Oliv(i)er's departure last night left us with seven designers remaining. And while many are excited to see him go, let's be fair -- the last few challenges have not played to his strengths. I mean, that was two straight weeks with models who project into three-dimensional space!
Anyway, roughly halfway through the season, where do the designers stand in this viewer's humble opinion? Read on to find out!
(1) Viktor: After an iffy start, he's found his groove and become one of the strongest and most consistent designers on the show. A few of designs (particularly the gown which should have won the prints challenge) have been nothing short of stunning, although much of the time he's simply standing out amongst a weak field. Still, he seems to be in excellent shape to make Fashion Week.
(2) Anya: The fan favorite (as well as my own), I firmly believe that if this was Project Runway: Season 11 she'd be running away with it. Anya clearly has the most natural eye for design of any of the designers, and the strongest point of view that has lead to some truly beautiful garments. But while her sewing skills have mostly held up, we saw the first stumble this past challenge, and remains possible she could unravel (figuratively and literally).
(3) Josh M.: I know, I know -- I find him obnoxious too (though his too-obvious crush on Anya is adorable). And frankly, I don't think he's that good. But he does have some intriguing ideas, it's just an inability to edit that does him in. The cynic would say that if you throw enough details and features and flaps and pockets on a garment, of course some of them will be interesting (if only by accident). I say that I see some genuinely neat stuff on his outfits that signal a real point of view.
(4) Anthony Ryan: Another fan favorite, but annoyingly inconsistent, and a lot of times too safe. In client-challenges, Anthony Ryan seems to excel in giving the customer what he or she wants, which is a mixed-blessing, since clients often don't want something too cutting edge.
(5) Kimberly: Another extremely inconsistent designer. She's had several looks that demonstrate a real flair for design, but others that were just "wtf" moments. What's odd about Kimberly is that even though she typically does have good construction, I often don't feel like that's a strong suit, probably because sometimes the concept is so off-kilter that even making it "well" will still look bad.
(6) Bert: Bert started this season as the loveable curmudgeon, transitioned into a pure villain, and has since swung back to being (mostly) loveable. Good for Bert for showing genuine character growth! Unfortunately, Bert's design aesthetic doesn't lend itself to this show. He knows how to sew, and he knows how to work with clients (surprisingly enough, given his crotchety attitude), but he rarely makes looks that have any "pop", and that's going to catch up with him sooner rather than later.
(7) Laura Kathleen: Ugh. I don't see what the judges see in her. Laura Kathleen thinks she is so hot, and she's so not. Her designs are unified in being boring and off-the-rack; her avant-garde look was basically a dull prom dress. She doesn't have any major strengths as a designer that I can see, and she's exceptionally catty to boot. I hope she goes home and soon.