Project Runway – Season Seven: Episode Four

Call this episode a hooker with a heart of gold. Project Runway oh-so-cleverly spent an entire show shilling for Campbell’s Soup, and managed to look noble in the process.

The challenge was to make a red evening dress for a gala sponsored by Campbell’s AdDRESS Your Heart Program. The crassness of the designers being forced to incorporate the brand’s logo into their garments was somewhat leavened by the fact that the models this week were real women who had survived heart disease. Confronted with altruism and normal-sized women (two things that cannot be found on the Bluefly accessory wall), several of the designers seemed to lose their ability to form rational sentences. To wit:

After meeting his model, Jay marvels that he’s never in his life met someone who died before.

Weepy Janene is constantly flummoxed, but still thinks that designing for people she can actually meet and talk to is inspiring. (I get that the Models of the Runway are primarily decorative, but they aren’t mute.)

Seth Aaron pointedly claims that designing for women who aren’t a size four is the largest challenge he’s ever faced as a designer, and I barely restrain myself from punching my TV.

Then Tim walks into the workroom and tells the the designers what a pleasure he thinks it is to work with real women. Faith in humanity is restored.

The runway show was basically a visual assault of interchangeable red satin and chiffon dresses stamped with the Campbell’s logo. There just wasn’t enough variety to make the final products interesting. As Maya pointed out, it’s like comparing apples to apples.

Still, I did like Jonathan’s tiered ballgown, and Amy’s floaty, strapless dress was elegant and effortless. Unlike a lot of the other garments, both seemed appropriate for a gala. I was not a fan of Mila’s dress with a giant star wrapping around the side (Emilio quite rightly compared it to a flag in the Thanksgiving Day parade), but again the judges loved her.

They were less complimentary towards Jesse’s ill-fitting jacket, although Heidi hilariously pronounced that his model had “good bosoms.” They also hated Anna’s unflattering bag-like look and Jesus’ cheap red satin mini dress, which looked like it came from the cluttered racks of Forever 21. Michael Kors commented that it was like he took “a checklist of everything that can turn tacky and combined it into one garment.”

Black-bobbed doppelgangers Maya and Mila (Wednesday and Morticia Adams) made it to the top three, but Amy walked away with the well-deserved win. For the third time in four weeks Jesus was in the bottom two, and so he was auf’d to no one’s surprise. When you start off an episode by telling the viewing audience that you’re really, really excited to still be in the competition, it’s a pretty good bet that you’re really, really going home soon.