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Collaboration brings out the best and worst in people, and that’s never more apparent than on this week’s “Project Runway” team challenge to create original prints and use them in a cohesive collection.
Past versions of the prints challenge came much later in the season and made for some stunning textiles and final looks from individual designers. By making this a team challenge, it’s as much a battle of wills as a design showdown. In a hallmark of Season 9 so far, the sheer force of personalities robs us and the designers of drop-dead gorgeous runway stunners at the end of each episode.
The good news is that there are notable exceptions this week. The bad news is that we’re still more compelled by the drama than the clothes.
The contrast between team dynamics is the stuff of reality TV heaven. Anya, Bryce, Viktor, Olivier and Anthony, aka Team Chaos, riffed off of each other’s ideas and had fun. The results are great patterns, a cool Rorschack theme, and a collection of looks that complement each other (photos).
On the flip side, Team Nuts & Bolts – Kimberly, Laura, Josh, Becky and Bert –are at war. Distraction from their work forces them to settle on prints that are kindergarten, a concept that’s all over the place, and a final collection that’s a broken down mess.
Speaking of broken, Bronzer Josh didn’t just get up on the wrong side of the bed. Whether the stresser is the anniversary of his mother’s death or that he didn’t win the previous challenge, he’s looking for a fight.
His bitchy bullying comes into its full cuckoo glory when he goes off on Bert before the work really even begins. He creates such a scene that even he realizes that he needs to apologize, but the damage to his team is already done.
As often as we disagree with the judges, we love that they eat Team Nuts & Bolts alive on the runway, and that they are as right as rain for once. We still think Laura and Kimberly can go the distance, but even their contributions pale. Josh has some good ideas that are overshadowed by being a freak in general and having a penchant for “more is more” in particular.
Bert isn’t a team player, so his skills don’t come out to play. Becky is so flustered, justified or not, that she never shows good work. That she takes the bullet and goes home this week is no surprise.
Now for those glorious exceptions to the rule that dramatic fashion takes a back seat to personal dramas this season. We love Viktor’s evening gown (top photo), and we are blown away by Olivier’s jacket (second photo). Hallelujah!
Anthony Ryan’s skirt (third photo) is among the best pieces on the runway, and we also like Anya’s cocktail dress (bottom photo). The judges gush over Viktor and Olivier, but Anya takes the win.
Here’s us sending up a Tim Gunn prayer circle for more looks like those. We’d rather drop our jaws at runway wows than gasp at unbecoming conduct.
Click any image for a larger view, and check out the all of this week’s looks on the show’s “Rate the Runway” page.