“Project Runway” Recap: Makeover Challenge Reveals Inner Ugliness

This episode was best described by the ever-deadpan Alicia as, “design a look for our clients who were dragged in by a friend who think they need a makeover.”

It was also sponsored by L’Oreal, which meant we had to suffer through a particularly detailed hair consultation. But by the end, we got to witness nine designers transform some everyday women into something special—and one designer act like a total jerkface.


There must have been a full moon out, because Elena was downright pleasant. She even used pink and avoided designing her usual robot-gladiator shoulders.


Congrats on designing another black dress! Too bad you didn’t have any time with your model to show her how to work the scarf. Wait, you mean you two spent plenty of one-on-one time where there was ample time for scarf discussion? I give up.


Gunnar (Top 3)
There is still something about Gunnar’s designs that feel… off. But he actually seems to be a nice person, starting the challenge by saying, “I make clothing for regular women who want to look great.” During measurement-taking, his model starting crying. Crying! Yup. Tear of excitement. It’s was a nice, genuine moment and is good to know this show can still produce some of those.

The dress was fine. Maybe a little lopsided at the top? But the model was bursting with so much joy down the runway that it’s hard to say much worse than that.


Oh, look. They “randomly” assigned someone who loves pink and dresses to someone who hates designing pink dresses.



Nathan (Out)
While most of the guest clients were here to spruce up their hair and wardrobe, Nathan was “randomly” assigned the woman who was an up-and-coming R&B artist. The results were truly awful, but he was kind of backed into a corner with her request to have a bare midriff but remain sophisticated.


If you spend eight hours making a blazer, spend eight seconds telling your model what to do with said blazer.


Ven (Bottom 2)
As a nationally acclaimed fitness model himself, Ven obviously has a strict “no plus-sizes” policies when it comes to designing clothes. He believes that their natural size simply prevents him from buying the best-quality silk chiffon possible.

When Tim asked about the size of Ven’s model, he bewilderedly guessed, “Somewhere between twelve and fourteen. Whatever, I can’t be bothered to read the card it’s written on. But more importantly, will you spot me real quick? I’m doing a power set.” Or something like that.

Miraculously, Ven managed to not let his P90X workout interfere with his firm point of view of being assigned non-models for a non-model challenge. He managed to clarify that “my client doesn’t really have a shape” and “[her] ‘before’ picture is definitely a nightmare,” at least a half-dozen times. In fact, after running a mile on the treadmill Ven told his working-mother client “we don’t have belts that large.”

Ven went from an odd, quiet little mouse to a heinous villain in a single episode. Does this mean he’s just going to rely on his evilness alone to get him to the finals?


Dmitry — Top 3
Dmitry has a strange way of expressing excitement for the model he was assigned, “She looks very plain. She’s the perfect client for me!” The dress looked kind of humdrum on the dummy but matched with the right accessories and a punky bob, it really popped.

More importantly, we discovered before he became a slave to the fashion, Dmitry was a professional ballroom dancer—with a hockey player for a brother. Do we smell another sequel to The Cutting Edge?


Fabio (winner and Queerty fave)
Femininity with an edge. YES. I just could not stop smiling with this dress. And neither could the judges—though guest judge Alice Temperley made it clear that she’d rather that fussy thing just go far, far, far away.


Sonjia (bottom 3)
This is a case of the right dress on the wrong woman: On a tall and emaciated model that knot in the center may have created some interest, but on this petite athletic gal it just looks like a beach wrap made out of a cloth napkin. Sonjia has sent some of my favorite looks down the runway this season and this was her first real misstep—hopefully it’ll be her last.


Jason Sweeten is a contributing writer for Queerty. No, he would not like to spend three hours in the L’oreal Paris Hair & Makeup Room.

Photos: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime.