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Project Runway: It’s a Party!

Andy wins immunity with this understated dress.

This week’s challenge on Project Runway was to design an outift using only party store supplies. Designers were able to use muslin to build the base of their garments, but otherwise had no other fabric to work with. Tim cautioned contestants that the judges generally frown on the use of fabric-like supplies, such as, table clothes and other items which lack creativity. Betsey Johnson joined our usual judges this week. Most of the designers played it safer than they should for this unconventional challenge, but in the end the basic black dress won the challenge.

The top three contestants were Gretchen, Valerie, and Andy, with AJ, Casanova, and Sarah as the bottom three. Sarah’s palm tree design wasn’t enough to keep her in the competition and she was sent home with Andy winning immunity for next week.

What did you think of the designs this week? Do you agree with the judges decisions?


A.J. Thouvenot


Andy South


April Johnston




Christopher Collins


Gretchen Jones

Ivy Higa


Kristin Haskins Simms


Michael Costello

Mondo Guerra


Nicholas D’Aurizio

Peach Carr


Sarah Trost


Valerie Mayen



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  1. Cherlyn | | #1

    So far, black is the in-thing with the judges. But I did like the dress that Andy created. He would not have finished if it had not been for the two assisting him. I think that Gretchen spends too much time sticking her nose into other's business. While she designed three pieces, I wasn't as impressed with this one. Peach's dress looked very "teeny-bopper" to me, but much better than last week. And I thought Christopher's was pretty, but it did look like fabric. Casanova has too much going on in his and he leans heavily on not understanding "English"----how much longer will he be in this competition? Valorie's was okay, just looked patchy. Nicolas' looked like the skirt had been starched stiff! I didn't like it at all. I thought Michael C.'s gown was very pretty. I love red though and I'm not much on black. I like these unusual challenges because the materials they have to use makes the designers pull out their creativity. If the designer has that "gift" then the designer really shines!

  2. sews4fun | | #2

    Well, I have to say, I'm glad to see that Andy's masterpiece won, he richly deserved it and cudo's to his helpers! Sadly, I have given up on peach, I was hoping someone closer to my age could actually win P.R. but it wont be peach. She has no imagination and lacks creativity. Peach had a gazillion ways to go on this challenge and could have produced something remarkable and brilliant but instead, she gave us a tribute to Hello Kitty, complete with a H.K. purse. Peach clearly sews for a younger tween group and so far, most of what she puts out looks like a home-ec project. Peach will go home and soon. Then there were the awesome napkin dresses, both were lovely and showed real talent from the designers, bravo on those dresses! Next, Cassanova's salad bar on stilettos entree, I think everything but the kitchen sink was on that dress, it was busy and unappealing, look out A.J. you have competition. Gretchen's cowgirl stripper ensemble was overrated and in my opinion, should not have been in the top three, although I did like the blouse and thought it odd that no one commented on it. I couldnt decide with Ivy's dress, I was torn between expecting the stay puff marshmallow guy to pop out of there or to just go ahead and look for the trunk from Mr. Snuffleuffagus from Sesame Street. She took a lot of time and effort with the dress, it was just too puffy and the wrong color. so far, I think Gretchen and the girl with the black and white napkin dress look to be in the last three standing. Too bad Gretchen already has a big head, her stuff is nice but she's no Vera Wang just yet and she needs to keep her advice to herself. I agree with Cherlyn on Cassanova's "language barrier" problem, he's milking it for all its worth.

  3. User avater
    Soli | | #3

    The innovation challenge is always interesting to watch. I agree that Gretchen has been stepping out of her bounds as a designer. It's one thing to give advice if it's asked for. It's another to actively go around the workroom when your name *isn't* Tim Gunn, and offer unsolicited critiques. Look what good advice she gave Sarah, resulting in Sarah going home. I suppose the question for me was, did Gretchen purposely give Sarah bad advice or did Sarah just not put herself 100% into this assignment? I thought that Cassanova's dress was awful, although Michael Kors' criticism was over the top. He's getting on my last nerve for some reason. I feel like Kors is being bi*chy for the sake of making t.v. drama, and I don't know how it's supposed to help the designers if they feel attacked rather than getting constructive criticism. I'm glad Andy won. I think that his first two entries was great, and that they both should have bested Gretchen's boring pieces. The texture was a bit much, but he put so much more into the detail than others who were working repeating teeny pieces.

  4. Elaray | | #4

    I agree with the judges' decision. I also loved Gretchen's design, although I'm glad she didn't win. With two consecutive wins behind her, she's getting to be a little unbearable in the workroom. Three wins might have incited a violent crime against her. ;)

    I don't understand why Casanova hasn't be sent packing. The judges question his taste week after week, yet they keep him around. Maybe they keep him around so they can talk about him.

  5. SewingDreamsCom | | #5

    Love this show! I am addicted again this year!

  6. Flanerie | | #6

    I enjoy watching 'Runway' mainly because it reflects my sewing sensibility - I've always enjoyed using unusual materials in a (hopefully) interesting way. . .vintage fabrics and old kimono in modern designs, hand-painting elements, all of that. The challenges using unconventional materials are the most fun for me to watch. . .although nothing the designers came up with in this episode thrilled me. It was a difficult one, though - I'd much prefer to be given the hardware store challenge that previous contestants had.

    So far I'm not seeing any standout talent this season to really root for - Gretchen's work is the most interesting to me, but she is so 'full of herself' that I know she'd be driving me crazy if I were in that workroom. Still, however, hers are the designs that I really check out. Casanova should be sent home soon, but I think he's still there because it's a tv show, and they need "personalities" - his is the most memorable (like him or not, and I don't particularly)

    Anthony in previous season was a good example to me of someone who lasted mainly because he was fun to watch - they need a mix of "types" on any show like this, and you can almost see the casting directors saying "ok, we need an eccentric loner, choose Mondo; we need a mature woman for that demographic, choose Peach (I'm all for that, btw! I'd love to see someone over 40 win - unfortunately, Peach is too much the 'ladies-who-lunch.') Casanova will be there as long as the judges feel like they need him there for ratings. . .I'm sure Heidi and Michael Kors are cognizant of that as much as they are of design capability. Without memorable contestants, there is no show.

  7. Skymom | | #7

    I thought Sarah's was dreadfully dull, but wish she hadn't been sent home because I liked her calm personality and wanted to see what else she could do. Michael Drummond's (the one shown above as Nicholas D'Aurizio, who was sent home last week) lampshade-cum-Reynold's Wrap disaster was probably the most unflattering thing on the runway.

    Gretchen's outfit, to me, was fine, but less original than many of the pieces that slipped under the radar. She simply used party supplies that were, essentially, disposable versions of familiar fabrics, and not in an especially creative way. A fringed skirt and "leather" jacket--so what? I wore outfits like that in the 1990s (though I'm loathe to admit it!!). I'm not a fan of Gretchen as a personality, certainly, but I also don't see anything new in her designs so far.

    Valerie's paper napkins and Andy's ribbon-braid were a lot more inventive technically, and produced more interesting garments as well. So I'm glad Andy won, and I also was pleased to see Peach and April help him out at the end. I hope Valerie gets a win soon--she's been so consistently good all along.

  8. Bobbyo2 | | #8

    I think Andy's dress was great, but I think Christopher's dress was really very nice and note worthy, as opposed to the ones that were in the top three. Michael's dress should have been in the top three. Cassanova should have been the first to be sent home on the first show...the dress was a MESS!!!! I think they should have an editor from Threads, as a permanent judge...I think a true technical opinion would do wonders at the critique.

  9. User avater
    Kukana | | #9

    I was thrilled that Andy won - I loved his dress. There were several that were really great, Christopher's was quite elegant to have beem made from paper, and I thought Peach's outfit was adorable. A bit young perhaps, but very cute. Can someone tell me why Casanova is still there? What a goof!

    It is going to be a fun season again......I am addicted!

  10. mmggs | | #10

    I too am addicted to PR. I look forward to sewing the next challenge and what the designers with create. I loved Alex's and Valerie's designs. Casanova is the class clown, and I think most agree that Gretchen thinks she is the winner already! Not to mention "how rude" she is talking with the others and ordering them to clean their spaces and giving her opinions when asked not to. ...keeps people coming back for more. I've seen some good stuff so far, just waiting to see what's next :)

  11. User avater
    jbrown283 | | #11

    I am a huge Project Runway fan and this is always my favorite episode. If Chris March was on the show, he would have cleaned house. A.J who is an expert at this kind of work failed me. The beads at the front of the dress were tasteless and I imagine a complete mistake - he spent too much time hot gluing at the front of the dress form. Andy was the clear winner and I am so happy to see him win. I thought his dress was amazing. And, I was glad to see Peach and April help him out. He better remember that act of kindness when it comes to group or team challenges. I also liked April's work. The styling with the black stockings was a mistake, but the design was good and very interesting. Valerie's use of the napkins was so amazing and I agreed with Nina's comments. The dress was fresh and new and youthful. I don't know if I'd use the dress as a "finger food dress", as suggested by Betsey Johnson. I also loved Ivy's dress. I thought it looked great on her model. The shoulder section needed editing, but overall I loved it. Now on to Gretchen. If I were in the workroom with her, I'd watch my back. She'll throw you under, over, and into the depths of traffic. While I like her style and the clothes she makes (some of it looks dated don't you think?), I know I'd grow to despise her. Pride before a fall! I really felt for Sarah. The dress looked awful and I wonder what she would have created if she'd listened more to herself than others. Cassanova is a joke and clearly around because he's "reality TV worthy." Please, the language issues isn't his problem. That dress he created was a huge "hot mess." Please give him his own show on the Logo channel designing dresses for RuPaul's Drag U - another favorite show of mine! Lastly, I think Mondo is a dark horse in the competition. I thought his bodice was amazing and would love to be able to construct something like that. It was a work of art. I think we need to watch out for him.

  12. knittingirl | | #12

    Sarah seemed to have an idea going that she and Tim liked. But after talking to Gretchen, she lost her vision. My advice would be, don't take Gretchen's advice. She is in it to win.

  13. User avater
    RevDi | | #13

    At last a win for someone besides Gretchen, or the Manipulative B as she's become known in our household (yes, my husband watches a lot of "House"). I have to wonder if it wasn't Gretchen's plan to get Sarah off the show by playing on her insecurity and having her change what could have been a delightfully playful little frock. I try not to dislike someone so actively, but Gretchen running around giving everyone critiques and telling them to clean up the workroom is a bit much. And I haven't seen anything award-winning in her work yet.

    Andy (and Valerie) deserved the win. And kudos to Peach and April for helping him! We haven't seen this kind of teamwork very often,, but it's nice to see it is possible and it can pay off in the end.

    Casanova should have gone home long ago. And I'm beginning to wonder about Michael Kors. He is getting soooo bitchy, and he actually liked the back of Casanova's dress? The language issue isn't fooling anyone any longer, and the viewers aren't finding him interesting, only exasperating. Of course, if Gretchen had won again I swore I wasn't watching any longer. My husband, who secretly watches in his office, said he wasn't either!

    It's not last season. With the exception of Ping, there were so many talented designers who all wowed us right away. Every episode gave us such great designs, it was tough to see who would be in the bottom, and it got down to minute issues determining who would go home, and which great look would win. Not so this year, I'm afraid. Oh well, at least we don't have Diaper Man (Suede). But a Chris Marsh would be fun!

  14. Threads Forum | | #14

    I can't wait for the series to start in the UK! Does anyone know when it is going to start? I get so many ideas and get so exicted and can't sew garments up fast enough!

  15. nitab | | #15

    Sarah obviously couldn't find her muse in a party store. I understand how difficult it is to create when nothing inspires you. Sad that I won't be hearing her lovely, calm voice anymore. I guess minimal is not runway acceptable. I thought Kristin & Valeries' were confusing. Loved Michael C.-great movement & flash. Nicholas created something I would see in a kitchen gadget store & would have to have the clerk explain it to me. Peach, not so peachy. Mondo-that was just yummy. April & Andy both made stunning garments. Glad Andy won. Ivy made the model appear plump. Christopher's was playful, pretty & wearable. I'm afraid I laughed out loud at Gretchen's Go-Go Girl outfit. Perhaps it was the boots or that I'm too old to appreciate fringe. She is also making the inevitable fall from the pedestal pretty high. Her "help" is suspect-watch out designers. Cassanova left me speechless but not in a good way. AJ-Yikes, if this is your specialty something went drastically awry. I'm leaving someone out but I love the 90 min. show. Could still use more time with designers & critiques than with hair & makeup. Love PR.

  16. shaniqua | | #16

    It's hard not to fall for it, but surely anyone who is a fan of Runway knows the editors are manipulating us with Gretchen. Come on! Oh well, I'm sure a Runway (or Lifetime) staffer is happily reporting that it's working - people are actually calling Gretchen names and hating her. Heh.

    That said, I liked April's best but wasn't unhappy with Andy's win. I would like to have seen the last of Casanova (but again, the editors need him).

  17. Bother | | #17

    Why on earth didn't anyone tell Gretchen to bugger off. It was incredibly nervy of her to critique other designers and someone should have slapped her down hard. I thought Andy did quite a good job with ribbons so I'm happy with his win. In retrospect, looking at these stills, I can see why the judges aufed Sarah but I think Nicholas and Mondo's dresses were pretty bad too. Mondo's is a boring re-run and, although I like Nicholas's color choices, the bodice is nothing less than a hot mess.

  18. DJL739 | | #18

    Thought Andy's dress was great. All-All I think this season's designers are more creative and fun than that last batch,,,yuck!!!

    You can really see their creativity at work ( who's got & who don't) with this kinds of challenges. Love it..

  19. SewSandee | | #19

    I agree that this season is loaded with talent. I am so amazed they are able to get something wearable in the amount of time given.
    I hope I don't make enemies but-----I like Gretchen, she is very talented. Let's face it there are alot of advice giving people and it sounds like she likes control. She might be playing a game but that palm dress was a loser no matter what. I would have sent home about 3 more designers as well. There are some designers that will give Gretchen a run for her money but I am anxious to see what she, Michael, Christopher, Ivy, April, and Andy have up their sleeves.
    I love designing but I can not compete with this group.

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