PR — The JC Penney Challenge!

JC Penney is the accessories sponsor for Project Runway this season, aka the JC Penney Accessory Wall! And with that, we thus get a JC Penney challenge! The designers met Tim at JC Penney to get the challenge details. Along with him was Design Director of Contemporary Brands, Monica Dalton. This week’s challenge was not menswear, but to use menswear fabrics and menswear in general to create an inspired, fashion-forward fall look. The designers, well most of them, were relieved to see this was not a menswear challenge!

Each male model for the display had 2 designer cards with all of the corresponding fabric for their look. After each design duo received their fabric, they then learned this would be a team challenge. And out came the button bag! The only stipulation was that the chosen partner could not have the same fabric selection that you had. Each design team was responsible for 2 cohesive looks. Kentaro, as the winner from last week, chose first, his “bro” Brandon.Then, randomly, the next names were drawn from the button bag — Amy/Kenya; Claire/Shawn; Margarita/Batani; & Ayana/Michael. The winning look chosen from the winning team would be reproduced and sold by JC Penney.

Each team would have $100 for Mood, to be used on notions, trims, and truly supplemental fabric. Only 1 team member would need to go. While at Mood, we also learned it was Swatch’s birthday!! Super funny watching Claire & Michael in the sewing room, Clarie yapping away and Michael just left. Outside of the normal twin drama/scandal accusations, we did see Kenya & Amy have a bit of drama. Nothing over the top, but I did wonder why Kenya was working on back-up pieces and not her actual look??

This week’s guest judge was actress Asia Kate Dillon. So with 5 groups, this would leave 2 in the top, 2 in the bottom, and one safe. The judges named Ayana & Michael safe, but I actually would have put them in the bottom. I didn’t love these 2 looks. I actually didn’t fall head over heels for much of anything this week and I find that was because of some poor fabric options. I would think for a JC Penney look, being sold for mass consumption, that we would have some better fabric selections!

The top 2 teams, per the judges’ picking was correct, however my top duo would have surprisingly been Brandon & Kentaro. And I say surprisingly because I usually don’t care for Brandon’s work. I get the judges were gaga over Margarita’s look, which ended up winning the week, but the stronger duo was Brandon & Kentaro.

They did have the best fabric, this pink plaid. It was also the most cohesive duo. You could see each designer POV clearly. And yes, while it was heavy-handed as athletic wear, it too had hints of menswear inspiration. I also loved, as Nina pointed out, the separates — lots of versatility!

Margarita & Batani were in fact the winning duo, with Margarita’s look taking the top prize. Of the 2, this was the correct choice! Both dresses were cute. I again, didn’t love the fabric selections here. The bodice on Batani’s look was also a little wonky.

AVON SHOUTOUT FOR MAKEUP & HAIR — BATANI

Amy & Kenya would have been safe for me, but did land in the bottom for the judges. I am glad they were not in jeopardy! Kenya’s look was not bad, rather boring, and certainly not unique. But it was wearable! Amy was the weaker link for me, with this crazy throwback suit. The color, the suit, just overall too much.

This leaves the twins, Claire & Shawn, in the bottom. This was the right decision for the week. And I think for the sake of either twin doing better in the competition, it is best for only one to remain. For Claire’s looks, the pants were not too bad, but the top was a little too cute-sy. For Shawn’s dress, I didn’t mind this so much, as far as the silhouette, but I didn’t care for the ribbons. She had a full-sized model and did not dump fabric on her, making her look boxy or swallowed up. She gave her something to show off shape, and for that, I appreciate it.

The judges however didn’t eliminate either this week. We have seen it in season’s past, when the judges can’t make a conclusive decision, that they have a 1-hour design session battle. Yes, it’s dramatic! But for here, it also makes some level of sense — to see what each can do, solely on their own, and see who comes out on top. Eager to see next week’s decision!

 

PR Designers Take it to the Street!

Project Runway began this week with a model brunch at a Brooklyn rooftop, teaching Tim Gunn the art of “selfies.” Meanwhile, Heidi was telling the designers they were off to meet Tim at this Brooklyn rooftop for the challenge details. Tim informed the designers that the models would be the client this week, in need of an outfit for a day off, #ModelsOffDuty. The models own personal street style, in this look, would then be captured by a photographer, to be shown during the runway show.

The models chose the designer they wanted to work with most. For this challenge, there was a $200 Mood budget, and 1 day to “Make It Work.” The Tim-time critiques included the models. And this week’s guest judges were country singer Kelsea Ballerini & designer Georgina Chapman.

I was pretty much in agreement with the judges’ top picks, although I would have included Batani! You could see her designer POV, but she also gave her model what she wanted. That delicate balance was struck!

I was not super impressed with the designers overall this week, so hoping for more in weeks to come! But again, in agreement with the judges, with Kentaro nabbing the win! I kind of thought this challenge was about streetwear, but I think that word was just casually thrown around a bit! But Kentaro’s look was streetwear and perfect for what any model could wear on a day off! It was well-made, very cool, overall just a great look! His model, Meisha loved it as well!

Shawn was also in the top, and I guess the bit of scandal on her look this week was that Claire assisted, but that it also might be a “knock-off” look. The judges this season have been quick to call out things they have seen before and they said no such thing here. Was this overly unique? No. But it was cute, trendy, and what the client, Janine, wanted, Yes!

Kenya rounded at the judges’ top 3 and I could see why this happened. Personally, I didn’t love the color/print combo and overall, it felt a bit momsy. I felt as though she was a bit surprised herself in this top 3 placement! I think it was Heidi who was not on board completely here, but this was very much a subjective look. But her model, Sanita, really did werk the look!

Moving to the bottom 3, I am not sure if this would have been my 3, and in that, I am still a bit perplexed in Samantha being sent home. I’ve seen many that say one of the twins should be out, but in this case, Claire wasn’t even in the bottom 2. Her look was very safe. The judges were correct in noting it needed a pop. And the shorts were short! I could see this being in the bottom, but not the worst look of the bunch! Her model Sian seemed pleased!

Margarita was safe and I guess of the bottom 2, this was the right decision. I didn’t love the pants, but I thought it was a cool style and really was what her model, Christina, wanted. What I didn’t like was that Margarita was quick to throw her model under the bus, making it seem as if she was too demanding. I didn’t see that as the case, but this being more of an agreed upon collaboration. I could see what the judges were saying in this being a super throwback, 80s look.

So yes, poor Samantha being out was the case. I wondered again if Tim would use his save, but I guess given her bottom 2 placement just the week before, he didn’t. It did seem that with all bottom 3 designers, their model clients were happy. This look was what Jazzmine wanted, rocker chic. But the judges were right in that this was not super fresh. Samantha even noting it as a “Lolita” dress didn’t bolster her argument. And it was the case again, that the dress she was wearing herself, was better than the look on her model.

Until next week….