What a fantastic way to splash into a new season, season 19 of Project Runway that is! The incoming designers were immediately greeted by the core team, minus what it seems like former host Karlie Kloss. So yes, Nina, Brandon, Elaine, and Christian all returning. The prize package for the season, still very high caliber —
- $250,000 courtesy of Pilot Pen
- a feature in Elle Magazine
- and a mentorship with the CFDA
But there is a long road to that prize package being won. First and foremost the very first challenge of the season! The designers were split into 2 teams. Each team would live together and work separately from the other team. Yes, this means everything is a surprise until runway day! Each team had to create a cohesive mini collection celebrating color. The judges were looking for 8 monochromatic looks, all to be created in this 2 day challenge. The teams were made and a color wheel was brought out so that each team could pick their color.
It was going to be Team Warm colors versus Team cool colors. For the losing team, one designer would be going home. From the jump, it appeared as if Team Warm were a little all over the place, while Team Cool was playing it a little cool (no pun intended), not as much drama in the mix. It was clear with Team Warm they had different aesthetics, everything from sequins to streetwear. They were desperately trying to find unity but decided to wait to see the fabrics before finalizing direction.
In the meantime, Team Cool made a point to first try and focus the incorporation of plus size looks into the collection. Zayden was the only guy in this group and with all of the ladies being super vocal, he was displaying a lot of confusion. I felt the team had an idea, but somehow it got lost with the addition of bows. The original idea of flowers and seeing that growth or formation, that could have worked. But again, the bow focus threw a wrench into the plans.
So again, the designer teams worked separately. Everything from the trip to Mood to actually working in the workroom was all separate. Each team had 45 minutes to shop with a $400 budget for each designer. Team Warm was first up. We finally started seeing a glimpse of a theme, the idea of going out, dinner and a show. It was a celebration of color in the return of going out, hope in the future, post the pandemic craziness. Christian kept reminding them of being cohesive, which actually was a good thing.
Team warm still felt a bit more frantic, while Team Cool in Mood, there was a bit more calmness. As team warm was first at Mood, they too were first to begin working in the phenomenal work space. Christian stopped by for a visit later on Day 1. Even though the idea of the concept was coming together, Christian was doubting that in the looks he saw. Team Cool had slightly less drama, really just some tension over the sewing machines. Christian liked what he was seeing, but doubted this bow concept into the collection.
At the start of Day 2, the team warm designers gathered in their living quarters to kind of recap the first day. Bones stepped into a leadership role, which seemed to be a group decision. As they got to the workroom the model fittings began. Christian was still around for advice, but Bones was quick to jump in and say his team was doing great and they should do them and not listen to outside opinions, ie in this case, Christian. This was not a group decision, but it did come off very offensive and Christian didn’t stick around as long.
Team cool then began their 2nd day. As the models came in, it seemed as if Chastity and Caycee were struggling the most. It was quite evident for both teams that each had some designers who had it together, while others were appearing to be the weaker links. Team Warm was still having a lot of tension and doubts by the morning of the runway. Bones appeared now to not want the leadership role and Aaron was over it. Team Cool never discussed a leader for their group, and still with this bow confusion, some designers were doing it, while others were not.
By the morning of the runway, many designers were still hard at work. They had to get their models in full glam mode, so using the Tresemme hair salon and Maybelline makeup studio. Bones took a moment to apologize to Christian, but it felt very insincere IMO. Team cool had some clear strugglers, but Darren was most out of sorts for Team Warm. With very little time left, he was in full freak out mode, even trying to sneak a smoke break instead of working. Darren had nothing. Bones really stepped up and virtually created an entire new look for Darren.
It was time for the final judgments. Joining the judges panel as this week’s guest judge was acclaimed designer Jason Wu. The final runway for each team certainly included pops of colors, all standing out, but for some, standing out was not the best idea.
The judges did have to choose one winning team. I do agree with the winners being Team Warm. It was not by much, but overall, their collection was slightly better. I believe there was more cohesion and overall some strong, stand out looks. I do not however agree with the top 3. Bones being in the top for 2 looks was very confusing to me. I actually feel the look he did for Darren was far superior to his own look, which was quite odd since he spent more time on his own look .
I was shocked Coral, Kenneth or Aaron didn’t make the top. Each had super strong looks. The bodice on Coral’s dress was amazing.
Kenneth had such a bold look, including a fitting cutout in the mid region that was super eye-catching.
And Aaron also had a strong top for his look, including a separate jacket. He did a lot and it was very impressive.
I get why Octavio was in the top. I did not love his look, just not my taste, but it was still a strong streetwear look, very well constructed and a strong look.
Darren and Shantall were very lucky their team won. But out of luck was team cool, who did have some strong looks despite being the losing team. We really only got to hear about the weak links of the group, but I really loved some of the looks here and wish the top looks could have been highlighted. Katie had such a fun and flirty look. The intricate details really made this look. The hand-painted areas really stood out.
Kristina’s look moved so well on the runway, very eye-catching. But my favorite of this team was Anna. I mean such a stand out look, so luxe, very regal. It was a minimalist look, not overworked, very tasteful.
The bottom 3 was quite obvious — Sabrina, Chastity, and Caycee. Even though Sabrina had a sloppy look, it was even more clear the bottom was 2 were Chastity and Caycee.
This was a tough choice on who to go. I felt it could have gone either way. Chastity really had no direction in this look. She lacked creativity here and got lost in the bow concept. Her construction was also very poor.
But it was Caycee who was the first eliminated. It really was not a great look. She created a coat dress, working with a plus size model, but I don’t think she knew how to construct well for plus size. I felt as if she just put a lot fabric on her model rather than creating a look. Very unfortunate, but as the Project Runway story goes, someone must go home each week.
Next week looks like more drama and some stunning streetwear creations.