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Mondo Guerra Recaps 'Project Runway' Season 10, Episode 3: The Lexus Team Challenge

Plus, the "Project Runway: All Stars" champion gets behind-the-scenes scoop from former contestant -- and challenge participant -- Mila Hermanovski.

[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Thursday's episode.]

This week, the designers had to buckle their seatbelts for the Lexus challenge and there were plenty of twists and turns along the way.

Heidi Klum sends the designers to meet Tim Gunn where they learn that they will be creating a red carpet look for the Emmys. That’s huge! The twist? 

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The designers will work in teams of two to create one runway design for former Project Runway contestants. The color of their Lexus GS vehicle must be seen in the final garments. Each pair will have $300 and one day to complete the task. The winner also gets the big bonus of accompanying his/her client to the Emmys.

The teams and clients are:

Christopher and Andrea with Anya Ayoung-Chee (Project Runway season 9 winner)

Raul and Alicia with Mila Hermanovski (fellow All Star designer and season 7 finalist)

Kooan and Gunnar with Irina Shabeyeva (winner of season 6)

Dmitri and Melissa with April Johnston (fellow All Star designerand season 8’s “mouth from the South”)

Sonjia and Nathan with Valerie Mayen (my fellow teammate from season 8)

Elena and Buffi with Laura Bennett (season 3 finalist and Project Runway fixture)

Ven and Fabio with Kenley Collins (fellow All Star designer and season 5 designer)

In the Workroom

The most memorable moments from the season 10 designers include Elena’s mini meltdown and the harsh reflex of her Ukrainian survival instincts -- scary; fashion vampires Dmitri and Melissa singing the silk charmeuse blues; and of course Christopher’s “good twin” reputation being tested as he tiptoes around the slow-moving Andrea. His faces crack me up!

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The clients have their moments too -- like when Kenley almost has a fashion orgasm after she sees her dress; or how Irina took the diva crown away from Gunnar and belittled Kooan. That woman is bossy.

On the Runway

Team Elena & Buffi: Laura gave this look as much energy as she could -- possibly because she recognized that the gown was very sad and stern. All Laura needed was a ruler in her hand and she could have been a Victorian governess. Not in love with this look for the Emmys’ red carpet. But maybe for Halloween?

Team Christopher & Andrea: Not even Anya’s pageant experience could save this look on the runway. The execution was disappointing and the slit was high enough to “show off the good china” -- as my friend Peach Carr (season 8) would say. The gown looked cheap and outdated. Not cute.

Team Ven & Fabio: Say what you will about Kenley, but she brought a lot of fun and whimsy to the runway. The silhouette was pretty basic, but the details on the bodice and skirt made the dress special. I see a lot of Ven in this look, but I’m still struggling to find Fabio’s point of view -- does he even have one?

Team Dmitri & Melissa: For me, this was the best dress and the best runway walk of all the looks. April really stomped the runway and made us proud! I thought the high neckline in the front paired with that plunging back was a daring contrast. I could see a lot of young Hollywood starlets wanting to look like this on the red carpet. Effortless and elegant.

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes of Heidi Klum's 'Project Runway' Photo Shoot

Team Raul & Alicia: O.M.G. As soon as this look turned the corner, I shouted, “Oh, no! What did they do to Mila?!” Mila is a cool, modern woman with a really refined sense of style, but her designers made her look the opposite. I don’t know where any woman would wear this gown, but it certainly doesn’t belong on the red carpet at the Emmys. And don’t even get me started on the styling. Disaster!

Team Gunnar & Kooan: I was half-expecting Irina to throw a bouquet at the end of the runway. White can be refreshing on the red carpet, but I was not impressed by this dress. Sure, it had movement and the silhouette was flattering, but I don’t see Gunnar in this design and I definitely don’t see Kooan. This dress just doesn’t do it for me. Kinda boring.

Team Sonjia & Nathan: Valerie looked like a million bucks. The gown fit her beautifully and the gold color really sparkled. I liked the sheer detail in the back and around the shoulders and how simple and clean this pair kept the styling. Metallic looks on the red carpet can be attention-grabbing but they were smart to keep the silhouette relatively simple to balance out the bling.

After the runway, the judges put Gunnar & Kooan and Ven & Fabio on top while Christopher & Andrea and Raul & Alicia fell to the bottom.

STORY: 'Project Runway' Preview: Heidi Klum Spills Secrets About Season 10

The High Scores

Initially, I thought Gunnar & Kooan had low scores, so I was surprised that they got so much praise. Overall, the judges thought it was a stunner -- Heidi even said she preferred it. Really?

Moving on, the judges agreed that Ven & Fabio’s dress looked very expensive. Nina Garcia liked the color and length, but Michael Kors didn’t think this design would be memorable on the red carpet. I have to agree with him. It was a cute dress, but not a winner for me.

The Low Scores

I feel horrible for Mila. The dress was ill-fitting, badly styled, and totally wrong for the red carpet. And the judges agreed. Raul & Alicia painted themselves into a corner and produced a really ugly dress. It was total flop.

Christopher & Andrea crumbled in front of the judges. Their gown made Anya look cheap. Nina thought the dress was outdated and cheesy and guest judge Krysten delivered the fatal blow when she said it looked like a Halloween costume you could get from a drug store. Ouch

The Judges’ Decisions (Plus Shocking News)

In the end, Ven earned his second win while Raul was bid auf wiedersehen.

Personally, I thought Dmitri & Melissa should have won this challenge. Their gown looked luxurious, modern, and elegant which is what I thought the challenge was all about. 

I agree with the judges’ decision on the losing designer -- I thought Raul’s hatred for the red carpet was clearly reflected in his garment. He did Mila absolutely no justice.

Then came the shocking news that Andrea had fled the set, confirming this summers’ rumors that a designer had jumped ship. Whoa. I guess the pressure really got to her. What a shame. I hope we’ll learn more about this next week.

Inside Scoop – Mila’s Reaction

What did the client from the losing look have to say?

“I wish Raul and Alicia would have used their menswear background to create a women’s tuxedo for me,” Mila shared by phone, “I think that would have looked great on the red carpet. I like things that are simple and clean and I don’t mind going into a little bit of an androgynous feel.” 

Mila continued, “Looking back, I wish I would have been more assertive with my design and styling direction from the beginning. I mean, I had been dieting for weeks and the fit of that gown made me look huge. It’s not fair! (laughs) And I kept waiting for someone to cut the hair extension shorter and it never happened. It was really bad. ”

What did you think? Did Ven deserve a second win? Was Raul auf-ed too soon? And what about Andrea leaving the show in the middle of the night? Sound off in the comments below! And be sure to visit milahermanovski.com to learn more about Mila and shop her online store coming soon.

Denver fashion designer Mondo Guerra earned a runner-up finish on Project Runway season eight then went on to claim victory on the debut season of Project Runway All Stars. In addition to an upcoming guest editor position at Marie Claire, Mondo has also launched I Design, a new HIV/AIDS education campaign with Merck. To learn more about Mondo, visit mondoguerra.com.

 

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