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By: Chelsea Weintraub (Quinnipiac University)

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This week we got to watch as the designers embarked on the traditionally feared “unconventional challenge.” My favorite version was back in Season 1 when the designers were brought to the grocery store and had to make their garments out of things found there (anyone remember that fabulous dress made out of corn husks?!). Tim Gunn met up with the designers at “Party Glitter,” a party supplies store where the designers were instructed to steer away from any materials correlating to a fabric. Somehow Casanova did not understand the point of this and was spotted two minutes later picking out table clothes and plush puppies?! Right. I quote “We are not making a piñata, we are making a dress.”

Any way. As we saw in the first few minutes, Gretchen is totally on cloud 9 after winning the first 2 challenges back-to-back. Her competitors are already over her and Gretchen bitches in the party store that she is too above making garments out of cheeseball items. Upon returning to the work room, Gretchen transforms herself into Mr. Tim Gunn, making rounds around the other designers’ stations and critiquing their ideas and their work. Didn’t her mother ever teach her to not speak unless spoken to? Let alone give an opinion when not needed? If this were “Survivor,” she totally would have been eliminated off the island after this challenge.

When Tim himself comes to the work room for a visit, he is beyond please (with the exception of Casanova) with what he sees. AJ feels the pressure as he is used to creating garments out of circus items (Casanova’s words, not mine). I love when Tim makes sexual innuendos/inappropriate jokes and they actually air the footage. He was playful while examining Kristin’s materials. She had picked out “animal wooly balls: to use. After poking fun at them, she insisted she had regular balls which she could use instead. If you don’t get the joke, then I guess you had to be there. Michael was pleased to receive positive criticism for once and Sarah had the grand idea to make her dress out of a

Who better than Betsy Johnson to come on as a guest judge for such a whack-a-doodle challenge. The designers were beyond thrilled to be in her presence. My favorite dresses this week included:

• Christopher’s dress made out of napkins which he sewed together

• Valerie’s cocktail dress, also made out of napkins, perfectly styled and in my FAVORITE colors- black & white- with a plunging neckline.

• Michael’s red dress, a combination of Carolina Herrera’s and his own aesthetic

Luckily Gretchen did not go on to win a third time (it was time the queen B get knocked down a little, even though she was the only one to do separates and produced a fabulous faux leather jacket). Valerie, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, came close again this week. But I was beyond ecstatic to see Andy win! Okay, he had some help when it came down to crunch time. But he truly had the most beautiful look strut down the catwalk. Casanova “the couturier” managed to be safe again. Even after Michael Kors said his look reminded him of a transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral. Sarah got the boot and Ivy was rushed to the hospital after fainting in the last 5 minutes after the episode. I must say, I loved the surprise challenge this week when the models came into the work room with gift bags containing more party store items to create an accessory to go with the look (now how stressful can that REALLY be?) AND I loved the gossip sesh amongst the safe designers while waiting for everyone to return to see who the real winners and losers were. If you missed this week’s episode, check it out on and tune in next Thursday at 9 as the designers create outfits inspired by Philip Treacy and his divine hats.

Ciao for now. Xoxo

Tags : animal wooly balls vs. real ballsproject runway

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