Project Runway recap: Styling Is Everything

It's literally everything. After five weeks to create their final collections, the designers face the judges one last time before Fashion Week and get a harsh dose of reality
Ep. 13 | Aired Oct 11, 2012

UNDERWHELMED Why does this always happen right before Fashion Week?

Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Just like on The Bachelor, it's time for Hometown Visits, and the very eligible Tim Gunn traveled coast to coast to judge the designers' progress and see the humble places from whence they came. Each designer had $9,000 and a paltry five weeks to create their final collections, but not all four were guaranteed a spot at Fashion Week. Of course, anyone who's seen more than one season of Project Runway knew that all four would be going through. Lest you forget, there's an entire two hours of airtime to fill next week!

I'll examine the revealing home lives of each designer now, but I'll hold off getting into the nitty-gritty of their collections until the Runway.

First, Tim took the LIRR from Manhattan to Massapequa, New York to swoop in on Chris. Tim was looking all fine and dandy in his rose-colored blazer -- all he was missing was a dozen roses and a box of Godiva as he rang the Palus' doorbell. In Chris' typical Long Island living room, Tim marveled at all that Chris had accomplished. Chris had used his mother's misfortune -- an injury in a car accident -- for his own gain, and I'm sure Mrs. Palu couldn't have been more honored. He took an enlarged x-ray of his mother's damaged, bolted spine and printed it onto a fabric. "Oh, the x-ray inspired print," cooed Tim Gunn, as if it were the most common thing in the world. Tim called the print "haunting and alluring," but I thought it looked too much like snakeskin, and the whole thing was too literal -- it's the sort of thing that requires an explanation. Tim freaked out in a good way over Chris' experimentation with bleach on leather, and Chris pretended he was surprised that the bleach discolored leather. I don't entirely understand why splashing corrosive liquids on cowhide is so edgy -- I find it about as edgy as "destroyed" denim at American Eagle.

Apparently, part of Tim's job this episode was to devour tons and tons of food, all in the local flavor of each designer's hometown. "Hello, and welcome back to Tea Time with Tim," chirped Chris as he and his family sat down for "wonderfully caloric" pastries. I enjoyed getting to know Chris' wonderfully ordinary loved ones, especially his proud mama Joann and his blue-collar dad.

NEXT: Spring rolls and twisted fashion with Fabio

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