Project Runway, Definitely a SMH Kind of Season!

I wanted to opt for a cutesy or cliche title this week, like “Project Runway Meets Storage Wars”, or something like that. But by episode’s end, I just couldn’t. I’ve been livid & frustrated with this season since episode 1. There has been a lot of discussion about the season being more about the drama than the fashion. It’s been clear to me that the focus was more production-oriented than on the designers and their talent. So as a result of this, forgive me then if my recap is more focused on the edited drama we get to see! Also be warned, this vent-session, my soapbox, has only just begun as I’m still SMH!


But before getting to all of that, let’s set the backdrop and see what the designers had in store for their challenge this week. The designers woke up to a surprise Samsung tablet, watching Heidi teasing a bit with the challenge details. She was saying the key was to unlock creativity and imagination. The group was then off to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to meet Tim to find out more details They enter a huge warehouse and see Tim standing in front of 5 storage bins, the mind being left to wonder….

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This was going to be another team challenge, pairings being Kini/Amanda, Char/Sean, & Korina/Emily. Each team was given $500 in order to bid on the various storage units. Other specifics, 2 day challenge, 2 looks, which had to be cohesive. Emily & Korina picked up 2 bins, the first for only a whopping $25! They would be able to make use of some upholstery from furniture and another bin, which had a variety of pieces, including an old wedding dress. Char & Sean also lucked out with 2 units, one that seemingly only had a long blue tablecloth and a couple of dressers. This left Amanda & Kini with sadly only 1 unit, not filled with really any fabric, just a bunch of kids’ toys and all things perfectly fitting for a playroom.


The designers were left with only 30 minutes to collect what they could use for their looks. Later, it was learned that the winner of the challenge would win a full year’s supply of hair care products & styling, all courtesy of Philip B. hair. The teams were off to work for Day 1 of this 2-day challenge. Kini and Amanda were very in sync, having a lot of fun popping soccer balls & what not! Emily & Korina also were working well, agreeing on their vision. It was Sean & Char who were having a little difficulty early on, Sean being worried about what Char was going to be able to accomplish on her own.


Day 2 began with a early Tim visit. The designers knew something was up! And of course, it was. He dropped the surprise that each team would be responsible for another cohesive look. In knowing they might need some fabric, a Mood trip was in order with a $100 budget. As both team members didn’t have to go, Sean, Amanda, & Korina decided to make the trip for their teams. Tim time came later in the day. He was not so sure about Emily’s use of a chair cushion as he thought it was clear it was in fact a cushion. He also had some doubts about Char’s look. But it was Amanda & Kini’s looks that Tim was most concerned with. He thought, wow, is this for a teenage hooker?!?


This left Amanda & Kini to rework a lot within their collection, and they did just that. I was vastly impressed by the turnaround so I give major props to them! Enough with the background, let’s get to this heated & tension-filled runway! This week’s guest judge was former PR winner, a huge success story from this show, probably one of the most successful, if not the most, yes, none other than Christian Siriano!


Let’s discuss first, the easiest pairing of the week, the designers who were in no danger of going home, the clear winning group — Kini & Amanda. This pair had the least amount to work with in their bins. They also had the least amount of fabric or even fabric-like items to choose from. They then suffered a harsh critique from Tim. All of this aside, they still managed to deliver a vibrant, colorful, creative, and fresh mini-collection.


**Side note, loved the Aldo jewelry here, perfectly coordinating jeweled bracelet & earcuffs. The 2 really worked well as a pair. Their pieces had a great story. With what little they had, they made it all work so well and really presented some strong pieces. This is their combined look above, Kini w/ the black full skirt and Amanda with the graphic top.


Above is Kini’s solo look. I’m actually not a fan of the look with the jacket. But hey, as you will see me say again later, if you don’t like a jacket just take it off! But the dress, made of soccer balls, was quite spectacular. I get the judges love-fest over it, but for me, this piece wasn’t so cohesive with the other looks, but standing alone, it was fine. I’m not sure the winner here was so clear-cut, but I’m happy for Kini and another win for him!


But Amanda for sure deserves some kudos as well. She was the lead on wanting this unit because of a psychedelic yetti painting. She created some great pieces for the runway and I loved both of her tops this week. Also, more shout-outs, love the many bangles from Aldo, the luscious curly waves from Philip. B. hair, & bold make-up look by Mary Kay, the cat-eye, slightly red lip.


Discussing everyone else is not quite as easy since the judges strayed from their traditional norm of a top, safe, & bottom group this week. It’s happened before, but whenever PR doesn’t stick to its traditional norms, I’m left to question why & SMH. PR is known for team challenges. Heck, they even had a full season dedicated to just working in teams. We’ve seen time and time again that a given team might have a weaker designer, but because the team had a higher score, that team was safe. The clear bottom team this week should have been Char & Sean, so again, with this not happening, just picking a bottom team, I do wonder why! It would have been so surprising were the bottom group to have been Emily & Korina over Char/Sean.


There was a lot to take in with these 3 pieces, a great deal going on, but it actually works! If you don’t like a cape or jacket, again, take it off. Guess what, there is still something  under that is creative and wearable. Many of these looks could be mixed & matched, very versatile. Who wouldn’t want a mini-collection with some options. In fact, having only 3 looks, for me, wouldn’t be enough at this point. So with this pairing, and even with Amanda/Kini, the outerwear could come off or be paired with another look. This combo look above of Emily & Korina I thought was great for their story. You could see it in any colder weather area, NYC, London, Paris, and more! Nina clearly had something up her butt with this collection and I’m not sure why. I question her take on fashion that she can’t separate the higher level of creativity and practicality in this collection versus that of Sean & Char. And Korina’s leather leggings here were great!

Shout-outs also to the chic updo by Philip B. hair & the Aldo accessories, boots & yes, even the hats! This is a runway show, give us a little drama and that means if you can amp it up with beauty accessories, do so! And again, questioning Nina, what was wrong with the red lip here, but it was okay the darker, somewhat red lip with Amanda & Kini?? The Mary Kay beauty look was great, less dramatic eye paired with a bold red lip works for me!


The judges have been so illogical and wonky with their critiques and resulting decision-making this season. I’ll get to that more later, but Emily was very much deserving of safety this week. I agreed with Tim earlier on, worried about the shoulders, but on the actual model, the issue didn’t seem as apparent. This was a great outerwear look, paired perfectly with fashionable, chic separates. I’m still not sure why this outerwear piece was so well received, but not the others in this collection. I guess that is just one of the many questions I’m left with after this episode.


So again, I feel very sure and fine in saying Sean & Char should have been in the bottom this week. I in no way felt Sean should have gone, which means, yes, Char would have been out of the two. What bothers me about this 1 hour “Save Me” Challenge, which we’ve seen on PR before, is that I don’t think we would have seen it had the judges just picked a bottom group, which is what they should have done. And yes, the judges loved Sean’s jacket, but he was also responsible for the not so impressive sheer mesh looks, and has fluctuated between the top & bottom all season. But again, I don’t think this 1-hour challenge would have happened between Sean & Char, and I think it was very much unfair to force it upon Korina & Char.

And were these 3 looks not too similar?? We all remember an earlier challenge this season where Hernan, Carrie, & Sandhya were slammed for creating 3 similar looks, hmmmm, and this wasn’t almost the same thing! Another reason, leaving me SMH!

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In looking at one of Sean’s solo looks, I’m still just SMH as to how the judges just didn’t pick a bottom group. Think back to the fact that this pairing won 2 storage units, one of which Sean dubbed as the best of the bunch. There seemingly bare unit, in fact, ended up having more than what met the eye. Poor Alexander was eliminated last week, in part, because he had 2 days, a decent budget, and the judges weren’t impressed. Where was that train of thought for this group of pieces. I just don’t think there was enough here to justify 2 days worth of work. And yes, you could say fashion is not all about bells & whistles, sometimes more minimal looks work. But this is not simplicity at it’s best! And models not being able to walk down the runway, or at least struggling a great deal, really?? This isn’t enough to justify the judges being able to clearly distinguish between a safe group & a bottom one!! Come on Project Runway producers, if you are at least going to show your heavy hand, be a bit more discrete about it!


So as much as I am coming down on Sean & Char’s team, I do think Sean shouldn’t have gone home this week. Had Char’s one piece been a knockout, then it could justify sending Sean home since his lampshade gown was not great. But the judges gushed over his blue jacket so really, he would have never gone home over the 2. I’m not sure why there is so much love over this jacket. It’s not one of Sean’s stronger pieces for me.


Going back to Korina’s solo look, I again feel shout-outs are justified for another chic updo by Philip B. hair & the Aldo accessories, namely here, YES, the hat! But looking at the entire look, I don’t think, again, that the Korina/Emily pairing should have been the bottom group. And the groups & resulting elimination should have been judged as a whole team. But clearly the judges wanted to sing a different tune for some reason this week, and they singled out one designer from I guess 2 bottom teams — Korina & Char. I think back to bottom looks of PR seasons past and I’m not sure why this look would be in that realm. I’m not sure what was up with Nina this week because it was only her coming down so harshly on Korina. If the you don’t like the cape, fine, take it off, the look is still great. And Korina works with a signature Southwestern, cultural vibe. That is her aesthetic, one of her signatures. When all of a sudden on PR is it not okay to be who you are a designer. Amanda’s aesthetic is very boho-chic, 70’s throwback, and the judges don’t feel the need to chime in for her continued use of that signature; so why Korina?? Still SMH!


The 1-hour challenge I would give to Char. But I don’t think that was even needed. Comparing Char’s original challenge look to Korina, Char should have been eliminated. The reason I question the 1-hour challenge is unfortunately based off of Char being in the bottom 2. I’m not sure that she reads my blogs, so I mean no disrespect to her as a designer, but this is a competition show, and one must go home each week. I think PR should not continuously save someone. No designer should have that many chances and Char has had a few this season. Tim saved her. The Tim Gunn save is fine in my book, but at that point, why the judges would feel the need to offer her another chance, I mean really?? It makes no sense! Last week, with the whole Zippergate issue, Tim sort of stepped in to save her again. The judges might have had a whole different mindset looking at Char’s look come down the runway with a busted zipper. Another issue I had with the Char/Korina face-off is that in every other group, each designer had a solo look and took part in a combo look, all except Char.

So as much as I disagree with the 2nd twist this week, Korina & Char were then forced to face-off in a 1-hour “Save Me” challenge. Each lady had 1 hour to create a look of their choosing. They were to use the remaining fabrics leftover in the workroom. Also, they could make use of their partner from this week. Korina clearly let frustration takeover and she bit off more than she could chew.

Korina clearly was throwing some shade & an attitude, but I’m sorry, it was understandable in my book. Go back thru my comments for this episode, the judges stray off course, were not making any sense with their comments, and then have you to face off against a designer who has been given like 9 lives in the competition. I’d be pissed too!


Char’s 1-hour look was way better, but had the judges not played a bit of the favorite game, we wouldn’t have seen this look. I’ve mentioned my mind being left to wonder all throughout my post and here is what I think. Char & Emily have yet to win a challenge, whereas Korina has won twice. She could have been the dark horse to make it to the finale. I think the powers that be really want it to be Amanda, Kini, & Sean in the finale. I don’t have a problem with this, but at least let it happen fairly, naturally. Emily & Char, I wish y’all the best of luck in breaking thru this force-field, but basically reiterating what Sean said, I think it might be easier now to make one’s way to the finale facing off against Char. If the designers are saying it, again, it makes me wonder if someone else wanted things to go this way as well!


And yup, you got it, still SMH! This is a major Shame, shame for me with PR this week!


2 thoughts on “Project Runway, Definitely a SMH Kind of Season!

  1. Well done review and respectful. Your attitude, intelligence and love of fashion comes through in your blog. I understand Korina’s angst and sence of disbelief of what transpired. It seems it is not a good idea to have a name that rhymes with meana. Previous contestants with a “serious” way about their character have been dubbed villians. Korina simply could not digest the unfair treatment. Not everyone can do that in minutes or days. The trick is to have a sence of humor in times of stress. I hope she develops that. People forgive just about everything if you make them laugh!

    • Every season needs a “villain”, and I guess for us, the PR powers that be wanted it to be Korina. Attitude aside, it’s hard to believe that anyone could find justification in how last week played out. There were way too many PR firsts. But I agree, if you can find humor, that is always beneficial.

      I just hope viewers are able to separate what show needs for TV versus true reality. From what I’ve seen on social media, Korina is hardly this bitter, mean-spirited person the producers were trying to push on us. She seems to have a great life, great friends, and in fact, she’s been seemingly getting along well with many of the other designers.

      Very much ready to see these finale collections though! Thanks for your kind words and thoughts. I always enjoying chatting about PR w/ fellow fans!

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