'Project Runway' Season 12 week 12: Butterflies inspire the avant-garde with twists

project-runway-season-12-week-12-ae.jpgWe're down to five designers on Season 12 of  "Project Runway," with the dismissal of Kate and Alexander. Next week is the first part of the finale... so this is a big challenge - the final four move ahead to New York Fashion Week. We're close to the end. So get a glass of something and let's dig in, shall we?

Left in the competition: Dom (who won last week's challenge,) Alexandria, Justin, Bradon, and Helen. Justin knows he's got a target on him, as he's not won once. 

Tim Gunn and the designers go on a field trip to Sweetbriar Nature Center in Long Island. It's always fun when the non-nature designers get sent out into nature. They get to take a tour through the butterfly house, along with Billy B., the L'Oreal consulting makeup artist. He and Tim explain the next challenge: an avant garde, daring, cutting edge L'Oreal Makeup Challenge, inspired by the beauty and color of butterflies.

At Mood, Dom chooses a designer print with a lot of motion. Helen finds a rich orange Monarch color and says she's going "luxe as hell." Both Alexandria and Bradon blow the budgets with some very expensive fabrics and spend over $900 on fabric - each.

Justin explains that avant-garde is all about "material manipulation" so he's working on creating yards and yards of piping, looping it into and over itself to create another textile. Bradon is focusing on movement and "bounce." Bradon has "$400 silk noodles" that he's creating, but there's very little garment construction going on. Overall, there's very little drama in the workroom. It's quiet and focused. No outbursts. There's a good tone of seriousness and concentration with these last five designers.

After one night of design, and before Tim's review, they meet with the L'Oreal makeup and nail team to design the model's looks. This is full-out crazy detailed makeup here. Back in the workroom, Tim reviews the designers - Dom is working on a cross-breeding butterfly look - lots of color, with a jumpsuit underneath. Tim says to pull it back if it starts looking costumey, but reminds her that the judges love her textile taste. Helen has chosen a cocoon-like, wrapping cape. Tim says it's not working, and that she's going to have to figure it out. Helen already has a bit of a self-esteem issue, and she has a panic attack right there in front of Tim. He pulls back from slapping her around, but just barely. 

Alexandria is working on a silk dress, made out of strips of fabric. It's a raw, unfinished look (which she seems to excel at creating.) Bradon's look is called "sculpture" by Tim, and that the back of the gown is "spectacular" but the silk noodles don't enhance the look - until he places them at the waist and Tim says he gets a "chill." Hee.

Justin's fabric is criticized by Tim as looking inexpensive, so he switches it out, replacing one piece of his two-piece look altogether. Otherwise, Tim likes the roping detail of his textile.

They go home for the night, and when they get back, things have gone off the rails. Like ghosts, all of the garments of designers who've lost challenges are lined up in the workroom. Tim says that for the first time in show history, they're adding another wrinkle - two challenges will walk the runway at the same time. Each designer has to select a design and transform it from a "loser" to a "winner" by "making it work." Dom chooses Jeremy's "cruise wear" red jacket and dress. Alexandria selects Miranda's plaid pants and jacket. Bradon takes Sue's "placemat" dress, and Helen decides on Kate's pleated baby blue dress. Justin, who was saved by Tim's reversal, emotionally selects his own dress that almost sent him home; it's a strong redemption on his part. Go Justin.

They now have to finish the first design, and remake the second, in one day. And they're all hitting the wall. Alexandria calls home to talk to her "Camp Couture" kids (which makes us kind of like her a little more.)

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The Runway Show(s): Heidi Klum,  Zac Posen and  Nina Garcia are joined by guest judge Emmy Rossum, star of Showtime's "Shameless." Heidi explains they threw the "Make It Work" twist at them because this is such a big decision. Poor exhausted designers.

Avant-garde:
   
  • Dom - Her mixed textile dress and pantsuit is beautiful, and very structured.
  • Helen - Her long dress, set off by the matched orange bob on the model, is lovely. The dress is basically one long row of pleats, and has great impact.
  • Alexandria -  Her pieced silk dress with gauzy train fits her model perfectly, and it's one of the best she's done.
  • Bradon - The "noodles" look like art on the runway, not overpowering the dress, but adding to the interest. It's amazing.
  • Justin - His coat and dress work well together, and when the coat comes off, the dress is, indeed sculpture. 

Make It Work:
   
  • Dom - She pulls the pattern of the old dress of Jeremy's and remakes the jacket. It's very modern.
  • Helen - The pleats of Kate's skirt are gone, and is replaced by a tight vintagey, 40s-looking skirt and crop top.
  • Alexandria - She recuts the plaid pants perfectly, with a leather waistband and trim, and the top makes the pants look hip (and not old-fashioned as before.)  
  • Bradon - The placemat dress has been made into something looking more like leather with a cool trim, as opposed to the other way around. It's sexy and flirty.
  • Justin - He's remade the old gauzey dress, with a similar bodice, but better color, and a great swing to the skirt.

Judging: The judges love Justin's coat and dress, and his old dress, into something much more pulled together. Nina thinks the avant-garde look is the best of his all season, and commends him on remaking his own failed design.

Heidi likes Helen's "fluttery" orange dress, and says that even with all that pleating, the model looks sleek and amazing; Zac and Nina both say her rework of Kate's dress is clean and simple (but Zac is not as much a fan of the orange dress.) Emmy isn't a fan of the pumpkin color.

Alexandria's avant-garde look is called "goth, sexy, dramatic" by Heidi, but she's not a fan of rework look (but the pants are killer.) She says the styling is too punk to be taken seriously. Nina disagrees, however, and says the avant-garde dress looks like a butterfly stuck in a web. Zac says neither look worked for him.

Bradon's looks are "spectacular," according to Nina: the white dress is "risky, extravagant, exciting, and thoughtful, and works." She even uses the word "phenomenal" when describing all the angles of the dress. Heidi sings the hallelujah choir, and Zac says Lady Gaga would wear the avant-garde look. They're all gaga over Bradon.

Nina "loves the exuberance" of Dom's dress and pantsuit cross-breeding look. When the model pulls the dress off to reveal a full pantsuit, Nina even makes little "ah! Ah!" noises, and says it's all impeccable. Zac says she has the ability to break up prints in a "very modern, feminine way" and says she's making " emotional clothing." 

Who's in for the final? Bradon is the winner, with his noodle dress, that was, really, amazing. He's in. Dom is as well.  

And now we get yet another twist. Alexandria, Justin, and Helen are given the opportunity to create a collection to put up for judging to wow the judges. Then the winners of that challenge will go to Fashion Week with Dom and Bradon.

Who's out of luck? No one at this point. The three who don't have an automatic safe berth are headed home to create collections. Tim will be visiting (which is one of the best moments of the season.)

So. Close.
Photo/Video credit: Lifetime
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