Project Runway Recap: S13 E02

Dust off your crack pipes, dear readers. It’s Runway time. 

Previously: We met more designers than any of us can possibly remember.

The Challenge: The designers attend a “private movie screening” in a beautiful theater, where an extremely cheesy trailer about fashion plays before the film cuts to Tim. That is apparently the entire “movie.” Tim announces the unconventional challenge – the designers must create looks using the movie and movie experience items as materials. This includes everything from props and costumes (seemingly limited to feather boas) to tickets and 3D glasses. Then Tim walks into the theater to continue describing the challenge – why they were watching him on screen when he was actually in the room the whole time is beyond me, but whatevs. The designers are split into five teams of three to create a cohesive three-look mini-collection… in one day. The worst part is, there will be a winning team and losing team, which always guarantees that someone terrible will be in the top, and someone great will be in the bottom.

Guest Judge: Fashion blogger Garance Doré. Honestly, I spent so much of this episode angry at Heidi, Nina, and Zac that I don’t really remember anything about Garance as a judge. Let’s assume she was fine.

Silver Team: Korina, Kristine, Amanda (winning team)


Photos: Lifetime

It looks better in photographs than it did on TV, but this was one of my least favorite looks. I was shocked that this team was awarded the top spot – it seemed entirely contrived to give Amanda as much screen time and attention as humanly possible. For someone who couldn’t stop bragging about her team making their own textiles, she really only made half a textile. The top half is cool, but the rest of the shit attached to that plain white underlay looks absolutely terrible. It just seems apparent that she only finished about 1/3 of what she attempted to do. This reminded me of my least favorite dress in recent red carpet history – the Prada disaster Lupita Nyong’o wore to this year’s Met Gala. I know the judges feel the need to over-praise contestants they bring back from prior seasons, to justify bringing them back at all, but this entire judging session was just a crack-induced nightmare.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

This was a little cheesy and tacky for me, but it was easily the chicest entry from this team. I’m not going to stop calling Korina “Jessa” anytime soon, but she’s definitely one of the designers to watch this season.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

I really did not enjoy this look. I thought the bodice was ugly, I thought the letters were hideous, and I thought the silhouette was way too simple. I’m impressed that Kristine and her teammates were able to create cohesive looks in such a short amount of time, but I still can’t comprehend how this team ended up on the top when I was sure they were on the bottom.

Green Team: Emily, Alexander, Samantha


Photos: Lifetime

The Green Team certainly should have been contenders for the top spot. Their looks were cohesive, fascinating, fashionable, and just the right amount of weird. Alexander’s entry is dramatic and runway-ready. You can feel the spirit of the challenge in it, and it looks like something that’s fun to wear.


Photos: Lifetime

This had its execution problems, but at least the idea was there. The skirts made of cascading rolls of film really brought this mini-collection together, but this was a little too sloppy.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

It’s not the most impressive look in photos, but this was by far my favorite thing on the runway. It moved so elegantly and looked impossibly cool. Maybe I’m biased because Samantha and I share a first name, but she’s another designer I’m keeping an eye on. I think she’s got some serious potential.

Red Team: Hernan, Sandhya, Carrie (losing team)

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I feel just terrible for Carrie, another victim of this show’s crack-induced bullshit. Since Sandhya made a controversial garment that won last week, and then cried to Tim over how mean her teammates were this week, her team obviously had to be at the bottom for maximum drama. (While I like Sandhya, I think she overreacted to the criticisms her teammates gave her, and I do not at all agree that they were “picking on her,” as she claimed.) The judges desperately wanted to have a “first to worst” story, and punish Sandhya’s team for not working well together. But since Sandhya had immunity, this meant that Hernan or Carrie had to be sacrificed at the altar of contrivance.

It was entirely unfair, and I was very proud of Carrie and Hernan for standing up for themselves and basically calling the judges out on their bullshit. The judges were more callous and rude in this episode than ever before, and fought with the contestants just for answering their questions honestly. It was bad enough that they manipulated the show to create these results; things got worse when the contestants started to fight back, the judges reacted like bitchy little children. So goodbye to Carrie, who was one of the more talented designers of the group and did not at all deserve to be eliminated for a totally decent dress.

Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

All my Carrie comments also apply to Hernan. His dress had a little more going on, which ended up saving his ass, but none of these people deserved to be in the bottom.

Bottom 3
Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This was not nearly as bad as the judges made it out to be. And since when is being too cohesive a problem on this show? Yes, I did notice that all these dresses looked too much alike, and I agree that that was a flaw. But was it a worse problem than the other hot messes walking down this runway? Not even close. And honestly, this dress is pretty cool and wearable.

Purple Team: Mitchell, Kini, Char

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

The Purple Team did a fantastic job. They took themselves so much less seriously than the rest of the teams, and their looks were incredibly fun as a result. I cannot believe that Char was able to weave all these tickets into a textile in one day. The embellishments are funky and fashionable, and helped Char solidify herself as the early fan favorite. I think that having a sense of humor about yourself and your design is the most important part of the unconventional challenge, and in that regard, this team killed it.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

The weakest of the three, and not particularly memorable, but it’s still chic and well-made and fun as hell.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Apparently, when Mitchell stops being a mean girl and shuts his mouth and gets to work, he can create some really terrific shit. I thought this crushed-CD dress was FANTASTIC. Yes, the silhouette is incredibly simple, but I think that enhances the crazy light-catching textured print. A more complex design would have made this go way over-the-top. I’m still not sure I actually like Mitchell, but he certainly was the most improved since the first challenge.

Blue Team: Sean, Angela, Fade

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

EVERYONE LEAVE ANGELA ALONE. Even though her team was in the middle, Heidi felt the (totally unnecessary) need to single Angela out and tell her that her design was so shitty, it almost brought her entire team from the top spot into the bottom spot. That just felt so needlessly mean-spirited, especially since the point of being in the middle of the pack is that Heidi & Co. don’t get to say mean (or nice) shit to you. This was not my favorite look on the runway, but it was miles better than the crap the judges gave the win to, so there was really no reason to single out Angela for random Heidi hatred. It still feels like everyone on this show is trying to break this woman, and I absolutely hate that. Everyone please stop picking on this nervous computer engineer-turned-designer. She so clearly means well, and she’s not even close to being the worst designer in the competition. Stay strong, honey. I’m on your side.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

A little weird, but in a good way, no? The bodice had an armor-like superhero vibe that I dug, and the fringe at the bottom looks effortlessly cool. I think it’s the black-and-white portion in the middle that didn’t really come together for me. Still, a strong look overall.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Sean kept bragging about how you couldn’t tell this dress was made of straws, but I’m not really sure that’s true. This just seemed heavy and unpleasant, and not nearly as innovative as an unconventional materials look should be.

Judges’ Top 3: Amanda, Korina, Kristine
Diva’s Top 3: Samantha, Mitchell, Char
Judges’ Bottom 3: Sandhya, Hernan, Carrie
Diva’s Bottom 3: Sean, Amanda, Kristine

Next time: The contestants reveal their sure-to-be-terrifying thoughts on futuristic fashion in S13 E03 – Past, Present, and Future.

© Democracy Diva, 2014.
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24 responses to Project Runway Recap: S13 E02

  1. Linda Myers

    One thing for sure, nothing’s changed since the insanity of last season. They have to include more drama since they’re stretched the program to fill a 90 minute programming slot.

    • democracydiva – Author

      The move to 90 minutes was one of the worst decisions they ever made. If it weren’t for DVR, I probably would have just stopped watching the show, because there is absolutely no need for such long episodes, especially in the latter part of the season. I couldn’t agree more – they use the extra time for drama, not for more fashion.

    • 90 minutes? The actual running time of an episode is slightly over an hour…how much advertising to they force in there?

  2. I think making the unconventional challenge a group challenge entirely defeats the purpose of it…which is in my eyes to let creativity roam free.

    I think that Samantha had easily the best dress on the runway, followed by Mitchell (which surprised me), who somehow managed to struggle the edge between tacky and attention seeking and Fäde, whose name is still ridiculous, but is in my eyes the only male contestant I can see reaching the finals. But none of the looks were discussed, because, well, why drifting away from the script?

    Thus said, I actually think that all groups in the middle had one good, and two soso efforts. Angela’s work was nice, but nothing more, and I honestly don’t get why she was so much against the villain theme. Nobody says that a villain has to be full of edges. She has talent, but she is obviously not made for the format.
    I don’t get why Sean acted as if he had just invented fashion new…this was a repeat of Justin’s tube dress, only shorter and without sound effect, but still as yeti-like.

    The only good thing I can say about Kini’s work is that he put a lot of effort into manipulating the material, but the result is soso, and totally off-proportions.
    Char’s was – okay. If the material had been different, I would have called it downright boring and colour palette tacky (honestly, the collection looked as if it was made for a Barbie), but she really did well with the material she had.

    I strongly disagree with you concerning Alexander…the dress is wearing the model instead of the other way around, and just gluing the films together is in my eyes the easiest way to make a dress (it reminded me of the ugly seat belt dress a few season ago, just that this material was more forgiving). A strong contender for my personal bottom.
    Emily’s I don’t get, especially not the hips in combination with the stripes, but at least she did try to design something….

    Amanda…I really don’t get her win. First of all, I always thought that the white stuff had to be invisible by the rules, and the end result looked crafty to me. Same with Kristine, she started well but it is obvious that she then took short cuts for a result. Korina was a middle work for me…it looked more like it was made for a duct tape challenge though.

    Carrie, Hernan and Sadhya….first of all the “same dress” speech was BS, those are clearly different silhouettes, they are just all done out of the same material, using the same technique. Sadhya, I think, had a way better dress first, but her team mates talked her out of it, so I would certainly not throw a stone at her. She is the creative one who already won a challenge, so I don’t get why the other two were so dismissive of her from the get go. Hernan has a lot to answer for. He was the one who took the lead and forced his idea on the other two. I think if anybody should have gone from this team it was him, even though his dress is kind of the best…but only because it looks the most finished, all in all I think it is tacky. I feel sorry for Carrie. She should have followed the first rule of survival for a group challenge: If your team implodes, ensure that your own dress is good, cohesiveness be damned.

    All in all I think none of the groups had clear “top” or clear “bottom” results, and while I am sure singular dresses I would have considered “top” there are a few which fell a little bit more short than others, I don’t have a clear “this is the worst” contender.

  3. If their intention is to give me a one-way ticket to anger management classes, then they’re doing a spectacular job this season! We’ve had two episodes and both managed to infuriate me with the amount of crack-induced judging…
    – The whole Shandya (sp?) shenanigan felt extremely contrived to me. My automatic reaction when she went crying to Tim was “uff…pull yourself together”. I really don’t think her teammates, or the remaining fellow contestants for that matter, were bullying her at all (and I suffered physical and verbal bullying while I was teen, so I kinda know a thing or two about that). The editing was a bit unforgiving for all the three involved, in the sense that it was very ambiguous and left room for interpretation on whether they were really pushing her or if she was just being extremely obnoxious towards them – but, again, neither of those seemed like bullying to me in the way she described it to Tim. She also seemed very surprised that people weren’t happy about her previous win and that’s the main reason why that convo with Tim felt ridiculous to me – I’m gonna quote the great Albus Dumbledore to sum this up because he said better than I ever could: “Really Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time!”

    – Don’t get me started on Amanda’s win, because the last I’ve checked, showing that amount of muslin places you on the bottom three, and Emilio Sosa almost got the boot using a similar tecnique – they should know already that one-day challenges aren’t the ideal moment for performing such time-consuming and ambitious projects… Last season they gave Kate the win on the second challenge, I sense a pattern here :/

    – I thought Mitchell and Samantha had the best entries by far, with Sean (sp?) as a close third.Boy, did Heidi beamed when the CD dress was going down the runway – Frau Klum’s holy trinity on steroids!

    – That girl Angela struck me as extremely stubborn, because until Tim critiqued her outfit she remained very defensive and avoided collaborating with her team even though that would risk their garment’s cohesion. Or maybe I should just blame the editing…

    – As for the bottom three: Though it’s refreshing to see someone calling the judges out on their bullshit, I think Carrie (and Hernan to some extent) shot herself on the foot by basically complaining about rules that exist since the very first episode of Project Runway. If you have immunity, you’re safe regardless of how awful the garment you choose to send down the runway is. Shandya wasn’t going anywhere so it was stupid to try to stir the judges on that direction. Same thing for when they did the same for someone on another team – you guys are the bottom three, deal with it. I am sad to see Carrie go because, as I’ve stated on my previous comment here (I do love your recaps, DD, been following those for years now!), she seemed like one to watch; but she came across as a gigantic sore loser… Having said that, I’d have auf’ed Hernan because, in the end, they followed his vision (and he is bound to be auf’ed soon due to “questionable taste”, to use a Nina-ism).

    • democracydiva – Author

      BEST ALBUS DUMBLEDORE QUOTE EVER. I am a little bit in love with you for quoting him in this context. Absolutely perfect. And I agree – the editing made it very difficult to tell whether Sandhya was actually being bullied, but I didn’t get the impression that she was.

      Re: amanda: my thoughts exactly. I think she intended to cover all the muslin, but ran out of time, and that alone should have put her in the bottom, as it did for designers in a million previous unconventional challenges.

      Re: Mitchell’s CD dress – I pointed out that expression on Heidi’s face to my fiance while we watched. Of COURSE Heidi beams over something that short, tight, and shiny! I thought he did an amazing job.

      Re: Angela: She read my recap of the premiere and tweeted nice things at me, so now I’m biased in her favor, haha! She also mentioned that the editing definitely makes things look very different than they actually happened. So while I agree that she seemed a bit on the defensive side, I’m also open to the idea that that was mostly editing.

      So glad you’ve been reading my recaps for so long! There’s so few people still covering this show – even New York Magazine doesn’t recap it any more, and I lived for their recaps! – so it feels good to know that people are sticking with me. 🙂 I see your point about Carrie and Hernan shooting themselves in the foot by arguing back with the judges, but I can’t say I’d have done anything different in their position. They really didn’t deserve to be there; they might not have reacted well to that, but I still understand their reaction.

      • There’s always a Harry Potter quote, no matter the moment 😛 It is very though to judge when it comes to Carrie and Hernan indeed – they shouldn’t have been there, but they could have conducted themselves a bit more gracefully. I still think that she was justified in calling out the judge’s bullshit, but the arguments and attitude she chose to support that didn’t do her any favours. Again, she was my one to watch so this makes me sad… 😦

        I never miss your recaps, as well as Tom and Lorenzo’s. They help to keep my sanity in the aftermath of a show that used to be great and is now a quasi-tragicomedy. You guys still manage to make it fun, and that’s something I really appreciate 🙂 Your other posts are also really cool, and I loved the March Fabness 😀

      • MoHub

        Amanda’s underdress wasn’t muslin; per Amanda’s tweet, it was photography background cloth. However, considering Amanda’s speechifying to her teammates about not using cloth or cloth-like materials, her extensive use of the “fabric” made her self-contradictory, if not hypocritical.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Yes! I wasn’t sure it was muslin – it makes more sense that it wasn’t – but still, Amanda was the one to explain that even unconventional materials that look like fabric are usually hated by the judges. Like you said – definitely a bit hypocritical.

  4. MoHub

    If Wendy Pepper’s Gristede’s candy bikini and Emilio Sosa’s washers-and-string effort made a baby, it would be Amanda’s “overdress.” And both “parents” are looking better and better to me in comparison with the so-called winning look.

  5. In the past I’ve reviewed PR on my doll clothes blog, since it’s all about fashion. This season I decided to focus more on getting my own products ready for sale by the end of the year….I hope. I came here, depending on your knowledge of fashion and the show. I see that I got here a little too early, so I’ll check back in awhile.

    I just wanted to say that I’m baffled at the judges’ responses to Sandhya’s garments. I thought she should go home on week one. Then I thought they’d send her packing on week two but she had immunity. Now, week three has another terrible offer from her.

    She is a kind person with an interesting thought process. But it is appearing that the judges are told how to vote, and they do it with a straight face. I can’t imagine that what they see in this dress in person and what I see on my 60-inch TV could be all that different. Sandhya’s clothes look amateurish and silly.

    I shall return to read your next blog for this week’s show to see what you and your other readers think. I look forward to reading it.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Good luck with your products! I’ve read your PR posts before. 🙂 I’m working on the post for last night’s episode right now, so I’ll address some of these comments when I discuss Sandhya’s look.

  6. LSheri

    First, I love your recaps. I live in Denmark, so have to wait a little to watch the show, but I have your recaps on my computer screen while watching.

    About the winning team. I didn’t like Amanda’s dress, but I found Korina’s dress even worse. Duct tape is probably the most horrible texture ever. While at the same time, it’s so easy to “mold”, and still it was an awful dress.

    I didn’t hate the losing dresses, and definitely didn’t think they were the same dresses. They weren’t the worst and also not the best.

    My favourites were the Purple Team’s dresses. But hey, I am starting to think you’re right in thinking crack is a big part of the judging-process.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thanks so much! What a mess of an episode this was. I really couldn’t believe who ended up in the top and bottom. Crack is the only plausible explanation to me!

  7. LSheri

    And also, Jessa/Korina seems to me to be a rather nasty person. That might influence my opinion of her garments. Also – I know nothing of fashion.

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