PR — The Smurfs v Barney

Project Runway threw in another group challenge this week. And for this episode, it was a battle of the teams, 2 teams that is. Heidi & Tim delivered the challenge details in paintball-esque style.


Blake, as the winning designer from last week, got the ball rolling on the team building. He would select a designer and then whomever was next selected would pick the following designer until no designers were left. So for the blue team, Blake picked Swapnil, who picked, Joseph, who picked Jake, who picked Edmond, and who then lastly picked Merline.


The button bag selected who got the ball rolling for the other team, the red team. The blue team was comprised mainly of guys, which meant the red team was all ladies — Candice, Amanda, Kelly, Lindsey, Laurie, and lastly Ashley.


With the teams completed, it was then time to play some fierce paintball! Each team would defend a barrel of fabric with 2 paintball guns and paintball grenades. Ashley showed she knew how to handle the gun, while Blake decided to kind of sit this one out and hide.


The fabric captured would be the supplemental material for the challenge. Tim later revealed the actual material for the challenge would be what the designers were wearing, their paintball jumpsuits which had just been splattered with paint. Each team was to create a 6 look mini-collection. Yes, that meant cohesion must be in play! The designers then headed back to the workroom to start on this 2-day challenge.


The blue team made great decisions right from the get go. They formed a clear concept, assigned tasks, and really worked great together. Their inspiration was the 50s, to have a Jackson Pollock vibe. They also decided to use a unified textile, which Jake created.


As the designers arrived back to the workroom, Tim told the designers they could make use of extra white canvas and paint that had been provided. Blake too added to the creativity of the textiles by creating a hand-painted floral print for the fabric.


The red team pretty much went the exact opposite route. They did not work as a team at all. Everyone was kind of doing their own thing, just creating their own look. They did not ever form a clear concept, even though several attempts were made. Ashley made it clear since she was the last picked that she felt the least welcome. The ladies in making their textiles were hoping to gain inspiration for a concept, but instead ended up with a complete “easter egg festival”, as Tim latter dubbed it.


All of the white canvas fabric was gone and the ladies were worried as to how their collection could be saved from this color explosion gone bad. Candice attempted to take some form of leadership over the group, but the other ladies were not feeling it. The other designers might not have wanted a leader, but if the women were not going to work as a team, I actually feel as if some leadership was needed here. But the reigns should have been taken to direct the ladies toward cohesion, not just crossing fingers that a concept would arise naturally.


Tim-time made it clear that he saw what we all were seeing at home. He was quite pleased with the blue team, very excited to see cohesion and that they were all working so well together. Tim was rightfully concerned with the red team, telling them they should feel a little scared. The ladies finally decided on a purple supplemental fabric to be their cohesive thread, in hopes it would also save their looks from being amateur hour to chic fashion.


Tim later brought in Sally Beauty consultant Liddy Bisanz. Sally Beauty had their mobile nail studio right outside, with over 750 nail colors, for the designers to have at their disposal. They would each visit with a consultant to create a nail design to give each of their looks additional dimension. As the end of the 2nd day was winding down, the blue team was still going strong, while the red team was still all over the place. Laurie and Amanda even had some drama in the sewing room as tensions were all over the place. The ladies hoped to leave the negative energy behind for the morning of the runway, but that was not the case. Laurie told Ashley the other team members were planning to throw her under the bus, and both were over their group dynamics. But at this point nothing more could be done and the runway show was about to begin.


This week’s guest judges were designer Lisa Perry and Kelly Osbourne.

It was clear from the episode which team was going to be on top and who was not. The blue team made wearable art, whereas the red team created arts and crafts projects. There were a lot of great looks that the blue team put out. Blake and Jake offered a lot to their team with textile creation, but the judges rightfully awarded the win and immunity to the best design. And their pick was Edmond. I agreed, but had they picked Swapnil, I would have been fine with that decision as well. It was a close race for the top.


Edmond’s gown was effortlessly and breathtakingly stunning. It was a win from all angles, including a gorgeous back.

Sally Beauty shout-out for hair, such a beautiful bun updo, also for Mary Kay, great choice of a bold red lip


Swapnil was a close 2nd here and this dress looked very fun and fashionable. He used a lot of creativity here, even making use of the shoes the designers wore in creating the back of this dress. It was clear he paid great attention to detail, including putting in pockets!


Sally Beauty shout-out — lovely flowing waves

Blake would have rounded out my top 3, creating a very clean-cut, minimalist dress. The open back was divine. Blake proved he doesn’t always need bells & whistles to shine. The splashed Pollock paint vibe was great, but I thought the floral hand-painted escalated the prints. I am proud of Blake for doing a great job with that work.


The judges chose Jake as part of their top 3, but I don’t get it. It was great what he did in creating a fabric, but fabric design doesn’t really show me what a great designer he is. Jake has yet to stand out for me and in my opinion could have gone home on earlier challenges. This look was some of his best work, but that is not saying much. And I can’t help but think back to his previous group challenge and how he didn’t work well with Lindsey. Yet all of a sudden he worked just fine here. Does he have a problem working with women?

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Sally Beauty hair shout-out also for Joseph, more gorgeous waves

It was great to see continued signs of improvement from both Joseph & Merline though. I thought this look was quite different for Joseph, still very ladylike and regal, but not so matronly. Merline too also created a beautiful piece, filled with structure and flare.

As mentioned many times above, the red team was clearly on the bottom and the critiques brought out even more drama. The fabric here was not a plus, but even stronger designers such as Candice and Ashley, had looks that were just not great. Bad fabric should not lead to bad design, which is what happened here. All of the looks just kind of fell flat. There was really nothing special. And even though there was drama and fabric issues, the ladies had always planned on doing their own thing. With that I would maybe have expected 1 or 2 decent looks, but overall, it was very eh. And really with the additional drama on the runway, I was over it at this point. I actually blame all of them and do not feel overly bad for Ashley. Added note though, I do like Ashley, did not think she should go home and knew it was not going to happen. But any of these ladies could have helped in making a change to better the group dynamic here and none chose to take that route. No true leadership was seen and the little bit that was attempted was chastised. It was great Laurie stuck up for Ashley at the end, but she didn’t show any support when Ashley was trying to have her voice heard earlier on in the episode. Being picked last sucks. But Ashley has won 2 challenges and she could have sucked it up and tried to make the best of it. And rather than constant complaints from Candice, Amanda, or whomever, focus should have gone on better planning right from the get go. I’m sure these designers have watched PR before and knew the route they were taking was a recipe for disaster. These are some very talented ladies here who have done some great work this season. I will definitely continue to root for them and hope to see better from them in the future. But this work, this episode, these looks were a hot mess!


Amanda did not have the best look this week, but she didn’t have the worst. At least there was some flare and great movement with her piece. Clearly the judges chose to send her home based on their view of her body of work rather than sending home designers who have been on the top. I’ve disagreed with the judges placement of Amanda in the bottom, but this is where they’ve put her. Ultimately it led to her elimination this week. She may have not made it to the PR show at NYFW, but I’m happy I will get to see her with House of Perna as she is still showing during fashion week.


Candice was in the bottom 2, which also made no sense to me. It was not her best work, but it was not the worst of this bunch. It was not perfectly executed, but it had direction. It was more than just a basic, boring top or skirt.

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Ashley & Kelly were too in some danger here as the judges brought attention to their looks. This was definitely not Ashley’s best work. It was clear the judges were not sending her home as she has had some winning looks. Kelly too didn’t fair well with the judges here. There were definitely some execution issues here, but just as I said with Candice, I at least appreciated a sense of direction here and thinking outside of the box. The top was a bit crazy, but for these looks, the crazy outweighed the safe, boring pieces.

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Laurie & Lindsey were in the middle of this bottom pack. And just like the rest, nothing overly impressive or to brag about. Two basic tops, culottes, and some capris, whoopee! The girls had a tough week here, all of them. So here’s to hoping the ladies get back in it next week. I know they’ve done better and know most will get back on track.

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