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Project Runway Season 12, Episode 8: “Having a Field Day”

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn prepare the designers for a field day challenge.

On last night’s episode, Tim Gunn wore shorts, Michael Kors returned, and Ken Laurence went crazy for 5 minutes. Someone won and someone went home, too!

The remaining 10 designers were awoken by Tim (wearing a referee’s outfit) and given sneakers and workout wear.

The designers, in five teams of two, had to compete in field-day events (three-legged race, human wheelbarrow race, and find the flag) to get first dibs on fabric and an hour extra work time.

Dom Streater and Justin LeBlanc won the field day events. Then the teams were broken up and the designers worked indpendently to must create high-end performance-wear for Heidi Klum’s New Balance line.

The winning design is to be sold at select athletic stores. This is the first challenge of the season to have a prize incentive attached to it.

The guest judge was Michael Kors, back for a visit and a little criticism.


The winner

Helen Castillo came through again, with another chic design. Her workout wear expressed fashion, comfort, and figure flattery. Some success seems to have made Helen much more confident, and the confidence is bolstering her creativity.

Helen Castillo's design

The loser

Karen Batts has been teetering for a while, and this episode was the tipping point. Karen started a chartreuse design with black style lines, but then had to abandon the idea when Heidi hated it. Karen quickly sewed a baggy alternative. Even the model hated it.

Karen Batt's design

The rest of the designs

Kate Pankoke’s design:

Katelyn Pankoke's design.

Justin LeBlanc’s design:

Justin LeBlanc's design

Alexandria von Bromssen’s design:

Alexandria von Bromssen's design

Bradon McDonald’s design:

 Bradon McDonald's design

Dom Streater’s design:

Dom Streater's design


Ken Laurence’s design:

 Ken Laurence's design


Jeremy Brandrick’s design:

 Jeremy Brandick's design

Alexander Pope’s design:

Alexander Pope's design 


What did you think?

Do you think Karen’s design was really the worst? What about Alexandria or Ken’s work?

Speaking of Ken, do you think the producers should tolerate his language and threatening attitude? And perhaps it is old-fashioned of me, but especially when it is directed toward a woman – I think Ken’s aggression is very disturbing, apology notwithstanding.

Are you surprised at Helen’s sudden success? Helen has hidden depths as a designer, at the same time she’s demonstrating a high taste level.

Who are your top three favorites at this point?

I know I would put Helen in my picks, but designers two and three are difficult choices. Perhaps Bradon and Dom… or Alexander and Alexandria… they’ve all made mistakes, but had successes too. Tough decisions are coming up for the judges!


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  1. User avater
    Soli | | #1

    Was Karen's design the worst? Yes - she made a rail thin NYC model look dumpy. Also, the green trim was really poorly attached to the body of the sweatshirt. As Tim said, it was a pity she couldn't have gone out on a stronger submission. As far as Alexandria, she went with what Heidi wanted, so it's kind of hard to eliminate her for going with what the client wants, especially when the client is the executive producer. Her jacket was pretty cool and flattering. I wouldn't have worn the slashed tank, as I'm well past the age when I need to be flashing any skin when I'm working out, but I saw the concept behind it. I don't mind the drop crotch that much, although I didn't think that this pair was as successful as her winning pair - that looked more like a mini over leggings. Michael Kors and his "pleasure me pockets" remark - I never thought I'd miss his snark, but Zac is a little boring. Ken's work wasn't anything special. The multiple straps were a mess. I don't want that much "stuff" digging into my back when I'm in the pec dec fly macine and my spine is pressed into the backrest while I'm trying to maintain proper form - I think all those straps would just be annoying and leave too many imprints after a hard workout. I happen to like the proportions of a longer top, but it would have worked better with ankle length leggings. Since he's self-taught, he doesn't seem to know that 50/50 is bad. I loved the colors and proportions that Kate used; think she deserved a win on this one over Helen because both pieces were fantastic. Helen's little tank wasn't so hot. However, the jacket was great. Like Nina, I want one now. I suppose I could make my own - I've seen mesh in my l.f.s. Ken and his temper: he's a nasty piece of work. He's like a bitter little witch, and for someone only 24, he sure has a lot of anger bottled up inside of him. I think he's completely inappropriate, and I think that like Sandro he deserves to lose his place in the competition for being so explosive. As the daughter of a short, mean, drunk of a father, I kind of recognize "angry short guy" syndrome. To me, I don't care what life has dealt you, you have no right to treat other human beings like that. Recently I read a great quote by Hugh Jackman, that his father had taught him that yelling in anger was self indulgent, and Ken is the prime example. I thought Geoffrey Sebilla was bad in the second or third season, but Ken and Sandro take the cake. There is no place for this kind of nastiness on Project Runway.

  2. sews4fun | | #2

    I wondered why Ken was allowed to stay when Sandro was aufed but then I remembered, he walked off the set and didn't return for the runway show. The judges even said he eliminated himself. Makes me wonder if they would have kept him in spite of his rage just for ratings. Scary.
    The fact that Ken threatened Helen and still, nothing was done about it was just.......inexcusable.
    Hated Karen's sloppy look with the green slime trim which is her signature color, I agree,she should have been sent home.
    I thought Helens jacket was cute, the rest was ....blase.
    Kate should have been the winner as her look was professional and well put together.
    Michael Kors and his sharp tongue I had to admit spiced things up a bit although he just takes the nastiness too far, I felt sorry for Alexandria even though I don't like the dropped crotch look at all. Who thinks of weird stuff like that anyway? I mean, how do you look at a baby with a diaper obviously full of poop and think to yourself, wow, that is SO fashionable, I wish I could look like that! My mom used to say, pull your pants up, it looks like a herd of indians moved out of the back of them and took their tee pees with them! I wanted to say that to Alexandria.

  3. User avater
    elysbeths | | #3

    I have finally given up - I am now going to watch Project Runway Australia on youtube and hope to find someone with sanity. Heidi Klum seems like a nice enough person, but I am so tired of hearing about her "line" with New Balance. And the 'poopy pants'. Beyond the host - a consistent winner on celebrity worst dressed lists - we also have to watch Nina go bonkers with middle age. Does she believe she can starve herself younger? Or perhaps the inappropriately young clothes? Rather than celebrating her age and success, the clothes get smaller, tighter and the hair gets blonder. Gross. But the icing on the crazy cake was Michael 'fake tan' Kors commenting on a model looking like a fat girl going for a cookie/cruise buffet. Hello, look in the mirror much? Nasty comments from a tacky man who longs for higher sales on home shopping.

    Tim Gunn is so gracious, delightful and tasteful. I struggled to stay with the show for him, but there comes a point of no return.

    Some of the designers are great (DOM!) but the judges have ruined the program. I want another Tim Gunn program, please!


  4. Ikebana152 | | #4

    I am tired of black and funky must win. Helen's jacket was "cool" and the rest mediocre. Don't agree with the judges on this one. All of the pieces from Kates look could stand on their own. Kudos to Brandon, Dom and Alexander for their execution skills.

    Ken is an unfortunate stereotype. Angry, young, nasty. He hasn't got enough talent to make one put up with his vitriole. He would not survive the pressure of fashion week.

    I did not miss Mr. Kors. The delivery may be "funny", but he is as disrespectful as Ken, in some ways worse. Given his skill and success he could bring a lot more to the show than mysogynist comments about women and cookie buffets.

  5. GMterrie | | #5

    If only the judges and producers would read our comments! They might get a clue. With the Emmys coming up, they're looking for a win, again. How about ice water in their faces? That might wake them up.

    Ken is a disgrace and (I would think) an embarrassment to the show. To allow someone to curse, yell, throw things, and utterly act violent on a so-called "class act" show is the worst. He needs to get out of there so that the other designers can open up their own personalities. Ken wants to control the uncontrollable; he is so insecure that he wants to push and beat everyone so that THEY will fail. Well, HE will fail. I believe in Karma, so he will get his negative awfulness thrown back into his face someday.

    These drama queens need to go. How long have we been saying this? Now the show's supporters are not watching as we used to. There go their ratings...

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