Project Runway Recap: S13 E03

On this apocalyptic episode of Project Runway, the designers show us the future, and it is TERRIFYING.

Previously: The judges smoked cracked before crowning Amanda the winner of the unconventional challenge.

The Challenge: For the 20th anniversary of Marie Claire, the designers must use inspiration from 1994 to create a magazine-worthy look for the year 2034. Isn’t it adorable that Nina thinks print magazines will still exist in twenty years? Anyway, in one day, the contestants must show an editorial version of the future of fashion, filtered through their own aesthetic, while staring at pictures of themselves twenty years ago. Some were babies! Some were not! Hijinks ensued! Anyway, I found it quite refreshing to see the designers sketching out their ideas, instead of having to awkwardly sell us HP tablets.

Guest JudgeMarie Claire‘s Anne Fulenwider and British photographer Amanda de Cadenet, who was basically there just to promote her own Lifetime show. Also, was it just me, or was she only British at the ends of her sentences?

ALEXANDER KNOX
Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Poor Alexander. He’s a sweetheart, but he ran into a lot of trouble this episode, and he should have gone home for sending this down the runway. But I absolutely hated the criticisms the judges gave him. They criticized it for being too sad, as if we’re all supposed to believe that twenty years from now, everything will be happy as can be, when basically the world is currently falling apart. Yes, this is a sad dress, but that wasn’t the problem here. The problem was that it was shapeless, and very poorly made, and clearly thrown together at the last minute after his previous look didn’t work. The problem was that it didn’t have a strong point of view. But I guess helpful, constructive critiques that an extremely young designer could actually use don’t allow Heidi, Zac, and Nina to say the word “sad” eight thousand times while pulling faces. So yes, I believe Alexander should have been eliminated for this. But the judges (sans Tim, mentor extraordinaire) should have been eliminated for their obnoxiously limited view of the future of fashion, and for their refusal to give criticisms that could actually help a 22-year-old become a better designer.

AMANDA VALENTINE

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Heidi is apparently making a habit of telling someone in the “safe” pile how terrible they are every week, and it’s not enjoyable to watch. I’ve never liked Amanda, and even I don’t want to watch Heidi tell her how shitty she is when she’s not in the top or bottom three. But Amanda was insane to talk back to the judges about how three of the models wanted to wear the pants she designed. First of all, the models are not judges, so their opinions are irrelevant for these purposes. Second, even if their opinions were relevant, maybe everyone wanting to wear your pants that are supposed to be for 20 years in the future isn’t actually a good thing. Maybe by nature of designing something for the future, she should not have created something everyone wants to wear today. Third, and most importantly, SHE KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. While in the workroom, Amanda acknowledged aloud the ridiculousness of creating a very 1970s bellbottom pant for a 1994/2034-inspired challenge. She knew that it didn’t fit the challenge, and she did it anyway, because designers get to do things like that when they have immunity. But to talk back to the judges about how EVERYONE ELSE loves your pant, when you know you didn’t bother to play by the rules? Ugh. That’s just obnoxious.

ANGELA SUM
Eliminated

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I don’t think Angela deserved to go home quite yet, but I must say, I’m relieved her time on this show is over. Not because I don’t like her as a person, but because the editing of this show was trying SO HARD to depict her as the biggest emotional wreck imaginable. They put a clip of her crying no less than ten seconds into the episode – that in particular felt sloppy and manipulative. Yes, she’s clearly a sensitive and nervous person, more so than her competitors. But the producers seemed like they actively wanted her to break, and I found that made for very unpleasant television.

That being said, this look had a lot of problems. Angela was trying to make a futuristic suit, but I don’t want to live in a future where successful women have to wear skirts too short to sit in to work. It’s not even about appropriateness – it’s about comfort. And the top of this does look a bit like Judy Jetson dressed up as a flight attendant – though I’m not actually sure that’s a terrible thing, given the challenge. But the sewing on that skirt was quite terrible, with its bubble butt and puckering seams. At least you could see an idea here, whereas Alexander’s dress lacked even that, in my opinion. So although this look was definitely in my bottom three, I still don’t think I would have sent Angela home.

CHAR GLOVER

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I enjoyed this look, but I think Char could have pushed herself creatively just a little bit more. This looks five years into the future, if that; twenty, not so much. I do like the colorblocking on the pant; it’s a forward-thinking technique. But this look needed more of that to really make it futuristic.

EMILY PAYNE
Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

For a little while, this was my favorite look on the runway. But after some thought, I realized that was only because Emily’s model is by far the fiercest woman on the runway. This girl can WALK, and she sold the living shit out of this look. When she took off Emily’s “Ewok” cowl-neck shrug-thing and revealed the jumpsuit underneath, it was a total wow moment. But I have to agree with Nina – we’ve seen this jumpsuit before. It’s not futuristic. It might even be a few seasons old. I think Emily is creative and this was a strong look, but she better hold onto this model as long as possible, because she’s at least half the reason Emily was in the top three.

FÄDE ZU GRAU

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Don’t get me wrong – as a blogger, AKA a person who wishes she never had to put real pants on, I would love to live in a future where we all wear pajamas all the time. But even with the mixed-prints, I’m not sure there was enough creativity here to make up for the incredibly basic silhouette of the top and pants.

HERNAN LANDER

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

In Hernan’s vision of the future, women wear “Sexy Witch” Halloween costumes as real clothes! And I think to myself, what a horrible world. Hernan got very lucky that this somehow escaped the judges’ attention, because it was a mess. The straps in the back were well-executed, but that was the only thing I liked about this look.

KINI ZAMORA

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I don’t think this is particularly futuristic, but I am amazed that Kini made those pants in one day. That bodes incredibly well for his future on this show. Most designers can barely make pants in a two-day challenge, and he churned out this fabulous pair of jeans like it was no big thing. Everything else was SMORF (Standard Middle-Of-the-Road Fare), made payable to the judging gods for ignoring unremarkable looks because they’re too busy critiquing the hot messes.

KORINA EMMERICH

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I completely forgot about this look between last night and today, but lord, do I hate this. Korina’s model looks like Kristen Stewart in a hurricane, and that’s not a good look on anybody. Sadly, the fact that she actually designed anything at all means that she escaped being in the bottom three, since not every contestant really managed to do that. I might hate this, but at least I feel anything at all about it, unlike some outfits (sorry, Alexander, sweetheart).

KRISTINE GUICO
Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Way to go, Kristine! That coat and its cut-out sleeves were absolutely magnificent. It looked killer on the model and fit like a dream. But while the sheer separates were really interesting and funky from the front, the execution in the back left a lot to be desired. If the back of the outfit looked as good as the front, this could have snagged the win.

MITCHELL PERRY

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

It could’ve been a fantastic look if the stripes actually lined up properly, and if the pants fit a little bit better. As is, this deserved to be in the safe pile, though it will be quite useful when Mitchell’s home state of Florida is underwater.

SAMANTHA PLASENCIA

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I would wear this outfit in a heartbeat, which means it’s probably not futuristic enough. Perfect for my dream wardrobe, but only okay for this challenge. Regardless, Samantha is one of the few designers that I’m excited to see more from, so that’s something. Apparently, the future is full of cowl necks and infinity scarves, so let’s hope climate change brings some global cooling instead of warming.

SANDHYA GARG
Winner

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This was incredibly weird, and completely unwearable by most modern women’s standards. But… isn’t that what makes it perfect for this challenge? I mean, why is it that no one except Sandhya even thought to do futuristic makeup? It seemed so obvious once Sandhya did it – what could turn everyday pieces into 2034 editorial looks faster than futuristic styling? It’s not like the Aldo accessory wall is going to be too helpful in that department, so why did every other model on the runway sport hair and makeup relevant to the 20teens instead of the 2030s? The fact that Sandhya actually thinks about these things says a lot about her as a designer.

I understand why people don’t like Sandhya. Her unconventional aesthetic is absolutely not for everyone, and I hate that they gave her two wins in three challenges when there’s so many other people who haven’t been recognized for their talents yet. But nothing on the runway came close to fitting the challenge as much as this dress did. And for that, I’d have given her the win too.

SEAN KELLY
Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I adore Sean, but I’ll admit this was a bit of a disaster. It lacked imagination and creativity. Also, what, one unconventional challenge and the guy thinks he can create a hat out of a Mood shopping bag for no apparent reason? Sorry, honey, but that was the mopiest little hat in the world. And not in a cool, post-apocalyptic way.

Judges’ Top 3: Sandhya, Kristine, Emily
Diva’s Top 3: Sandhya, Kristine, Emily
Judges’ Bottom 3: Sean, Alexander, Angela
Diva’s Bottom 3: Sean, Angela, Alexander

Next time: The designers repurpose men’s suits for womenswear, which actually sounds pretty fucking fabulous, in S13 E04 – Remixing an American Classic.


© Democracy Diva, 2014.
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26 responses to Project Runway Recap: S13 E03

  1. MoHub

    Oh, Diva! Please tell me your bottom three was meant to include Hernan where it says Andrea. And I’d still have sent Angela home, but strictly for her own good. This is definitely not the venue for her to show her wares, and eliminating her was an act of mercy.

    And Hernan would have been my number 1 for elimination. That was pornwear that stayed on the model only because of the boob tape we saw Hernan applying..

    • democracydiva – Author

      Ugh, I hated Herman’s too, but there wasn’t enough room for everything I disliked in the bottom! I did mean to write Angela – oops! – but Hernan’s look was also a big old mess.

  2. Call me crazy, but I was gravitating towards Fäde’s look. For one, I like the idea that he went for comfortable and colourful, the exact opposite of the usual edgy and dark (well, Star Trek always advertised for the sleepwear look). For the same reason I would have put Sadhya in the top, too, but I wouldn’t have give it the win for the simple reason that I neither saw a connection to 1994, nor can I see it photographing well for Marie Claire (plus the “soft but with a hard element is something soooooooo old”). Fäde at least was clearly 1990th inspired…the leggings-like pants (thankfully in a non-ugly version) with a colourful pattern, that is so 1994….I remember how everyone was wearing those leggings with patterns back than (most of them looked pretty stupid in them, though, leggings are not really forgiving). Thus said, I saidly wouldn’t be able to wear Fäde’s design…no woman who has curves can get away with a line directly over her nipples.
    Kristine would be my winner if, like you said, the dress had been executed a little bit better.
    Like you, I also liked Samantha’s, but yes, it is a little bit too “now”. And Char’s I love from the back…I think she should have drawn the slash to the front.

    For the bottom… I am glad for Angela that she is out. She was not cut for this show, and honestly, I think she is too limited. She likes to make beautiful clothes. She should stick to that.
    Hated Hernan’s. I just knew that it was a waste of screen time to keep him. I will be surprised if he doesn’t wash out of the competition soon. Maybe next week already.

    In general…this was a really good challenge. Doable, no last minute twists….it is kind of disappointing that there were so many safe designs. A little bit of colour would have been a good idea.

    • Side note: The moment I heard “I’m inspired by my mom” I knew the design would suck. It is the rule of the show. You can be inspired by your girl or boyfriend, but never by an older family member. It always ends in a catastrophe.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I agree – this was a great challenge. Tom & Lorenzo talked in their recap about how nice it is when they get back to these design-based challenge. They really allow the designers to show their creativity – or at least, they’re supposed to. But most of these designers just didn’t push themselves enough.

    • I liked Fade’s look. I would have been happy to have Fade’s look win. Few of the entries showed any kind of flair for shape or detail. Most of them seemed like rip-offs of last year. For instance, the dress by Alexander that resembled burlap reminded me of a dress made by a red-haired woman a couple seasons ago. Hers had leather straps on top. Fade’s look (I will find a German umlaut) was chic and unusual, even with a simple shape.

      • MoHub

        To make the a with an umlaut, hold down the ALT key while typing 132 on your number pad, thus: ä

      • democracydiva – Author

        Also, on a Mac, you can hold down the option button and the letter “a”, and it will pop up a tiny menu of the letter “a” with different accents on it, and corresponding numbers beneath. Press the number 4 for the umlaut and you get ä. (I only learned this recently, by pressing the button accidentally. Go figure.)

  3. Manuel

    I think I now know why is the show not that exciting anymore. The designers are more afraid than excited. The challenge was intended to go avant garde on them, and instead, they chose to do safe clothing for Marie Claire. I believe that Sandhya is the one who tries more to communicate with her designs, rather than designing for the judging panel.

    I’m calling it. She is runnig for the win. The first attempt of this “new” aesthethic was Patricia on S11. She lost just because Michelle’s collection was amazing. Any good desing nowadays is made by creating ways to manipulate the fabric. And Sandhya gets it, while mantaining herself modern and unique. And I fully believed that when she messes up bad, Tim will be there…. ;)

    • democracydiva – Author

      I always hate the early part of the season for that exact reason – there’s more reason to play it safe, because more than half of the designers get put in the safe pile. You’d think having so many competitors would make them want to stand out even more, but it never seems to work out that way.

    • I wouldn’t bet on Sandhya’s win…mainly because I see difficulties when she attempts a whole collection. It is still early in the game and there are at least two or three designers which have some designing chops.

      • democracydiva – Author

        That’s a good point – a Sandhya collection might be one crazy piece after another, with no cohesion whatsoever. I’m not putting my money on anybody in particular just yet.

  4. Sandhya’s dress reminded me of a very plain shape with Christmas garland or a boa thrown on top of it. The top trim is not cohesive with the dress itself. I dislike it very much. It looks like an elementary design class “trick.” She should have gone home last week but she had immunity, and before that, she should have gone home at week one. Her details of week one with the zippers and sheered edges looked sloppy. I don’t like to go on and on about this. Here is the problem. First, the judges’ selections are not fair. I don’t know what they’re thinking. Not only are they confusing the other designers with their choices, but they are preventing Sandhya from improving because they embrace her work as it stands.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I clearly like Sandhya’s aesthetic more than you, but I think you’re right about the judging part. Inconsistent judging has always been a problem on this show – they judges decide they arbitrarily like some trend or aesthetic or particular choice one week, and then punish designers for working under the assumption that that’s what the judges are looking for in the next week. You’re probably right that these judging decisions are going to bite some designers in the ass in the future.

  5. I honestly think Kristine deserved to win:
    20 years isn’t such a big timeframe, so I really don’t think Sandhya’s entry is something that can be considered as a trend possibility in 2034. Kristine’s, on the other hand, was quite possible IMHO – as it was Angela’s, believe it or not (minus the ridiculously short skirt, as you’ve rightfully pointed out).
    Then again, if the judges wanted something more entries along the lines of what Sandhya presented, they should’ve established a longer timeframe for this challenge (50 years? 100 years?). And while we’re at it, giving the designers 1 EFFING DAY for such a demanding concept and challenge, and then complain about their execution or about how everything is basic and so 2014 is RIDICULOUS. This isn’t a “make a pretty dress for Heidi” challenge, it’s something that actually needs quite a bit of time to sit down and think it through. I also wholeheartedly agree with you, DD, re: Alex and the judges’ stupid comments. They used to nurture the whole learning process (Siriano was only 21 and Mychael Knight wasn’t that old either), now they just expect to be the next Alexander Wang on demand.
    I’d have sent Hernan home. Seriously. I don’t even know why they thought Angela, Sean or Alex were worse than what he sent down that runway. Yes, I agree with DD that the straps in the back are nice, and that was probably what saved him (plus that gimmicky trick with pieces of fabric becoming part of the skirt).
    I’m probably gonna damage my Dumbledore-acquired credibility and say that I’d wear Alex’s dress if it had been properly finished and rendered in a fabric that didn’t look so much like burlap. Similarly, I’d wear Sam’s entry any day of the week and feel a million bucks. That’s what probably killed these two entries – they were too much in tune with today’s sensibilities.
    Kudos and brownie points for Fade for attempting something that at least wasn’t high-end mall clothes and stood out in its own right.
    Yes I’m obviously saving the big elephant in the room for last. I 100% agree with what marshmallowjane said on her comment regarding the selection of the top 3. This is that stage in the competition where you have plenty of time and opportunities to reward different design sensibilities and chops, and so far they’ve granted the win twice to the same person and one to someone whose victory was already written in the stars to justify her comeback. Praise for Sam or Sean last week? Nope, need to put a team with some horrible (and quite frankly, unfinished) entries on top so that Amanda can win. Some kind of praise for Fade this week when he was as out of the box (if less theatrical) than Sandhya? Nope. An opportunity to reward another designer as to keep competition running? Nope. As it is, and even though people like Korina make my blood boil, I can understand if the remaining designers’ morale starts to go downhill from now on. I know mine would, somehow, if I spotted a clear script going on. I’d say Sandhya is way closer to Gretchen than to Anya in terms of design abilities, and I will admit that her stuff is so far away from my own personal taste that I’m probably biased, but the more I watch this season the more I think the production already chose their winner.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Honestly, I know I talk a lot of love for Sandhya, but I don’t actually believe she’s going to be the winner this season. I think they’re keeping her on because it’s controversial to have her there, and her wins for such outlandish outfits are going to make her competitors hate her, if they don’t already. It’s dramatic to have her there, but I think they’ll dump her in a few episodes for a more wearable aesthetic.
      I also agree that if the judges wanted more looks like Sandhya’s, they should have pushed the timeline a little further and given them more time. Honestly, I hate all one-day challenges. I’d rather see better garments made in two days than crap rushed together in one. But you’re right – this challenge in particular was really not suited to the one-day limitations. It hurt everybody’s creativity, that they didn’t have enough time to really think about the challenge.
      You’re probably right that Sandhya’s dress was more futuristic than just 20 years in the future. But so many of the looks weren’t even a few years into the future, so I guess I rewarded going too far over not going far enough. And I’m okay with that, haha!
      Also, nothing you say can diminish your Dumbledore cred. I like seeing everyone’s differing opinions in the comments!

      • I hope you are right when it comes to Sandhya. I won’t mind if she lasts ’til Fashion Week (her collection would be all kinds of things but boring, at least), but so far I wouldn’t want her to win the whole enchilada. My favourites so far are probably Kristine, Samantha and I’m gonna throw Sean in there too just because my boyfriend’s a Kiwi and so this house roots for the homeboy :p

      • democracydiva – Author

        If I can root for Samantha because we share a first name, you can root for Sean because he’s a Kiwi! Honestly, as soon as we get to a challenge that requires the designers to make some sort of uniform, or sportswear, or any of those kind-of-boring, very-limiting challenges, I think Sandhya might choke. She can get away with these totally unwearable looks during the more creative challenges, but I don’t know that she can design for the average woman.

  6. You know, Angela commented at TLo and said that the designers were specifically told not to do anything futuristic…which make Sadhya’s win really puzzling.

    Also Fäde commented at Rate the Runway on the concept behind his design.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I read Angela’s comments on TLo. They were a surprise to me too – I don’t really understand what the point of the challenge was if they weren’t supposed to go futuristic! But it does prove that none of the rules on this show make sense/are applied equally to each designer. Sigh. What a mess.

      • I guess there were supposed to do something which would fit on the cover of Marie Clair and not something you might see in the next Start Trek movie.
        At least Heidi was pointing out that the dress was quite costumey.

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