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'Project Runway': Oktoberfest moments

October 9, 2009 |  7:31 am
Proje4110 Call it the "anti-bridal" challenge: Last night on "Project Runway" the contestants were faced with nine women all in wedding dresses.  The task? To turn the gowns of the women, who were recent divorcees, into "hip, cool" outfits for their new stage in life.  So the plum choices weren't the women with the best figures or the chic-est gowns but the women who had the fullest gowns, as the designers weren't able to buy more than two yards of fabric at Mood.  Shirin Askari was faced with the biggest obstacle: how to make something out of a minimalist gown while trying to please Charlie, her gregarious client, who wanted to look like "Half-Breed" Cher.

Tim Gunn to the rescue! He was in fine form last night, comforting a crying Shirin as she contemplated her task and advising her to work more for herself than her client, who wouldn't be sent home if the challenge went awry. I also like the way he said "I'm worried" about Christopher Straub's shiny bubble dress (which I actually thought went over a little bit better than the judges thought), his tone with Logan Neitzel: "Logan, just figure this out" (he didn't) and the look on Tim's face when Irina revealed that the gown she was working with was 100% acetate. 

It seemed clear from the get-go that Gordana Gelhausen's dress would come out nicely: she shortened it and dyed it a pretty lavender color and feathered the edges and seams along the body of the dress.  You knew that Christopher would be in trouble because he was feeling "really confident" in his design (that's how he felt last week) and Nicolas Putvinski admitted that he thought his outfit, which looked neither hip nor cool, was "one of the most hideous things I've ever made." "I love you, I want to have your child," his client nonetheless told him and they both laughed nervously. 

On the runway, I actually didn't care for Irina's design as much as the judges later did: I liked the color but the short lace fluttery sleeves were a little matronly for me.  Shirin's dress did look like a simple white shift but her creative stitching in black thread made it a little more interesting.  I actually felt bad for Logan's model: The wool pants he made were poorly crafted and unflattering, not to mention the "Oktoberfest" bustier-type top that was equally unflattering but, worse, to me seemed to have nothing to do with the pants.  Rodney Epperson also got taken to task for a similarly German-looking outfit, with a fitted bodice and flowing top but I didn't think it was as big a disaster as Logan's outfit.  In the end the judges sent Epperson home, which I thought was a shame: I think he's done more in the competition compared to Logan, and while Epperson's outfit was a mess, I didn't think it was nearly as big a disaster as Logan's. At least the judges got it right and handed Gordana the win, however.  While one of the elder statesmen of the show got sent home, at least one of its other more "mature" contestants got some recognition.

--Claire Zulkey

Photo: "Project Runway" contestant Gordana Gehlhausen; Credit: Lifetime