Project Runway: Ankle Biters Rule the Runway


Forget sleek and sexy and bring out your best Punky Brewster look: It’s back to being a kid again, as noted in this week’s installment of Project Runway. The challenge: Make kids clothes that are fashionable and age appropriate. Yay, the workroom turns into a romper room!

As Heidi ushers the choo-choo train of munchkin models onto the catwalk, the designers realize they’ll have to squeeze their big ambitions into pint-size duds. Of course, there were mixed reactions. Seth Aaron is rocked out over the idea, especially since he’s baby daddy to a tween daughter. However, Jonathan is less than amused. “I am scared of children. I don’t surround myself with children, I don’t have any children…and they are very small,” he says with a frozen look on his face. Even southern belle Anthony is finding it difficult to come up with a crumb-snatching design, as he’s used to creating looks for ladies with junk in places where it counts: “Honey, these girls have got no booties and no breasts, so I’m not exactly sure how this is going to work.”

Nonetheless, off they go to Mood with a budget of $50! As they scurry back to the workroom, Emilio reveals he’s scrapping the idea of putting his signature style into this week’s design and instead focuses on making just a pretty little pink dress. Errr, wrong answer. Another few potential bombs go to Jeneane, who plans on keeping her look super simple and super safe (did she forget why Anna got whacked?!), as well as to the usually aesthetically pleasing Amy, who decides to bring on a circus of color schemes. Everyone rolls their eyes and jabs at Mila when she proudly decides to “go rogue” yet again with her magical color-blocking patterns! Bibbity, bobbity, booooo.

Where Tim At?

While all the designers are busy cutting, measuring, and secretly reminiscing on old Kids Incorporated episodes for inspiration, Jonathan decides to throw in his Michael Kors impersonation in anticipation of the designer’s usual caustic critiques. [Cue angry, nasally interjections]: “She looks like a 7-year-old waitress from Benihana!” And another: “It’s like Memoirs of a Geisha met Barney!”

As Jonathan’s contorting his face in a hideous manner with his impersonations in the sewing room, the other designers start wondering: Where the hell is Tim Gunn?! So much time has passed and his lispy presence is nowhere to be found. And they know what that usually means: A probable twist of fashionable whoop-ass could be headed their way. Oh, and they were righto.

Tim prances in with his signature heavy pauses that make for yummy drama and tells the gang that their designs won’t be walking the runway until tomorrow because (drum roll)…they’ll have to create a corresponding adult outfit by midnight tonight! Ruh-roh!!!

Emilio goes into premature menopause. How’s he going to drape a pink cupcake dress look-alike on an amazonian woman?! Anthony starts fanning himself and calling on the name of the Lawd Jesus as he bizarrely shares stories about his mother’s uncontrollable cough at church. His yapping keeps going on like an old crazy woman, which causes the irked designers to start taking bets on how long he’ll be able to hush up. They tie a piece of cloth over his mouth…and he lasts 14 minutes and 56 seconds! A personal record, he triumphantly admits.

Judgment Day

Aside from the usual suspects, Heidi introduces guest judge Tory Burch into the fray.

After all the strutting and sashaying on the runway by the paired adult and kid models, the judges choose Jay, Seth Aaron, and Jesse as the top three designers and the bottom three as Jonathan, Amy, and Jeneane.

Breakdown of the top three:

Jesse’s design: For the ankle biter, a skewed A-line gray dress with a handsomely tailored red wool coat. For the adult, a sexy tapered gray dress with red lining and buttons with a thick black belt around the waist. Tory Burch says she loved the unusual choice of gray on kids.

Seth Aaron: For the crumb snatcher, a soft pink-black-and-white hoodie with a cute little matching purse, lots of zippers and hardware. For the adult, a Mod New Wave feel to a striking black-and-white striped jacket enclosed by a giant zipper. Kors praises Seth on the hard-edged jacket.

Jay: For the rug rat, a drop-waist dress with ruffling around the hip over denim pants. For the adult, a ruffling top with black in-lining to make it more mature. Nina Garcia calls it a very “New York look.”

Breakdown of the bottom three:

Jeneane: For the wee little bairn, a way-too-simple bright orange dress that’d go for $5 bucks on a back rack at Kmart. For the adult, a badly tailored matching orange jacket. Nina says she hoped for more whimsy, while Heidi calls the kid’s look a “cheap mall outfit.” As for the adult jacket, Kors refers to it as “a home ec project.”

Jonathan: For the little munchkin, a Star Trekkie yellow and white organza dress with odd shoulder cuts and collar, which according to the kid model, was a bit uncomfortable anyway. For the adult, a cotton organza dress, which Kors easily conjectures as “a tornado of toilet paper.”

Amy: For the wascally wabbit, a tonal orange petal skirt and bright turquoise sweater. For the adult, multicolored circus pants that would’ve fit quite well in Cirque du Soleil. Kors calls the pants “a train wreck.” Heidi finds them “hideous,” while the overly composed Burch is turned off by what she thinks is a mismatched color palette.

In the end, Seth Aaron wins immunity (whoo hoo! air guitar!) and high-strung, sentimental Jeneane gets auf’d. Oh well, at least she can finally get that TLC from her boyfriend she’s been whining about.