Proj. Runway — Meet the Designers

So in this 1st episode of PR Season 15, besides learning that glitter is the herpes of the design world, we of course also met this season’s batch of new designers! We started with all of the designers meeting in a hall, sipping on some champagne, seeing that 2 designers already knew each other, and being introduced to one of the most unique laughs I ever heard. But as Heidi & Tim entered the room, we all knew it was time to MAKE IT WORK!


For this 1st challenge, it was very much like previous seasons in that each designer was expected to show their POV as a designer. But the shake-up was bringing in what is generally later on in a given season — the unconventional materials challenge. What were the unconventional materials? The spirit and vibe that the decorations in the meeting hall had created, would be the same materials the designers were to use in order to infuse spirit into their looks. And with that, the designers were off running around, making a total mess naturally. And my oh my, those poor flowers!! Chill-ax gents!


The designers were then off to the workroom to begin this 1-day challenge. Tim-time was a little fiesty, well at least with the discussion between Ian & Tim. Skipping to the end since Ian of course left this week, but wow, future Tim/Ian meetings would have been interesting!


As we came closer to the runway, we saw that JustFab was here for the accessory wall. And for all things GLAM, Mary Kay was on board for the makeup and Sally Beauty for hair. This first episode’s guest judge was The Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie.


The judges praised the 1st runway, but overall I saw a lot of safe designs. I saw too much by way of snooze-fests and crazy sleeves. Unconventional is hard, so I know the season will only get better! I saw a few designs which I think better occupied spaces in both the top & bottom, but for this 1st recap, I will focus on the judges’ top & bottom picks.


Of the judges’ picks for top 3, I preferred Tasha the most. I wouldn’t wear this look — it’s just not me. But I can clearly see this girl and for the right person, the could rock it! WERK!!


Dexter’s look was a showpiece, but I was a bit surprised it made the top 3. This is not to say it was deserving to be in the bottom, but it read too big to me. The bodice segment was quite cool and hip though.


An even bigger surprise for this top 3 was Erin making it and then winning! This is not again to say her look was so bad, but I was quite in shock that all 4 judges just loved this look that much. I thought it came across a bit too costume-y, gimmicky.


JustFab shoutout — love these killer heels!

Mary Kay shoutout — fresh, poppin’ beauty look

While on the subject of surprises, how Roberi landed in the bottom 3, please explain. My guess is that 2 judges, Nina & Savannah gave it a low score, but the fact that the remaining 2 judges didn’t, I just don’t see how he landed in the bottom 3?? Yes, the look was short, but no cheeks were shown! And this look was just so intriguing, so artistic. It just makes 0 sense how yawns and bores made it safe, but Roberi was bottom 3 — NO!


Sally Beauty shoutout — Cornelius was similar with the braid updo, so both were standouts to me!

Thankfully Roberi was in no danger of going home, with the bottom 2 being comprised of Brik & Ian. All episode, the other designers were loving these glitter pants. Was that fake?? I was going to be baffled in this made the top 3. He glued glitter on muslin pants, not too impressive. But the top, especially the shoulders made of caps was more impressive. The judges here were absolutely correct that this look was a disconnect.


But it was Ian who went home this week. His look wasn’t the worst of the bunch, but boy did his attitude suck. He clearly was not receptive of any criticism. Designers come onto PR, or at least should come on the show, to learn and grow. If you can make it on your own, you wouldn’t be on this show. Ian didnt’ seem to accept anything that Tim or the judges said and PR didn’t seem like a good fit for him.

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!







Ring Ring: PRAS Designers, School is Out, Time to Get to Work

Ring Ring!

So we start out this week with a field trip on none other than a school bus! Most designers were having fun acting like they were back in school. But one designer, Christopher, went back to some unpleasant memories. As you will see later, pain and hurt served as a great inspiration for him this week!

The designers pulled up to a very well known creative arts elementary school in NYC, P.S. 212.  Of course Alyssa was there to provide this week’s lesson, oh wait, I mean challenge! So the challenge is an oldie for PR, but a goodie – unconventional materials!! Alyssa said it was time to let your inner artist run wild and get your creative juices flowing with this playful challenge. Generally with the unconventional challenge, the designers get 30 minutes or so to think, plan, digest, grab, etc. But not for All-Stars! They had only 4 minutes to run into the school, grab their backpack and gather materials from a designated classroom. On your mark, get set, go!

pras03-ep4-episode4With such a short time, there was probably no planning. It was all what looks good and what can I get my hands on. So the designers filled their backpacks and were back to the workroom to then figure out what to do with what they grabbed. They didn’t get right to work though. How could the designers resist not playing with their jump ropes! Of course with any unconventional challenge we saw tons of panic attacks, tears and some drama!

pras03-ep4-episode3I think Mychael probably was freaking out the most. His materials were not working right and time was running out for him. He finally said something that has always been on my mind for the day of the runway shows – talking about when the designers are getting their models hair & make-up ready, he just sighed and was like “I don’t care, ain’t nobody got time for that”! Korto also brought some tears and freakout moments as her time was running low too, but she thought it was near sabotage because her model was taking too long in hair & makeup. I’m not sure about that, but Elena wins for the waterworks queen, or at least that is what her fellow designers basically said.

Zanna even had to comfort her in the midst of doing her designer check-ins. But before we get to the runway critiques, we have to mention Zanna’s additional incentive for this week’s challenge. The designers did consultations with Mary Kay makeup artists for their new line, At Play. The winning look would be featured with the winning designer in tow, for an exclusive Mary Kay ad in Marie Claire. All of the looks were donated afterwards to P.S. 212 for an auction to raise money for the school! So what was the runway show like this week?

pras03-ep4-episode26Just as with any unconventional materials challenge there were some spectacular looks and then those that looked like arts & crafts projects. Guest judges this week were PreciousGabourey Sidibe and Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie. While I agreed with the bottom looks this week, the top was a bit of a head-scratcher for me.

-project-runway-a7ll-       Irina’s look            -project-runway-a3ll-      

Seth Aaron’s look

I thought Seth Aaron and Irina did great work this week and was surprised that neither made it to the top. I figured Christopher, and his black binder dress, would be there. His look, with his inspiring anti-bullying message was so structural and chic. It truly represented strength. I’m glad he won and I thought of the judges’ top 3, he should have won. His dress would also photograph the best for the Mary Kay ad.

pras03-ep4-episode15I wasn’t so sure about Viktor’s look of rulers and playmats. I thought the judges might think like me – I loved the back, but I wasn’t so sure about the front and the segmented placement of what I think were playmats? But I felt okay with Viktor in the top and coming in 2nd since it drove Elena crazy! We heard all episode about how she showed him how to do the fringe effect with the rulers, but I’m sorry, did I miss that part? Did they show this? Either way, it’s fringe, it’s not an original design concept!

pras03-ep4-episode18Elena rounded out the top 3 with her binder and pencil cases look. I disagreed, but how did I know it was coming? Duh, we heard all episode how she didn’t do well her season for the unconventional challenge, call it irony! I didn’t hate her piece. I would have placed it as safe, but the judges like her work so to each their own! But the bottom picks were pretty much on point and as we saw right at the end, pointless!

-project-runway-a5ll-          Elena’s look              -project-runway-al1l-   Jeffrey’s look

Why pointless? Well, no one went home. I think they could have made a cut. Jeffrey was in the bottom now for a 3rd time with his jump rope and binder look. It was playful, but perhaps a little too playful since it didn’t cover much. Korto now found herself in the bottom for a 2nd time with her rubber balls and rubberbands look. The direction was there, but the execution failed. Multiple times in the bottom could certainly be grounds for an elimination. I’m glad though Mychael didn’t get the short straw, even if his crayons and construction paper look was total arts & crafts. But in the end, no elimination, so I’m predicting now that a double elimination is in the designers’ future.

-project-runway-al2l-       Korto’s look                 -project-runway-all- Mychael’s look

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