'Project Runway' Pirate wenches at Oktoberfest

I have been a loyal "Project Runway" fan since the very first season, with Jay Carroll, Kara Saun and Wendy Pepper. But I really must disagree with Lifetime's oft made claim that this is the best and most talked about season ever.

The proof being that here we are, 8 weeks into the season, and there is not a single designer that I feel a strong affinity for. Honestly, there are still certain designers who I can't even get a feel for what their aesthetic is. For example, the designers remark how hard it was to see Louise go, since she was such a talented designer. Was she? Was their detail that I was not seeing on camera? The challenges seem interesting, but each week the majority of what walks down the runway is banal, not inspired. The challenge this week was to take the wedding dress of a divorcee and change it into something new to match their new lives.

Irina - I just don't get what the judges love about her. The first thing I wrote when seeing her outfit was "cheap and boring". To my eye, the lace overlay looked dated, the satin looked cliche' and the cut is an exact replica of two dresses in my closet that are about 3 years old, which I don't even wear anymore. I am bewildered by the judges describing it as "expensive looking" and "chic".

Shirin - It's not Cher - thank the fashion gods. In fact, it's a subtle and really lovely cut. I love the pattern detail that she created with the thread and the peacock blue ribbon at the empire waistline. The slight asymmetry of the skirt seems a bit haphazard, making me question wether it was done on purpose. But I never would have expected Shirin to be able to assert herself to her client, so good on her for doing so!

Logan - Oh dear. It's a really terrible fit for one. All of it, the pants, the blouse and the vest, are all pulling, bunching or hanging just all wrong. I don't know what the harness/vest is doing to that poor woman's breasts, but she desperately needs someone to intervene on her behalf. I am not sure where Heidi gets Oktoberfest from, because to me this is clearly steampunk inspired - but steampunk is more about the refined lines of the victorian era. There is nothing refined about this.

Carol Hannah - To be honest, I expected more. There is nothing wrong with the simple, strapless dress she made (though the bolero is questionable at best). Certainly, simple can sometimes have an impact. There is nothing wrong with the fit and color is fine, if a bit bland. But given what she has produced in the past and given what she had to work with, this just seems...sub par for her capability.

Althea - Another disappointment. While the model is clearly thrilled, the dress looks like a shorter version of something we saw last week, only with vertical stripes instead of horizontal. It doesn't seem very modern or inspired. It's just a summer dress - easily forgettable.

Nicolas - Dreadful. Not even penny dreadful. It is the perfect visual representation of the words "frumpy", "dowdy" and "dated". It's what a mother in the suburbs of New Jersey might have worn to chaperone a third grade class on a trip to the zoo circa 1989. And that might even be an insult to New Jersey. As such, I am not only shocked, I am completely appalled when he is declared safe.

Gordana - Finally! Style! The wrapped look is very on trend but the frayed edges, steel grey color, the angular lines and asymmetrical neck line put this dress above and beyond what is currently in the stores. Plus it is a perfectly flattering fit, great in length and cut. And seeing the dress it was created out of is really eye opening, especially when Gordana explains that she only used the lining. That is vision!

Christopher - I want to like it, because I like him. He seems like a sweet guy. But my first reaction was to write "weird" and then follow it with "trash bag". It's at least one sentiment I can share with the judges who describe it as a cross between a space bubble and a hefty bag. The shape is completely unflattering and the material is just one poor choice after another.

Epperson - I am bewildered again. Heidi keeps saying Oktoberfest, but I see a kimono style of neck and sleeves with a slightly victorian under-bust style corset, but not really. I certainly don't get "pirate wench" from it. But I do think it has a lovely bit of movement, even if the proportions seem off. And I wonder if the proportions don't just seem off because the model isn't a 6'1", 115lb 17 year old?

The top three end up being Gordana, Irina and Shirin, with Gordana clearly winning this challenge. I find it outrageous that Epperson is in the bottom three while Nicolas is safe. Christopher and Logan both deserve to be there, but I fret over who is going home. In the end, I decide, as much as it pains me, Christopher would be the least painful overall. Alas, it is Epperson that is Auf'd. Did you agree, or are you - like me - still baffled by the judging this season?

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