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Episode 5: Designing For The Working Woman: Tudor Queens, Astronauts, and Strippers

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Welcome to Week Five of Project Runway. Heidi and Nina announce that for this episode's challenge, our designers must split into two teams and create capsule collections for a new Marie Claire publication for working women, Marie Claire@Work. They say that the designs must be editorial but also, "work appropriate," but don't say for what types of jobs. Judging by the eventual results, we're thinking the designers interpreted this to mean cocktail waitresses in the tropics, Tudor Queens of England, astronauts, and hookers. Each team must also direct a photo shoot of their designs. The winning team's photos will be published in the magazine.

Since we've had two designers fly the coop early this season, but only one designer returning, the number of people on the teams is uneven. One team, which only has five people on it (Gunnar, Christopher, Ven, Nathan and Fabio) is creatively titled "Team Five." The other team, which has six designers on it (Elana, Dmitri, Alicia, Melissa, Sonjia and Raul) is innovatively dubbed "Team Six." Fortunately, no one involved with this episode was responsible for naming Mood's dog, otherwise "Swatch" might have been called "Pet Dog."

Team Five starts out strong. They're organized and focused, and the men all get along—aside from Gunnar, who is too busy playing Scarlett O'Hara for the cameras. Elana, who, fortunately for Team Five, is on Team Six, dubs them "The Silk Chiffonies" because they tend to make all their clothing out of silk or chiffon, neither of which is particularly practical for women to wear to the office. Ven is on this team, and once again, his decision to use draping shows him to be a one trick pony, or a "One way monkey," as the always fabulous, but occasionally language-befuddled, Dmitri accidentally puts it.

Team Six, on the other hand, is a disaster. They're stuck with Raul and Elana—both of whom have huge chips on their shoulders—which might explain why Elana makes all her jackets so over-sized. Raul is so terrified of being kicked off again that he won't compromise his vision at all, even if it doesn't match with that of the rest of his team. Elana is slightly more willing to make garments that fit into the group's aesthetic, but she needs to control everything else. When she's not rudely bossing everyone around, Elana goes into such crazed melt downs that Christopher describes her as having "just escaped from the woods." Dmitri, for his part, insists that, "Everyone hates Elana even if they say they like her, they hate her." She's so bad that Gunnar claims, "I'd rather eat dirt than work with Elana." And here we thought Fabio was the Freegan.

Joining Michael and Nina this week is guest judge Joanna Coles, the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire. Joanna has been a Project Runway guest judge many times, as well as playing the (anti-) Tim Gunn for Project Runway All Stars. We always enjoy her appearances because she's outspoken and funny and knows her stuff. As usual, Heidi Klum joins in with the judging too. She insists that women can wear dresses with cutaway peepholes like Dmitri's to work. Yes, Heidi, they can if they're strippers.

We are told that there was a tie between the two teams, so the winning and losing designers can be chosen from either one. Color us skeptical, but we're not buying it. Team Six is given the prize of the photo shoot, so if they'd officially been given the win, that would mean that the loser would have had to come from Team Five. And since every member of team five—including Gunnar—picked Gunnar as their weakest link, he would have had to go home. We learn during deliberations, however, that the judges don't want to lose their bitchiest talking head of the season, when Heidi frets, "So Gunnar goes home?" And Michael gasps, "Oh God." Welcome to Tie-gate.

Our winning designer for the week is Melissa with a chic, dramatic, giant-necked blue sheath, which looks slightly NASA inspired. Also, from certain angles, it kind of resembles an unfurled blue condom. If you're wondering who Melissa is, don't feel bad, we had to look her name up again, too. She's been pretty low on the editors' radars. Before this week all we knew about the likeable Melissa was that she prefers designing in black.

Also in the top two was Fabio with a black and white dress which we found kind of dull, but which Michael loved. He felt that women from their twenties to their sixties would wear it. Translation: plain and generic.

Second from the bottom this week was the aforementioned Gunnar, whose dress didn't flatter his model's breasts. It inspired critiques like Joanna's: "When that dress came down the runway I thought it looked like two puppies wrestling in a sack." Heidi concurred, saying it gave his model, "Floating soufflé boobs."

And our loser for the week, once again, is Raul, looking like a Confederate Squiggy. Raul designed both an unattractive black ruffled blouse and a plain leather top—which was originally a badly cut vest. We are not sad to see Raul go. His poor designs were compounded by his poor attitude. Raul was a complete diva during the episode, refusing to compromise with his teammates and constantly fighting with Elana.

And while we normally believe that anyone arguing with the erratic Elana is probably in the right, Raul completely lost us with his exit—the rudest in Project Runway history. In front of all the other designers, Raul said to Elana, "I hate your ass. Get the f**k out of here—she needs to be out of here." He then followed it with, "I don't make garments in five to seven hours. This is not who I am, so at this point I'm happy to go home."

We're happy to see you go home again too, Raul. Congratulations on doing it with such class.


Goodbye Confederate Squiggy

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