"Project Runway" made a sweet return to television, pairing food and fashion for this week's episode. Thank you, Heidi and company, for reminding me why my New Year's resolutions had nothing to do with chocolate or chocolate suede peep-toe heels. If it's anything from candy or Fendi, I will have to indulge. I did, however, swear to stop using the word "fierce" in everyday conversation. Hey, we all have our vices, right?
This week's challenge was all about indulgence and imagination, thanks to the Hershey's store in Times Square. Despite the fact that this episode was one big advertisement (and the Sarah Jessica Parker episode wasn't?), the chocolate giant proved a great inspiration for the designers, who had to use products from the store to create their outfits. While Chris March condemned food as fabric, "Runway" fanatics may remember the very first episode of Season One, when designer Austin Scarlett created a fabulous corset dress out of corn husks. And there has been another successful merger of the wearable and the edible: Departed designer Jack Mackenroth and Dale Levitski from Season Three of "Top Chef" are rumored to be dating. How sweet it is to be a Bravo reality star!
The Hershey's challenge began with a 6 a.m. wakeup call from Tim Gunn, traumatizing Kit when she was caught fresh out of bed with no bra on. Don't worry, Kit, you're not his type. The designers were given five minutes to grab anything in the store to produce a garment of their choice. The products ranged from actual candy to stuffed animals and pillows. The designers then had about 13 hours to complete their outfits.
Most of the designers opted not to use edible products. Chris once made a dress of lettuce for Wishbone salad dressing and has since soured on making edible garments. Instead, he looked to Stephen Sprouse and Andy Warhol for pop-art inspiration, which was a great way to incorporate brand insignias into his look. Rami also employed the York peppermint patty logos, in a repeating pattern on a pleated skirt that managed to be both fashionable and tongue-in-cheek. Christian and Kevin used wrappers to produce garments that looked as if they were made of real fabric, while Jillian, despite the skeptics, used Twizzlers to sculpt the only edible outfit.
I admit, I expected more from Sweet P (note the nickname) and Elisa. Sweet P's idea to use silver Hershey's Kiss wrappers, crushed pottery, and teddy bear fur was an instant red flag. But when she remade her outfit using the tissue from the kiss labels, Tim compared it to a maxi pad. Ouch. Nothing caused more confusion, though, than Elisa's aesthetic vision. She proclaimed chocolate "magical" and imagined a disturbed, Gretel-esque figure. I'm pretty sure Hansel and Gretel wandered into the woods, not into the water where Gretel would need tinfoil water wings. Her dress was a disaster, and she deserved to go, but I'll miss her crazy antics all the same. I guess you could say it's a bittersweet farewell — and yes, pun very much intended.
Runway Guest Judge: Zac Posen
Ricky Lizalde with model Lisa: Used large Hershey's Kiss wrappers to create fitted silver mini-dress with Hershey's bubble skirt. Safe.
Chris March with model Marcia: Alternated material from a Hershey's bag with a silver logo with vinyl Twizzlers logo to create a silver-and-white tube dress with a dark-brown skirt. Michael thought it showed a smart editing choice — the costume designer purposely avoided making something over-the-top — and was made well. Nina thought Marcia could be shot for the pages of Elle in her outfit. Top three.
Kit "Pistol" Scarbo with model Marie: Tube-top made of Kit Kat wrappers with knotted back closures, a skirt made of oversized Hershey's wrappers and a studded belt of Reese's peanut butter cups. Safe.
Elisa Jimenez with model Aviva: Brown velvet dress made from Hershey's pillow fabric with silver and pink detailing on a sweetheart top and separate silver puff sleeves. Zac didn't think it was wearable or fabulous. Michael thought the sleeves looked like shower caps. Heidi wanted something crazier. Bottom three.
Kevin Christiana with model Amanda: Used silver Hershey's Kiss wrappers for a sleeveless corset top and brown fabric for a pencil skirt and a half-sleeve bolero jacket. Safe.
Christian Siriano with model Lea: High-neck mini-dress made of Reese's peanut butter cup wrappers. Safe.
Sweet P Vaughn with model Katie: Tube top made of stuffed Hershey's Kiss fabric and a flare skirt from Hershey's Kiss tissue. Heidi said it was boring. Nina thought it looked easy to make. Michael found no joy in it. Bottom three.
Rami Kashou with model Sam: Backless V-neck top made of clear plastic from a Twizzler pillow case and a pleated skirt made of York peppermint patty wrappers. Zac thought it was neat and had a complicated construction. Michael thought it fit beautifully and captured the spirit of working with candy. Top three.
Jillian Lewis with model Lauren: Red corset with scallop detail on the bust made from red and black Twizzlers and a red skirt with two layers of Twizzlers fringe. Zac thought it was a cute outfit and loved the red color. Nina thought the hard work showed. Michael called it deliciously chic. Top three.
Victorya Hong with model Jacqueline: Used York peppermint patty pillows to create a ruffle dress with alternating layers of white and silver. Michael didn't think it was wearable or fanciful and hated the model's "Ice Queen" walk. Heidi thought it looked like Dairy Queen, not candy. Bottom three.
In designer: Rami Kashou Out: Elisa Jimenez