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Well-Suited: The Designers Try Their Hands at Menswear on "Project Runway"

After four seasons, it's hard to get the designers on Bravo's addictively compelling design challenge Project Runway all flustered during a challenge.

This group, especially seems completely jaded and underwhelmed by everything they encounter. And yet, last night's challenge--a first for Project Runway--had each of the designers floundering as they were forced to adapt while designing an ensemble for a TV personality.

Just what was so unexpected and difficult about the challenge? For something that really threw the designers and forced them to think outside their own experiences and comfort zone, they were tasked with creating an outfit for Tiki Barber to wear on Today. Yes, ladies and gents, it was menswear and it was not going to be pretty.

Still, I do have to say that I was rather impressed with some of the results though I immediately predicted that Carmen and crybaby Ricky would end up in the bottom two this week. (Is there anything that doesn't send Ricky into paroxysms of tears?) And the less said about Sweet P's monstrosity the better. I still don't understand quite what happened there?

But who made it work? Definitely Kevin, who stunned me with an incredible design that was totally unexpected; the color purple definitely worked alongside the structured vest and pants, along with a tie-and-pocket square combo that was understated yet still unique. Very well constructed with flair, though I am not sure why Heidi reacted so negatively to the design. (Not a fan of purple for Seal?)

Jack's design was also fantastic, though like Michael Kors, I would have liked to have seen him finish a third piece (whether jacket or vest) as it would have pulled the entire outfit together. Still, you can't fault the impeccable craftsmanship that went into his two-piece look, a combo of a grey pants with a subtle pink pinstripe and a striped shirt with a biased placard and pocket. I worried about the overabundance of stripes as these tend to look to "hot" or busy on a TV screen, but he managed to not only pull off the outfit but walked away with the top spot.

I also really liked Kit's design, which was subtle without being boring. Yes, the overall look screamed prep school but I thought that her choice to make the blazer with fleece elevated the design to something more unique and thoughtful. Nice silhouette and very, very comfortable and durable.

As for the bottom two, I was horrified that they actually put these clothes on their models and sent them down the runway. Ricky was insane to think that the judges wouldn't notice the pins sticking out of his jacket as they barely held the material together as the model walked down the runway. Tacky, unprofessional, and his design wasn't up to snuff. The tear-prone lingerie model is in way over his head at this point. He's on borrowed time.

As for Carmen, her inability to efficiently manage her time was what ultimately doomed her. It was interesting that she tried to make three pieces in the time allotted her but saved the most crucial piece--um, the shirt--to the last minute and ended up draping material around her model's neck in an approximation of a shawl-collar top that looked pathetically inappropriate. And, yes, that jacket did look like a Members Only Jacket. (Shudder.) It was only fitting then that the judges told Carmen that she was out. A sin like that cannot be perpetrated onto an unsuspecting public again.

Next week on Project Runway, the designers are separated into teams, leading to much angst, chaos, as well as a fair share of tears and recriminations, when they are tasked with transforming a fashion "don't" into a fashion "do."

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: China (CBS); My Name is Earl/30 Rock (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (FOX)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); The Office/Scrubs (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Don't Forget the Lyrics (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); ER (NBC); Women's Murder Club (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Ugly Betty.

On tonight's repeat episode ("How Betty Got Her Grieve Back"), Betty attempts to put Henry out of her thoughts, Amanda distracts herself with junk food after discovering that Fay Sommers was really her mother, and Wilhelmina plots to use the recent events involving the Meades to her advantage.

8:30 pm: 30 Rock.

On tonight's episode ("Cougars"), Tracy is forced to coach an underprivileged little league team from rough neighborhood Knuckle Beach as part of his community service, but his decisions lead to anarchy; meanwhile, Liz is asked on a date by Jamie, the new coffee boy, who is 17 years younger than she is, and is urged by Jack and Jenna to go out with him.

9 pm: The Office.

On tonight's repeat episode from Season Three ("Back From Vacation"), Michael returns to work after his "all-inclusive" Jamaican vacation and an email containing a rather racy vacation photo of one Jan Levinson makes the rounds.


Anonymous said…
It's too bad, cause I liked Carmen, but that outfit was a total disaster. And Ricky just cries and says, "I am going to prove I can do ________" He is constantly trying to make it clear he can do more than just lingerie, but his designs have certainly contradicted that.
Anonymous said…
I know Carmen didn't finish her shirt but I thought that her design at least seemed more creative that either Ricky's or Sweet P's. Quite honestly, though, all three of them probably should have gone home.

And I thought Kevin should have won the challenge. His outfit was sharp but unique. I don't quite understand why Heidi was so against it. Jack's was nice but too many stripes, especially for TV. And Kit's may have been a little plain but I loved that fleece jacket.

Did anyone else think it was weird that Elisa couldn't look at her model change? You're in fashion, honey. Get over it.

It may have been a nightmare for the designers but, for me, it was fun to see them tackle a menswear challenge. I hope they do it again!

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