Project Runway Recap: Elementary School

The elements! Earth! Air! Fire! Water! Taffeta! The first four of those things live inside Nina Garcia's "You really wasted my time" glare, and that's worth commemoration according to Bunim-Murray. Last night's Project Runway reunited us with the immaterial world, and for that we'll always resent it a little.

Mila begins with observations that are mistakable for Haley Joel Osment's dialogue in A.I. "When you're here, you start to see..." (head tilting like a toy soldier with feelings) "...the humanity in people." She and Maya have formed a bond, and in their camaraderie, they've both become... a little stoned-seeming? Good for them, I guess.

Out on the runway, the designers assemble. Heidi's writing staff is fresh out of puns.

"Hallo, designers!" she says to none of them. "It is getting a little bit earthy in here, no? There's a fire going on with you guys... over in the air here. Yeah. Water is another word, of course. Now, go to the roof, where Tim will tell you about your challenge. You will have to draw from your natural creativity. If you rip off a McQueen coat and an extra zipper, that's always fine too. Ciao. Have fun on the damn roof."

Faithfully, the nine contenders dart up to the Atlas summit, where Tim awaits with (brace yourself for the Beatlemania-like frenzy!) a representative from Garnier Fructis. His last name is "Carreon" (pronounced "Carry on!"), if that's any consolation. It kind of is, to be fair.

"Designers!" Tim yells like your grandma's grandma. "New York is the epicenter of innovation and technology. Segue. You're going to be drawing inspiration from the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Do something conceptual! And care about your models' hair! Because we have ads to sell, and this guy from Garnier won't leave until we hawk his bargain goop."

Jay, last challenge's winner, gets to choose first. He picks "air," as do Jonathan and Seth Aaron. Maya and Ben choose water, Anthony and Amy choose fiiie-yah, and granola goddess Maya chooses "earth," as does the always rootsy Emilio. In record time, half of the contestants get horrible ideas.

Anthony: "I have fire, so I'm going to make a dress that is inspired by when my pastor's house was burned to the ground." (For real.)

Maya: "I'm interested in the idea of sirens coming out of the water. Like sea monsters. Or sea monsters acting like sirens, who are coming out of the water. Or Darryl Hannah in Splash, except dressed as a Kraken, rising out of the water, but going back into the water to speak with the hydra. Ultimately it's going to have ruffles."

Jonathan: "I have 'air.' I want my model to look like she's enveloped in a swirl of uncontrollable laughter. And drugs. Drugs will make it sing."

Amy: "For fire, I want to make a 'controlled chaos.' I think I'll achieve this with hair extensions and tits. You'll see."

But it's Ben with the nuttiest plan: a full pantsuit that he anticipates completing in the assigned 12 hours. I also notice we're finally hearing Ben in confessionals, and that doesn't bode well for the heretofore ignored designer.

Ben: "Instead of just choosing "water," I'm also choosing sharks. Scary, right? No, really: I'm going to apply fake sharks' teeth to the sleeves. Also: I'm going to put a jockstrap seam in the crotch of the pants. Plus: I'm going to render the whole thing in flesh tones, not watery ones. And, wait for it: I'm going to sew it incorrectly. The perfect storm, am I right? It's a sure win. Full of water. You don't remember my name."

Ben makes the whole even worse when he decides to call his husband, who we suddenly know about. The ho-hum Doug Funnie designer dials him up, clicks on speakerphone, and the writing is on the uncleverly-edited wall: Ben's in trouble. The designers who call home always face the worst. I actually yelled at the screen like it was a Wes Craven picture. "PUT DOWN THE PHONE AND LEAVE THE HOUSE, GIRL." But it was too late. Ben is trapped in the kitty door of Michael Kors' patience, and Nina Garcia just hit the garage button.

Onto the runway for the final judging! Heidi, Nina, and Michael welcome guest judge Roland Mouret, who makes fun of his own Frenchiness a couple times, much to Heidi's cackling delight.

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  • OldTowneTavern says:

    I thought it was hilarious that Mila got the tsk tsk for doing the same kind of ensemble that Michael Kors does every NY Fall Fashion Week. I was thinking, "Who are we kidding? Michael's, stuff is exactly this boring. Just a lot more expensive." Ha! They called it a track suit! Have they been to New Jersey? Hell, just get some high powered binoculars and look over the Hudson.

  • the frau says:

    LOVED that tornado-looking thing ...NOT!! How did that not make it in the worst?

  • Louis Virtel says:

    I love how Mila's always out on the runway, like it's scintillating to watch her reactions. An eyebrow moved!

  • Kevin Lately says:

    LOUIS VIRTEL always reviews with wit and honesty. I love his writing.
    I would hate to have to create a dress in 24 hours. It takes alot of skill. A Pyromaniac will start a fire; but A burnt down house is what happens AFTER the fire. Anthony's Dress is going to make a great Rag to mop up the Hot mess.
    I like Mila's Bangs & Bob; but she is my least favorite designer on the show. She seems locked into color blocking. Her Gray Pantsuit was a flashback to Wall Street... Just before the crash..
    I could relate to Poor Ben missing his boyfriend/Husband; But His Gay jockstrap Pants should have been left on the locker room floor.- He got cut.
    Amy is really clever but over thinks Everything. Her "Hair Ball" gown Missed the extensions mark by a mile. It would have been considered Tacky if it was on Ru Paul's Drag Race.
    Jonathan's Air dress won. I guess When you don't Offend anyone you get to win. Hidie is easily offended especially if the boobs don't fit in the dress.
    I love Project-Runway even when its Bad its Good..