Last week on Project Runway, the designers visited the United Nations building. They also had to make dresses inspired by flags. Mondo won and Mila was sent home.
No shots of designers waking up or having breakfast or the like. Instead, it’s off to the runway, where Angela tells the designers that for their next challenge, they will have to “light up the runway.” The camera crew then turn off the lights and turn on black light, so the designers can see that Angela’s skirt glows in the dark.
Angela then spells out the challenge: Make an avant-garde look using lighting technology. She also tells them that this will be the first time in Project Runway history that they’ve used black light on the runway. This week’s guest judge will be Pharrell Williams, a Grammy-winning musician and fashion designer. The designers will have $100.00 to spend at Mood and $300.00 to spend on lights and special effects gear. They will have a day to complete the challenge.
The designers’ first stop is the light store. Jerrell picks out fiber optics. Austin is drawn to fairy lights and tells us that he makes fairy tales come to life. Kenley picks out a lot of lights– only to find out that her selections cost $700.00. As she’s grossly over-budget, she needs to rethink her choices.
Then it’s off to Mood, where Mondo uses a little gadget to see which fabrics work with black light. Jerrell picks out neon and white fabrics.
Back at their work area, the designers find that one section has been converted into a dark room, which will let them see how their creations look under black light. Not surprisingly, they find that some of the fabrics look quite different under the black light. Pink fabric might glow orange, for instance.
The designers sketch. As they work, Mondo notes that it would be all too easy to make something gimmicky. He wants to avoid that, of course, but isn’t sure how. Moreover, he can’t use his beloved patterns– and the fabrics he’s got aren’t “speaking” to him. In short, he doesn’t know what to do. Michael is also having problems, as he doesn’t like the pink jacket that he’s already made. Mondo notes that he’s changing his design again.
Joanna stops by to check on everybody — and comments on the “electrifying” challenge. She starts with Kenley, who is making her own textile. Specifically, she’s using neon glow tape to make a plaid pattern. She’s also got white fabric with windows cut into it and will use this for a jacket.
Jerrell shows Joanna his fiber optics and the very short flared skirt he’s made. Joanna cautions him to watch his silhouette: he doesn’t want a look that reminds people of a Christmas tree.
Austin tells Joanna that he’s aiming for a look that is both edgy and romantic. She thinks his look is interesting so far.
Joanna is pleased to see that Michael’s not draping anything this time. He tells her that he wants to make a structured look. She warns him to mind his tape, as some of it is puckering.
Mondo tells Joanna about his troubles with the challenge. She assures him that she has faith in his abilities; he just needs to focus. Kenley, meanwhile, admires Jerrell’s fiber optic skirt.
The models come in, and it looks like Mondo’s in trouble, as he doesn’t have anything for his model to try on. Kenley admires Michael’s look, which has a definite sci-fi vibe.
Austin talks to his mother over the Skype. She has bad news: her house is being foreclosed on, which means she faces homelessness. Austin’s mother was a real estate agent and the horrendous economy means she’s out of a job. On that note, the designers go home and discuss the challenge.
On the following morning, the designers immediately get back to work, sine the show is just hours away. Kenley weaves “fairy lights” into her coat. The models come in for their final preparations. During this, poor Mondo discovers he has a problem: His dress isn’t lighting up, and he doesn’t know how to fix it. While the models get their hair and make-up done, Mondo tries to fix his dress– but half an hour before show time, it still won’t light up.
On the runway, Angela introduces Pharrell Williams, this week’s guest judge. He tells them that one of his artists will wear the winning look.
Mondo is up first, and he apparently channeled his inner Mila. He made what looks like a little black dress from the front, but it’s actually scarlet in the back. He decorated the front of the dress with vertical stripes that glow yellow, and he gave his model a headpiece that glows green. He even decorated the edges of her shoes with glowing green tape.
Jerrell’s look is next– and it really does look a bit like a silver Christmas tree. He made a short, flared skirt reminiscent of Judy Jetson’s, and covered it with glowing blue-white fiber optics. In the interests of preserving the model’s modesty, he also made a long black skirt– and did nothing with it. He also made a snug black turtleneck shirt and decorated it with a collar made of the same fiber optics as the skirt. The idea seems to be to make the skirt and collar look as if they were made of high-tech feathers. He also made a feathery headpiece that glowed green, but was white in normal light.
Kenley made a sleeveless black dress decorated with a glowing pink and yellow plaid pattern. She also made a white garment that looks something like a cross between a jacket and a poncho and has multiple square cutouts. It glows blue white under black light.
Austin made a flared, knee-length skirt out of black tulle and matched it with a bustier. He then wove pale blue lights into and through the skirt. He also made a sort of stiff boa that began at the top of the model’s head and wound around away from her face and down her body.
Michael apparently thinks “avant-garde” means “looks like something from a science fiction movie.” He made a long-sleeved black dress and matching leggings– and then went bananas with the glowing green neon tape. He also made stiff bands of fabric to go over the model’s shoulders– and then put blue lights under them. He also made a glowing green belt, a half-mask that covers the model’s lower face and a headdress with a glowing blue tail. Michael 1) forgot everything he knew about editing, and 2) is apparently a huge fan of Tron — which was made in the 1980’s.
The designers then have to face the judges, who start with Kenley, who tells them that she wanted to use fairy lights in her look. Pharrell tells her that her look is one of his favorites. Isaac praises her for using volume on both the top and the bottom without making the model look fat. Angela likes the plaid. The judges praise her for pushing herself.
Mondo tells the judges that he made the casings for his lights. The judges think his look resembles something from Tron. Isaac thinks it’s well-made, but not avant-garde.
Jerrell tells the judges that he wanted to use fiber optics to create movement. Isaac thinks all the fiber optics look like something from a joke store. Pharrell says the long black skirt under the Judy Jetson number looks like something his grandmother would wear. Ooops.
Austin wanted to create a look that resembled starlight. The judges like his look; Georgina calls it romantic and pretty.
Last up is Michael, who wanted to make something futuristic. Isaac dismisses the look as “tape on a dress.” Pharrell says it looks like either something a cos-player would wear to Comic-con or something from Mortal Kombat. Not only that, but the bulky get-up obscures the waist, making the model look heavier than she is.
The judges then deliberate, starting with the designers they liked. They praise Mondo for his good use of materials and Kenley for her good proportions. Austin’s dress is romantic. As for the designers they didn’t like, Jerrell made only half an outfit, as his long granny skirt had no embellishment whatsoever. The rest of the outfit was unsophisticated and looked like something from a joke store. Michael needs to seriously edit his design, which was also unflattering.
The judges then announce their decision. Mondo is safe. Kenley and Austin got the highest scores, and Austin is the winner. Kenley, of course, is safe, leaving Jerrell and Michael in the bottom. Jerrell is out, so Michael is safe.
In After the Runway, the designers discuss the challenge. Austin loved it, and Michael admits he didn’t enjoy it. The designers also discuss the emotional toll their isolation from friends and family takes, as they’re separated from them for several weeks.
Next week: The last challenge before the finals.