Designers Go for a Modern Take on a Tuxedo

This week on Project Runway, the designers were tasked to put their spin on the classic tuxedo. The inspiration was looking at the modern tuxe look Christian Siriano created for actor Billy Porter for the Oscars 2019 red carpet. Each look would need to incorporate satin. And the models this week would be a mix of male, female and non-binary. The designers were thrilled to hear this would be a 2-day challenge. And because this task would involve some extra work due to tailoring, all of the eliminated designers would be back to lend a helping hand.

The twist here was that the eliminated designers would choose who they wanted to work with, chosen at random draw, from the button bag. I think the remaining designers would have preferred choosing their help, but for the most part the pairings ended up looking pretty well. Not surprising, but Victoria was selected last, by Alan, and she didn’t even have him help that much. The designers were paired off and went to sketch. Brittany had never created any sort of menswear and was already starting to worry. The designers were then off to Mood, given a $600 budget. I feel like that is one of the higher numbers of the season.

While Brittany was in panic mode, Marquise felt super comfortable, in his element. Delvin originally migrated towards a powder blue fabric, thinking bad prom tuxe, but thankfully Christian saved him from that! With lots to do, it was back to the workroom for the rest of day 1 of this challenge. Delvin bragged on how his skillset would create for smooth sailing on this challenge. Brittany was still in panic mode, maybe having bit off more than she could chew. But at the end of Day 1, the designers were given a little break, having some fun, playing cornhole, and drinking cocktails.

The start of Day 2 also provided some treats for the designers, last season’s winner Sebastian Grey, and he brought them breakfast, with a side of advice. Next up with some advice, Christian with his Siriano sessions. He cautioned Nancy on fit, questioned Delvin on his fabric choice, and gave Brittany food for thought about maybe changing up some on her design. We later saw Delvin’s helper Tyler assisting Nancy with a bit of a pre-model fitting. Delvin was upset, but I guess was unable to act with any maturity and just ask Tyler to just focus on him. Instead he bashed Nancy because I guess that 15 minutes Tyler was away would be such a make it or break it moment for Delvin’s look!

The actual model fittings were up next. Everyone loved seeing some abs in the workroom! Victoria had some behind the scenes comments about Nancy’s work being somewhat derivative. This was laughable coming from the queen of repetition this season, who was just called out for that last week! Many designers overuse common elements, but Nancy has certainly created a variety in her looks. Some of the designers weren’t using their helpers as much as others, as mentioned above, Victoria with Alan, but also Sergio with Veronica. I can’t blame someone for trusting their own skillset versus designers who were eliminated for not the best skillsets.

The morning of the runway produced some true deplorability from a few of the designers. It was like a real life version of Mean Girls! Honestly though, it was abundantly evident these 3 cowards bashing Nancy were just trying to mask their own insecurities. But that is no excuse. Victoria was in the bottom 2 weeks prior, so who is she to throw shade? Delvin has been up and down from week to week, clearly seeing his skillset is not all he thinks it is, but rather than focus on himself, he chooses to tear others down, so sad! And Brittany knew she had a bottom look this week, knowing how hard it was, and yet also joined in on this nonsense. This is nothing but pure jealousy and very disappointing to see! Nancy overheard all of this and took the high road to not say anything. This is the difference between someone with class and those who act like immature children!

Rant aside, the rest of the morning was par for course. All of the designers were rushing to finish their looks. Britt was having some major last minute glitches (KARMA!), Marquise was trying to get his fit nailed down, and Alan decided to help Brittany since Victoria wasn’t using him. Delvin after already going in on Nancy all episode had another childish moment. Nancy was using a button machine, I guess there is only one and it broke. Of course Delvin blamed her, as if she did it on purpose. Thank God for Christian who provided Delvin with a dose of reality in that he could still just do the work himself and that those machines weren’t always around! He also had a helping hand in Tyler, so just make it work and stop whining!

After all of this drama, I was ready for the actual runway. This week’s guest judge was menswear designer Thom Browne. As this week’s runway was a little more menswear based, I looked at the looks a little differently than I do from other weeks. So not so much what I would wear, but focus on the technique, could I see that look on a red carpet, and did it meet the challenge, really taking the tuxe to a new, modern level. All of the designers received critiques this week, making it to a top 4/bottom 3. My top 2 would have been between Marquise & Geoffrey, but Marquise winning made sense.

I really liked the jacket he created, and doing the skirt/pant bottom was certainly one of the more innovative features I saw on this runway. There was a lot of great attention to detail. Given he was eliminated and came back, I am sure this win felt great for him. I do think it was justified in his elimination, but he should be very thankful for 2nd chances!

Geoffrey also did some great work making a tuxe into a jumpsuit silhouette. I could see a lot of people wanting to wear this. He made some great color choices.

I think Victoria was given more consideration from the judges for a top spot, but not for me. She didn’t have the best or worst look, but I wasn’t blown away. I did like the open back, but I felt the bodice area looked very bunchy. I also agreed with Thom Browne that this wasn’t really a next level tuxedo.

Sergio also received some positive commentary, and that was deserved. He created a very polished look, superior technical quality. The problem was that it did seem super similar to a well know Celine Deion red carpet look. I actually don’t think Sergio had that in mind when creating this. He didn’t intentionally break the rules as Victoria has done in the past. It was still a great look, very well made, and would have been hard to send him out on this look. I also wondered why Christian didn’t bring this reference up?? The hard part with Sergio was hearing his political message related to this look. I don’t think anyone wishes we were back in the 50s!

This left Delvin (KARMA), Nancy, and Brittany as the bottom 2. I hated seeing Nancy be in the bottom 2, but ultimately it didn’t matter. There was no way Brittany shouldn’t have gone home over her look. The other 2 looks were at least finished well, and it was just a matter of subjective liking. But Brittany’s look had so many construction issues, and was just such a hot mess! She kept saying she was trying something different and used that as an excuse for her poor look. I actually didn’t buy that. She created a shorts tuxedo look, which actually doesn’t even meet the challenge requirements. This has been done, so there was no real innovation here, just a poorly created look because Brittany doesn’t do menswear.

It was great Karma seeing Delvin in the bottom. Not just because of how he treated Nancy, but also because he was so overconfident all episode; it grew tiring! Supposedly being Mr. Tailor, I actually thought his look didn’t have a great fit, it looked super tight. The judges were correct to point out he had too much going on and should have streamlined his focus to what he does well.

I’m a huge Nancy fan, so seeing her in the bottom was a little nerve-wrecking. You can tell the judges like Brittany more, so it did worry me that they would choose someone they liked more, even though that person clearly had the worst look! I liked that she used a print and I would see a ton of people going with a look like this. I’m glad the judges hadn’t lost all of their marbles though and Brittany was eliminated. I get eliminations are tough, but I felt the judges were a little over the top on how bad it was that Brittany was being eliminated. She is a great designer, but she hasn’t had the most consistent work. Not many bottom looks, yes, a couple of wins, but also a lot of safe looks. I think we all knew though that Christian would use his save if he needed to for a few designers, Brittany being one of them. She was saved, good for her, hopefully next week she can focus on being a designer instead of taking part in mean girl antics!

PR — Go Sheer or Go Home!

So our episode began with Victoria still whining. Delvin was completely correct in this situation, Girl needed to get over being in the bottom! Someone who actually had some room to be concerned, Dayoung. Dayoung was still not feeling great, very clear her body was giving out on her. It was hard watching her go because I do think she has talent, but seeing her be in this state, it was hard. I think she made the right call to go home.

But the show, alas, must go on….. I was actually very excited about this challenge. I love a sheer look, so it was exciting to see what the designers would create! Brandon actually joined the designers for the challenge assignment. The designers would have to use sheer fabrics to create a sheer editorial look. The look still needed to be tasteful, celebrating a woman’s form, to make them feel good, but not be all about exposure. This would be a 1 day challenge, which had a few designers shook!

Since Brittany won last week, she chose her model first. Very random is this season with model assignments. This week, the button bag was the way to assign. So as a designer’s name was drawn, they got to select the model of their choosing. It was also announced this would be the last immunity handed out for the season. The models actually would be working with their designer during sketch time, to ensure they would be comfortable with the design, as there would be some exposure. You could see lots of passion with the designers, but Sergio was calling the win!

As the designers got to Mood, they were surprisingly joined by one returning designer, Marquise. Since Dayoung just left, Marquise was brought back. The designers would have a $300 budget. I never understand what Victoria is doing, except trying to get away with just designing whatever she wants, and blaming any faults on anything else but herself. She says she doesn’t understand what sheer meant? It was clearly explained and shown to her, but yet she still designed something that would not work for a sheer look? Confusion aside, it was time to get to work! Christian quickly joined the designers, teasing a twist, but really it was just time for Siriano Sessions, what a prankster!

Christian expressed concern over Chelsey and Victoria. All of a sudden, Christian finally decided to let Victoria know she designs very derivatively. She doesn’t get it still, but clearly everyone else does! Christian should have said this to her 3 challenges ago though! And I will still never understand when a designer gets lost, how it seems they lose all elements of design, from the look itself, to fabric, to even technical skills?? Still not being a fan of negative criticism, Victoria was close to quitting. I don’t see why the designers even bothered with her on this. This attitude, this behavior is disrespectful to the process and to the other designers.

This being a 1 day challenge, the day of work really flew by. And of course the Victoria drama took up a good part of the day. So the morning of the runway, many designers were still working away. Victoria was giving Christian the silent treatment and Sergio decided to help Nancy with her final look details. This week’s guest judge was model and activist Paloma Elsesser. But the question remained was which designers felt the sheer joy for this week!?!

Brittany and Delvin were the safe designers. I get the desire to win, to be on top, but these two were actually highly delusional to think they should have won. Third to last, these 2 in safe, and even Marquise being 3rd, it could have gone a few different ways. But it was abundantly clear who the bottom 2 were this week, and who were the top 2. So hearing these 2 complaining, it was hilarious. And to make matters worse, showing true shades of jealousy and talking poorly about Nancy, let’s just say green with envy isn’t a cute look! I want to like Brittany, but seeing her childish side, I can’t support that. Last week, she was saying Nancy was her friend, her roomie, but now she is saying unnecessary and nasty comments. I don’t care for being 2 faced and petty.

Back to her & Delvin’s looks though, they were just okay. Good elements, but not knock outs. Delvin’s top was sloppy. And Brittany’s shorts were a hot mess, and not everyone wants to look like a poster child for Pepto Bismol! As for the top 3, Marquise, Nancy, and Sergio, I was mostly in agreement. Marquise did come back with a bang, but you could tell his look still had many imperfections. I just still don’t see his technical skills and work measuring up for the long haul.

I would have given Nancy the win over Sergio. I think Sergio did too much in his look, the fringe placement was off. Nancy however struck all the right balances. The top, the embellished neckline was divine.

Aside from Sergio’s random fringe placement, I did love this look. A little less fringe, it would have been an A+. This flower lace work was stunning!

The bottom 3 consisted of Geoffrey, Chelsey, and Victoria. I was surprised seeing Geoffrey in the bottom. I loved this color choice. The look felt different from the rest, very modern, sporty, and very editorial! Maybe up close the exposed bodice looked different, but I didn’t see it as all that bad. A lot of sheer work exposes breasts. The judges were clearly not sending him home and sang a bit of a different tune once giving the look a full evaluation.

Chelsey and Victoria were the clear bottom 2. The judges still seem obsessed with Victoria. For the sheer fact she told them she wanted to quit, I would have sent her home just for that. It is a slap in the face to then send someone home who got lost, but really wanted to still be there. Victoria only seems to thrive when everything is positive, going her way, almost as if life is all rainbows and sunshine. But sadly, the real world doesn’t work that way. You have to sometimes endure failure and take in some tough criticism. If you don’t fail and get back up, if you can’t work thru criticism, you can’t grow. I can’t support a designer being in this competition who is against growth. And not to beat a dead horse, but this look was horrible! Not understanding sheer, to me doesn’t translate to the fact that you forget all of your technical capability!

Unfortunately it was Chelsey paying the price for the judges’ unwarranted obsession with Victoria. I still don’t know if Chelsey could nab the ultimate win here, but I would have much preferred seeing her continue than Victoria. Chelsey isn’t derivative, she has a unique voice, she is open to growth, and she has fight, not a quit spirit. She unfortunately got lost in this challenge. Her look wasn’t great; it needed more. I have read people think Christian could save her? I feel we would have seen this if that were the case. I just hope Christian doesn’t drink the same judges’ Kool-Aid on Victoria and that in the future he wastes his save on her!

PR — When Art & Fashion Collide!

And this week, this is exactly what would happen when the worlds of fashion and art merged together! The designers were off to Bergdorf Goodman to get all of the challenge details. Once there they met with Christian and painter Ashley Longshore. Also joining them was fashion director of Bergdorfs Linda Fargo. They met in the Bergdorf cafĂ©, which is actually filled with Ashley Longshore works of art. For the challenge, the designers would have to work in a collaboration between designer and artist. The end result would be a high fashion look, the designers’ voice in the look, but with the use of an original Ashley Longshore print.

Ashley was thrilled to do these collaborations as it would be her first time seeing her work on apparel. As Chelsey was the winning designer last week, she would select her print first. Each next chosen designer would then choose another designer to select after them. I guess certain designers might have wanted certain prints, but really, all of the prints were amazing. I don’t see anyone being at a loss here based on print selection! This would be a 2-day challenge. The designers would have a $175 Mood budget, so they would be able to use other fabrics, but the Longshore print needed to be the focal point of each look.

During sketch time, Ashley checked in on each designer. It was then off to Mood, where we saw Victoria hiding from Christian and Geoffrey was all about the nipple focus since his print contained nips. As shop time was done, the designers were back to the workroom for the start of Day 1. Chelsey asked Delvin for some help, and Sergio tried to offer his assistance as well. Delvin was clearly not feeling Sergio’s advice. Ashley rejoined the designers to continue the collaboration. She expressed concern for Geoffrey in that his focus was too much and too literal about the nipple. Her artwork had an err of mystery on that aspect. She also expressed concern for Victoria that she was not using enough of the print. In case anyone missed it during the episode, I believe Victoria only said it about 50 times, but she is not a fan of prints!

Ashely would also be providing accessories/trims for the designers to utilize within their looks — feathers, beads, jewels, etc. After her sessions with each designer it was a race to grab some items! As the rest of the day winded down, you could see Delvin felt like he was back to his normal self, that he would finish his work early. Before the designers went home, they were treated with some apps and drinks to enjoy! Celebrating a little bit of down time, the designers decided to put on a runway walk competition!

As day 2 began, Dayoung felt sick, again. Throughout most of the day, you could see she was struggling, no energy and couldn’t eat. Seeing her not feeling well a few times now, one has to wonder if this competition environment is too much for her? But for now, Dayoung decided to push thru. During Siriano sessions, he mentioned being excited about seeing all of the color; I was excited too. Christian was worried about Nancy’s oversize coat, however she wasn’t. Christian expressed concern for Victoria too, still not using her print as much. Victoria hasn’t followed the challenge guidelines in my opinion 2 times before, so it’s not a surprise she was doing that again here because her past rule-breaking has been rewarded with her being given a top spot.

Later in the day were model fittings. For Delvin, his look began as a bit pj-like has Christian expressed, later some shortening edits were made. Christian felt Geoffrey’s look was too oversized, looking a bit like an oven mitt. For the rest of the day, of course it was clear Dayoung was behind. The morning of the runway was filled with normal craziness. Victoria did help Dayoung finish her look, which was nice, but as we later saw, perhaps she should have been more concerned with her own look. Marquise had some construction issues with his look and was hoping to hide them with his jacket. I have to give a product shout-out on the Maybelline matte lipstick being used for a few of the models, this product is amazing, works so well!

I was very excited to see this runway! Ashley, being this week’s guest judge, was excited as well! The safe designers were Chelsey, Sergio, and Geoffrey. Chelsey’s medley of words and artwork print was not my favorite, just felt a bit sloppy. Sergio did much better than he has the past couple of weeks with this look of a butterfly focused print, very chic. I actually didn’t care for Geoffrey’s very junior-like look. As for the top 3, Brittany, Dayoung, and Delvin, I was mostly in agreement. It was great seeing Delvin so happy, but his portraits and lips printed power suit was all print and too much for me. I know the print was to be the focal point, but the entire look in this print was just a lot!

My winner would have been Dayoung. I know she had some help finishing her lips centric look, but it was still her voice and I have loved so much of what I have seen from her. I loved she matched her print with this stunning purple fabric. The look felt very fun! And it was very kind of Dayoung to actually credit Victoria for the help she was given. I don’t know if all designers would have given this credit.

But it was basically known from the jump Brittany was winning this one. Her look was great, so still deserving of the win. We heard all episode how much she was a fan of Ashley’s work, and that passion/enthusiasm, you could see in her floral/butterfly look. The 3d butterfly embellishments were great. I thought it was a very hip and chic look.

This left the bottom designers as Marquise, Victoria, and Nancy. I was very annoyed Nancy was in the bottom, let alone the bottom 2. This was not a bottom 2 worthy look! Yes, her jacket was oversized, but I feel plenty of woman would like that oversize feel. And, even if they didn’t, this jacket could have been taken in some. The rest of her look was beyond amazing, especially the pants! I feel as if the judges had a hard time sending Marquise home over her, but I just view these 2 bottom looks as vastly different and it should have been no question or hesitation who to send home!

Even though Victoria wasn’t in the bottom 2, at least she finally wasn’t undeservedly rewarded by being in the top. I don’t think Victoria is a bad designer, I just think she has been overpraised all season. And because of that overpraising, she now feels she doesn’t have to follow the challenge guidelines, and can do almost anything she wants and not be in the bottom. Her look this week lacked her normal great technical quality, but the design itself was not great, very derivative of she has done in the past with asymmetrical silhouette work. But it also didn’t meet the challenge requirements. I don’t think her entire look should have been the print, but she could have utilized the print more cleverly on both the pants and the top. But she seems unwilling to compromise at all and clearly doesn’t like criticism.

This left Marquise going home. I like the guy, but the judges did seem really sad about this decision. And I get that, they are human. But Marquise has not performed consistently well. Yes he had 1 win, but most of the time was safe or in the bottom. I think it is great how far he came being a self taught designer, but his skillset is nowhere near some of the top designers in this pack. I think he has a voice and over time, his skills, the added value of real time, it will all work itself out.