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It's week six of Project Runway and Heidi Klum sends the designers back to secondary school. Surprisingly, it's not because of their maturity levels—they're actually going back to work on a challenge with students from the Harlem School of the Arts. There, each designer is paired with a student artist, many of whom are more talented than their assigned designers. Each pair creates a painting, which the designer must then use as the inspiration for an avant-garde dress. Unfortunately, many of the designers think the definition of "avant-garde" is "ugly."
Most of the designers quickly bond with their artists—the astute eleven year old, Kai, even gets an afterschool job as Laura's new life coach. Viktor, however, is not a fan of children, particularly his partner, the outspoken Skyy. But once Skyy explains to Tim Gunn why she thinks Viktor's design is great, the designer becomes so smitten, he's ready to adopt her. As his agent.
The designers are given two days for the challenge, so for once, they are not working on the verge of exhaustion. This, combined with the facts that this isn't a team challenge and that Bert seems to be working his Fifth Step, means there are no battling contestants. In response, the producers schedule a team challenge for next week.
Michael Kors is judging this week. Joining him, is Marie Claire's Zanna Roberts Rassi, a temporary replacement for Nina Garcia—Nina needed to regain her strength after throwing her weight around so heavily for the last two episodes. And if you're producing an avant-garde challenge, who else would you get to be the guest judge, but that arbiter of edgy, Kenneth Cole? Perhaps the folks at Talbots were busy.
Our top two runners up this week are Josh M, with his ugly neoprene hand-painted tree trunk skirt and bright top—which looks like it's made from plastic leis; and Laura, with her post-modern daffodil prom dress. Our winner is Anthony Ryan, with a shear dress covered in strips of fabric simulating paint strokes. Anthony Ryan's victory comes despite Kenneth Cole's repeated insistence that the dress is poorly constructed. Obviously, when it comes to winning fashion battles, Kenneth is no Nina.
Our bottom three for the week are Bert, with his Humpty Dumpty meets MC Hammer pants and his top with a baby's mobile tacked onto it; Olivier, whose dullness is finally recognized by the judges—despite his first inclusion of color this season; and Josh C, whose reinterpretation of a wolf painting manifests itself as an outfit for a cocktail waitress at a cheap bondage bar. For the second time this season, Heidi is forced to bid "auf Wiedersehen," to Josh C. Unless Josh C has a third coming, Josh M will now go back to being known as just "Josh." Although maybe we should keep using his "M"—for "mean."
And now for this week's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...
10. In response to his artist's painting of a tree, Josh M complains, "I am not organic. I like things that are fake." This explains his tan. And his personality.
9. Joshua C's teen artist partner Sasha declares, "I'm going to cry every time they say anything negative about your work." Stock prices on Kleenex skyrocket.
8. This week, much to our surprise, Bert's attitude is better than his garment.
7. Josh M says that he'd like to think his skills in "team direction" on the last challenge helped focus Becky's energy and opened her up to being "more creative" on this one. Then he kicks Stephen Hawking and takes credit for his theories in Quantum Cosmology.
6. Josh C takes some fake fur and makes a faux Mohawk on his head. It's his most successful design of the season.
5. Heidi announces the challenge saying, "For some of you, it's probably been a while since you've been in the classroom," then looks at Bert as though he was schooled on a hornbook.
4. Laura purposefully burns the edges of her organza flowers saying, "It kind of smells like when I used to burn my Barbies." Warning: This may be the little girl equivalent of torturing small animals.
3. Bryce says, "If Bert wins, I'm jumping out that f**king window." Sadly, Bert does not win.
2. When Oliver's artist asks him what type of music he likes to listen to while he's working, he responds with, "I like really depressing music." That explains all the beige.
1. Tim chases Swatch through the aisles of Mood, his arms outstretched like Frankenstein.
Next Friday, along with our recap, we'll be covering Project Runway's live Fashion Week runway show (Can you guess the decoys?). Look out for that and our coverage of other special Project Runway Fashion Week events.
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