I grew up in the Augusta area, living in Waynesboro for as long as I can remember. I went to college in Indianapolis, interned at the Chronicle over summer and Christmas breaks, and landed a job as sports clerk the summer after I graduated. Eventually, the sports job turned into writing for the business section and now I report on local business happenings as well as writing for the Shopgirl column/blog.
Posted August 22, 2011 11:33 am

ShopGirl blogs Project Runway, season nine episode four

Wow, was this a tough episode to watch. From Nina's hazy parameters (that directly contradicted everything she actually wore on this episode) to half of the contestants just throwing in the towel, it made me glad I wasn't anywhere near that depressed group of people.

Before we get to the good stuff, if you haven't caught the episode watch it here.

So, roll call: Kimberly won the challenge with an architectural gold top and a navy sateen pant. Julie got sent home after sending a coat dress down the runway in colors that Nina would never let touch her body. Anya and Viktor made it to the top three with a patiently reworked jumpsuit and structured black suit, respectively. Danielle and Cecilia round out the bottom three with a dress that looks like it's just a lining and a cheap looking 80s flashback pant and gauzy shirt.

What baffled me the most about this challenge is the level of bewilderment the designers expressed about Nina's aesthetic. I've only watched her on television, but she is one of the most consistent dressers I know of. And yeah, Becky, Nina has a different style than you - it's called designing for any customer besides yourself.

What confused me equally, however, is what Nina said "no" to with not a lot of explanation. If I had been a designer on this challenge, I would have had a plan A, B and C after getting such weird feedback in the sketch stage.

Enough of the global, let's get nitpicky.

My rankings:

Kimberly: One thing that Project Runway consistently points out about the fashion industry is how important styling is, and how important it is for the designer to read the client. Kimberly can do this. She and Becky did this with their stilt girl, incorporating the tattoo. In this challenge, she and Viktor were really the only ones that caught Nina's aesthetic. Nina wears metallics like she's King Midas, and her love for architectural necklines is like no other. Kimberly also listened to how much Nina complimented her tailoring skills, and wisely made her a killer pair of pants. I will say that there was a fit issue with the model and her pants, but that could be because it was made for Nina, a smaller woman? I don't know. I do know that the judges jump on fit issues at the slightest provocation, so it apparently was not that bad. Kimberly is one to watch - no drama predispositions, and considerable tailoring and styling talent.

Viktor: Viktor could not have made a more Nina-esque look, or one less photogenic and editorial. Nina would wear this, and does wear things very similar all the time, but the challenge was clearly for an ad campaign and Viktor's structural detail would not show up in this black suiting. I'm sure Nina still took this one home and will wear it like a good pair of jeans. I will be surprised if Viktor gets eliminated anytime soon. HOWEVER, I was laughing so hard about his bitter comments about helping people, et c. You're just jealous people don't like you, honey.

Becky: Surprisingly enough, through all the whiny dramatic complaining Becky produced a very Nina-y dress that definitely answered the challenge more than Anya's look (and also WAY better than Anthony Ryan's same-fabric look, making him look a lil bit silly after all the snarky comments). Anya's was more beautiful, but she has a problem with designing for herself and not the challenge, but doing such a beautiful job that the judges can't help but ooh and ah over it. Not that I'm blaming them - I'm just saying that Becky's dress was something Nina would wear, and Anya's was not. Way to surprise everyone, Becky. From the preview for this week's episode, I shudder to see you fall apart. I feel confident in her ability to bring the drama.

Anya: I've said it before, but it bears repeating. This girl is smart. Say what you will about beauty contests, but in my experience with friends competing, covering pageants, et c. I have found on the higher level (state, national, international) they attract girls with a lot of drive and a lot of intelligence who happen to be extraordinarily beautiful. Anya knew freaking out would get her nowhere and she was wise to dye the fabric. That also gave her the precious element of runway surprise that I'm sure didn't hurt at all. The design, however, was distinctly Anya and not at all Nina. She would never, ever wear something that lacking of a back and never in a million years wear that hideous belt. Anya drove it home again, however - she ain't going nowhere.

Joshua: The colorblock dress was a Nina look for sure. Good job eyebrows boy. And I hope you feel terrible for your nasty two-faced treatment of Julie...she was nothing but nice and genuine to you and you were extremely high school to her. Shame on you.

Bryce: Can it be? The king of the bottom triad is actually safe. His asymetrical hem was a horrible choice, but that's something that can easily be altered with no real harm done. It just shows the judges you still have a studenty instinct, and that will get you nothing but grief in weeks to come.

Anthony Ryan: Shame on you too, sir. Becky showed you up in an amazing way this week. Your use of the fabric made it look like a repurposed drop cloth from a color blind artist's attic, stiff and cheap. Your mean comments about being "not worried at all" et c. made a fool of you on the runway when she ate yo' lunch. Look at yourself, look at your choices. The top was horrible and shapeless, and the skirt was unflattering on a ten foot tall model, and would  be even more so on a much shorter Nina.

Olivier: Oh, honey. You're so talented, and so cute...how could you do that bad of a fit job? The colors were so horrid. You get absolution, of course, because Nina is in love with you (sorry, Rafael), but if you were anyone else and if the bottom three would have been even a skosh better you would have landed on the bad stage. You'd better start bringing it soon.

Bert: I have officially sent in my resignation from team Bert. He is a whiny little girl and should whisper in a corner with Cecilia about how they both don't want to be there - but OH WAIT, I forgot...he hates every human in the world. His dress was boring but at least it was kind of pretty. Nina would never wear that deep of a V and she told him that. He should have listened. I predict he goes soon, especially since next week is a team challenge and he's a misanthropic know it all.

Julie: I don't think Julie should have gone home. I don't think she was that sad to go, but her design was by no means the worst, and by no means the one that Nina is least likely to be seen in. And holy mother of God, shut up Joanna Coles. Everyone knows you hate Nina Garcia and want to fire her already, so don't go blamin' that on Julie's eccentric dress. I do think Julie was going to go home soon, but the coat was well made - it was just a horrific color choice and she listened to Nina too much about the neckline. Good luck, sweetie...I hope you find your niche soon.

Laura: I know I don't like this girl for non-design reasons, but this was the best-constructed, most confidently-presented, worst idea I have ever seen. Nina was right (because after all, she is a fashion editor), it looked like Christmas. And it looked like it was slowly unraveling, like a giant spool of curling ribbon. She would never wear something that went sheer that high, and it looked horribly uncomfortable and tacky. You need to go home but I bet you'll be around for a while.

Danielle: The only reason Danielle is above Cecilia is because of her less-awful attitude. Her look is something off the pages of a 1984 Chadwicks. When has Nina ever worn a non jewel tone or muted green, and also when has anyone ever worn that color green ever at all? Gross. You're here for a design competition, sweetie, not a clothes-making competition. Show us what you got. We haven't seen anything yet.

Cecilia: God please put her and Bert together on a team this week. She was incredibly awful. Her dress was the only thing worse than her attitude, and I have to ask, why was Anya able to dye her fabric and Cecilia couldn't? Do they have to buy dye at Mood? I really don't know. That was strange, though. And her dress looked like the product of sewing without a pattern while limited to the lining section of a fabric store. Thumbs down, thumbs down.


Wow, well the trailer was absolutely compelling. I cannot wait. And I hope Olivier is okay.


"I think that at least in my experience, when you don't freak out, a plan B emerges." - Anya

"I just don't know where you would wear this except to a Joan Crawford St. Patty's Day." - Michael Kors