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'Project Runway' recap: Final elimination before Fashion Week

October 14, 2011 |  9:29 am

It's the last Project Runway episode before the contestants return for Fashion Week
Sticking with a "Project Runway" tradition of giving the designers a chance to shine in the final elimination, the five remaining contestants were trucked out to Governors Island for some inspiration, and then given two days to complete three looks. The island, off the coast of Manhattan, has ample greenery, historical buildings and the Storm King Arts Center, currently showing the grand metal sculptures of Mark di Suvero. The contestants tooled around in golf carts, took photos and listened to their muses.

The challenge seemed to give a real insight into the designers' process. Anya and Laura definitely responded to what they saw, processing it in different ways. Viktor said he used the Manhattan skyline as an inspiration, but his designs seemed like they may have been in the back of his head already. Kimberly works intuitively, creating and then throwing out before reaching her final garments, so she ended up far from the original inspiration. And Josh's designs might have been inspired by almost anything with a hard-soft duality; he said he was drawn to "this idea of fragility meets power," a church and "the artillerary" side by side.

The designers had plenty of money at Mood for their fabrics -- everyone except for Laura, who brought several hundred dollars' worth more of cut fabric up to the register, sticking Mood with the remnants she couldn't afford.

But she doesn't get the Mean Girl award of the episode. That goes to Josh.

Josh muttered and moaned about Anya, saying she can't sew, accusing her of making nothing more than jumpers. In the workroom, he complained about her win last episode, whining that "I just got $20,000 swept away from me by a beauty queen."

The piling-on concerning Anya's sewing skills continued with Viktor. "Can she even make a sleeve?" he asked pointedly.

"I can't make a jacket," Anya said later, in the new "After the Runway" post-game show. "We don't wear jackets in the Caribbean."

The five most recently eliminated contestants came back to be assistants, and Becky -- who was accused of being a seamstress -- was the first drafted, selected by Kimberly. Viktor picked Olivier, Laura picked Anthony Ryan, Anya picked Bert and Josh got Bryce. Bryce helped Josh, talking him out of a plastic stained-glass panel he was going to create (too much?), Bert helped Anya by building subtle structures she envisioned, Anthony Ryan helped Laura by being sweet and supportive, and Olivier complained that being an assistant is like slavery.

Guest Judge Zoe Saldana should be brought back again. She has a good eye and clearly expresses her opinions; Laura's third look, a beige dress with black edging (above), was "like a pillowcase." She also wasn't afraid to disagree with the judges. When they again heaped praise on Anya, she added, "My least favorite was the gown," a form-fitting white dress. "It looked a little bit like a condom to me." See it and the other designers' work on Lifetime's Rate the Runway.

Michael Kors called Viktor's designs "commercial," saying that some in fashion consider that a dirty word (but smiling like he was ready to invest in Viktor Co. Ltd.). Josh has found a groove with the judges, who are responding to his toned-down brand of crazy well. Kimberly and Laura were both clearly in trouble. Laura showed a pillowcase, an ill-fitting jacket with a last-minute mini, and a well-conceived gown that was too tight on her model. Kimberly showed a big orange jacket too obscured by an over-sized scarf, and a cute silver dress and miniskirt that both had architectural shaping on the bottom that Laura snarked was like a goiter.

When the judges asked which three should go to Fashion Week, everyone said Anya, Josh and Viktor -- except for Kimberly, who stuck to an old ladies pact and said it should be herself, Laura and Anya. Good-girl points to Kimberly.

In the end, it was Laura who was out. Kimberly, Anya, Josh and Viktor will all design shows for Fashion Week. We'll have to wait and see if it's three or four of them who will be in competition when they return.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Left, Laura with her final pieces for "Project Runway." Right, Josh poses for the camera; a model wearing Anya's little black dress is in the background. Credit: Lifetime