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Guest judge Eric Damon makes camouflage look good.

The minute I saw the promo for Project Runway’s seasons 2nd episode, “Million Dollar Runway”, I got very excited. The challenge of designing creations worthy of $30 million dollars worth of diamond jewelry is exciting and daunting. For this challenge, Heidi brought back the dreaded “button bag” which was used for picking which model diamond baubles they wanted. Whether or not Model Musical Chairs will continue remains to be seen.

This was the contestants first trip to Mood, and they got 45-minutes instead of 30, and they got their Go Bank cards, giving them the option of spending whatever they want on their designs. The additional challenge of managing a $4000 budget on their own is a great twist. Of course, Timothy Westbrook has no choice but to s rummage through scraps for remnants in an effort to stay true to his sustainability mantra. His concept was “From Trash to Treasure.” Of course it was. So predictable.

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WTF? Timothy’s contribution. What some designers think compliments high end jewelry is eye-opening.

Zac Posen swears the velvet came from his studio, but Zac magic wasn’t cast on his latest catastrophe. Seriously, he is the only thing I can’t stand about this season. It’s like someone is sucking all the fun out of it by placing this annoyance in the midst. I wish he would go away. He is annoying, he looks annoying, he sounds annoying, and if he had any talent I could overlook that because the show is about talent. So far, I don’t see any talent, and he has to go.

This is by far the crankiest and most emotionally unhinged group of designers I’ve ever seen on Project Runway, and I have been glued to this show from day one. Sandro Masmanidi is an immature, confrontational hot head, and Sue Waller can’t thread a sewing machine (did she not watch the show before entering?), can’t be gracious when help is given, or accept responsibility for her own short comings. Basically, there are going to be a lot of mental breakdowns and bitching this season.

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Hot head Russian Sandro’s runway look. This deserved a side look. It does go from seductive to street-walker from this angle.

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Honorable mention goes to Sandro. This was damn sexy.

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His bad attitude didn’t stand in the way of making a show stopping stunner.

Helen Castillo, an evening wear designer, with a rough exterior, was so confident she would nail this challenge that she had time to offer unsolicited opinions about the other designers’ creations, but when it came to her own design, she fell flat. If she had spent more time on her own garment, she would have done better and probably wouldn’t have had a breakdown so epic it stopped the runway show. She was lucky others screwed up more.

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A front view of Kahindo’s losing look.

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Kahindo’s look from behind. A complicated print and unfamiliar fabric helped send her home.

In the end, Kahindo Mateene’s horrific print and off the rack sensibility sent her packing. She chose a fabric that she had never used before (silk charmeuse) which didn’t help her either. Tim’s dress was an ill-fitting, white and blue racer back in the front cut-out which made the breasts look flat and unsupported. He can’t seem to wrap his brain around a head-to-toe look. Helen’s dress wasn’t constructed well or executed properly, but Kahindo’s material choice did her in. I’m disappointed because I wanted to see more of her African influence. That olive green organza over the print only emphasized the hideousness once the judges lifted it.

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Kate’s corseted creation won the challenge this week.

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The back view of Kate’s dress has a certain Gothic romance appeal.

Kate Pankoke’s dress won with what snarky contestant, Alexander Pope crowned a “Vivienne Westwood knock off.” Ouch! It was a beautiful gown and true to her aesthetic but not original or surprising. Her talent can not be diminished however, so congratulations Kate.

Dom Streater’s green and white silk Grecian gown was my personal favorite. It flowed and complimented the emerald and diamond necklace her model wore. As Nina Garcia said, it offered a different perspective of what to wear with extravagant jewelry. Dom’s dress was described as “estate chic” by guest judge Eric Damon, who was the Emmy award-winning costume designer on Gossip Girl. Good looking men make my day.

Unexpectedly elegant. My personal favorite

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Dom’s dress is fantastic from any angle.

I can not wait until tonight’s episode because the folks from Milwaukee, Tim and Miranda Levy, are going a few rounds AND it’s a team challenge, AND the designers will be using untraditional materials again. I wonder if this is the episode where Miranda is predicting she’ll need therapy. I haven’t picked out a favorite designer yet, have you?

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