Project Runway Recap: ‘Like Walking Depression’

A look from episode 8. Photo: Lifetime

Before we get started, here’s a nice update on the story of Ven’s bullied client Terri from a couple of weeks back: She’s said on Twitter that because of the response she’s gotten from fans of the show, she’s never felt more courageous or confident.

Moving on! The designers meet Heidi at the runway, and she asks who’s good at negotiating. They all raise their hands. (Spoiler alert: Most of them are wrong.) Heidi then sends the designers to the workroom, where Tim is waiting with the details of their challenge and plenty of arts and crafts supplies. Elena, still gunning hard for this season’s Best Attitude award, announces, “I don’t like sparkles. I don’t like glitter. I don’t like any of that shit.” Tim tells the designers there’s no budget to shop at Mood this week; instead, they’ll create and sell T-shirts and tote bags to sell on the street to raise money. Tim also tells the designers that they could offer fashion advice or do alterations to raise funds; depressingly, none of the designers take him up on this.

And, much to the chagrin of the designers, it’s a team challenge! Tim uses the button bag to pick teams, and it’s Christopher, Gunnar, and Sophia; Melissa, Ven, and Fabio; and Dmitry, Elena, and Alicia. When Dmitry walks over to join Elena, he exclaims, “My love!” Then, off-camera, he laments, “What did I do in my past life to deserve this?” The designers still don’t know what the actual challenge will be, but it’s legitimately fun to watch them to watch them make crafts to sell — Sonjia’s spray-paint-stenciled T-shirts and Ven’s jersey-and-notion bracelets are standouts, while Elena calls her team’s efforts “the most homeless looking T-shirts I’ve ever seen.” Dmitry’s responds, “SHE’S LIKE WALKING DEPRESSION.”

The teams hit the streets to sell their wares (it’s roughly as difficult as one would expect selling shirts in the middle of New York to be), and in the end Christopher’s team raises $684, Dmitry’s team raises $500, and Ven’s team raises $800.48. In an oddly humane touch, the designers are sent home for a good night’s rest after their day of street hustling; the next morning, Tim introduces the true challenge: The teams must create two looks for fall, and at least one look has to include outerwear. After some strategizing, it’s off to Mood, where it’s revealed that Mood has an in-store dog named Swatch. How does that dog not have its own series yet!?

After the teams have had some time to work, Tim sweeps into the runway with a “How is everyone?” When the designers’ response is mumbled, he frowns and says, “Boy, THERE’S a tone of enthusiasm.” When he meets with Alicia, Dmitry, and Elena, he’s generally underwhelmed, but when Dmitry shows him the exposed darts on his dress, Tim actually jerks his head back and forth like he’s being electrically shocked. Trying to recover gracefully, he says, “I mean … it’s a point of view.” He moves on to Fabio, Melissa, and Ven, and is delightfully pleased about how he’s inadvertently said their names in alphabetical order. Then he calls out Ven’s skirt, and it’s delightful to hear SOMEONE this season tell Ven to stop doing the exact same thing in every challenge. Meanwhile, Christopher, Gunnar, and Sonjia already have finished work on their dress forms, and even if Elena thinks some of it looks like “ugly ass Snuggies,” that’s far better shape than any other team is in.

And, just like the past few challenges (team or otherwise), it’s Elena’s moods that govern the workroom. “To kill the witch,” Dmitry says, “we need a silver bullet and a wooden stick.” This is factually inaccurate — that’s how you’d kill a vampire-werewolf hybrid — but points for hilarity, Dmitry. Later, she half-apologizes for being angry on the runway, and he points out that she essentially wakes up angry. There are moments when their Boris and Natasha banter (as Christopher described it) is funny, but a lot of the time, Elena is difficult to watch, and I think that’s because of how staunchly she’s asserted that she absolutely has to be this way in order to survive as a designer. That’s just not true. Intensity is a necessity. Anger isn’t.

Down at the runway, the judges (joined by Anna Sui), deem the efforts of Gunnar, Christopher, and Sonjia “the clear winner” of the challenge, and Sonjia wins the top spot for her impeccably tailored, expensive-looking jacket. The judges weren’t fond of any of the other teams’ looks, but ultimately, Alicia’s unimpressive pants result in her elimination.

Click through the slideshow to see all of this week’s looks. Did Alicia deserve to go home when Elena’s behavior was so monstrous? And who’s destined for a meltdown next week?