March 20, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Project Runway Season 11 Episode 8: ‘Thunder From Down Under’

"Come on designers, 'make it work'"

By Greta Chapin McGill

Santa Fe Fashion and Style

Greta is an artist, writer and renaissance woman

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Eight designers left and I am on the edge of my seat, oh excuse me my couch. Thursday night is here. Armed with leftover chocolate cake from Tuesday’s dinner party and a fresh pop on a champagne bottle and I am ready for "Project Runway." Unprecedented firsts have been the hallmark of Season Eleven. Heidi Klum said “it’s all about teams” and who knew the drama that would ensue!

Week Eight, the designers are challenged to outfit the physically impressive Australian hot boys, the Thunder From Down Under. Teams changed up picked by the judges as part of the "Project Runway" passion for the “twist.” Divided into teams of four, they were introduced to thier clients and models. Patricia Michaels was teamed with Stanley, Michelle, and Richard on team Shades of Grey. Every designer was removed from their comfort zone. Tear away clothes for super muscle-bound male strippers that had to be cohesive.

Just so you don’t  think anything has changed, Michelle on Team Shades of Grey whined to the camera, “I don’t want to work with Patricia again”  and "my husband is a beefcake, but in a normal man way.” Some designers were so turned on by the hot bodies they had to dress that they couldn’t work. A combination of Australian accents and hunky bodies was just too much testosterone for some. The fitting was really hard for Layana. She had nothing good to say about any of her team members, and could barely bring herself to get close to her client, let alone take a measurement. She was “hypnotized by the bodies and those Australian accents..”

Tim Gunn had the best quote of the night, “I smell chaos and bedlam.” The teams were disjointed from the start. From the starry eyed to the visionless, the designers all lost their way. The fitting was a disaster from the moment the doors opened.

In an unprecedented first for "Project Runway," there was no winner. The teams turned in some of the worst tailoring I have seen on the show. It was like a Carnival Cruise line ship stranded on the sea of disaster. The clothes were, in a word, boring. Ladies, you know we go to the strip club for a good time, not to meet a badly dressed guy in a velcro suit. It was a disappointment all around. Even my favorite designer faltered.

This show was a train wreck from the beginning and as Heidi said, “some of the worst things we have seen come down this runway have been menswear.” The tear away clothes were not pretty. There were pants with two different lengths. Shirts with collars having very little connection to that part of a shirt. The clothes were at some points painful to look at and, for me, the only redeeming thing about this particular runway show was the end when the Thunder from Down Under took off the clothes.

Watching this episode was pretty hard. I do hope Thursday, I will not be wasting good champagne. Come on designers,  “make it work.”

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