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'Project Runway' 9: Who Wants To Be The Judges' Pet?

Becky Broderick Becky Broderick
August 5th, 2011 8:15am EDT

This week on “Project Runway,” the designers shopped at Petland instead of Mood. To make up for the complete lack of Swatch in the first two episodes, we were treated to a few shots of cute bunnies. But it's not really the same, is it? I WANT SWATCH. (At least I have the Mood blog's "Daily Swatch" to keep me going.)

The episode kicked off with Josh C. feeling very nervous about his standing in the competition, due to his suckitude last week. Before even discovering what this week's challenge would be, Josh proclaimed that he was just aiming for safety. That's never a good attitude. And that's what literary types call "heavy foreshadowing."

Project Runway

Tim Gunn met the gang at Petland to announce that this would be the "unconventional materials challenge." Some of the designers were excited about this challenge, especially Anthony, who was determined to make something completely different from everyone else's designs. Some were not so thrilled, like Bert, who seemed to feel like this type of thing was beneath him and was happy that his immunity would give him the luxury of phoning it in.

With $300 worth of pet products under their arms, each of the designers headed back to the workroom to figure out what on earth to do with them. Everyone thought that Fallene would breeze through this challenge, as she is the "artsy one." (More foreshadowing.) Viktor and Josh M. playfully argued. (Sexual tension.) Laura bragged about her privileged childhood. (Grounds for justifiable bitch-slapping.)

When Tim popped in to see how everyone was doing, he was generally pretty impressed with what everyone was doing. He was, however, concerned that Bert's design was mostly made of conventional materials. Yet, he didn't seem bothered that Olivier was using a dog bed—which seems like one of the easier pet store materials to use—for his top. When presented with Laura's "cone of shame" skirt, all Tim could do was stare silently. I mean, that thing didn't even come close to covering her ass. Did she really think it would look any better on a model with legs from here to Harlem?

The designers continued to work feverishly, as they only had until 11:00 pm. While the models rolled in for their fittings, most of the other designers rolled their eyes at Bert's blasé attitude. Although Bert was my early favorite, I can't really blame the others for being annoyed. If Bert didn't want to be forced into making "costumey" designs, then he really shouldn't have signed up for "Project Runway." There's an unconventional challenge every season. He must know by now how the show works.

After her model strutted her junk all around the workroom, Laura decided to scrap the cone skirt and replaced it with some terrible cat scratch cardboard thing. But at least it kept the naughty bits covered. Then Josh M. talked about how much he likes Josh C., and the episode nearly collapsed under the weight of all of that foreshadowing.

On the day of the runway  show, Heidi, Kors and Nina were joined by guest judge, designer Stacey Bendet, who I nearly mistook for Annie Potts in "Pretty in Pink."

After the parade of leashes, rope toys and just about every type of animal bedding you could think of, the judges chose the Top and Bottom 3. Their favorite designs belonged to Anthony, Josh M. and Olivier.

Top 3 Designs

Top 3 Designs (L-R): Anthony, Josh M. and Olivier

Everyone was impressed with Anthony's mini-mini-mini dress, which was made almost entirely of birdseed. Kors praised it as being "what this challenge is about." The judges' only complaint was that the dress was too short. Well, Heidi wasn't complaining. When it comes to dresses, Heidi's motto is the shorter, the better. If Laura had sent that bottom-baring cone skirt down the runway, Heidi probably would've sat up and begged to wear it.

As for Olivier's ensemble, Nina gushed over how "editorial" it was. All the judges loved it, which left me completely confused. I hated it. The fit was awful (a point that Stacey touched on but only briefly), especially the dowdy-looking dog bed top. And the skirt just seemed much too stiff and made the model look like she had huge hips. But none of the "experts" agreed with me, except on one point: Olivier's decision to glue hamster bed chips onto his model's eyebrows was completely ridonk.

Styling is what hurt Josh M.'s chances, as the judges thought that the heavy makeup and accessories (chew toy shoes!) were way over the top. However, they praised his use of aquarium rocks on the patterned top and loved his circle skirt. No one even cared that the skirt was pretty much see-through.

Heidi was firmly in Anthony's corner, while Nina was planted in Olivier's. And guess what? Nina got her way again: the ugly, inferior design triumphed, just like in last season's finale! Olivier and his indeterminate (possibly fake) accent got the win and immunity for the next challenge.

In the Bottom 3 were Bryce, Fallene and Josh C. Sneering at Bryce's blue wee-wee pad fairy princess design, Kors complained about the number of ghastly "napkin dresses" he's witnessed during his time in that chair. Even so, Bryce's design was deemed the least offensive of the three, and he was sent to safety.

Bottom 3 designs

Bottom 3 Designs (L-R): Bryce, Fallene and Josh C.

Viktor's design

That left Josh C. and Fallene on the chopping block. Nina was turned off by the colors of Fallene's dog bed-and-seaweed dress, a drab brown and orange number that prompted Kors to dub her model "Miss Pumpkin." (Not to be confused with The Great Pumpkin.) Fallene didn't even attempt to defend the design, saying that even she hated it. None of the judges were happy with Josh C.'s use of an umbrella to make what Stacey called a "90s bar scene" dress. Kors blasted him for missing the whole point of the challenge, by "picking the most conventional materials and putting them together in a conventional way."

Although the judges were a bit baffled by Fallene's attitude, after all the foreshadowing (not to mention two straight weeks in the Bottom 3), Josh C. was unsurprisingly auf'd. For some reason, it made Tim Gunn very emotional. It didn't really bother me. I'm more of a Josh M. girl.

Actually, this week, I was totally a Viktor girl. I think that the judges really missed the boat on his purple wee-wee pad dress. I LOVED it and thought it was hands down the best design. The way Viktor dyed and layered those puppy pee pads to make them look like expensive fabric was just...here it comes...rebarkable. (Groan all you want. I've been dying to make a bad dog pun all recap long.) It's one thing to not win, but how could he not even make the Top 3?? Screw what's editorial; lots of women could and would wear Viktor's design. And it's 80% more absorbent than the average dress!

Auf wiedersehen - see you next week!

Photo Credits: Barbara Nitke/Richard McLaren © 2011 Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC