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'Project Runway': Double-time

January 29, 2010 |  7:42 am

Proje4665 I feel somewhat shortchanged by the runway show from last night's episode. After the soaring highs of the high-end signature look challenge ($500 to spend at Mood and 45 minutes to shop) and the horrible lows of the "look for less" challenge (only $50 to spend at Mood in 20 minutes and oh yeah, that pesky teamwork situation), I had expected a runway show with drama to match the rest of the episode.

Not surprisingly, the team element of the challenge provided most of the entertainment. Jesse LeNoir made it obnoxiously and abundantly clear that he didn't want to work with Ping Wu and pouted the rest of the episode after she chose him to work with her on the first part of the challenge, a high-end signature look worthy of a master collection. I'm sure Ping could be a pain to work with, thanks to her unorthodox style, but Jesse was being a jerk when he said things like: "It's not that I'm doubting your vision -- I just want to know that there is one." I think Ping stood up for herself -- just not enough. 

Anthony Williams was making me laugh some more this episode, saying that his and Seth Aaron Henderson's high-end dress looked like it was made for the "vice president of McDonald's." When Tim Gunn came to visit after springing on everyone the second challenge, creating a "look for less" based on one of the other teams' dresses, Anthony called Seth Aaron "papa," which I thought was cute, and ordered him to "stop acting up in front of company." 

The other teams then started snarking: Maya Luz thought Jay Nicolas Sario was slacking because he had immunity from the last challenge; Mila Hermanovski and Jonathan Peters both vowed to sell each other out if necessary, but Jesse still took the cake in terms of talking down to Ping, whom he "let" do work in order to "get her out of the way." 

I was excited to see the big looks come down the runway and then check out the designs they inspired, but most of the big looks were a letdown to begin with. Anthony and Seth Aaron's dress looked like a knockoff of couture -- it was couturey, too derivative. I had hoped that Ping would turn out something innovative, perhaps inspired by the big pink Balenciaga look at the Met, but it was too much effort and not enough style, as her model basically had to carry half her gown on her arm. Jay's and Maya's look reminded me of something Christian Siriano could have done better, and a lot of the others just seemed a little blah, not something worthy of a master collection.

The looks for less weren't much better: a lot of them just looked cheap, like Anthony's, which looked like something I would have worn to a high school dance, or Ping's and Jesse's outfit, which looked like an afterthought. This also might have been a trick of TV, but I thought I saw a look that seemed to be a black dress topped by a navy vest, which I had always thought was a big style no-no, but maybe I’m out of the loop. Or I’m losing my eyesight.

The look the judges did go for was Mila's painstakingly crafted, definitely signature-looking black and white coat (they didn't love her yellow and black babydoll dress that emulated Anthony's high-end look). And finally, Ping's time ran out, which makes me sad since I had a good time watching her on the show, plus it seemed unfair the way both Jesse and her model threw her under the bus on the runway. Ping definitely seemed sad to be leaving, but I have a feeling we'll see her again before the season is over.

-- Claire Zulkey

Photo: Lorena Anjeli models Mila Hermanovski's and Jonathan Peters’ winning high-end signature look for the team challenge. Credit: Lifetime