Project Runway: Season 12, Episode 8 – Having a Field Day

Tweet! Time to wake-up designers! It is the Heidi Klum New Balance challenge! What? Five hours of sleep is not enough for you to be fresh and ready to work for Heidi for free?

The designers are going to design activewear / workout clothes for Heidi Klum’s New Balance line. First, however, they have to race in teams of two to win their choice of fabric and an extra hour of work!

Alexander says he hasn’t exercised since 1876. OMG! He IS a vampire! I guess Alexander bit Helen, not the other way around. What a twist!

They will have to compete in four events: the three-legged race (my personal favorite), tire run, wheel barrow, and find the flag (the great equalizer…your speed, strength, and agility mean nothing if you can’t find that flag).

The designers breathe an audible sigh of relief when they are informed the teams are only for the events–not for the designs.

The winning design will be sold in select New Balance stores but there is no more immunity.

And…they’re off! I’m totally calling Justin and Dom as the most athletic team, though Alexandria definitely looks like she could kick some tush, as well. Bradon blows an early lead when he and his partner forget the wheel barrow. Justin and Dom win the first choice of fabric and the extra hour (no big surprise).

$50 is debited from each designer’s account for the fabric they choose and they head back to the workroom to get cracking because this is a one-day challenge to mimic sweatshop conditions. JK, HK.

Right away there is DRAM-MAH! Helen quietly asks Tim if she can copy specs from the HKNB examples on the mannequins. Everyone wants to know what Helen asks but she is not telling and then Ken reveals that he, too, is a vampire by showing his fangs and hissing.

Ken hisses and postures, Helen runs crying to Tim, the Internet shows remarkable restraint in not calling Helen a racist for being terrified of a four foot, scissor-weilding black man, then hissing vampire Napoleon goes and cries on the phone to his mommy, or his spiritual mommy, I couldn’t quite tell. Tim exclaims, “Oh for the love of Coco, is this a fashion competition or preschool!” and intervenes. Helen and Ken share an awkward hug and the drama is over.

Heidi joins Tim for his critique/check-in.

Kate is making something motorcross inspired and they like the volume and length.

Helen says she is doing a gather stitch on the bum because it makes it look cuter…really? I thought that just made it look stretched out and saggy. Heidi comments on the “delicate little bums” of the mannequins and this is all going to a weird place…then Heidi shifts to a more helpful topic and urges Helen to focus on the jacket because that will be the “wow” piece.

Most of the designers get waved through with a few minor suggestions: Justin (deeper V), Alexander (reduce the width of the piping)…and Jeremy…should get some Aloe on that sunburn…and that’s all they have to say to him in the edit we see.

Then there are some needle scratches. Heidi says that Karen’s neon green sports bra looks “Martian, crazy” and Karen is starting over with just four hours left on the clock.

Ken is designing a SCUBA suit.

And, oh, my Alexandria is returning to the drop crotch pants. I understand the temptation to return to a technique or silhouette that won you a challenge but I thought Alexandria was better, and more savvy, than that. Even if this was the right challenge for a drop-crotch (and it most definitely is not), it would still be too soon to bust it out again. Alexandria says she has run over 50 marathons and so she should know better. However, Heidi blesses the idea and so Alexandria continues with her MC Hammer work-out wear.

The models come in for a fitting and Helen’s pants pop a seam. Ken is starting over. I really wish they’d give the designers a little more time. Tight deadlines are fine but at least give them a little breathing room to make something good!

Next morning is the runway show but we get to see Kate sew through her nail.

Kors is back with his quips and ready to rip some designs! Zac may be the snazzier dresser but he has nothing on Kors when it comes to outrageous descriptions!

Running with the Pack (Middle)

Bradon McDonald: I was surprised this was waved through without comment. I’ve heard some commentary about the production costs being a factor but I would have at least liked to hear a more extended critique. Those pants are awesome. The only thing I wasn’t excited about was the fit around the ankle. I would have liked it either tighter, like a legging, or fuller, like a yoga pant.

Jeremy Brandick: As Kors would say, that crotch is insane. Also, yes, Jeremy, women do want black pants when we work out. The rest of the fit and the design is just okay. Definitely middle of the road.


Dom Streater: Decent fit, decent design — just not unusual enough to make it to the top three, I guess. I did think the racer back was interesting although those bra straps should have been better hidden and the color blocking is uneven, perhaps intentionally. I also felt like the parallel red lines were somehow thickening the model in the middle section and she needed something to break up the rear area and give definition.

Justin LeBlanc: Meh. Once again he misses an opportunity to show he was worthy of the one Tim Gunn save.The fit is off and the shorts are too short in the back.

Champions of the Runway (Top)

Kate Pankoke: This looks looks comfy and practical. Personally, I would prefer a different accent color but this is one of the fabrics available for Heidi’s line. The flare at the bottom of the jacket looks awkward to me. Heidi says Kate used just the right amount of color and likes the mesh down arm. She’s not so sure, however, about the heavy zipper down the back. I agree–I would assume you would take the jacket off in the gym but if you are running outside that could be annoying. Kors thinks less like a wearer and more like a designer and likes that the customer can change the silhouette from A-line to fitted with the zipper. He adds that it is familiar (ie: commercial) but special. Nina likes the fusion of fashion and function and the mix of fabrications.

Alexander Pope: This design gets so much flack that I started to wonder if it was in the bottom! I think the model looks fierce. The other designers are impressed with the way he hid the seams. Zac thinks it looks professional. Nina, however, thinks it makes her look wider (um, I think it is called “muscular”) and high waisted…but she likes the jacket. Kors doesn’t find it memorable. He says it is “on the sale rack…but at least it is in a store.” During the closer look, Kors says he likes the asymmetry and hidden seam in pants but says the seams on the jacket do not match up. Let’s see you sew perfect matching seams in a day. Tim defends Alexander, pointing out that he is a costume designer who has “never done anything close to activewear”…but Alexander still falls below Helen and Kate.

Helen Castillo: In my notes I like the jacket but in the photographs, it kind of looks limp and sad. Nina likes that the jacket covers the rear and thighs and that she could pack for her workout or wear on the plane. Kors calls it “Stevie Nicks” activewear (is there a market for that?) and claims it has a wide age range. Zac points out that the top underneath the jacket seems like afterthought but Nina wants that jacket. She exclaims, “I would take that to the gym” (if she weren’t already born this fabulous). So, with Nina as the first customer, Helen is declared the winner.

Road Kill (Bottom)

Ken Laurence: As tired as I am of Ken, this at least looks like activewear. Heidi says it should have had more fashion. Nina says the top is too low and reads as SCUBA gear or a girdle. Kors says it is on the sale rack with Alexander’s. The lines in the back are cool but he really should have belt in a shelf bra or designed a sports bra because the bra straps are distracting. Zac opines he is bored of harnesses???

Alexandria von Bromssen: The drop crotch looks awful in this context and, worse, is totally impractical. The judges all agree–what sort of exercise is possible in these pants? Nina says it looks like the model ran into a bear. The bear mauled her top and then the model had an accident in her pants. Not to be outdone, Kors questions the position of the pockets, calling them “pleasure me pockets” and then says that it would keep men away at the gym and might even keep the paparazzi away from Heidi. Tim notes that Heidi liked the look in the workroom and Heidi defends the results–since Heidi is the client AND the producer, Alexandria is saved over the protests of the other judges.

Karen Batts: Karen should have just gone with her original crazy Martian bra. She might have been able to tone it down and, if not, at least she could have gone out with a bang. Her second design looks like cheap pajamas. Kors says the model is going to a buffet on a cruise, stuffing cookies in her pockets. He then finds the limits of the Internet with a fat girl “joke.” Nina says that the design is sad, the sewing is sad. Of course, the sewing is bad in part because Karen only had four hours to course correct after Heidi savaged her original design. Zac points out the wobbly sewing and calls it a “neon nothing.” Heidi, queen of short, tight, and shiny, points out that you can have loose pants or a loose top but not both. For committing the cardinal PR sin of being boring, compounded by bad sewing, Karen is out.


Tune into Project Runway Season 12 on Lifetime Thursdays at 9/8 central.





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One comment

  1. linda rand says:

    As usual, I so enjoy reading your recaps of Project Runway.
    I thought that Alexander should have won. Do not understand what all the fuss was about Helen’s jacket. Maybe if saw it up close?? I agree that Karen’s was sad, bad, and sloppy. So time for her to go.
    Can’t help but wonder who writes those lines for Michael Kors or is he that clever!!
    Oh, and please no more droopy drawers!!