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'Project Runway' 9: The Hurdles Of A Team Challenge

Becky Broderick Becky Broderick
August 26th, 2011 11:00am EDT

If the "Project Runway" designers thought trying to please Nina was tough, then they were in for it this week. Not only did they have to work in *grumble grumble* teams again, but they had to pick team captains by running around a track at some ungodly hour of the morning.

Project Runway designers

Equipped with New Balance tee shirts and shorts, which were apparently slipped in to everyone's rooms overnight by the Fashion Fairy, the gang met up with Heidi and Tim at the New Balance Track and Field Center, where they learned that their challenge was to design looks for Heidi's New Balance line. That's right, Garnier took a backseat for this episode. It's all about New Balance. NEW BALANCE, I said!

The race to determine team captains was not without its casualties. The first was Cecilia, who sourly announced that she'd had enough of the competition and quickly ran off in the other direction. The second, third and fourth were Olivier's kneecap, consciousness and pride (in that order), all of which briefly took a hit when he took a dive on the track.

When the race was over, four captains emerged and the dodgeball-style team picking began. The four teams were:
Team Joshua - Joshua, Anya and Becky
Team Bryce - Bryce, Kimberly and Danielle
Team Anthony - Anthony, Laura and Bert
Team Viktor - Viktor, Olivier and ...?

Because of Cecilia's defection, Heidi gave Viktor the opportunity to bring back any of the previously eliminated contestants, and it took about 30 seconds for him to decide on Josh C.

Each team was tasked with designing three looks that Heidi described as "basic with a twist." The looks all had to be fashion forward, incorporate denim and/or suede, and pair well with sneakers. The winning look would be sold as part of Heidi's line on Amazon.com.

During the initial sketching sessions, two teams immediately showed cracks. Joshua cozied up to Anya while simultaneously shooting down all of Becky's ideas. Meanwhile, Anthony and Laura huddled together as they attempted to ride out Hurricane Bert.

After a stressful trip to Mood, everyone headed back to the workroom for even more stress! Heidi and Tim weren't happy with everything they saw during their initial rounds, so they gave the designers (who previously were given until 11:00 p.m. to finish) seven extra hours to complete their looks. For two teams, the extra time didn't necessarily help things go any smoother.

Becky bemoaned her role on Joshua's team, which she saw as basically "an intern who's there to sew." In Becky's defense, these designers come to "Project Runway" to design, so being told to just shut up and sew can't be fun. And Tim's warning that being placed in a "marginalized role" could get her thrown under the bus certainly didn't make her feel any better. But in Joshua's defense, he is allowed to choose his team based on any criteria he wants, and a strong leader knows how to best use his resources. Still, Joshua needs to learn how to lead without being such a little bitch about it. Things came to a head when he told Becky that he didn't want her input because her designs were "dowdy" (calling her demographic "age 40 to death"), which sent her to the bathroom for a good cry. Anya tried to console her teammate and eventually Captain Bitchy Britches apologized for his remarks. After a group hug, things got back on track.  

Never to get back on track again was Team Anthony. Anthony and Laura were so against working with Bert that they set a very exclusionary tone from the start. I don't blame Bert for being annoyed with them, but I do blame him for being kind of a pompous ass. I mean, his statement about not being able to remember Anthony's name because he only remembers the names of people who are "significant?" Come on. How is it that Bert is the oldest one there, yet manages to act like the biggest child of all? When he and Joshua got into a tiff over a sewing machine (when there are, like, 50 machines available), it sounded like a third-grade playground: "Drop dead," "You're a lot closer to death than me," "Death would be a blessing," "I don't shut up, I grow up, and when I look at you I throw up, and I make you lick it up." OK, so no one said that last bit. YET.

At the runway show, featuring guest judge, model/designer Erin Wasson, the panel couldn't pick a clear winning and losing team, as each one had good and bad points. 

Viktor and Joshua's designs

Nina liked Team Viktor's collection, which everyone agreed was the most consistent. Everyone also loved Viktor's cute knit dress/leather jacket outfit, and he was named the winner.

But wait! Heidi also loved the maxi dress that Anya designed for Team Joshua. And, because of Joshua's strong leadership, he was named the challenge co-winner. Both Viktor and Joshua's looks would be sold on Amazon.com and both designers would have immunity next week.

Anthony and Laura's looks were panned by the judges, who said that Bert's look was the best one of their collection. (Insert eye-rolls from Anthony and inappropriate laughter from Bert.) Kors couldn't believe Anthony's messy romper "achieved the impossible" by giving his model "camel toe in big shorts." Nina gave Anthony a good, motherly talking-to: "Instead of focusing so much time on Bert, you should have focused on your own design." 

While it seemed like Anthony was the biggest loser this week and that Team Bryce was in the clear, Nina and Kors started pulling for Danielle to be auf'd for turning in "another boring chiffon blouse." The team arguments rubbed off on Heidi and Nina, as they started to get a bit heated talking about whether past challenges should be taken into account when deciding who to eliminate.

Danielle and Anthony's designs

Heidi made sure to let Anthony know that, if it had just been up to her, he would have been the one out. But in the end, Nina got her way and Danielle was sent home. Poor Danielle. She never did turn out to be crazy like I suspected at the beginning of the season. She really did seem nice. Ah well. Perhaps if she had been a nut job, she'd still be around.

On the next episode, the designers get to work with kids. I've got $10 on the "I don't shut up, I grow up" retort finally making its way into the show. And it won't be uttered by anyone under 18.

Auf wiedersehen - see you next week!

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