Our intrepid designers were then shuttled to a country themed bar where they were given their next assignment: designing a stage and red carpet look for country star Miranda Lambert. Now I am not a country music afficianado so I had no idea who this woman was, but I was happy to see that she was not the prototypically waifish starlett and to hear that she likes to embrace her curves. While the "real woman" challenges can be frustrating as all get out, they are also generally quite revealing.
In the end I think the designers did a reasonable job and my biggest complaint is not with the quality of the work but rather the choice to show these ensembles on the same delicate models as every other challenge. Ms. Lambert is not an insubustantial woman (I would estimate that she probably wears a size 10 or so at 5'4") and clothing that looks good on a size 2 amazon will not necessarily flatter her curvier figure. Given the cash cow that is project runway, I don't see why they couldn't have brought in larger manequins and plus size models for this challenge. This would give both the audience and the designers a better idea of how the designs would suit thier intended wearer.
The top two teams were Richard/Stanley and Benjamin/Amanda. Richard ultimately took home the prize for his rocker chick fringed dress. His dress was a definite make it work moment as the base of his dress was a loose weave black mesh and until a few minutes before the runway it was unlined and completely see through. In a burst of brilliance he cut up Mood t-shirts that he and Stanley had purchased with some of their extra budget and fashioned them into a simple jersey tube dress. I agree that the dress will have good movement on stage and likely flatter Miranda. Richard on the other hand went overboard with the volume on the skirt and cut a bodice which was unflattering and illfitting. The waistband was lovely and the dress would have had potential if he had created the fullness in the skirt via gores rather than gathering.
Benjamin and Amanda have both been underdogs in past episodes so it was nice to see them both come up on top. I actually liked Amanda's dress and styling better than Richards (given that they both made short, fringe covered proto-flapper dresses.) However without seeing how the fringe falls on a fuller figure it is hard to judge whether or not it would be flattering and appropriate for Miranda Lambert. Benjamin's dress was pretty if a bit plain and with the exception of the weird black fringe over the right breast, I think the clean lines of the dress would be both flattering and attractive so long as the fit is perfect.
On the bottom were Michelle/Matt and Daniel/Samantha. Matt completely lost his confidence, put together a boring black ensemble that is not only weird but also far too subdued for the stage. Ultimately he was sent home. I actually didn't mind Michelle's outfit, barring the enormous fringed necklace. And the necklace got her ripped apart by the judges. It almost seemed like self-sabatoge given that she knew what they would say. In the work room Michelle did a spot-on impression of Nina Garcia's inevitable critique of the necklace. Honey, if you know the judges will hate it, don't use it!
Despite being safe, my least favorite by far was Patricia. Given her interesting leatherwork and western aesthetic this should have been a simple task for her. And I actually didn't mind the fringe and the bullet holder straps. But I hated the fabric choice for the body of the dress. The brown and gold floral was old fashioned and inappropriate. If the dress had been fashioned in a solid color, maybe a warm cream color or a golden tan for a tone on tone look, it would have been significantly better. I have to say I was disappointed that she was safe because we didn't get to see Nina and Heidi critique that terrible dress. Ultimately I think she was lucky to be paired with Layana whose navy blue ruched gown was classy (if a bit dull) and would be incredibly flattering on her intended client. To some extent Layana seems to be the only person who gave the client's body much thought at all. For this, I give her props.