Guys come in to help designers create looks for their wives and girlfriends – but the results are definitely varied

By Kate Hogan
Updated September 16, 2011 07:00 AM
Credit: Courtesy Lifetime

Lessons learned on Thursday’s Project Runway: a man can’t always define his significant other’s personal style. And the only body part men think to highlight is, well, boobs. At least that’s what happened when nine guys were invited into the workroom and teamed with designers to create garments for their wives and girlfriends.

Every designer chose a man to work with, thinking Thursday’s challenge was about menswear. But as it turned out, contestants had to rely on these males to describe their ladies’ personal style and preferences, and then take them to Mood to shop for suitable fabrics. Some designers fell right into step with their clients, but others, namely Olivier, had a very difficult time taking orders from another person.

In the workroom, the men had “unique” ways of describing their loved ones’ tastes. The only thing Bert’s client, Anthony, could focus on was his wife’s ample chest, while Anya’s partner, Mike, couldn’t seem to name a color his wife didn’t like.

When the women came in for a first fitting, many were pleased with the direction in which their garments were heading. Anthony Ryan was helping his client recreate a dress of his wife’s he’d lost, which thrilled her. And Bryce pleased his couple, Janine and Jovan, with a bright pink frock. Laura’s customers, Rebecca and Daryl, were happy with her green, Barbie-esque gown (and sparkling shoes), too.

Only Olivier and his clients Suzanne and Jeff just could not see eye to eye. Suzanne didn’t love the fit of the pants Olivier made, nor did she love the fabrics he chose. Olivier, used to working with skinny, flat-chested models at his own pace and for his own satisfaction, just really couldn’t handle the criticisms. In the meantime, Bryce scrapped his original design, making an entirely new dress in a matter of hours.

On the Runway

At the runway show, where actress Malin Ackerman served as guest judge, the “real” women got a chance to work the catwalk. Bert’s client, Ariana, showed off those talked-about assets in a plunging patterned dress, while Josh’s model, Charlene, who’d begged for a simple look, stunned in a little black cocktail dress with a deep-cut, lace-trimmed back.

Meanwhile, Janine, Bryce’s client, wore a bright-pink frock with exaggerated pockets and cutouts on the back; Suzanne sucked it up and wore Olivier’s nude, one-shouldered top and tailored black pants; Anya’s customer Raylene worked a modified kimono; and Viktor’s model, Victoria, rocked her paneled skirt and short-sleeved lace blouse.

Anya, Viktor and Josh found themselves on top, with Josh – much calmer than he was last week – earning the win and Michael Kors telling his model she looked “like a modern-day Grace Kelly.” Josh also earned bonus points for showing restraint and avoiding the Bedazzler, too.

The bottom came down to Anthony Ryan, Bert and Bryce. Bert was criticized for making a dress “that you could buy in a million stores,” as Michael said, and Nina Garcia called it tight, short and shiny – a dreaded combination in her eyes. Malin compared Anthony Ryan’s dress to her old cheerleading uniform, while Heidi Klum said icily, “It’s super-safe and super-boing.”

But it was Bryce – the only remaining designer who’d never won a challenge – who was sent home for his pink creation; Malin called out the poor tailoring and Michael joked about the extra-large pocket size.

Though Bryce seemed ready to go home – he was seriously missing his boyfriend – he said his post-show plans included listening to lots of Lady Gaga and sketching some new creations. In defeat, he said, “I underestimated what this experience was going to be like.”