Last week on Project Runway, 16 new designers descended on New York City to contend for $50,000 worth of technology from HP, $100,000 from L’Oreal, a fashion spread in Marie Claire, and a new Lexus. Their first challenge: Select an already-made outfit that reflected their aesthetic and then make a companion piece for it. Christopher won and Beatrice was sent home.
The next morning, the designers get ready to face the day. Lantie’s shocked to have been in the bottom and Ven’s upset he didn’t win. Then it’s off to the runway, where Heidi tells them to meet Tim at a “sweet location,” which turns out to be Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is owned by Dylan Lauren, the daughter of Ralph Lauren. She will also serve as a guest judge.
As most of the designers have guessed, it’s the “unconventional materials” challenge. They will have a budget of $250.00, but since Dylan is giving them a 50% discount, they actually can buy five hundred dollars’ worth of candy. They have the traditional 30 minutes to pick out stuff, and they will have a day to come up with something. While shopping, Ven sees a wall of jelly beans that reminds him of stained-glass windows and decides to incorporate that image in his look.
Back at Parson’s, the designers sketch and then get to work. Buffi weaves candy ribbons into a textile for her look. Elena decides to make a warrior woman look with shoulder pads made of pina colada twists. Tim pops in to tell everybody they have until 1 a.m. Gunnar and Christopher snipe at each other and Gunnar tells us that Christopher is threatened by him.
Alicia is making a one-shoulder garment, while Sonjia of the blue hair is using jelly beans and blue gummi sharks in her look. Buffi decides to cut corners somewhat and use a colorful umbrella from the shop for a circle skirt. She uses a hammer to smash the umbrella apart, causing Ven to say that she’s too noisy. Lantie tells us about how she went bankrupt when the economy crashed a few years ago.
Andrea talks about how she was born on Halloween and plans to make a “Victorian candy clerk” outfit. Kooan is using Twizzlers to make a sweater. Ven notes that part of the challenge of an “unconventional materials ” challenge is to make something that looks both wearable and as if it were made from conventional materials. He also tells us that he knows he’s good. As proof of that, he graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and won several awards while there.
Tim comes in to make his rounds and starts with Nathan, who has made a rigid skirt out of what looks like sour balls or some other hard candy. It weighs twenty pounds. Christopher is working on a dress, and Tim calls his plans for the finished product, “ambitious.” Raul is working on a bodice and trying to make it look like actual fabric. Tim approves. He is similarly pleased with Melissa, who has made licorice whips look like black leather. Tim notes that Elena has a lot of work left to do. He also points out that using color might be a good idea in a candy challenge.
He stops by Sonjia, and is impressed with her turquoise bodice, saying it looks as if it’s made of sea-glass, rather than candy. Ven talks about his stained-glass window idea and Tim likes what he sees so far. He notes that Fabio has a lot of work to do. Buffi shows him the textile she’s been weaving. Gunnar shows Tim the checkerboard textile he’s making out of licorice pieces. He will use candy black hearts for decoration.
Next up is Dmitry, who wants to know when the models are coming in. He has a candy fringe, but he doesn’t want to attach it to his skirt until he’s sure that the skirt fits properly. Tim tells him that he doesn’t have time to waste just waiting around and urges him to attach the fringe. Tim notes that Kooan and Lantie also need to watch their time. Andrea shows Tim the dress she’s made out of candy dots on paper– and he hates it. He calls it “sloppy” and “craft-project.” Not surprisingly, she decides to start over.
The models come in for their fitting– but they find that only a few designers have clothes ready for them to try on. Among these are Dmitry and Sonjia, who are both relieved to find that their items fit. Lantie decides to start over and make something out of some umbrella fabric. Buffi makes a bird’s nest out of cotton candy for her look, and then adds a bird. Towards the end of the day, Elena burns herself on the thigh with a glue gun, prompting Christopher to rhetorically ask, “Why are you wearing hoochie shorts to work?” (He’s right: Glue guns and exposed skin are not a good combination. I also don’t know too many places where short shorts are considered a good look for a professional.)
The following morning, the designers get back to work. Elena’s leg is still hurting her. Kooan and Buffi both discover that cotton candy makes a lousy textile, as their pieces have melted. They quickly make replacements. Tim then sends in the models for their final fitting. While some get into their outfits, others go to hair and make-up.
On the runway, Heidi re-introduces the guest judge, Dylan Lauren, the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar. Then it’s time for the show.
Gunnar is first, and he made a cocktail dress. He used black and white licorice twists to make a checkerboard pattern on said dress. Sonjia made an aqua and white cocktail dress out of jelly beans and almond candies. She used the gummi sharks to make a collar. She also made a small flat hat. Melissa made separates: a black mini-skirt and a short black tank top.
Nathan made a 20-pound, multi-colored, and rigid skirt out of pastel-colored hard candies of some type. He also made a turquoise and white bodice. Andrea made a long apron out of candy dots. She also made a multi-colored bustle out of umbrella fabric. It looks as strange as it sounds. Alicia’s look is just as strange. There’s a white bikini top made of some sort of hard candy, plus green and orange over-all shorts with just one suspender.
Elena used every pina colada licorice stick in the store to make a cream cocktail dress with short sleeves and big shoulders. Apparently, Elena’s not that handy with a glue gun, since her dress is shedding licorice sticks as her model walks. Fabio made a sleeveless blue cocktail dress. Dmitry made a beaded black cocktail dress with red and yellow trim. The skirt has a red and black fringe. Kooan made a garish, multi-colored cocktail dress that has an abstract pattern on it. Like Elena’s look, it’s shedding candy.
Christopher made a black, white, and purple cocktail dress with thin stripes in a zigzag pattern. Raul’s look is schizophrenic. From the front, it looks like separates consisting of a green skirt and a sleeveless blue top. From the back, it looks like a blue and orange dress. Buffi apparently ran into time problems, for her top is consists of yellow, pink, and orange candy ribbons woven together, while her skirt is made of pink umbrella fabric.
Lantie’s dress is made of multi-colored umbrella fabric. The only candy on it are some hard candies used to make the yellow flowers decorating the skirt. Er, Lantie, in an “unconventional materials” challenge, the unconventional material isn’t supposed to be an afterthought. Ven made a sleeveless, pastel cocktail dress with a stylized flower design on the front. The various colors are separated from each other by distinct black lines, creating the stained glass window effect Ven was aiming for.
Heidi then calls Gunnar, Elena, Ven, Sonjia, Lantie, and Buffi. They will have to face the judges, while the others are safe. Andrea is very happy to be safe. Her fellow designers guess that Sonjia and Ven will be in the top.
The judges start with Buffi, who simply wanted to use fun colors. She calls her look “Carrie from Sex and the City.” Heidi thinks she over-accessorized and that the model looks like a five-year-old. Michael agrees and says that Buffi’s look is more “Toddlers and Tiaras” than anything else. Nina thinks the styling is atrocious. Dylan likes the shirt, but not the skirt.
Sonjia had wanted to a water theme for her look, so she’d grabbed the gummi sharks and any other white or aqua candy she could find. Heidi likes the dress, but not the hat. The other judges agree that the dress is great. Dylan appreciates the fact that she used more types of candy than anybody else.
Lantie tries to defend her look, but the judges don’t buy her pleas of not having enough time to make anything– not when several of her competitors managed to turn out nice outfits in the time allotted. Michael says she seems to be more of a decorator than an actual designer. Ouch.
Ven talks about his stained-glass window idea. He’d used rock candy for the pastel designs and licorice to outline the panels. The judges love it– although Dylan wishes he’d used more types of candy.
Elena had used pina colada Twizzlers for her look. Heidi doesn’t think the result is pretty, and Michael comments that the dress takes “all the joy out of candy.” The dress is also boxy and obscures the model’s shape. Nina says she understands Elena’s desire for cohesion, but adds there’s a difference between cohesion and being in a rut.
Gunnar likes lines and had also used licorice pieces for his look. He’d used them to create the checkerboard pattern on his dress. Heidi praises him for creating his own print. Dylan likes the fact that he’d also made accessories out of candy, like a bracelet made from gumballs.
Afterwards, the judges have their chat, starting with the three they’d liked. They’d liked Gunnar’s use of accessories and think his look is “on trend.” Sonjia used the most types of candies and made a charming, beautifully executed dress. Ven made a gorgeous dress with great colors. Dylan says that her favorites are Sonja and Ven, and that she can’t decide between them.
As for the designers they didn’t like, Lantie had whined about time and Buffi had made a hideous dress. Elena is arrogant and had made a dress that looked “like a cardboard box.”
The judges then call everybody back to announce their decision. Ven is the winner. Sonjia, Gunnar, and Elena are safe, leaving Lantie and Buffi in the bottom. Lantie is out, which means Buffi is in.
Next week: It’s a team challenge. The designers work in pairs and meet contestants from past seasons, including Anya, Irina, and Kenley.