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'Project Runway' Episode 3: Ping pongs

Losing dress by Ping Wu and Jesse LeNoir

Losing dress by Ping Wu and Jesse LeNoir on episode three of "Project Runway." Ping is aufed. Photo Credit: Handout

Let’s just get to the nitty gritty right off – Ping Wu crashes and burns, and her partner in this challenge, Jesse LeNoir, who we’re vaguely surprised didn’t just curl up into the fetal position at the start of the show, barely escapes with his life.  

Designers go on a field trip with Tim Gunn to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view the couture looks of such iconic designers as Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga.  They are delightfully reverent as they examine the artistry of the stunning creations. 

The challenge?  Create a signature high-end look of their own.  Their budget is $500, the most ever for a single challenge and they must work in teams of two.  In a late show twist -- yikes -- they must also create a cheap, chic garment inspired by another team’s high-end look.  For this they get $50.

This episode was dedicated to Ping – her total ditzyness, disorganization and stubbornness.  In the first scene, she runs out of the apartment – oops, she’s forgotten something – her shoes!  She loses her sketchpad at Mood, almost loses the money for fabric, and, well, kind of loses her mind in terms of the design. (Must we remind you of her buttocks baring outfit from last week?)

Her fancy dress had interesting texture, but again, a shmata-esque quality – the model had to hold part of it up, otherwise the fabric became a tail.  “She’s gotta stand like the Statue of Liberty to wear this dress,” says Michael Kors. Their cheapy was bland and poorly made.  She was the team leader (and a bossy, unyielding one at that) and we cannot blame poor Jesse for this.  His personal mission?  “Just trying to rein in the crazy,” he said.  The bickering became so intense that at one point Emilio Sosa says, “Ping and Jesse are like Lucy and Ricky.  Just shut up.”

So Ping is aufed, and you can tell Heidi Klum feels a bit bad as the gamine young woman weeps on the runway.  But there was ego barely hidden in that lamby facade.

Mila Hermanovski takes the win. (Anybody remember Natasha Fatale, Boris Badenov’s sidekick in the cartoon?  There is a resemblance.).   Her ensemble – a graphic black and white coat lined in yellow silk over sleek pants and sparkly top -- is totally swanky.  We like her partner Jonathan Peters too – we just do.

The judges (who include the wonderful and wise Brit designer Matthew Williamson) hate the pairs’ baby doll look-for-less inspired by Anthony Williams and Seth Aaron Henderson’s prommy yellow and black and feathered ball gown which they hate worse.   Michael says it’s like a “cotillion party in the south from hell.  She’s gone with the wind.”  Nina Garcia skips the analogies.  “They’re both really ugly,” she says of the team’s high-low efforts.  Me-ow.

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