In conjunction with my weekly recap of Project Runway, I decided to give PEOPLE.com readers a treat. Following in David Letterman’s “Top 10” list footsteps, here are my Top 5 memorable moments from season 3, plus some lessons learned from them:
Plenty of smaller moments – like Laura telling her mom that she was pregnant (again), Kayne’s 200-word-per-minute sales pitch to Miss USA, Malan’s tearful exit confessional and Michael giving runway lessons é la Miss J to Kayne – unfortunately did not make the cut, but they received honorable mentions.
With that, here’s my Top 5:
1. Ooh La La, Paris!
Lesson 1: Travel Outside the Tri-State Area
Paris equals memorable. I was both excited for the designers and bitter (since, as I’ve said, we only got to cross a bridge to go to a New Jersey ice rink last season) when they got to travel to Paris. It was nice to see them get out of their comfort zone of being at Parsons in New York and drink champagne on the Seine. Seeing Kayne in his beret, eggs thrown in the direction of couture, and Vincent uncomfortably flirting with designer Catherine Malandrino were the Grand Marnier topping that this dessert of an episode needed. Memorable moments all rolled up into one fabulous city.
2. Laura accuses Jeffrey of Seeking “Outside Help”
Lesson 2: Don’t cause more drama where there’s drama already
When the designers arrived to finish their collections for Fashion Week, Laura smelled something fishy in Jeffrey’s finished pieces. Rumor has it that Laura’s mom was talking to Jeffrey’s mom and insider dish transpired, leading Laura to be suspicious. She then proceeded to voice her opinions to Tim, causing further tension and unnecessary drama. I am more surprised that it wasn’t millionaire-mommy Laura (presumably the one with the pocketbook) who actually secretly hired some extra help in the middle of the night. It would be ironic to have Jeffrey fall by the indirect hand of someone’s mother. But in the end, as Tim stated, the whole accusation could be difficult to prove.
3. Jeffrey and Angela’s Mom
Lesson 3: Do not call your client a nasty name on national TV
The challenge of designing for “an everyday woman” had potential for greatness: Showing positive designer-client relationships as integral to the fashion industry, as well as finally designing for a non-size-2 model. Instead, what I remember most is the nastiness that ensued between Jeffrey and Angela’s mom. To see someone’s mom cry on TV was heart-wrenching, but then to hear the designer call her a name was unexcusable. I have thought about bitch-slapping a bride or two while designing their custom gowns, but I never told them that while they were in the same room, and especially if cameras were around!
4. Recyclable Material Challenge
Lesson 4: Always recycle, of course!
My final memorable moment from season 3 involved this whole challenge. It came from left field and forced the designers not to be on autopilot. The challenge gave us gems like Jeffrey’s original hand-painted dress, Vincent’s cardboard-stiff gown, Kayne’s Clockwork Orange mess, and Michael’s mylar-meets-Valentino ensemble. I also hear that it has now inspired gay bars across this nation to come up with their own Come Dressed in Recyclable Material nights. Could there be a better compliment and honor bestowed on season 3 of Project Runway? I think not. Memorable indeed.
5. Keith and His “How To” Books
Lesson 5: Come prepared
Keith was the perfect combination of smoldering blue eyes, talent, sex appeal and a dash of slimy that would either end up in a late-night HBO movie or on the sidewalk of the Atlas Apartments. He chose the latter. I can still see Tim Gunn’s INC-clad behind kneeling on the dirty floor asking him to leave. (A first for Project Runway, and we hope the last.) Why did he bring the books, and did he even use them? One may never know. All I know is that his eviction was unforgettable.