'Project Runway' Recap: Red Carpet Pressure Brings Near Meltdowns
'Project Runway' Recap: Red Carpet Pressure Brings Near Meltdowns
Jenn Lee
Jenn Lee
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
It's week 3 on Project Runway, and the question is, will this be the week people crack and unceremoniously leave the show? We know two designers voluntarily flee the competition in the middle of the night, and from this group, there are a few people who seem like the likely candidates to crack under the pressure.

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The Challenge: Design an Emmy Look for a Previous PR Designer
This week's Lexus challenge has a few different elements to it. First, the designers are creating looks for "a very special client" for the Emmys! The words "red carpet" make the designers' eyes go ga-ga, as they speculate the special client could be Heidi. Obviously, the challenge includes the awkwardly included Lexus GS's, which will transport the designers to their client and be the color inspiration for the look. Oh yeah, and this challenge will also be done in pairs (which means Double Drama).

As the designers draw their keys from a bag, some pairings seem promising (Alicia and Raul, both menswear specialists), while others downright ugly (Elena can barely hide her contempt from Buffi). The duos are taken to their clients, who are past PR contestants, including some winners (Anya) and unforgettable personalities (Kenley).

Pushed to the Edge
As is with most couples, one person naturally steps up to lead and this means miserable times for Buffi, who is delegated to pleating manual labor, and Kooan, who is stressing out following Gunnar's style for their gown (a garment the oddball Kooan isn't used to making). Though Elena is the one making Buffi irritated, she gets so worked up in her own overwhelming anxiety that I'm betting she's a contender for the Major Breakdown contestant.

I also feel for some of the contestants with seriously high-maintenance clients, like Gunnar and Kooan who have to face a displeased Irina during their critique with Tim. It's not hard to see she thinks she deserves better than their talent and she even chastises them for their work during her fitting. But others, like the perfect match of Melissa and Dmitry designing for April (all three have that dark, edgy aesthetic) and Ven and Fabio dressing vintage queen Kenley, are faring well.

Things Seriously Fall Apart
The Psycho Elena Situation continues to worsen, to the point where Elena admits she's scared to lose her mind (she doesn't seem to be exaggerating) and must abandon the work room (a foreshadowing?), leaving Buffi searching the hallways for her partner. When Elena returns silently, she loudly pounds away at the sewing machine in her frustration. Christopher sums it up well when he compares Elena to a ravenous person who escaped from the woods. But according to her, it's her home country Ukraine that makes her "tough" (she won't even let poor, starved Buffi eat for five minutes).

Meanwhile, the earnest Christopher and instructor Andrea's partnership rapidly begins to crumble. The problem is Andrea's working way too slowly, but Christopher doesn't feel comfortable telling her because of her much older age. Then, she messes up on the merrow machine and then laughs about it, which seems to push Christopher into a flabbergasted despair, though he continues to say nothing.

The Runway

elenabuffi3.jpgBuffi and Elena: The pink is much less noticeable and their melodramatic conflict actually ended in an acceptable dress.

chrisandrea3.jpgChristopher and Andrea: Oh, no, no, no. What happened? That distasteful slit. The weird life-vest padding on her chest. The boring color.

venfabio3.jpgVen and Fabio: It's very Kenley, and the construction of the details make it interesting (but not enough, in my opinion).

melissademitry3.jpgMelissa and Dmitry: They managed to make the incredibly delicate charmeuse fabric work without any mess-ups and the gown flows well.

raulalicia3.jpgRaul and Alicia: Wow, the execution is terrible on this garment. Mila does not look pleased.

gunnarkooan.jpgGunnar and Kooan: Not bad, but it feels like the long chiffon draping from her neck down her back was added just to cover up their sewing mistakes.

sonjianathan.jpgSonjia and Nathan: Definitely looks like red carpet wear, probably my pick of the week.

When Buffi, Elena, Melissa, Dmitry, Sonjia and Nathan's names are called, I'm guessing it's the top/bottom group, but Heidi says they're safe. Even the six of them look shocked, and when it's clear that Gunnar and Kooan are in the top (with Ven and Fabio), everyone is shocked. Seems the judges felt differently than the work room consensus this week; this judging round should be interesting.

The Top Two
The judges really like how Ven and Fabio's navy short dress looks expensive, but guest judge Krysten Ritter (of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) disagrees, saying she would get bored seeing this on the red carpet. Michael concedes it wouldn't get rave reviews, but he likes how they blended Ven's polished aesthetic (poor Fabio, who doesn't seem to have design identity yet) with Kenley's singular style.

As the judges describe Gunnar and Kooan's gown as elegant and stunning, it's hard to feel as excited about this disaster in the work room. But as they talk about understanding Irina's silhouette and working with her body and skin tone, it makes sense that they made their client look the best (but not all the other clients had her body, or her unpleasant attitude, either). But they do note the choice of fabric was off.

The Bottom Two
Raul and Alicia, the menswear experts, really missed the mark with this gown, and the judges are confused as to why they didn't play to their strengths and design a suit. Heidi says it has zero sex appeal, Nina thinks it's frumpy and everyone hates the hair extensions. Though they start out saying it was a 50/50 effort, when they're pushed to assign blame somewhere, Alicia breaks and admits Raul did the sketches.

One of the best moments of the season so far is watching Andrea and Christopher break down during their critique. On the one hand, Christopher is completely mortified and doesn't hesitate sharing it took Andrea 12 hours to cut the skirt. Then he gets personal, relaying what Andrea just shared backstage minutes earlier about her not caring if she gets voted off. This is where Andrea steps in to deny his words (but she did say it would be "a relief"). They continue to talk over one another, neither one acknowledging that the other is speaking, as if they're in two separate worlds. The combination of Christopher's over-emotional anguish and Andrea's teacherly defenses makes for a seriously comedic interplay (Ritter can barely suppress her laughter). Regardless, their dress is declared "cheesy" and "cliche" (why is no one addressing the padded lifeguard chest?!)

The Results
Ven wins (obviously) for the second time in a row, though he doesn't seem as enthused about joining the in-your-face Kenley to the Emmy's. Of the bottom four contestants, Christopher and Andrea are declared safe, which is surprising, as I thought they'd choose one from each look. That means either Raul or Alicia is going to have to answer for Mila's frumpiness. It's Raul, who made the mistake of sketching for this collaborative project.

Next week is revealed to be the controversial week of Andrea (not Elena) leaving the show in the middle of the night, though they don't reveal who the second designer is to join her soon after. The clip hints it's either Nathan (what??) or Kooan (could totally see that happening--he was not happy this week).

(Images courtesy of Lifetime)

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