Project Runway: Bird Seed Dresses and Puppy Pad Skirts

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I have already come to quite enjoy this season’s Project Runway although some of the fashion design challenges have been a bit bizarre. We’ve had outfits made from materials that could only be purchased in a pet store and fine designs for models on stilts. All to test creativity, I must suppose, but as well we’ve come to see into the psyche of the fashion design contenders. Sometimes, it’s really ugly in there.

I’d first felt some sympathy for contender Bert in that he’s an older fellow who, for varied reasons, didn’t apply his dream of becoming a fashion designer till somewhat late in life. As I understand it, Bert’s in his early 50s, quite a bit older than the others.

The most recent episode required the remaining contenders to design fashionable outfits for ladies on … stilts? Indeed, the models would be wearing stilts as they walked the outdoor runway that evening. As an added bit of intrigue, Kim Kardashian would be the guest judge.

This challenge required the contenders to team up and Bert was paired with Viktor. Those two got along like my big galoot dog with the little yappy dogs next door, which is to say there was a lot of baring of teeth if not outright growling. Bert, presented with some added scripted drama I suspect, was not at all the genteel almost-senior fellow the viewers might have considered him to be from earlier episodes. Not that Viktor was the benchmark for gracious and kind.

birdseed-dress.jpgI also quite enjoyed the episode featuring designs made from pet store products. Not that I’d ever wear a dress made out of bird seed, although this could have a market with bird watchers, but I did admire the originality on display because I could never find such thinking outside the box anywhere, even in the far reaches of my brain.

Which is not to say that even with such fertile minds some of the designs weren’t quite silly, even trashy, such as the dress created using puppy training pads. The judges said, rightfully, that at least once a year they see a fashion entry that involves pinning or hot-gluing a bunch of hanging type objects off of a belt in some insane attempt to create a ruffled party dress that would beguile. That judge was right. At least once a year I’ve seen this same design myself. This makes me wonder that if this humble housewife notices this, why aren’t the starring contenders aware of this very disliked design?

The judges liked the bird seed dress. The winning design was an outfit created using a dog bed for a top, aquarium tubing for a belt, and hamster bedding for the skirt. As for the party dress with the puppy training pads, one judge asserted the model looked like a member of the Blue Man Group.

dogpad-dress.jpgThe models-on-stilts challenge was not quite as daunting as the pet store concept. The major difference between making a dress or pantsuit for a lady on stilts is more about quantity of material than any way out fashion idea. This challenge marked the first time the contenders were teamed up with a partner and I suppose that this is very much part of the contest. Working and playing well with others in the fashion world is important and it would seem that Viktor and Bert have personality issues that might harm them in the future.

The  winners and losers of the stilt challenge would have been winners and losers had they been designing for models with regular legs. The stilts made the runway walk a bit more dramatic with emphasis on pants or skirts.

Fallene, who ended up going home the night of the stilt challenge, and her teammate Bryce created a really hideous affair that involved a sort of net tutu effect, silly on any model, sillier by a million when placed on a model wearing stilts.

The fashion design contender to watch is definitely Anthony R. His design partner won the stilt challenge and he’d been in the top three of the first two fashion challenges. The most common criticism given to Anthony is that his designs seem to be a bit repetitive, so he’s not a lock as I’ve seen designers eliminated for repeating themselves. Anya and Becky might be two to watch as well.

Project Runway can be seen on Thursday on Lifetime, 9p/8c.

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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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