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Project Runway Recap: Tied Up In Knots

by Zan Romanoff

August 9, 2013 | 3:54 pm

After last week's weirdo challenge Project Runway kept it simple on last night's episode: actor Jesse TYler Ferguson talked about how he sells bow ties for marriage equality for a little while, and then the designers made garments that incorporated and reimagined the bow tie in their conception and execution. (This is the kind of thing that sounds like a particularly intricate mode of torture to me-- reimainge the bow tie, why? How?? Which is one of the many reasons I'm not a designer.)

The actual designers took the challenge with a minimal amount of fussing, mostly, and turned out what we're starting to recognize as their standard fare: Dom made an adorable striped dress with origami-style bow ties pleated onto the front and even did her model's hair up in a bow on top of her head, Miranda made another sharp, boring pencil skirt with an inexplicable green silk crop top that landed her in the bottom, and Sandro overdid it like crazy. He was safe, and could have stayed on for another week if he hadn't stopped to ask for criticism on the runway and then refused to take it, flouncing out of the studio and threatening cameras and cameramen as he went. His temper eliminated him and kept the rest of the designers safe.

It made an odd contrast to the episode's front-runner, Braden, who capped off his win by proposing to his boyfriend of eighteen years on the runway. ("You'd better say yes," Heidi chided from her judges chair, before asking if she could be a bridesmaid. I like Heidi; I think she is a woman who's enjoying her life.) As it turned out this was right around when DOMA and Prop. 8 were struck down-- Braden's boyfriend called later that night with a proposal of his own. It was just about as tear jerk-y a moment as can be imagined, but the whole thing never felt manipulative-- Project Runway does surprisingly well with this kind of confession, as it did when Mondo came out as HIV positive several seasons ago. Whatever else it does, the competition does seem to encourage its contestants to be honest with themselves in a way that always makes for compellingly watchable television-- whether they're professing love or storming out in a huff, presumably never to be seen or heard from again.

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