Last night's Project Runway challenge was the stilt walker challenge many had already glimpsed on the 'nets after photos of the runway—which, in a first-time-ever move, took place in the public eye, at Battery Park (along with the almost completely contribution-less Kim Kardashian as guest judge). Heidi broke it to the designers by walking out in front of them on stilts herself (is there anything she can't do?). About half the designers took a costume-y route, while the other half just did an extend-o version of ready to wear. Guess who came out on top.

This was the group's first team challenge, and I'm sorry to say that the above ensemble is the work of my beloved Joshua and Julie, who is, as Michael Kors pointed out, a "Colorado mountain woman," which makes for an odd pairing with theatrical, flamboyant, urbane Joshua, who at one point play-bitchily scolded after she poked him to emphasis her point, "God, you're such a rough chick!" This actually started out looking promising in the workroom, but as you can see the proportions are hilarious and the weird cape/jacket is just... oof. The stated matador reference was more matador meets pirate meets clown. Still, it's not the worst of the worst.

As for Portland contestants Bryce and Becky, things are looking up for one, and down for the other. Find out which after the cut.

Becky's been sliding by each episode without much notice, but her collaborative outfit with Kimberly ended up being one of the more cohesive. They split the task to have Becky do the jacket and Kimberly the pants, and Kimberly managed to fit the bottom half very well considering the ridiculousness of the stilts. I wasn't a fan of their material choices, and everyone was a little squicked out by Becky's one-sided collar, but overall they were one of the few teams who was able to execute their plan without major disasters, revisions, or arguments.

As for Bryce, man he really got the short end of the stick this week. He was paired with Fallene, another habitué of the bottom three and a self-taught artistic type who quickly revealed a lack of basic sewing know-how. They both really needed to do well in this challenge, but after Fallene shat the bed on her bustier type duties ("It was off grain!" a shocked Bryce kept exclaiming), he had to rig some shit up at the last minute that looked way too sloppy and simple. It was clear one of them was going to go.

To his credit, when they were on the hot seat in front of the judges and in the above video, he took responsibility for his part in the result. He could have thrown her under a bus and blamed the whole thing on her incompetence, but he was very generous about it. And Fallene was clearly ready to go. She seemed hugely relieved to be free of it. That means Bryce gets another chance, and boy he had better pull his shit up out of the bottom! Cuz even one more of these may spell the end:

One final note is the continuing deterioration of Bert's popularity. The other designers are always talking shit about him, but the thing is that when he corrects them on things like the inappropriateness of interpreting Queen Victoria as sexy, or of believing that Mae West wore pants, he actually knows what he's talking about. For a show that specializes in editing for drama, it's surprising that they haven't been able to fully convince me that he's living up to the other designers' kvetching. All I saw was his partner Viktor denying that he said things he did say, on camera. Whatever the reality is, what was produced for this challenge was truly, truly horrible:

I'm with Nina on the fabrics. Barf-o-rama. On the positive side, Laura and Anthony totally deserved to win:

Stay tuned for next week's Operation: Nina!