'Project Runway' Recap: New York Is a Black and Boring Place

Jill Baughman

Project Runway 8So we're down to the final five contestants, and this is the last challenge to "wow" the judges until the designers get to show their collection for a shot at Fashion Week.

They walk into a presidential suite at the Mandarin Oriental, which apparently is a more "New York" place than, say, the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building?

It's Gretchen, Andy, Michael C., Mondo, and April who are left. They're feeling the pressure and they all want to win. Tim Gunn introduces the designers to their special guest, Mayor Bloomberg. Their final challenge: They get to design a look inspired by NYC. Of course, Tim tells them all to make it work!

They'll have $500, and it's the most budget they've had all season. Michael C. goes for the Statue of Liberty. April and Mondo choose the Brooklyn Bridge. Andy picks Central Park. Gretchen goes to the Lower East Side. Really? Lower East Side? Perhaps she could be inspired by 10 people living in a 1-bedroom apartment paying $1,000 rent each?

They start designing, with Andy "giving birth to a Chinese prostitute," Michael choosing a long, flowing, black gown, and April, shockingly, picking black fabric. What's up with all of this black? And, in the middle of it all, Mondo takes a nap. Also of note: Michael C. does quite a great impression of Michael Kors.

Heidi, in a moment of utter brilliance, comes out and says there are five of them there, and that after the runway show, there will be less than five. Most penetrating insight ever.

Christian Siriano, who won the fourth season of Project Runway, is the guest judge. Fierce!

Project Runway 8

Mondo: He went to the Brooklyn Bridge, and he says looking through the cables created an optical illusion. Michael K. notes that he proved color isn't his clutch. He likes that he dealt with something architectural and neutral colors, but it's still Mondo. Nina thinks she's seen a range from him and loves the dress. Heidi would've loved to see something different, as she's seen this dress before. Christian thinks it's chic and likes the mix of the textiles. I really am surprised Mondo didn't go for more color, though he wisely opted not to incorporate the yellow sequins he found. But there's no way Mondo is going home; he's the most exciting designer left on the show.

Project Runway 8

Andy: Michael K. says the last thing he sees in this outfit is Central Park. The Asian warrior woman look doesn't seem like the freshest, but it's beautifully crafted. Nina likes the "wet" look. Heidi thinks the lines make it look even better. Nina thinks it's the perfect little black dress. Christian loves the dress and seaming, and he likes the little black bracelet. I feel like Andy can't get away from this warrior look, and I'm curious to see if he can think outside the box at Fashion Week. He's had some moments of brilliance and moments of total failure, but I like Andy and am hoping he'll pull through next week.

Project Runway 8

Gretchen: Michael K. is just confused, and thinks she really lost her steam. He says, “I don’t think it looks downtown; I don’t think it looks uptown. I think it looks midtown. ” Hilarious. Nina thinks another designer took over. Gretchen says she's run out of steam and starts to cry. Should've taken a nap like Mondo. Christian likes that it's wearable, but is wondering what she was thinking. He thinks the blouse and skirt are off the rack. Heidi thinks she's a better designer than this and was quite surprised. The top is boring, the leather jacket doesn't really go with the outfit, and the whole thing was, exactly as Gretchen put it, "under-inspired." But the producers would never let her go. She's too much fun to dislike.

Project Runway 8

April: Michael K. says the sameness she always puts out is numbing, and she's made the same version of this so many times. There's no joy in her clothes. He observes the model looks like a "pregnant witch." Heidi wonders why there's no color. She's disappointed in the lack of surprise, and April starts crying, so Heidi quickly admits she likes the lines. Nina says it's a missed opportunity and isn't sure if she has any range besides that. Christian likes the cut. They showed all of April's designs together, and they all were the same boring, slightly goth, black look. And I do feel like this is something I'd wear for Halloween as a witch costume.

Project Runway 8

Michael C.: Michael K. says he got a show-stopper, that it's beautifully cut and draped. Nina is very impressed with the back and says it fits and moves nicely. Christian notes it has an old Hollywood glamor to it. Heidi loved the super-high slit. I thought this dress was a big boring-looking for the final challenge, but the dress does move quite elegantly, which unfortunately you can't tell from this picture. But flowing and black? Oh well ...

After deliberation, the judges said they all loved Michael C.'s dress, and he's safe! Poor Ivy probably just threw up her dinner. The judges loved what Mondo did and of course he's in. Even though the judges are worried about Andy's warrior woman theme, he's in too. It's down to the two girls.

And Gretchen's in, April's out!! That means Gretchen, Mondo, Michael C., and Andy are on their way to Fashion Week. I don't know why the first person she hugged when she got backstage was Michael C., but that's why the producers can't get rid of her: She's just too entertaining.

Next week, Tim will come over to their houses and check on everyone's collection. The four will be competing for three spaces. Tune in next week to see who makes it!

Do you think Michael C.'s dress should have won? Think April deserved to go home?

Images via MyLifetime.com


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