Everything was supposed to be coming up roses for three designers on Wednesday’s Project Runway. Instead, all four of the remaining contestants broke down in tears and recriminations on the runway.
But in the end, all four of the remaining contestants were spared elimination.
The panel – plus guest judge Georgina Chapman of Marchesa – could not determine a loser for this challenge. So, all four were temporarily safe, sent home to create Fashion Week collections. Next week one designer will be auf’d, leaving only three to officially show at Bryant Park.
As for the challenge this week, the remaining four–Leanne, Korto, Jerell and Kenley— were shuttled to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, where they had one hour to commune with nature and design an evening gown inspired by their organic outdoor experience. Each designer drew on a leafy or floral visual cue, then returned to Mood, grabbed some fabric and began sewing. This week, though, the work was hardly the focus of the night. Instead, the designers’ allegiances emerged clearer than ever. By that we mean that nobody wanted to be around Kenley and her sour attitude. The ’50s-inspired designer was even physically isolated in the workroom, huddled by herself and explaining to the camera in her testimonial that she’s accustomed to fighting for everything she’s ever accomplished in life. We were just waiting for her to utter the classic reality show clich – “I’m not here to make friends!” – though she stopped just short.
It’s apparent that Kenley hasn’t made friends – with her fellow designers or the judges, despite Michael Kors professing to be a fan of her work on the runway. When she left a bag behind at Mood, which contained her tulle, no other designers offered their own fabric even though many had tulle to spare. And why should they? As Leanne pointed out, Kenley has spent weeks criticizing her fellow designers and talking back to Tim Gunn and the judges.
Design-wise, Jerell won the challenge (and he tearfully accepted his praise) for a gown inspired by roses that the judges deemed the most youthful. Leanne’s lavender-colored frock earned general praise, but Kenley’s scaly purple creation and Korto’s peach-colored gown were banished to the bottom. Cue the tears!
As the judging began in earnest–and let’s all pause here to grab our hankies, shall we – the designers broke down. Korto began crying when faced with the prospect she would not make it to the finale. Jerell shed tears of joy for his accomplishments. Leanne cried before the show. And Kenley sniveled a little and seemed defensive, snapping at Heidi Klum about the intended taste-level of her gown.
But that was just the beginning. Next, the designers were asked individually to name the designers they believed deserved to accompany them to Bryant Park. Jerell, Korto and Leanne named each other, leaving a wounded Kenley to face the prospect that she would certainly not be winning Fan Favorite. Kenley decided that Jerell and Leanne deserved to join her at Bryant Park, and exchanged heated words with an irate Korto backstage.
And that was it – for this week. The judges left the designers to create their collections and deal with the interpersonal drama that played out on the runway. And we were left with Tim Gunn leading Korto, Jerell and Leanne in a group hug as Kenley sat on the sidelines. — Brian Orloff
Tell us: Did you agree with the judges decision not to eliminate anybody? Who was your favorite? And which three designers do you believe will ultimately show at Bryant Park?
Barbara Nitke /Bravo