JC Penney is the accessories sponsor for Project Runway this season, aka the JC Penney Accessory Wall! And with that, we thus get a JC Penney challenge! The designers met Tim at JC Penney to get the challenge details. Along with him was Design Director of Contemporary Brands, Monica Dalton. This week’s challenge was not menswear, but to use menswear fabrics and menswear in general to create an inspired, fashion-forward fall look. The designers, well most of them, were relieved to see this was not a menswear challenge!
Each male model for the display had 2 designer cards with all of the corresponding fabric for their look. After each design duo received their fabric, they then learned this would be a team challenge. And out came the button bag! The only stipulation was that the chosen partner could not have the same fabric selection that you had. Each design team was responsible for 2 cohesive looks. Kentaro, as the winner from last week, chose first, his “bro” Brandon.Then, randomly, the next names were drawn from the button bag — Amy/Kenya; Claire/Shawn; Margarita/Batani; & Ayana/Michael. The winning look chosen from the winning team would be reproduced and sold by JC Penney.
Each team would have $100 for Mood, to be used on notions, trims, and truly supplemental fabric. Only 1 team member would need to go. While at Mood, we also learned it was Swatch’s birthday!! Super funny watching Claire & Michael in the sewing room, Clarie yapping away and Michael just left. Outside of the normal twin drama/scandal accusations, we did see Kenya & Amy have a bit of drama. Nothing over the top, but I did wonder why Kenya was working on back-up pieces and not her actual look??
This week’s guest judge was actress Asia Kate Dillon. So with 5 groups, this would leave 2 in the top, 2 in the bottom, and one safe. The judges named Ayana & Michael safe, but I actually would have put them in the bottom. I didn’t love these 2 looks. I actually didn’t fall head over heels for much of anything this week and I find that was because of some poor fabric options. I would think for a JC Penney look, being sold for mass consumption, that we would have some better fabric selections!
The top 2 teams, per the judges’ picking was correct, however my top duo would have surprisingly been Brandon & Kentaro. And I say surprisingly because I usually don’t care for Brandon’s work. I get the judges were gaga over Margarita’s look, which ended up winning the week, but the stronger duo was Brandon & Kentaro.
They did have the best fabric, this pink plaid. It was also the most cohesive duo. You could see each designer POV clearly. And yes, while it was heavy-handed as athletic wear, it too had hints of menswear inspiration. I also loved, as Nina pointed out, the separates — lots of versatility!
Margarita & Batani were in fact the winning duo, with Margarita’s look taking the top prize. Of the 2, this was the correct choice! Both dresses were cute. I again, didn’t love the fabric selections here. The bodice on Batani’s look was also a little wonky.
AVON SHOUTOUT FOR MAKEUP & HAIR — BATANI
Amy & Kenya would have been safe for me, but did land in the bottom for the judges. I am glad they were not in jeopardy! Kenya’s look was not bad, rather boring, and certainly not unique. But it was wearable! Amy was the weaker link for me, with this crazy throwback suit. The color, the suit, just overall too much.
This leaves the twins, Claire & Shawn, in the bottom. This was the right decision for the week. And I think for the sake of either twin doing better in the competition, it is best for only one to remain. For Claire’s looks, the pants were not too bad, but the top was a little too cute-sy. For Shawn’s dress, I didn’t mind this so much, as far as the silhouette, but I didn’t care for the ribbons. She had a full-sized model and did not dump fabric on her, making her look boxy or swallowed up. She gave her something to show off shape, and for that, I appreciate it.
The judges however didn’t eliminate either this week. We have seen it in season’s past, when the judges can’t make a conclusive decision, that they have a 1-hour design session battle. Yes, it’s dramatic! But for here, it also makes some level of sense — to see what each can do, solely on their own, and see who comes out on top. Eager to see next week’s decision!