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It's week two of Project Runway and time for this season's unconventional materials challenge. Once again the designers are working with candy. Our all time favorite episode of Project Runway was back in Season Four when the designers went to the Hershey Store and Rami, Chris March, Christian, and Jillian all created amazing pop-art garments which we wanted to wear (and eat).
This time around, the designers go to Dylan's Candy Bar, an expensive candy shop—er make that, "A state of the art sweets emporium," owned by Ralph Lauren's daughter Dylan Lauren. Each designer is given $250 to spend, but at Dylan's that pretty much just covers a light snack. Luckily, they're also given a 50% discount.
Unconventional material challenges are a chance to see how innovative the designers can be when pushed outside of their comfort zones. Considering the difficulty of working with candy, for the most part things go smoothly. Since this is New York, we expect the designers to return to the workroom on the second day of the challenge to find that rats or roaches have devoured their garments, but the only crisis they face is that Buffi's and Kooan's cotton candy deflates.
Our guest judge this week is Dylan Lauren. Last week Pat Fields and Lauren Graham had to share the guest judge spotlight, but this time around the confectioner gets the judging chair all to herself. And why shouldn't she, since she provides useful commentary like, "He only used two types of candy," and "Turquoise is my favorite color."
Our winner for the week is Ven, whose stained glass-like dress, made of licorice and crushed rock candy, is so beautiful that we actually gasp when it comes down the runway. Although we've already declared that Ven, who is about as humble as Donald Trump, is most likely to win the season, we'll now qualify our prediction. If he wants to win, he probably shouldn't continue using a rose motif in every garment. No matter how short his dresses are, the day will come when Heidi will decide she doesn't want to look like a church window.
Coming in a close second this time is Sonjia, who might as well not have been on the show's first episode considering how little we saw so little of her. This week she's a stand-out, using blue and white gumballs, jelly beans, Jordan Almonds and gummy sharks to make a dress which Nina describes as, "A little bit of Judy Jetson/mermaid." Amazingly, the normally costume-loathing Nina means this as a compliment.
In third places is Gunnar, with a black and white checked dress featuring a black peplum. You might remember Gunnar making it into the top twenty last season, only to be aufed during the first episode. You might think getting this second opportunity would have humbled him. You would be wrong. He spends most of the first two episodes trashing his fellow castmate, Christopher. Christopher, in turn, spends most of his time trashing Gunnar. The irony is that the two look so much alike, that if you don't look at your screen closely it seems as though it's just one designer who keeps insulting himself.
As for our bottom three, things are not so sweet. Coming in third from the bottom is Elena, who once again designs a Mad Max-shouldered silhouette. The dress, which is made from Piña Colada Twizzlers, literally falls apart on the runway, but that's the least of the judges' problems with it. Heidi says it makes the model appear so big, "She looks like a dude," and compares it to the art her children make with noodles. Michael says that when he stares at the dress, "It is like looking at a cloud—you start seeing things...Right now her boobs are turning into old man's eyes and the crotch looks like a mustache."
Elena, who earlier in the show reacts to a small glue gun injury as though it was a severed artery, doesn't take their criticisms well. She keeps repeatedly defending her aesthetic saying, "I can only stay true to myself." After this week, perhaps Elena should consider staying true to Mondo's aesthetic instead.
Second from the bottom is Buffi, whose commentary is as loud as her clothing. She pairs a creatively woven orange top with a pink, puffy, paper skirt, citing Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw as her inspiration. Heidi thinks Buffi's model looks more like "a five year old going to a birthday party," and Michael thinks she looks like "Toddlers and Tiaras gone berserk." Buffi gets so nervous being up on the runway for the judging that she says, "I did actually poop a little up there." Now there's the makings for an unconventional materials challenge.
Our losing designer for the week, whom anyone who has ever watched an unconventional materials challenge could easily have predicted, is Lantie, who creates a garment out of umbrella fabric and very little candy. Never make the focus of your garment for this type of challenge anything even remotely fabric-like. When the judges criticize her for falling short two weeks in a row, Lantie says she didn't have enough time. If using conventional materials wasn't enough to get her booted, using a conventional excuse is. The normally nurturing Tim Gunn politely sends her on her way with no comforting words about how talented she is or how much they'll miss her, because he obviously thinks she's not and they won't.
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