to the next level. He says that his strength is gowns, so he's going to work on a long version of the original dress.

At Mood, Logan says that he is taking the zipper that appeared on his first dress and "multiplying that up," which apparently means in Loganspeak that he must buy 40 zippers. Yes, 40. I hope his model never has to pee. Chris says he wanted to find the same exact metallic satin that he used in the first challenge but then sees a pearlescent white bolt of fabric that speaks to him. He buys 30 yards, saying "I'm gonna go big!" I kind if hope that his dress ends up looking like a Claes Oldenburg toilet paper roll or something--now that would have a wow factor. Carol Hannah wants to avoid feathers and sequins in her second dress, since her first was basically a giant bird auditioning for A Chorus Line. She's thinking pants, but Tim convinces her that if she's out of her comfort zone during this challenge, things will go horribly awry. She settles on black and sheer green fabrics and plans to make yet another dress.

At FIDM, Irina says that she is working with the pattern of her fabric, which is beige with a rust-colored tapestry design on top. Althea is making pants. "They look like Malvin pants," says Logan, referring to Emile Hirsch's Vietnamese cousin who was aufed for making an egg sling in episode two. "Don't tell me that," says Althea. "So sensitive," Logan teases and walks away. My friend Kerry thinks he is doing the I-just-had-sex strut, and my friend Jess thinks he may have just gotten off a horse (perhaps his high one? Ha!), but I think he's just bow-legged.

Gordana says that since they're so close they can almost taste the standing room-only sweat of Bryant Park, everybody is nervous and no one wants to go home. Chris observes that now more than ever, the pressure's on. I wonder, do the camera people just sit them down and go, "Say something cliche and obvious. OK, good. Now, Irina, shit all over someone's design."

Logan has a bizarre talking head in which he says: "I'm showing a different point of view. Being from Idaho, I'll work on a car and get my hands greasy and then work on a dress." What does this mean? Is this a come-on? Does he wash his hands before transitioning from car grease to silk charmeuse? Inquiring minds want to know.

Gordana interviews that she's Bosnian Serb and that her parents are farmers, and we are treated to a cute shot of her as a toddler rocking a bowl cut. To be where she is today, Gordana says, is unbelievable. Nobody can beat that story. Unless they show Carol Hannah sleeping in her car again. Speaking of Carol Hannah, she asks Chris, "How's your white mountain coming?" Oh, Chris. He's putting giant drapes of white fabric beneath a black dress. Chris, ESCAPE FROM WHITE MOUNTAIN. I will use even more obscure '70s Disney film references if I have to. Logan interviews that Chris's fabric looks cheap.

Tim arrives, sans tie again and likely buzzed. Carol Hannah says that she feels like her dress is a big scary mess and Tim agrees. He then tells her what to do to make it not suck. Chris is making a big dress with lots of texture. Tim says that his first dress is youthful, but that his second dress looks like the first dress's mother. He tells Chris to rethink the positioning of the appliques. Of Althea's bubble butt pants, Tim says, "It looks like it's waiting for a diaper." Gordana is playing with a look that's both feminine and rough, centered around a gray blazer. Tim seems unmoved. He is quite excited by Logan's zipper-collared garment, however. He thinks it's "wow." Althea interviews that Logan's collar is a rip-off of her collar from the Christina Aguilera challenge. While eating lunch, Irina and Althea bitch about Logan. Althea says she'll say something to him about the collar.

In come the models. "Get naked!" someone commands. Irina takes a moment with the camera to muse on Christopher's dress. "Why is one dress throwing up the other?" she asks. Which is kind of a valid point. But I don't know, Irina. Why is a raven like a writing desk? Why do fools fall in love? Why do I suspect that you've had more than one nose job? Althea--who has still not spoken to Logan directly about Zippergate--bitches about it to her model. Chris says that time is not on his side. He has to stitch approximately a zillion silver petals onto his dress.

Speaking of silver, the next morning, Logan's silver pants return! With silver sneakers! The cameras lovingly caress his crotch. In the girls' bunker, Irina asks, "So who's finished with their look?" I bet she was that girl in eighth grade who asks everyone their grades on a test before admitting that she got like 105, with bonus extra credit points. Gordana says that even if she's in the bottom two, she'll stand up for her design. I love the heavy-handed foreshadowing.

Back at FIDM, Logan, Carol Hannah, and Chris sew their little hearts out on the machines, while Althea complains that her sweater has to be hand-sewn. Gordana asks for a hook and eye and Irina is all "I'm not here to make friends." Logan says that Irina's nickname is "Mean-a Irina." That seems kind of uninspired. It could be condensed to "I-mean-a" or expanded into "Irina Sabitchyeva." Or they could get kind of conceptual and just start calling her "Heidi."

Tim comes in for the express purpose of yelling out sponsor names. Althea interviews that she's annoyed that CH only does dresses, and Logan says Gordana's fabric reminds him of his grandmother's couch, which was made of real Idaho potato skins. I kid, I kid. But maybe. Chris interviews that he keeps making it through to the next round and so is meant to be there. I don't know, I think he's hanging on by his chinstrap. Althea says she won't saying anything to Logan about the collar, presumably because she got all her bitching done behind his back and now feels at peace. And then, amazingly, Irina turns around and interviews that Althea copied her big-ass sweater! DAMN. It is ON.

Heidi comes out onto the runway and we have to pause the DVR and have a five-minute discussion about her outfit, which consists of silver lame Bermuda shorts, a pink patterned button-down, and a black blazer with some kind of sparkles on the sleeves. Jess contends that Heidi looks good in anything, but upon rewinding and reviewing a few more times I am able to bring her over to my platform, which, simply stated, is SILVER LAME BERMUDA SHORTS EQUAL HELL TO THE NO.

Anyway. The judges this week are Nina Garcia, and Nick Verreos! My favorite favorite from season three! Yay! There's also Kerry Washington, who is a good actress but who has no real fashion credentials that I know of other than being the face of Movado. My friend Kerry says, "She has my name! And a weave like none other." And with that, let's start the show.



As you can see, I've juxtaposed the original look (LEFT) with the new look (RIGHT). I wasn't the biggest fan of the original outfit (mostly because I can almost see her next Tuesday, if you know what I mean), but I like it more in comparison with the new garment, which reminds me of what I might wear--a sports bra top, elastic-waist pants, and a Snuggie--if I had to run to the corner bodega to get toilet paper on a Sunday morning but didn't want to have to put on actual clothes. I hate to spoil this, but I have to: THIS OUTFIT WINS. Am I just on crazy pills, or is this as underwhelming as I think it is?



I can see how these are from the same collection, and I like the new dress fine, but again, underwhelmed. I suppose this challenge is good practice for making a collection, but for us viewers it's so very blah.



I have to say, at least this is interesting. Not that I condone it; I wish Chris had just kept the top half of the dress without attaching a petticoat to the bottom--or has kept the white part short, like in his original dress. It does look like the top half is vomiting the lower portion. Which reminds me of the card I got my husband this year for our wedding anniversary: "I love you so much I want to throw up all over my legs." (I know, I'm sweet). I guess this dress loves Katie in the same way.



In my recap of the wedding dress challenge, I said that Gordana's model looked like Meg Ryan dumpster diving. I guess her second looks kind of like Katie Holmes all zombied out after some Scientology classes. Either way, never the twain shall meet. The first look is very rock and roll, the second very corporate accounting. The only commonality I can see is the color.



These are both solid looks, and clearly related, and I want to go tanning and grow eight inches and stroll down 5th Avenue wearing them on chilly New York days. It kills me, but I must admit that Irina is far and away the most polished and consistently impressive designer. She deserves to win. I still don't think she will, due to my asshole theory, but I think she should. Now I really want to throw up all over my legs.



The new look reminds me of, like, every other thing Logan has ever made, and seriously, Althea, that collar does not justify a throw-down. I never really liked the random black boob dress either. I would work up the energy to make more jokes about them but I am soooo bored by this whole challenge. I just have to keep telling myself that the season is almost over.

Out on the runway, no one is safe since there are only six left. Everyone gets a review.

Chris: Nina says it's bottom heavy. Nick says the look could have used editing. Heidi says that the top part is beautiful, but "you took bedskirt with you."

Irina: Nick says he wrote down "uptown chic." Kerry W. and Heidi love it. Nina hates the dress, but no one really cares what she thinks.

Gordana: Heidi hates it, saying "She looks old and drab and sad." Nick says Matar looks like an office worker in Warsaw. Zing!

Carol Hannah: Everyone loves. Yawn.

Logan: Nina says it looks like a fashion project from a student, and is unflattering. Nick says it looks '80s, and that Judy Jetson comes to mind.

Althea: Heidi loves the pants (but keep in mind, her pants judgment should be seriously questioned in this episode). Then suddenly Heidi is all, "Whose idea was the slouchy sweater?" Obviously the producers made her ask that. Irina basically accuses Althea of stealing her idea, but Althea says it was part of her original sketch. I say: IT'S A FUCKING SWEATER. We are not reinventing the wheel here, damn. Who invented those pants you're wearing, Heidi? Riddle me that.

The judges deliberate. Kerry says of Kerry: "Maybe she's wearing a wig. But I feel like she's not a wig kind of girl. She wears Movado for Christ's sake!"

Carol Hannah is the first one safe. Althea... is the winner of this challenge. Irina is pissed. Chris is in, which I saw coming--he didn't completely screw the pooch on this one, although he certainly didn't redeem himself. Logan and Gordana are the bottom two, and I don't really care who goes home; they've both displayed talent but uneven judgment throughout the competition. Logan is man-candy, but Gordana is so awesome... either way, we lose.

Heidi says that Logan's outfit was too tricked out, with exploding zippers, while Gordana's was drab and ugly. And Gordana is... IN. Which means Logan, Idaho's great white hope, is out.

I guess that makes me happy.

Logan is left standing sadly in the spotlight in his silver pants (at least we get to see him in them one last time!). For some reason we see a sad shot of him packing up his work space in complete darkness. Sad!

Oh! Before I forget: Last week I went to a girlie shopping event just to meet Kara Janx from Season 3. The whole story is here, but suffice to say that I chickened out and could not bring myself to ask her for a photo. So instead, my friend and accomplice (and talented photographer) Sarah Tew helped me pull a Lloyd Dobler. I tried on a dress and Sarah snapped a pic with Kara in the background. Thus, behold my photo "with" Kara Janx:


I want to call your attention to a few things (and away from my terrible hair. With hundreds of sale-hungry women, it was sweaty in there!):

-The look on my face. I tried on this sparkly sack dress and, well, I looked like a sparkly--and possibly pregnant--sack. I am attempting to form a facial expression that will hide my distaste from Kara.

-The look on Kara's face. She's grimacing. She knows that I look like a disco maternity pumpkin (although, maybe that was the idea--see the pregnant model on the wall behind us).

-The third girl in the shot. She can't even look at me.

Also in kind-of-related-to-the-show news, Carol Hannah tweeted yesterday that she was on her way to a luncheon with Tim and Nina, by the way. Unintentional win reveal? What do we think?


Another tip from the Twitterverse: It seems Logan might be spending some time with Stella...


So sad. I wonder if leather heaven is where the ProjRun designers go when they get aufed.

Only one more challenge before Bryant Park... see you next week.

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