The Designers go 80s Crazy!

We did prints, we did the holidays, now it’s time for the Project Runway designers to take on the 80s! Cyndi Lauper was the iconic 80s person this week, serving as inspiration and this week’s guest judge. This was going to be a team challenge, so 2 teams going head to head. Each team would create a cohesive mini collection representing 80s fashion, but with a modern take. Each designer would be responsible for their own looks, but did need to work as a cohesive unit. To create each team, the infamous button bag returned.

Team 1, later dubbed Team Chaos, consisted of Geoffrey, Dayoung, Nancy, Brittany, and Delvin. Team 2, aka Team Stripes, was Melanie, Marquise, Sergio, Chelsey, and Shavi. Since Victoria won last week, she was able to choose her team. She chose Team Chaos, which was comprised of the stronger designers, but also, everyone having strong personalities!

This would be a 2 day challenge, with a $300 per member team budget, so basically $1500 for Team Stripes, $1800 for Team Chaos with the extra designer. During sketch time, Team Stripes was working well, really formulating with a solid plan, was very organized. Team Chaos was the exact opposite, clearly demonstrating those stronger personalities. And while shopping at Mood, Team Chaos continued with well….Chaos! They were trying to focus on a print for their color story, and couldn’t decide. Delvin was feeling unheard. And the print they did settle on, Christian was unimpressed.

Everyone was back to work for the rest of day 1. Team Chaos was still all over the place, not sure who was using what fabrics, what their exact designs would be, etc. But team Stripes was steamrolling ahead. It was then time for Siriano Sessions. In finally seeing what Team Stripes had going on, I was with Delvin on this one, this looked like straight up Beetlejuice costumes. It was a lot of black and white. And I wasn’t sure this black and white stripe trend was actually 80s? Christian was right to bring up the difference between cohesion and just repetition in looks. As it got to Team Chaos’ turn, you could tell there was some tensions in the group. Delvin and Brittany were rudely laying into Nancy. They did have good ideas finally, the focus on leather, the details, the embellishment work. The question was could they pull it altogether?

Christian announced then he wouldn’t be around for model fittings the next day. But he left the designers with a little twist — that they had to create all of their accessories, except for shoes. So the jewelry, handbags, belts, etc, it all had to be handmade. He happily went around collecting the accessory pieces some of the designers had already selected. They would be going to and trim and notions store the next day, Trim & Feathers, with a $200 additional budget. Day 1 ended and the designers continued planning at home. Team Chaos was still filled with tensions and there was a lot of focus being unfairly put on Nancy.

Day 2 began with the trip to Trim & Feathers. As the designers got back to the workroom, Nancy & Melanie were still unsure of exactly what their looks were going to be. During model fittings, we saw Victoria would be doing a repeat silhouette, but really she has done a lot of that already and the judges don’t seem to mind. The designers were still in strategy mode once back at home, but no surprise, Team Chaos was making some hair and makeup plans, and I guess forgot to include Nancy in that discussion.

The morning of the runway, Christian gathered Team Chaos around, to really make sure they saw what all was going on with each designer, make sure there was a cohesive story. Dayoung actually needed some help here. Her look was the worst of the bunch and Christian even pointed that out. But Brittany, with her annoying focus on Nancy all episode, she was overly concerned with her. I am glad Nancy stood her ground and didn’t let other designers change her look. I am also glad Nancy stood up for herself later in the episode and said her peace about how she was treated during this challenge. Go Nancy!

So onto the runway — the whole episode was geared towards the notion that Team Stripes had it altogether, thus they would win. While Team Chaos, being literal chaos, would be in the bottom. But as you saw even the bits and pieces from each team, it was vastly clear that Team Chaos had the stronger looks. Yes, Team Stripes had more cohesion, but the looks were not well made and were not that exciting. Seeing the looks come down the runway, this was all the more clear. Team Chaos just had so many strong looks, it would have been crazy if they were the bottom team. The cohesion was not spot on, but it was better than what I originally thought it was going to be.

The top 3 could have been anyone except for Dayoung. I thought everyone else really did a fantastic job. Delvin’s look was great, but was probably the least cohesive of the group. So the top 3 was Geoffrey, Brittany and Victoria. Very happy Geoffrey won, very well deserved. This look was the epitome of modern 80s fashion.

So Team Stripes was the bottom group, although there were some decent looks here. Chelsey and Sha’Vi were rightfully saved. I don’t get the decision of Melanie going home though! Sergio clearly can’t take criticism, and while he has good technical skills, he has a dated tastes and no willingness to ever change.

Marquise had one win and has done nothing memorable or great since. The judges claim Melanie wasn’t memorable, but I guess the judges were overlooking Marquise having just been in the bottom, and now again with some pretty horrible looking shorts.

His jacket was good, but Melanie’s look was not the worst here! And I would think keeping someone around who is open minded and willing to learn and self improve would make more sense here!

Project Runway Early Round-Up

As we all know, Project Runway is back on Bravo, and has been for a few weeks. I actually began recaps on the first 2 episodes and then the holidays hit, and needless to say, I fell behind! I am of course going to still watch, but after over 5 years of blogging about the show, I just can’t go this season without my recaps — IT’S TOO HARD! So I have decided to do a bundle recap of the 1st four episodes, my thoughts up until now, and then will be back on track to fully recap each episode here on out! NANCY’S LOOK BELOW

So first up, let’s go all the way back to the premiere episode, where we met this season’s designers, and they were hit with the challenge right from the gate. Almost the literal gate as they were still at JFK airport. This was going to be hard right from the jump, as the designers had to work in pairs, but did fortunately have 2 days to complete, with a $400 Mood budget. The task at hand for each duo, to create an innovative look inspired by space. The 2 looks had to be complimentary, but representative of each designer’s individual point of view. The setting would be a trip to space, one look needed to be a jumpsuit for daytime excursions and the 2nd look, a chic happy hour look for the space hotel bar. BRITTANY’S LOOK — Winner

In this episode, we saw Alan struggle as he forgot his fabric at Mood and Sergio showing a little ego. There was of course a little drama, lots of tears, but overall, a fairly decent runway. I really thought Nancy & Marquise were robbed for a top spot. Well, mainly Nancy. I just loved her chiffon wrap, the reveal was phenomenal, such a sexy LBD! DAYOUNG BELOW, BOTTOM DESIGN

For the top, the judges went with Geoffrey/Melanie & Brittany/Sergio. Of this group, I am pleased Brittany nabbed the win. Her jumpsuit felt very fashion forward, such great attention to detail. ASMA BELOW, ELIMINATED

The bottom consisted of Alan/Dayoung & Asma/Jenn, although it was quite obvious Asma & Jenn were the bottom 2. Dayoung’s look had some fit issues, but the concept was great, and with more time, I think it would have been amazing. But Jenn and Asma were on 2 different pages, not creating cohesion at all. One look was basic & boring, while the other was loud and crazy. The judges decided to send both home, which I think was the right call. Both really just didn’t hit the mark. JENN’S LOOK, ELIMINATED

Next up, with episode 2, the designers got crazy with prints! This week, the designers would take inspiration from the new film Cats! This would be a 2-day challenge, $250 budget, for each designer to create stylish, chic street style looks with a print. Everyone was ready to work, except Dayoung. She unfortunately fell ill and spent the entire first day on bedrest, unclear if she would make it back at all! She did decide to stay, but would be doing so with a full day behind everyone else. Sergio continued to throw some Christian shade, and Delvin completed his work early, yet again, actually hiding from Christian. Dayoung being behind was in an obvious struggle mode, but it was nice of her fellow designers to help out. NANCY’S LOOK

Celebrity stylist Marni Senofonte was back for this season, and was this week’s guest judge. Pictured above is Nancy’s look, once again, I say she was robbed for a top spot! These pilazzo style pants were very hip and I loved this shredded looking top. You could feel the texture in this look, and it was so chic and bold, a real bad ass girl!

But of the judges’ actual top 3, my winner would have been Delvin. This was such a great pop of color on this more overall muted runway. It felt really fresh, and very luxe. Victoria was also in the top, which I didn’t get at all, especially based on the feedback. This was supposed to be street style, but the judges even said “the club.” It was not a unanimous decision! One of the judges even referenced this look as a tennis uniform, which again, I ask how is that street?? Seeing later episodes, I think Victoria is a judges’ favorite for some reason, and I don’t get it or agree.

Marquise was named the winner, which I didn’t totally disagree with, but I still liked Delvin’s look better. Marquise’s look did well in mixing prints, and did feel like a fun, cool streetwear look.

Just like episode 1, the bottom was a little more obvious, but it was clear the eliminated designer was going to be Veronica. You could barely see her animal print. The look just fell flat.

Moving onto the next episode, all about really getting into the holiday spirit! The designers’ penthouse living room was transformed into a winter wonderland, full of holiday decorations, ornaments, ribbons and more. This was of course not a coincidence, as these items would be the materials for this challenge — so yes, unconventional materials challenge time! The task at hand, create a holiday look, the perfect party dress in this 2-day challenge. As the designers got to work, Nancy was not being the quietest in the workroom. If you ask me, big deal, I would take her actually working over someone just running around, being loud, and not working! Some Sergio on Siriano shade continued, Alan wanted to see boobs on the runway, and Shavi was dealing with shrunken berries. The clear drama of this episode was that while a few designers were really flourishing, many were floundering — such as Delvin not feeling unconventional materials aka Arts & Crafts as he calls it, Tyler being left with a short freakum’ dress, and Brittany who seemed to be in a constant state of tears.

Seeing all of the wintry sparkle in the workroom, I was ready for the runway. This week’s guest judge was actress Kiernan Shipka. From the safe group, I have to say Geoffrey had to have just missed being in the top. His dress was also made with wrapping paper, and I thought what he did was just as good, if not better than top named designer Sergio. But Dayoung was straight up robbed! Her look was so magical, very festive and such a stunning holiday look.

I definitely feel Marquise and Delvin were lucky to be safe. I felt there looks were not super innovative with the use of unconventional materials. In comparison, say Melanie using the corn husks, much more inventive and eye-catching. The judges named Sergio, Victoria and Shavi for the top, with Sergio as the winner. This was definitely not my top 3, but I guess of this top 3, Sergio’s look deserved the win. It had literal bells and whistles, and not in a bad way!

Victoria’s look had flare, but it wasn’t my personal fave. It only read holiday to me because of the cranberries. I just felt there were better looks. Same sentiment I felt with Sha’Vi. His look actually read super festive, but it just didn’t stand out to me. I think his model really sold the look though and that probably helped him in landing a top spot.

The bottom 3 was much more obvious, and wasn’t hard to guess, Tyler, Brittany, and Alan. Brittany didn’t do great, but has done better and I think the judges knew this was likely a random fluke. She can’t make excuses, but at least she had some form of concept in the top. I think you could tell in contrast, the judges were over Alan. He just hasn’t done anything super great in 3 episodes. I really think that was the only reason he went home over Tyler. I would have been good with either going, but Alan just maybe wasn’t ready for this competition. Too many ideas and he didn’t know what to do with them or how to execute them.

So going into episode 4, knowing Alan was constantly in the bottom, he went home, would that same fate happen to Tyler next? For this next challenge, it was all about the ultimate upcycle. Karlie’s fashion stylist, Karla Welch, would be a mentor for this task. Karlie needed a look for a CFDA event in Paris. The look needed to be original, wearable, and cool — An American in Paris. The twist this week, the fabric would be recycling materials of used clothes from Goodwill ($150 budget). Most of the designers were thrilled with this, well except Delvin & Victoria. And in comparison to all of the other challenges thus far, this would be a 1 day challenge! Also, no surprise as this was a challenge for Karlie, there were brand new models, Karlie lookalikes! DELVIN’S LOOK

There was a lot of focus on Tyler for this episode. Sergio was trying to give him some “training” or “help.” But was it really that? Tyler and Christian were butting heads a bit on his original sailor concept. It was interesting hearing the later Tyler commentary on everyone else’s looks as not being great, when his wasn’t great at all! Tyler aside, Victoria finished her look before Delvin and was elated. And Sha’Vi had a huge hole mishap at the last minute and not much time to correct it. BRITTANY’S LOOK

Actress Laverne Cox was this week’s guest judge. So who created transformative looks, giving new life to old clothing for this runway? I was very underwhelmed with this runway. There were too many suit type looks and then denim, which I am not a huge fan of, at least on this show. Delvin should have been in the top. This sequin lace top was stunning. I was also intrigued with Brittany’s look, maybe because it was a pop of color, maybe because it was very different than the rest, but for me, it certainly stood out.

The top 3 were Nancy, Chelsey, and Victoria (pictured above). I was okay of this top 3 with Victoria winning. It was chic, great details and was one of the better jacket looks. I just feel with Victoria, she is showing a lot of the same elements and silhouettes, and I don’t personally get the judges’ infatuation. Nancy’s look was also not my favorite of hers. But for the fact I feel she has been robbed in other challenges, I am glad she made the top.

As with every episode thus far, the bottom was abundantly obvious, Marquise, Sha’Vi , and Tyler. Sha’Vi had an unfortunate mistake and it hurt his look. He hit a snag and couldn’t recover. I felt he was deserving of a 2nd chance. Marquise has been flailing, but with Tyler being a repeat bottom contender, and not doing anything overly exciting here, he was eliminated. His look was tight, it didn’t feel innovative, there was no WOW factor. This was RTW, straight off the rack.

Project Runway — The Finale

Many challenges, all the eliminations, and it was finally the time, finally the finale, the final 3! I had seen bits and pieces of each designers’ collection, even throughout this episode, so was eager to see what everyone would present. So with only a few days before the finale, no time to waste, the final 3 designers headed back to their new Brooklyn workroom. They learned they would be showing at Skylight One Hanson. And that there was plenty to do over the next few days — finishing looks, model castings, styling selections, and consultations with both Maybelline & Tresemme. Christian also announced Marni would be back to help the designers with styling their collections.

Each designer would only show 10 looks. So the surprise 11th look from last week, really wasn’t necessary! And for Garo, who now had 17 looks, no extra looks were even needed! Before work on their collections, the designers first had model castings. They were all making deals and swapping like crazy! Afterwards, Christian announced the designers would have the option on the next morning, to go to Mood with a $300 budget. This would still be an important decision for each designer to make because even though extra resources could be bought, it was time to work on collections that was really being spent!

But before that important decision, it was time to finish up this first day with model fittings. Hester decided to remake her new Nina breather look, since she only made the original in 2 hours. Garo was obviously scrapping his Nina look because he had so much else to choose from, and this look was poorly received. Sebastian was also debating showing his new Nina look and also was thinking about going to Mood the next day, but for thread! Christian was not feeling either of those decisions. So as the next day approached, Sebastian did decide to go to Mood and was the only one. Christian seemed less than thrilled! He did get thread, but also some new fabric, which we later see he ended up not using. Not time well spent, but I guess Sebastian just needed to make sure what he already had was all he needed and there were no doubts!

The next part of the day was filled with more model fittings and Christian consultations. Garo saw his fit was off on one of his corset gowns. And with so many options for looks, it was good Marni popped over to help him fine tune his theme, to best select the looks — Punk Rock Meets Elegance. For Sebastian, he really needed to make sure he was not over-working or over-accessorizing his looks. And what worked well for him was having so many separates he could do a good bit of mixing and matching. And finally for Hester, we saw she had a major wig she was using. Good thing Marni was around to help tone down some of her crazy extra details, especially with makeup ideas!

After a long work day, the designers were in for a surprise, a personal request from the finale guest judge to come for a meeting. So with that, they were off to meet the amazingly talented designer Diane von Furstenberg at her Meatpacking location. She was full of wise and sage advice for the designers! And I am sure as great as that moment was, the designers knew there was still lots to do, heading into this final day before the finale. Sebastian was making some major edits and Christian made sure to put in a request for an extra belt! Garo and Christian debated on if he should really scrap the sparkly look he showed last challenge, the only one that every single judge loved! The end of day came super quick, and ended with some lovely parting words from Christian. He spoke of his experiences mentoring, also giving some advice in advance of this huge runway day.

But before heading home, the designers checked out their runway location and were in awe! As amazing as this space was, I don’t know if this new format of Project Runway can beat showing at NYFW with this cool runway spot. We also saw looking back moments for each designer. The day of the runway was finally here though, and only 3 hours to be ready! Luckily, each designer would have helping hands, 3 dressers each. The models were arriving and Sebastian was laying down some ground rules for them, i.e. no sitting, no eating! Christian was worried with Garo as he was still sewing. You could feel the pressure rising for each designer, especially as Christian called for the 30 minute mark. While Garo was snipping away, Sebastian had an unexpected stain to get rid of! And no surprise, Hester was using all her helpers to actually help dress her, always with the drama!

So with this final 3 runway, I would love to say I was vastly impressed. I just felt in previous seasons, there have been stronger finalists in the mix. I could actually see a decision being hard to make. And even though the judges announced it was still a hard choice, I feel the choice was clear as day, and thankfully that was the named winner, Sebastian! He was really the saving grace of this season! This gown look above, such a standout compared to the other 2 designers’ collections, and his collection as a whole just surpassed the other 2 collections by leaps and bounds! His collection was based on reminiscence, looking back at his life in Colombia. And I very much felt he had a clear theme, a clear story, which led to such cohesion, and you could see this inspiration in all of his looks.

This look above, the 2nd shown, was stunning. Sebastian used some bold color choices in his collection, bold orange & emerald green, pairing nicely with some softer hues, such as creme white and nude taupe. Sebastian hasn’t always had a clear story for his work, the easiest described vision, and even a hard time articulating who is woman is. I have an idea on that for him! His woman is luxe, very regal, but with some edge. She adores fashion, but still looking classy. DVF said it best, “extremely refined, but casual.” This is certainly elevated RTW, but with some high-end pieces included. This collection is still super creative, while still being able to be understated and not having to use every bell and whistle to prove such creativity. It is high fashion, but very commercial and of the 3 designers, his would appeal to the most women.

Sebastian created some amazing details throughout his looks. Such as seen above in this flowy goddess gown, the line-patterned bodice, seen in other looks for him, super intricate and stunning. This was his new “Nina” look and it was the right decision to add & keep. The other designers faced problems in what they showed, and also edits. Sebastian didn’t seem to have that problem. Actually, when he originally showed this look above, he paired with one of his belts. I think it looks better without, but that is not to take away from how amazing his leather belts were. Such another standout detail for his look!

And 2 other details worthy of mentioning, the amazing details on his various pants and the hand-woven, laser cut mesh-like work he did, both as seen in this look above. When I see these looks, I see a sexy, strong, confident woman. Sebastian really knocked this collection out of the park. Clearly I can’t say enough positive statements. And honestly, I think the only negative I recall from the judges was that they didn’t like his opening look, the orange skirt look he originally showed last week. My, how awful! I actually disagreed with the judges here because I thought this look showed us more of what to come. It also would spread out 3 of the looks we had already seen. But for those who had not seen this look, it showcased his inspiration, creative details, and his bold color choices.

For Sebastian, I think of the 10 looks, there was only one I didn’t care for. But showcasing 2 more of my faves above & below!

Garo’s collection, even though he said earlier in the episode was sort of punk rock meets elegance, he actually gave inspiration to this being a “Detour Through his Cosmic Mind.” I really felt a huge issue for Garo was creating too much and in that regard, he didn’t know what to select to show. I think if he could have streamlined his focus, his theme, a bit more in the earlier stages of his work, rather than creating so much, he could have created less looks, but stronger, more cohesive ones. He certainly had a few amazing looks, but he also had some misses. There would be certain elements then to given looks I liked, such as his fabric choices, but not then his creative choices aesthetically. This look below perfectly encapsulates when Garo created a masterpiece, such a stunning fabric, gorgeous silhouette, and using his structuring and corset skills well.

And while this look above was a strong opener, he didn’t maintain that momentum. I was actually quite shocked that Garo was the only one who still had so much to do, and he certainly had some technical issues with a few of his looks. He bit off more than he could chew and really should have again, streamlined his focus a bit more, or made better editing choices. And really the judges were not wrong in taking him out of the running for the win, so he came in 3rd. The judges were also right to call him out on not showing the one look they all loved from the week before. Everyone else showed their same 3 looks, so he should have cared less about repetition and more about strength and showing standout looks. The black, sparkling look below, another example of a stunning creation. However, it was just such a shame seeing other less than impressive looks, and honestly, that number was just too high!

I appreciated that Garo did create some more RTW looks, and that every piece wasn’t that of a costume nature or a show piece. But his more basic looks just didn’t stand out and were not memorable. In comparison to Sebastian’s more RTW, commercial pieces, they still had special elements, and I didn’t see those touches in Garo’s pieces. Knowing he did have 17 looks to chose from, I was left confused on some of the choices he made for what to show. But really another issue for me with this collection just came down to not loving some of his design choices. I didn’t care for his spiky or pointy tops on some his looks, such as the one seen below. And really with his corsetry work, I still feel it at times takes away from the elegance of a look, seeing all of that corset work from the back. The looks then read costume, not mass, wearable fashion a large amount of women would choose to wear.

But his finale look was a gorgeous gown, great fabric choice, with some very cool gloves!

So with Garo coming in 3rd, Sebastian with the win, that of course leaves Hester in 2nd. Her collection was Cyber Recoco or Y2K Coco. You could easily tell her collection lacked cohesion, likely due to not picking a clear inspiration or theme. I actually loved this cyber concept, but then when she was talking about her collection, she kept talking about punk rock. These are 2 different concepts! And even the judges were throwing around other concepts, Marie Antoinette & Clueless. So all in all, there were just too many ideas floating around. She certainly had some strong, editorial pieces, opening strong (the look seen below), but didn’t maintain any momentum. Her looks were up and down, good and bad. The judges had lots to offer by way of critique, unlike that of Sebastian. So as I stated above, it was laughable the judges had to pretend this decision was hard.

The judges were fans of Hester all season, but she was not the right winner here. In there so called “debate”, they kept speaking of her vibe. But this is a fashion competition. You can still make fashion and set trends like Sebastian, without having to create a crazy persona or vibe as the judges called it. She has some cool looks, but it isn’t worthy of the win, nor this prize package. For Sebastian, Brandon said he could be ready to show tomorrow at NYFW. And in that regard, also ready to work with the press/media, and sell to stores, really create a business for himself. That could not be said of Hester. Diane von Furstenberg was sort of offering her a job to work with her. Yes, while that is a compliment, it also kind of means she isn’t quite ready to do this on her own.

She is creative, but I don’t see how she is moving fashion forward, as the judges said. Plenty of people create these sort of cool, crazy pieces, lots of colors, all of the bells and whistles. I think she wants everyone to love her clothes and for everyone to be able to wear them. But the truth is, she just doesn’t create that type of fashion. Her work doesn’t appeal to the masses and is not made for everyone, but I am sure would cater well to a certain audience. She had some great looks here, one of my faves is pictured below, but her less than impressive looks felt a little sloppy or there were less than tasteful elements, such as this red faux fur she overly used and poorly misused.

So again, to re-state and heck even overstate because this was the right decision, Sebastian rightfully nabbed the win! And here is what he wins —

-$250,000 furnished by the Pilot’s FriXion Erasable Gel Ink Pen

-a feature in ELLE

-a capsule collection thru Nineteenth Amendment, which will be sold on

-own featured role in a Bluprint digital series

-$50,000 to put toward their own design studio also courtesy of Bluprint

-Plus, for the first time ever, Project Runway is partnering with one of the most prestigious organizations in fashion, CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America) for a one-on-one mentorship including all the tools and connections to create, grow, and sustain a business in fashion

Who’s Making the Finale!?!

The age old question for any season of Project Runway. Well for this first season of the show, back on original home network Bravo, we finally have that answer and our final 3! But let’s not jump ahead quite yet! How did we get there? So from last week, our final 5 became a final 4 — Garo, Sebastian, Bishme, & Hester. Each designer would have 5 months, and a $10k budget. So at the 2 month mark, Christian was on his way to check in with each designer.

First up, Christian visited Hester in Santa Fe. Hester was going for a y2k recoco, digital tech concept. All in all though, it actually read as just a bunch of ideas. Her collection was very print heavy. The one print I saw was an angel or a broken doll and I did like that one. It seemed that with some time, it paid off in terms of Hester’s quality in her work. I saw some cool looks, but I wasn’t seeing a collection, just a hodge podge of random, crazy looks.

Next up was Sebastian in Ft. Lauderdale. This was like night and day compared to Hester’s visit. Hester clearly can work in chaos and a bit of disruption, but Sebastian’s workspace was super neat, so organized. Because of the mess, I couldn’t see how much Hester truly had done. But it was clear Sebastian had lots accomplished. His idea was stemming from palm trees on ceramics jars. His dad helped him with creating some gorgeous leather belts. Christian was smart to advise him to keep an editing eye and to not overwork his looks. Every trick Sebastian has in his bag, we don’t need to see in each look. I saw cohesion in his creation, but Sebastian still needed to better define his story, how to articulate who his type of woman is, his type of client.

After Sebastian, we were led to Baltimore, to visit Bishme. His studio had a very comfy vibe. He had everything planned out along the walls. His focus would be on the buildings of Baltimore, a mix of the old and of the new. He sees potential in the old, to rebuild, and be better than what it was. It was hard to see any of this because Bishme didn’t have much done, maybe 2 looks. He had all of his fabrics out, seeing some crazy, bold orange color. He has lots of ideas, but the visions had not come to life. Christian helped him figure out next look, what fabric, get going.

And finally, for the last visit, it was to see Garo. Christian thought he would be at Garo’s studio in NY, but instead, he was off to Phoenicia, upstate NY. I guess there is something to be said in just getting out of the city, going remote and really just getting to work. Garo was going for a space, galactic concept. So in his looks, we would be seeing glimmers, textures, and rigid lines. I was seeing some stunning fabric choices! Of course there were corsets! But were these looks dated, too much in that of an era type look? Christian reminded Garo to not go for costumes, but think commercial, a bit more ready to wear.

It was then back to NY, to a new workroom in Brooklyn. Everyone was hugging and then eager to unpack their designs. Each designer’s collection was set at 10 looks. Garo actually did 14, whereas Bishme only had 8. I guess it is smarter to have more, edit down, than be in a scramble to finish. As everyone was unpacking, getting organized, each designer was of course curious to see what the others had created. But before embarking on work, the designers were visited by Karlie & Christian. They announced that before being at the finish line, there would be one more challenge, and Nina would provide those details at the Elle offices.

While at Elle headquarters, the designers received a tour, including the desired fashion closet, aka heaven! Nina was explaining this is where in a given shoot, in a given story, they work to make that story complete. And that is what she would be there to help the designers in doing. The designers would show 3 looks to secure their spot in the finale. Two looks would be ones already completed, and the 3rd look would be a new one created in the next day and a half, an 11th look. Nina would review each designer’s collection and give guidance as to a look that is missing. That is the look each designer would create, and take part in showing as this 3 part mini-collection.

First up in the Nina consultations, Sebastian. Nina was seeing a very rigid, hard collection, so she wanted to see something soft, an eveningwear look. For Garo, she asked to see a tailored suit. Moving on to Bishme, Nina was finding some cool pieces, some standout looks, but she thought the collection needed a more accessible look. Bishme was tasked to create a street inspired outerwear piece. And finally, for Hester, as again we already all knew, her collection was crazy, very print heavy. Nina thought a breather look, something devoid of any print was needed. Hester didn’t seem to be listening though!

So first the designers sketched, and then they were off to Mood with an additional $400 budget. There was lots to do, so everyone was ready to get back to work. The time felt limited to create a whole new look, and make 2 other looks runway ready! Day 2 rolled around, and Bishme was really struggling on creating his look. It was time for model fittings. Christian saw that Sebastian was not going for a gown, and he rethought that decision, scrapping the leggings and just focusing on a gorgeous flowing goddess gown. And for Hester, with this white look she was creating, he thought it read cheap. She was going to change it to red, but decided to try and focus on making what she already created in white better.

It seemed however that some red was going to get on the look regardless! Hester sewed thru her fingernail — YIKES!! She got blood on her garment, so she had to rethink her look. And so while Hester was having an external freakout, Bishme was continuing to have an internal struggle. But all those issues aside, it was time for the morning of the runway! Bishme decided he had to scrap his bomber jacket and make a hoodie dress. And Hester ended up creating an entire red look. In seeing so much of these new 3rd looks, I was ready to see everything being presented! Guest judge for this runway was President & CEO of the CFDA, Steven Kolb.

Sebastian Grey

I said it last episode, and will say it again, this is Sebastian’s competition to lose. And unless he has 8 other truly hideous looks we haven’t seen, I don’t see how he is losing. With what has been seen so far, Sebastian is significantly outpacing the other designers. Unlike Hester & Garo, I feel Sebastian designs clothes that are far more appealing to more women. They are looks women would want to and actually could wear. Say this in comparison to someone like Hester, who really designs for such a niche market. But outside of just a little more commercial appeal, Sebastian still designs clothes that are high fashion, super chic, items that any major fashionista would want to don.

Sebastian Grey

With what I saw, I loved his color palette. This bolder orange can go wrong, but not in Sebastian’s hands! He does have a clear designer voice, such a great aesthetic. His looks are just such a high quality, so well made. I loved this geometric take, and with this new look Nina tasked him to make, I was in awe. He really has created something special with the stunning leather belts and this chain link mesh items were really cool as well. I believe the judges said it was clear Sebastian and Hester were in the finale. And while that does hold some truth, it was slightly laughable to compare what Hester created, to the far more superior looks from Sebastian.

Sebastian Grey
Hester Sunshine

Hester made the finale, more so than Garo, because she lucked out in actually creating a great, new 3rd look. Her 2nd look was not the best. Even though I still stand by my comments from the last episode, that she was barely making this final 4, I did figure she would still somehow make the final 3. I would still be amazingly shocked if she wins, but she did rise to this challenge in creating this 3rd piece, granted there was some major luck in that. The fur-like skirt was better than the top. And this fur-like material was more successful in this piece than on that jacket. I guess it was a blessing in disguise she bled on her original look because that white look I don’t think would have been as successful!

Hester Sunshine
Hester Sunshine

This first look above, it really gave off such a Clueless vibe. And I did really like this first look. I wish we could have seen more of the print, and so I am hopeful the rest of the collection would show more some of these prints she keeps talking about. And while I do love this first look, this still isn’t something to me that I haven’t seen before. Hester says she wants to dress the world, but her looks are always going to just service a specific type of client; it is not going to appeal to the masses. Another huge issue for Hester is going to be if this collection has any cohesion. I didn’t see that in these 3 looks. And my sneaking suspicion is that her collection is going to be hit or miss for every other look. I will probably like one, think it’s cool, but every other look, I am probably going to be like THANK YOU, NEXT. This is pretty much how I have been all season for Hester, and that doesn’t deserve the win in my book!

Garo Sparo

And so with Hester and Sebastian securing their spots in the final 3, it came down to Garo & Bishme. Garo nabbed that 3rd spot, and really, that was the right decision. Bishme was not ready. Garo was far more prepared, already had all of his looks created, and could just focus on editing and fine-tuning. Whereas Bishme was going to be scrambling to still create 3 looks. And so yes, while Garo’s new look wasn’t a success, his other 2 looks were intriguing enough to leave me wondering what else he had. I also saw some snippets of his other looks throughout the episode and I was curious! This first look, with this stunning, shimmery overlay, I am shocked Nina was not a fan. I was in love with this first look. It had such a goddess-like flow, and really cool with the reveal to create such a different vibe with an asymmetrical dress look.

Garo Sparo

This next sparkly number was such a fun dress, and something a little unexpected from Garo. I didn’t like the shaping of the neckline, but the mixed media portion with the leather was cool. So it was surprising to see these 2 amazing looks, ending with a fairly hideous suit. The color choice was so drab. I do think he had the hardest new look to create in such a short amount of time. But regardless of not accomplishing that, he still made some questionable choices in even beginning here, color, fabric, etc. I still think it was the right call for Garo to move forward over Bishme. I feel is collection is going to have more cohesion and was overall just more runway ready.

Garo Sparo

It was also odd seeing Bishme fail so badly in this final challenge. Both he and Garo did pretty well in these more timed challenges throughout the season, but Bishme’s head was out of the game a bit. With his family issues ongoing, I am sure he wasn’t in the best headspace. And so it was bad just seeing this hoodie dress gone so awry. I don’t get why he ended up just tacking on so much fabric here, with the pink and orange. It all felt very sloppy. I also don’t get this as being outerwear. I don’t know why Bishme put himself in this box, in immediately getting stuck in this bomber jacket idea and then scrambling to even put this hoodie dress together.

Bishme Cromartie
Bishme Cromartie

I liked his other 2 looks, but I don’t think he even picked the best of what he created to show. And thinking back to his original vision for this collection, the architecture of Baltimore, I didn’t see that in these looks. I did really love the top he created on the skirt look. And the all black leather look was very cool as well, but I wasn’t left wanting to see more. The only reason I knew there was more was because we saw some other items throughout the episode. Had I not seen those, I would have no idea where this collection could go, so I just wish Bishme had shown stronger pieces.

Bishme Cromartie

I am very ready to see all of the finale pieces! And as an added bonus, the winning designer of the season also gets to create a capsule collection thru Nineteenth Amendment, which will be sold on Bravo. I clearly know who my winner is, but let’s see if the judges agree!

The Final 5 Become the Final 4

The first season of Project Runway, back on it’s original network Bravo, is getting down to the wire. We are very close to the finale! And thus the final 5 become the final 4. I won’t say for sure that all final 4 designers are showing final collections. But these 4 are nonetheless still in the running for the title and all of the prizes! And what better time than right before the finale, for the designers to really let the judges know who they are as designers.

For most of these final few designers, we have a good sense of their designer POVs and aesthetics. But in this final challenge, they were tasked to really go bigger and bolder in that regard. For this challenge, the designers were asked to create any look they wanted, showcasing who they are as designers, but to also design an experimental art installation to create the setting, the environment, for each look. Over 100 industry insiders would be in attendance, as well as the judges. And with a personal invite from mentor Christian Siriano, rapper Cardi B would also be in attendance.

The designers were choosing their own models this week, with Sebastian choosing first since he won last week. He then chose the next designer who would make their selection, and so on and so forth. You really got to see who was “buddy buddy” & Tessa was not on that list! This would be a 2-day challenge, with a $500 Mood budget. So first up would be sketch time & time with each designer’s creative consultant for their art installation room. Each designer, minus Sebastian, really had clear visions of what they wanted. But all in all, Sebastian was feeling as if he was running low on ideas.

It was then time to head off to Mood! Christian reminded the designers to go for a buzzworthy, memorable, look. Hester decided to go back to a picnic-type look, but supposedly much more aggressive. However, she was frustrated over her color choices. Tessa wanted to focus on design aesthetic “wabi sabi”, showing their is beauty in imperfection, very much going back to the ever-discussed unfinished hems of hers. It was then back to the workroom to complete the first day of this challenge. Garo was focused on his corset work. Bishme was having some self doubt since he is the only self-taught designer in this group. But it was Hester who really went nowhere on the first day, barely getting anything accomplished in this first day.

Day 2 began with a field trip as the designers were off to the CFDA offices. While their, the designers met with Steven Kolb, President & CEO of the CFDA. The CFDA is known for working with and boosting the profiles of emerging designers. This could be such a huge resource for the winner of this season! As important as this was, so was making the final 4, so it was back to work the designers went. Siriano sessions were up next. He cautioned Hester to not repeat silhouettes she has already tried. For Tessa, he urged her to have an editing eye, very similar to his chat with Bishme.

Model fittings were up next. This was going well for all, except Hester. Her top/bodice was off and she had no extra fabric to use. Christian was getting super stressed watching Hester cut away and Bishme only trying on part of his look with his model. The designers were then off to check on their art installation rooms with their models. Most were happy sans Bishme and Sebastian. Bishme wanted his room to look less literal, more abstract. And Sebastian was just very unhappy, only seeing yellow, not seeing his palace creation. Cue in MAJOR BREAKDOWN moment for Sebastian as they headed back to the workroom. He was really wanting to just leave, go home. He took a time-out, chilled out a bit, and came back ready to fight! He is really the best of this bunch, so it would have been a shame to not see him in the finale.

As the morning of the runway approached, everyone still had so much to do. Bishme decided to go with a really cool hair look, using strands of his dress in the model’s hair! But also attaching to his model’s hair was the over-exaggerated back piece as a part of his look. It was not standing up properly, so he had to do something! And Christian was again stressing out, this time over Tessa & Garo, really working down to the wire! This week’s guest judge was Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President of the fashion office and the Director of women’s fashion and store presentation. So she knows fashion and what coordinating installations should look like.


I think all in all, with this final 5, it was fairly predictable in a sense who was making the final 4. As much as I think Tessa did deserve the shot, I found it hard to see that happening, even before seeing the final looks. So I feel the only shock in this episode was that Sebastian didn’t win this final challenge! I get that his room was not perfect, and he had a hard time formulating his story, but this look was clearly the best of the bunch. Yes, I do think the rooms should be factored in, but I felt with Garo’s look, there were some negatives, and so yes, his room bolstered his look. Whereas with Sebastian, yes, the room was not the best, but it didn’t take away from how beyond stunning this look was.

Heading to the finale, this was just the best and it’s sad that once again, Sebastian was unfairly not handed the win! I think his room would have been better thinking like a museum, versus a palace concept, and this was a sculpture, his looks are such works of art. Or, if he left the room as is, an if he could have incorporated a little color somehow in this look, would have been better. But again, what a stunning look! And going back and just seeing all his amazing looks in final judgment, that should have somehow factored into the equation here as well! It’s just like Brandon said, he doesn’t need a concept, he would put on his looks and just go out, be ready, and be such a standout!

So clearly I wanted a Sebastian win, and I still feel as if this is his competition to lose. But for this final challenge, Garo was named the winner. I didn’t hate his look, but there were some negatives here. I don’t like the knit he used. This look read upscale and using a knit really downplayed the regal quality it should have been giving off. The corset was gorgeous, but I don’t think Garo should win this competition based off his corsetry skills!

The bodice into the neckline was gorgeous! But the sleeves he added were not elegant, really again, stripped away from how great this look should have been. His major greatness here came from how amazing his room was. And I will give him that, this interactive, robotic dressing room was beyond cool! Elaine really made the case for this win, and I guess she somehow got Karlie on board. He should definitely be in the finale, but still not on board with this final win!

I feel as if I am still on the fence about Bishme. This picture above even has me rethinking it. Something about the fabric up close, doesn’t read as great on TV, but does in this photo. I felt he was going bigger and bolder, but it was still maybe a bit too much. I think he should have either focused solely on a crazy back embellishment, or an exaggerated peplum on the front. This look definitely photographs well, but had some fit issues as you took a closer look. I think this is still Sebastian’s competition to lose, but if Bishme can really fine tune and edit, he does stand a chance.

His room was not my most fave, but it was not too bad. I loved the concept of Baltimore and the roses growing from concrete, but I think he stripped away too much from the literal concept and maybe went too abstract.

And even in predicting it would be Tessa who was out, I also figured the bottom 2 was going to be Hester & Tessa as Hester really has been super inconsistent. This look was just such a hot mess. It is not big or bold, just her same old, same old. And it wasn’t constructed very well. I just kept thinking she spent $500 on this?? This was in no way impressive, especially the top.

Her baroque forest concept was great, but the look wasn’t! Hester was put into the finale to add some color, both literally and figuratively. Yes, her looks are fun, cute, very niche. But lots of people do this and do this better. She is theatrical and very silly with her looks, but when they read costume and are not done well, the luster is lost. She had some super low moments here, whereas with Tessa, she had some highs and then safe moments. And yes, Hester had wins, but I would still adamantly disagree that her wins were deserved, especially the bathing suit and the space looking suit! I don’t know if Tessa could have pulled off a win, but I would be beyond shocked if Hester does. It would take a miracle, so I hope she at least provides some good drama, aka color, in these final episodes!

Tessa I really thought did so much better on this challenge, both the look and the room. This ceramics studio was one of the best, probably 2nd or tied with 2nd to Hester. It was so fitting and still very interactive with the potter’s wheel and the model actually working with clay and allowing that to be on the look. It was just such a super cool concept. There is a lot to be drawn into here with, both with the look and the room.

I love this color palette of her look, so bold and still very Tessa and her minimalist style. And no hem issues here apparently, but to be honest, I never noticed them before. Because other than that, whether it was wabi sabi or not, the rest of the work on her looks always felt impeccable. I thought she really gave this such a great final push here, and far surpassed what Hester created. And one of the judges talked about who is buying this in a store? Do they really think Hester’s looks are going to be sold in this mass market, wide spread appeal? Both women have clear aesthetics, clear designer POVs. But I can see more women wearing Tessa looks than Hester.

But what’s done is done. I am eager to see what these final 4 will do with 5 months to create and a $10k budget! That is a lot of time and a lot of money, so the looks better convey that!


What Would be Your Dream Dress?!?

A question I am sure most of us have thought of, and this week on Project Runway, 6 lucky women in NYC got the chance to try and make this dream a reality! It was a reality for a few, but certainly not for all. But let’s not jump ahead too much, first things first. The designers met their clients at Christian Siriano’s NYC atelier. Such a gorgeous spot and I can’t wait to one day go! The clients for this challenge were the women who keep NYC city moving, various civic worker roles such as FDNY, NYPD, a postal worker, and more.

The ultimate goal here, as Christian mentioned, was to make high fashion more inclusive. All women deserve high fashion that they can incorporate into their wardrobe. Each designer was paired with their client, to first meet, and learn what their dream dress would entail. Most of the consultations went well. Although Jamall was not sure if he could deliver every bell and whistle his client was desiring, and Tessa was making her designer POV very clear. But was she listening at all to her client??

The designers were then off to Mood. They would have a $300 budget. Sebastian was confused by which fabrics he wanted to choose. And earlier in the day, Bishme received a math lesson from his client, the teacher, so he was giving that same lesson to the Mood employees. Math lessons aside, the designers were soon back to the workroom to begin work on the 1st day of this 2 day challenge. Garo decided to make 2 dress options for his client, while Bishme was actually back to the math lessons! Sebastian was still unsure on this sparkly, pretty dress he was creating.

Day 2 began with some Siriano sessions. Tessa originally wanted to create pants, and on a dress challenge, that would have been a huge risk. Christian urged her to reconsider, and she did. He also made sure to have Sebastian keep in mind who he is as a designer. Next up was model fittings. Tessa & Garo’s clients both seemed happy, and Sebastian’s look was finally beginning to come together. Not so much for Hester as she was having trouble balancing her client’s wants with who she is as a designer.

The morning of the runway was filled with normal timing issues. Most of the clients were all smiles, but you could visibly see that Jamall’s model was unhappy and uncomfortable. Tessa was having some chiffon issues and decided to cut most of it away. Before the runway, there was of course the judge introductions including guest judge actress Danielle Brooks.

For once, I was in total agreement with the judges. Right top 3. Right bottom 3. Right winner. And right eliminated designer. I feel this is a rare occurrence! But yes, hands down, Sebastian was the winner. He gave his client exactly what she wanted, while also including his designer POV. His client was beyond excited, really living a dream come true, and you could tell by her beaming face and twirling runway walk. It was total old school glam, but with a few modern touches. I would rock this look in a heartbeat! I am happy most of the judges agreed, minus Elaine!

Garo was runner-up, but I didn’t see it as a close race. There were quite a few positives to mention, but it wasn’t a total love-fest. The color was bold and really just the right choice. This look felt glam and you could also tell his client loved this. I also loved the shimmer around the bodice. But the spiky points around the shoulder, didn’t really love those. And I know the cape aspect was detachable, but I think it would have been a little better if it was a little shorter. Overall a great look though, and very deserving to be in the top 3.

Another satisfied client was Bishmes’. This was another great color choice, with some interesting elements. I do feel the fit was off a bit and it read a little boxy. I think this needed a bit of elevation, but overall, for the challenge at hand, a job well done, and very clear compared to the bottom 3, this would be a top look.

Hester was definitely going to be in the bottom, but certainly wasn’t a contender to actually go home. I will say, most of the designers knocked it out of the park in some great, bold color choices. Hester picked a fun color to work with, and it aided in the overall quality of her look. I do feel all of the straps she used on this look, I get that is her trying to incorporate her voice, but I felt it stripped away from the elegance and glam this look was seeking to purport. I compared it in my mind to Garo’s look, total upscale, very high fashion, whereas this just felt like a cheapened version. The client loved it, but I didn’t see this as a memorable or special enough look.

I really liked Tessa’s original idea, with all of the colors of chiffon. Such a shame it didn’t work and led to this. Clearly not executed to the fullest, but compared to Jamall’s look, there was no justification to send this look home over his. The judges could have eliminated both, but the clear bottom look was Jamalls’. Even though the judges were not a fan, the client still really loved this look. Tessa didn’t remain quiet during critiques, and yes, there was some bite-back, but I do feel it was in a way to defend her look and not be fully disrespectful. Brandon was the one giving her the most hard time, so too bad too sad if he doesn’t care for her unfinished hems, but the other judges noted there were still positives. I also thought it was disappointing most of the other designers were quick to jump on her, but completely disregarding just how bad Jamall’s look was. And yes, at this point, these construction issues really shouldn’t be there, but Jamall had them too, and there was certainly some just even in last week’s episode. So maybe Tessa is not their cup of tea, but let’s not be hypocrites and overlook what the other designers are doing.

Just as I said with Venny last week, it was Jamall’s time to go. He has been so inconsistent. And most of his top placements, I don’t think were fully deserved. Thus when he has been in the bottom, I am not surprised. Jamall just doesn’t work the best in these competitive parameters, especially when dealing with execution of a vision and time management. Unfortunately, this look was just a hot mess. It literally looked as if it was falling off his client the entire time she was in it. The client never looked happy, so it was weird hearing her right at the end try and defend the look?? But girl, here, actions speak louder than words! There was no design here. I kept thinking, what did he spend $300 on? What was he doing for 2 days? And what is with these guest judges?? Candace said at least he seemed willing to listen, whereas Tessa didn’t. This guy has been in the bottom multiple times, clearly demonstrating he listens, but doesn’t do anything with those critiques. Being quiet, doesn’t mean you are really listening, and taking in what is being said to then turn things around and do something about your mistakes.

Designing for Good Causes

On Project Runway this week, the designers were tasked to bring attention to a social cause that was one they personally cared about. It seemed this challenge began right after last week’s runway, with Christian and Elaine providing all of the details. Elaine would mentor each designer to channel their voices to create change. This look needed to be a high fashion interpretation, a statement look, where it clearly represented their chosen cause.

This was set to be a 2 day challenge, but it was more like a day and a half. The first day was really just sketching and chatting with Elaine. The work to be done, it was all boiled down to one day. With the Elaine mentor sessions, she cautioned Hester to not go too much off the deep end. And did we really learn that amongst all of the great causes, Garo was choosing “save the bees”?!? For the next day, it began at Mood, with a budget of $250. It was there we learned Bishme could really channel Lorelai Gilmore, talking a mile a minute. And Hester was going crazy with tulle — clearly, seeing it was all about the tulle!

Day 2 continued as the designers got back to the workroom. Bishme was still doing some crazy talk. And Hester seemed to finally be seeing the error in her ways in the way she was working when she had immunity. I’m not sure I buy this and will really need to some great work from her in the future to view her as a true contender for this competition. It was soon time for Siriano sessions. He let Bishme know that his cause was not coming thru in his look. He cautioned Garo that he was beginning to see repetition in his looks. And as always with Jamall, he needed to really focus on time management!

Also as a part of this challenge, there would be a flash sale twist! There would be a 2nd model for this challenge…..the designers themselves! Each designer would make statement tee to correspond with their look, showing support to their chosen cause. The shirts would be sold on Nineteenth Amendment. And the designers would walk on the runway with their models. With the morning of the runway, so many still had so much to do. Hester was seeing she bit off more than she could chew. But really it was Venny who was having some major time issues. He was having to cut some corners, and even had a major zipper issue.

But time running down aside, the show must go on! Guest judge for this week was Aurora James, Creative director for fashion brand Brother Vellies. I can’t say I agreed entirely with the judges this week, but at least the right designer went home! It was Venny & Garo in the bottom 2, and even though Garo’s look was not great either, there was no way Venny should have been saved, yet again. His cause was breaking down stereotypes, so his vision was to create a bomber jacket to unveil then to a glam LBD. The problem was, his vision did not come to life. The jacket was ok, but this dress he created, so poorly constructed, super ill-fitting, and it didn’t read well at all. It was way too edgy. From the dress and jacket pairing, Venny’s overall vision was unclear in direction. His statement tee was okay, not the best of the bunch, but at least clear in its messaging. Regardless, he has been in the bottom far too many times, and saved one too many. It was just his time to go!

I still am a little confused about Garo choosing “Save the Bees” as his social cause. Not saying it’s not important, but among so many other causes out there, this just seemed to fall short in a level of severity or priority. And I think a less than passionate cause created a less than great look. This look read cheap. It was crossing the line on taste, meant to be sexy, but not achieved. Garo has achieved greatness a couple of times in this competition, but really has been inconsistent. And when his looks are average or on the bottom, they really do lack taste and come across tacky. Bottom-worthy look, as well as a bottom-worthy statement tee!

Very odd that there wasn’t a bottom 3 this week, just a bottom 2 and top 3, leaving Hester and Tessa safe. I imagine Hester would have been in the bottom, but given she had immunity, there was no way she was going home. I guess it didn’t make sense to even put her in the bottom. Her social cause was Marriage Equality, quite clear in her rainbow colored look. She did really bite off more than she could chew. The tulle faux fur styled jacket was very underwhelming. And the under garments here, this blue exercise style shorts look, it was nothing equating to fashion. It was poorly fitted, and this was overall, not a great look. The statement tee was great in design, but I didn’t care that it was a crop top. You want everyone to wear statement tees in support and that should be something of comfort. A crop tee is not going to work for everyone.

I actually would have placed Tessa’s look in the top. Her minimalist aesthetic read so clear here, and didn’t need bells and whistles. I applaud Tessa for sticking to who she is as a designer week in and week out. It’s a close call between Tessa and Hester, of all the designers left, who really have the clearest vision of who they are as designers, but Tessa executes her work much better! Her social cause this week was Women’s Rights. It was such a personal story for her to work with, and you could really see the passion and feeling behind this look. It was conceptual, intriguing, and the reveal was amazing. This guest judge was crazy in trying to call her out for the reveal, and being unclear on her look, yet had no problem coddling Venny with his super underwhelming, and clearly bottom-worthy look. Great job on the statement tee as well!

I think the judges were split on trying to name a winner between Sebastian and Jamall, and in not being able to agree, chose to name Bishme the winner instead. I am actually just thinking this was what happened, regardless, I am much more pleased with Bishme as the winner than Jamall. Jamall’s cause was Changing the Black Narrative. I liked his idea, but can’t get behind this gorgeous dress in a puffer jacket materials. He uses puffer jacket way too much and it’s not a great fabric choice in my opinion, or is one that is overly intriguing. I also don’t think he created an aesthetic that is overly inventive or creative. Thank god for Nina here and her voice of reason! And not an impactful statement tee here at all!

Congrats still to Bishme, but Sebastian was clearly the winner here. I mean this dress was just stunning. His social cause was Racial Equality, and it read thru so clearly. This was so high fashion, a work of such beauty. And this guest judge was whack this week! First she harshly and unfairly critiqued Tessa, and then said this look wasn’t elevated. Girl, bye! Thankfully again for Nina who made it clear to later say how elevated this look was. I’m going with Nina as the better fashion expert here! Top look and a top statement tee!

Ultimately though, it was Bishme for the win. His social cause was Youth of Baltimore. Up close, I think the cause rang thru a little more clearly, but on the runway, in just a quick glance, I didn’t see his cause in this look. I loved the color, but felt the top was larger than life and not in a good way. And given the print didn’t come thru as clearly for me, the statement tee also fell a little flat.

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!