Project Runway Recap: Bridesmaids Revisited


For last year's Project Runway bridal challenge, I called my recap "Brides' Dress Revisited," and I see no reason this pun can't be re-spun and employed again. Congrats to laziness! While we didn't bear witness to another of Gretchen's Medusa explosions last night, we did watch as Ivy polished her fangs and hissed to everyone in a 15-mile radius that Michael C. called her a smelly jackass (or something else made up?). Let's break down all the stupidity using our favorite instrument: Mean jokes.

Jesus watched over Bunim-Murray last week because of all people, Casanova won the challenge while the crew of student council jags who called themselves "Team Luxe" received orders from Nina Garcia to sit in a closet full of knives. That's a heavenly verdict. Casanova, who is "good television" and "bad at understanding what the challenge is," earned immunity while the all-too-chatty, visibly-quite-hungry AJ left us. I'd say that's a good day's work.

But back to Earth: The designers gather on the runway this week and Heidi has to slap herself awake to finish explaining the challenge.

"Hope you're all into 'real women,'" she says, snickering. "Look, here are some big-boned people in polyester." There they are: women in bridesmaid dresses of all shapes, sizes, colors, and broken homes. The challenge, as Heidi describes it, is to rework a bridesmaid dress so it looks hip, current, fashionable, and tolerable? Not like a ripe blemish? Not like Altamont: The Dress? That's the one.

The designers are allowed to buy extra fabric. Michael Drummond picks a girl with a giant pink gown and thinks he could pair it with some lacy black netting for a sporty thrill. He is mistaken. Christopher's model -- whose dress was nothing but a periwinkle tower of gauze -- mysteriously drops out. He's forced to work with a new girl, and fancy this: She's pretty much a supermodel. Christopher does all he can to conceal that he's the happiest shaven-headed hottie in the free world. She's wearing a much subtler fabric, one that doesn't resemble unicorn viscera in the slightest. It's a good day to be Christopher.

Peach, our 50-year-old designer who lunches with ladies who lunch, picks a bridesmaid wearing a putrid green frock. In an attempt to pair the dress with a fabric that doesn't clash, she chooses a mossy pattern that is hopeless. Michael C.'s old fashioned black-and-white gown comes with a ton of fabric, not to mention the sveltest "model" on stage. Gretchen resents him for a change.

Tim evaluates the workroom and waxes quizzical. Looking at Michael Drummond's pink-and-black-lace riot, he says sternly, "Rework it." He does not add, "re-put your thing down, flip it and reverse it." which is our loss. And he's not done dream-pulverizing yet: He tells all the designers they'll be showcasing their dresses in an exhibition where common plebeians will judge which is the best. Just because! The Gunn has gone off! It can't un-go off now, guys.

Flash-forward to that ceremony. For some reason, in a room full of dresses and voters, Ivy gets the idea that Michael C. has been spreading lies about her and calling her a bitch. I'm not making that up. We see no evidence of this on camera. She just decides it occurred. So we watch as defenseless, maligned Michael C. stands around while Ivy (who has proven herself a greater terror than Gretchen) pretends he maligned her. Incredible. Ivy's so forthright, sure of herself, and bossy that she will definitely make a killer crossing guard one day.

The winner of the exhibition is Mondo, who turns out a skimpy mod dress with rose and black colorblocking. Michael Costello comes in a close second with his all-too-short-and-twisty number -- but because it has a tinge of modern fitting to it, people mistake it for cute. You know where this is heading, right?

Cut to the final runway show where Heidi, Nina, Michael, and guest judge Cynthia Rowley tell Mondo that they'll "take into consideration" his exhibition victory during their judging. Haha. My ass. After a rather staid runway show, they declare Michael C., Mondo, and Christopher -- who turned out a conventional, simply shortened version of his original gown -- the top three. The snakes in Gretchen and Ivy's hair mingle and scowl! Peach and Michael Drummond earn bottom two status.

The winner? Michael Costello. For the second time. Of course. Peach is eliminated, but more importantly, a certain modicum of dignity was eliminated too. It's been an entertaining season of Runway so far, but the judging has been so erratic and dubious that I can't quite get behind it. Mondo's dress was so streamlined and witty in comparison to Michael's crunchy lace number -- there wasn't a comparison, in fact.

Luckily, as Tim Gunn noted in his interview with Movieline, the season's proudest moment is yet to come. You better be right, Tim. Or else I might start sympathizing with the (ahem) louder members of Team Luxe.