Project Runway Episode 9: Ready-To-Wear

Reprinted with permission from

Tim greets the contestants at Lord & Taylor, and surprising them with new teams. The teams are:

  • Stanley and Wind Chime
  • Daniel and Polka Dots
  • Samantha, Layana and Hallmarq

The contestants have to make ready-to-wear looks for Spring 2013 that are inspired by the Lord & Taylor rose. The winner will have their look reproduced and sold in the store and online, and it will be featured in the store window.

Stanley and Wind Chime are already having friction because he’s trying to tone down her crazy, and there’s no controlling Wind Chime when she wants to make fabric out of floor tiles. Hallmarq is ignoring Layana because she tossed him under the bus during the last runway judging, and Polka Dots is trying to turn Daniel into a modern designer which leads to an odd neon pink fabric selection.

Sketching, draping, taping, and more team tension. It’s a battle between Stanley and Wind Chime, resulting in gems like: You need to listen when we’re having discussions! and I need to wet my fabric. Meanwhile, Layana is having Pretty Person Problems which consist of not getting enough attention from her teammates and nobody telling her how shiny her hair looks.

Tim Gunn arrives in the workroom to nervous laughter. He loves Samantha’s adorable color-blocked separates, but he is not thrilled with the leather trim on Layana’s flowered frock. Hallmarq tries to sell Tim on his pink and black boring jersey dress that he’s done already, but Tim isn’t buying it. Tim is concerned that Wind Chime’s outfit is too expensive to produce, and Stanley’s shift dress bores Tim to tears. Polka Dots made a gloomy rain vest because arms were meant to get wet. Tim tells her to ditch the vest and go with the dress underneath. When Tim sees Daniel’s hot pink jacket, he calls it “a little Joan Collins.

To the runway! This week, Heidi has replaced Zac Posen Kors with Rachel Roy. There’s also everybody’s favorite fashion director of Marie Claire magazine, Nina Garcia, and guest judge Bonnie Brooks, President of Lord & Taylor.

Wind Chime’s coral frilly top with shantung capri pants look surprisingly pretty and fresh. Stanley’s coral dress is a perfectly nice dreszzzzzz, oh sorry, it’s just so boring. Hallmarq’s tank dress is easy breezy, but nothing special. Samantha’s color block separates are way too young for Lord & Taylor, but still really cute in an Urban Outfitters kind of way. Layana’s dress is a chic cut, but somehow the floral pattern is joyless. Daniel’s design is the perfect outfit for a middle-aged woman to wear to the office. Polka Dots ditched her vest and made a blocky bright yellow and dove gray dress that’s a little five years ago, but kudos to her for making leather look light and airy.

Okay, it’s time for judging. Stanley and Wind Chime are safe and can leave the runway. Daniel and Polka Dots are the winning team because why? I don’t know. That means Samantha, Hallmarq, and Layana are the losing team.

First, the winners. Heidi loves the yellow and gray dress, calling it “hip and modern,” Rachel Roy describes the dress as “smart and easy,” and Nina likes that it will fit many shapes and sizes because it is a shapeless blob. Daniel’s hot pink dress receives polite praise, including the word “conservative,” which is a euphemism “it’s perfect for the Lord & Taylor customer.”

And now, the losers. The judges are not really feeling Samantha’s petal dress. Heidi calls it “junior,” Rachel Roy thinks it’s adorable, and Nina didn’t hate it. Hallmarq tries to talk his way out of his dress, and Heidi says that she would buy it because Heidi is always known for her good fashion sense. Nina calls Hallmarq out on his repetitiveness, and the guest judge is confused by the dress because it’s beach in the front, business in the back. Nina calls the print on Layana’s design “old lady fabric,” and Heidi says it’s “a hot dress, with a horrible print.”

Well the winner is no mystery, so congratulations Polka Dots. The judges tell Daniel that he got lucky this time, and they send him away with Layana, whose dress suffered from a frumpy print. And then…whoa! The judges give Samantha the chop! Over Hallmarq’s boring, repetitive, nothing of a dress!?! Huh. I had Samantha pegged as a finalist. Well, you just never know.

Next week, the contestants tackle textile design at the Guggenheim Museum.

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