August 19, 2013 8:00am PT by Mondo Guerra
Mondo Guerra's Take on 'Project Runway': Pedal to the Metal
Three was the magic number this week when the designers teamed up in trios to tackle their third unconventional materials challenge.
Tim Gunn tasked the teams to create a luxurious three-look collection inspired by Lexus sedans in one day using materials from either a vintage wallpaper store, specialty food store or a home goods/party store. The designers could only visit two of the three stores but were given a suggested budget of $1,500 to wow the judges.
Some teams came together like the Three Musketeers while one team's work dynamic was more like a three-ring circus -- prompting a testy tirade from Tim. And a departed competitor returned to pay the remaining designers an unexpected visit.
Buckle your seatbelts cause Project Runway is about to slam the pedal to the metal. Vroom, vroom!!
In the Workroom
Tim divided the designers into four teams of three:
Bradon's win last week earned him immunity, but he wasn't resting on his laurels. Instead, he used the momentum to help push his teammates forward. Across the workroom, Justin decided to make pants for the first time in six years but constructing them out of wallpaper proved to be a bigger headache than he had anticipated.
Ken (pictured in the workroom, right) was anything but a doll this week. Between berating Sue for her lack of sewing skills and treating Alexandria like a punching bag, his poor attitude choked all the creativity and collaboration out of his team. At one point, Ken declared he doesn't design for 40-year-old women. Really...??!! Sassy is cute, bitchy is not.
During his critique with Ken, Sue and Alexandria, Tim Gunn fired off some scorching reprimands. He said Sue's decision to use black curtains for her look made him "sick" and that Ken's behavior toward his team members disappointed him. I LOVE when Tim Gunn gets into a tizzy! Such a satisfying moment.
The designers got a surprise when Sandro returned to the workroom escorted by Tim. The "crazy, emotional Russian" swallowed his pride and asked his fellow competitors to forgive him, saying he wished he were strong enough to control his emotions. Oh, Sandro...!
Minutes before the runway, Sue's dress was still in pieces, earning her the unfavorable distinction of being the only designer in 12 seasons to send a model out of the workroom undressed. Eeeek!
The Best and the Worst
Celebrity stylist and fashion designer June Ambrose (and her Mickey Mouse ears) guest judged this week.
Kate, Jeremy and Karen's team won this lap while Ken, Sue and Alexandria were left in the dust.
Kate Pankoke: Placemats, packaging, coffee cans, black rice
Kate continues to impress me. She's really pushing herself and taking risks and her designs are growing stronger as a result. The neckline of this dress is really flattering. As June Ambrose pointed out, "clavicles are the new cleavage." My one criticism is that the peplum seems unnecessary paired with those strong shoulder details.
Jeremy Brandrick: Placemats, glitter
The fit on this dress is insane and the proportions work. Jeremy really elevated the placemats and achieved an expensive looking design. I was actually not as impressed by the glitter and cups as everyone else, but overall this look is modern, confident and sexy. I could see a young Hollywood starlet rocking a dress like this at a red carpet.
Karen Batts: Placemats, insulation, drawer liner, coconut
I LOVE this look. The combination of all the different textures excites me and I think Karen really embraced the spirit of the challenge. Even though the team was aiming for a Great Gatsby moment, this silhouette reminds me of a modern spin on the classic mod shift dress. My favorite design from Karen so far.
Ken Laurence: Placemats, duct tape, curtain
For me, the materials were not transformed here. Maybe Ken should have spent less time worrying about his teammates' construction and more time perfecting his own. There are some unflattering fit issues and the various design elements look very disconnected. Cheap and tacky.
Sue Waller: Placemats, drawer liner
Sue's model admitted to sewing this dress together last-minute in the bathroom before the runway show. That's pretty unforgivable, Sue. Her model looks like she's wearing a screen door wrapped around an aluminum can. Not cute.
Alexandria von Bromssen: Placemats, drawer liner
Saying Alexandria's look was the best from her team is a small consolation. Her garments are executed well but the proportions here aren't working. Zac Posen called this look a "cocoon without a butterfly." Alexandria lost confidence and her design reflects it.
The Judges' Decision
Jeremy successfully climbed from the bottom to finish on top this week, earning his first win of the competition. "FINALLY...!" he said.
After some mumbled exchanges between the losing team and the judges, it seemed like there would be more than one designer going home. Nina "Meana" Garcia was exasperated, calling the collection "bad, weird, funky, ugly." But it was only Sue who got the boot.
Mondo's Last Word
Ken's demeanor and behavior was embarrassing. I wish Alexandria or Sue would have shared that Ken doesn't design for 40-year-olds with the judges. I would have LOVED to see fabulous forty-somethings Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia react to that statement.
Jeremy produced a very strong design but I thought that Bradon's look was the evening's real showstopper. Bradon's inventive manipulation of materials is remarkable. To take window blinds, wallpaper and a plastic table cloth and transform them into a fantasy wedding gown in one day speaks volumes about his talent.
Sue was not cut out for this competition. Between her struggles with the sewing machines and her poor time management, it seemed a defeat was inevitable. But I will say that her teammates did not do her any favors. They kind of threw her under the bus instead of unifying as a team.
And, of course, there's Sandro. His ask for forgiveness seemed genuine and while it didn't excuse his outbursts, it exposed his vulnerability and helped him gain some redemption. I think Sandro is a good guy deep down and I wish him well.
Did the judges get it right this week? Was Ken "outta order?" Would you have accepted Sandro's apology? Tell me how you REALLY feel in the comments.
Project Runway All Stars champ Mondo Guerra is back to dish on the designs and drama of Project Runwayseason 12. His exclusive collection of eyewear with national optical boutique SEE hits stores this fall. He has also partnered with Merck for "I Design," a national HIV/AIDS education campaign that underscores the importance of patients tailoring treatment goals with their doctors. To learn more about Mondo, visit mondoguerra.com.