'Project Runway' recap: 'The Ultimate Hard and Soft'

It's flowers and hardware for this week's unconventional challenge

"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

Oh, boy! It's an unconventional challenge! I'm really hoping we get some crazy, creative stuff this week, because this season needs a boost. Sort of like how Dream Team needs a boost. Or therapy. Or a mediator. Seriously, I don't think I can stand to see the designers on this team take another drubbing, because it's only a matter of time before someone starts cutting themselves to deal with the pain. These are creative types, "Project Runway." They're sensitive. Be nice. 

Tim invites the designers into the workroom, which is stuffed full of noxious Glade candles. Please stop making Tim pimp for brands, "Project Runway." He's better than this, even if the show is not.

Anyway, he tells the the designers that for this challenge, they'll be recreating one of his favorite unconventional challenges from seasons past --  they will be sourcing their materials at a flower shop. Hey, where's Heidi? All this flattering lighting and the model isn't here? Oh, there she is. Heidi also has an idea. She loves the flower shop, too, but she also likes the hardware store. It's a Glade 2-n-1 Challenge! Excuse me while I gag!

But before they can begin, Tim addresses the ridiculousness of the inequity between the two teams. Thus, Dream Team gets to pick two designers to come over to their team. Benjamin wants Stanley. Michelle points out that Daniel wins EVERYTHING. Get Daniel! They aren't even considering him. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? 

They pick Stanley and Layana. Yes, Layana who won when she was paired with DANIEL. Am I missing something here? I don't like his mustache, either, but he's like pixie dust and unicorns when it comes to making a bunch of designers work together seamlessly. Or seamfully. Whatever. 

But now, Team Keeping It Real gets to pick someone for their team. And they pick Michelle. Sadly, Michelle isn't thrilled about this, as she really doesn't want to work with Patricia ever. Still, Patricia is so glad she's on her team! Oh, just shut up and be happy you're on a better team, Michelle. 

Time for brainstorming. Stanley suggests 1950s Dior as the inspiration, and I think that's pretty brilliant. More importantly, he starts strong by suggesting a cohesive theme before anyone starts sketching. This is important. 

Over on Team Dream, there's no such Big Idea. They think about flowers, they think about hardware. Joe wants to make a dress with string. I think Joe can't go home too soon. 

A few designers will have to work in pairs, and almost as soon as Michelle gets settled with Richard,  he starts talking crazy. She's terrified. She just wants to be on the winning team for once! And not on the bottom! I think she and Richard will be fine just as soon as he comes off his coffee buzz or maybe takes some Ritalin, I don't know. 

Joe likes flowers that look like brains and eat the model. I think he needs to be institutionalized. It's people like Joe who create the trends that make women look ugly on purpose. Joe seems nice, but people interviewed on the news always say the same thing about the serial killer next door. 

Tim time! First, he visits Team Keeping It Real. He's blown away by Michelle and Richard's outfit. Yay! But not so much everyone else. Patricia is making a mess. Joseph is making a mess. But wait! Joe likes his mess! He wants his dress to look like it's consuming the model! That's his GOAL! Arrgh!

Tim thinks Kate is creating a craft project. She has immunity, so she doesn't care. Tim also feels the team has no cohesion. As Michelle says, it's as if everything is designed by crazy people who aren't confined at the same mental institution. Finally, they decide they're supposed to be making dresses through the decades. I think this will only work if they have little hats with the year printed on them. The judges aren't psychic, people.

On to Dream Team. Tim likes Layana's outfit. He's worried Stanley won't have time to finish, which means Tim doesn't know Stanley. Tim thinks Benjamn's loom is impressive. He made a friggin' LOOM to make his fabric. If Benjamin gets anything down the runway, I'll be impressed. Tim thinks the team is in trouble, because they have almost nothing done. C'mon, Dream Team! If you lose again, it's just going to be too depressing to watch. And I think by law you'll be forced to change your name. 

Amanda, who is making a dress out of moss, is having problems, as the moss has become crunchy and is falling off. Didn't someone have this same problem the last time the show went to a flower shop? Joe actually comes to the rescue of Amanda's nightmarish moss outfit and suggests she just cut the dress down to a mini length so she can use all the flower petals she has in a more cohesive fashion. Huh. Maybe Joe is better at working for another designer than designing his own stuff.

Runway time! Our judges are Zac Posen, Nina Garcia, "The Man Repeller" blogger Leandra Medine (who is wearing an outfit that is, yes, pretty repellant -- for crying out loud, she looks like she rolled out of bed) and… Bette Midler. Yay! Is she promoting something, or is she just a fan of the show? 

 

Daniel

Um, what's with the big blobs on her hips? I like the textures, but I swear, his model looks like she needs to have surgery for tumor removal.

 

Joseph

I don't entirely get this. She looks like a flattened globe of the world. 

 

Richard & Michelle

This is actually a lot of fun. The greenery is gorgeous, if somewhat salad-like. Very Madonna circa 1990, thought not modern enough to be Lady Gaga. 

 

Patricia

Well, she'll always have a future with the Rose Parade.

 

Amanda

This is pretty cool. It's a cute little dress, even if the calla lilies have started to wilt. 

 

Kate

I don't care if this is a craft project. It's adorable. The flowers are beautiful.

 

Dream Team

Matthew

This is cute! I like the little yellow skirt. And the mop top is actually very well done. 

 

Stanley

This is beautiful. I'd wear this. It's very Dior, very retro, very, very cool.

 

Tu

The jacket is remarkable.  The structure of it paired with the fluid movement of the skirt is just lovely. 

 

Benjamin

This is great. Finally, Benjamin delivers on the promise we saw before he started sending garbage down the runway. 

 

Samantha

Oh, I love how the leaves are buried underneath the top layer of the dress. Brilliant. This is amazing and I want to see it in mass production. I'm so glad she didn't let Layana help her simplify the skirt -- this is so clever. 

 

Layana

This is also gorgeous. I think Dream Team generated a lot more looks that are wearable and pretty.

The win goes to… everybody! Well, not really. There's a winning team (Dream Team) and an almost winning team. Michelle is so glad! Wait, Michelle. That still means someone's going home from your team, because almost winning is the same as losing. Sorry. 

Dream Team goes first. Bette thinks all of their looks are whimsical. Nina thinks they're great. Leandra liked things and I can't take her seriously because she looks unbathed. Nina and Zac loved Samantha's trapped leaves. Nina also thinks Layana's was beautifully done. Zac thought it felt dreamy. 

Who should be the winner? Stanley likes Tu's outfit. Samantha recommends Benjamin's loomed fabric. Everyone loves Matthew's outfit. Basically, everyone loves everything.

Team almost-winners Keeping It Real tries to spin their decades idea. Heidi liked their collection as well. Zac thinks Patricia's outfit is Pow-Wow chic. Heidi compliments everyone. Hmm, maybe no one's going home. Heidi doesn't feel anything's sticking out in a bad way. Zac thinks they didn't have the cohesion of the other team. 

Bette didn't dig Joseph's outfit. Bette thinks it's sweet that Joseph doesn't want to objectify women. 

Robert is put on the spot. He reluctantly picks Amanda. Daniel agrees. Patricia also piles on. Joe says Amanda has lost her creativity by working in the real world. Nina doesn't think the struggles the designers had with Amanda were apparent from what they can see. Hmm. 

The judges talk. Blah, blah, blah.

The winner is… Samantha. Hey! Good for her!

The bottom two are Joe and Amanda. Joe is… out. 

Well, this is a relief. I don't think I can stand to see any more of his stuff. But he's okay. He loved all the other designers! They understand what he's doing! I'm glad someone does.

 

 

 

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Liane-bonin-starr-sm
Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for EW.com. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.
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