PR Goes Avant Garde

Avant Garde challenges are usually the most exciting on Project Runway, but this episode was EXTRA in that regard as the drama on the twins continued to unfold. End result, both twins are now gone. Claire was found to have a measuring tape in her room, where she measured garments, which is explicitly against the rules. I get the sense of drama around how this all happened, but as a huge PR fan, I was disappointed in seeing the unfolding. This information should have come to light sooner. For some of the designers to know, yet none of the producers, odd? And if this happened in a first instance 2 weeks before, why wait until now??

Ultimately, I am glad it is over with. And to the point Margarita was leading the bandwagon on, discussing designer copycat issues, this was quite annoying. Every designer in PR history, I can pinpoint other designer references. This is not unheard of, and it is very common in fashion. And you do not get to lay claim to techniques or basic garments in fashion! As someone who went to law school, and did a lot of studies within the fashion/IP realm, this is one of the main reasons it is hard for designers to have protection. But there is a huge difference between references/inspirations, and straight up replicas or copycat looks!

On now to some actual design, with this week’s challenge details. The designers met Tim on the runway, where lots of kids were playing! The designers thought this would be designing childrenswear, but alas, no! The kids were playing with Shopkins Shoppies characters. Joining Tim on the runway was Kotomi Nanjo, the US Marketing Director for Shopkins. Shopkins are stylized dolls, who are fun, colorful, and cute, but always with a little quirk. Each child had a different doll, each with it’s own story. The designers would each be assigned to a character, and in learning from the child about the doll, it would serve as the inspiration for an avant garde look.

The winning look would be re-created for a Shoppie character, and the winning designer would receive $5000. As the designers were meeting with the children, it was so cute to see that some of the kids had drew up some thoughts for a new look! This would be a 1-day challenge, with a $300 Mood budget. This week’s guest judge was model/actress Kate Upton.

The judges noted only 2 bottom looks this week, 4 top looks and the rest being safe. This was pretty much a clear distinction. The 2 bottom looks were just not up to par here. Kenya (Jessie Cake) & Kentaro were both safe, but I think Kentaro, with the Rainbow Cake doll, did a way better job than Brandon, for Cocolette. I am not sure how he landed in the top, yet again! I think the judges should have focused on 3 top looks versus 4. I can’t imagine that in this case, Brandon would have made the cut!

The winning look was from Michael, but I really wish it had been Ayana or Margarita. I think given the sponsor of the week, Shopkins, Ayana’s look just really fit the bill more, creating for Bubbleisha. It was fun, so imaginative, loved the dub of “surrealist bo-beep.” And just to point out something here I referenced earlier, talking about seeing references in a designer’s look from other designers, with Ayana’s look. I am not taking away from her design talent at all. But in her look, I saw a bit of Betsey Johnson, or that of Moschino. Did she copy, no! But the references are there! But again, love love love this look!

This is not to say that Margarita or Michael did not do well, because they did. I just saw more Shopkins vibes in Ayana’s look. But in terms of being avant garde, both Margarita & Michael did splendidly. Margarita, for Pineapple Lily, this look was just so pretty. The different textures, amazing. And such a beauty with the sculptured flow that the bottom portion of this garment gave off.

Michael, creating for Popette, he too did a stand-out job with sculpture. This was different and very sci-fi. I didn’t love the bell-bottoms, but I guess given this doll was about disco, the trend fit.

Sadly, compared to the rest of the looks, Batani & Amy did not measure up. Batani would have gone home the week before had Claire not been eliminated, and that would have made 0 sense to me. But 2 not so great looks, 2 weeks in a row, unfortunately, Batani was eliminated with her look for Sara Sushi. This look really did feel as if random bits of fabric were thrown together.

The surprising part of the night was the double elimination. I think it would have been hard to choose between these 2 looks, on which deserved to go home over the other. But it was clear, both did not compare at all to the other stellar avant garde looks of the night. Amy designed for Sara Sushi, and this was just so safe. Amy has had some highs, at least in my book, earlier on in the season. But when she hasn’t done top notch work, I have always found her work to be super safe. You will not win PR if you don’t push yourself!

Until next week….

PR & the PRINTS!

So where we left things the week before, Claire & Shawn were the bottom group, one in jeopardy of going home. But the judges could not make a decision, so as in seasons’ past, they had the twins compete in a 1-hour design-off. Only 15 minutes had passed, and while Claire had plenty done, Shawn could not get going. Thru lots of tears all around, Shawn decided to concede, and told Tim, as well as the judges of her decision. Knowing now what happened the very next week, this all seemed to be a waste!

On now to this week’s challenge though, the designers met Tim in the workroom for the details. Along with Tim was Teressa Busson, Brand Building Leader, for Dixie cups. The designers were tasked to create a custom print, to be featured in their look. The winning designers look would be re-created on a Dixie cup, to be available for purchase. The winning designer would also receive a $25k cash prize.

But there was more to this challenge! The designers would be creating “on the go” looks for friends and/or family members of the Project Runway crew. Assignments were as follows —

  • Sara Rea, Exec. Producer for PR, her friend Cecilia, with Claire
  • Gus Dominguez, Lighting Producer, I believe his sister, Analyssa, with Brandon
  • Ashleigh Hocking, Talent Producer, her mom Sabrina, with Batani
  • Sapna Shah, Field Producer, her mom Kekina, with Kentaro
  • Kristen Adams, Production Designer, her mom, Michele, with Kenya
  • Clive Salmon, Assistant Accountant, his friend Gina, with Amy
  • Chandler Dewitt, Challenge Producer, her mom Stacey, with Margarita
  • Oscar Cordova, Audio Department, his wife Cynthia, with Ayana
  • Romano Barnett, Assistant Camera Operator, his wife Halona, with Michael

This would be a 2-day challenge, with a $150 Mood budget for other additional materials. Two accusations were made during the course of this episode, one on ripping off designs, and two, regarding the use of a measuring tape in the apartments, not in the workroom. I will focus on the latter in my next recap, except to say that for now, Margarita, as an adult, or a professional, should not have been so easily distracted with what Claire had going on. Keep your eye on the prize, DUH!! I would much rather a designer own her mistakes. However, this is the 2nd time Margarita has pointed the blame elsewhere. I don’t agree with that!

On day 2 of the challenge, the fabrics/textiles arrived. Some were disappointed in the final result. Later, the clients arrived, with Tim, for check-ins. Margarita was still focused on Claire, but Tim said nothing to support her claim. The morning of the runway was crazed, as per usual. Margarita was quick to show her disappointment in herself to the judges, which is probably not the best course of action, given the runway had not happened yet! But she also had immunity, so take a chill pill! But this would be the last immunity of the season.

Guest judges this week were host of a new show, Making a Model, Yolanda Hadid, and model Sophia Stallone.

The safe designers this week were Brandon, Ayana, and Amy. Amy was far too safe, but for a 2nd week in a row, I was not sipping on my normal hatorade for Brandon! However, Ayana, should have been in the top! She was robbed! I pictured Brandon’s look above given at the end of all the drama here, Dixie did choose his print as the win for the week!

I actually think Kentaro should have nabbed the win for the week. Perhaps Dixie was not totally on board with his print though, especially as we later see, the end result was Brandon winning the Dixie prize. But Kentaro’s look, albeit very bright, it was so pretty! It had the signature Kentaro wave, such great movement. Nina was right to point out his growth. I wondered if another reason he didn’t win because Heidi was not a fan? This was an older lady, so I am not sure why Heidi felt she should be showing off so much of her body. Plus, she wanted this look for a wedding, also not the most appropriate venue to go the super sexy route.

The judges, at least at this time, chose Claire as the winner. Her look was cute, chic, much more than I ever expected  from her, given that this was the first week she was sans twin. Even the judges admitted its simplicity, so not sure why it nabbed the win over Kentaro, but ultimately, there was no victory here.

Kenya rounded out the judges’ top 3, which was quite perplexing to me! Too much peplum. The color combo did not work. And the print was too youthful, given the client at hand. I actually thought the critique here was super divided, so not sure how she landed in the top over Ayana, but glad to see there was not a total lovefest here, despite the full on lovefest between Kenya and her model!

I did not agree with Michael being in the bottom. I saw it as risky, but forward thinking. And it was something different, especially given the separates pairing. The only thing I took from the judges’ comments was that too much was going on. I disagreed. But what was more saddening to see was that this was when Michael decided to cause a scene, which seemed more acting out of jealousy, given his bottom placement, then true concern for the competition.

He was in the bottom 2, as Margarita was also in the bottom, and because of her immunity, she would not be going home. So really, there would be no point in placing her in the bottom 2 spot. I actually think if she did not have immunity, she would have gone home. Batani didn’t use much of her print, but her look was at least wearable. Margaritas’ was not. But again, as with Michael, I was not a fan of her actions this week. She kept saying she didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus, yet she was making vague accusations?? Ummmm, okay!

Batani was sadly the one at the bottom, as we saw in the next episode. She really should have knocked this challenge out of the park. She is all about prints!! Her dress was safe, but very wearble. However it was a maxi dress, nothing overly unique. To not use a print in a “featured” fashion on a print challenge makes 0 sense.

The show ended with Michael walking off the runway as Claire was announced as the winner of the challenge. So, what happens next!?!

PR — The JC Penney Challenge!

JC Penney is the accessories sponsor for Project Runway this season, aka the JC Penney Accessory Wall! And with that, we thus get a JC Penney challenge! The designers met Tim at JC Penney to get the challenge details. Along with him was Design Director of Contemporary Brands, Monica Dalton. This week’s challenge was not menswear, but to use menswear fabrics and menswear in general to create an inspired, fashion-forward fall look. The designers, well most of them, were relieved to see this was not a menswear challenge!

Each male model for the display had 2 designer cards with all of the corresponding fabric for their look. After each design duo received their fabric, they then learned this would be a team challenge. And out came the button bag! The only stipulation was that the chosen partner could not have the same fabric selection that you had. Each design team was responsible for 2 cohesive looks. Kentaro, as the winner from last week, chose first, his “bro” Brandon.Then, randomly, the next names were drawn from the button bag — Amy/Kenya; Claire/Shawn; Margarita/Batani; & Ayana/Michael. The winning look chosen from the winning team would be reproduced and sold by JC Penney.

Each team would have $100 for Mood, to be used on notions, trims, and truly supplemental fabric. Only 1 team member would need to go. While at Mood, we also learned it was Swatch’s birthday!! Super funny watching Claire & Michael in the sewing room, Clarie yapping away and Michael just left. Outside of the normal twin drama/scandal accusations, we did see Kenya & Amy have a bit of drama. Nothing over the top, but I did wonder why Kenya was working on back-up pieces and not her actual look??

This week’s guest judge was actress Asia Kate Dillon. So with 5 groups, this would leave 2 in the top, 2 in the bottom, and one safe. The judges named Ayana & Michael safe, but I actually would have put them in the bottom. I didn’t love these 2 looks. I actually didn’t fall head over heels for much of anything this week and I find that was because of some poor fabric options. I would think for a JC Penney look, being sold for mass consumption, that we would have some better fabric selections!

The top 2 teams, per the judges’ picking was correct, however my top duo would have surprisingly been Brandon & Kentaro. And I say surprisingly because I usually don’t care for Brandon’s work. I get the judges were gaga over Margarita’s look, which ended up winning the week, but the stronger duo was Brandon & Kentaro.

They did have the best fabric, this pink plaid. It was also the most cohesive duo. You could see each designer POV clearly. And yes, while it was heavy-handed as athletic wear, it too had hints of menswear inspiration. I also loved, as Nina pointed out, the separates — lots of versatility!

Margarita & Batani were in fact the winning duo, with Margarita’s look taking the top prize. Of the 2, this was the correct choice! Both dresses were cute. I again, didn’t love the fabric selections here. The bodice on Batani’s look was also a little wonky.

AVON SHOUTOUT FOR MAKEUP & HAIR — BATANI

Amy & Kenya would have been safe for me, but did land in the bottom for the judges. I am glad they were not in jeopardy! Kenya’s look was not bad, rather boring, and certainly not unique. But it was wearable! Amy was the weaker link for me, with this crazy throwback suit. The color, the suit, just overall too much.

This leaves the twins, Claire & Shawn, in the bottom. This was the right decision for the week. And I think for the sake of either twin doing better in the competition, it is best for only one to remain. For Claire’s looks, the pants were not too bad, but the top was a little too cute-sy. For Shawn’s dress, I didn’t mind this so much, as far as the silhouette, but I didn’t care for the ribbons. She had a full-sized model and did not dump fabric on her, making her look boxy or swallowed up. She gave her something to show off shape, and for that, I appreciate it.

The judges however didn’t eliminate either this week. We have seen it in season’s past, when the judges can’t make a conclusive decision, that they have a 1-hour design session battle. Yes, it’s dramatic! But for here, it also makes some level of sense — to see what each can do, solely on their own, and see who comes out on top. Eager to see next week’s decision!

 

PR Designers Take it to the Street!

Project Runway began this week with a model brunch at a Brooklyn rooftop, teaching Tim Gunn the art of “selfies.” Meanwhile, Heidi was telling the designers they were off to meet Tim at this Brooklyn rooftop for the challenge details. Tim informed the designers that the models would be the client this week, in need of an outfit for a day off, #ModelsOffDuty. The models own personal street style, in this look, would then be captured by a photographer, to be shown during the runway show.

The models chose the designer they wanted to work with most. For this challenge, there was a $200 Mood budget, and 1 day to “Make It Work.” The Tim-time critiques included the models. And this week’s guest judges were country singer Kelsea Ballerini & designer Georgina Chapman.

I was pretty much in agreement with the judges’ top picks, although I would have included Batani! You could see her designer POV, but she also gave her model what she wanted. That delicate balance was struck!

I was not super impressed with the designers overall this week, so hoping for more in weeks to come! But again, in agreement with the judges, with Kentaro nabbing the win! I kind of thought this challenge was about streetwear, but I think that word was just casually thrown around a bit! But Kentaro’s look was streetwear and perfect for what any model could wear on a day off! It was well-made, very cool, overall just a great look! His model, Meisha loved it as well!

Shawn was also in the top, and I guess the bit of scandal on her look this week was that Claire assisted, but that it also might be a “knock-off” look. The judges this season have been quick to call out things they have seen before and they said no such thing here. Was this overly unique? No. But it was cute, trendy, and what the client, Janine, wanted, Yes!

Kenya rounded at the judges’ top 3 and I could see why this happened. Personally, I didn’t love the color/print combo and overall, it felt a bit momsy. I felt as though she was a bit surprised herself in this top 3 placement! I think it was Heidi who was not on board completely here, but this was very much a subjective look. But her model, Sanita, really did werk the look!

Moving to the bottom 3, I am not sure if this would have been my 3, and in that, I am still a bit perplexed in Samantha being sent home. I’ve seen many that say one of the twins should be out, but in this case, Claire wasn’t even in the bottom 2. Her look was very safe. The judges were correct in noting it needed a pop. And the shorts were short! I could see this being in the bottom, but not the worst look of the bunch! Her model Sian seemed pleased!

Margarita was safe and I guess of the bottom 2, this was the right decision. I didn’t love the pants, but I thought it was a cool style and really was what her model, Christina, wanted. What I didn’t like was that Margarita was quick to throw her model under the bus, making it seem as if she was too demanding. I didn’t see that as the case, but this being more of an agreed upon collaboration. I could see what the judges were saying in this being a super throwback, 80s look.

So yes, poor Samantha being out was the case. I wondered again if Tim would use his save, but I guess given her bottom 2 placement just the week before, he didn’t. It did seem that with all bottom 3 designers, their model clients were happy. This look was what Jazzmine wanted, rocker chic. But the judges were right in that this was not super fresh. Samantha even noting it as a “Lolita” dress didn’t bolster her argument. And it was the case again, that the dress she was wearing herself, was better than the look on her model.

Until next week….

PR Takes on Good v. Evil

First it was Leap!, now the designers were set to draw a little inspiration from Descendants 2. The designers met Tim, and actresses Dove Cameron & China Anne McClain at the Lyndhurst Castle. This too would provide some inspiration for this week’s challenge. Each designer was tasked to create an eveningwear look, some would be creating a look of good, others a look of evil. They would have a $300 Mood budget and 2 days for this challenge.

Michael, as the winner from last week, assigned each designer with good or evil. He chose evil, and joining him were Kenya, Samantha, Shawn, Margarita & Batani. The designers working on “good” were Amy, Brandon, Kentaro, Aaron, Ayana, & Claire. Dove & China Anne, joined as guest judges for the week!

I had so many fave sleepwear looks just last week, but was not a super fan of this runway. I really only liked 2 designers! Before moving onto the judges’ top 3, I will give a quick shoutout to one designer — I loved, Batani! This was majorly gorgeous! The bodice was freakin’ amazing!

As for the many other safe designers of the week, I found some elements or aspects in given looks that I liked, but overall, I was not fully impressed. I am hoping this next episode, the designers perform a lot better!

The judges’ top 3 included Michael, Brandon, & Kenya, with Brandon, surprisingly being named the winner again. My winner would have been Michael! He already had immunity this week, but was not resting on his laurels. He really pushed the bounds. Tim had warned the designers to not go the costume route, and Michael’s look was all about show, but not over the top!

But again, Brandon was the winner of the week. I am sure the 2 more youthful judges pushed for this, but I guess I am not a super fan of Brandon’s design aesthetic. I didn’t read this as “evening.” The judges see this as modern, but I was happy the judges urged Brandon to push harder. This urging statement I thought would keep him out of the running for the win, but I guess not!

With Kenya’s look, this was definitely a bounce-back from the previous week, but this was not a fave of mine. The fit was spot on, but I felt as if I was left wanting more. The judges noted at the onset that there was a lot going on, yet it worked. I disagreed.

This left Claire, Samantha, and Aaron in the bottom 3. This was such a surprise to see Samantha in this spot, so I figured she would not fall in the bottom 2. I actually didn’t mind her fabric, but all in all, this look was quite sloppy. And as the judges noted, the bottom was a let-down.

Seeing then Claire & Aaron in the bottom 2, I felt fairly confident in saying Aaron was going. I thought Claire could have wound up safe because a couple of other looks were not too impressive this week. But the judges were right it noting the lack of a unique quality. Very literal, but I did like the soft colors.

AVON SHOUTOUT BECAUSE I DID LOVE THE HAIR & MAKEUP HERE!

Aaron was the one leaving this week. It was not too big of a surprise having just been in the bottom the week before. I also haven’t found myself too impressed with his work in previous challenges. He is a nice guy, but not sure he is in his element with this competition. I don’t know if I can firmly say this was the worst look I have ever seen on PR, but it would be somewhere in that realm. This look was just not great and I think Aaron knew it. Sad, but true. It really did look like an arts & crafts project. The strips looked like streamers, not fabric. Certainly not worthy of a $300 budget spent.

Until next week…..

PR Designers Get Intimate!

This week, on Project Runway, the designers were tasked to create a sleepwear look for Heidi Klum’s Intimates line. It could be any type of look, but had to be fashionable! Additionally, the designers were to create their own textile, by hand. The winning look would be reproduced and sold as a part of Heidi’s line.

But first, to provide a little inspiration, the designers had a slumber party atop one of NYC’s most iconic locations, the Empire State Building. Each designer would have a backpack, packed with PJs & their sketching materials. The next morning, Tim arrived early, but at least with breakfast sandwiches in hand! It was then back to the workroom for this 1-day challenge.

For all of the materials needed this week, the designers rushed the tables & bins, getting a little grabby!! We got to see an adorable segment of Brandon & Kentaro’s friendship, better yet bro-ship! Heidi joined Tim for the critiques, which was a mix of good & bad. But probably the funniest part of the critiques was explaining “being anal” to Kentaro! And joining the judges this week was actress/singer Demi Lovato.

This legit was probably one of my most fave runways, maybe not ever, but definitely this season, and likely even stemming back a few seasons! There were so many looks I loved. The ones I didn’t care for so much, those looks were far too safe. So certain designers should push the envelope much more! I’m not sure if I could narrow down my faves to a top 3. If I could, it would not be the same as the judges, but definitely must dole out some SHOUT-OUTS!

Amy, loved this textile creation, gorgeous color, little fancy, but very cool, great silhouette! AVON HAIR & MAKE-UP SHOUTOUT AS WELL!

Batani had one sexy look, an amazing textile creation, and again, another great color selection!

Moving onto the judges’ top 3 selection, my winner would have been Kentaro. This look was just so pretty!! The bodice design was spot on, such a fantastic textile created. The judges were right in stating consumers would want this. And it was this reason I thought Kentaro would win.

I thought his look would reach more consumers. But many other correct judges’ comments included — charming, feminine, such an ease, & happy! Another one I am glad to be mentioned was regarding it being playful. I agreed with this wholeheartedly because Kentaro struck the perfect balance, playful, but not junior!

The judges named Michael as the winner, which was not totally a shock. I was happy to see Michael stepping it up. This was just not one of my faves, but it was very nice. I did agree with the judges about it’s practicality, the luxe vibe, “Deco Cleopatra”!

Shawn too did a phenomenal job. The only reason I might have selected another designer for my top 3 was because I was picking looks that did put off more of a sleepwear vibe. Of course, wearing fashionable PJs out is a thing now! This was super nice though and the hand-painted print textile was gorgeous!

The bottom was fairly accurate. I knew Aaron was making the bottom 2, but wasn’t sure if it was Deyonte or Kenya joining. I was sad for Kenya. This look was just so sloppy. So many of the designers were super creative with their textiles, but Kenya lacked in this department as well. Practicality was severely lacking also, a hook & eye to deal with in the middle of the night — NO NO! It was nice for Zac to offer some positives!

Coming down to Deyonte & Aaron, I was torn. I haven’t been impressed at all by Aaron, but he had managed to land in the bottom only once. Whereas this was Deyonte’s 2nd trip. Why should Aaron then go? I wondered if really either could go the distance?? But the judges decided to save Aaron, over Deyonte, which despite Deyonte’s bottom 3 placements, it was still a shocker! Aaron did have this amazing textile idea, but the full concept just never came to life.

I was sad to see Deyonte go. I expected a much longer run. I wondered if Tim would contemplate using the save, but he had been in the bottom more than once. This look, was very much a bore. I actually liked the darker teal color, but the mix with silver, didn’t do this any justice. There was no shape, nothing flattering, just a very sad piece.

Sad to see Deyonte go, …….until next week…….

PR — Budgets, Wabi, Tsunamis Oh My!

I feel as if Project Runway, season 16, is going to be one super dramatic season! And starting off on that note, episode 2 brings us the first team challenge, which almost always brings some drama! The designers woke to safety gear — vests/helmets — and were off to meet Tim at the Royal Waste Services, a recycling & waste facility.

Joining Tim to lay out the challenge details was Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire. For this challenge, there would be 3 teams. Each team would be creating a 5-piece mini collection. Each look would be made out of recyclable materials. So yes, not only was this a team challenge, but also unconventional materials. Each team would be recycling, reusing and restyling to create a high fashion transformation! The winning look from the winning team would be featured in Marie Claire for a piece on sustainability.

Team 1, aka “Wabi Sabi” — Kudzanai, Kentaro, Margarita, Michael, Deyonte — focus on structure, texture, and origami techniques

Team 2, aka “Ballin’ on a Budget” — Aaron, Batani, Brandon, Kenya, Ayana

Team 3, aka “Tsunami” — Sentell, Samantha, Amy, Claire, Shawn — translucency, seaglass focus

Tim reminded the designers that cohesion would be required. And this would be a 1-day challenge. Guest judges for the week were Anne Fulenwider and actress Maggie Q.

My ranking of the teams was different than the judges. I actually did not care for Ballin’ on a Budget. So for me, a toss up on them versus Tsunami for safety. But given the editing of the show, I think we all knew Tsunami was landing in the bottom! Since Wabi Sabi didn’t receive any accolade on the show, I will devote my attention to them here as they were my winning team! And Deyonte, Kentaro, or Margarita would have had the final win for me!

Loved Margarita’s silhouette here and the bottom portion was nicely detailed.

SHOUTOUTS FOR THE TEAM — JC Penney, love the red heels & Avon for gorgeous beauty look and I love the chic ponytail!

Simply stunning & beautiful work by Kentaro — love this guy!!

Love the volume and something different by way of silhouette than the repetition seen by some of the other designers. Another great job by Deyonte. He was clearly not resting on his laurels and relying on immunity!

Kudzanai’s look — nice show piece for the runway!

Probably my least fave of the collection, but the bodice detail embellishments were nice — Brandon

Team Wabi Sabi had a cohesive collection, but each designer still had their own POV. The judges, however, loved Ballin’ on a Budget. I thought the pieces read more arts and craft than recyclable fashion. The group said this was meant to be fashion on a budget, but all I saw was the budget part. I agreed with the judges naming Ayana as the winner of the group though.

Ayana’s look

I was too happy to see that Batani did better than last week!

But it was Tsunami who landed in the bottom. There was very little transformation. Example, trash bag dresses still looked like trash bags. I liked the color palette though. And there were some positives here. Amy’s look did not fit in as much with the rest of the collection, but I loved her look.

Amy impressed me week 1 and so did this look.

Also, shout-out for the group here. Loved all the choices, JC Penney’s heels, braided ponytail, gorgeous makeup from Avon.

Samantha too did a standout job here. The bodice of this dress was super sexy and the belt detail was a great touch. It was not enough to save the team though. I was confused on the bottom 2, except for knowing that there was no way PR was letting go of one of the twins this early. And seeing Shawn with Sentell in the bottom, I knew Sentell would be going.

The reason I stated confusion on the bottom 2 was because even though Shawn did not fair well under pressure this week, it was Claire’s look (above) that was one of the worst. I did love her look so much though last week, so glad she was not at risk in the bottom 2.

I guess Shawn was not feeling the vibe of the collection, but had she focused a bit more on this, it could have been much better!

But sadly, Sentell’s uninspired garbage bag dress was the loser of the week. Sentell did stand up for himself by stating what he did for Shawn’s look. But truth be told, each designer is responsible for their own individual design and final look. But another truth, even another hour on this was not going to to save it. I then remembered his look from last week and it was too unimpressive. I am just not sure Sentell was quite ready for the challenge of Project Runway!

 

Until next week…..

PR’s Super Sweet Sixteen!!

Excited that once again, it is Project Runway time! We were able to see many previews for this upcoming season — looks to be a dramatic, 16th season! The designers met each other during their welcome session, sipping on some Grey Goose “Espresso” martinis. Tim & Heidi soon joined, entering in super big style, specifically in a super gigantic RV. Heidi reminded the designers to expect the unexpected, and with that, we were in store for our first surprise!

This season, the models being used range from size 2 to size 22. The models also will get some airtime thru the use of a confessional mirror. Each week, the models rotate. Tim & Heidi wasted no time getting right into the first challenge. Each designer had to create a red carpet look, demonstrating their point of view as a designer. This was a 1-day challenge, with a $300 budget at Mood.

Huge sponsors for this season — PILOT, with the use of Friction erasable pens for sketching; Brother sewing & embroidery studio; JC Penney accessory wall; Avon for makeup & hair. Prizes for this season include the chance to collaborate with JC Penney to create a limited edition capsule collection; $40k prize pack thru Brother Sewing, including 2 industrial machines; a 2018 Lexus; all expense paid trip to Japan; a spread in Marie Claire; $100k, and more!

The Tim Gunn save is in play this season. And rounding out this week’s judging panel of Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen was actress Olivia Munn. The judges raved about the 1st runway. I thought there were some highlights, but I saw that many had an upwards trajectory for improvement ahead. Additionally, I don’t think some hit the mark on creating for the red carpet. But all in all, still an excellent runway!

I’m still wavering on my final top 3, but it would have been very different than the judges. But ultimately, I was 100% in agreement with the winner of the week, Deyonte. I could see his bold aesthetic coming thru in this look. Would this look be loved by everyone? No! But I could guarantee seeing it on red carpets now and it would make many best dressed lists.

Deyonte said Cannes, but I could see more. The flower placement perfection comment was spot on. This would be a look for a strong, confident woman.

Avon SHOUT-OUT — not for the hair, little matronly, but the makeup was beautiful!

 

Here are my other faves of the week, giving them a little shout-out!

So I actually know Shawn & Claire’s label and had no clue they would be on this season! I was not impressed this week with Shawn, but Claire’s look was gorgeous! Little more of a departure from the work I am used to from this design team, but if this is her solo voice, I LOVE IT! AVON SHOUTOUT — all around for beauty here, perfection!

I was surprised Amy impressed me this much on Week 1. I know she is known for quality and I saw that in this look. But I wondered what would set her apart from other minimalist designers? The ability to transform this look sold me! With more money and time, perhaps the top bra could have been a bit more elegant or sophisticated, but overall, job well done! AVON SHOUTOUT — love the bun, gorgeous makeup as well

A stand alone photo for Kentaro’s look doesn’t do it justice, but the movement here, the fascination attained as it walked the runway, deserves accolade! His previous work with drama and feminine beauty was a clear read in this first piece.

I was wondering what Ayana would, working with her cultural influences with each given challenge. I was impressed. A woman who wanted to don a head covering could really be a stand-out on the red carpet in this look. But additionally, even if this look was sans head covering, it would be super gorgeous. The floral embellishments were captivating.

Moving on to the judges’ faves. I was not surprised Kenya was in the top. I was surprised to see her more shock value aesthetic tamed in this challenge. Overall she did well, but it was not my fave. There was an elegance to this, but I had 2 reasons for keeping this out of my top, both of which the judges mentioned oddly enough! The bodice was a little wonky. And then something with the fabric choice perhaps, wasn’t making this dress look super high quality. But job well done for the 1st challenge!

Brandon struggled this week, so color me shocked that he was in the top. This was more on the bottom of my list! I think you could see it in his face he was confused on making the top as well. I wasn’t sure what red carpet I would see this on and really, this just lacked sophistication for me. Since he is safe, landing in the top, maybe this will give him confidence to forge ahead and impress me in future weeks.

The bottom 3 made more sense than the top. It seems as if Shawn & Claire will get much airtime this season, so I knew she wouldn’t be going home week 1. But this was disappointing to see from Shawn given her experience. She is all about being bold and modern, so I am hoping for more from her in weeks to come. The shorts were such a throwaway here, not making this fit for any red carpet. One of the judges said “club-by” and that was a good label for this.

Leaving ChaCha and Batani in the bottom 2, I was happy Batani was safe. I was so impressed with her previous work as well, so seeing this trainwreck was very disappointing. Even despite the mistakes seen/made, why was this her goal for the week. The color, the use of lace, doesn’t really seem like her forte or aesthetic. The back was worse than the front. And why did she lie about the hidden mistake/tear/hole!

This sadly left ChaCha out first, which anyone leaving first is always sad! He had such a great spirit. And with a wacky, interesting aesthetic, I would have enjoyed seeing a little more. Not sure he would have had the ability to stay for the long-haul, but seeing the fun exuberance wouldn’t have been bad for another week or two! But this look was not that exciting, very much a hot mess!

Until next week……

Proj. Runway — The Finale!

Alas, another season of PR has come and gone. So let’s see how season 15 played out, from the final runway prep to the announcement of the winning designer.

After the judges’ preview, with 2 days until fashion week, the designers were back to work. Tim came in to announce a final trip to Mood with an additional budget of $500. Upon return and a little designer re-working, Tim then came by for a critique.

He urged Rik to open his work up, both literally & figuratively — don’t be afraid to show some skin. For Laurence, he advised on reworking a few pieces. He instructed Erin to avoid being too arts and craftsy. And for Roberi, it was all about lessening the confusion.

It was soon the day before fashion week, which hosted for the day some making of new garments and model fittings. Also as a part of the day, it was Tim’s emotional final round-up with the designers. The morning of the runway too had a lot of stirred emotions. Rik was done, all ready for the runway. But other designers were having some final issues, Roberi with a missing model and Laurence with a garment rip.

It was time though for the final runway during NYFW. Guest judge for the show was Zendaya. This was my 2nd time attending the final runway show and it was once again, another surreal experience. It was great seeing the collections live and also being a part of it with other fans. So here are my thoughts on the final runway and my ranking of the final 4.

I 100% agreed with the judges naming Erin as the winner of season 15 of PR. Project Funway was the WAY to go!

I saw such quality in her very well-made pieces. Right from the start, with the very first look, that top, I was blown away! Erin started the season making a bunch of coats and I was half expecting to see many in her final collection, but gladly that was not the case. But with missing coats aside, I still saw Erin’s aesthetic and touches come thru. I saw embellishments galore and I was in love with her uniquely creative prints. This was artsy, but certainly not arts and crafts.

The attention to detail and all of the tiny little erin-nisms, like the bananas, I just loved. I saw a modern, fashion forward collection and I was proud of what Erin sent down the runway. I’m glad the judges too loved the kookiness of her collection. Zendaya pointed it out perfectly by mentioning the balance of kook & chic!

The only negative I can come up with in Erin winning was that Roberi had to lose. I was glad he at least came in 2nd, very close to winning because I too loved his collection.

I saw fun, something different, and it was great to see. He used such beautiful colors. The full on purple look, to die for! I do feel as if some of his pieces didn’t quite fit in with the collection as a whole, like the denim pants look. I also felt like every time he was asked about his collection, he kind of said something different each time.

But overall, I saw his looks being imaginative. The second to last look, the more formal gown, it was stunning! And the very last look, going back to his threading technique, it was so impressive. I was mad that Heidi was hating on the gown I loved, and Nina of course liked the one look I didn’t care much for. But again, Zendaya was spot on in discussing the light versus heavy quality to this collection, how well it mixed or blended together.

The judges pretty much put Rik in 4th, but I thought he should have came in ahead of Laurence. Her collection was a yawn, but at least with Rik’s Bandits collection, there was some excitement.

I loved the leather pieces, especially the ones in black and white. But the denim pieces were just not my style. It was a risk for me, a love or hate type factor, and I unfortunately just wasn’t a fan. I kind of felt that way with Rik throughout the season. I would really love a piece of his, or not at all. There wasn’t much by the way of middle ground. And I guess I didn’t really get the connect between the leather and denim pieces.

I did appreciate his eyewear creations. I think the judges were too still on the same page though about the overall cohesiveness of the collection.

And finally, there was Laurence’s work. She was really working down to the last literal second on these looks. To be so minimal, not much by way of bells and whistles, I’m not sure what was taking her so long to do, but working away she did.

I know she spent a lot of time reworking the “potato sack” looking dress, but I was still not a fan. When I was there watching the finale, before I realized there were no decoy collections, I thought this one was. There were some lovely small details to appreciate with the collection, when you could see the looks up close. But from afar, it was a basic, RTW collection, and with no “Wow” pieces, it sort of seemed very bland.

On the day, seeing this come down the runway first, and seeing the more exciting collections to follow, it was just apparent that this one was lackluster. Zac too pointed out about the lack of runway impact. There needed to be a wow factor. I wondered why during the many Tim critiques or the judges preview that this was not pointed out!

Zendaya kind of made a plea, saying that seeing the collection, it kind of made her want to see more, wondering what else she had to show. But this is not a good thing to say at this point! You need to show what you have now, not leave us all to wonder! I missed the cool-girl factor we saw during the season. This was lacking in the collection. And it was the main reason she didn’t fair well.

What a season — can’t wait to see the next one!

 

Proj. Runway — NYFW Prep!

As per PR tradition, the finale was divided into 2 parts. The first being the road to fashion week — the preparation, the changes, Tim Gunn consults, all concluding with a special judges’ preview presentation. Sometimes during the judges’ preview, one designer is eliminated right before fashion week. But luckily for this final 4, that was not the case. All 4 would show at fashion week! And so the mini-presentation would be the chance for the designers to get some vital last minute feedback in hopes of being the final one standing!

But before all of that, we start with Tim & Heidi sending the final 4 off to begin work on their collections. Each designer would have 6 weeks to work on a 10 look collection, with a $9000 budget. And with that, each designer was off and soon, Tim would be too for his visit and check-in with the designers.

SHOUTOUTS — Mary Kay & Sally Beauty fresh faced & easy going

He started first in L.A., 2 weeks until fashion week, with a visit to Laurence’s studio. Laurence’s collection was about the story of her life, going thru some rough times, starting dark and finishing with light. She had 7 pieces made and Tim was all on board. I think he could have stood to give her some real words of wisdom though. I was seeing some very wearable, minimalist pieces. But I was worried how this type of collection would standout above the rest? What was the draw?

Around the same time, while also in L.A., Tim met with Rik next. They started with some bowling fun, but then it was on to his work. Rik’s inspiration was a 70s vibe, Sgt. Pepper feel. It was a mix of denim and embroidery, unique artist collaborations and optical illusions. He had a lot made, even some cool accessories, like eyewear. Tim saw what I saw, too much! He worried about cohesion and seeing more than one collection.

Next up, with 10 days until fashion week, Tim was in Boston, visiting Erin. She lucked out being able to use MassArt studios. What wasn’t quite so lucky for her was that she didn’t have a single garment made. She had been busy creating textiles and fabrics. Her inspiration was all about positive vibes, thinking of her friends. She had a lot going on as well, embellishments, sequins, plexi-glass, bananas and more! For her though, Tim saw rule breaking and encouraged her to go with it!

SHOUTOUTS — Sally Beauty & Mary Kaystunning, gorgeous beauty looks!

Tim’s last visit was back in NY, with Roberi. His inspiration was about a woman going to different places, in search of something wonderful, different pieces, different moments, all at those different places. Just as with Rik, he too had lots of ideas. Tim wondered if the looks were representative of the same customer. He encouraged Roberi to think of being a designer versus a mere dress-maker.

After the visits, all 4 were back to NY. Naturally, they all wanted to see what each other had been doing. With the exception of Rik who was in the sewing room, very hard at work! Tim joined to inform them of the preview for the judges. Each designer would show 3 looks to the judges on the next day, a tease, an amuse-bouche! They would also use the Brother Dream Machine to present a logo. Laurence went with her initials, Rik with a graphic signature logo, Erin’s full name, but handwritten, and finally, Roberi, Ro.Pa., but as typography.

Tim then consulted with the designers again before the preview. His thoughts were pretty much the same as the visits, happy to see pieces from Erin finally, but very encouraging, and positive words for Laurence as well. But with Rik & Roberi, he was still worried on cohesion. As we all would later see from the judges, cohesion was the main criticism!

For this special preview, Heidi was judging remotely, but to sub for her in person, they brought in former PR judge, designer Michael Kors. So who seemed most ready for fashion week, and who still had lots of work to do?!?

While this above look was my least fave of the 3, I still loved the other 2 and what I had seen in the workroom. I was actually in attendance during the finale, and now that I can put the pieces of the puzzle together, Erin’s collection was my most fave. I believe she stuck true to who she is as a designer, minus seeing all the coats we had during the season.

The embellishments were great. I think she received the least amount of negative feedback from the judges, so I am hoping that is a good thing! I’m happy they saw the sparkle in her collection, and to encourage her to stay on that track.

This maxidress was amazing though! I’m mad at the judges for the bit of hate they gave on it. The print was unique, all the little characters. I can’t wait to re-visit her entire collection during the finale.

Roberi created some debate amongst the judges, but it wasn’t so much a negative debate, just some ideas on tweaking the collection a bit. But from what I remember, Roberi’s collection was pretty close to how I felt about Erins’ — it was great! My hope is that either he or Erin will win!

I do wish Roberi had worked a bit more on shapes and innovative silhouettes, as he had done during the season. But I did appreciate his interesting use of materials, and while there might have been a lot to take in, I was impressed. Of these 3, the pant look was my least fave, but I know he has more to offer with the whole collection!

The judges’ debate was centered around excitement versus sexiness. We all know Heidi was pushing for more of a sexy feel. But I’m glad the other judges, namely Michael, was able to state it wasn’t necessary to make the collection more sexy, but just to make it a bit more exciting. There is a difference!

I feel as if the judges, as did Tim, really were all loving Laurence’s work though. I just wasn’t seeing it. I remember during the finale, her pieces showed first, and I immediately thought, oh, this was a decoy collection. Usually during the finale at fashion week, they show 9 or so collections, just so you can’t tell who ends up making it to the finale. This year was different though, they only did 4. So after that, I knew there were only 4 and I remembered being underwhelmed by this collection.

The white pearl top from above was a standout, but I don’t remember caring for much else. All during the season, we saw Laurence creating crazy cool leather jackets, designing for a modern, young, hip girl. This collection seemed very mature and just full of a lot of basics. Laurence has always been a minimalist designer, but that is hard to pull off for a runway show and achieve excitement.

I think it is safe to say Rik received the most by the way of feedback. This can either be great, in that he can make some changes to elevate himself to the top. Or it can be bad, in that he is just doomed and there is no time left.

Rik’s collection wasn’t really my taste, but there was at least some intrigue. He still had a lot going on, so I am not certain that he was able to simplify into one collection, with that needed cohesive thread. I recall seeing a lot of denim, so I think he tried to focus on that, but the denim wasn’t my favorite choice. So depending on the judges’ mood that day, we shall see if it pays off. My hope, my guess, and really what makes sense though, is that it come down to Erin or Roberi.