PR: The Stench of Fear

Posted on August 19, 2011

This week on Project Runway, a salute to horror films!

She should have held a really big knife in her hands to complete the picture.

This may be the scariest sight any group of Project Runway designers ever faced. You just know there were internal screams of “Fat people! I’ll dress fat people! Children! Old ladies! Prom dresses for fat old ladies! PLEASE GOD I’LL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT DESIGNING FOR ANYONE LARGER THAN A SIZE 2 AGAIN IF YOU JUST MAKE THIS ONE THING GO AWAY.”

But when they opened their eyes, there she stood, grinning back at them like Death herself had come to the runway. This would have been the perfect time for Heidi to look directly into the camera, hold up a box and say, old-television style: “This week’s exciting challenge is sponsored by DEPENDS adult diapers! And let me tell you, judging by the stench of shit, piss, and mortal terror coming off these little designer monkeys, DEPENDS is on the job! Whew!”

We swear Nina wore that blouse – which is fabulous, but definitely an acquired taste and totally different from what she normally wears on the show – just to throw off the designers, all of whom had a tailored, classically chic vision of Nina in their heads contending with the glittery, puffy-sleeved salmon-colored version sitting before them.

What made this challenge interesting – aside from the abject terror on the part of the designers, of course – was something we hadn’t really noted until this episode.

Namely, that there are no teacher’s pets so far this season. Sure, it’s only the 3rd episode, but in past seasons, it wasn’t hard to pick out, even by episode 3, which ones the judges had their eye on. Bert won the first challenge, but failed to do anything interesting since; Olivier won the second and also hasn’t done much else worth lauding, and Blenley came out of nowhere to win the 3rd, even though she’d never been noticed in the first 2 challenges and slipped back to obscurity with this one. People were declaring Gretchen and Mondo finalists by this point last season. In fact, we pride ourselves on figuring out the finalists within the first 3 or 4 episodes of the season and we’re usually about 75% right every time.

You would think, going into it this challenge, observant viewers (like ourselves) would have had some idea who was going to ace this challenge based solely on aesthetic and skill level. We had not a clue. No idea which designers were most likely to put something Ninatastic together. We don’t know if that’s due to a high skill level across the board, or a low one. Time will tell, but it’s an interesting development. Maybe the judges are conscious of their prior-season tendency to crown the winner fairly early and working to combat it.

Indicative of this trend is Miss Kimberley’s win, which both surprised and pleased us. We’ve been slowly recognizing her potential with each week and we like the gal’s style and gamesmanship. She comes off as sharp as a tack with a real sense of modern style and trends.

We’re not ashamed to admit we really didn’t see this one placing even in the Top 3. We thought the pants were fantastic, but we had major issues with the top.

Namely, the fabric. A gold metallic for the office felt like a bit much even for a fashion editor and the fabric never really looked anything but cheap while it was sitting in piles in the workroom.

And truth be told, even as it was walking out, we were groaning at it. Under the lights of the runway, it still looked too harsh and too bling-y for work.

We liked that she attempted something interesting with the shape, but again, we weren’t entirely convinced these flaps were pretty or necessary, not to mention flattering. In fact, they seemed fussy in a way that Nina tends to hate.

But move up the design. Like a lot of the designers, Kimberley styled her model Ninariffically, down to the JBF hair…

… and – quite cleverly, we might add – her signature cocktail ring. But there’s one element here that looks pure Nina to us and we should have realized it sooner.

It’s that neckline and those little cap sleeves. TOTALLY Nina. Like a lot of smart, stylish women in the public eye, Nina dresses her face more than any other part of her body. She often wears very simple outfits that nonetheless have some sort of design or style interest around the neck and shoulders. Considering the major portion of her time spent in America’s living room consists of her sitting down, that’s a smart choice on her part and a REALLY smart choice on Kimberley’s part to pick up on that and tap into it.

It also helped that the entire look was impeccably made and -unlike some of the model-specific looks walking that runway – was flattering and comfortable-looking with the kind of easy chicness that Nina embodies.

And it surely must have helped that Nina showed up for judging wearing a gold metallic top. Even so, we still thought this looked too shiny and harsh.

That is, until we saw her wearing it during the light of day and honestly, it looks like what it is: an outfit tailor-made for Nina specifically. It looks just a skosh tight on her, but that’s kind of expected when you’re wearing something made in 6 hours.

And if you’re tut-tutting such a showy look for the office, consider the following:

Take a moment from pretending to work and look around you. Your workplace probably doesn’t have boxes of jewelry lying around for you to select from, does it? That’s why Nina can wear glittery disco tops to the office and not get hauled into HR for a dress code violation. Your office has a fax machine and copy center; Nina’s has the Free Jewelry Room.

Nina wonders what kind of low-rent employer wouldn’t offer multiple boxes of free jewelry as a perq to their employees. She suggests you walk out immediately. She’s all about the worker’s rights.

All joking (and slight fit issues) aside, she really looked gorgeous and that neckline, like we said, is so totally her.

Kimberley looked cute in her little dress too, by the way.

And this was sweet. We were worried about a “Carrie Bradshaw on the side of the bus” moment, but thankfully, New York City’s graffiti artists showed a little restraint.

And don’t you worry, you little bitches. There are going to be more NINACAPS this week than you can possibly handle.

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/ – Screencaps:]

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