project runway designers new york city skyline

The designers are taken to new heights for their challenge. Photo: Lifetime

After last week's Tool Time hardware store challenge, the "Project Runway" Season 7 designers are asked to do something less nuts-and-bolts and more organic.

For some, though, it's not so natural.

The Challenge: Up on the Atlas Apartments roof, the designers meet with mentor Tim Gunn and Philip Carreon, head stylist for L'Oreal's Garnier Fructis line, for some gratuitous product promotion. Gazing out at New York City, they receive their next assignment: Create a design inspired by earth, water, fire or air. All we notice are skyscrapers.

The Stakes: ...are higher, for after this week the designers no longer have a shot at immunity if they win a challenge.

The Workroom: The loose parameters of the earthly elements challenge have some designers being literal and others theatrical: Ben Chmura, who has been assigned water, makes a shark suit. Jonathan Peters decides oxygen reminds him of laughter and thus it becomes his light-and-airy inspiration.

Anthony Williams, recalling a recent fire at his beloved pastor's home, channels that drama into a black and gray dress. Because fire is black? No, Anthony explains, "Black is not only beautiful. It's presidential." (Sounds like Michelle Obama has another up-and-coming designer to patronize.) Amy Sarabi says her dress will be a structure with something "exploding inside," so she stuffs hair extensions into the bodice.

At the L'Oreal Salon: Carreon works one-on-one with the designers on their runway models's hairstyles, but his presence is clearly intended to highlight the hairspray bottles lined up on the counter.

The Guest Judge: French designer Roland Mouret, who is famous for his moon dress. That's not exactly an earthly element, but we're glad he landed on Planet "Runway."

The Runway Show: The collection features several natural disasters and earthly wonders. With all the avant-garde looks flying by, we are most stunned by Mila Hermanovski's blah pantsuit. We think she got confused on the roof and focused on a commuter heading to her office.

Best Line by a Judge: "It looks like a cat in a baby sling," Heidi Klum says of Sarabi's hairy-chested dress.

Who's In: Peters scores his first win for a dramatic yet airy dress that had Mouret swooning: "I love it. He's a romantic, and it's very beautiful," he says, "but hey, I'm French." "Mr. Mouret, thank you. I adore you," Peters replies. See? It kind of was romantic. Seth Aaron Henderson is in the top two again along with Maya Luz.

Who's Out: Quiet Connecticut designer Chmura gets booted for his quirky shark suit, which featured sharp "tooth" buttons and a bizarre jockstrap crotch. The judges deciphered quickly that Chmura had little experience crafting suits, and with regret, sent him to clean up his work space.

The teary designer was glad his departure meant he was going home to his new husband, Bobby, but told his competitors, "I wouldn't have traded it for the world. You're brilliant designers."

Missed last week's episode of "Project Runway"? Catch up with our recap.