Home / TV Recap: Project Runway – Season Five, Episode Five

TV Recap: Project Runway – Season Five, Episode Five

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Another morning in New York City. This time the sky is a greenish gold. A quick, establishing shot of a newsstand. And… please no. Not the same freaking Elle magazine cover… Aagggh! No! Yes! It is the same perplexing issue of Elle magazine we have been shown in the opening montage of every Project Runway episode this season. The other New York scenery changes every episode. But in every episode, the magazine stand of the damned still has that one single, solitary magazine, with an unspecified Olsen twin on the cover. Why? Ashley or Mary Kate Olsen, are you trapped in there? If I only knew which one you were, I could make “Free ___” T-shirts. But honestly, the glum face staring out from that glossy cover week to week is lending a Shining atmosphere to the proceedings.

And speaking of hotels… our unsuspecting guests are just waking up at The Atlas. Korto dries her hair, Daniel and Keith press weights in the gym, Blayne does his best (unwitting) Kato Kaelin impersonation, spouting catchphrases to no one; and we’re again at Parsons for the button draw that never happens. Winning and losing model? Come on out. Will Korto keep the model who led her to a win, or choose glum Alex? Guess. Yes, Alex goes home. Poor Alex. For the models it is the luck of the draw in many ways. Or, the bad luck to model a garment that began as a bad drawing. (Yes, I’m reaching but this button ceremony is rather dull.)

Heidi (in a strange, silvery-grey, glitter thread mini-dress with hugely puffy 1980s sleeves) tells the designers they will design this time for a “high powered woman." Blayne interviews in private that he hopes the woman is not Hillary Clinton because he would not want to design a “neon pant suit." Hillary wore neon? No, I think you are again thinking of your tan, Blayne.

Heidi sends the group to Tim at the Parsons workroom. They try to guess who the client is. Nancy Grace? Joan Rivers? Even Heidi Klum (that’s been done on a past season, though). Stella wants to design for “Sharon Osbourne, Queen of Rock." Ooh, there’s an idea. She’d be a wonderfully entertaining guest. “She’s a businesswoman,” Stella points out in her vlog segment. Yes, she is, Stella. And a very good one, too.

Tim enters the room. He seems very cheerful. He asks the designers to “gather ‘round." With a gleeful smile he asks the client to come in. “I am thrilled to introduce Brooke Shields — model, actress, author, and fashion icon,” Tim enthuses. The designers seem enthused as well, or are giving a good impersonation of same. They applaud and smile. Thirty-seven-year-old designer Suede remembers that Brooke began as a model, and quotes her famous jeans ad: “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins." I should add here that at the time (the 1970s) it was considered shocking and immoral for an ad to quote a fourteen-year-old implying she went without panties under her clothes. The ad caused a mini-scandal and of course, Calvin Klein jeans flew off the shelves. That is the ad Suede is referring to — and well done, Suede, for knowing that bit of fashion history (such as it is).

Back to the present. Brooke announces that their challenge will be to design a look for her TV character Wendy Healy on her show, Lipstick Jungle. Brooke also explains that her character Wendy is a “high powered studio executive." (Quick! Get those shots ready to play the ‘how many times will they say high powered’ drinking game.) Tim tells the gang that he has a “dossier” for them – and it will self-destruct in sixty seconds. No, it just contains photos of Brooke as Wendy in season one of her show.

At this point, as they leaf through their Grosse Pointe Blanke hit man packets – er, no, I meant fashion dossiers – Brooke further expounds upon the challenge parameters: The look must go from day to night, boardroom to club. Tim springs a surprise on the group: For this challenge they will work in teams of two. The designers are decidedly not thrilled. Tim tells them they can sketch for half an hour, then will pitch their ideas to Brooke. Brooke will choose six of those designs. I’m assuming from past seasons of Project Runway that this means those six will be ‘team captains’ and will choose their teammates.

As they sketch we hear their thoughts through their solo vlogs. Jerell, very wisely, admits that he has to listen to the challenge this time and keep it sexy and simple. Kelli is picking up on the TV character’s “bohemian” past and is going with a leopard print. Daniel is sketching away and says he wants to win very badly. His sketch looks amazingly like Brooke Shields. I hope for his sake his passion for this challenge serves him well. He’s sketching fast and furiously and it looks very good. At this point, he vlogs that he has a Middle Eastern background: his mother is Moroccan, his father Israeli. I'm guessing this is more 'getting to know our designers' but the editing makes it a non sequitur. The jump cut implies his 'background' will inform his design, but I don't see an obvious connection. Sketching time is over, though; it's time to meet Brooke and sell, sell.

Suede’s pitch is first. From what I can tell his sketch is a bit blah. Brooke worries about the puffy sleeves. Kelli shows Brooke a sketch of a fitted, strappy leopard print dress. “It’s the jungle!” Brooke exclaims, but she does not look impressed. Maybe she thinks it was a bit too literal? Kenley next shows Brooke a spindly looking sketch. But Brooke likes the boat neck neckline. It is a good neckline for a square face like Brooke has. And broad shoulders. The sketch looks as though it has a plunging back with criss cross straps across it. Hard to tell, though because the pencil lines are faint.

Terri’s sketch has some sort of pant suit going. Seems to be a frilly detail along the seams. “I do love the pants” Brooke allows. Blayne shows Brooke a sketch of Bermuda shorts (Brooke’s facial expression is priceless) and a blue vest. “That’s not a bad idea,” she tells him, and I wonder if she won’t choose his idea simply out of curiosity. Daniel’s sketch is the most accomplished and detailed. The design looks similar to what Brooke has worn in past films; there is a 1940s influence in the broad shouldered jacket, a la Brenda Starr, although the effect is not extreme. The jacket is striped with three-quarter sleeves. The blouse under it is ‘ruffly chiffon’ Daniel says. There is a straight, pencil skirt that falls just below the knee. Brooke seems to love it.

Keith seems a bit starstruck as he tells Brooke he has worked with different body types but “no one is this tall and this… such… you know… great legs as you do." Brooke seems a bit puzzled by his sketch and asks what part of it will be. Ruffles? No, fringe, Keith says. Stella shows Brooke an idea for a corset. “She’s still gotta go to work in this,” Brooke points out. Stella seems surprised. Who can’t go to work in a piece of laced-up fetish gear? Most of the world, Stella. Most of the world. Korto lays out a few colored pencils alongside her own sketch. Orange, lime green, and brown. “That’s a perfect palette," Brooke admires.

Joe’s up next; he’s drawn a ‘tuxedo inspired shirt’. Leanne has the only color drawing so far, with a soft looking draped dress. It’s indigo color. It looks simple and fabulous. “I want this for my real life,” Brooke blurts out. Jerell is bubbly as he tries to sell Brooke on “khakis and camels with slight pops of color." I think camel is an unfortunate word to use when describing clothing to a woman.

At any rate, the pitches over, Tim asks Ms. Shields to tell the contestants what’s behind door number three! No, she tells them the additional prize/incentive for this challenge. “The winning design will be worn by me, on the second season of Lipstick Jungle.” She announces her six choices: Keith, Korto, Jerell, Kelli, Terri, and Blayne. I am surprised at her choices; they would not have been mine. But she seems to have chosen the riskiest designs, not the prettiest. This could at least be interesting.

In the next scene, Brooke has left and Tim draws names from a bag. Hey! It’s Heidi’s button bag! I’m glad they found a use for it. Tim draws the team leaders’ names from the bag one at a time. The order in which names are chosen is the order in which the team leaders can choose their teammates. Clear as mud? Okay, moving on. Tim chooses Blayne’s name first, and Blayne chooses Leanne. Leanne interviews solo that she and Blayne are very different designers. She sounds worried. Keith’s button is up next, and he picks Kenley. This is all a bit too cruel, like grade school, playground volleyball teams. The four left unchosen have that “please don’t let me be picked last” look on their sad faces.

Terri picks next according to Tim’s handbag. She actually chooses Suede on purpose? Korto is pulled from the bag next and picks Joe. Stella and Daniel have the look of the sad mice from Cinderella. Joe even has that floppy little hat. Kelli chooses Daniel next, for tactical reasons: She says Stella is “her buddy” but that she doesn’t want Stella to be sent home if she can’t “pull off the construction." Is Daniel better at the mechanics of constructing a garment? I haven’t noticed either of them lacking in technical skill. I wonder if this is a case of not wanting to work with your friends lest you lose a friend and a worker both. Jerell quips that he actually has leather in his outfit so he and Stella (the only remaining choice) will “tear it up." Stella might take that literally, Jerell. You could end up with Raquel Welch’s cave girl outfit from One Million Years B.C. I’m just sayin’.

At Mood, Kenley insists upon a garish, multi-floral Hawaiian print. It’s in primary colors gone neon. It’s horrible. Keith has qualms so he asks Tim his opinion. “Can I be honest?” Tim asks first. Keith says yes. “Look around,” is all he says. Masterfully done, Mr. Gunn. Keith scatters, and Kenley’s unable to counter. Yay. Meanwhile Stella encourages Jerell to use purple thread on leather. Daniel is dismayed at Kelli’s choice of leopard print. Kelli makes a pretense of asking Daniel’s opinion but still chooses the “black, leopard, and lace” he objects to. I have to agree with him. Kelli’s choices are more suitable to a 1980s Stevie Nicks music video than to Brooke Shields’ “high powered” (go ahead and count that if you want) movie studio executive.

Ten hours to the end of the workday at Parsons’ workroom. Tim asks their attention to “underscore” the “huge opportunity” this challenge offers. “Accordingly, there will be no immunity. The win is big enough, trust me.” He thanks them and exits. Keith and Kenley already seem to be squabbling and at odds. Knowing she is hardly a team player and he’s at the helm and responsible for team missteps, why did he choose Kenley? And sure enough she’s dissing him behind his back already. Never mind, next we get to know Kelli a bit better in a biography segment. She was raised partly by her grandmother who is handicapped, Kelli says. Why does Kelli want to be a household name in design? Kelli wants her grandmother to be able to just “flip on the TV” and see Kelli’s designs there because otherwise she doesn’t get to see her work. Well erm, not to quibble, but has grandma heard of Project Runway?

Next, someone talks about Suede and a mistake he made with the garment already. Oh, it’s Suede talking about Suede. Welcome back, Suede. Anyway it turns out that Suede didn’t buy enough fabric to allow Suede to properly drape it as the design called for. Bad judgment, Suede! Why did you trip Suede up this way? You really ought to play more fairly where Suede is concerned. Terri looks like she has a headache, and I can’t blame her — can you, Suede? Terri makes it clear how she feels in her vlog, and most of it’s bleeped. Basically she wants Suede to grow up and not act like she is his mama. It looks to me as if he’s uncertain how harsh of a leader to be and so out of a misguided sense of obligation he’s running to Terri to help with every decision. But she is not “having it."

So how are Blayne and Leanne doing? He wants to do a Victorian fitted sleeve. She doesn’t. Blayne does a bit of a bio vlog segment. He basically just says that he stuck out “like a sore thumb” in his home town in Washington state and that his family is “crazy." We see Joe and Korto getting along fairly well (at least they are quiet) although the bright orange caftan on their dress dummy doesn’t look remotely like something Brooke Shields might wear. But it’s early yet. Not shockingly, Kenley is undermining Keith’s confidence and telling him that she wants to “win this," as if it’s all up to him and she has no responsibility in the matter.

Stella is making what looks like a corset after all, and hammering something onto it. She simply can’t seem to adjust to any of the challenges, she does ‘her thing’ over and over again. I hope she does not overwhelm Jerell’s intent. Jerell seems relaxed, though. He and Keith trade banter about riding to Bryant Park together. At 8pm Tim sends in all the models for a surprise early fitting. The designers tell the models about the challenge and the prize. Everyone seems fairly bubbly. Daniel and Kelli are a bit tense fitting the skirt on their model. It doesn’t fit. And it’s crooked. “Half ruched (gathered), half not,” Kelli sums up. She is concerned but Daniel thinks it just needs to be “adjusted." Kelli disagrees it can be fixed and proposes that they begin from scratch on the skirt. I’m thinking this early fitting was a good piece of luck for them.

Terri and Suede’s garment looks fairly terrible. The colors are ugly, the pattern is ugly. The print is some sort of dull blue and gold paisley on a wine-colored background. The design and drape are shapeless. It looks like a bargain basement muumuu. In the sewing room, smelling conflict, Kenley “innocently” asks Suede about “your shirt” just as Terri crosses the room. “It’s horrible,” Terri throws over her shoulder. Kenley acts surprised and giggles and tee-hees. “That’s a nightmare, Suede!” she guffaws. Terri meanwhile, looks sincerely ticked. Suede thinks Kenley actually cares, so he stops sewing to give Kenley the scoop. “She wanted me to still do it, so I did, and now she doesn’t like it, so…” he begins. Kenley’s response is blah, but then she’s already gotten the spark of drama she wanted, I guess. Terri interviews solo that everything falls on her but if it’s between her and “Suede going home… peace out."

Tim time again. He looks at Blayne and Leanne’s garment first. They’ve got a Bermuda short with a cuff. The fabric is kind of grey-green. It has a nice sheen. They’ve topped it with a pretty blue which brings out a blue tone and softens the green while perking up the grey. Nice pairing. Tim says it’s sporty but not for evening. So they show him their evening look: a menswear shirt with a leather vest. Their take on each piece is a little modern. Tim is satisfied with those pieces but advises them to dress up the shorts for evening. “Too casual,” he says in a rare, specific suggestion. Blayne bites his nails. Hey! Although wearing an orange shirt (homesick, Blayne?) he hasn’t mentioned tanning once. See? Just keep him busy and he’s fine. Idle hands… Oh but I typed too soon. Blayne’s hands may be busy but his mouth is not. He hits Tim with a “holla atcha boy!” before Tim can escape. “And girl!” Leanne pitches in. Now that’s being a team player. Maybe an inane team, but, a team.

Tim loves Jerell and Stella’s dress so far. Their palette is sort of a golden beige top, gold corset disguised as a wide belt, and a sort of animal print brown black and white A-line skirt. It looks fashionable. Jerell praises Stella’s speed working with leather. As long as she’s in the leather zone she’s good. “This looks like a true collaboration,” Tim adds. Jerell even has his arm around Stella. I wonder if Kelli is regretting passing up her “buddy” right about now. Tim approaches team Kelli next. Their outfit looks finished. There is a fitted, short sleeved jacket. It has leopard print and black with a bright blue centerpiece covered with black lace. The jacket opens onto a fitted dress with a bustier-style bodice. The bodice features an arrow shaped black insert panel, surrounded with leopard print. The bustline has an top accent in the bright blue. The skirt portion of the dress is quite fitted. It looks okay for evening wear but could anyone wear this to the office? Kelli emphasizes the ‘bohemian’ aspect of Brooke’s character, but had she listened closer to Brooke’s description she’d have remembered Wendy Healy had an artistic, bohemian past but is an executive now. “What’s the transition?” Tim asks them and he looks concerned. “I’m dubious,” Tim says. Ah yes. Better word. Thanks, Tim!

Tim approaches Terri and Suede. He tells Terri he senses her concern. He asks about that. She and Suede tell him they work very differently – Suede drapes, Terri cuts directly into fabric. Tim skips to the meat of the topic and tells them “it works." This diffuses the tension by removing any reason the team should bicker. What Terri and Suede have created is basically a peasant top in paisley, with a flounced neckline. It is set off with a black belt, and worn with black pants. It’s a perfectly viable outfit. “It’s not tragic?” Terri worries. “This whole neckline is gorgeous — gorgeous!” Tim reassures. I notice that he says this directly to Terri though, leaving Suede out. Didn’t Suede actually make the top? Terri asks to hug Tim and she does. Suede, obviously not bearing a grudge, leans in and group-hugs Terri and Tim. I hope Terri apologizes to Suede at some point for her needless, er, needling him. If she ever did, we don’t see it. Terri thanks Tim and ignores Suede other than to tell him what he needs to do next. Er, did I miss something? Isn’t Suede the team leader?

Keith and Kenley surprisingly are smiling and their outfit looks finished. They have it laid out on a table instead of on the dress dummy for some reason. That wild print fabric Kenley deemed “cheesy Palm Beach-y” looks more subdued now that the blouse is less, well, blousy. It simply looks like a fresh, new spring blouse. Fashionable. It sits atop a wide belt and a brown skirt. It’s hard to tell much more about the outfit with it lying flat like this. But Tim professes to love it: “really fabulous” he approves. “She’s gonna love it," Kenley chimes in.

Next Tim goes to Korto and Joe. They’ve seemingly gotten along well during the team challenge, but how about their collaborative garment? There are two pieces on two dress dummies: A very plain, putty colored sheath dress. And a bright orange caftan jacket with gold trim. Their notion is that the jacket over the sheath is ‘day’ and without the jacket it’s ‘night’. Joe expresses concern about the jacket. Tim asks him to specify his concerns. Basically Joe says, and Tim agrees, that the jacket is too ‘poofy’. Tim compares it to a “big sweet potato." Korto grouses that Joe had not mentioned his concerns until now. “It was her design,” Joe keeps telling Tim. Joe is passing the buck to Korto so quickly he could be a Vegas counting machine. Tim gets out from the middle of their sniping with a vague, “You have a lot of decisions to make," bringing their focus back onto what they actually need to do next, rather than bicker and point fingers. Tim is like Samurai Linguist. Crouching caftan, hidden muumuu? Tim eschews effrontery and effortlessly escapes.

Unfortunately Korto and Joe do not take Tim’s hint at what to do next. They trade verbal jabs and vague threats (mostly from Korto) like “under the bus,” “cut you off,” and “dead to me.” Joe, this woman survived a civil war. Don’t mess with her! Just stop making excuses and whining, and sew. Don’t forget Tim’s mantra: Make it work. We next see various designers back at The Atlas, getting dressed for the runway show. They stop off at the Parsons workroom after that. Wait — Kelli is still asking Daniel to make a new skirt? He hasn’t made it yet? Is the editing messed up, or did they leave the entire redo for the day of the runway show? If so, why?

Jerell (in his solo segment) is mocking the fact that Terri is bragging about her garment. Terri has the top on and is dancing in it and praising her work. (Wait – again – didn’t Suede actually sew it?) Blayne interviews that he took a risk with his design but it’s all coming together now. Kenley and Keith, and Korto and Joe are putting their finishing touches on their outfits. Joe interviews that if their team is in trouble he will go home since Korto won the last challenge. So, she has immunity this week and cannot go home. And now it’s time for the models to come in for a final fitting. Then the models go to hair and makeup at the Tresemme salon. Five minutes to showtime and Daniel is still sewing the skirt. Everyone nips and tucks (fabric) here and there, trying to make things perfect. And before you know it, it’s showtime.

Runway time. Heidi introduces Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and Brooke Shields. Heidi calls a smiling, wavy-haired Brooke a “fashion icon." Korto and Joe’s design comes down the runway first. They seem to have addressed any ‘sweet potato jacket’ issues. Now the jacket is cinched at the waist, puffy only in its sleeves. The silhouette and color now are much more indicative of a savvy executive. The color is what sells the design. The hue is evocative of a beautiful painting, "Flaming June" by Lord Frederic Leighton. It’s a very soul-stirring color and I’m wondering if it could win Brooke’s heart on its own merits. Something about the tailoring and embellishments on the jacket do call to mind another place and time. There are more considerations at work, however. The winning design must also suit a modern TV character.

Kelli and Daniel’s bustier dress is up next. Kelli is unsure about it and Daniel says it feels Dynasty to him. Jerell loves his and Stella’s finished garment. It does look successful. The fabrics flow well together, the prints mix well together. It looks like a finished design, and it looks very high fashion. I can picture a wealthy Los Angeles woman wearing this dress. Brooke looks over at Jerell and gives him a “squee!” expression and huge grin. I’m thinking Brooke doesn’t often get picked for jury duty. I can see her waving and smiling at a defendant she thinks is innocent, scowling and wagging her finger at the guilty ones. No, I’m just kidding. As if Brooke Shields would ever make it to the courtroom? Back to the fashion show. Kenley and Keith next. Their dress is more successful than I’d anticipated from their squabbling. Then again, Tim did say he loved it. Their dress has a scalloped brown skirt topped by a bright large print in a short sleeved blouse. Or at least from what I can tell. The camera angle is so far under the model I can tell what she stepped in on the way here. I can see that the scalloped skirt layers are done fairly subtly, though. However I think this may be a bit ‘old’ for Brooke and neither a great office look nor a great evening ensemble.

Terri and Suede’s model is up next, and she is selling it! Well, not literally. I meant the design. The peasant blouse is big and slouchy. The black pants are fitted and their slim silhouette balances the bigger top perfectly. A loosely tied long black belt completes the look well. Blayne and Leanne’s Bermuda shorts outfit comes out next. Plainly spoken, it’s too sporty for either office or evening wear. Enough said. The fashion show over, Heidi asks Jerell, Stella, Kelli, Daniel, Keith, Kenley, Blayne, and Leanne to step forward. Suede, Terri, Korto, and Joe leave the runway, safe until next week. Well, at least we know Korto and Joe did not have to carry out their vague verbal threats to turn on each other. We hear a lot of “under the bus” threats on this and other reality shows. But I don’t want to actually see it. Something tells me it would be messier than a Tila Tequila dinner party.

Heidi gives the teams still standing the old in/out speech. Each team has to explain their intentions. Jerell and Stella are up first. Brooke says she likes the outfit but is concerned about the belt. It makes it look as if “there is a lot going on”. The belt in question is a thin, zebra striped belt over a gold colored very wide (corset size, sneakily enough on Stella’s part) belt. Heidi says she loves it just as it is. Michael Kors uses the words “flirty, feminine, sexy” and says the garment is well made. Kelli and Daniel’s bustier dress is up now and Brooke uses words like “unfortunate” and “cheap." Kors asks to see under the model’s jacket and this is when he lets loose his “slutty, slutty, slutty!” the preview clip ‘teased’ us with after last week’s show.

I don’t know that this, a strapless dress with a skirt to the knee is exactly “slutty” (has he ever been outside a showroom?) but it doesn’t scream “top executive” either. Maybe Kelli should have listened to Daniel a bit more and toned down her aesthetic. Nina looks right at Kelli and says, “You can’t get taste if you don’t have it.” And yet, Kors blames Daniel for this refugee from 1982 MTV. Daniel says nothing but looks glum. Gotta be a bit of a scrapper, Daniel, Kelli has no problem letting you take the blame. When asked, Kelli points out she has never been “in the bottom” and so Daniel should go home. Daniel pipes up finally and says he has impeccable taste. The editors show us Kenley, who is roaring with laughter. What is her problem? Why does this concern her? She isn’t even on Daniel’s team. Oh, and remember her “don’t add a bolero that’s too much like Wonder Woman” advice that helped land Daniel in the bottom two last time? I’m beginning to think Kenley has lil’ horns hidden beneath those big bangs of hers.

Heidi asks Kenley why she “thinks it’s so funny." Kenley, far from being abashed, laughs louder. And doesn’t answer. Okay, so Daniel was a bit skeevy with ‘fitting you’ for the garment last week, Kenley Collins. But to try to push him out of the contest for no other reason than you can? To try and undermine his position in front of the judges? In such a passive aggressive way that you can’t be called on it and he can’t fight back? That’s kinda sucky and evil. Anyway, Devil Woman’s dress is up next. Seeing it closer on camera it’s less impressive. The scallops look uneven. The color of the skirt is strange. There isn’t enough blouse to set it off well (although their model is extraordinarily high waisted so that doesn’t help). The leather belt doesn’t seem to go with the rest. Brooke says she can see her character wearing it and that it looks expensive. Nina wants to see the back of the ensemble. The blouse has a butterfly shape to the sleeves. Michael and Heidi praise this outfit to the skies. Kenley looks content with this; a quick shot of Daniel shows him blinking a lot with red eyes.

Blayne has to explain his outfit next. He says Brooke’s TV character has grown up with fashion and is "starting to implement more bohemian style in season two." (Wait – again, Brooke said Wendy had been bohemian in her past, but wasn't now. You can't just rewrite her character, Blayne! Well, I guess you can try. If they'll buy it.) Brooke says that she was scared when she chose Blayne and hints that her fears were justified: this look is too casual for Wendy. Blayne, instead of taking this criticism, actually tries to educate Brooke Shields about her own TV character. He didn’t listen to what she just said, either. Nina jumps in and makes it more about the challenge than Blayne’s apparent rudeness: “I don’t think you listened,” Nina says, in past tense. Nina takes Leanne to task for “allowing” this. Heidi says the model looks as if she dressed without a mirror. Blayne spews a few more random thoughts and says, “You guys know I’m crazier." Brooke chimes in nervously, ”I just met you!” Blayne? Quit while you’re behind. Heidi asks Blayne who between the two of them should go home. Blayne says “it’s an integrity issue — as a leader, I should go home." Well, I will say this for him, he has his values. (Or, possibly, tactics; judges in past seasons have admired team leaders who took responsibility. Then again they've sent some home.) Leanne, when asked, also says that Blayne should go instead of her. She didn't even hesitate.

Now it’s time for the judges’ conference. Kors liked Jerell and Stella’s dress. Nina liked its shape. Brooke says this one was her favorite. Michael Kors said the dress gave a sense of power but remained feminine. Next, Keith and Kenley’s. Brooke thought this dress was “unique." Kors deems it “sophisticated." Nina thinks that Keith “really thought about the challenge” and delivered something right for the TV show and Brooke’s character. On the negative side, they all dislike Kelli’s design. Michael thinks it shows what Kelli likes. Brooke said it could have been classy but wasn’t. Nina questions both the designers’ “taste level” but especially Kelli’s since it was her design. Heidi isn’t fond of Daniel either. As for Blayne and Leanne, Brooke felt his taste was wrong for the “task at hand." Nina finds Blayne’s “reluctance to listen”… Brooke interjects “bratty." Heidi asks why Leanne didn’t help. Michael “has a feeling, quite frankly, that she lost her confidence." It isn’t quite clear whether he means during this challenge, or overall throughout the prior challenges.

Now the judges have made their mysterious decision. They call all eight designers (four teams) back onto the runway. Another in/out speech. Brooke announces Keith as the winner of this challenge. “I will be wearing your design on Lipstick Jungle," she says. Keith exhales in relief. Heidi asks Keith and Kenley to leave the runway. Stella and Jerell look fairly disappointed but keep a stoic face. Well, a little. Jerell does give a little “hmph” twist to his mouth. It’s kind of funny. Backstage, Keith says, “Whoo! I did it,” quietly. Kenley says nothing but sits on the sofa. Keith interviews in a solo clip that now he has one under his belt and he will just have to keep proving he is the “best up and coming designer out there."

Back on the runway Daniel looks very tense. (If he ever thought Kenley was some cute, innocent girl 'into him' I'm betting he's been disabused of that notion now.) Jerell and Stella are sent backstage by Heidi. They are safe. Heidi tells Leanne she can leave the runway. She is in. Daniel is also in. He leaves the runway. Heidi tells Kelli, “Your construction was questionable, but your taste level is leaving us questioning even more." Heidi then turns to Blayne and says, “You left us speechless today, and we wonder if you can ever step outside of yourself as a designer." But Blayne is in. That leaves Kelli out. At this point in the competition, it isn’t that anyone’s effort is “bad." But a winner and a loser must be chosen every episode and this time, the losing design was Kelli’s. Tim sends her up to clear her workspace. She does so, and her voice over says that she has no regrets. She narrates that she would “rather go out being myself, than trying to be someone I’m not." Not bad advice, Kelli, and I hope your grandma got to see you on television. I am sure she’s proud.

Next episode? Last season’s contestant/designer Chris March, who both wears and designs drag clothing, will be guest judge. The challenge will be: Design something for a drag queen. It’s interesting that after so many seasons of super-secret guest judges and challenge specifics, Bravo is suddenly giving those away in the previews. But I like it. As for next episode’s Drag challenge? It won’t be a drag to watch. That much seems sure! See you there.

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