Project Runway Season 12 – Episode 12 – Butterfly Effect

We are down to five and it is the “final” runway before Fashion Week. Heidi says there is a “sausage…or is it a carrot” dangling in front of the designers’ noses.

Is Heidi’s accent thicker all of a sudden?

The designers are going on a field trip for the “inspiration / L’Oreal make-up” challenge and…whoah! Sweetbriar! I cannot believe Project Runway came to Sweetbriar! My family goes to this wildlife rehabilitation center ALL THE TIME. It is a fun place but you have to understand there is a vivarium exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan and a MAJOR state of the art vivarium at the aquarium in Riverhead so I was sort of shocked they came to our little podunk nature center. If I had known, I totally would have been there to stalk Tim heckle the designers see if I could catch a glimpse.

Sweetbriar is home to all manner of creatures who are either receiving treatment and will be released or are unable to be released and now call Sweetbriar their home…creatures like one-eyed owls, eagles with only one wing, and all manner of exotic pets whose needs their misguided owners did not anticipate. Well, I hope Sweetbriar got a substantial donation–wonder if the place is all spruced up, now?

The designers are supposed to be drawing inspiration from the butterflies and L’Oreal’s mascara that gives your eyes lashes like the wings of a butterfly or some such marketing nonsense to make an avant garde look. Yes, that fun challenge when we realize that none of these designers really has any idea what might constitute avant garde any more and neither do any of the judges.

This is the designers’ last chance to convince the producers that their personality is reality gold. The best Helen can come up with is, OMGee, she has this, like, awesome tattoo of a butterfly!

Alexandria is channeling an emo kid, noting that the butterfly has a lifespan of one week. She mourns that something so beautiful only gets to live such a short time.

Justin notices the albino butterfly, which he sees as an outsider, like himself…because he is gay…and deaf. Way to project your issues onto an insect, Justin!

Bradon doesn’t mention dance (at least not so as it makes the edit) but his talk of the quick but silent movement sounds like dance to me.

Dom is interested in the cross-breeding of the butterflies…which sounds perfect for her multicultural blending of styles.

The designers hit Mood and receive a suggested budget of $500 on their debit card…and they laugh and laugh. This is (theoretically) the last challenge–why wouldn’t you blow the rest of the budget? Dom, who says she is springing for the more expensive designer fabric comes the closest to budget at $628.20. Bradon’s strategy is to buy the whole store and it shows, coming in at $984.00, nearly twice the budget. Alexandria ($991.52), Helen ($1,057.00), and Justin ($1,167.00) break the bank. Now, wouldn’t it be funny if they come back from designing their collections to find “one last challenge” awaiting them and no money to shop at Mood?

Back at the workroom, Justin is manipulating fabric and Bradon is making expensive noodles and waiting for the fashion genie (funny, I would have thought it was a fairy).

The designers take a break to visit hair and make-up and find out there is an international nail expert there…so now there are Pinterest nails involved, too?

Tim checks in on our designers and Bradon finally decides on a tank and mini becoming a gown in the back. Tim initially is skeptical about the expensive noodles but then “gets” chills when Bradon places one, just so.

Dom is “cross breeding” her fabrics and Tim says go for it! use three prints!

Helen has this black cocoon cloak. Tim steers her away from it but I think she should have gone for it. Without it, there is no oomph and certainly no avant garde to her look.

Tim likes Alexandra’s “raw” deconstructed look but once again, I think the design looks like it was caught in a shredder.

On what they thought was runway day, the designers come into see the mannequins wearing the losing designs from previous challenges. The good news is they have another day–the bad news is there is a twist. The designers must choose one losing look for a fashion redemption.

Dom grabs Jeremy’s Southern Woman dress and jacket, certain she can take the soccer mom out of the mix.

Alexandria grabs Miranda’s dowdy Christmas nerd pants from the Shoe Challenge, planning to turn $2 pants into $2000. We also see her Skype to her sewing camp and she says she wants to show these girls that hard work can pay off.

Bradon grab’s Sue’s placemats from the home goods/gourmet foods/wallpaper challenge. An odd choice because there isn’t much fabric!

Helen chooses Kate’s from the last, print design challenge. I’m guessing the rationale is that Kate must have at least something good to have made it this far and/or this garment was so bad, any improvement will show.

Justin breaks down and cries and chooses his own foaming good china look from the glamping challenge that got him auf’d and then saved by Tim Gunn…can I getta witness?

Enough craziness…let’s bring it on home, designers!

I have no idea what guest judge Emmy Rossum, Heidi Klum, Zac Posen, and Nina Garcia are doing here…but they sure aren’t smizing!

Dom Streater: Interesting mix of fabrics with an Afro-Japonese vibe and a striking silhouette. Is it avant garde? Not sure it goes quite that far but it is definitely more high fashion than off-the-rack.

For her garment redemption, Dom transformed Jeremy’s Talbots dress into something cool and modern.

The judges see the inspiration in her butterfly outfit. Nina loves exuberance of color and print and is blown away…until Dom shows that the model is actually wearing a jumpsuit underneath and Nina actually lets out a fashion gasp. Zac sees a brand, “The World of Dom” and loves how she break up prints in a modern feminine way and creates “emotional clothing.” Heidi loves the way she plays with volume. Emmy beats Heidi to the jacket and grabs it to try on during the closer look.

Dom tears up saying, “I want this so bad…” By the way, how cute does Dom look standing there next to those Glamazon models. I’m sort of shocked Dom didn’t win this challenge but she does at least get a guaranteed spot to fashion week.

Helen Castillo: She was obviously just lost here. She reuses the same technique she tried for evoking a dead moth during the glamping challenge. As a designer, you should have a perspective but you shouldn’t be using the same technique and silhouette over and over. It looks alright but Helen knows she missed the avant garde part.

Helen’s redemption of Kat’s Kleenex dress is alright but it is also a retread of the silhouette of her print dress from the previous challenge and barely recalls Kate’s dress, except for a nod to the color palette.

The judges have mixed reactions to Helen’s more chic, yet very plain fix of Kate’s dress. Most are underwhelmed by her monarch wing gown and Zac calls it a “grated carrot.”

Kate says she needs this shot at Fashion Week because she needs to show her dying moths and butterflies to the whole world…the whole universe!


Justin LeBlanc: When this walks, I think it is maybe the best thing he’s done. The judges agree. On closer examination, however, they find his execution a little sloppy.

In redeeming his own look, Heidi says he re-worked hideous to sophisticated. I think it is just okay, with only a few call-backs to his original looks. However, the judges seem content that Justin has learned his lesson.

As to why he should go to Fashion Week, Justin leads with “I’m Gay and Deaf.” Obviously, homosexual men are severely underrepresented in the fashion industry. I’m willing to buy that “deaf” might be a fresh perspective but I don’t really see it in his work…now a BLIND fashion designer…that could be unique. Hey, there are deaf musicians…maybe there’s a way.

Alexandria von Bromssen: I don’t have much to say about Alexandria’s look. It isn’t particularly avant garde and it is a little sloppy. Ya is awesome. Someone should cast her as some sort of vampire queen.

These pants are infinitely cooler now and the garment at least looks finished–proving that Alexandria’s deconstructed looks are, in fact, intentional…for whatever that’s worth.

Heidi, who has always been Alexandria’s champion, loves the goth, sexy dramatic dress but thinks the “make it work” look is too much of a punk costume. Nina disagrees, liking the decisions Alexandria made on the punk outfit and the rocking vest but feels the butterfly got stuck in a spiderweb. Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with intentionally going to the dark side in a fashion piece. Zac phrases his objections more clearly, saying he appreciates the techniques but does not find the result “transportive or magical.”

Alexandria says she is ready and can handle the pressures and wants to show the kids she teaches that you can dream.

Bradon McDonald: A bit stiff in the train but probably the closest Project Runway has come to avant garde in a while. There is definitely something in this fantasy piece. I am not saying it is mind-blowing art but there is an element of the unexpected that makes me want to take a closer look.

Nina is rapturous, saying the white is extravagant, exciting, risky, thoughtful. She says, “every angle is interesting…there is a surprise.” Heidi doesn’t even know how to describe it and calls it art. Zac is gaga and says, “Gaga would wear that.”

In the closer look, Tim says it pushes boundaries without being a joke.

I was underwhelmed by his adaptation of the place mat dress. It is a slightly better idea but it still looks cheap. She also looks a bit like a waitress, which I suppose is fitting.

Bradon says he wants to go to Fashion Week because he found my second love (after Dance)…and that guy he proposed to on National TV, I guess.

Bradon is the winner and, with Dom, has a secured spot to fashion week.

Turning to the remaining three designers, Heidi says all did very well, some blew us away. She says there were some strengths and weaknesses — we didn’t all agree. So, basically, Heidi refused to let Alexandria get auf’d, the producers want to keep Helen around, and Justin did too well to be auf’d for this challenge…so…the judges are allowing all three of the remaining designers to create collections but only one will get the final slot.

Of course, we all know that about a dozen decoy collections show and quite often the judges have two designers battle it out for the final slot or even ask four designers to compete for the three slots. So, this was not all that shocking.

Although it is a bit anti-climactic to not eliminate anyone, I guess it gives more designers the benefit of the full budget and Tim’s home visit to show what they can do with a little more time and creative breathing room.

Who do you think should compete at Fashion Week?

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

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One comment

  1. Linda Rand says:

    Totally agree that Dom and Bradon are going to fashion week. Not sure about the third……will need to wait and see what they show next week.