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Episode Seven: In Which Ben's Hands Get Mauled by Metal Stuff

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It's the seventh week of Project Runway, and an enormously pregnant Heidi tells the designers that they'll be learning about their challenge from "One of America's top designers," but doesn't say who. With great anticipation, the contestants head to SOHO to meet...Michael Kors. We'd snark, "Gee, how did they manage to snag him?" if the producers hadn't done the exact same thing in Los Angeles last season... Michael informs the designers that they each must make an innovative outfit and a matching accessory and then sends them off to buy their "materials" at Scheman and Grant Hardware store.

The designers quickly discover that working with hardware store "materials" like mesh, copper and washers is difficult. Emilio can't afford enough washers and cord to make a whole dress. Anthony and Jay find that sewing mesh and plastic destroys the materials, and Ben, in one of his only talking head commentaries of the season, says that working with metal makes his hands look like they were "attacked by a feral animal."

Once again, both Nina and Michael are judging. Joining them are two guest judges: one of Michelle Obama's favorite clothing designers, Isabel Toledo, and the witty British jewelry designer, Stephen Webster.

Our top three designs for the week are Mila's Mod inspired dress, manufactured from paint trays; Jay's leather looking pants, top and belt, all constructed out of garbage bags; and Maya's striking cord woven jacket, mesh dress and dramatic necklace made from keys. The winner is an ecstatic Jay, who talks about his background as a community college dropout. The bottom three this week are Anthony's dull lavender mesh cocktail dress; Emilio's washer and cord woven skimpy swimsuit-- which even Barbarella would have found too revealing; and Jesse's silver dress, which looks like an over popped pan of Jiffy Pop. Emilio, despite creating a disaster of an outfit and then lying about its inspiration, is safe, possibly because the judges take into account his whole body of work. So Heidi bids, "auf Wiedersehen" to a bitter Jesse.

In our As Tears Go By count, Jay cries while talking about his goals and dreams, which brings the number of crying jags for this season to twelve.

And now for this week's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...

10. Anthony says, "These materials are really starting to control me." Anthony, if by "control" you means "forcing you to turn them into a mother of the bride dress," then yes, they are.

9. Concerned about his copper's sharp edges, Jonathan says, "The last thing I want to do is physically harm my model." We agree. Unless it's Alexis.

8. In describing Emilio's bikini, Anthony says, "I don't think it's done in the best of taste," which is like Michael Kors saying, "George Hamilton's suntan doesn't look all that natural."

7. As part of their task, the designers are told to create their own original accessories. Bluefly.com immediately demands their product placement money back.

6. Seth Aaron writes his own initials on his model's neck using black electrical tape. Sorry Seth Aaron, but if that's your accessory, it doesn't count as a "monogrammed bag."

5. Looking at all the metal clothing, Tim Gunn says, "I feel like I'm in The Arms and Armor Wing of The Met." Ben's stiff, oversized dress looks more like it should encase one of the inhabitants of The Egyptian Wing.

4. Mila says her outfit is "Mod inspired." Mila, we know Mary Quant's work, and you Ma'am, are no Mary Quant.

3. When Isabel Toledo praises Emilio for putting a lot of thought into doing something different, Heidi and Michael give each other knowing looks that seem to say, "sucker."

2. Jay's model offers, "If you need me to Crisco, I will." We bet this isn't the only time someone from Project Runway has offered to grease up, although we're pretty sure it's the first time it's happened on camera.

1. After Michael and Heidi describe Jesse's dress as "Tin Man, Hershey Kiss, ballerina, garbage, newspaper, and a dirty vacuum bag," Michael elaborates with the beautifully snide, "These are fabulous fashion references."


· I'm Scared of Children, They're Very Small [Racked]

· Showdown at the Tents; Project Runway's Real Top Ten [Racked]

· The Biggest Challenge in the History of Project Runway. Really [Racked]