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'Project Runway' recap: It's the Nina Garcia show

August 19, 2011 |  8:00 am

Pr9_kimberly If you're a Nina Garcia fan, Thursday's "Project Runway" was a party all for you. It was certainly a party for Nina, who was still a judge, and was the only client, for whom each designer had to make a work-to-industry-evening-event outfit. And in case that wasn't enough all-about-Nina for you, the winning designer's work would be showcased in an ad featuring Nina on top of New York City cabs.

All this was done with this kind of humility and humor: "You'll be designing for a client, a very important client. Who knows a lot about fashion. I would be a little nervous if I were you." Right: not so much with the humility and humor.

If Nina Garcia is not your favorite part of "Project Runway," watching this episode was a little bit like a spike in the eye.

What does Garcia want? Something "classic with an edge," "streamlined, clean, tailored silhouette," "dramatic yet conservative." She wants no pleats, no pouffs, no bright colors.

Wow, gray office clothes. That's going to make for some scintillating television.

When the "Project Runway" designers had to create something for Heidi Klum, it was because Klum goes to things on the red carpet. Exciting! But Garcia is going to work and then a book party. I go to a lot of book parties, and basically, if you're wearing matching socks, you're good.

As long as you don't wear exactly the same thing as someone else, and that's sort of what happens to Anthony Ryan and Becky, who select exactly the same gray-spatter patterned fabric at Mood. Neither wants to give it up, so they both go ahead and make outfits from it. So for those two, it's not just the Garcia challenge, it's the Garcia and matching fabric challenge.

After the jump, the designers' outfits and the Garcia verdict.

Anthony Ryan: A sleeveless top with the spatter along the shoulders, with a short gray skirt. He's safe.

Becky: A cap-sleeve dress with the spatter along the bottom, highlighted by two diagonal stripes of gray fabric. She's safe.

Anya: A near-disastrous choice of mustard-colored fabric (no color!) overdyed in brown looks good in a jumpsuit with a wide open collar. She's in the top three.

Bert: A classy little black dress. He's safe.

Viktor: An edgier little black skirt/top combo. He's in the top three.

Bryce: A long-sleeved sporty dress in gray and navy, with an unintentionally messy hem. He's safe.

Cecilia: A one-shoulder dress of gold with contrasting gray. Everyone hates the color combo: She's in the bottom three.

Danielle: A jewel-green chiffon top with high-rise black pants. Michael Kors calls it "very pedestrian": She's in the bottom three.

Joshua: A sporty, almost color-block cap-sleeve dress in coral and gray, with strong black detailing. He's safe.

Julie: A coatdress with patches of gray and orange with a strange collar that she (over)edited down at Garcia's request. Julie is in the bottom three.

Kimberly: An asymmetrical gold top with tailored blue pants. She's in the top three.

Laura: A shiny emerald-green number with drop detailing on the sleeves and a slightly pouffy skirt. She's got immunity from last week, and is safe.

Olivier: A cream-colored top with an neutral vest-like back panel that wraps oddly in front and gray pants. He's safe.

In the judging, Anya's jumpsuit, which she had a little help finishing from Laura, gets lots of praise. "It's very flexible, so it fits the big life Nina has," says guest judge Joanna Coles, Garcia's boss and editor of Marie Claire. Big, big life! Not just an office job! But also an office job. "You wear that top and it transforms how you feel about yourself," Coles says of Kimberly's tailored gold top. "You can come in and do your expense forms in that and you'd feel like you were living a million-dollar lifestyle." That's generally what I'm thinking at the sale rack at Macy's -- anything here that's office-y but not too office-y -- but I want a little more from a fashion show on TV.

Then there are the clothes that make you feel like you are living a $2 lifestyle. "If Nina came to the office in this, I would think that she was looking to be fired," Coles says of Julie's ill-fated coatdress. As old hat as Danielle's chiffon is getting, and as bad as everyone says Cecilia's dress was, it's Julie who gets cut this round.

And Kimberly wins. We even get to see her go visit Garcia wearing her outfit at Garcia's office! Isn't that exciting!


Previously on 'Project Runway'...

Fashion-focused Tuesdays on Bravo

Austin, Mondo on 'Project Runway All Stars,' but no Heidi or Tim?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Kimberly Goldson. Credit: