‘Project Runway’ episode 9 recap: The designers brought a lot of drama in ‘A Little Avant Garde’

Last week on “Project RunwayMichael Brambila stormed off stage after Heidi Klum announced Claire Buitendorp as the challenge winner. Michael was protesting what he believed to be an unfair result based on his impression that Claire had been borrowing ideas for her design from other contestants as well as from her own wardrobe. With the judges’ panel still in the dark and Tim Gunn questioning Michael backstage, that episode came to an end. This week we found out what came of Michael’s fit as well as delve into a new challenge with the remaining designers. How does it all unfold? Read our recap below of season 16, episode 9, “A Little Avant Garde,” to find out and then give us your reactions below in the comments.

Picking up right where last week left off, Michael informed Tim that others had seen Claire measuring her own clothes at home and taking notes to use on her designs in upcoming challenges. Clarifying that Claire has every right to be inspired by the work of other designers as well as measuring her own clothes in the workroom, Tim made it clear that if Claire has a measuring tape at home and was working on garments outside of the workroom that it was expressly against the rules. Michael returned to the stage to face the judges where we learned that Claire is still the winner and that in the choice between Michael and Batani-Khalfani the judges decided to send Batani home.

But shortly after, backstage, Claire admitted to the other designers that she did have measuring tools at home and that she measured a tank top and the crotch of a pair of pants at one point. Tim entered the lounge to ask Claire directly if the rumors were true, and when Claire confirmed them Tim had no choice but to rescind Claire’s challenge win and ask her to leave the competition. The decision to send Claire home means that there was no challenge winner and that Batani, who was set to go home, was allowed to remain in the competition. Additionally, Dixie decided to use Brandon Kee‘s print for their special edition cup instead of Claire’s.

Once the dust settled and a new day dawned, Tim presented the remaining designers with their next challenge. Using Shopkins Shoppies dolls as inspiration, the designers were asked to create an avant garde look after receiving direction from a Shoppie youngster superfan. The kids counseled the designers on what aspects they would appreciate seeing in the new creations: glitter, ruffles, headbands and chocolate.

During critiques with Tim, Ayana Ife was warned that she needed to edit down her many ideas, including oversized pink ruffles, a bright yellow fabric and a large black and white polka dot print, but had the potential to make a winning look. Kenya Freeman and Batani both received positive feedback, but Tim questioned the risk Michael was taking in using sequins for a disco jumpsuit. Of all the designers, Brandon seemed the most lost, and the other designers worry that he might be running out of fresh ideas. After model fittings, Amy Bond‘s model thinks she was too safe, Ayana’s is pleasantly surprised and Batani’s has trouble walking without her skirt rising up.

To score the runway, series judges Heidi, Zac Posen and Nina Garcia were joined by model and actress Kate Upton. Because the judges were so impressed with the designs, they decided to call back four high scoring looks and only two from the bottom. On the high end were Ayana’s show-stopping voluminous pink ruffle and bow dress, Michael’s perfectly fit silver-sequined disco jumpsuit, Brandon’s green and white cuffed layered apron dress and Margarita’s dreamy white and silver draped gown. The low scores were given to Batani’s messily constructed deconstruction look and Amy’s safe and boring leather dress with a high collar.

From the four top designs, the panel decided on Michael’s as the winner of the challenge. On the opposite end of things, both Amy and Batani failed to live up the standards of the competition as well as the idea of avant garde design. While Batani’s look seemed unfinished, Amy’s felt uninspired. In the end, the judges decided that neither designer had earned their spot to remain in the competition and eliminated both. That means in the course of one and a half hours three designers left the competition and only six are left in the contest to win “Project Runway.”

Here are the answers to Gold Derby’s predictions event questions for “Project Runway” #16.09:

Who will be eliminated? Claire Buitendorp, Batani-Khalfani and Amy Bond

Who will be in bottom 2, but safe? No one

Who will win the challenge? Michael Brambila

Who will be challenge’s runner-up? Margarita Alvarez, Brandon Kee and Ayana Ife

Will Tim Gunn use his save? No

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Thursday on Lifetime. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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