'Project Runway' : Designing for a Different Decade

Contestants find themselves crunched for time – and cash – in a 1970s-inspired challenge

Photo: Richard McLaren/Lifetime (2)

When everything that can go wrong does go wrong – well, sometimes, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. That seemed to be the motto of Thursday’s Project Runway, which centered on a frazzled Anya – who ultimately came out on top.

This week’s assignment was to create a look inspired by the 1970s (not to be confused with their last challenge) and the winning garment would be produced and sold on Piperlime.com. Designers had $100 for their trip to Mood; some went for muted shades, some grabbed prints – and Anya lost her $100 after it fell out of the top of her pocket-less dress and disappeared into the rows of fine fabrics.

With no cash, the Runway standout had to scrape together whatever change her fellow contestants would give her; she ended up with $11.50 (courtesy of Anthony Ryan), enough to buy minimal yardage of a black-and-tan printed fabric, some buttons and a zipper.

Back in the workroom, designers were generous, tossing Anya scraps of excess fabric and bottles of dye. She got creative with muslin, too, coloring some in a dull red hue to craft a top. Meanwhile, Kimberly went for a “sexy secretary” look based on her mother’s old job; Viktor tried a modern take on an Yves Saint Laurent safari; and Bert went all-out ’70s with sequins and a gauzy gown. Josh, however, seemed stuck – and Viktor didn’t appreciate him peeking over for inspiration.

Halfway through the day, Tim Gunn popped in, telling everyone they’d have to create a second ’70s-themed piece with just $50. After 15 minutes of sketching it was off to Mood yet again, giving Anya the chance to grab a little more gear but putting everyone in a serious time crunch. The next morning, as the fashion show loomed, Kimberly and Anya found themselves in the sewing room with just minutes to spare.

On the Runway

On the runway, where Piperlime guest editor Olivia Palermo helped judge (she was tough!), the ’70s themes were varied. Kimberly presented a floral-patterned, belly-baring circle top with a black pencil skirt for her first look and a gray jumper with black waistband for her second. Anthony Ryan showed a mismatched vest, top and skirt combo and a billowing maxi dress with bell sleeves. Bert shared a sequined top and denim-esque shorts with a sheer overlay, plus a simple swing dress that was platinum in the front, taupe in the back.

Laura shared a loud maxi skirt with a black-and-white chevron top and a black chiffon jumpsuit lined with a sheer chevron-plated fabric. Josh sent out a magenta-and-black tuxedo shirt with black-and-white checkered pants and a black-topped maxi dress with a busy skirt. Anya presented her $11.50 slacks and pleated red top, plus a black-and-tan jumpsuit that had a sheer black back. And Viktor shared a gray jacket and matching pinstripe pants with a snake-print T-shirt, plus a flirty cocktail dress with snakeskin print on top and black on the bottom.

Kimberly was deemed safe, and Laura, Josh and Anthony Ryan found themselves on the bottom. The judges liked Viktor’s looks – though they thought he veered toward the un-sexy side – and adored Bert’s second dress, though they weren’t fans of his super-short shorts. But Anya won for her budget outfits, and her jumpsuit is available now on Piperlime.com. Since Bert’s little dress was a favorite, as well, it’s for sale on Piperlime.com, too.

The bottom was not so pretty. Michael Kors told Laura her looks didn’t “look like fashion,” and everyone called her out for pairing mismatched prints. Same went for Anthony Ryan, whose outfits were deemed “cultish” by Nina Garcia. “They look like two boring girls,” Heidi Klum said. “I would not want to be any of those girls.” And Josh’s garments, which the judges joked looked as though they were 1870s-inspired, were also slammed. His unflattering pants and tacky choice in fabrics lead Michael to call the designs “schizophrenic” and Heidi to say they were the worst creations she’d seen in a long time.

Despite the harsh words, it was Anthony Ryan who ended up getting the “auf” for what Olivia called a “tent” of a dress. “This is just a bump in the road for me,” the charming southerner said. “I feel really good about my time here.”

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