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'Project Runway' recap: the dog days of summer

August 5, 2011 |  8:00 am


The cat-astrophic challenge: buy materials in a pet store for a design. Bert asks if the live animals are off limits and Tim Gunn says yes. Cut to: cute live bunny, who would prefer not to be turned into a cropped jacket.

Lots of time is spent on the designers' efforts to shop, which isn't all that interesting, but helps fill the 90-minute format. Popular items: wee-wee puppy training pads and anything that might mimic beading (bird seed, aquarium sand, dog kibble). There's more time in the workroom than last week, with a lot of focus on bantering Josh M. and Viktor. They give good banter.

Obnoxious award of the night goes to Olivier, who reveals to the camera, with a heavy British-ish accent, that he's not from England, but the far-off land of Ohio. Sure, he's ambitious and driven -- he moved to England on his own at 16 -- but the London/Midwest accent? Maybe we should call him Madonna.

Meanwhile, Josh M. is turning out to be a queen of catty. "Where is she going? Why is she going there in that?" he says about -- oh, it doesn't matter whose design. "A garment out of dog food bags. If that's out of the box, then put me back in!" he quips about another. But he also seems to spend a lot of time walking around the workroom chatting, all the while stressing about being behind. Don't screw up, entertaining Josh!

Let's cut to the runway show, for which no bunnies were harmed.

Danielle: A top and overtop and skirt. Safe.

Fallene: A plain top and work-intensive skirt made from orange plastic aquarium plants. Nobody likes it: it's too orange and brown, it's too boring. Guest judge Stacey Bendet, of Alice + Olivia, suggests going wild, like a ball gown covered with kitten toys (Clearly she's never had a kitten. Kitten toys are wadded up pieces of paper, socks and typing fingers). Fallene says that could have gotten her eliminated, to which Michael Kors asks: "And you think this is going well?" Score one for Kors.

Anthony Ryan: A tiny birdseed dress with sunflower seeds ascending at the collar. EVERYONE LOVES IT.

Bert: This is what Bert has to say about his dress: "Does it meet the challenge requirements? No. So thankfully I have immunity for this challenge." That's that then.

Julie: Dog food bag dress. Safe.

Anya: A small colorful top and small skirt. Safe.

Bryce: Puffy blue top and wee wee pad skirt. "We have seen more ugly napkin clothes," Michael Kors says. Point two to Kors!

Kimberly: Rope bodice with skirt. Safe.

Josh C.: Umbrella material top with black skirt. "You know, it's not terrible," says Nina Garcia, throwing him a bone. "But it's just OK."

Viktor: Dress of wee wee bags died purple. Safe.

Cecilia: Bedding materials top and skirt. Safe.

Olivier: Dog bed lining top with hamster bedding skirt. One of the best "Do you really like it more than Anthony Ryan's outfit?" asks Heidi, incredulously. Yes, says Nina. But if you put those two next to each other, the birdseed wins, says Heidi. It's a Season 8-style clash! "Here it goes again!," says Michael Kors. "It's getting hot. I'm going through man-opause." Double point to Kors!

Becky: Bright aquarium foliage dress. Safe.

Laura: Starts and then quits with a plastic dog collar, opting instead for a cat-scratcher skirt. Safe.

Josh M.: Aquarium rock top with reptile cage skirt. EVERYONE LOVES IT, BUT the judges aren't into the styling. Which Kors describes as "sea vixen Barbie." Point again to Kors. It's a Kors shutout.

Through gritted teeth, Heidi announces that Olivier is winner of the challenge. Then she sends off Anthony Ryan sadly, saying: "To be honest, your look was my favorite, but I was overruled." Frank disagreements! The show really is letting the tensions that emerged during the end of last season become part of its ongoing dynamic. Can we stand a season-long Nina-Heidi catfight?

Bryce skates by. Falleen and Josh C. are the last two on the runway. Josh C., on the chopping block for the second week running, gets the axe. "It went such the wrong way," Falleen tells her colleagues. Poor Josh C. His departure means he will not get to meet Kim Kardashian, who is guest judging next week. When they'll be designing for girls on stils, apparently.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: (top, from left) Anthony Ryan's birdseed dress, Josh M.'s design and Olivier's winning skirt and top. Credit: Lifetime