Last week on Project Runway, the designers faced the Garnier Challenge in which they had to make an outfit inspired by one of the four elements. They also had to conjure up a suitable hairstyle to go with the look. Jonathan won, and Ben was sent home.
The next morning, Amy vows to do better after landing in the bottom two. So does Mila, who had been in the bottom three. Maya wants to actually win a challenge, rather than just be in the top three. She notes that all the other designers left have actually won one.
Heidi Klum wants the designers to get into a “New York state of mind.” She sends them to see Tim Gunn, who will fill them in on the details.
When the designers find Tim, he introduces them to Collier Strong, the leading makeup artist for L’Oreal. Tim tells the designers they’ll each visit one of four distinct New York neighborhoods: Chinatown, East Village, Upper East Side, and Harlem. This challenge will be one of the dreaded team challenges. Upon hearing this, Emilio tells us that he really, really does not want Mila for a partner. Each team must complete a day look and a night look inspired by their chosen neighborhood on a budget of $300.
Tim picks the team leaders: Amy, Jay, Emilio, and Anthony, and tells them to pick their partners. Anthony picks Maya, Amy chooses Jonathan, to the latter’s delight, and Emilio picks Seth Aaron, leaving the disgruntled Jay with Mila. Tim offers Jay the consolation prize of having first pick of the locations, and Jay quickly picks the East Village. Emilio chooses Harlem, as he knows it very well, and Amy picks the Upper East Side, leaving Anthony with Chinatown.
The designers have thirty minutes to explore their chosen neighborhoods and sketch. While Emilio and Seth Aaron explore Harlem, Emilio talks about how he’d grown up in Harlem. He points out how practically everybody is wearing blue jeans, and Seth Aaron agrees that the day look, at least, should incorporate denim. They also see a mosaic and decide to incorporate the colors in their looks, too.
In Chinatown, Anthony and Maya see a lot of red decorations. Anthony is visibly repulsed by the sight of plucked ducks in a restaurant window, to Maya’s amusement. She notices the ladders on some of the buildings, while Anthony is inspired by a paper dragon in a window.
Jonathan and Amy roam the Upper East Side and notice how “static” it is, as there are relatively few people out. Jonathan also notices a lot of gray, and worries that Amy’s style, with its emphasis on colors, will not mesh with this particular neighborhood. Amy wants to make a shirt dress, as she believes Upper East Siders would wear them. Jonathan will turn his textile-making prowess to recreating the look of wrought-iron gates for the night look.
In the East Village, Jay and Mila gravitate toward graffiti and industrial textures. Mila loves the rock-n-roll vibe of the neighborhood. She worries that Jay is a bit scattered, as he’s making suggestion after suggestion for jackets, pants, and jumpers.
The designers spend the usual thirty minutes at Mood. Amy and Jonathan have trouble agreeing on fabrics. Emilio insists that Seth Aaron get blue denim rather than black for the day look. Anthony does not want to get the expected red and gold materials for Chinatown. He wants to “look deeper.” Maya finds his decision troubling, as he has run into trouble for that kind of thinking in the past.
Tim tells the designers they have until midnight and warns them not to assume that the team leaders will be the ones sent home in the event of a loss. Jay takes charge of the day look for Team East Village and starts with the pants. Emilio will be doing the evening look for Team Harlem and wants to make it a retro look that hearkens back to the days of Billie Holliday and the Cotton Club. Even though Anthony is the leader, Maya questions some of his fabric choices. Jonathan and Amy use a lot of techniques for their dresses for Team Upper East Side. They already know they risk not finishing in time.