"Project Runway" recap: Kiddie couture

Week 6: The series completes its Bravo-to-Lifetime transformation as contestants design for little girls

Published February 19, 2010 1:20PM (EST)

This is the week that "Project Runway" completes its Lifetime-ization. The challenge is to create a look for a little girl that is "age-appropriate and fashionable." Awww, that's adorable! Just not very fashion forward. I have two kids, and I think there is probably nothing less chic than a child. Well, except for Suri Cruise. That girl can dress me under the table. She should have been the guest judge this week. 

Kids' clothes are tough. You can't do gowns. You can't do anything sexy, as Anthony points out. You can't do anything with safety pins or other ornamentation (choking hazard, of course). Jonathan sums up the designers' fears nicely when he says, "I am scared of children. They are very small." 

The bantering in the work room is hilarious this week. Anthony weaves tale after tale in that golden voice of his. The designers finally challenge him to see how long he can be quiet. After donning a Lady Gaga-like mask complete with painted lips, he lasts for 14:56. Jonathan does an absolutely spot-on Michael Kors impression. I hope he does it during judging. 

We get teasing little glimpses of what everyone is working on. Mila is color-blocking. Shocker. She does a pink and green mod dress that is straight out of Lilly Pulitzer.  Jonathan has a lot of yellow. Janeane takes a little break to have an extraneous and unrelated (though very Lifetime) moment with her husband on the phone. She could really use a hug and kiss. Sniffles commence, but not full-on tears. 

Someone notes that it is very peculiar that Tim hasn't popped in to check on everyone and offer his usual nuggets of advice. Yes, very peculiar indeed. Oh, wait, here he is! "Designers, I have some good news for you. You are not showing these looks on the runway today." Instead, they must make a complementary outfit for their adult models and show it with their kids' outfit. All the designers actually seem relieved about this, and I am, too.  

Emilio is very worried about the challenge this week. He has made a sweet, traditional pink Easter dress and must interpret the look onto a modern mommy. Seth Aaron is happy with his looks and is working with graphic black and white for both. Someone snidely wonders whether black is a good color for children.  

There is very little drama in the workroom this week. The moment of chaos comes when the models, big and little, come for their fittings. The girls are running around, cutting random pieces of fabric with scissors, and talking to everyone. Anthony wants to know if they have an off button. When asked by one of the girls to explain what an off button is, Anthony asks, "Where are your mamas?" I fully understand. If you have ever been cornered by a 7-year-old girl, you know it is utterly exhausting. 

Finally Tim comes in to usher everyone onto the runway. He is the best preschool teacher ever, and clucks at models and girls alike to get everyone moving.

The guest judge this week is Tory Burch, a "lifestyle designer" who designs for women and children. She is well known for her use of pattern and color on her signature piece, the tunic.  She seems a little nervous up there, though her comments are thoughtful ones. She's not bitchy. For an ex-New York City socialite, she is actually quite considerate. 

Here are the highlights from the runway:

  • Amy's models wear orange and  aqua, cut into petal shapes. The adult pants are a series of overlapping petals in the aforementioned colors. Michael Kors shakes his head discernibly, one can only assume in disgust.
  • Ben's models are in gray dresses with red details. The effect is graphic and sophisticated. The mother's dress is particularly va-va-voom with a big belt giving her an hourglass shape. 
  • Seth Aaron's little girl wears a black and white houndstooth hoodie, trimmed in hot pink. The mother's jacket is black and white striped and crisply tailored, with strong shoulders. A show-stopper. I want it. 
  • Jonathan shows toilet paper stuck on a dress. Except he keeps calling it cotton organza.
  • Emilio's outfits would fit in perfectly on Park Avenue. A sweet, little pink dress and a matching power dress for the mommy who lunches. 

The judging is  a little boring, and the good and bad designs are pretty obvious this week. The bottom three designers are Jonathan, Amy, and Janeane. The top three are Jesse, Seth Aaron, and Jay. Predictably, Michael Kors accuses Jonathan of using toilet paper on his dress. Jonathan accepts this critique without retorting in his Michael Kors voice. Janeane's looks like a "cheap mall outfit" (her forte, let's be honest). Amy's is deemed hideous, and Tory says that the blue and orange don't go together at all. I hear the words "clown clothes."

 The top three are pretty stellar this week. The judges rave about Seth Aaron's looks, especially the jacket, and Michael tells him that it is the best-tailored garment they've seen all season. Jesse's and Jay's are both deemed sophisticated and urban. Seth Aaron is the winner, and he is excited to show his 8-year-old daughter the outfit.

 Jonathan is safe this week, and despite the beating Amy took for those peacock pants, she stays. Janeane is auf'ed and, amazingly, DOES NOT CRY ON THE RUNWAY. Yes, she cries later while being interviewed, but at least she holds it together up there.

I was expecting a horror show this week because of the kid challenge, but am pleasantly surprised. The top three looks were creative, interesting, and fashionable. No tantrums necessary. 

By Cheryl Wischhover

Cheryl Wischhover is a freelance fashion and beauty writer. She will wear high heeled shoes until a hip replacement prevents her from doing so.

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