Saturday, February 9, 2008


Yes, I know the "divas" who starred in this week's challenge are actually from the WWE. But that headline perfectly expresses my reaction upon hearing the task given our designers.

I would rather watch anything else on TV before watching wrestling. That includes golf, America's Funniest Home Videos, Barney and televangelism. Well, maybe not televangelism, but you get the idea. I feared this episode was destined to become my least favorite ever.

Luckily, my fears were unfounded. Not only did we get to hear Tim Gunn utter words like "divas" and "spandex," the challenge produced some fun interplay between designers and clients and a highly entertaining runway show.

The cherry on top of this tacky sundae was the long-awaited ousting of Ricky. I worried the Weepy One's lingerie skills would allow him to squeak into the Final Five but Ricky was reliably mediocre. The only surprise was that Ricky did not cry upon his departure.

I'm titling his look "Donna Summer poses for Hustler, circa 1977":

Like so many other challenges this season, the WWE assignment encouraged the designers to embrace absurdity. The contestants who went for it -- Chris, Jill and Christian -- succeeded. Those who held back -- Ricky, Sweet P and Rami -- missed the mark.

Sweet P just could not force herself to design the rhinestone-covered disco ball requested by her client. She seemed completely paralyzed by fear that the judges would bash her for creating something unsophisticated. Unfortunately, this challenge was essentially about creating a costume -- sleek and understated need not apply.

This look's title is: "Tim Gunn is always right! Even when he's advocating feathers!":

I thought the denim challenge was a sign that Rami was going to stop draping and learn to love multi-faceted design. Wrong! His "girl next door" outfit had many elements of his equally unsuccessful avant-garde design. The only original aspect of the look was the color -- and that was a very bad thing.

I call this "Frederick's of Hollywood Presents: Putrid Pink":

Rami wasn't alone in copying himself -- Christian did the same thing.

I'm starting to worry about this season's squeaky-voiced wunderkind. His leather-and-lace design was smokin' hot -- but the look was a close cousin of last week's denim trucker outfit and the black jacket he made for the weight-loss challenge. All of the similarities show Christian has already developed his own voice, that he can design a cohesive collection. Those are important qualities -- but so is versatility and an element of surprise.

I'm titling Christian's look: "Refugee from the Lost Van Halen Music Video":

Jillian designed for the "sporty" diva and she made the most of her assignment. Her look was a clever play on a football uniform. The little shorts were adorable -- I'd wear them if they didn't show 80 percent of a person's ass. Speaking of, I think all of the judges (especially Michael Kors) were a little verklempt at the sheer amount of bare skin parading down the runway this week.

I'm calling Jill's look "Friday Night Lights Gone Bad":

Last but not least: Chris wins! Chris is my favorite contestant this season and I was so happy that he pulled out a win, particularly in a challenge that was so tailor-made to his talents.

Chris' design was sexy and scary. The look reminded me of outfits worn by TV's ultimate superhero badass, Alias superspy Sydney Bristow.

That's why I'm calling his look "Best.Girlfight.Ever":

Next week: We head into the home stretch as the Final Four are chosen.

Create your own finale

Bravo has photos of the final five's Fashion Week collections up at Project Runway's official site.

I just couldn't make myself look. Not because I expect the collections to be poor. I want to judge the upcoming finale with fresh eyes and that's not going to happen if I peek early.

Of course, only four of these collections will actually get screen time on the show. One contestant is showing as a decoy, but we won't find out who until this Wednesday.

But don't let my personal ban stop you -- Check this out if you just can't wait!