I get the feeling that Project Runway is operating on a shoestring budget this year.
First, the contestants were designing for an exciting fashion icon who turned out to be. . . Heidi Klum!
Now they are meeting one of America's favorite designers. . .Michael Kors!
(Next week: They'll be designing for one of America's most dapper men. . .Tim Gunn!)
The funny thing is, Michael Kors has literally nothing to do with this week's hardware challenge. It's not like he's known for using a lot of studs or grommets in his designs. If you ask me, he just wanted some face time for his (admittedly lovely) Soho boutique. (Hey, why should the Bluefly Accessory Wall get all the plugs?)
Kors informs the designers that they will have to "think outside the box" and "push the envelope" this week. I'm surprised he didn't add, "march to the beat of your own drummer"—just to complete the non-conformity cliche trifecta.
The challenge? Make a garment with materials from the Scheman & Grant hardware store.
And let me tell you, "Thank you, Scheman & Grant" just doesn't roll off the tongue the way it does with Mood.
Back at the studio, it's like the H&G Network broke out, with everyone banging away with their tools.
Jesse is concerned about his look (and with good reason—duhn, dun, duuuuhn!) and says, "I hope somebody crashes and burns. . .not in a mean way, though." (Jesse, there's only one way to hope that someone crashes and burns—and it's the mean way. . . )
Yay! I've discovered that my favorite contestant, design-wise (Amy) and my favorite contestant, personality-wise (Jonathan) are BFFs! And who wouldn't want Jonathan as their No. 1 gay, when he so adorably cracks wise on the hardware challenge?
"Ladies and gentlemen, straight off the Periodic Table of Elements—it's copper!" Jonathan announces, holding up his dress.
Oh Jonathan . . .call me.
Mila has been working all week on her witty color blocking material. "Color blocks—take me away!" she sings, so glad to be included among the cool kids.
No one's material is working the way they'd hoped: Jesse's flowy part is actually his sticky part and Anthony's sticky part is sort of flowing and Jay's Hefty bag has shrinkage.
Tim comes in to survey the damage:
"I feel like I'm at the Arms and Armour Wing of the Met!" he chuckles. (Ah, if only Jesus were still around to appreciate Tim's joke.)
Turns out, Jesse's dress is so horrible that it looks like a school project. "And I don't mean high school or junior high school," says Tim, "I mean elementary school." What can Jesse do with such a sartorial sucker punch to the gut but laugh? Which is exactly what he does.
Emilio's Intergalactic flapper something-or-other is a hot mess. And to make matters worse, he doesn't have nearly enough washers or macrame material to finish the job.
"Maybe you'll have to make it a bathing suit," jokes Tim. (But is he kidding? Duhn, dun, duuuuhn!)
Not gonna lie: I need Maya's key necklace on my neck—and now. That thing is all kinds of awesome.
(Also not gonna lie: After 7 episodes, I still have to check the Lifetime site to remember which one is named Maya and which one is named Mila.)
Runway day and everyone is pretty much in a panic.
In fact, people are so busy trying to finish up that they pretty much just ignore Tim Gunn when he comes into the studio.
"How's everybody doing?" Tim says.
"I'm about to send in your models, okay?"
Right about now, Tim feels like Mila backstage after a second place finish.
Turns out, it was no joke: Emilio is walking a bathing suit down the runway. A bathing suit with washers in the bikini bottom—sounds like an embarrassing trip to the emergency room waiting to happen!
"No one would ever guess that my look came from a hardware store," says Emilio. Well, except for the part with the washers in the bikini bottom.
Some cool stuff struts down the runway: My girl Amy is back. Jonathan also does a good job. But I have to agree with the Top 3: Mila, Maya, and Jay. They definitely worked that hardware store like Bob (Mackie) the Builder.
And the winner is. . .Jay! Who cried earlier this episode, so I knew he was either the winner or toast. I, personally, might cry if forced to wear those bright yellow parachute pants he seems so fond of. Designer, clad thyself!
Bottom 3: Jesse (whose dress looked like the Tin Man or a dirty vacuum bag, depending on who you ask), Emilio (for obvious reasons), and Anthony (who didn't embrace the spirit of the challenge and pretty much just made a pretty dress).
I actually find it stunning that Emilio didn't lose. I mean, it wasn't even a stripper outfit. It was like a shredded piece from the beaded curtain that separates the strip stage from the Champagne Room that had been sprayed with Silly Putty. But I did admire the way he pretended that making a skimpy bathing suit was his master plan all along.
Nope, handsome (but vaguely creepy) Jesse hoped that someone would crash and burn—but not in a mean way—and that someone was him. A lesson in karma for us all.