August 13, 2010 01:00 AM

The theme of this week’s Project Runway? Get back at Gretchen!

The 28-year-old – on a high after two consecutive wins – was the target of some designer disdain Thursday night after becoming a little too confident in her skills. It could be tricky editing, but she seemed to be advising fellow contestants a lot more than in past episodes, prompting April to quip, “Gretchen always thinks she needs to give her opinion, if you ask or don’t ask.”

But despite the Gretchen backlash, it was a party in the workroom, thanks to a very festive challenge: design garments using $100 worth of material from supply store Party Glitters.

The designers got working with a little bit of everything: colorful plastic plates, cocktail napkins, paper bags, piñatas and more. And while some – like Valerie, Christopher and Ivy – knew exactly what they were doing, others – Andy, Sarah and Casanova – seemed to struggle.

A.J. felt a ton of pressure, too; in a flashback to his audition, we learned that creating party dresses studded with trinkets is his passion. But because everyone was so aware of his excitement about the challenge, it made designing a clever garment that much harder for him.

Like any Runway challenge, there was a twist: models came for their fittings with goody bags containing all sorts of baubles – ribbons, jacks, balloons – that the contestants had to use to make an accompanying accessory. But they didn’t end up making a big splash in the runway show.

On the catwalk, where perfectly-cast guest judge Betsey Johnson surprised the designers, we saw some really polished looks: Christopher‘s sparkling cocktail dress (made from napkins), Michael C.‘s daring red gown and Valerie’s black-and-white dress (also made of napkins). But there were some misses, too, notably Casanova’s voluminous monstrosity, which was topped off with a stuffing-less plush puppy.

Andy, Gretchen and Valerie ended up in the top – the ladies for the second week straight – while A.J., Casanova and Sarah fell to the bottom. Though Valerie’s party-perfect frock got accolades from all the judges, it was Andy who won for his sleek black ribbon dress that translated to a rocking leather-and-lace look on the runway.

It came down to Casanova and Sarah for the ‘auf’: the former for his “parade float” of a gown, which used mainly tablecloths (something Tim Gunn warned the contestants against), and the latter for her “snooze” of a gray dress, which was punctuated by unflattering pieces of a plastic palm tree. Shockingly, Sarah was out, and didn’t bother saying anything to the judges as she walked off the runway. Casanova, despite his bad taste, lives to see another challenge.

After the goodbyes, we followed the designers home to Atlas, where Ivy had passed out in the hallway and was taken away in an ambulance. The show left us hanging – we’ll have to wait until next week to see if she returns to the workroom. –Kate Hogan

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