“Project Runway” recap (10.12): Can someone look up “avant garde” in the dictionary?

It’s the last week of competition on Project Runway Season 10, where we finally find out who will be returning to New York for Fashion Week. Except we won’t REALLY know who will be showing in Fashion Week, as they continue with the trend they’ve become so fond of in recent seasons, allowing not three but four designers to spend months toiling over a collection, and then excruciatingly eliminating one back in New York. I find this irritating and will never understand why it’s a good idea.

Regardless, on with the show! First things first, let’s take a long look at the outfit Heidi shows up in to meet the designers on this episode.

Bask in that for a bit.

Then, as it’s the last challenge, it’s time to take the designers to a super fancy location for “inspiration,” Oheka Castle on Long Island. This place really does look gorgeous. Long Island = full of surprises.

The last challenge is also finally an avant garde look, which all the designers are pumped about. Their avant garde look will be inspired by color palettes assigned to them by L’Oreal Paris, as L’Oreal Paris and Project Runway are lovers. They have two days and get 400 buckaroos to spend at Mood! Basically everything is a big deal right now.

As their time in the workroom progresses, it’s hard to know how everyone’s final looks are actually going to turn out. I’m excited for an avant garde challenge, as well, because seeing the really crazy stuff is what’s most interesting and what I feel we’ve seen disappointingly little of in this season. But I don’t know if there’s that much really crazy stuff happening. Tim comes in and asks each designer what about their looks is actually avant garde, to which everyone sort of collectively shrugs. Where’s Kooan when you need him?

At the runway, we meet our guest judge, the oh-so-fierce Zoe Saldana. Sometimes guest judges are gentler in their critiques than the regular judges, more concerned with not hurting the designers’ feelings. Zoe Saldana is not one of those guest judges.

First down the runway is Melissa’s look, which has a lot of things I like. The blue leather jacket is badass, and the pop of the coral lining of the skirt is really cool. I don’t know if I’d necessarily call it avant garde, but the overall look has an edge that is distinctly Melissa. And it’s always good to be able to say that something is distinctly you.

Then we have Fabio, who undoubtedly has the most avant garde aesthetic in general of the designers, with his sheer black skirt and upside down jacket combo. The jacket is rad, but I have to say I don’t know how I feel about all those black fabric strips he has going on everywhere. The way it’s constructed feels more messy than impactful.

Sonjia’s green dress really flows beautifully when her model walks. The idea of the floating pieces of fabric on top is also neat, although the mesh lining underneath is pretty distracting.

Dmitry has essentially made a suit with a weird collar, but there’s somehow still something really cool about the suit? Again, I don’t know about avant garde, but there are a lot of little details that, as Christopher says, are “exquisite.”

And then Christopher, who has created a gothic black dress full of sparkles and feathers which I keep thinking belongs on the set of Snow White and the Huntress.

Judgment time. Heidi tells the designers that they were really, really impressed by the runway show and that everyone did a good job. They then proceed to criticize the hell out of everybody. Everyone except for Heidi seems to especially hate on Sonjia’s look, which fills me with an uneasy feeling. The most positive vibes seem to be given to Dmitry, Melissa, and Christopher.

They then do the drama-bait game of asking the designers why they should go to fashion week and who should go with them. Instead of creating drama, though, I think this exercise illustrates how little animosity there actually is between all five of these designers. The answers are pretty balanced; no one is left out. Each designer is picked by at least one other designer as being worthy of Fashion Week. And while their pleas about why they themselves deserve to be there all seem sincere, there’s no real breakdowns or weeping. Which is slightly disappointing. It also makes the final outcome of this episode feel even less certain.

After the judges deliberate, however, it’s time to get the pain over with. Christopher, Dmitry, and Melissa are the first three in. You’re going to Fashion Week! (Maybe!)

Which leaves a very sad looking Fabio and Sonjia.

At this point, I know how it’s going to play out. Fabio’s in. Sonjia is auf-ed.

My feelings at this point are a jumble. Looking back to the beginning of this season, almost all of my predictions were wrong. After the first few challenges, I cast Ven and Sonjia as being in the final three for sure. Wrong. The only person I felt confident about throughout was Christopher, so at least I have that. I really like the other three, and am happy for Fabio and Dmitry in particular as I like them a whole lot as human beings, but I just keep thinking about that blue candy fish dress Sonjia made! And those print pants! And pretty much everything else she made! Girl has so much going for her.

As she says, though, “I know I’ll be at Fashion Week someday, and it won’t be because I have to share the runway with anyone else.” Word.

The only good thing I know is that next week is the Tim-visits-designers-at-home episode, which is always my very favoritest episode of every season! Also, in the preview for the actual last challenge where they cut that unnecessary fourth person, we hear Michael Kors using the phrase “crazy ugly.” Ouch.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the judges’ decision? Who do you think will end up in the final three?