Hey there, Project Runway fans! Last week, everyone teamed up to create outfits from carnival-game prizes. This week, Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson brought bow ties from his charity, Tie the Knot, for the designers to incorporate into their looks. (The goal of Tie the Knot? “To advocate for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans throughout the United States and to look damn good while doing it.” We can get on board with that.)

The good: Dom’s material made me go cross-eyed for a second, but this piece really stood out once I recovered. I had less love for the color combo in Kate’s outfit – khaki and chocolate brown didn’t quite work – but the individual pieces rocked. And Bradon’s construction (read: bow-tie weaving skills)? Top marks. I also liked Jeremy’s tribute to his gran, who passed away during this challenge, even though the judges didn’t.

An honorable mention goes to Alexander for his bow-tie pride flag. A little literal, but still nice.

The bad (and the ugly): Oh, Sue. I have no idea how she spent so much money on materials, because this dress wound up looking like a black widow spider dragging pieces of web. Miranda should add variety to her portfolio and stop showing pencil skirts – especially with tops that look like that.

The ugliest thing that still needs mentioning? Sandro’s behavior this episode. Angry over not getting a critique (though Zac Posen was more than willing to offer that “it looked like the walk of shame after an awards show”), he started a fight with Helen and Ken before storming out, leaving a path of stunned assistants and overturned mannequins in his wake. Guy even punched a camera. Peace, Sandro.

The last laugh: There wasn’t a lot of laughter this episode with Sandro on his way to meltdown town (except for when he nicknamed Tim “Top Gun”), but I did get to hear the words “The pants are sick” come out of Nina Garcia’s mouth. Thank you, Kate, for making that happen. Plus, Bradon proposed to his partner of 18 years. It doesn’t get much sweeter.

My first guess at the Final Three: Bradon, Kate, and Dom. What about you? And who do you think should have gone home, regardless of what happened with Sandro? Tweet us at @ruelala and let’s chat about it.

Until next time, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

August 9, 2013

Hello again, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers created outfits to pair with diamonds. This week, it was the first team challenge – and the fabric came from prizes won at Coney Island‘s boardwalk (read: straw sombreros and stuffed animals), making this the second unconventional-materials challenge in just three episodes.

The good: My pick, hands down, was Alexandria and Dom’s adorable sharkmonster. Helen and Kate’s red sombrero dress had the judges swooning, too. It felt a little rough at the curves and waistline, but their creativity made it work.

The bad (and the ugly): Alexander and Justin’s attempt to rock some sherbet-hued plastic fell victim to a serious lack of editing, and Timothy and Miranda’s blue high-low dress and yellow vest were a bizarre mix of boring and horribly mismatched.

The last laugh: Everyone needs a little more Tim Gunn in their life – unless they’re Timothy, who couldn’t catch a break. Tim’s comments on his and Miranda’s design ranged from “hospital gown” to “Disney princess” (both accurate, but… ouch).

What did you think of Miranda’s outburst in the sewing room, and – on the other side of things – the blossoming “galmance” between Kate and Helen? Are you as happy as I am that team challenges will (hopefully) be few and far between this season?

Tweet us at @ruelala to chat about it. Until then, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

August 2, 2013

Hi there, Project Runway fans! Last week, Season 12 opened with a fresh batch of designers and materials literally falling from the sky. This week, they were asked to create evening wear based around diamonds – over $30 million worth. That’s right. Thirty. Million. Dollars. Here’s how it went:

The good: The designers showed us a whole lot of pretty on the runway. Kate and Justin both presented gorgeous, flowing gowns, though Kate’s bodice is what really won me over. I’m finally aware of Alexander – kind of like the first time a boy makes you laugh in grade school – thanks to the pop of yellow on his chiffon-loaded piece. And Bradon’s dramatic, sparkly dress showcased the diamonds brilliantly, which was, after all, the goal.

The bad (and the ugly): On the flip side, while Timothy transformed his dress entirely after Tim’s critique, its racerfront didn’t impress. Helen tried to make bust cups for the first time ever, and the result had her sobbing in the sidelines during the runway show. Kahindo’s camo cocktail dress, while sewn well, was just too simple to shine against those rocks. And the award for boxiest and most ill-fitting went to Karen’s blue number. I won’t tell you who the judges sent packing, but I will say this: Tim (wisely) opted not to use his save.

The last laugh: Let’s play a little game. Which designer said, “I’m not inspired by jewelry. I’m not inspired by money. We have to pick the prettiest diamond, and I think that that’s very superficial.”? Did you guess our unicorn-loving pal, Timothy? If so, you win! He also picked his fabric from the remnant bags at Mood, so I’m officially past being surprised by anything he does or says – though I’ll continue to laugh at it.

How about you, Runway friends? Did you have a favorite moment – whether it’s Justin switching off his hearing aid to avoid Ken and Sandro’s bickering, or Sue still being unable to work a sewing machine?

Talk to you next week. And, as always, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

July 26, 2013

Hello there, Project Runway fans! It’s been awhile. Last season, the “teams” twist didn’t win me over completely, but this time, edits to the Runway formula have me riveted.

First, Kate from Season 11 was voted back. I didn’t hate her, so that’s nice. Also:

  1. The designers will manage their own money.
  2. The runway show is blind, so Heidi & Co. don’t know who made which piece. Plus, they get to inspect the garments up close and chat with Tim Gunn before making a decision.
  3. Tim gets to save one – just one – eliminated designer over the course of the season.

I still miss Michael Kors’s wit (love you, Zac!), but that last tweak more than makes up for it.

It’s tough to get to know the designers at the beginning, but a few stuck in my memory. Sandro sent his model out in clothing short enough for Lifetime to black out her crotch. Timothy refused to work a sewing machine or use chemicals – you know, like hair products and makeup – on his model. Justin is deaf (a Runway first). And Alexandria is that person who just knows she’s going to win.

To begin the show, the contestants raced for parachutes that fell from a plane overhead, which then became their primary material. I love the unconventional challenges, and this one didn’t seem so bad compared to Christmas ornaments and hardware.

The workroom drama this week revolved around the “sustainability-focused platform artist,” Timothy. He wouldn’t let his model wear shoes, but was okay with burning nylon and releasing fumes – all while saying things like, “We have to save the forest to keep the unicorns alive.” Agree with your message, guy, but not your method.

On the runway, aside from Sandro’s privates-revealing piece, no one loved Timothy’s zero styling and poor design nor Angela’s hooded poncho. Miranda was in the top until the judges realized most of her garment was not made from a parachute (an Unconventional Materials 101–level error).

There were also a lot of great pieces, though, like Jeremy’s colorblocked cargo pants, Bradon’s cording and huge train, and Sue’s ombré maxi dress.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all in for this season. Join me next week – and until then, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Are you excited for a new crop of design talent? Tweet us at @ruelala, then refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

July 19, 2013

Welcome back, Project Runway fans! The last time we spoke, five designers traveled across Europe for inspiration for high-end fashion looks. These past two weeks, we’ve been engrossed in the finale – first in the narrowing down of the Final Four to Three, and then in seeing the final collections walk the runway.

After working on their collections at home for four months, the designers each picked three pieces to show. Two of the season’s best looks (in my opinion) – Michelle’s layers and black chaps and Patricia’s horsehair cape with leather pants – helped the ladies secure their spots. Stanley’s skill with luxe, ornate fabrics earned him the last seat, leaving out Daniel, whose capsule collection was sadly made up of well-designed but boring choices.

With the judges’ advice (primarily for Stanley to add interest and youth, Michelle to edit, and Patricia to bring cohesion and maturity), the Final Three returned to the workroom to prep for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Everyone was stressed, but Stanley especially – he still had unfinished garments as he walked into Lincoln Center. Between an army of sewing assistants and a (very) patient stage manager, he pulled it together, but it was ugly there for a bit.

Stanley: “Urban Opulence” had some standout pieces, like the gold belted coatdress and white-and-gold dress, but ultimately his collection still felt dated and his quick-fix hemlines were too shoddy for Fashion Week.

Patricia: Inspired by trees, this collection showcased her creativity and Native American heritage. She created a beautiful fabric, and the judges appreciated her leather hole-punch pants. The pink dress she opened with was also really lovely. I still noticed a lack of cohesion, though, and while the judges liked her headpieces, I found them to be a little over the top.

Michelle: This lone wolf–inspired collection exemplified the casual/tough attitude I’ve come to love about her. It was diverse, yet told a complete story through quilted fabrics and pleated dresses. Those chiffon scarf-ties took it a little too far, and her closing gown was quite heavy – even to Michael Kors (can he come back next season? Please?), who said it was like a “cardboard box walking.” Overall, though, she was my favorite.

The judges had a hard time narrowing it down, and I was happy with their final choice. What did you think – did the right person win? Until Season 12, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

How did you like Project Runway: Teams? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala. And if you missed an episode, check out our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

April 26, 2013

Hi there, Project Runway fans! Last week, the remaining five contestants created editorial looks for Marie Claire. This week, the designers flew across the globe to find inspiration (and buy $1,000 worth of European fabric) for a high-end runway look.

We were left hanging last week in regard to Michelle’s fate, which was resolved quickly here – she got to stay, but she was on a sort of probation. So, while Layana traveled to Barcelona, Daniel to Berlin, Patricia to Paris, and Stanley to London (each accompanied by an eliminated-designer-turned-assistant to maintain the team aspect), she remained solo in New York so she could focus on fighting for her life.

This actually benefited her, in a way – she got to shop at Mood. The other designers had to find fabric in local shops in their respective cities, and between language barriers, unexpectedly expensive materials, and poor selection (Daniel had to buy white pleather – yuck), they had a difficult time.

In the workroom, Tim had some wise advice for Patricia: If you’re going to make something reminiscent of a multicolored marshmallow, it should be a shirt rather than a jacket. He also supported Michelle’s desire to paint her “fabulous, really beautiful, sophisticated look” and tried to be nice to Layana, whose lace coat looked like it belonged in a mid-90s shopping mall.

On the runway, Patricia would have been better off if she’d made a simple top and left off the massive, puffy sleeves, and Layana’s coat didn’t look any better than it did in the workroom.

Michelle’s cashmere skirt moved wonderfully, and the breast plate and strappy back made this a winner for me. Daniel’s pleather looked edgy and luxurious, which couldn’t have been an easy task, and the wedge/stocking combo was, in Nina’s words, “a showpiece.” Finally – the shape aside, though that in itself had me falling in love – Stanley’s use of paillettes for the lining was pure genius.

I’d be surprised if any of these three didn’t go to Fashion Week at this point – and it helps that they’re the most likeable.

Talk to you next week. For now, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Were you happy with who went home? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala. And if you missed an episode, check out our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

April 12, 2013

Hey there, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers took an inspirational trip to the Guggenheim. This week, the challenge belonged to Nina – and not in the form of a dress for her own wardrobe. Instead, the outfit was to be shot on actress Jordana Brewster for an editorial feature in Marie Claire.

First, of course, the teams needed tweaking. “It’s time for each of you to design on your own,” Heidi said. Finally! But the twist (to keep it team-oriented) was that each designer had to work with and manage an assistant. (Three guesses as to who those assistants were.)

The “wretched Button Bag” (thanks, Michelle) helped Tim assign the eliminated contestants/assistants to their designers. Stanley and Tu became a team, as did Michelle and Amanda, Daniel and Samantha, Layana and Kate… and Patricia was once again left to work with Richard. Her thoughts on that? “I don’t have a prayer left.” Very optimistic.

Stanley put far too much pressure on Tu in the workroom, telling him over and over that mistakes were unacceptable. Michelle apparently forgot Nina’s instruction of “no pants and a T-shirt,” because that’s exactly what she showed to Tim. Layana and Kate worked together like a dream, whereas Patricia spent half the time giving Richard sewing lessons.

Patricia’s final product had a nice style to it – the judges liked the one-shoulder look – but ultimately the shape didn’t work in the context Nina needed it for. Daniel’s piece looked like an Easter outfit for Lady Gaga, but it had the benefit of being bold and unique. While Michelle’s green pants and white blouse were very well-done, they were not daring enough for an editorial fashion shoot – and they went against Nina’s instructions.

The judges loved Stanley’s multipiece look, and Nina said that the stylists would be able to do a lot with it. Layana made a beautiful armor-inspired piece with cobalt leather and metal links – but she gave Kate a lot of credit, saying she couldn’t have finished without her help. I’m still not positive Layana is strong enough on her own to show at Fashion Week.

What did you think of that cliffhanger ending?

I’m anxious to see what happens next week. Until then – auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did the right person win? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala. And if you missed an episode, check out our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

April 5, 2013

Welcome back, Project Runway fans! Last week, the teams made ready-to-wear looks for Lord & Taylor. This week, they paid the Guggenheim a visit – and created their own textiles for inclusion in wearable art designs.

The judges selected the pairs: Patricia and Richard, Layana and Daniel, and Stanley and Michelle (ordered by how excited they were to work together, from least to most). No one was happy Richard stayed last week, and Michelle quipped that he’d only show 12 colorblocked dresses at Fashion Week. Can’t say I disagree.

At the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museumthe place to see modern and contemporary art in New York – Tim explained each team’s task: find inspiration to create their own textile, then produce one piece of wearable art and a complementary ready-to-wear look. He gave each pair a camera and let them run wild.

In the workroom, Layana broke down in tears when she realized the level of difficulty that wearable art calls for, but to her credit, she had her pity party then pulled a dress together. And in the time that Patricia used to construct the foundation of her look, Richard just toyed with making a bracelet.

My favorite ready-to-wear look on the runway was Daniel’s blazer and skirt. Both pieces were beautifully designed and fitted, and this is an outfit I’d love to own. Patricia’s tribal look – surprisingly soft and light despite its many layers and white veil – solidified her as the stronger member of her team.

Stanley and Michelle worked together on both their pieces, and their wearable art, with its painted Bubble Wrap, artsy cape, and well-done headpiece, was the highlight of the show. Nina called it “inspiring and editorial.” I liked their ready-to-wear look somewhat less – the shape felt awkward and heavy – but it was beautifully constructed.

Richard’s skirt looked like a cross between a balloon and an accordion (read: not pretty), and I agreed with the judges that Layana’s dress was like a Barbie version of Gone with the Wind.

The remaining designers seem to be hitting their stride (finally). Do you have picks for the Final Three? I’m fairly certain Stanley and Michelle will make it, but the last is a toss-up.

More next week. Auf Wiedersehen for now.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you agree with the judges’ decisions? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala. And if you missed an episode, check out our Project Runway recaps to date.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

March 29, 2013

Hi there, Project Runway fans! Last week, the teams failed at crafting exotic dancewear for men. This week, they took on this season’s ready-to-wear challenge: creating a budget-friendly spring look for Lord & Taylor.

Tim broke up last week’s teams into smaller groups – two pairs and a triad – but since everyone was able to design their own garment (with input from their team members), the pairings seemed to be more for drama than anything else. The designers were so competitive and sick of working together that the team dynamic was pretty much shot.

The teams met with Suzanne Timmins, fashion director for Lord & Taylor’s parent company, who gave them their challenge: Use the Lord & Taylor rose as inspiration for a ready-to-wear spring look that will be displayed in the store’s Fifth Avenue window as well as sold online.

There was, of course, some trouble in the workroom. Stanley’s attempts to control Patricia were thwarted by her feigning agreement and then moving on to do what she was going to do anyway. Michelle hated the color Daniel chose for his look, and Richard wouldn’t even talk to Layana.

On the runway, Patricia’s rosy draped blouse with matching capris and Stanley’s drab pink dress kept them both safe.

I agreed with the judges that Richard’s sporty maxi dress, though quite pretty, looked over-styled and too similar to what he’s done before. Samantha’s short, flirty dress was cute and interesting, but too junior for Lord & Taylor. Layana’s floral-patterned chiffon dress was beautiful – except for that print. Yuck.

Michelle turned out to be right about Daniel’s bright pink. It wouldn’t have worked as a jacket, and though I did love the shoulders, the dress wasn’t tailored well enough – and it was (frankly) sort of boring. Michelle’s on-trend chartreuse shift dress, however, was a clear front-runner with its impeccable details and great styling.

Already know who won, or don’t mind being spoiled? The winning design is on sale now. (Or was, until it sold out).

See you next week. Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

I wanted someone else to go home – how about you? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

March 22, 2013

Welcome back, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers crafted duct-tape prom dresses. This week, their clients (and, as they were dismayed to learn, models) were the men from Thunder From Down Under – exotic dancers who offer the “Ultimate Girls’ Night Outback.” Mmmhmm.

But before the designers could get to work, another switch-up was in order. Heidi and the judges picked the new teams of four: Stanley, Michelle, Patricia, and Daniel formed Team Shades of Grey, and Layana, Amanda, Richard, and Samantha became Team Slick and Hip. (Let’s just not talk about these name selections, okay?)

No one seemed overly enthusiastic about their new teams, and the challenge’s specifications – three cohesive, tear-away exotic-dancer outfits for Magic Mike–esque figures (when many of the designers weren’t even that familiar with menswear) in only one day – had the designers pretty stressed.

Unsurprising, then, that the workroom was a complete disaster. No one on Team Slick and Hip could get along, to the point where Layana asked Stanley – a member of Team Shades of Grey – for help. Those over on his own team, though, weren’t doing much better.

All of this made for quite possibly the worst show in Project Runway history. The lack of time and cooperation led to designs completely devoid of creativity. Heidi said it all: “I think we should just wrap the show early and you’re all out.” Ouch.

Shades of Grey won by default, thanks mainly to Michelle’s zippered vest, even though it didn’t fit the team’s office theme. All of their pants failed the tear-away test, Patricia’s basket-woven shirt impressed no one, and Daniel’s trench coat looked, as Nina mentioned (between her fits of laughter), like a beauty smock.

Nothing worked over on the Slick and Hip side. Amanda’s pants were the worst offenders, with their uneven legs and too-tight fit. Add Richard’s ridiculous, falling-off silk collar and Layana’s horribly fitted jacket, along with all of those too-long shirts, and it’s no wonder these guys were on the bottom.

Now, I usually try to stay away from spoilers (consider this your spoiler alert), but there’s one Project Runway first worth mentioning from this episode: No one won.

I hope you agree that the person who got Heidi’s kiss of death definitely deserved it. Are you, like me, ready for the producers to do away with team challenges for the rest of the season? (Not that it’ll happen, but a girl can dream.)

We’ll have to wait and see what they come up with for next week. Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Were you as disappointed by the designs as I was? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

March 15, 2013