Project Runway recap: Savant-Garde

The five remaining designers show off their freaky side in this avant-garde challenge
Ep. 12 | Aired Oct 4, 2012

AVANT-GARDE POLICE This week, we pondered the meaning of "avant-garde." According to Project Runway's definition, it means: super-weird, kinda costume-y, but not too costume-y.

David Russell

Before we get to the challenge, let's discuss the little number Heidi was wearing at the top of the episode. As we've all pointed out, Heidi has been testing everyone's patience with her personal style this season, and this ill-fitting get-up looks like something Colin Farrell would have worn in Alexander crossed with a Britney Spears concert costume c. 2001.

Moving on from the bitchery... Designers tend to melt down under the pressure during the final challenge before Fashion Week, but last night, the contestants generally fared well at this crucial stage. The challenge called for the designers to create avant-garde looks based on one of the four color schemes from L'Oreal's limited edition makeup line Electric Fantasie: Enchanted Queen (black and berry), Seductive Temptress (gold and green), The Wise Mystic (violets and blues), and Artsy Muse (coral and pastels).

Even though it's such a blatant product tie-in, I'm liking the high-concept theme here. First, when I saw the designers venture out to the beautiful Oheka Castle, I was worried  it'd be another location-inspired challenge, which always sucks. Those typically devolve into, "Oh, I'm going to model my look on that drainage water over there," or "Look! That dead rat is edgy," or "My aesthetic is so architectural, I'm going to base my dress on the building itself." Thank goodness we had a loftier goal.

So the "avant-garde" part of the challenge appealed to pretty much every designer left in the competition. Melissa had been waiting for an avant-garde challenge this entire time, although of course she wished she'd gotten Enchanted Queen (black!) instead of the brightly hued Artsy Muse. Fabio drew Enchanted Queen, and Chris being the fifth person to draw got to choose which Lady-Archetype he wanted -- and obviously he chose Enchanted Queen, which pit him against Fabio. It's an Enchanted Queen-Off! Basically, both Fabio and Chris proceeded to design looks inspired by Charlize Theron's character from Snow White and the Huntsman.

NEXT: Tim wants YOU to know that you're not avant-garde. You might think you are, but you're not.

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