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‘Runway’ Recap: Designers Try to Get Sporty

For last night’s challenge on Project Runway, the designers had to create an outfit for a female athlete for the Olympics opening ceremony. Now let’s recall that the opening-ceremony outfits this year for our country are classy navy blazers with white driving hats and canvas walking shoes, designed by Ralph Lauren. Quite simple attire. But do Project Runway contestants understand that that kind of look is what’s appropriate for such a day? Of course not! People like Stella don’t know sports.

From the moment they embark on their field trip to the armory with Tim Gunn, the designers are out of their element. Especially little Blayne who’s deprived of a tanning bed. “Other people go to the gym. I go tanning,” he tells Tim in the car. Doesn’t he just make you want to learn so much more about his fascinating life every time his lips part to speak? When the designers arrive at their destination, ominous official-sounding brassy music kicks in as they walk onto the track. And who could that “speed racer” (as Stella calls him) be Rollerblading to Tim’s side with the greatest of ease? Why it’s Apollo Ohno! Wearing a distractingly oversize T-shirt, no less. Yes, this show is just oozing forward-thinking fashion this evening. Luckily Terri and Suede know who he is, but Daniel and Stella, on the other hand, are utterly lost. So are we, though — let’s just say this challenge is striking us as kind of lame and weird from the get-go.

Apollo tells the designers the opening ceremony is “the Olympian’s version of a catwalk.” (He so wrote that one himself.) And Tim tells the designers they’re walking in the footsteps of Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani, who have both designed opening-ceremony uniforms for their countries. Except they’re not really following in their footsteps because it’s not like the winner’s outfit is going to be worn at the actual Olympics. But let’s not get caught up in details, people.

Now that we’ve reached episode four, the designers are coming up with conspiracy theories about each other. Terri accuses Keith of stealing her fabric at the fabric store. But Joe takes the Negative Nancy cake this episode when, back in the work room, he accuses Daniel of “stealing” his sewing machine. He had his white thread in there and everything! He confronts Daniel, who’s sitting among about a hundred other empty sewing machines. The Cut would call these people “babies,” but Suede — yet again referring to himself in the third person — has a better word for the situation: “wackadoodle.” (Can he just rewrite the rules of diction and grammar and get it over with already?) We hated that Joe tried to mess with adorable unathletic Daniel, but we loved that he made a skort. When was the last time you wore a skort, thought about a skort, saw a skort, or said the word “skort”? Skort, skortity, skort, skort, skort. SO FUN. And his outfit looked pretty good.

But back to Apollo: Did he validate his star power with his judging expertise? Well, he offered insights about as profound as Heidi’s usually are, like that Jerell’s striped high-waisted skirt-and-blouse combo didn’t look very athletic. (We thought it looked more like Little Bo Peep went to Hot Topic to get a cowgirl costume for Halloween.) But hey, at least he threw some leggings in there.

Korto’s and Jennifer’s dresses.Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

In the end Korto’s white wide-leg-pants-an-matching-vest combo take the prize, and we agree with the judges. It was simple, appropriate, and kind of classy. Poor Daniel winds up in the bottom two because his blue-satin dress looks like a jazzed-up version of what a flight attendant might have worn 50 years ago. He finds himself there with Jennifer, who was also there last week. We could have let her go easily last week so we’re more than relieved when she gets kicked off this week. Frankly, she was just boring and her confusing yellow-striped-skirt-black-sweater outfit belongs at a funeral for Barbie, not the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

And a quick note on Heidi Klum: Did anyone else notice how angry and stiff she seemed this episode? Maybe her hair was pulled back too tightly. Or maybe she was worried about Apollo stealing her thunder, because when she introduced him as “one of the most stylish Olympians ever” she said it so tersely she sounded envious of his glamour or something. Heidi: You’re really pretty. In fact, you’re often the prettiest wherever you are. Don’t worry.

‘Runway’ Recap: Designers Try to Get Sporty