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‘Project Runway' Recap: Season 9, Episode 8: Battle of the Sexes

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It’s boys-night-in the Parsons’ workroom, but ultimately the designers will be judged on what a girl really wants—or doesn’t.

And sew it goes:

The Challenge: Using clueless husbands and boyfriends as their sartorial consultants, the designers must make a garment for the women in their clients’ lives, using only the ladies DD measurements and the guys’ interpretation of their style as guides.

And to think the designers were sweating making menswear when host Heidi Klum introduced the burly bunch.
The Making-it-Workroom Drama: The designers’ one-on-ones with their other-half clients go like this: “What’s your wife’s favorite color?” Silence.

“What does she think of lace?” Confused grimace.

“Where does she usually shop?” Long awkward pause.

“How would you describe her style?” “Um, simple.”

Only Bert Keeter’s client, Anthony, whose first memory of his wife, Ariana, is the sight of her massive breasts, seems able to articulate what he wants for his “hot piece of tushie.” (His words, not ours.) Anthony’s simulation of he and Ariana’s bedroom antics with a workroom mannequin is the first time in nine seasons we’ve seen “Project Runway” do porn fashion. For a change, Keeter seems excited about a task.

Our man-of-the-hour vote goes to Brian, who looks like a lumberjack, but - and shows he’s sensitive and evolved by persuading Anthony Ryan Auld to design a dress to replace a favorite of wife Susan’s, which he lost in a suitcase he left at the airport. Ahhhh!

The ladies show up to see the product their significant other’s visions have inspired and it gets a little ugly. Olivier Green is despondent when his client rejects his concept. He’s “never worked with a client” and prefers working with “models who don’t have breasts and just stand there and are professional and do what they are told to do.” We always feel so bad when designers have to work with real women.

The Runway Show: Includes a strutting Barbie, a retro cheerleader, something an old lady might wear to play Bingo and Ariana’s ample cleavage.

The Guest Judge: Actress Malin Akerman joins the panel, explaining why she was front row during the Sept. 9 “Project Runway” finale show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Although we can’t remember her in a SINGLE movie role, Akerman shows her flair for drama, cheerfully trashing the worst garments.

Who’s In: THIS WEEK Joshua McKinley rests his inner-bully to turn out a super elegant black cocktail dress for a client who craved simplicity. Michael Kors says McKinley’s flirty, subtly sexy dress evokes a “modern day Grace Kelly.” More than anything, the judges are thoroughly impressed at his ability to listen to his client and not succumb to his bedazzled tendencies. Anya Ayoung-Chee and Viktor Luna (whose look was Stylelist’s - favorite) round out the top three.

Who’s Out: Although Stylelist was kind of hoping Green would get the ‘auf for hating on breasts and real clients, it is sweet-seeming, winless Bryce Black who must clean up his workspace and head home to Portland, Or. The judges cut him for a confused pink sheath dress that thoroughly pleased his client, but that judge Nina Garcia says was “swallowed by its details.” Auld and Keeter join Black in the bottom two.

Stay Tuned: Next week singer Adam Lambert brings his dramatic voice to the judges’ panel for what previews suggest will be an amplified menswear challenge.