When group work gets ugly (again!) mentor Tim Gunn must take on the role of workroom televangelist to inspire design salvation. But can he make it work?
And sew it goes:
The Challenge: Whimsical designer Betsey Johnson shows up to “inspire” the season 9 HP computers product placement challenge.
Working in two teams the designers must sketch original textiles using said computers and then create rival, cohesive collections to compete in a fashion show stand-off. In other words, they must rip-off the concept of Bravo’s “Project Runway” imitator, “The Fashion Show.” Iman isn’t going to like this.
The Making-it-Workroom Drama: The rival teams dub themselves “Team Nuts and Bolts” and “Team Chaos.” Strangely, “Chaos” is a study in organization and “Nuts and Bolts” is completely unhinged.
Joshua McKinley continues to play mean-boy-on-the-fashion playground, menacing underdogs Bert Keeter and Becky Ross. Even his weeping about the recent loss of his mother to cancer -- while incredibly sad -- doesn’t excuse the verbal black eyes he delivers.
Gunn arrives like an answered prayer and intervenes, actually making the feuding “Nuts and Bolts” designers hold hands and say supportive, harmonious things to each other. The only revival meeting moment missing here was a spirited chorus of “Kumbaya” by the runway models.
The Guest Judges: Australian actress Rose Bryne and frequent “Project Runway” visitor Rachel Roy join the panel. Why Johnson doesn’t join in on the critique is never explained.
The Runway Show: “Team Chaos” has produced cohesive perfection featuring strong designs by Viktor Luna, Olivier Green and Anya Ayoung-Chee. Meanwhile, the “Nuts and Bolts” apparel reads amateur; especially when the word “canceled” -- etched into their original textile prints -- shows up on a model’s crotch.
Who’s In: Of course, Team Chaos wins. And the former Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Ayoung-Chee, is crowned with her first personal win of the season. Her print cocktail dress is so cute, Bryne who is “afraid of prints” says she would buy it. Stylelist is happy to see the novice designer get her due, but this is hardly her best look.
Who’s Out: “Queen of Sewing” Ross is out for a mini, T-shirt and jacket ensemble that Klum calls a “weak look in a weak collection.” Judge Michael Kors, who has consistently praised Ross’s tailoring skills declares, “This is not project seamstress.”
Spoiler Alert: Stylelist took its seat at the “Project Runway” finale fashion show at New York City’s Lincoln Center today. With model-actress Andie MacDowell, “Hung” actor Thomas Jane and Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles in the front row, the remaining ten season 9 contestants participated in a decoy show designed to conceal the true finalists. While the winner is anyone’s guess; the female designers stitched up the best looks. Here’s hoping television viewers get to see the metallic-tinged collection of Laura Kathleen, Ayoung-Chee’s beach-sexy gowns and Kimberly Goldson’s well-conceived pops of polished color. Based on their collections, our bet is on either Anthony Ryan Auld or Viktor Luna joining the women in the final four.
Photo: Anya Ayoung-Chee's winning "Team Chaos" look. Photo Courtesy: Lifetime