'Project Runway' Recap: Avant-Garde Doesn't Translate to 'Vampire-Hooker'

joshua c. project runway season 9On tonight's Project Runway, the designers were presented with one of the coolest challenges yet: Work with an art school student (ranging in ages from 11 to 17) from the Harlem School of the Arts on a painting, and then, they were to use that art as inspiration for an avant-garde design. How totally adorable and so creative! Seems like the designers could have had a lot of fun with this, but anxieties ran high. It seemed like they were all super-stressed that their avant-garde (which Tim pointed out means "to lead") designs had to ride a fine line between too costume-y and too dull. It also couldn't be a literal interpretation of the painting. Not that easy a challenge after all!

Interestingly, what ended up "working" were the designs that really struck that balance. And the ones that didn't ... well, honestly, they ended up looking like trash. No, really. Actual garbage.


Kicking off the winners circle: Josh McKinley's burning tree dress, which he devoted to his mom who passed away a couple of years ago from ovarian cancer, was pretty wild, with a crazy "flame-y" top and subdued, hand-painted full-cut skirt that was meant to look like wood with initials carved in it. Yet, as "out there" as that sounds, I could totally see myself or many women wearing at least the bottom half. Love.

And Laura Kathleen's "fairy" rose gown was also spectacular and so not the frou-frou "prom dress" the fellow designers were trashing her for creating earlier in the episode.

But the stand-out was definitely Anthony Ryan's "bold brushstrokes" dress. He and his student had done self-portraits in leaf-like impressionistic brushstrokes, and so he created a nude dress with Jackson Pollock-y attached swipes of color. As Michael Kors noted, it had the "attitude of the painting without being literal." It really was a very cool dress, and it totally deserved to WIN! He was also so cute when he won and said, "I'm not a bridesmaid anymore! I'm an official bride!" Aww!

As for the LOSERS, Olivier's over-thought yet dully colored dress was totally depressing. Bert's crazy jumper or whatever the hell it was DID look like a "Teletubbie costume" (again a Kors-ism, ha!) and was simply horrendous to me, and to most of the judges (sans Heidi who is the only person probably on the planet who could make that thing work).

But the judges sent Josh C. home AGAIN for his vampire hooker/cocktail waitress-meets-Rocky Horror Picture Show interpretation of the intense wolf painting he did with his student. It definitely looked like something you might pick up at the mall if you were planning to dress up for Halloween as a 1890s-meets-1990s streetwalker. I don't think it helped that he defended it even when the judges told him it was crap. (That is definitely a NO-NO!) How sad that he "mucked it up again," but he does seem to have a really upbeat attitude. He's a cutie pie, but it seems like his forte is just not high-fashion. Maybe he should try submitting his resume to the design houses of Wet Seal or Charlotte Russe?

Do you think Josh C. should have gotten eliminated for the second time?


Image via Lifetime

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