Project Runway Firsts this Week

There are 2 firsts worth mentioning — Zippergate & a really stern critique from Tim Gunn. Before getting to those specifics, let’s set the backdrop with this week’s challenge instructions. The episode was all about creating a makeover. Keeping a “make”over in mind, Tim Gunn had global makeup artist and Mary Kay makeup consultant Luis Casco alongside to further discuss the challenge details for the week.


The designers were off to Washington Square Park in search of a muse. They had to look for the average, everyday woman, not a model. Working with their client, the designers were to create a look that would give their muse a makeover. The prize for the winning designer/muse pairing was a feature for a Mary Kay ad in Marie Claire magazine. Finally, a challenge with an actual prize! Was this the first for the season??


They had 30 minutes to find someone and then 30 minutes to chat & sketch. It is NY, so at first we were seeing a great deal of “NOs”! Sean seemed to be having the most difficulty, but was finally able to locate a winner. It was then off to Mood to begin this 2-day challenge, with a $200 budget. Later in the 1st day, Luis Casco would make a consultation visit with each designer & muse to figure out a beauty look for the makeover.


Getting back to the workroom, an early focus was set on Kini, who was having another case of designer’s block. It started while at Mood and continued on as Day 1 endured. Luckily for Kini, this was a 2-day challenge and he had plenty of time to get back on track. It was Alexander who was out of luck this week and with the 2-day challenge not being of much help. His bad news was delivered on Day 2, not leaving much time to re-focus and re-work his look. This situation was also the 1st of two Project Runway firsts in this episode.


Tim time was certainly par for the course in most aspects. But when it came time for Tim’s talk with Alexander, it was definitely a PR first. Tim said this was one of the most “hideous garments he had ever seen.” This was quite shocking to me! Tim should be very honest in his critiques. But I can think of many other times such extreme words could have come out of his mouth. I 100% disagree that out of every PR look we’ve ever seen in the workroom and during Tim time that this was the most hideous! In fact, this statement even could have been uttered a couple of times this season!


Alexander’s major freakout moment was certainly warranted. But he soon shook it off and was back to work. He was not quite ready for model fitting time, but he was able to explain his new vision. Mostly we saw a lot of happy models during their fittings. There were some great pairings made, lots of fun interactions between the designers and their muses.


The morning of the runway brought us the 2nd PR first for the week, now being dubbed as “Zippergate”! The designers were running around with last minute adjustments and fine tuning as per norm. Somehow as Char’s model was getting dressed, the zipper popped all of the way off, leaving the model’s entire side exposed. The problem — it was time to go to the runway so the designer’s work time was up! We have seen plenty of times where Tim has had to give stern warnings about time running out. Tim said had this been any other week, with regular models, the dress would have been left as is. The model would have walked fully exposed on the side.

But this week, with non-models walking the runway, he didn’t feel it would be fair to this young lady as she was a guest. Char had an extra zipper she could easily put in so Tim presented to the other designers a question, if it would be okay if Char were given 10 extra minutes to insert the new zipper. Of course the other designers, being put right on the spot, in front of all of the models, said “Yes.” As soon as they got to the holding room though, they were all soon quick to question their decision. They knew it would have been awkward to have made a fuss in front of everyone. And they couldn’t take back their decision, but it was a question of fairness as all are given the same amount of time each week. It’s a PR mandate that when Tim says “Let’s go to the runway” that time is up! Char coming back to the holding room was certainly AWKWARD!


The judges also took notice that the runway started late. Heidi asked Tim about what was going on, but he requested to discuss it after the runway and initial critiques were given. Two lovely guest judges joined the panel this week, actress Michelle Monaghan and TV host/model Asha Leo. The top & bottom 3 seemed fairly obvious. But even with 3 clear looks for the bottom, it was still a bit difficult as all of the model muses seemed to love their makeover looks.

I did want to give a quick shout-out for Sean’s look, still sticking with the season of fringe! I thought he really listened to his muse Lelia. She is an actress and singer. This black fringed dress could work as an upscale performance look or at an industry premiere of some sort. She looked elegantly stunning. I loved the sheer neckline. It was as if Sean had channeled old Hollywood retro glam to create this delightful number.


I’m not sure why this look wasn’t given any top 3 consideration, especially since Emily’s look wasn’t unanimously loved for a top 3 spot. Also Mary Kay shout-out for Sean’s beauty look — great pop of red for a bold lip!

As mentioned, Emily’s flamenco styled look made the top 3. The judges at first seemed to not all be in agreement about this placement. But Emily’s muse, Julia, was certainly a fan! She may have even helped in changing a judges’ mind or 2 about this look. Emily & Julia had an instant connection over a French fashion designer Thierry Mugler. Their amazing bond led to this dramatic creation and it was clear Julia loved it!


The judges still thought it was a bit too costume-y. Many were not a fan of the ruffles, but thought the use of red was a great choice. However they did agree since Julia was so in love with the look that this was a positive. Nina said it was Emily’s best work so far this season. Shout-out for Emily’s Aldo shoes selection — perfection with these black heels.

Even with early onset designer’s block, Kini still managed to gain another top 3 placement. A full on jeans look is not my cup of tea. I’m not sure if I would wear this look, but it works for his model muse. Originally she was not a fan of a jean on jean look, but soon changed her tune.


There was still some mixed judges reviews. Most thought the look was cool, but maybe a bit too serious for a date night. I’m not sure where that train of thought was coming from. It’s not as if this look was super formal. In fact, it was fairly casual, which is quite fitting for date night. I wouldn’t see it being out of place at a regular, everyday restaurant or bar. Maybe the heels gave it some sort of escalated appeal, but the heels were for the runway. This look would work and be just fine with flats as well.

This left Korina rounding out the top 3 and being the clear winner for the week. Her model muse was Shelby, a ballerina. And in this look Korina created for her, she was definitely a bad-ass ballerina. Let’s first just dedicate a full on lovefest for how great this royal blue leather/houndstooth mix jacket is. I mean who would not want this jacket! The whole look was just so chic and really worked for Shelby!


But the greatness doesn’t just end with the jacket. When the jacket comes off, there is a super cute, feminine frock. It was a LBD with so many nice touches — razorback and crinkle pleats. Job well done Korina and very much well deserved win! Shout-outs also for Korina’s choices with Philip B. hair, super chic & sleek, & Mary Kay, another great bold red lip!

I hated seeing Amanda in the bottom 3, but she was having an off week. I knew she wasn’t in danger of going home and not all of the news was bad for the look. The judges didn’t think the length of the black leather vest worked with the dress, but all loved the vest nonetheless. Another great aspect with this look was just how much Amanda’s model muse Eva loved the look. The judges also agreed the direction was right, but the execution was off.


The dress was very short in the back and Nina mentioned the hem was off. Zac thought the look was a little outlet mall-ish. Shout-outs though for Mary Kay makeup look with a great smoky eye & Philip B. hair for luscious waves!

The bottom 2 was quite obvious. Being that it was Char & Alexander it does leave the mind to wonder how Zippergate impacted the results. Say for instance Char’s model had walked the runway fully exposed. Would she have gone home instead of Alexander with some clearer execution issues? My guess is no. The judges didn’t know about the zipper issue when placing Char in the bottom 3, but seemed to know about it before making their decision on sending Alexander home. They knew she was given 10 extra minutes to insert a new zipper, but the zipper wasn’t their issue.


The judges didn’t think Char paid much attention to who her client was. Her model muse is a pre-school teacher and this look didn’t seem quite fitting. Char mentioned her muse’s husband being a rock musician and her needing looks for his shows. But Nina was quick to pipe in that there is a way to look cool, look sexy, but still be sophisticated and appropriate. The judges also added in the fit was off, it was too short and had too much going on with the peplum jacket. I agree! I will say I love these sexy heels from Aldo, but not for this look. It kind of made her look a little hoochie-ish.

Ultimately, the judges had more issues with Alexander’s look and it being too plain, not matching of the $200 budget given. This left fan fave, designer Alexander, going home. He went a wrong direction this week and then ran out of time trying to re-work a new look. This new ensemble had some execution issues and was very blah. His model muse Marisa seemed to be okay with it, but the judges were not letting that impact their decision. They also learned about Tim’s harsh words and that Alexander had to start over.


The judges were also not a fan of this new look being so Spring-like, but with wintry, heavier fabrics. I wonder though had Alexander stuck with his original choice would he still have gone home? I get Tim was not a fan of the look. And yes, some of the shapes on his original piece did resemble amoebas. But the reason I ask is because at least there was something to his original piece; it might not have come off as so boring, too plain. Another PR mystery left unsolved!

Next week, it seems we are back to many types of challenges we’ve seen numerous times this season — unconventional & teams!