Project Runway is back tonight with a new twist that proves disastrous for some, and inspires genius in others. Last week’s Marie Claire 20th anniversary episode had contestants construct designs for 2014, inspired by 1994 style. Well, tonight wasn’t all that different in that the old was transformed into the new, but an entirely new twist is what made this challenge into a debacle for some, and a stroke of brilliance for others.

Once again we have Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia (or,Neenah Gahh-see-a, as Heidi calls her), and Little Lord Fauntleroy’s much hotter fashionisto double, Zac Posen, as our judges. Guest judging tonight is JCPenney and Forever 21 design partner, Bethany Mota, whose Aéropostale line has been described by Teen Vogue as “laid-back-but-girly.” How cool is that? I think I wanna be that Bethany girl in my next life time. I digress. 

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Sandhya In Charge

This fourth installment of Project Runway has the designers tasked with revamping men’s vintage suits to create high fashion looks for the modern (size 2) woman. Remember last week when Sandhya Garg’s unconventional industrial shift adorned with a metallic-like twin boa constrictors wowed the judges inexplicably, giving her immunity for tonight’s challenge? Well, her ingenuity pays off tonight when she’s given the dubious honor of choosing which garish old-style suit gets assigned to each designer. That’s right … there’s a reason they say “out with the old” … and that’s because it looks really, really bad. However, taste is relative, and style is cyclical, as any fashion maven will tell you. So, a dude from Project Runway sponsor, Red Robin, ushers in twelve servers bedecked in suits of old and Sandhya gets to match suits with designers.

Designers are Never Happy Campers

For herself, and to no one’s surprise, Sandhia chooses a yellow and purple Don Johnson-style ensemble. Mitchel gets a dishwater blue leisure suit and wants to die or kill Sandhia. Amanda gets a tux from the ’70s or ’80s, Emily gets a red plaid combo, and Sean gets a beige corduroy number that looks a lot like the one my brother still has in a box in the attic out at the farm. Hernan gets a cream and poo-brown tux he looks like he wants to fashion into a voodoo doll in the likeness of Sandhia, but that’s another show altogether. 

While the group of 12 designers munch on Red Robin’s famous bottomless fries (is this a foreshadowing of the raciness of the expected creations?) they sketch out their designs and talk about how much they hate Sandhia. Hey now, designers, is this really any more difficult than any other challenge? Don’t be using Sandhai as your punching bag! Besides, all viewers understand that bitching is a sure-fire sign of envy, so watch yourselves. I’m looking at you, Hernan. 

Amanda decides to make something for the red carpet with little patches of the pink puke suit fabric she’s been saddled with and a dollop of fringe, which she hopes will hide most of it.

Alexander wants to go for an elongated collar and an-off the shoulder number, Sean hopes to lighten the corduroy, and we have no idea how he’ll do that but he promises it will eliminate the ‘tatty and rattiness’ of the textured mess. Kristine (whose hair color I really want since I’m dishwater brown and grey at 47 and disgusted with it) wants to do a motorcycle jacket and pants, but worries it’s not going to be different enough from the original garment. 

Hernan is totally uninspired by the suit, so he goes tailored and hopes to excel in the detailing. Kini is going for cocktail with some spacey details which look really good in relief. This guy is a lot of fun to watch because he’s so guileless and fun. I hope he goes far in this competition. 

Moody, Moody, Mood and Then Home Again

We’re off to Mood and Amanda takes some deep breaths, praying she’ll be inspired, which of course she is because she’s a damn genius. Hernan isn’t so lucky and his language gets colorful when the fabrics he finds are anything but. 

Back at Parsons, everyone’s ripping, cutting, and sneezing when Korina and Kristine become awkwardly aware that their designs are similar. Both are going for black motorcycle jackets … but the claws don’t exactly come out, thankfully. 

As individuals mumble for the camera, everyone assumes Sandhia is trying to sabotage everyone else once again while Sandhia insists this is not at all true. Who really knows what goes on behind anyone else’s eyes; folks, I don’t think any of those people passed the ESP exam (and neither did we, right?). So, have a Coke and shut the eff up, I say, channeling Richard Pryor in his heyday. 

One of the things I LOVE about Project Runway is that the show truly is about talent. These people are strikingly talented. As a seamstress myself, I can appreciate their hard work — though all my designs come out of a box, I must admit. Part of Project Runway’s charm is the focus on the brilliance rather than on the cattiness — in comparison to other competition shows, that is. #EnoughSaid

Tim Comes to the Work Room

Tim Gunn (my fantasy boyfriend because he’s so frickin great to everyone and he’s not afraid to get emotional when a designer leaves) shows up in the workroom. Amanda shows him her fringe idea and he’s concerned about time management. Kini’s black structured skirt is looking kick-ass, but Tim advises him to keep his eye on the details. Korina’s jacket is also ass-kicking and I love the bright red slash against the black lapels. Yum.  It turns out that Korina’s biker jacket is much more structured than Kristine’s frumpy black and cranberry one at this point.

Alexander’s top is a hot mess at this point as it’s mostly a lot of raw edges. Last week’s negative critique has knocked him off his game a bit, but we know he’ll pull it through because, well, he was good enough to be chosen for Project Runway, so maybe he’ll pull something out of his, um, hat, by the end. 

I come to find out Tim and my brother David have the same taste in that they both have the diarrhea-colored corduroy suit of old. However, David went into computer sciences and Tim’s contributions to the fashion world have been off the chain since he designed his first … whatever he designed … there’s just so much of it; how do we pinpoint what he started with? This doesn’t help designer Sean much, unfortunately, as he’s still looking lost. 

On to Mitchel. I am LOVING the vinyl over the baby blue with the inverted pleating. It’s frickin hawt and the wide black straps are stunning.

Tim looks on, confused as Hernan fiddles with his bust. Tim thinks it’s a big mess. He’s got this copperish vinyl and I have to agree with Tim at this point. #Mess

Everyone’s concerned about everyone else but this is no indication as to what the judges will say, because I don’t know if I have any taste and the editing of the program is meant to lead us astray. Sometimes they’ll show us lots of derogatory competitor comments just to dupe us so we’re all shocked in the end when the design everyone thought belonged in the crapper comes out on top. 

Another Reason to Love Tim

Tim has awesome vocabulary. “Boobage” –that’s the first word that rocks tonight. Tim advises Emily to watch the boobage. Other comments: Char’s design is vintage, Samantha’s is a coat dress, Fade’s isn’t high fashion enough.

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Sandha talks to Tim about the “Do I have ketchup in my mustache?” sign she saw at Red Robin and wants to add a mustache to her skirt. Wha? Tim says it’s a bit juvenile … and she promises that will not be the case when the garment walks down the runway. Hm. Do we believe her? Cool Hippie Amanda’s outfit looks like a rainbow puked on her dress form, but sometimes that’s just how it is right before the amazing happens!

Last Minute Hell

Runway morning, most designers are pretty ready to go and Kini had been done two hours early the previous night, but Kristine has no pants. So, maybe that whole idea about the bottomless fries will be interpreted literally for at least one of the models running (rather quickly) down the runway.

Mitchel’s dress is super short and the model is concerned (again with the bottomless fries!), so Mitchel hits the ground to see if Victoria’s Secrets’ are on display when his Barbie struts for him. He gives it the thumbs up and we are off to hair and makeup. 

God I love this show. Seeing this stuff turn from garbage into glory in 60 minutes is a total orgasm for me. I love it!

Before we run off to the red carpet, we get a peak at Sandhia and her yellow ensemble with the mustaches attached willy-nilly. 

Follow the Yellow Brick Runway to My Personal Critique

Down the runway come the models one by one. It always fascinates me how you really can’t tell how the designs look until they are accompanied by hair, makeup and accouterments from the accessory wall. I’m always wowed at this point of every episode. 

Korina’s black and red biker design kicks ass. Fade’s thing looks like workwear, not high fashion. Samantha’s design is chic. Hernan’s looks a bit Barbarella and the edges seem unfinished. Alexander’s model is much pretier than his creation. Mitchel’s dress is still one of my favorites though the skirt should have had the vinyl flush with the fabric rather than hovering over it. Sean’s mummy dress looks unfinished. Kristine’s top looks loose. Amanda’s look screams “AMANDA” which is not at all a bad thing. It’s Hippie Hot. Sandhia’s is schizophrenic and colorful. Emily’s design looks like a top on top of a dress. 

You Are Safe

Heidi Klum calls out six names: Kini, Kristine, Sean. Alexander, Hernan, and Amanda. All others have moved forward and may leave the runway. Those who leave discuss the ones left. Everyone agrees either Kini or Amanda are going to win. And they are not wrong because … 

Top three

Kini- Nina says, wow, powerful, sexy. Zac says, good tailoring, outstanding, sharp suiting, runway ready. Bethany calls Kini’s design and execution sharp and detailed; she loves the cutouts and deep neck line. It’s fierce and sexy gorgeous. 

Amanda- Heidi wants Amanda’s Hippie Hot design. She says it’s fantastic. She loves everything about it. Ann is impressed, Bethany acknowledges how challenging the horrifying fabric was, and loves it as well. Zac says you’d never know it was from a suit. Bethany is impressed with the creativity.

Alexander- They all loved his look. They stress him out by asking him if he thinks he’s in the top of bottom three before they tell him this and he almost passes out. Nina says it is a nice balance. She could see it in Marie Claire magazine. Guy says it’s the best work from Alexander so far. Bethany calls it elegant and classy while managing to be flirty. She also loves the structure of the skirt. They all appreciate the exposed skin.

Bottom Three

Sean-  Zac says this design is orthopedic and a little Hanibal Lector-y. Heidi says (or was it Nina?) that the woman looks like she’s bandaged after breast surgery. 

Hernan- Heidi names Hernan’s design the “Vagina Superhero” and says there is just so much wrong with it. Of course, we know that this isn’t a reflection of Heidi’s opinions of vaginas, right? I digress. Others call it tacky. Bethany says it’s simply unflattering, like a pop star halloween costume. 

Kristine- Zac calls her design “boring britches.” Bethany likes the shape of the pants. Nina questions the intentionality of the pants hem which is a hot mess of organza. Heidi says it’s weird. Nina says unharmonious. Zac sees no vision. 

The Judges Have a Little Chat

The six nervous designers exit to sweat it out in the green room while the judges fondle, criticize, and drool over the designs and we still can’t tell if it’s going to go to Kini or Amanda.

The Winner Is Amanda, and Sayonara to Hernan 

As it should be. But I still love Korina’s biker outfit just as much. This is Amanda’s second win this cycle. Way to go, Hot Hippie Girl.

Well. There you have it. Another Project Runway episode comes to a close. Were you surprised? Next week’s guest judge is four-time American World Cup champion alpine ski-racer and the face of her sport, Lindsey Vonn. See y’all then!

Watch an all new Project Runway next Thursday at 9pm on Lifetime.

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(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV