Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced this season’s “unconventional materials” challenge: they had to make outfits out of items and materials found in a hardware store. Jay won, making him the first contestant to win a second challenge this season. Jesse was sent home, after landing in the bottom two for the third time this season.
The next morning, Emilio reflects on “getting spanked” by the judges and says he has learned his lesson. Maya confesses to Mila how intimidated she felt at first. Mila finds herself feeling closer to Maya – despite an age gap of nearly twenty years. She considers Maya an “old soul.” Ben is happy that all of his roommates are still around, but he wants to win, not just be safe.
On the runway, Heidi tells the designers that the challenge winners will no longer get immunity. Anybody who’s watched this show knows that the judges typically stop awarding immunity at around the halfway point, and we are now down to nine designers. Heidi sends the designers to meet Tim on the Atlas roof, and he will fill them in on the details.
Tim introduces the designers to Philip Carreon, hairstylist for Garnier, the corporate entity sponsoring both the show and this particular challenge. Tim tells the designers that New York’s environment says “manmade” more than any other place. For their challenge, the designers have to get back to nature and draw inspiration from one of the four ancient elements: air, earth, fire, and water. Philip adds that the designers are also to incorporate an appropriate hairstyle for their model, and his people and products will help them in that department.
As last week’s winner, Jay gets to pick his element, and he chooses air. Everybody else has to draw lots for their elements. Maya draws water and Jonathan gets air. Ben gets the last water, and Mila draws earth. Anthony and Amy both get fire, while Emilio draws earth, leaving Seth Aaron with air. The designers have thirty minutes to sketch and will have a budget of $150 to spend at Mood.
Ben doesn’t want to just make something blue and thinks about making something with a shark theme. Here’s hoping the result doesn’t look like something from an Aquaman comic book. Emilio wants to make something that will complement his model’s skin tone, while Maya is inspired by sirens – as in the water-dwelling creatures from mythology, not police or fire engine sirens. Jonathan wants to make his own textile, so he can create an airy garment.
The designers go to Mood, where Jay decides to do something with a tornado theme. He chooses a striped fabric. Anthony thinks making something red or orange would be too expected. Instead, he remembers how his pastor burned his own house down, and is thus thinking about the house’s charred remains. Anthony is therefore making something with an ashes theme, and has chosen some gray fabric.
Seth Aaron’s inspiration is New York’s midnight sky. Amy says she wants to build structure with an explosion inside. Tim tells the designers they have until midnight.
The designers work quietly – even the normally chatty Anthony. Amy is worried about time management. Ben knows he’s taking a big risk by trying to make a suit in one day. Jonathan tells us that he doesn’t know what the judges want from him. He also notes that the one time he took a major risk, he almost got sent home. He suspects the other designers have consequently decided that he’s not a major threat. For Amy, the challenge is all about innovation. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Tim comes in with Philip. It’s time for hair consultations. Jay tells Philip that he wants his model’s hair to look as if she were caught in a whirlwind.
Tim checks in and starts with Jonathan, who tells him his inspiration is the lightest side of air: laughter. He adds that he’ll be cutting away levels to reveal different colors. Tim finds it stunning. Seth Aaron has already made a lot of progress on his midnight-sky piece. Tim finds it both creative and believable. Amy wants to make a “contained chaos” with her model’s hair filling a bowl-like design. Tim is intrigued and advises Amy to let the idea distill within itself.