After all of last week’s Project Runway drama, the designers are (in the words of Bertzilla) “putting the nails away.” For the first few minutes at least. This week they are whisked uptown to the Harlem School of the Arts where eager teenagers (not hyper children) are waiting with canvases and easels. Hey, at least so far this challenge looks more creative than physical.

Read Related: Project Runway Recap: Episode 5

The Challenge: Each designer will partner with a kid from the school to create a painting that will serve as inspiration for an avant garde runway look. Tim stresses, “Be ambitious. This is not a red carpet challenge.”

A few of the designers are clearly uncomfortable dealing with kids, while others fit in a little too well (Josh C.). Viktor’s quote of the day after tepidly responding to his sassy, opinionated, and very enthusiastic partner: “I probably would have dealt better with her if I had a cocktail. I’m never having kids.” And Bert likes his partner because he’s quiet.

Now off to Mood where avant garde translates into yardage (and big hair as we see later).

Back in the workroom the claws start coming out again. Becky says that Laura’s dress looks like one of those plastic doll toilet paper covers. And while using a lighter on the edges of her raw silk organza to prevent fraying, Laura remarks that the smell reminds her of when she used to burn her Barbies. Huh? Laura may have some layers we don’t—and may not want to—know about.

Josh M. (still on ego alert) feels that his exemplary leadership in the last challenge has really helped Becky focus her creativity. Ego aside, the neoprene circle skirt he has painted–to look like tree bark with his and his mother’s initials carved into it—is a work of art.

After his critique with Tim, Josh C. cries, then rallies. Olivier seems a bit wilted this week and resorts to gluing his bodice to the model, luckily Tim swoops in to stop Olivier before the model hits the runway. The producers must have really wanted to avoid a repeat of last season’s Ivy/Michael C. fashion tape controversy.

The tape and glue-free models are sent to hair and makeup where the rule is big coifs and bold color. And on to the runway.

Sadly, Nina is absent so Marie Claire’s Senior Fashion Editor, Zanna Roberts Rassi is sitting in for her. Kenneth Cole is the guest judge.

In the top are: Josh M., Laura, and Anthony Ryan (who, we are reminded, is colorblind!)

In the bottom: Bert, Olivier, and Josh C.

Zanna’s face, as Bert’s very high waisted clown pants make their way down the runway, is priceless. Michael describes it as something a Teletubby would wear to a party. Heidi kinda likes it even though Michael also said it would make her look like she was expecting baby #5 and Zanna adds that it would make her look like she was baby #5. At least it’s whimsical.

The consensus on Olivier’s gown is that it’s sad, drab, boring and, in the words of Michael Kors, “Valium fashion.” Oh dear.

Although Josh C.’s inspiration was an excellent painting of a tortured wolf, his garment can only be described as trashy, hooker-esque, dominatrix wear. You’ve got to watch that taste level!

And Josh C. is out. Again. But not sobbing, so that’s good.

Everyone loved the way Laura’s gown beautifully blended hard and soft, with stiff corset boning showing beneath layers of buttery yellow organza. Josh M.’s mixture of texture, the interesting silhouette, and the fact that he incorporated painting into his design was also a hit with the judges. Although Anthony Ryan’s brush stroke inspired texture—appliquéd pieces over a sheer, fluid column—looked amazing, Kenneth Cole questioned his execution.

And the winner is…Anthony Ryan!


Nina’s back next week and it’s another team challenge—so cruel. We see Josh M. yelling at other designers, stalking out of the room, then breaking down. And Tim says, “That textile gives me the hives.” Love it!