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Project Runway Recap: Let’s Do Brunch

by Zan Romanoff

September 13, 2013 | 8:50 am

After last week's snoozefest Project Runway is back this week with a fun one-- and a last-minute plot twist, for good measure. The designers are sent off for a relaxing brunch, where of course they don't relax at all; we're far enough into the reality age for them to be 100% aware that at any moment Tim Gunn might come bursting in to ask them to construct an avant garde evening gown using only the food that's left on their plates. What happens instead is relatively tame: the designers are to create a look, either day or evening, for the modern southern woman who is Belk's core customer. She loves color and pattern and print, Tim Gunn says. Ken lives in the south, and Dom's famliy is from New Orleans; they both think they have an edge in the challenge. Most of the other designers are a little baffled. 

Somehow, though, it's Dom and Ken who end up in the bottom, making looks that are too safe and "not special enough," probably because they're designing things they've seen on the street rather than the fantasy creations the other designers dreamed up. Joining them is Jeremy, who has once again made an incredibly Old Lady look of a blazer and a too-long dress. Ken snarks and complains a lot about how many other designers are using plaid in their looks, saying it's too old south and rooted in outdated stereotypes, and I would feel for him-- it's weird to hear all of these educated, intelligent, probably reasonably well-traveled people talk about The South as if it were a mysterious backwater, unknowable except by distant rumor-- but Ken is the worst, so I don't. Helen's weird sixties frock, Alexandra's messy plaid and Justin's two-piece coral number are safe; Braden, Alexander and Kate round out the top three. Braden wins! Yay! He's back on top. Ken can criticize the idea of using plaid in theory all he wants but I think Braden does it beautifully, and even manges to make an interesting piece out of the tired hi-lo trend. His dress will be manufactured and sold in Belk stores. 

Then comes the twist: it seems like the designers in the bottom really misunderstood the challenge, the judges say, so they have an hour, the help of one of their fellow designers, and all of their fabric scraps to redesign (or completely reimagine) their looks. Dom's second dress is so good that Belk offers to make it, too, catapulting her from the bottom to the top (hear that, Drake?); Jeremy's new dress is fine but boring, and the judges like Ken's for some reason, though I think the second effort is worse than the original. In any event Jeremy goes home-- sad, but expected, and Ken lives to snark another day. 

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