The drama shifted into high gear this week on Project Runway after two (!) contestants unceremoniously left the competition. First, there was the morning-after shocker when everyone awoke to find Andrea (the fashion instructor with sewing troubles last week) gone, without even a note left behind. With the designers in shock, a second blow came soon after in the workroom, when Kooan, the oddball who’d been withdrawn recently, announced he, too, was leaving.

I’m not sure exactly what it was about this group of contestants or this season to spur this kind of unprecedented situation – maybe it just comes down to the fact that some designers, however talented they might be, don’t or can’t thrive in a competitive structure. Neither Andrea nor Kooan had done well up until this point, and perhaps they felt their aesthetics and creative vision couldn’t be represented under the immense pressure of Project Runway‘s timed challenges week in and week out. On that note, I think there are a couple other contestants who also fall into that category of not being fully understood by the PR judges and perhaps the mainstream fashion industry.

Not saying I think anyone else is going to abruptly depart (enough drama, let’s focus on the actual fashion!), but someone like Buffi, for example, always seemed too enveloped in her own quirky universe. The judges like creativity and pushing fashion boundaries, but it must be done in good taste. So it wasn’t a surprise at all when Buffi went home this week, though it definitely seems like Raul should watch out, having been booted off last week and then nearly repeating it after being given a second chance.

The Fashion Breakdown

clever drapers.jpgThe Clever Drapers: The top three designers in this week’s challenge smartly used a jersey knit-type fabric to create their woman-on-the-go look and added a chic factor by draping and manipulating that fabric. I think Christopher took it to another level by adding that leather jacket, though I do agree Sonjia‘s dress had the most interesting details (she’s definitely one to watch out for). I also think Ven could have been included in the top, as he created an interesting one shoulder version of this drapery, while choosing a lighter color. Perhaps the judges think Ven could use a break from being in the top (he certainly could use a bit of humility).

silhouette mishaps.jpgSilhouette Mishaps: Again, Elena insisted on creating her massive shoulder pad silhouette, this time in an unflattering coat form. Yes, she has edge, but she needs to figure out how to convey that while also making the model look flattering. Fabio, on the other hand, could have used more fabric with his print shift dress, as it was too short, particularly for this challenge. I loved how the judges mentioned his personal style of dress and wanting to see that come through in his designs; we’ll see if he takes that advice to heart next week.

Then there were two designers who interpreted “woman on the go” as long, free-form fabrics that completely hide any shape or structure. Melissa did this better than Raul, but her one-note creations of the same all-black jersey seems incredibly restricted to me. Raul, on the other hand, got too ambitious and while his pants effort was commendable, that long sleeveless print vest was just plain weird.

snooze.jpgSnooze Fest: Just like his personality as depicted on the show thus far, Nathan‘s look was forgettable and I still don’t have a clear idea of who he is as a designer, though I appreciate his use of color in this predominantly dark challenge. Gunnar‘s turtleneck top was pretty, but the colors with his patchwork pencil skirt came across as dated – definitely not the fresh, chic, of-the-moment vibe fashion is constantly looking for.

obvious not.jpgThe Obvious and Not-So-Obvious: With all the air time Buffi was getting in the episode and her consistent struggles in challenges past, it wasn’t difficult to see she was going home. This probably hasn’t been her worst design, but again, her taste level is questionable. Then there’s Alicia, who’s always in the middle (save for last week, when she was paired with Raul) and I’m curious to know how the judges feel about her menswear-inspired designs. I thought this week’s design was not bad, certainly a different take from others (no drapey dress here), and I like the small details she puts in, like the off-kilter collar and the elbow patches.

What did you all think of this week’s emotional surprises and versatile runway?

(Images courtesy of Lifetime)

Jenn Lee

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jenn grew up in Ohio before moving to Seoul, Korea, where she attended international school and failed to learn Korean. From there she went on to earn a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania before settling in Seattle, where she now spends too much time pondering the power of narrative in TV shows and novels. While she loves a good smart comedy (a la Community or Parks and Recreation), her favorite current show is Breaking Bad; all-time mentions include Arrested DevelopmentLost and Friends. When she’s not consuming television or literature, she’s savoring pastries and searching for the city’s ultimate sandwich.