Project Runway recap: An Affair to Remember

Nineteen forties glamour didn't come easy to some of the designers, like Stella and Joe, as they all went after a chance to add an outfit to Diane von Furstenberg's fall collection
Ep. 08 | Aired Sep 3, 2008

(UN)EASY RIDER Biker chick Stella rides off into the sunset.

Barbara Nitke

'Project Runway' recap: It's a wrap

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming! And by this, of course, I mean Stella getting the heave-ho on the Diane von Furstenberg challenge on last night's Project Runway. I'm not sure there are two designers more diametrically opposed than Lady Leathah and the elegant creator of the iconic wrap dress. Stella seemed to understand this, saying at one point that she wanted to show DVF how their two aesthetics could complement each other. But guess what? They don't. Still...wow. What a hoot it would have been if Stella had actually nailed this one.

I almost wrote that we all could have predicted Stella's auf'ing from the moment von Furstenberg made her grand movie-star (even slightly Norma Desmond-ish) entrance from atop an impressive set of stairs. But looking over my notes, I think the key to her demise happened earlier in the episode, when Stella stood in the kitchen, puzzled about how many scoops of coffee to put in the machine. Later, in DVF's sample room (her very own Mood!), she turned into Don Quixote in front of the windmills, failing to conquer her fabric on those dastardly shelves. Now, if we all think back to the essence-of-New York episode, when the intricacies of a digital camera nearly gave her a nervous breakdown, I must ask you: Is there anything this woman can do? Anything, that is, that does not involve hammering grommets into oblivion? To quote guest judge Fern Mallis (IMG Fashion), "Stella was not stellar." But I'm sure Ratbones still loves her.

I was pretty excited about this episode, being a big ol' DVF fan. The stakes were also among the highest in Runway history. Getting your outfit sold at Banana Republic or Macy's? Pffft! Silly trifles compared to a true créatrice de mode producing and selling your design. No one understood this more viscerally than Kenley, who spent the entire episode alternately weeping, tearing up, and wiping away tears. Even those of you who aren't such Kenley fans have to admit that was pretty touching, no?

The first thing that popped into my head as DVF explained the challenge was that Blayne "What's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?" Walsh had most likely never heard of A Foreign Affair or its legendary star, Marlene Dietrich. I mean, the guy was walking around the couture-ized Meatpacking District, where Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, and Christian Louboutin are among the many chic shops, and he was hoping to run into Mary-Kate Olsen? If he was serious, he's a fool. If he was joking, he's an unfunny fool. Somebody page Mr. T.

Last night was the first time I actually started doubting Terri. Don't get me wrong: The gal can sew. But how many times have we watched her bust out the same look, week after week? Trousers. Shirt. Vest. Jacket. It's beyond impressive that she can whip up that many pieces in a handful of hours, but I think that Joe and (shudder) Blayne had a point in calling the routine a tad tired. The pants fit well, the top turned out chicer than the fireworks fabric had any right to be, but that heavy black overcoat was as out of place in a DVF collection as a vegan at a steakhouse.

NEXT: Tim throws Kenley a life cropped jacket

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