Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to create looks for young women inspired by American Girl dolls. It was adorable, and one of my favorite challenges in a while. But now the designers are moving away from child models to “real women” (meaning not standard model-sized women) models. Let’s see how they do!

Mary Kay Makeover

Tim meets the designers with Luis Casco, Mary Kay expert, in the work room to tell them about their next challenge. Luis tells them that it’s a makeover challenge and they’re heading to Washington Park to find a stranger to be their client/model/muse. He tells them not just to find someone tall and skinny like a runway model, but to dig a little deeper.

The winner will be featured in a Mary Kay ad in Marie Claire. The added bonus is extra inspiration for all of the designers. Although most of them are worried about how unsuspecting New Yorkers will react to their approach.

Find Your Muse

Emily finds Julia, a yoga teacher and nutritionist. Her favorite designer is Thierry Mugler, whose designs are feminine and edgy. Perfect for Emily. She’s making a red dress with a fin that goes around from the back and around the shoulder. It’s definitely different from what everyone else is making. Tim thinks it’s beautiful, but Emily is worried because she usually gets a good critique from Tim and then a bad one from the judges.

Amanda is lucky enough to find Eva, someone who is as passionate about Bohemian looks as she is. She’s making a graphic mini dress with a super bright linear brocade. Tim tells her to make sure the print lines up perfectly. After finishing it, she doesn’t feel good about it. She thinks it’s too boring.

When Kini finally finds someone to be his muse, it’s Renee, who has a completely different style than he has. She says she wears a lot of tie-dye and Boho looks. He’s feeling a bit uninspired after he makes a plain white dress. He decides to switch gears and makes a whole new dress of denim and feels a lot better about it.

Alexander is working with Marisa, who has more of a doo-wop retro style. She’s got blonde hair and great dark, thick eyebrows. Alexander finds green houndstooth and yellow polka dot fabrics to mix together.

Tim’s critique for Alexander is one of the harshest I’ve ever seen. he tells Alexander that he’s one of the most talented designers he’s ever met, but what he’s making might be the most hideous garment he’s ever seen. It’s not just the mix of the two prints either. He’s offended by the amoeba shapes and the general design. He tells Alexander he’s got to fix it, or he’s going home.

Alexander is stunned, but ultimately he decides to take Tim’s advice. He scraps his original concept for a ’50s style skirt and a crop top. Marisa is secretly excited he got rid of the yellow because she hated it as much as Tim did.

Korina is making a look for Shelby, a professional ballet dancer with a company in Germany. She has a feminine, preppy style, and Korina wants to bump it up a notch. She’s making a blue motorcycle jacket with a black dress underneath with a chiffon pleated skirt. She is so damn cocky about her jacket that she presumes to “take orders” from her fellow designers. Ugh. The attitude in this one.

Sean gets flustered looking for a muse in the park. You can tell he’s a little more introverted than his fellow designers so this is a bit of a challenge for him. He finally finds Lelia, an actress and singer. He wants to give her a classic Audrey Hepburn look, which means a long black gown. Tim likes it, but he doesn’t see any of Sean’s aesthetic in it.

Lisa is a preschool teacher and mom for whom Char is designing. Her favorite color is red so Char is making her a red romper. With peplum. I like Char, but she has been leaning a little too heavily on the peplum. Tim worries about the taste level, given that the shorts on the romper are very short. But Lisa says she likes the length short.

Two minutes before the runway show, Lisa busts the zipper. Char brings Tim into the room. Time is up, and Tim says if this were a regular model he would tell her to get on the runway, but Lisa is completely exposed, and as a guest, he doesn’t want her to feel embarrassed.

He asks the other designers if they are okay with heading to the runway while Char gets another 10 minutes to replace the zipper. The designers all nod in agreement, but after they leave the work room, they all agree that it is unfair and that Tim put them on the spot in front of their muses, which is why they didn’t voice it at the time. Char comes back in and thanks them all, but they are clearly not amused. Alexander says in his confessional that they all just basically okayed another Tim Gunn save. 

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Real Girls on the Runway

Heidi, Zac and Nina are joined by actress Michelle Monaghan and model Asha Leo on the judges panel this week. Heidi wonders what is taking the designers so long. Heidi is a very busy woman! It’s rude to keep her waiting!

When they finally arrive, Tim tells them he’ll fill them in after the runway show.


Korina- Of course the judges go bonkers for Korina’s jacket. Nina also loves the movement in the skirt and Zac appreciates the construction in the pleating. Heidi doesn’t like the look as much because she says it gives her an ’80s mall vibe.

Emily- Nina thinks this is Emily’s best work technically, but it borders on costume. Zac likes the costume aspect about it. He says it was definitely a great runway piece.

Kini- Zac applauds Kini’s perfectly polished pieces yet again. He especially likes the frayed denim edges around the chest line. Heidi says Renee looks like a cool and modern young woman. Nina thinks it’s a little serious for her intended date night though.


Amanda- Eva’s confidence is obviously the most impressive thing about Amanda’s look. Nina says she gets the vibe Amanda was going for, but it was poorly executed. The hem is wavy, it’s too short, and the vest is the wrong length in proportion to the dress. Asha says it’s clothes not fashion.

Char- Lisa says it’s a fun look, but she wouldn’t be likely to wear it. Heidi only likes the color, but everything else is wrong. It’s not sophisticated or classy. Michelle thinks there is way too much going on. In their private critique Tim tells them about the zipper incident. Asha thinks it’s inexcusable, but Zac defends her saying popped zippers happen. Yeah, but it didn’t happen to any of the other designers who created their garments with more structural integrity so…

Alexander- Asha thinks the top is unflattering and doesn’t like that it isn’t fitted. Nina doesn’t like the crop top, a summer look, mixed with the heavy and dark houndstooth. Zac points out the double sided tape on the back and is absolutely horrified. Michelle thinks he could have done a better job complimenting Marisa’s inspirational retro style. 

Korina is the winner of the challenge. My lord, she’s already so insufferable. Now she says she can see herself “separating” from the rest of the competition. So you made one good jacket. That does not make you God’s gift to fashion.

It’s between Alexander and Char to go home. Both of them have been there plenty of times before; Char was even eliminated. The judges send Alexander home this time though. He truly thinks that if Char hadn’t had the extra 10 minutes, she would have been the one going home instead. While that may be true, I’m sure Char’s days left in this competition are numbered, anyway.

Next week: Another team challenge! And maybe even another unconventional material challenge? We can only hope! 

Catch Project Runway every Thursday at 9pm on Lifetime. 

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(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV