I can already tell this is going to be one heated, tension-filled PR season! Only 2 episodes in, and for a 2nd week in a row, I find myself vehemently disagreeing with the judges. But all in all, I still very much enjoyed the runway presentations this week. There were some stunning creations and THAT makes me eager to see more!
The episode started out with the designers waking up to find some buttery goodness (Popcorn!) and other treats, along with a private invite for a morning matinee at the Village East Cinema. The designers played the guessing game, but I think they all knew this wouldn’t be an ordinary trip to the movies! They started out watching a trailer dealing with fashion & runway presentations, but sooner rather later, Tim popped up on the screen, ready to give out the directions for this week’s challenge.
This challenge was a big one — unconventional and teams, which of course means we would be in for a CRAZY, drama-filled episode! The designers were to work in teams of 3 and create looks made out of unconventional materials. The 3 looks were to have a cohesive thread. And for the materials, the designers had at their disposal all items movie-related — concessions (popcorn, candy), ticket stubs, tape, cd’s, etc. And of course, to increase the level of chaos & crazy, the designers only had one day to, as Tim would say — MAKE IT WORK!
The groups were given “Colors” as team names, and here is my breakdown on the teams:
- Team Silver — Korina, Kristine, & Amanda — who worked well right from the get go. The ladies agreed on a futuristic, science fiction vibe. I’m sure it was an added bonus to have Amanda, who not only has the PR experience, but was part of the season that was all about team challenges!
- Team Purple — Char, Kini, & Mitchell — another group who got along well, but perhaps a little “Blue”, hahaha, no pun intended!
- Team Blue — Angela, fäde, & Sean — This group didn’t gel as well as the others. Although I don’t get why there was so much focus on Angela this week. I get that she wanted to do her own thing, but their collection, specifically her look, was in no way a “bottom” contender. Also, I don’t see why their collection’s theme had to be so focused literally on movies & film. The concept of villains was fine, but it didn’t have to be so literal. It seemed as if they thought that their collection’s underlying theme had to relate back to movies in some way. I think this is what inhibited them in this process, not just Angela!
- Team Green — Emily, Alexander, & Samantha — Another group who worked well, all on the same page for an avant garde direction.
- Team Red — Hernan, Carrie, & Sandhya — Safe to say this group had the most dysfunction, and with so much focus throughout the episode, it was clear they would likely end up in the bottom. For me, they started out with the challenge all wrong. There was never a clear plan in play about their collection’s vibe or how it would be cohesive. Maybe it was Hernan’s ideas that were worked with later on, but no sole blame can be put on him for an initial plan not being discussed. And I think it was Sandhya who said “let’s do our own thing” and “we can’t force cohesion.” I agree, you can’t force it, but there is no excuse that it wasn’t even discussed!
This is definitely the type of episode that would of course frustrate any eliminated designer, and of course viewers. Some designers might not work well with unconventional materials. But these challenges are definitely a way to show which designers are most creative and innovative. There also fun to watch! It’s also a way a designer can still work in fashion. Former PR & PRAS designer, Kenley Collins, puts out amazing collections, but she also designs looks made out of candy for It’Sugar candy store display windows.
Team challenges can sometimes lead to unfair results, but are the most drama-filled episodes generally for PR — so of course fun to watch. But drama aside, in the real world, you are not always working as a solo designer. So what is learned from working in a group does have important practical life lessons. And finally with immunity, this is not the 1st time we’ve heard that with a designer who had immunity, they should be thankful for that. Immunity has also been a part of PR history. We know this coming in as viewers and so do the designers. So unfortunately, it doesn’t always play out in the most fair manner, but it can be the harsh reality of Project Runway.
This week, joining Heidi, Nina, and Zac, was famous fashion blogger Garance Dore. I have to say, this was a hard runway to judge. I didn’t think any 1 group had 3 “top” pieces. What I didn’t appreciate though was Heidi calling out Angela for the reason her group wasn’t in the top. The 2 other safe groups were also not in the top for a reason, why not call out what made those groups end up in the bottom?? Because I could think of a couple of names if we really need to go there!!
A few quick shout-outs — for Sean’s look specifically, but their whole team stood out for great work on their Mary Kay make-up looks (even though again, we saw some disagreement from them!). Mitchell also came back strong this week so props where props are deserved! His dress was sassy, fun, and flirty! And Alexander this week did a great job with his high-fashion, runway-worthy “film strips” look — breathtakingly stunning!
So now onto the judges top picks, Team Silver, Korina, Kristine, & Amanda. I already said this was a hard runway to judge. These certainly weren’t my top 3 looks of the night, but I get why the judges loved the pieces. The materials were used in a creative and innovative way. To them, it best represented what an unconventional challenge should be. Regardless, these ladies receive my Aldo accessories shout-out for the week. I loved the heels they selected to work with each of their garments.
I was a little worried as Amanda was working. I kind of thought we might see a little too much of her model as we did way back in Season 7, with Emilio Sosa’s unconventional look. But I was pleasantly surprised seeing the look come down the runway. And from this group, Amanda was the rightful winner this week. So thankfully, the judges at least gave immunity to the right designer this time!
Korina’s look was on point again, just as it was last week. So I’m happy she was given some much-deserved focus this week. It’s also important that she sticks to who she is as a designer, so I’m looking forward to seeing her aesthetic and vision develop. And I’m so happy I didn’t focus on her “Mean Girls” persona we saw last week, as other viewers did, since I didn’t see that side of her at all this week. She worked so well, not only in a group challenge, but with 2 other females at that!
Kristine also did a fine job with her bold, graphic dress. I think what worked well for this group was the use of color, the green. It catches the eye. The ladies also showcased some great design techniques, as Kristine did with her braiding of the upper portion of her look. And just as the judges were in complete agreement for the top, they felt the same regarding the bottom looks.
Let’s start with Sandhya because we knew all episode that this group was likely in trouble, but with her immunity, she was the only safe designer this week! It’s hard not to focus on her immunity. The vast majority of what I’ve read about the 1st episode was that Sandhya wasn’t the rightful winner last week. I also think Sandhya didn’t herself believe she deserved that win. She was in such doubt as she talked with Tim. We then find out in this episode, had she not been questionably given immunity, she would have been eliminated.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for Carrie who did go home. And yes, we’ve heard Heidi say before that a designer was lucky to have had immunity. But I can’t recall a time where on the week a designer was given said immunity, that it was so debatable as it was with Sandhya. And then to have that statement made to them. That was my biggest issue this week. Maybe this will make the judges think twice before giving a designer so much praise just because they might have prematurely dubbed someone as a judges’ pet! And I feel badly seeing anyone cry, but I’m not sure Sandhya grasped how huge it was for the other designers in her group. It’s their future on the line and as Carrie had to actually go thru, SHE WENT HOME!
I think Carrie definitely went home too soon. But I also wasn’t ready to see Hernan go. On a positive note, this team’s looks, IMO, had the best hair looks provided by Philip B. hair. The hard part for these looks were that side by side, there were a lot of similarities. You definitely see this subtle variation type aesthetic in a larger collection, but for only 3 looks, there needs to be a lot more to differentiate the pieces. I get the panic from the harsh Tim critique, but maybe this group should have tried to somehow make their original looks cohesive, stuck to their original guts more.
And I do get the underlying idea here was Hernans’, but the team didn’t coordinate from the get go. The team chose to overly panic and go with Hernan. We definitely saw Hernan and Sandhya butt heads, but this was not the worst we’ve ever seen for team challenges. And both designers were kind of stuck in their own ways so I still wouldn’t place solo blame on Hernan for this team landing in the bottom.
So I wonder what we are in store for next week — CAN’T WAIT!!