Project Runway: Episode Three

“Oh, Ping.”

It’s a shame that won’t have an opportunity to become the catchphrase of the season, because Ping Wu and her draping, dithering, bum-exposing wackiness was auf'd on this week's episode. No one on the show ever actually uttered the words “oh, Ping,” but affectionate eye rolling was implied in every scene of Ping ponging around the workroom in search of her shoes/sketchbook/money/sanity, or being browbeaten by her challenge partner Jesse and the judges.

Poor Ping. She was one of Project Runway’s more adorable loose canons.

The Winning Look

In other news, episode three brought a couple of P.R. staples into the mix: a partner challenge, and fabric shopping at Mood. After a visit to the Met to draw inspiration from the costume institute’s collection of vintage couture (a moment which, of course, nearly brought weepy Janene to tears), the designers were paired off and given $500 and two full days to create a high-end signature look worthy of a master collection.

In the Project Runway world, such a windfall is guaranteed to come with a few strings attached. None of the designers should have been shocked when Tim came into the workroom to inform the group that each team would be sending a second garment down the runway—specifically, a low budget interpretation of another team’s look.

Confused much? Considering that Rodarte is now designing for Target, the high end/mass market combo challenge was pretty savvy, as was forcing the designers to draw inspiration from their competition. However, it also marked the point in the episode where I completely lost track of who the heck was doing what with whom. As with most team challenges, there was a lot of complaining. Maya (a.k.a. adult Wednesday Adams) thought Jay was being lazy because he, as last week's winner, had immunity. Jonathan lamented that he was stuck doing most of the work while Mila labored over a winged black and white coat. Jesse grimaced and insulted Ping every time she opened her mouth, and Anthony cracked me up by admonishing Seth Aaron to "stop acting up in front of company," when Tim came by to visit.

On the runway, there was a seemingly endless march of rather blah black dresses. Anthony and Seth’s model was swallowed up by a giant black and yellow taffeta concoction that Michael Kors thought would look appropriate for a “cotillion from hell.” Mila and Jonathan produced a bizarre three-piece ensemble that looked to me like an extremely formal tracksuit, although it won raves from the judges. Ping and Jesse (whose frustration with his partner was understandable, but whose general air of douchebaggery was not) fared the worst with a signature-look dress that basically consisted of a black and gray window treatment tacked on to a bodice.

Maya and Jay seemed like the clear winners with their dramatic, geometric gown (and a chic second look to boot), but passive-aggressive Mila got the nod. Ping and Anthony, the season’s most noteworthy personalities to date, were left in the bottom two. Ping’s wild ride came to an end. But for the sassy Southerner, tomorrow will be another day.

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