Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to design an avant-garde look inspired both by Oheka Castle and L’Oreal Paris’ latest make-up line. Dmitry won and Sonjia was sent home– after being robbed of her spot in the Final Four. Given that the judges had made a point of examining previous challenges, you’d think that the designer who’d won three challenges would have been a shoo-in.
On the runway, Heidi and Tim explain the rules of their final challenge. The designers each have to make a collection of ten looks. Each designer will get five weeks and a budget of $9,000. That means we’ll get a bunch of rush jobs, as the designers will have to crank out roughly two looks per week. That won’t allow them time to experiment or try anything new. Instead, they’ll stick to what they know they can do in the allotted time. Back when Bravo ran this show, the designers used to get several months to make their collection.
In addition, the designers are not guaranteed a spot, as only three of them will actually show at Fashion Week. Let’s ignore the fact that one of the worst-kept secrets ever is Project Runway’s use of dummy collections during Fashion Week. Sonjia and some of the other defeated designers will also be showing collections, since Fashion Week was actually held in September. Melissa tells us she’s determined to get a spot.
Four weeks later, Tim makes the first of his home visits. He starts with Christopher, at the latter’s house in Massapequa, NY. Christopher shows off his workplace and outfits. He also shows Tim a textile he’d made inspired by his mother’s X-ray. She’s hurt her back in a car accident, and Christopher used a copy of the X-ray in his textile. Tim then examines the clothes themselves. He likes a coat, but thinks the leather bustier with the sweetheart neckline is “too sweet.” Christopher then shows a pair of leather shorts he’d ruined by pouring bleach on them. Tim admires the “corroded” look and thinks he should incorporate it in his collection.
Tim then meets Christopher’s family. He has two sisters, and everybody seems very supportive of Christopher. His mother say she’s proud of him.
Fabio is next. He and his lover, Jason, are staying a in friend’s swanky apartment. Tim also meets Fabio’s mother. Fabio, who was born in Brazil, would love the money and the career boost that winning Project Runway would give him.
Fabio then shows off his collection, which he’s calling “Cosmic Tribalism.” He’d dyed his fabrics with watercolors, creating a pastel effect. So far, he’s got pale pink and baby blue fabrics. He calls one look the “Priestess” and two others “people within the tribe.” Tim likes most of it, but thinks one pair of pants resembles long johns. He’s baffled by other components of the collection, and he especially dislikes the shoes Fabio plans on using, as they look too clunky and boot-like to go with the airy-looking clothing.
In Jersey City, NJ, Tim catches up with Dmitry, who is also staying at a friend’s. Dmitry had had to quit his job to go on Project Runway, which meant he’d also had to give up his apartment, since he couldn’t pay for it anymore. His family are all back in Belarus, and he’d emigrated to the U.S. when he was 18. His collection is inspired by what he calls “organic architecture.” As one might guess, his clothes look very geometric. Tim admires a coat, but dislikes a pale green dress. Tim asks him if there are any “surprises” in the collection. Dmitry needs to show the judges something new, and not designs they’ve seen before.
Last up is Melissa, who has her own place in San Francisco. She shows off her collection, which includes a “cracked” leather jacket. Tim likes her collection and sees nothing to complain about. He does tell Melissa it will come down to the judges’ taste. Afterwards, Melissa’s parents take Tim, Melissa, and Mick, who is Melissa’s boyfriend, on a boat ride. Melissa and her family talk about Rogers City, the small town where Melissa grew up.
A few days before Fashion Week, the designers return to New York City. Christopher is the first to arrive, and promptly checks out the apartments. He and the other three designers are happy to see each other again and seem to like their new digs a lot. They like them even more when they find champagne and a note from Heidi welcoming them back.
The next morning, the designers check out their new workroom in the 1407 Broadway building. They also check out each other’s collections. Tim comes in to welcome them and spell out the rules. The designers will present three looks to the judges. They should therefore pick out three strong looks that show their range. As soon as she hears this, Melissa starts to wonder if she’s done enough to get to Fashion Week. Christopher can’t decide which three looks to pick. Dmitry tells us that he thinks some of Christopher’s looks are “slutty.” Given that Christopher’s looks include at least one pair of black leather shorts, I can’t disagree.
Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Fabio. He advises Fabio to “own” his ideas– even the clunky shoes that Tim had originally hated. Fabio did at least dye them a pale cream, to better match the outfits. Tim thinks the judges will either hate or love Fabio’s collection.
Christopher is up next and Tim loves the bleached leather vest he’d made. He’s worried about Christopher’s indecisiveness, though, especially when the latter says he won’t decide until he’s seen his models. (I agree: At the least, Christopher should decide on a first choice, second choice, etc., so he’ll have some sort of starting point.)
Melissa shows Tim the jacket she plans to show the judges, and adds that she has a gown she won’t show until Fashion Week– assuming she gets there. Sensing her self-doubt, Tim gives her a pep talk. Feeling better, she gets back to work.
Last up is Dmitry, who has picked out three looks he plans to show. Tim notices that everything is black and white. He advises against a black and white collection– especially since Dmitry has a nice yellow dress. Dmitry decides to stick with his black and whites outfits. At the end of the day, the designers go home. Everybody’s nervous about the judging.
The next morning, the designers get back to work. Tim comes in to tell them they will have three hours to get their models dressed and made-up for the show. Each designer gets three models. Christopher has problems finding looks that will fit his three models. Afterwards, the models go to hair and make-up.
On the runway, Heidi welcomes the designers back. She also reveals that there’s no guest judge; it’s just the regular judges this time around.
Dmitry’s first look is a sleeveless white knee-length dress. At first glance, it seems to have brown trim in geometric patterns. A second glance reveals that the “trim” is actually cut-outs showing the model’s dark skin. His second look includes a black skirt and a very sheer black top that gives viewers a good look at the model’s black bra. The best part of the look is a patterned black and white jacket that has fringed sleeves made of black leather. His third look is a sheer black top paired with skinny white pants.
Christopher’s first look includes short black shorts and a see-through cream knit top showing the model’s black bra. He also made a long vest out of distressed black leather. His second look includes short black leather shorts and a brown and white shirt made of his x-ray fabric. From over here, it looks tie-dyed. His final look consists of a black bustier and a skirt made out of the same brown and white x-ray fabric. Two looks involving black short shorts aren’t exactly the best way to show one’s range.
Fabio’s first look consists of skinny white pants, a turquoise croptop that looks tie-dyed, and a very long, draped white vest. He also made an arrow-head necklace in pastel colors. His second look includes a knee-length white skirt, another blue tie-dyed top, and a cream vest that gapes so much in front it simply looks way too small for the model. His last look is a very pale pink dress with asymmetrical sleeves: one side is sleeveless and the other has a short sleeve. The dress has a slit up the front, and Fabio made a plastic necklace with a stacked arrowhead design.
Last up is Melissa. Her first look consists of short white shorts and a sleeveless black tunic with a good part of the front cut out. Her second look consists of skinny black pants, a black top, and a white leather jacket with an oversized black collar and black cuffs. Her last look is a sleeveless little black dress with an oversized collar.
The judges start with Fabio who tells them his collection is called “Cosmic Tribalism.” Heidi likes his point of view, his necklaces, and his handbags. Moving on to the actual clothes, she loves the colors. Michael also likes the colors, and he enjoys the contrast of normally sweet colors being used with edgy designs. On the other hand, he doesn’t like the wigs. Nina thinks some of the pieces, like the vest, are beautiful– but they don’t look expensive enough. She thinks the necklaces and other finishing touches look “junior” and unsophisticated.
Dmitry is next. He talks about being inspired by organic architecture and some of New York’s buildings. He also wanted to do something “graphic.” Nina likes the white dress with its cut outs, but she thinks the styling needs work. Michael agrees and adds that Dmitry needs to make his styling seem younger. He also thinks Dmitry has too many ideas and needs to edit. The jacket is great– but such “wow” pieces need to stand on their own. In this case, pairing the jacket with a sheer top was a mistake, as the latter distracted viewers from the jacket. Similarly, Heidi advises pairing show-stoppers with simpler pieces.
Christopher tells the judges about how he’d used his mother’s X-ray to make a textile. Heidi thinks it’s creepy. She does like the colors he got with it. On the other hand, she would have preferred a wow piece to his separates, as the tops and the shorts are boring. Michael agrees and calls them “banal.” They are beautifully made, though. Nina thinks the first two outfits are both too similar and too skimpy. The vest is good, though.
Melissa wanted to show her range and thus chose to show shorts, pants, and a dress. Heidi loves the jacket, but thinks the dress is too simple. Michael wishes the designers hadn’t held back their show-stopping pieces for Fashion Week. He reminds all the designers that the models have to be impeccable from head to toe. He loves Melissa’s white jacket and handbags, but hates the wigs she had her models wear. Nina asks if the whole collection is black and white and Melissa answers that she does have a red piece. Nina tells her that a black and white collection requires amazing styling to be successful. She also suggests shortening the jacket’s sleeves.
The judges then have their chat. Dmitry had made some beautiful pieces but combined them in dowdy ways. Fabio made the novel choice of using pastels, but his collection needs to look more luxe and sophisticated. Christopher had made some interesting prints, but may not be much of a showman. Melissa made very contemporary clothes, including a beautiful jacket.
Heidi then calls everybody back in and announces the judges’ decision: Everybody is going to Fashion Week. Everybody needs to fix their styling and otherwise improve their collections. The designers have two days to make the needed changes.
Next week: Fashion Week!