Rocketman is Getting all the Attention

First it was Project Runway, and then American Idol this past week was also all about some Elton John and Rocketman! This was definitely going to be an interesting runway and I finally feel most of the designers stepped up in being given such a huge budget and another 2-day challenge! For this challenge, the designers were tasked to create an over the top look inspired by the movie about Elton John, Rocketman. They were to create a look as if Elton John was coming to them for a performance look. It needed to be larger than life, spectacular, and showstopping!

The designers followed a yellow brick road near their workroom building to meet Christian and learn more. The actor playing Elton John in the movie, Taron Egerton, sent a video message to give encouragement and inspiration. Julian Day, the costume designer from the movie, joined Christian to also give the designers a bit more insight into the costume work for the movie. Julian would also be a guest judge this week.

As this was such a huge task at hand, the designers were given some extra hands. So yes, that meant all of the eliminated designers were back to assist. The button bag was brought out to select the order each designer got to choose who they wanted to work with. Garo went first, choosing Sonia. And last picked were both the first 2 eliminated designers, Cavanagh and Frankie, no surprise there! This would be a 2-day challenge. And in addition to a $400 Mood budget, the designers also got to visit a sequin trimmed notion store, Trims & Feathers, where they received another $300. Christian also announced there would be no more immunity given for the rest of the competition.

This challenge would also bring us some lovely male models! While shopping at Mood, we saw some great partnerships formed, such as Bishme and Afa. Venny was not quite as sure about choosing Nadine and listening to all of her opinions. It was then off to Trims & Feathers, which was full of so many shiny, sparkly items! And then, back to the workroom for day 1 of this challenge. The male models were creating a distraction for some, such as Tessa! And we saw Lela was choosing to expose some booty. Sebastian seemed a little lost and slow to get going.

The day winded down with some dining and wining with all of the designers. Day 2 began with some Siriano sessions. Christian needed more from Sebastian. For Venny, he needed to keep the fit in mind. We also saw that Garo was way over working with Sonia. As the day continued, coming to model fittings, Hester really needed her jacket completed, to really tie in the whole look together. And then as always, the morning of the runway rolling around, everyone was crazed, running around with so much to do. Someone had left glue on an iron, so that went all over Lela’s look when she went to use it, yikes!

But glue on a garment or not, there was just no saving a few of these looks! However a couple were supremely amazing, a knockout! The safe looks were Hester and Sebastian. Given Hester had immunity, she was safe, so it didn’t make quite as much sense to put her in the bottom, although she really deserved to be there. This is the 2nd time she has created a disastrous look when she knows she is safe, and can’t go home. So I would think the judges would cool it with overpraising her and giving her these wins, a couple of which were absolute undeserved! Elton John is all about some fun and quirky looks, but I don’t see him needing a Thanksgiving inspired, turkey look. Hester should have been able to do much better here given quirk is her thing!

And then with Sebastian, this was absolutely a safe look. The look felt too relaxed and sporty, not super Elton John-esque. There was also not enough sparkle and shine, it just kind of fell flat! As for the top looks, the only one I didn’t care as much for was Jamall. I am just not a fan of his work, and I see that now. I felt he was trying to be too modern, when this felt like more of an era challenge. And also with this look, I didn’t necessarily see Elton John, but just more of a gender fluid type piece. The reason Jamall was not in contention to win is because it didn’t fully fit the challenge parameters.

I had a hard time choosing between Bishme and Garo for the win. Both were great and would have deserved it. I think I would have given the win to Bishme though because it felt like Elton John, but not in a super expected way. There were just so many amazing things about this look. All of the details, the jacket, the hat, the t-shirt, I mean the list just goes on and on.

But I still loved what Garo created as well, so definitely would not take away from him on this win. It was sad to see so much focus on his work with Sonia in this process, but if there was ever a show-stopping, performance look, this was it. All of the bells and whistles were here, and they were ringing in the right way!

As for the bottom 3, I was surprised Tessa was there. I really liked this look and felt it was much more Elton John than Jamall. Clearly Brandon was the only one who was really hating on this look. Guest judge Julian loved it, not necessarily for this challenge, but it was not a bottom-worthy look, not as compared to the other 2 looks in the bottom. I was impressed that Tessa did find a way to make her minimalist style work here, and she did that well.

So that left it between Venny & Lela in jeopardy of going home. I can’t argue with Lela going because I didn’t see her lasting much longer anyways. And her look was worse than what Venny created. But the fact that the judges aren’t paying attention to Venny’s inconsistency more is baffling to me. They talked about feathers, flashed to 2 previous looks of his using feathers, talking badly about both looks, yet one of those looks, they put him in the top for?? I mean come on judges, don’t backtrack now on when you undeservedly put him in the top! I’ve said this before and will say it again, the judges don’t seem to get why he can be in the bottom and then be in the top. Duhhhhh! It’s because he doesn’t deserve to be in the top the times you judges put him there! All that aside, this look was just very costume-esque, not Elton John, and the coat looks like a bath robe. Very unimpressive undergarment jumpsuit here as well.

So that left Lela leaving this week, which I knew was coming. She hasn’t done anything super impressive all season, and was nowhere close to being a contender for the win. And really, this look was bad. Glue issue aside, it wouldn’t have mattered. The fit was off. The fringe did nothing to really set this look apart. It was really just a snooze. And when you think about it, $700 to make this. No way! It looks like it would cost about $150.

Designers in the Rio Mindset

Last week was about elegance, and this week was about pretty much resortwear. The designers got to enjoy some champagne last week, but this would be no vacation for this next challenge. The task for this challenge, to create a mini collection for actress Morena Baccarin for her upcoming trip to Rio de Janeiro. Back this week to help was stylist Marni Senofonte and this would be another group challenge.

The designers needed to create cohesive looks to tell a vacation story for Morena. Marni described this process as creating an underlying theme when you are looking at planning for several looks. Three designers were in each group, thus 3 looks. There needed to be a chic beachwear look (practical, but glam), a daywear street look, and a killer evening look. The designers were also tasked to really utilize the Tresemme hair salon for this challenge, to create 3 unique hairstyles for each look.

The infamous button bag was back to aide in team selections. Two names were drawn, and those 2 designers would pick their teams. The remaining designers would then form a team. Tessa’s name was drawn, and she chose Sebastian and Lela. Hester’s name was then drawn, and she chose Garo & Bishme. That left Renee, Jamall, and Venny forming the final team. This would be a 1-day challenge with a $500 team budget.

The designers first made some plans before heading to Mood. The models were randomly assigned. Everyone seemed to be planning with ease. Marni joined to remind the designers to work on their story. It did kind of seem at this stage, Hester was taking the lead of her group and Garo was having some doubts. Upon arrival at Mood, Christian was there to greet everyone, giving a reminder that fabric selections would be vital here. It could lend to cohesion and of course, tying in with each groups’ story. At this stage, Tessa started to take the lead in her group, but Sebastian was having his doubts as he saw Tessa was feeling a little lost, kind of panicking at the end on fabric selections.

Upon arrival back to the workroom, we saw the groups really all had the same palette of colors — coral, turquoise, yellow, and blue. Renee decided after her last disastrous group challenge, she needed to be more vocal this go round. Jamall was worried having immunity would make his group think he was not pulling his weight. Renee and Venny were going on with this pants making process. Renee thought her typical process might take too much time, so she decided to give Venny’s mathematics approach to pants a try. And Jamall had a bit of a disaster with his lycra fabric, and learned, DO NOT IRON IT!

It was soon time for Siriano sessions. He was excited about all of the color. We began to learn more about each groups’ themes. Renee’s group was thinking Carnivale, but Christian urged to not go too party. Tessa’s group was thinking Roman Holiday, to escape from life and experience something new. But Christian wasn’t sure that made sense since Morena goes to Rio often. And really with all of the groups, he had to make sure they realized they all had the same color palette, so how would each group separate themselves from the rest of the pack?!?

Before getting back to work, the designers noticed it was snowing out, so they decided to take a little “play in the snow” break! Tessa was filling Lela in on some earlier drama. The episode began with Bishme calling out Tessa as to why she wasn’t in the bottom last week. Bishme was in the bottom so naturally he was probably not handling well that bottom placement for himself. I don’t care for Tessa’s personality all the time, but in this instance, she was deservedly safe in that challenge, so Bishme’s comments were unnecessary.

Model fitting time was next and Hester was expressing some concern over her swimsuit. Garo was over working with Hester, and Venny was worried his look was feeling to junior. But work was over for this 1-day challenge, and the designers had to head home in the snow. The morning of the runway soon approached, and Karlie joined Christian that morning. She would not be judging/hosting that day, so she at least wanted a peak! Jamall was still complaining about his immunity, OVER IT! We also learned Nina would likely not be judging that day. But the panel would at least be Marni, Morena, Brandon, and Elaine filling Karlie’s role.

I absolutely think Team Rio Holiday was robbed! Sebastian’s look was beyond phenomenal. I loved what Tessa created. And even though I feel Lela’s look was the weakest in the group, I don’t think it took away from the overall group impact. I thought they had the most cohesion. I could see the same woman wearing these different looks. No way you could say that about the team that won — the same woman wearing Hester’s swimsuit would wear Garo’s look, I don’t think so! I can’t say enough positive things about Sebastian’s look. I loved the pants! The top was amazingly crafted.

Tessa’s look wasn’t my fave of hers from the season, but this was such a great resort streetwear look. I wish one of the designers had created a skirt look or maxi for this type of garment, but Tessa still did a great job. Sebastian was worried his look was too sexy as compared to the rest of his group. But I still think Lela brought that in her look, especially the slit. The back of her look was gorgeous. I didn’t love this color, the darkness kind of made the look read heavy. But still disappointed that this group was safe!

But alas, it was team Disco Queen that won, overall winner being Hester. I just can’t imagine any person picking Hester’s swimsuit as the best of everything on the runway. It wasn’t well made, as we saw her complain about all episode. It was very complicated as a swimsuit. And I do not see Morena actually wearing this. I am familiar with her style and from what I’ve seen, from what she said at the start of the episode, I don’t see her in this. She’s having fun, playing with her kids on the beach, yea, those straps wouldn’t get in the way at all!

Bishme’s look was not horrible. I didn’t see them giving him the win over Hester because outside of the top, there wasn’t much to discuss. His top was amazing, but some basic white pants, ehhhh, not impressive. Garo’s look was actually the best of this bunch and so for him to not even be in contention for the win is hysterical. It kind of read a little heavy, but the color was spot on, and this was no doubt an impact look! And yet another reason I felt Team Rio Holiday was robbed, we later see during judges’ critques, it wasn’t such a love-fest with Bishme or Garo’s looks. So it left me wondering, how did this group then really win??

Despite a confusing win, it was clear the bottom group was Team Carnivale. There was no cohesion in this group whatsoever. Given that Jamall had immunity, of course he was not at risk for leaving. But just like last week with the bottom 2, I think had Jamall not been given that immunity, he might have gone home on this look. I would have loved having Renee stay and Jamall left, but dang, that immunity is giving some of these designers undeserved 2nd chances! I just don’t get the craziness with all of these weird swimsuits. And yes, the ice skater comment was absolutely correct!

Even though Venny created a very junior look, there was just no way this look was going home over what Renee created. I love Renee, but her look was not great. Venny’s look was very junior, but actually was the best of this group. I didn’t like the flounce and the ruffles. But again, as I said last week, this guy is overpraised when he is in the top, very undeserved every time he has been in the top. And the judges then debate why he can so easily fall in the bottom, which he has done. It’s because he shouldn’t have been in the top those times and he really is just in the middle of the pack for this bunch.

As much it pains me to say, Renee just doesn’t thrive at group challenges and this look was deserving to go home on. If ever there could have been a Siriano save, this is where it should have been used. Renee has been robbed the past several challenges on being in the top, so it’s almost as if she was going home on a low note. And that sucks! But there really wasn’t much positive in this look. The pants were a hot mess. But I don’t get why it had to be pants! And the top, the print was okay, but overall, it just read so messy. I will very much miss Renee!

Designers go With Champagne Wishes & Caviar Dreams

While yes, there was some champagne & caviar in this next Project Runway episode, the focus really was all about elegance. The designers were invited to a Brandon Maxwell photoshoot, featuring Karlie Kloss. And this is where they did receive a champagne toast with a little caviar to snack on. It was the perfect moment to celebrate the top 10! But celebrations aside, there was a challenge to face for the week.

Brandon challenged the designers to impress with elegance. Elegance doesn’t have to be a gown, but just the epitome of true elegance in whatever look each designer chose to create. We then found out that this season’s button bag actually came from Brandon’s Spring 2019 runway show. So this clear, hard clutch-like bag, is now the official button bag for Project Runway as well. This week, the button bag was also a part of the challenge. There were 10 bags filled with 10 different items. This item would serve as a jumping off point for the designer’s looks.

Names were chosen randomly from the bag to have each designer choose their item, but also their model. Tessa received some flack for making a comment about being left with a curvy model. Brandon was certainly a little snippy. Actually, Tessa & Garo were the last 2 designers, and both were left with the only 2 curvy models. So yes, while Tessa actually said something about that, every other designer did so as well by not choosing one of the plus size models. Actions definitely were speaking louder than words, even though some words were definitely spoken as well!

This was another flash sale challenge for Nineteenth Amendment, upping the game a bit for the designers, as well as being a 2-day challenge. This would also be the biggest budget thus far of the season, $400, so the designers were cautioned to use that wisely. The designers were off to Mood. Christian reminded the designers that success would come from fabric selection. It is what would make the look feel expensive. The designers were of course excited to begin work for the 1st day of this challenge. We saw Lela was all about some organza, and Bishme was having a hard time choosing between fabrics.

Day 2 was proving to be make it or break it for the designers. Tessa was really worried over what she was creating. But Garo was over her whining! I’m sure at this point though, the designers were ready for some Siriano sessions. He was interested to see where Hester was going. And he didn’t seem impressed with Jamall’s jacket. It was at model fittings that Jamall decided to go in a new direction. Sonia was have a major freakout moment with her look. And really it came down to Sonia & Bishme with worry over time.

The morning of the runway was of course crazed! Garo was getting some finger cuts. And he and Tessa were exchanging some negative remarks. It was a battle of the plus size looks. Venny ran into a zipper malfunction. They were all working right up until the runway began though. I have to say, given such an extreme budget for this challenge, I was less than impressed with the overall outcome of the 10 looks. I don’t even know if I could come up with a top 3. And most looks did not even look like a $400 outfit. I think the designers should thrive in a 2-day challenge, such a large budget, but thus far, the designers this season are not doing that.

Sebastian and Renee were robbed! Their designs were the epitome of elegance and really looked like $400 well spent. Renee did a great job with her items of lemons and limes, creating a truly inspired look. Everything just read super luxe. She always creates so much, never plays it safe, but yet she keeps landing SAFE! Sebastian was inspired by an orchid, and I don’t think this look was his best, but even not his best is still great. The shoulder embellishments were stunning and he really took the orchid inspiration into his entire look.

I thought what Tessa created looked well made, read very luxe, of good quality, but not necessarily super elegant. It felt a bit more casual of a read. And for Garo talking so much smack, the battle of the plus size, I think Tessa won. Garo was inspired by a silver mirror and brush, and I saw that in this look. It was a very pretty dress from the front, but I didn’t like his corset work in the back at all. I felt it stripped away from the elegance factor. It was far too basic and didn’t look like a $400 dress, maybe $100.

Given I already stated I felt Renee & Sebastian were robbed, clearly the judges top picks were confusing to me. I think the only one of the 3 the judges named that I found to be truly problematic was Venny. I was beyond perplexed! This guy is constantly in the top and it is very undeserved. I felt he went too literal in the interpretation of the wine bottle. I thought this look was very basic, not at all elegant. And it felt a bit sloppy as well. At least when the judges critiqued, there were some mixed reviews, not full on rave reviews. But when Venny is in the bottom, the judges question why he is there, and then yet some times in the top. The answer is simple. It’s because he shouldn’t be in the top those times! The judges are overrating him and are then confused when he lands in the bottom. I am not because I don’t think he is one of the best in this competition.

Lela being in the top, I am still mixed on this. As we later saw, the judges didn’t love her look as much up close. This was probably the best we’ve seen from her. But if this is the best, I don’t think her best is good enough. I do think she had clear inspiration with her marble statue. And the top she created with this dress was quite lovely. But the hips were too wide. I thought the stripes took away from the overall elegance of the look. It was okay, but not a knockout.

I definitely would have rather seen Renee or Sebastian win over Jamall. But I guess of the 3 the judges named as the top, Jamall winning made sense. I didn’t see anything inspired from a perfume bottle. This didn’t look like a $400 look. It felt jumbled and disjointed to me rather than effortlessly draped. And I really didn’t appreciate him saying this look was so him, when it actually took Christian prodding him that what he originally was creating for over a day, wasn’t working and this is what he transitioned to. I felt he got pushed to this, not that it organically came to him, really being the epitome of who he is as a designer.

While the top made 0 sense to me, at least the bottom wasn’t as confusing. I was sad to see some in the bottom, but based on the looks created, it was hard to argue of their bottom 3 placement. And when I say that, I am not applying that statement to Hester. Hester won in the previous episode, so she couldn’t go home based on immunity given. Given she wasn’t even at risk to go home, I am surprised the judges even put her in the bottom. Oh trust, it was deserved, but we all knew they weren’t going to do anything. At least it put her in place to some extent.

She really looked as if she was trying to be some bad ass designer with her outfit and shades, kind of a little tude to her persona, and I found her behavior to be disgusting. I get the idea to take a risk when you have immunity, but all of this felt like a slap in the face. There was nothing elegant about what she made. She created something super Hester just because she knew she could, no matter how horrid it was! I don’t mind Hester being Hester, but Hester with this cocky, overconfident tude, I do not support.

So given Hester was in no way going home, it was so sad knowing it would be between Sonia and Bishme. I knew it was going to be Sonia, so that made it even more sad. I just knew there was no way the judges were letting Bishme go. I loved his top actually, such a gorgeous back, and really did embody elegance. But the skirt was lackluster. He put too much focus on his top that it left the skirt unresolved and really falling by the wayside.

I wonder if Hester hadn’t been given immunity if she would have actually gone home on her look. She seems like the shows’ pop of color and dramatic flare for the season, so would they let that go too soon? I don’t think Hester would have created this look without immunity, so regardless of that debate, Sonia had to sadly be the one to go this week. I wish Sonia could have been applauded for her better moments, because she did have some!

But this look was just far too basic, not elegant enough, just not enough in general to warrant a save. Sonia had purple rhinestone headphones, so the expectation was just such a dope DJ look, and this look wasn’t it. I know she had more she was trying to do, making a kimono, so this should be a lesson learned, do all that you can because one basic piece is not enough!