Designers — Survival of the Fittest

The new season of Project Runway already gave us a first group challenge, and now, it was time for the first unconventional materials task. I have to admit, I was a little confused on the task at hand. I really was interested to see who would use the unconventional materials the best, but the part I was hung up on was that the looks needed to be survival chic?? I saw lots of pretty dress-like looks that really didn’t do much by way of providing protection for the model. But then I also saw more chic outerwear, really making use of the unconventional materials. That all being said, I was fairly impressed by what the designers did and am really interested to see a few designers and how they grow throughout this season!

So the episode began with the designers being whisked away for a camping trip. I feel a few thought they were going somewhere a little more glam, but nope, it was off to the woods in Staten Island! Everything was moved to this campsite, the work stations, the accessory wall, and even the runway show! The designers would have to battle in the elements in order to stay in the competition. This really would be survival of the fittest! The designers would even be camping overnight, but Christian was definitely not going to be partaking in that endeavor!

Marni would be back for some styling help. And the designers were blessed with another 2-day challenge to get their nature looks completed. The designers had 20 minutes to gather their materials. Hester was a little upset since her pile created, people started taking from it. It seemed the couple of girls who took items gave them back, but Hester still felt some items were missing. But there was no time for dawdling as the designers were eager to begin work. Tessa decided to create her own loom, to help weave a fabric out of the ropes. Sebastian was in full leaf crazy mode. While Afa was having a floral debate in terms of adding flower embellishment creations to his look.

Marni & Christian later came by to see what the designers had been working on to get started. They expressed excitement for a few, such as with Sonia & Hester. They were a little concerned for Kovid since he had a lot going on with his many different types of materials. Nighttime one was celebrated with some s’mores before lights out at the campsite.

Day 2 involved model fittings. Everyone was worried about the colder temperatures, especially with their models walking around with no clothes on. Christian was still around for his time with the designers, and he urged to get a bit more from Renee & Rakan with their looks. Day 2 went by super quick and for the 2nd overnight, the designers were all about getting a warm fire started!

The morning of the runway began super early, 530 am! There was a lot of talk going on, if it was going to rain, which in fact it did. But rain or shine, the runway was happening!

I wasn’t so sure about this bottom 3. There were a good handful of looks that felt very sloppy, really just felt unresolved. I thought Kovid was really the only solid one that belonged. Anyone else, there was some room for debate, so it was more astonishing to then see Afa get eliminated! Before jumping on that, a few other quick mentions. I wasn’t feeling Jamall’s look at all. This is the 2nd look he has created that just look liked an overworked comforter. The entire look felt messy, with a bunch of leaves scattered all over the place.

Bishme created a really cool skirt with the rocks. And I also loved the reveal for what was under the jacket. But the jacket he created was not at all repurposed enough.

Switching to a more positive note, I am not sure given the challenge parameters if Sebastian’s leaf look really fit the bill. But that aside, this was a gorgeous couture leaf creation — STUNNING!!

If Renee landed in the top with her more outerwear look, I am a little shocked Venny’s look then fell short from the top. He created a gorgeous outerwear piece, that was actually fashionable. The intricacies of the rope-work & use of chains he did on the jacket was amazing.

Moving onto the judges’ actual top 3, there was Hester, Renee, and Rakan. If I had to choose from this group, hands down it was Hester. The rope bodice she created was so high fashion, very pretty. I loved how there was a soft and hard aspect to this look that really complimented each other well.

The judges’ winner however was Renee. I don’t see how this won or was in the top. I don’t feel she repurposed the unconventional materials much or at all. Christian basically said earlier in the episode that this just looked like a tarp jacket with a bunch of stuff thrown on it. And really, that is all it was. Even Renee said she didn’t see herself in comparison to what everyone else created, so that being said, I don’t see how she received such high praise. Put her green jacket against what Venny created, you can’t tell me there is not a huge difference!

Another confusing top placement — Rakan! This look would have been in my bottom. The gauze felt so plain and sad. I will admit what he did with the sleeping bag was better than what Jamall did, but I do not see this as a top look.

Just as I was confused at some of the top, I was also confused just as much on the bottom looks from the judges. I get that Sonia’s model had difficulty walking in this look, but there was at least a good bit here to discuss. Yes, some was negative, but in comparison to some of the other super bare minimum looks, there was at least a story here, someone befitting of being in nature. I am glad at least Sonia had a fan in Karlie.

I would be surprised if Kovid has longevity in this competition, but I also didn’t see Afa going all the way either. Of this bottom 2, I think the wrong decision was made in sending Afa home over Kovid. Kovid hasn’t been super impressive thus far. He clearly showed no direction in this look. There was way too much going on. Yes, there was lots of color, and I agree with Nina, the pants were really cool. But he doesn’t know how to edit and I just don’t see his childlike spastic behavior making it much further.

Again, I don’t think Afa was going far in the competition either. So being overly upset he went home now, I can’t put myself in that mindset. What I do find issue with though is how annoying the judges were being in trying to validate this decision. They made a point to give the model a blanket twice. Okay, it was cold outside, but she was hardly the only model who was barely covered. If that was part of their criteria to send him home, why not Garo, why not Tessa? Those 2 models were half naked too. This is Tessa’s look below. Now don’t get me wrong — I do not hate this look. But are we going to pretend this model wasn’t cold either??

I don’t think he did anything too amazing with the rope. And the flowers he made were kind of corny and not super chic. But he was far more innovative in his work than what Renee did by just tacking a bunch of camping gear onto a green tarp! I wasn’t in love what what he did, but I wouldn’t say it wasn’t innovative.

2 thoughts on “Designers — Survival of the Fittest

    • Garo’s bodice was gorgeous, but I didn’t like the fringed rope bottom. And with Lela, the umbrella sheer skirt didn’t feel connected at all to the top for me, felt very unresolved. Not enough time to mention every look in a post, but yea, I didn’t care for those 2. That being said, I would have had them safe just as the judges did. So not great, but not horrible.

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