Project Runway Recap: S13 E07

Diamonds! Tears! Even more Germans! Are you ready for the runway, dear readers? 

Previously: No one had time to make anything remotely resembling a wedding dress, but Dita Von Teese was cool.

The Challenge: The episode begins with everyone talking about how much they love Char, which makes me happy. The designers are apparently not such soundbite-zombies that they don’t know an awesome, funny lady when they see one. But for some reason, the producers found it more dramatic to wait until after the challenge was assigned and have Tim cry in the workroom about how he cannot live with himself unless he brings Char back. (You know, instead of bringing her back at the beginning of the episode, like a normal thing.) I love Char and I’m glad she’s back, but please, no more of Tim Gunn’s Time-Filling Tears. And she should have been allowed to choose from the full array of jewelry like everyone else, dammit!

Anyway, the designers must choose a piece of ridiculously expensive Chopard jewelry and design an extravagant evening wear look worthy of a gala to show it off. (In one day. Don’t get me started.) Oh, and they take a field trip to the Charles James exhibit at the Met for extra fabness and inspiration. (Charles James was a master couturier and not, as Amanda said, “kind of punk rock.” He made extravagant ball gowns, for God’s sake. They were innovative and intricate and fascinating, but they were not “punk rock.” Does Amanda’s brother pay her royalties for every time she mentions rock music on this show, or something? Because it happens too often. )

Guest Judge: Caroline Scheufele, artistic director of Chopard, who was German and fabulous.

Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

The execution on this thing was a mess, especially up close, but at least the front of it photographs phenomenally well. Sure, it’s a Vivienne Westwood knockoff, and the judges couldn’t see the necklace well enough from their vantage point, but Alexander came up with a mildly interesting, challenge-appropriate design. Almost no one else did. So, sure, his was held together with pins, spit, and a prayer, but it could have been worse, and too many of them were. The judges were all, “We can’t believe how amazing all your looks are!” I don’t know what show they were watching, but the best that can be said about this runway show is that there was no accidental nudity. Nowadays, that’s enough to make the judges fall all over themselves.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This was needlessly weird, completely ugly, and had fuck-all to do with the challenge. I don’t know how many times I can give you all the same Amanda rant, so I’ll just roll my eyes and move on.


Photos: Lifetime

Char desperately needed to be safe this episode, and so she created something safe. It might not have made for a great runway look, but it was probably the smartest thing she could have done for herself in the competition. The ruffles were nice, and I liked the cut-out, but the length was a real issue. That fabric hitting at the upper ankle instead of grazing the floor – it just cheapened this dress so much. Had she crafted this in a more interesting fabric – maybe a metallic or something with a little texture – and fixed the length, it could have been a top 3 entry.


Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I think this is fascinating from the back and underwhelming from the front. The bodice just sort of hung there and wasn’t fitted well to the model’s body, but I am kind of obsessed with the vaguely sapphic draping in the back. That shit is gorgeous. But as the judges said, so much of this challenge is about fabric choice. And this fabric, like many others on the runway, just didn’t look expensive enough. Not for the jewelry, and not for a gala.


Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

The silhouette is fabulous from the front, although I hate the draping and pinning in the back. And again, these fabrics read as sportswear, not luxe evening wear.

Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

An ordinary and vaguely tacky design, executed terribly. And I’d be thrilled if I never heard the sound of Kini’s voice again. I don’t actually think Kini is that obsessed with himself, I think he just believes that acting like self-involved bitch will get him on camera more. And clearly – sadly – he’s right. But this dress was a full-on disaster. He’s lucky Sam didn’t design anything at all.


Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This was the only thing I really wanted to put in the top three. This was weird and dark and surprising, but still fit the challenge flawlessly. This coat is a work of art, her fabric choice was brilliant, the pockets are divine – I didn’t really know how talented Korina was until this challenge. Way to go, Jessa.


Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

After way more than thirteen seasons of this show (including All Stars), I have absolutely zero patience for hipsters declaring, “I’ve never made a gown before.” I totally believe that it’s outside Sam’s wheelhouse to make a gown. But once you find out you’re going to be on Project Runway, and therefore know that at LEAST one challenge this season will straight-up require you to make a gown, YOU MAKE A FUCKING GOWN. Just for practice. Just so you don’t have to lose your gown virginity on four hours of sleep, in one day, surrounded by sociopaths. And for a first gown, this wasn’t actually that terrible. But she didn’t design much at all, and she didn’t make up for it with fabulous fabric choice or killer execution. So sad as I am to see her go, she did deserve the auf.


Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I am seriously in love with this dress. I’d love to see it on any starlet at a movie premiere, or hanging in my closet just waiting for a good enough excuse to be worn. But it has nothing to do with this challenge. At all. I really tried to stick to looks that actually worked for the challenge to fill my top three, but to be honest, this was the only thing I liked other than Korina and Sean’s looks. So it slid into my top three just because I want to wear it, and you, dear readers, will just have to deal with it.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Ugh, I hated the way the model posed to show off that ring. Honey, we’ll see that rock from a thousand miles away – you really don’t need to keep your index finger pointed for the entire runway walk. Anyway, this was a good dress, but not the most interesting thing on earth. The velvet trim at the bottom was romantic and sweet, and it definitely fit the constraints of the challenge, but it just didn’t have the element of surprise that Korina’s had.

Next time: The special effects team really goes apeshit and the designers go avant garde in S13 E08 – Rainway.

Judges’ Top 3: Korina, Sean, Amanda
Diva’s Top 3: Korina, Sean, Sandhya
Judges’ Bottom 3: Kini, Alexander, Samantha
Diva’s Bottom 3: Amanda, Kini, Samantha

© Democracy Diva, 2014.
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36 responses to Project Runway Recap: S13 E07

  1. First off, fabulous job on recapping the episode once again., Seriously I’m not one to hand out compliments like this so readily. I can be a bit, uh shall we say….arrogant? But I find myself screaming at the TV each week at the judges’ decisions, only to read your blog to find out that you have agreed with me. Oh ok, that I agree with you. (There’s the arrogance).

    Alexander’s sculptural dress wasn’t perfect, but it was interesting at least as you said. It had a point of view and it fit the challenge. So it didn’t deserve to be in the bottom 3.

    Zac was more complimentary about it than the others but his catty comment about how it hid the jewelry was an awkward bid for attention.

    “Oh there’s a stone there? I didn’t see it when she walked out.“

    The only thing more bitchy than Zac Posen’s comment was his smirk as he looked to Nina for validation on his snooty comment. If you don’t recall his facial expression, please do re-watch the scene. You’ll be glad you did.

    Korina and Sean were the best so good call there, but good heavens! Amanda in the TOP 3?! What planet am I on? I’m sure she’s a nice person, but honestly I do not care for her designs at all and this one was one of the worst. Shame on the judges for elevating that gauzy housecoat as couture. Awful. Awful. Awful.

    Korina took a major chance and it paid off beautifully. On the other hand, Samantha didn’t push herself. Her dress failed to be even remotely innovative. So in the end I agreed with the high and the low.

    Can’t wait til next week’s episode (and your recap).

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thank you, Mark! I love your arrogance, it matches my own perfectly. 😉

      I can’t believe I forgot to talk about Zac’s smirk! I wrote it down in my notes and everything. BITCHIEST, MOST UNNECESSARY THING IN THE WORLD. I know exactly the expression you’re talking about. It bothered me just as much as it bothered you!

      Gauzy housecoat = the best possible way to describe Amanda’s dress. Thanks for reading and commenting and agreeing with me! 🙂

      • Honestly, I am ready to excuse a lot Zac currently does, considering that he was the only one who called Amanda’s nonsense out for the crap that it was.

  2. I think Alexander missed the challenge by a mile…he wasn’t the only one, though. The job was, after all, to showcase the jewellery, and Alexander didn’t take the necklace into consideration at all. He only made a knock-off which looked like he had wrapped his model in garbage bags. From the colour to the neckline to the execution, nothing really worked on this one, and the only reason I don’t rant about him still being there is that Samatha didn’t consider her jewellery either and was boring on top of it.
    How Amanda ended up in the top is a mystery for me, she would have been for me lower middle, mostly because Kini produced something which looked like the model had rolled herself in her window dressing (though at least Kini tried to design around the jewellery).

    The only designers who actually filled the brief were Korina, Sean, Sandhya and Fäde, and the latter two loose points for designing something not “gala” enough. So yes, I would have Sandhya in the top, too, the first time she designed something I really, really liked. Fäde should have picked a different fabric…it is obvious that Gala is not really his wheelhouse either.

    I have a couple of problems with Korina’s…I like the idea, but the skirt is a little bit too long, and the fabric of the (very simple) coat reads too much bed cover for my taste. It is unexpected and easily her best work (I’m okay with her win), but it also looks kind of “Disney villain”. And why do the designer this season keep pairing long skirts with open shoes? It looks like the modes is wearing flip flops.

    Sean’s was a perfect fit for the challenge, but I would hate to wear it. I like to be able to move my arms, thank you very much. I properly would have given him the win nevertheless, because while he didn’t think quite out of the box, it does read lux and elegant a way none of the others designs do.

    Either way, I still want Sandhya and Fäde in the final.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Haha, I didn’t think “Disney villain” about Korina’s coat, but now that you say it, I can’t un-see it. So true. I still love it, but it’s definitely a fair criticism. And I’m with you on Sandhya and Fäde in the final. Really, I’ll be thrilled as long as Amanda isn’t in it, but at this point, I’m pretty sure she’s going to win the whole season. Sigh.

      • Will you peek at the collections? Tom and Lorenzo already posted the pictures…and I have two clear favourites.

      • democracydiva – Author

        I think Fäde’s and Sean’s are my favorites. (Note to everyone else: these aren’t spoilers, everyone still in the competition at this point presented a collection.) Sandhya’s was a little disappointing. Amanda’s was better than I thought it would be, but I still don’t like her. Kini’s was painfully boring.

      • Really? Sean? It’s one of my last fav.
        My favs are Fäde’s and Sandhya, the former being the more wearable collection.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Honestly, I couldn’t really pick a second favorite other than Fäde. I thought Sean’s was the best of the rest, but not very good at all. Fäde was the only one I really loved, haha. Sandhya’s actually wasn’t as good as I expected. Some of the pieces had her usual creative flair, but some of them were just total throwaways. And how anyone does a throwaway look in such a small collection is beyond me, but it seemed particularly disappointing coming from her.

      • Which one do you consider throwaways?
        My main problem with Sandhya’s collection is the styling…the lipstick is distracting from the actual designs. I looks like the models all just came from the carnival in Cologne.
        Overall, I love Fäde’s the most, too. It surprised me a little bit, but then considering how he dresses I should have guessed that he is drawn towards Berlin Wall Chick.

      • democracydiva – Author

        I agree, the lipstick is very distracting. My Sandhya throwaways: Look 2 (wearable but not runway ready and not nearly at the level of creativity of the look before it), and Look 4 (tee shirt that you can’t read the print on, and shorts). There were other looks I just didn’t like, but they weren’t necessarily throwaways.

      • To be fair, it’s not more or throwaway than Fäde’s second look. I agree, the second look doesn’t really fit into the collection, does it? I wonder if that is the result of a last minute challenge….

      • democracydiva – Author

        A lot of the collections have throwaways, but Sandhya is so ridiculously creative (sometimes to a fault) that I think they bothered me more in her collection than the others. But you’re right, there’s probably a last-minute twist thrown in there that messed up the cohesion of every collection.

      • democracydiva – Author

        But at the end of the season I’ll recap the decoy collections and then we can tear them apart one look at a time, just like God intended. 😛

      • You know…you could also rip apart a decoy collection every time the designer in question goes out now that Tim Gunn used his safe. This way you wont have to da all at once and we can either be doubly satisfied that will get spared a mess in the finale, or frustrated that something so great won’t be there.

      • democracydiva – Author

        That’s true, but I like to be able to compare the collections to each other, and that’s harder for me to do when I spread out the posts. I like to recap the decoys after the main finale collections, so that I can be all, “Can you believe we had to sit through all that bullshit when the actual good fashion was hiding in the decoys?”

      • democracydiva – Author

        Ooh, you’re sneaky! I’m going to try to remain spoiler-free, but I’m impressed with your investigative skills, haha!

      • MoHub

        Char’s collection to me was further proof that Tim blew his save on her. It was haphazard and reflective of the inconsistency of her work prior to her elimination.

        I like Sandhya’s collection, and—G-d help me—thought Korina’s was the best and the possible winner of the whole shebang, even though it was too leather—leathuh—centric.

        As Kors would say, Kini’s was more a line than a collection. Beautiful clothes well executed but not progressive and already ready to hang in a high-end department store. Alexander’s, as usual, was overwrought. He is not fully baked and needs more time in the oven.

        Amanda’s was the snoozefest I expected, and the rest were pretty much forgettable, and Sean needs to lose the fringe.

      • democracydiva – Author

        I think Char is just a darling human being, but Tim really needs to stop using his save on the personality he likes best rather than the person whom the judges overlooked.

        Leathuh! I giggled at that. 🙂

    • Ed

      Thanks. I don’t like spoilers either. This season it just jumped right out at me. They need to do things a little differently from now on.

      About the Tim Gunn save, I think it’s very disingenuous. I like Tim and all; but I think he’s been put up to this bit of melodramatic theater. Last year, by all appearances, Tim got Kahindo Mateene booted early because she made an ethnic choice with regard to a print. Tim advised her not to use it. So she landed in the bottom as too safe, then was outed for imagining the worst about her original intent. Eek!

      Some fans, including myself, said Tim needs to bring her back. Maybe you know the discussion? Oh no, he can’t do that, she’s gone already. No he can do it; the rule doesn’t say when Tim has to use his save. The print itself isn’t hideous. This is Project Runway; they can fashion looks from newspaper. How does choosing an ethnic print necessarily equal elimination? Even TLO noted there’s never been a black winner [at that time]; and it’s a problem. It got ugly from there.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Half the time Heidi says, “who would wear this?” I think to myself, “um, maybe someone who isn’t a tall thin white woman?” The judges’ worldviews seem to have only gotten more limited as the seasons go on. If Heidi can’t wear it and Nina can’t envision it in her magazine, it doesn’t have a chance. (Unless it’s by Amanda or whoever the ridiculous judges’ pet of that particular season is.) It’s so frustrating to see them eliminate things based on personal, specific preferences, especially when the things they eliminate are often designed by/for women of color.

      • Ed

        I’m sure you have it right with what you say there, which is what I had always thought all along. But you know how it is in an heated argument. The longer it drags on, the more polarized the discussion becomes. Eventually you get to examining Heidi’s heritage. Then before anyone could point out Seal, whole threads started disappearing.

        TLO banned me for saying something about a historical world leader with a funny mustache. But hey, TLO themselves had said it was a problem; so I was dumbfounded. I have Aryan heritage and I’ve spent some time in Heidi’s neck of the woods. Within a week in a new environment, I’ll be invited to a rally. In a few more days, I find out there’s a number of bad people around. It starts off rather innocuously with some bad jokes which become worse and worse if you don’t speak up. From my experience, that political party is a modern day reality. So speaking up when you suspect something should be a good thing. I wouldn’t even bring it up here if it weren’t for Heidi’s marriage to Seal to remove her from suspicion.

        Anyway, I’m banned, and I don’t care to go over to the dark side to report a spoiler alert. So I posted it here. Really, how can you know about GNTM and go through the photos without noticing?

        About Amanda, you do know Adam Levine has married his VS model Behati Prinsloo. GNTM had rights to broadcast hours of Maroon 5 for their top show in 2012. AGT just aired a special performance of “Maps.” There’s more; but you get the idea, cross-promotion.

      • I am not sure with what kind of people you spoke while in Germany, but it is pretty pointless to bring up the past at all considering that Heidi is a well-travelled woman who has a bunch of children with Seal. Accusing her of being racist just because she happens to be German is a pretty low blow (and an insult to Germans in general…I have yet to find a country in which you won’t encounter a couple of idiots). And if you bring up the past…well, historically speaking, Germans didn’t have slaves and are therefore way less predisposed to feel negatively about people with African Heritage than Americans. There is less bad blood overall.

        The issue with Kahindo was less the print and more that she picked a fabric she had trouble to work with and then dished out a messy and boring design. It was not the worst on the runway, not by a long shot, but it was definitely bad. The reason why she was the one who had to go was less because she was black and more because she was not “interesting” enough. The same reason why we had to suffer Hernan this season longer than we should have and why Ken was sticking around way too long last season.

        I agree that the safe should be used to either rescue a talented designer with a bad day, or to correct a decision of the judges when they send a designer home over something which didn’t deserve that much scorn. In Char’s case, neither applies. He design was definitely the worst and she didn’t create anything which convinced me of her talent (thus said…her collection was more or less on par with what most of the others produced. At least she isn’t afraid of colour. But I think we all know that there are exactly two serious competitors this year).

  3. Gabe

    Is it just me or does Kini feel like a likable version of Ven from season 10. Like they both are very fast sewers who can churn out an evening gown like that but all there gowns are just COMPLETELY lacking of originality or innovation?

    • MoHub

      As for any comparisons with Ven, we’ll have to wait for the “real woman” challenge to see how he reacts to working with a model who isn’t 6 feet tall and weighs 110 poundsl

  4. Because I just came back from a hen party and am, therefore, dying of tiredness, I’ll try to keep this one short:

    – I can’t stand Korina, but I didn’t have a problem with her getting the win.Though I am rooting for Sean, I have such a problem with the lack of different winners this season that I would be seething if they gave him is third win in a row…
    – That shower curtain to which Amanda called a “coat” reminded me of s4’s Jerry Tam’s “Psycho” outfit that he thought was fabulous and got him the auf. Here’s the thing: a jumpsuit can be perfectly adequate for a gala or a similar upscale event, but not if a) there’s a monstrosity like Amanda’s coat on top of it and b) they can’t make it interesting and polished enough. I think the judges liked the idea of it more than the actual result (and the producers’ input vis-à-vis Amanda is also a given at this point…)
    – Hated Kini’s dress, but then again I absolutely despise hoop earrings (Chopard or not) so I guess this one was a no-win situation for me.
    – I’m glad that, this time around, ambitious-but-badly-executed won over boring. This hasn’t been the rule for quite some time now on Project Runway, when it was practically one of the PR Ten Commandments in the early seasons. Alexander had a (very!) ambitious idea while Sam had nothing at all but to come up a decent dress to end on the “safe pile”. One can argue that his dress had visible pins and other elements that were red flags for “unfinished dress”, and on any other occasion I’d auf him too, but not this time around and considering what he was up against…
    – I don’t understand why Sam immediately defaulted to “gown” when she was the one with the pieces that work the best with anything other than gown. I could see that watch and ring as perfect accents for a women wearing a jumpsuit or a killer blazer/pants combo.
    – Emily better ditch that model of hers, because she didn’t do her dress any favours. I got reminded of one of the models Mila used on s7, whilst competing for the last spot on the final 3 against Jay Nicholas Sario. She was wearing that AMAZING silver-and-black cocktail dress and kept pushing her head forward and hunching her shoulders while showcasing it. Same problem with Emily’s model.
    – 16h for a couture/gala dress is just plain ridiculous.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Totally agreed re: Korina (almost as obnoxious as Amanda, but I’m glad she won this challenge).

      Great comparison to that psycho-killer outfit from back in the day! God, that thing was horrific. Amanda’s wasn’t as bad as that, but I definitely see why your brain linked it to that S4 disaster. I agree that a jumpsuit can be formal, but like you said – not the way Amanda made it. Her jumpsuit looked like a scuba suit to me.

      I hate hoop earrings too! Even if they cost a billion dollars like I’m sure those did, they still just look vaguely cheap to me.

      I definitely wish Sam had made a tuxedo, but the only thing more difficult than making a beautiful gown in 16 hours is making something with sleeves and pant legs in 16 hours. That’s also why I hate these one-day challenges – it discourages making pants, or any garments with lots of tailoring, because it takes too long to fit them.

    • Ed

      It was not specified what gala was intended. It is come as you are for a Greek Week gala. So some assumptions are necessary to narrow the options. The jewelry was extravagant; but a dressed down look with high jewels could be interesting and could show the jewels. The jewelry is not much of a limiting factor. The Charles James exhibit inspiration at the Met is important. The gala beforehand was a high event. Also notice on Youtube what Charles James inspired look Dita Von Teese wore to the Costume Institute Gala when escorted by Zac Posen. Zac Posen had a speaking engagement at the Met on the topic of Charles James by the way. I think these clues point to the gala and desired look.

      Sean’s was most on the mark for the challenge. That was the best for the Met with Charles James inspired ruffling and silhouette. There’s some Lady Di in there too; Sean said young royal. Okay, it’s good to get away from Sandhya, Amanda, and Sean’s three ring circus. Let’s go visit the side-show freak.

      To dress Maleficent, Korina had a stiff coat made of what looked like a rug. The only hint unique to Charles James was the stiffness. She probably wanted some ruffling at the bottom; but that didn’t work out. The form fitting of the dress was enough to barely get the Charles James point across and was safe for gala. The coat was not good for the Met; but it did give the editorial oomf needed to win where the dress alone would not be enough.

      Amanda’s had no inspiration of Charles James. We are supposed to imagine that she was going for something with the negligee. You can’t get there from here, is what goes through my mind. Amanda gets bonus merits because of her brother. Give me a break with the sci-fi movie premiere. If that’s a gala, then bring back Emily’s “Ewok” for a stab at this.

      Since Disney villains are in, Kini would do better to bring back Cruella the dress intended for Heidi; but Kini departed from overuse of black and had the Greek Week gala in mind. Even a well constructed toga would be a poor choice. Kini had plenty of jewelry to choose from. He picked second, and dribbled straight to the hoops. Foul! With the earrings, the look is much more junior. On first glance, the diamonds come across as zircon.

      When examining Mary Poppins, Zac had promised Alexander would never make another tortured fabric choice. Now, Alexander’s tortured fabric would not be a problem if only there was a little tack at the cleavage. Alexander is Zac’s inexplicable fan favorite for sure. The front needed Zac’s suggestion. The back was bad. The side view was ghastly. The movement of fabric was awkward. Pins were holding it all together.

      Sam really did need to stay on a gown concept in keeping with Charles James. How about something like a styled to rock Rihanna wearing a Stella McCartney two piece at the Met? It was awesome, better than Dita’s. An inspired look might be approximated in a day. Sam should have known what her style icon was wearing before taping began. No excuses. Goodbye.

      Emily was dressing Jasmin and thinking Aladdin for her Disney cosplay. I cannot understand why Emily has kept this model of hers up to now. It’s a horrible pose and expression every time.

      Char is on her third model. Though sometimes masculine facially, Christabel was much better than Bella. Bella was out when Mitchell did his red hot mess. Char just turned that red to white with little improvement. How has Bella been allowed to return? Is she back in the modeling competition? When Char went out, Christabel looked worse than Hernan’s super “V” styled to look like Hernan. A whole set of models at Fashion Week looked like their associated designer too. It’s as if the designers have little control over styling choices. Char had not discarded Christabel for Bella when Mitchell was out. Was Char blaming Christabel for styling? Or was Christabel reluctant to return? There are some stories here that nobody is talking about.

      Fade’s has a man chest. High-low is old now. That’s the worst; I cannot think of any up side.

      Sandhya had something of a tablecloth. The ruffle pops out strangely in the back but is hidden with messy black bead work. From the front though, it seems ready for a commercial catalog. The jewels are not very noticable, IMO. Maybe something in bright corn-cob yellow would make the rubies pop. I’m just testing you. The whole look needs a rethink.

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