Actual Title: Sew 70's
Reality Check Time; after tonight, there's only three episodes left of this season (where does the time go? Can someone answer this? Gretchen Jones, maybe?). At this juncture, my thoughts on who the final three are as follows: Laura Kathleen (simply because I saw the Lincoln Center fashion show and her collection was, to my mind, hands down the best), Viktor (because he is flipping awesome, and has killed it just about every week), and Anya (because she remains my homegirl, and she's nailed it so many times despite the fact that she has the least sewing experience of them all). This week, in fact, it is Anya's show. So let's get to it.
When we rejoin the Semi-Magnificent Seven, they're in their rooms at Atlas hemming and hawing about recent events. Kimberly and Anya are both shellshocked from being so poorly reviewed in the last challenge. Josh insincerely congratulates Viktor on last week's win. They march off to the next challenge where Heidi asks them if any of them are surprised that they're still here. The only one to pipe up is Bert, who says, "Maybe a little." Everyone laughs, including Bert.
Off to the workroom where Tim is delighted to introduce them to Heather Archibald of Piperlime.com, as the winning design this week will be sold on the Piperlime website. Heather explains that Piperlime is obsessed with the "Sophisticated Seventies" - wide leg trousers, tie front blouses, et al. The challenge is to create a Seventies-inspired modern look (not retro! not vintage!) for those online shoppers. Tim reminds them that they are the crème de la crème (Apropos of nothing; have you noticed that they haven't dealt all season with the drama of poached models? OK, back to the recap).
A few of the designers are totally psyched about this challenge, like Laura ("I am a Seventies glam kind of girl") and Bert, who's planning on a pair of hot pants under a flowing skirt. Josh, however, is well and truly stymied: "I never lived in that time so I'm really grasping for design ideas." Anthony is excited about the challenge because "I can really show who I am in a bigger way."
Off to Mood they go and straight into a double helping of D-R-A-M-A as Anya loses the money envelope she's tucked into the top of her dress and can't find it when it's time to check out. They only have $100 this week for the challenge, which has them all freaked to begin with. Tim says she can ask the other designers if they have anything left over, and she can use muslin for her design - those are the only options available. No one in the history of the show has ever lost their money, says La Gunn. Wiping away tears and mascara, Anya watches while Anthony pays for his materials, and he has $11.50 left over which he gives to her. This was edited out of the show, but apparently Anthony left behind some things he had planned to buy so Anya would have at least a little cash, like the good hearted sweet guy that he is. Tim points out that during the last challenge Anya was the one who gave fabric away to her fellow designers and isn't it ironic blah blah blah.
Back at Parsons, everyone comes over to Anya with the fabric scraps they're not using except for Viktor, who's all "this is a competition" and such. Tim enters the room to say he's very moved by the support everyone is showing Anya (brilliant editing move here as Viktor is shown looking inscrutable). Anya's concerned because she feels that muslin is "like cornflakes" and let's face it, she can't really make something out of everyone's fabric scraps. Of course everyone's glomming onto Bert's knowledge of the period, since he is the only one who was actually alive during the Seventies. Meanwhile Bert is draping glittery gold lame onto his mannequin and mumbling, "Tim's gonna say, Bert, I said sophisticated." Laura asks him if he actually went to Studio 54, which he apparently did. She wants to know if he got his job with Halston that way since Halston was known to go there. "No, I got it in the balcony, third row," says Bert, which is a classic case of Reality Show TMI. Cut to Bert busting a tiny disco move.
Meanwhile Josh is way nosy, going around the room to see what everyone's doing and what fabric they purchased. Viktor doesn't trust Josh not to steal his ideas, "I'm not driving you no more, Miss Daisy. You do it." Everyone's fed up with Josh and his antics, his ego, his inability to take criticism. Anya's in the bathroom dying muslin. Bert's complaining to the camera about Anthony's choices of fabric; he feels that it looks like something from the late 80's: "they're all going to the mall or going to bury something in the woods" (Really?? Those are the two choices??).
There is also a very interesting moment in the sewing room with Anya and Laura, who both feel that Kimberly is going down the wrong path with her vision this week and making pants that are "very J.C. Penney." Apparently the three girls made a pact, to warn each other f they were straying from good taste too much. They're trying to decide if they should say anything. Viktor, who is also there while they're trying to figure this out, opines that they should take care of themselves and not worry about Kimberly. At the end of the discussion Kimberly comes in to do some sewing and they keep their mouths shut.
Day 2. Tim comes in to spring a surprise on them; they will be required to create a second Seventies-inspired look with a budget of $50. "I guess it's not so little," says Anya, who created her first look with a budget of $11.50. This time she pins the money to her shirt as they go off to shop. Later on Tim comes to do his drive-by's. Anthony is first; Tim advises him to consider changing direction. Laura thinks Bert is making "Roller Barbie" and Tim warns that the judges might say it looks vintage. At Josh's station Tim advises him to be careful of the narrative, "because you can really spin a tale," the clothes need to speak for themselves. He tells Laura that Nina has "a thing" about her and when she sees her work, gets "bristly" about Laura's taste level. Laura is surprised because she feels her own style is sometimes too refined (Viktor rolls his eyes at this comment).
Next morning is the fashion show. Tim comes in to give them their 2-hour warning, and remind that as it is the Piperlime challenge they need to use the Piperlime wall even more thoughtfully than usual. Bert tells the stylist that the model is going to be Shelly Hack as if anyone besides himself knows who that is. Viktor, naturally, is ready on time and with two impeccably made garments. Kimberly has to handsew her model into one of the garments without a zipper. Anya is more frazzled than we've seen her yet on the series, sewing her garment to itself and using the F-word a few times. With only one minute remaining until they have to go, she's frantically running in and out of the sewing room.
This week the guest judge is Olivia Palermo, Piperlime's guest editor, formerly with Elle.com, former star of MTV's The City, red carpet regular, Whitney Port's nemesis, and apparently soon to be starring in her own reality TV show, heaven help us all.
And on with the show. The interstitials are all Seventies-inspired, it's ca-razy!
After it is over, Kimberly is the only one declared safe out of the group, and is dismissed to the green room. (Did none of the judges notice the gaping hole in the front of the first garment? Okay, then...)
Laura's first to endure the criticism of the judges. Heidi likes her second look, the black pants and the top, but does not love the two prints together in the first look (in other words, Mondo you're not). Nina is far crueler (I guess she really does have a thing for Laura): the top looks like a prison uniform, and then there's this long flowery weird print. She asks Laura if she would wear this and Laura says yes; Nina shrugs. Olivia agrees about the prints not going together and MK says the garments don't look like fashion - they just look like clothes.
Viktor is up next. Heidi thinks he made two great looks and notes it's unreal what he can do in a short amount of time. MK praises the work as "really well done." Nina says it's beautiful tailoring and is impressed that he made these outfits look so expensive with so little money. They all love the snakeskin t-shirt he made for Look #1.
Josh follows. MK says those plaid pants would be against any fashion law of nature, "in any decade." He says Josh loves to go over the top and boy, this outfit is over the top. Heidi says it's one of the worst outfits she's seen in a long time, "there's just so many things going on in this look that it's just really sore to the eyes." Josh gets snappy with the judges, because he's apparently got the thinnest skin of any designer ever born.
Nina can't believe that he choose the fabric for the second look, out of everything available at Mood, it's horrendous, actually she sounds out the word she's so disgusted - "ha-rend-us." MK asks the model in the plaid pants to turn around so he can see the butt and shrieks at how bad it looks, which I just had to photograph on the TV screen. For some reason his reaction shot was not part of the key set on the official website.
Anya explains that she lost her money for the first look and created the garment from the change Anthony gave her ($11.50, to be exact). MK observes that the muslin top is the color of chewed Dentyne gum on the bottom of your seat (clearly Dentyne is not a sponsor of the program) but he does like the detailing on the back of the blouse. Nina loves the prints Anya chose, it looks expensive, feels very spirited. And whatever Anya's wearing on the runway by the way - I'll take two. She probably made that too.
Anthony starts off by saying that what he took from the Seventies was the music, the weed smoking, and the freedom of "how the air was." Nina makes a face at this comment.
Olivia finds the looks really incomplete and the patterns clash, and to top it all off the dress the second model is wearing looks like a tent. Nina is quite a bit kinder in her choice of words to Anthony than Laura; it feels very hippy-dippy but not in a good way and the layering doesn't work. MK likes that Anthony went to the "early Seventies granola-pass the pipe kind of girl" (quick cut to Bert smiling, obviously remembering those days fondly) but he's horrified that the short skirt is so ill-fitting. Nina thinks that the two models look like they're part of a cult and MK refines this dig further, "they're hippie sister-wives." Ouch!
Bert is last to be under the microscope. He tells the judges his inspiration was the Shelly Hack "Charlie" ad for his first look. The second look was inspired by Ali McGraw and Candice Bergen, and the dress does in fact look like a modern read on the fashions worn by those ladies back in the day (I get it now: Bert is the anti-Josh!). Heidi likes both outfits. Nina would buy the gauzy top on the first model and loves the second dress. Olivia loves the first look and likes the detailing on the second dress. MK likes that Bert took on two sides of the Seventies, the streamlined side and the glamorama side.
Lil' Chat Time! Meanwhile back in the green room Josh throws a hissy fit because he felt unprepared due to not living through the Seventies. Of course the only one of them that has that advantage is Bert, and everyone else seemed to rise to the occasion. Viktor points out that he was born in 1980 but he watched movies and knew fashion references. Josh pounces on him and tells him he is being aggressive. The others defend Viktor and Kimberly says it's part of being a fashion designer to know fashion history.
At this, Josh storms off like the Bitch Queen he is. Meanwhile his goose is being cooked by the judges, who are once again discussing his lack of editing skills and how badly he takes criticism. Anthony fares worse however; Nina says his models looked like they were in Charles Manson's cult. As for Laura, before they even start to discuss her garments Nina makes a face.
"How can you put these two prints together and think it looks good?" Heidi asks. "And it looks cheap!" Nina explodes.
They liked Anya's garments and were very impressed with her in general after the adventures that befell her on this challenge. "The girl is smart, thinks on her feet and solves the problems," says Nina. They also find Bert's outfits "very close to perfect" this week. And then there's Viktor, who they all feel is a strong contender to make it all the way to Fashion Week.
Anya is named the winner and Olivia tells Bert that they loved his second look so much they're going to sell it on Piperlime also. Viktor is third runner up. Laura is deemed safe but gets off with a warning that she really missed the mark this week. Josh and Anthony are the bottom two.
"Joshua," Heidi intones as the metallic swish broom music plays, "you're in." Anthony is sent home. As usual, the designer that consistently brings the drama is kept around to keep it lively and the good guy goes home. Given the choice, if I had to pick, I'd take Anthony's outfits over Josh's this week. And this leads me to raise the point that this show may have, finally, jumped the shark. There used to be a time on Project Runway when clothing was finished beautifully, hems, seams, and linings. Those days are gone, apparently, except perhaps for Viktor's work. Now it's more about personality clashes in the grand Reality Show tradition than actual talent. And that's why Josh is still here. My two cents. I'd have packed him and his hair pomade off weeks ago.
I think Heidi may be on the same page as me, after all she did cast her ballot for Mondo last year and was outvoted. She sends Anthony off with the double cheek kiss and wistfully remarks, "he was cute." Tim is all choked up as he sends Anthony to the workroom to clean up his space. Everyone is crying except for perhaps Viktor. And sew it goes.
Next week: Birds! Feathers! Drama!
Project Runway airs on Lifetime TV Thursdays at 9pm.
Follow Holly Cara Price on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollycara