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Project Runway Season 8, Episode 2 Recap

Gretchen's winning jumpsuit design

This week marked the first “real” challenge of Project Runway, since last week was actually an extension of the auditions. Or, actually really the second challenge.

Many of the contestants disagreed with last week’s decision (as did I), and it was actually a bit refreshing to hear their take on the judges. I don’t remember past seasons being so candid so early on.

This week’s guest judge was Joanna Coles, the Editor-In-Cheif of Marie Claire. She revealed that the challenge was to create a garment fit for the Marie Claire woman. She described her as fashion-forward, confident, and sexy. And as a surprise, the winner would not win immunity for the next challenge. Instead, they would win something even greater–a 40-foot-tall billboard featuring their design in Times Square.

Challenges like these are always interesting (and probably harder) because they are so broad that the designers really can create anything they want. There’s not a whole lot of guidelines or restrictions, other than it has to be sellable.

In the end, many contestants did not live up to the challenge. I thought there were also quite a few people that squeaked by who really should have been scrutinized (I’m looking your way Ivy). The looks ended up to be so disappointing that the judges decided to send two people home instead of the regular one.

Jason’s “infinity” dress sent him home, which seemed like an obvious choice. It was the second week that he had a garment held together with saftety pins, and Kors said that it looked like she was wearing a satin bedspread. It was way too conceptual, poorly designed, and poorly sewn.

Nicholas was also sent home, but really it was only his cape that did him in. His blouse was great from the front, but not so great from the back. Although his ensemble did have its flaws, I felt there were others that deserved the boot much more than he.

Again, Gretchen came out on top and was the winner. She created a look including her very first ever pair of pants. I was very impressed, but thought Valerie should have taken the prize with her stunning red dress. That is, until I saw the billboard at the end. I’m not sure if the judges were thinking of that sort of spirit, shape, and theme for the billboard during the process, but I thought Gretchen’s outfit was most definitly the best choice for it.

So, what did you think? Did you agree?

Also, do you have any predictions of who you think is going to last or become the next to be out



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  1. Flanerie | | #1

    I agree with your comment, Nicole, about preferring Valerie's red dress until seeing the final billboard with Gretchen's jumpsuit. I liked the jumpsuit well enough during the program, but would have scored it in second place - at the end of the show when the billboard was revealed, however, I was really impressed with how the model and the photographers made the jumpsuit the focus of such a really striking ad - talk about 'working it' !
    I also thought Nicholas should have been spared, but agreed with the judges to send Jason home. I'm curious what his portfolio looks like (I'll have to check it out online) but what he showed for the first two episodes was awful.
    I think Ivy will be gone soon, despite having an interesting portfolio of previous work - some people need a lot of time to craft their designs, and the nature of the challenges on this show does in some talented people who just aren't able to work that fast on demand, I think.

  2. User avater
    Soli | | #2

    I think Jason should have been out last week and don't think Nicholas deserved to go home this week. Normally, I've supported the mature female designers, a la Mila, Laura Bennett, etc. I can't understand how Peach made the cut. I'm surprised she survived this episode. All she knows how to make are variations on a tennis dress. If she can't get out of her comfort zone, she's going to be gone soon. Yes, she has a niche market, affluent preppy women who are looking for sportswear with a twist. But there's nothing exciting or new about what she's doing. I also thought that Valerie's dress deserved the win on the runway, but the finished billboard did look good, even if the jumpsuit looked a little blah. As one of my former co-workers used to say, it's all make-up and lighting. I think that the guy from Hawaii is going to be one of the finalists as well as Mondo. His MTM inspired ensemble was so cute! I'd wear it if I were 25. Too young for me now, but absolutely adorable and fresh! Not sure who else will make the final three... Too many designers right now and too early to tell who else has got the chops.

  3. sews4fun | | #3

    I have to say, I feel the red dress was the winner by far. I liked the jumpsuit but I have seen it before. Is it really that far from modern day prison garb? Imagine it in bright orange with handcuffs. Still, I think it was different in a good way from the perennial dresses. I think
    Gretchen looks like a finalist already. You know, I felt that the caped crusader get up was the worst but the infinity dress was a close second. Jason blaming his model for his failure was just wrong. First he goes on about how she worked it then it was her fault because he lost, so, which is it? I really hate the stuff that comes from the girl who purposely makes mistakes but "good mistakes" as heidi called them, that stuff is an embarrassment. I am not impressed with the girl who has her own line already, same old, same old. I hope peach hangs in there, I am happy she's not twenty something and worried for her because she's not twenty something and puts out some pretty pedestrian stuff. I think Mondo will do well but all in all, I don't think there is a lot of competition this season. We'll see.

  4. User avater
    thesearethebesttimes | | #4

    I loved Gretchen's jump suit. It was modern and fresh for me. Also the styling was spot on. It looked effortless, but stylish. I wasn't impressed by the Valerie's red dress. It reminds me of a zipper jumper I owned in the 80s plus the collar. Similar to this:


    So it just may be my personal prejudice, but ughh. I'm rooting for Peach and hopes she hangs in there. Yes she does seem one note, but I guess I love the whole fish out of water story. I hope she pulls something out of the bag and wows everyone. I think she has already been wrote off as old-fashion by the judges (and designers). I'm really not impressed by Cassanova, and his constant need for advice from Gretchen (although that just may be the way the show is edited). Mondo 'i'm so talented and no one understands me, its such a burden to be soooooo talented' is a huge turn off, but I guess since this is 'high fashion' those attitudes are to be expected. His skirt was cute the top was wacky. His aesthetic strays into costume for me and I've never been a fan of that. It's pretty normal for me to disagree with the judges as I base off of what I and the circles I travel in would buy. This week we were in agreement that we would purchase that jumpsuit or something similar. As for the show I hope it picks up. It seems kind of drab compared to some of the other seasons. The lead for next weeks show seems promising.

  5. Shelleydar | | #5

    Loved the red dress - thought the jumpsuit was UGLY.

  6. User avater
    Nik-ki | | #6

    I really liked Mondo's skirt. The whole ensemble was more fitting for Marie Claire, in my opinion. I couldn't see a lot of detail in Gretchen's jumpsuit. I, too, am hoping that Peach hangs in there.

  7. Flanerie | | #7

    Didn't Gretchen say that she'd never made pants before? I was just looking at her portfolio of previous work on the project runway website, and there is a photo of what is clearly either the twin to the black jumpsuit, or a pair of black pants and black top that add up to a jumpsuit. I don't fault her for falling back on a style she's worked with before, just that it's a little disingenuous to say "I've never made pants before" when clearly, she has. . .

  8. User avater
    Yumjo | | #8

    Interesting reading other people's comments. I loved Mondo's skirt, top and accessories. I think it really reflected the challenge guidelines. Valerie's red outfit was good, but it was hard for me to see the detail and it looked stiff to me. In my opinion, Gretchen's jumpsuit was blah. I was so surprised when it won because I thought either Mondo's or Valerie's were better choices. Even the billboard at the end didn't change my mind...either of the other two outfits (Mondo's & Val's) would have jumped from the billboard because of color, styling and flair...not just because of the model and/or the photographer. The guy from Hawaii (don't remember his name) has put out two lovely outfits and I'm surprised that he hasn't been in the top. His construction appears to be impeccable. I'd love to be in the workroom and see the construction processes. Hope Peach stays, glad Jason went home and I'm anticapating next week's program. Party favors to construct with...interesting.

  9. Rispoli | | #9

    I agree the billboard was amazing but to me that was more of the photography and aesthetic they were able to create, not because of the garmet that was worn. The red dress should have won, hands down.

  10. Cherlyn | | #10

    I thought the red dress should have won hands down! Valorie's would have made a more interesting billboard than the "modern day prison garb" (sewsforfun). Today's woman wants to look like they just got out of prison? I don't think so. Sexy and flirty is the red dress!

    I did think that Mondo's skirt was better than his evening dress last week. But does he has some issues when it comes to pattern making?

    Nicolas tried to copy a certain look from Gretchen (i.e.; blouse)--- then, did he try to cover that up adding the cape? I really think this sealed his fate.

    I'm glad Peach didn't get eliminated because I think she has the talent. She just didn't approach this challenge very well.

    As for Jason, I was glad to see him go. He clearly needs to spend some more time in the classroom! Those safety pins were unforgivable!

  11. User avater
    Kukana | | #11

    I really liked the red dress and thought it should have won. I was surprised that they didn't send home more last week, but agreed with cutting Jason this week - Nicholas, not so much. I am anxious to see what else Mondo and Andy have in their bags, both had very nice outfits for this show and I loved Andy's last week. I think Peach needs to show up if she is going to make it - gives me hope, since I am over 50 as well. I also want to see if Ivy actually has any design talent, so far I haven't seen much. Looking forward to the rest of the season and as always, wishing it was Thursday already!

  12. Knittinyahoo | | #12

    The jumpsuit looks like something I wore in the 80's. I thought Heidi didn't like jumpsuits. I like the red dress as well. Maybe they should bring McKell back as she was wrongfully voted off.

  13. Anza | | #13

    I prefered by far the jumpsuit. It was more modern and fun then the red dress. That dress had a nice collar but I didn't find it interesting. It seams that there is always that kind of red dress on covers of magazines. Espacially for febuary issues.

  14. knittingirl | | #14

    A dress with safety pins? Ouch! I did like the idea, but tweeking it in a day was too big of a challenge. I did not think that Nicolas needed to be sent home. I liked the skirt and the rest wasn't so bad. As to the red dress, well I have always said there is nothing like a red dress! I did like the jumpsuit, but my vote was for Mondo - that was really a fresh look.

  15. Ilove2write | | #15

    Mondo's skirt took my breath away. I love his aesthetic and look forward to seeing what else he has to offer. I, too, felt Valerie's dress embodied the Marie Claire woman to a T and was striking in comparison to the jumpsuit. You can never tell how the judges will go!

  16. Dancemom22 | | #16

    Seriously? Fashion Forward modern Woman??. I totally had that jumpsuit in the 80's. To gretchen's benefit it was one of my favorite outfits. but modern and fashion forward... I think not.

  17. Flanerie | | #17

    Ok, I stand corrected. . .in episode two, Gretchen doesn't say she's never made a pair of pants, she says it's the first time she's made pants without assistance. . .

  18. User avater
    RevDi | | #18

    I too preferred the red dress over the drab black jumpsuit - does Gretchen work with color at all? I wasn't impressed impressed with her first win, either - a little bit of sparkle on an otherwise drab dress. I guess I'm just not judge material. Yes, the billboard was terrific, but that was the magic of photography and a great model, not a great design. Mondo's design was far superior to Gretchen's, and would have made a great billboard.
    I was glad to see Jason finally go home - no real talent, and his obsession over his model's boobs last week was downright embarrassing. His insistence on safety pins and his poor construction (why must people work with such an unforgiving fabric as satin) and the belly button keyhole photo really did earn him the boot. I felt sorry for Nicholas, although I did think he stole Gretchen's idea.
    I love Peach, if just because I'm a woman in my 50s, and I do hope she comes up with something a tad more creative than the Junior League ladies lunch dress soon! Perhaps if she stops wearing the Palm Beach golf course capris it will help to inspire her!
    I do think Casanova has to go. The "I no speaka da English" is completely false. He absolutely understands what is being said, he's just doing what he wants and then playing ignorant if it doesn't go his way (I too am fluent in Spanish).

  19. User avater
    Amyxandra | | #19

    I'm a bit late with this comment but Valerie's red dress didn't work because the fabric was a bit too soft for the architectural feel and design. The sagging topstiched/pieced curves as the bottom made the dress look sloppy. The top of the dress looked great but, the seaming at the bottom coupled with the awkward hem, took away from the dress.
    Mondo's skirt was amazing. I hate his glasses but he is so creative and different.

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