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Ryan on the Runway: PR 16, ep 12

I got a little twitchy at the start of the episode when they said that they were going to cut it down to four designers to go on to NY Fashion Week. Project Runway started with three designers in competition at Fashion Week, which was also the case in season 2. In season 3 they had four designers in competition, which felt special. But since then they've crapped out, copped out, and kelped out by having four designers in the finale, over and over. I'm tired of it, and was a-groanin' over the idea that they were PLANNING on four designers. We'll revisit this issue later.

Their challenge on this episode was to design a high fashion winter look. They did their sketches at the Minus 5 Ice Bar. Who wants to go there with me? Oh that looks right up my alley. I'd wear my Winter Silks silk jersey long johns under jeans, maybe a few mohair sweaters, an intense pair of gloves, and of course a hat. No, not a big picture hat like Jane Birkin in *Evil Under the Sun,* you silly. A sensible stocking cap.

ANYWAY. Why couldn't someone tell the designers BEFORE they start sketching that real fur is off limits? I felt really bad for Margarita, her whole concept was based on that poor dead rabbit. Thankfully Tim (with the consent of the other designers) let her have a whole five minutes to come up with a Plan B at Mood. She ended up getting faux fur, and once she got into the workroom she wasn't sure about it. She asked Tim his opinion, and we got the quote of the week: "I find it to be quite seductive, frankly." Oh Tim. I feel I understand you better now.

Kentaro's look was pretty cool, right? The monochromatic palette was lovely, strong and delicate at the same time, the whole outfit was effortless and cool. But I had the same issue with him as I had with Brendan: it's winter, do you really want parts of your body completely exposed? Those shorts were cute, but a cold wind would go right up her hoo ha. And then where would she be.

Brendan's look was totally Brendan, so of course the judges were ga ga. I was tickled that the other designers (except for his brother from another mother, Kentaro) shared their true feelings for Brendan. They appear to be rather fed up with him, and I have to say I sort of understand! Yes, the clothes are often impressive and well made, and yes, they don't look like anything else. Except they look quite a lot like the clothes he made the week before, and the week before that, et cetera. My sister from another mister Laura Stoller and I have taken to calling him Stringy Brendan - - we are SO OVER the trailing ribbons. I'm sure his finale collection will be a ribbon palooza.

Ayana made a coat that was sublime in its simplicity, totally 1960s Yves Saint Laurent. So why did she have to splatter it? Thank God Tim talked her out of that crappy looking white paint blotch idea, that would have been even more horrid. And the judges were right, the jumpsuit (is that what it was?) under the coat was not good.

My mother and I don't agree on Kenya's outfit - - I loved the coat, Mom didn't like the fabric. I thought the fabric was wonderfully tacky. But the coat didn't work with the blouse or the pants. To paraphrase something Joanna Coles said in what I think was her first appearance as a guest judge, they were three elements that together, left one feeling nauseous. Her plummy English accent gave me a special frisson on the word "nauseous."

Margarita sort of pulled the rabbit out of the hat. Har har. The coat was gorgeous, really ready for prime time. The dress was a cool idea but she obviously had some construction issues in the back.

The judges asked the question that always makes someone feel like poop: why should you go to Fashion Week, and who should be there with you? I wasn't surprised that Margarita was the one designer that no one chose, and I imagine she wasn't surprised either, but it can't have felt very good. I was glad she brought it up in the green room. I hope she takes her disgruntledness and channels it into a killer collection. Just to show 'em.

Kentaro, Brendan, and Ayana were all told they were moving forward, leaving Kenya and Margarita on the runway. Margarita was told she was going on to Fashion Week. And they did a clever thing with the editing, and showed Kenya going back to the green room and telling them that - - she was TOO? What?

I nearly spit up my butterscotch malted. FIVE designers in the finale? For real? But then, in the preview for the next episode, we see that each of the designers is being given $10,000 to design ten looks, and then the judges will choose THREE designers to compete in the finale. This whole numbers game is very confusing, no?

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