On Project Runway the Fashion Designers’ Leadership Skills Are Reflected in Their Designs

One Nasty Leader Puts Out a Nasty Frock; the Conciliatory Pulls a Victory from Near Defeat

By , Contributor

It’s an amazing coincidence that soon after Project Runway contender Becky laments to the  camera during a solo vignette that she’s being treated like naught but a seamstress that Heidi Klum suddenly appears in the work room to chastise Becky’s leader for, eh, treating her like naught but a seamstress.

But the amazing coincidences don’t stop there! Later, as judgment is passed on the episode’s runway designs, one group of design contenders are busy griping among themselves with curmudgeon Bert asserting the beauty of his design and how the in-fighting is affecting their style, one judge suddenly loudly praises Bert’s design and how the bickering is costing the team the stylishness of their submitted frocks.

A viewer can almost hear a producer pulling Heidi or the other judge aside and loudly instructing them to rail about how Becky’s being treated, or wag accusing finger at the arguing team while praising Bert’s fashion. It is, of course, part of the scripting to emphasize the drama lest it all flies over the viewing audience’s heads.

Here’s a picture of two designs from the team of contenders Anthony, Bert and Laura. The fashion challenge this past episode of Project Runway had the would-be fashion designers forming teams with each team creating three outfits suitable for Heidi Klum to wear in conjunction with her pair of tennis shoes from New Balance. Klum is evidently a new spokesperson for this brand of hip tennis shoes that combines getting fit by the mere act of walking based on the design of the shoe.

The design contenders ran a foot race around an indoor track and the top four to pass the finish line were allowed to choose two other designers to join them to end up with four three-person teams. The challenge was to not only design three outfits that would be appropriate for Heidi to wear in her advertising duties for New Balance, but the outfits must be designed around a main material component consisting of leather and/or suede, just like the shoes.

Some of these fashion triumvirates as formed by the luck of the choices and those left un-chosen did not, in an understatement, get along all that well.

project runway second best second worst.jpg

The design above, left, was the submission of one of the four leaders in this challenge, Anthony Ryan. Anthony ended up on a team that included Laura and the older and grumpier Bert. The design on the right is the submission of Bert. The judges didn’t adore Bert’s design but they thought it perfectly adequate. That awful thing designed by Anthony was eschewed by Heidi as something she’d never wear and judge Michael Kors pointed out, to my viewing snort, how his outfit gave the poor model a horrible camel toe.

Bert is depicted, by his actions and sometimes by script, as an older fashion design amateur who comes off haughty and impatient with his young co-contenders. Anthony of the camel-toed design spent a large part of his team’s assigned design time complaining about Bert, how he could not stand the man, and at times the more demure Laura joined in with the complaints.

Meanwhile the two complainers submitted perfectly horrible outifts while Bert came up with something that got judgment praise if not an outright winner.

project runway two more good.jpg The above designs too were not winners but were looked upon kindly by the judges. The design on the left was a submission by another leader on that episode, Bryce. The design on the right was also a submission of a group leader, Joshua.

Bryce was teamed up with Danielle and Kimberly and they worked well together as depicted in various scenes on the episode. Joshua led a team that didn’t get along so well which included Anya and Becky. Joshua appeared in a couple of solo camera vignettes and didn’t come off as very gracious to this viewer. He denigrated poor Becky and he did assign her mostly seamstress chores which eventually caused Becky to stomp off in tears.

Becky is a most ordinary looking fashion designer in that she is a bit chubbier than most in that career, and she definitely presents as more matronly. Joshua called Becky’s designs “dowdy,” but insert smile here, Joshua asserted he meant that in only the nicest way.

Though Joshua was quite snarky on his solo camera vignette, he did locate the sobbing Becky in the ladies room and he apologized profusely and with a large measure of honesty.

Both of these teams came through with pretty good fashion designs. Michael Kors loved Bryce’s little black leather dress. Joshua’s design of sassy leather shorts topped by what was called a “shredded vest” for the strips of leather banded at the top and bottom was a hit with Judge Nina Garcia.

project runway best and worst.jpg Here we have the best and worst fashion submissions on this Project Runway episode.  That hideous blouse on the left was the design of Danielle, the same contender Danielle who submitted a similar hideous filmy blouse for the challenge to design for judge Nina. Danielle got sent home for this effort and it’s for the best. This child seemed to be of a mind that women desperately need poorly sewn flimsy see-through blouses to be Danielle hip.

The outfit on the right was the submission of contender Viktor.  Viktor was also one of the four leaders on this episode, with a team consisting of co-contender Olivier and an eliminated designer brought back to flesh out his team, Josh C. 

It is quite a cute thing, the boxy leather jacket perfectly accenting the flowing dress, an outfit that would work well with NB shoes and, indeed, Heidi chose it as both the winning design of the night and will feature it as part of her NB fashion line.

Contender Viktor also designed a nice frock in the Nina Garcia challenge and now looks to be a heads-on contender with Anya with Bert almost all in a 3 way tie. I reserve the right to change these predictions as time, challenges and hideousness require.

Project Runway airs on Lifetime on Thursday nights at 9p/8c.  Keep checking in here as this series continues on for more wise commentary, a bit of snark and fashion observations.

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Pat Fish has been a blogger for almost ten years. She has been published numerous times in the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort book series and wrote for Blogcritics. She has written a few books and vows to write till death does part her from the keyboard. Pat loves to write about current…

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