Project Runway Recap: S13 E08

Because nothing says “avant-garde” like shilling Samsung televisions.

Previously: The designers were not allowed to breathe the same air as the Chopard jewels that served as their inspiration and their models’ accessories.

The Challenge: Create an avant-garde look inspired by corporate sponsor Samsung, because, you know, that’s not a complete oxy moron, or anything. Oh, and it has to walk down a runway in the midst of a torrential downpour. Dear producers: stop trying to make “rainway” happen. It’s not going to happen. I guess I should just be happy the designers actually had two days for this challenge, and shut the hell up. (Though is it just me, or did we see no extra time in the workroom, just footage of the designers being forced to bond with each other over alcohol? Is that really the magic of the two-day challenge – extra drinking time? Not, like, the ability to create garments that require any sort of thought or innovation?)

Guest Judge: Caitlin Fitzgerald from Masters of Sex. I can’t remember a single thing she said, but let’s go ahead and assume she was a fine judge.

ALEXANDER KNOX

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

It’s a raincoat with stuff all over it, on top of a black catsuit. Whatever. It’s fine. It didn’t look “experimental” so much as “the first idea that popped into Alexander’s head,” but I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t think it really made a statement. And while this came out better in photographs than I expected, you could hardly see the outfits on television because of the ridiculously obnoxious laser lights they were flashing all over the place.

AMANDA VALENTINE

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I absolutely loathed this on television, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad in pictures. In fact, it almost looks cool. It was, however, literally falling apart on the runway, which you can see in the back. But before Amanda changed the layout of those weird shapes, it did spur Tim Gunn to say the immortal words, “This is nothing if not the season of the vagina.” I want that quote on the back cover of my memoirs.

CHAR GLOVER

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Why did half the designers pair a black catsuit with their looks? I get that they wanted them covered up from the rain, but that superhero look got tired REAL quick. This looks more like a homemade dinosaur costume than anything else. And too many designers on this show hear “avant-garde” and go immediately to “asymmetrical with 3D shapes coming out of the shoulder.” Just because it worked for Christian Siriano and Chris March does NOT mean it will work for you.

EMILY PAYNE
Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

It’s kind of boring, which is the one thing avant-garde should never be. Her idea of experimentation was an accentuated bust and hip line, which actually just served to collect rainwater and didn’t look all that creative. I like the shoulders, and pretty much nothing else. Half the looks on this runway were clear knock-offs, and this was no exception, but Emily’s was more boring and less functional than the rest.

FÄDE ZU GRAU
Eliminated

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I am full-on in love with this darling little dress, and would wear the absolute shit out of it. But that’s kind of the problem – I could totally see myself in this look, and I do not, as a rule, run around in avant-garde fashion, because I am not a megalomaniacal pop sensation. So although I feel that Fäde never got his due from the judges, and was never recognized for how great a designer he is, I can’t really argue with this elimination. This look was a lot of great things, but avant-garde wasn’t one of them.

KINI ZAMORA
Winner

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Kini got thrown a pity win, because it was “his time,” or some bullshit like that. I loved the idea of turning an umbrella into a skirt, but the resulting look was just such an obvious McQueen rip-off that it feels disingenuous to give him the win. Copying someone else’s avant-garde work is not avant-garde. Otherwise, this was powerful and dramatic and by far the best use of the inexplicably ubiquitous catsuit. But the hat should have been way more gigantic and dramatic, and I wish it had looked a little less like a condom.

KORINA EMMERICH
Bottom 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I really hated this look. It required the bare minimum of creativity, which should have left Korina plenty of time to execute it perfectly. Except that it looks like torn-up duct tape. Again, I understand why Fäde was eliminated, but I would have given Korina the auf. And not just because I’ve never liked her, while I’ve liked Fäde since I stopped letting his name bother me.

SANDHYA GARG
Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This was craftsy and cheap-looking, and that was a real disappointment. If anyone should have nailed this challenge, it was Sandhya. I don’t particularly like anything about this, but it didn’t feature a catsuit, and therefore, it makes it into my top three by default. How sad.

SEAN KELLY
Winner

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

It was a shocking moment when Sean’s model hit the runway in the least avant-garde look imaginable. But when her darling white dress started to transform into that watercolor rainbow once the water hit it – WOW. A show-stopping moment if there ever was one. And there was something McQueen-esque about his idea to transform the dress onstage, almost as performance art (I urge you to watch this incredible spray-paint show of Alexander McQueen’s from 1999, as it will blow your fucking mind). But it wasn’t a knock-off; it was an inspiration. No one took a bigger risk on this runway than Sean – he really had no clue whether the dyes would actually work – and the fact that the bottom layer of the skirt is waterproof lining to prevent the model’s legs from turning red and orange? Absolutely brilliant. Well done, Sean.

Judges’ Top 3: Sean and Kini, Sandhya
Diva’s Top 3: Sean, Kini, Sandhya
Judges’ Bottom 3: Korina, Emily, Fäde
Diva’s Bottom 3: Fäde, Emily, Korina

Next time: All my childhood dreams of owning a Samantha doll will finally come true in S13 E09 – The History of the American Girl.


© Democracy Diva, 2014.
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23 responses to Project Runway Recap: S13 E08

  1. I am so sad that fäde is gone… I wish Tim had kept his save for him 😦
    I can’t think of a better way to praise Sean’s entry than to state that my boyfriend, who doesn’t give a damn about any of the reality shows I watch and holds a grudge on PR ever since he caught Austin Scarlett saying “Chi-LAY” on that PRAS episode, stopped what he was doing to actually watch Sean’s dress going from white to colour! And then he predicted Sean’s win (I was sure it was going to Kini for some reason, I guess because it was the one outfit which really said “2 days work”). Well done, homeboy:) Now, had Sean gone for a more intricate shape, I bet Kini would still be complaining about how he would still be due a win…

    • democracydiva – Author

      I knew as soon as Tim used his save that Fäde’s days were numbered and there would be no way to rescue him from these silly judges. Char is so sweet, but Fäde deserved the Tim Gunn save.

      • I doubt that Char can have a redemption moment like Justin’s glass tube dress 😦 if there was ever a more overlooked design… I seriously can’t think of one and I’ve been wrecking my head for a while now thinking about it. Everyone who deserves so seems to get noticed at some point, but not Fäde. Too much Amanda/Sandhya kool-aid going around…

        Speaking of which, what did you think of her stand vis-à-vis referencing other designers?

      • democracydiva – Author

        I didn’t disagree with her principles – that she wants to be her own designer – but it was obnoxious and unnecessary to actually say that out loud. And I think she talks too big of a game about her creativity and originality – someone as creative and original as she considers herself to be should have nailed this challenge.

  2. I’m so broken up…now that Fäde is gone, the finale will be very boring. We all know who will win, right?

    Yeah, I can’t really argue with the auf…much. To Fäde’s credit he actually tried to do something with a concept behind it instead of just throwing stuff on a basic design. It was was not avant guarde, but neither was anything else on the runway, safe for Sean’s design (loved the idea but I wish he had designed the top of the dress a little bit more) and Sandhya’s concept (yeah, I give her credit for actually having some sort of concept behind her design, even if the result looked like it belonged into a circus). I guess he partly had a creative block, but that he concentrated on the TV instead of the rain and refused to follow the Project Runway tale that avant guarde has to look like something nobody would ever wear was his real undoing.

    But THIS was the time for Tim Gunn to use the safe, on a designer with potential instead of one which was just nice. But then, the jury never noticed Fäde’s talent.

    You know what the show really needs? A “Final Wild Card”…meaning that the designers who got far enough to create the decoy collection have the optional chance of a forth final placement by showing a truly impressive decoy to Tim Gunn. Might sound unfair, but if you can “one day be out” why can’t you be “one day in”, too? That doesn’t mean that there has to be a forth final competitor, only if the Jury sees something which really impresses them. This might also eliminate those painful situations in which the Jury try to keep a competitor with BS excuses even if he doesn’t deserve it – because if they know that if he really has the talent to create an impressive final collection, he will be back.

      • Tina

        The last season (I think it was the third) of Project Runway Australia actually did just that, or something like that. I forget the exact details, but an eliminated designer was brought back as a surprise for the finale and won the whole thing. Since this designer, as best as I recall, was eliminated towards the end it seemed less unfair. As for Project Runway USA: one reason they would never do such a thing is that the show has decided, for whatever reason, to insist upon maintaining the stupid conceit that there are no decoy collections. The designers are shown boo-hooing about not making it to Fashion Week, even though they (and the rest of the world) knows that, because of the poor scheduling of the show, there will always be 8 or 9 designers showing their wares at Fashion Week. (According to Fade, in a recent interview, the eliminated designers have the same amount of time and the same budget as the finalists.) Instead of acknowledging this and doing something interesting with the idea (even just discussing the decoy collections during the reunion show), the producers have simply ignored the fact that decoy collections are made and shown to the press and audiences. Just one of many examples of how poorly managed and out of touch the show has become.

      • democracydiva – Author

        The worst thing about every season is having to pretend there are no decoys. As you said, it becomes a bigger problem every year, now that we have the technology to access the decoy collections instantly. And yet the show STILL forces everyone to pretend that only the people appearing in the finale show at fashion week. It isn’t 2004 anymore, producers. We see the other collections on Twitter and Instagram as soon as they hit the runway, and on blogs hours later. Stop making us all pretend that the decoys don’t exist!

  3. Kitty

    Sandhya is the only one who should have used a black cat suit under her rain jacket. We then could have seen her pinwheel handiwork the other designers gushed as being beautiful. I would imagine along with Fade everyone is exhausted and spent. Sadly it cost him his place in the competition and made Sandhya lapse into insensitivity. I loved that her husband coached her into enjoying her experience. Why do I like Sandhya? Clearly it is her effervescence and joy of life. I am not always crazy about what she produces but I do like her “out of the box” original thinking. She certainly made Zak jump for joy imagining himself playing in the rain. Her work in person much have more emotional impact than what we experience on the screen.

  4. Dan

    I agree with absolutely everything (especially the wow-ness of Sean) except: (1) I thought Sandhya’s dress was really horrendous looking. So arts-and-craftsy. (2) While watching the episode I thought Caitlin Fitzgerald’s comments were actually very interesting and thoughtful, much more so previous guest judges, and I actually thought during the show that maybe you’ll be happy with a guest judge this one time… but no still not :)!

    • democracydiva – Author

      Haha, I am NEVER happy with guest judges and I don’t know why. I just think they never really fit the challenge as well as they should. Or they’re boring. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Caitlin, I’m just bitter and mean. 😛

      • MoHub

        Not really bitter or mean. It’s just become more important for the guest judges to poledance (thank, you, T&Lo!) for their projects than it is to get people with actual design cred. Where are DVF, Cynthia Rowley, Roberto Cavalli, Donna Karan, Vera Wang, and other actual designers who have judged in the past? Hell, I’ll even settle for past PR contestants like Jay McCarroll, Nick Verreos, Austin Scarlett, and Kara Janx—all pretty articulate people with both designer and PR experience.

        BTW, I liked Sandhya’s joyful and celebratory piece; I just wish the pinwheels had spun as intended and that there were about half as many.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Once they started featuring reality “stars” from other Lifetime shows as judges, I think I just stopped listening to anything the guest stars say. I know DVF has judged before, and Elie Tahari I think, and tons of other great designers, but they haven’t been pulling big fashion industry names like that for awhile. Even if you can’t always convince big designers to be on the show, at least get former PR contestants, fashion editors, celebrity stylists – even actresses and singers, if they’re capable of saying more than “I’d wear that!”/”I wouldn’t wear that!” But the stream of random-ass fashion bloggers and reality TV personalities and D-list actresses we’ve been forced to sit through is exhausting, particularly 13+ seasons in.

  5. “…you could hardly see the outfits on television because of the ridiculously obnoxious laser lights they were flashing all over the place.”

    Whew!! I thought my eyesight was failing. I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at until after the catwalk.

    I disagreed with the Bottom 3 (again). I’m with Heidi. Emily Payne wasn’t THAT bad. I’d switch her with Amanda Valentine who would’ve made my bottom 3 (again). Random observation: Amanda’s brown, yellow and blue color scheme was inspired by Woody from Toy Story. Just a thought.

    Sandhya Garg’s dress was colorful in a good way but those dangly bits needed to go. They made the dress unsophisticated just like the judges said. Yet I would still include it in the Top 3 as well.

    Also I’m not feeling her edit. She says some mildly annoying things, but nothing to cast her as the villain of this season, which is what the editors are clearly trying to do. I actually think she’s a very sweet person in real life. Just says some awkward things because she feels a little out of place in that group.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Yeah, I couldn’t tell if her comments about not wanting to reference other designers were totally bitchy or just strangely edited. It was weird/rude thing to say after that judging panel, but she’s definitely getting the villain edit.

      • MoHub

        I think Sandhya may even have said what she did since McQueen was referenced countless times in the critiques of the other designers’ offerings, and she wanted to emphasize her independence. I don’t think tact is her forte, but I also don’t believe she means to be hurtful.

        And although I hated Emily’s and think all of her designs are stuck in the ’90s, when she was in her 20s—possibly as compensation for her current age—I don’t understand why she was criticized for the probability that her garment would collect rainwater. Wouldn’t Kini’s do the same since his “umbrella” was upside down?

      • democracydiva – Author

        Kini’s didn’t actually look like its shape would collect water to me, but even if it did, I understand why pooling in the layers of the skirt of Kini’s look would be less offensive than getting a bra full of rainwater in Emily’s. But your point about Emily’s 90s aesthetic is spot-on. It feels very stuck in the past to me, in a slightly desperate way.

  6. Lougarry

    I enjoyed the little segment when two of the designers (fade and Kini?) were supposedly having a spontaneous conversation about how great the Samsung fridge freezer was and then couldn’t help cracking up.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Truth! It’s such a pleasure when for a second they forget to act like these absurd sponsorships are normal, everyday parts of their conversations.

  7. Marie

    I know you think and believe that Kini is copying McQueen but I honestly belI’ve that he just thought…well its a rainway and if you are in the rain you need an umbrella…I could then make an upside down umbrella and it would be avant-garde and keep my model dry with the hat shaped as the bottom of the umbrella handle…which tim said would be a bad idea because he already had the show piece and the two would be competing with each other and that’s why the hat is so small. I might also be a bit biased when it comes to Kini because he is from my home state but he and Sean are my favorites this season and will be happy with either of them winning. It’s nice to see people from our state as well because many of the children in Hawaii don’t think they can do certain things such as designing because it’s something that is so situated in the mainland but to see Kini along with Jay Sario and Ari South (known as Andy when she was on project runway) being apart of this show gives them the hope and even belief that no dream is to big especially with Kini. He never gave up and kept trying and after 6 times of auditioning he made it and is doing really well at that.

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