Previously: The judges tried (and failed) to make “rainway” happen.
The Challenge: The designers are sent to the American Girl doll store, and I am jealous because I always wanted a Samantha doll but they were too expensive. Instead I had an awesome computer game where you could stage little plays with the American Girls and record voices for them. (I may or may not have staged mini-musicals and recorded myself singing all of the harmonies.) But still, as a girl named Samantha, ALL I WANTED WAS THAT DOLL. One of her accessories was this big trunk that hung up all her beautiful little clothes and it was the greatest thing in the world. Okay, I swear, I’m done reminiscing.
Anyway, a gaggle of children come in to introduce their dolls, whose outfits they match. Each designer is paired with a little girl and her doll, and are tasked with creating a modern, fashionable look for the girl, inspired by her American Girl doll. There are fabrics from the dolls’ outfits provided, but the designers don’t have to use them. (But the person who does will definitely win, because that’s how these sponsorship challenges work.)
Guest Judge: Elisabeth Moss, who was an exceptionally awesome judge/human being, and Heather Northrop of American Girl.
What is even happening around that girl’s hips? Did Alexander forget that pre-tweens don’t have curves, and then have to fill the extra fabric with cotton balls or something? Is it a storage area for her Lip Smackers? (Actually, that wouldn’t be a terrible idea, assuming little girls today are as obsessed with Lip Smackers as they were in the mid-90s.) Anyway, the top is cute, but I just can’t ignore the bulge around this poor girl’s hips.
Of course, the one time I actually like something Amanda creates, it doesn’t make the top three. But she can send a fringed shower curtain down the runway and it’ll win endless praise from the judges. I thought this was stylish without being too grown-up for the girl, and that little pop of the jacket’s print reflected in this dress was simply genius. I wouldn’t have worn these patterns together, but they looked completely believable on this ridiculously adorable little girl. But can we call bullshit on the casual racism of Project Runway pairing the dolls of color with the little girls of color? I’m a white girl, but I wanted an Addy doll almost as badly as a Samantha doll, and my favorite Dear America books were the ones about black southern girls during and after the Civil War. Let’s not promote the idea that black dolls are for black girls and white dolls are for white girls. I thought the whole point of American Girl was to teach children that little girls come from all different backgrounds, not that you’re only allowed to play with the doll that looks like you.
I’m not one for fringe, but it would have been difficult to make a Native American Girl doll outfit without it. And I ADORE the shape Char gave to the fringe in the back – it really sold me on the outfit as a whole. And the dress underneath it is graphic, fun, and wearable. Char’s clothes tend to feel a little junior, so I had a feeling that her naturally youthful aesthetic would help her out in this challenge, and it absolutely did. This matched the story of the doll while still looking like something a cool little girl would want to wear.
That birdcage veil has to be considered child abuse. And I don’t care how much time you spent hand-sewing that entire jacket – it looks like something an old lady would wear. This is fussy and awkward and vaguely costume-y. But this little girl was the FUNNIEST THING IN THE WORLD. She did not stop fidgeting during the entire post-runway-show discussions. Girlfriend had NO patience for this bullshit. And I loved it.
This was very good, but it won because it’s pretty much an exact copy of what the Samantha doll would wear, not because it had anything to do with what today’s little girls would wear. I know Samantha is a Victorian-era rich girl, but this wasn’t a “create a dress for Samantha” challenge. It was supposed to be something a real little girl could actually wear today, and this just felt way too Chanel for that. Once again, Kini showed that he has speed and construction skills for days, but his design skills are really lacking, and he doesn’t seem to have an original thought in his head. Elisabeth Moss wanting to wear your dress is very nice, but not actually a good thing for this challenge, since she is not a ten-year-old girl. Again, it was a more than solid entry, but when something this predictable takes the win, I just get exhausted.
Korina spent the first half of the episode being like, I HAVE NEVER EVEN SEEN A CHILD BEFORE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT A CHILD IS. Like so much else on this show, it was exhausting and stupid. Everyone on earth seemed completely obsessed with this look, but honestly, I’m not that impressed. I do like the pops of yellow underneath some of the flaps, but the back of this look was a bit of a nightmare. Totally and very obviously unfinished, and there’s shirt fabric popping out from under the waistband. Also, while I’m sure Jessa would wear the shit out of this hat, I think it’s pretty fucking stupid.
This jumpsuit has snap closures over the butt. It has SNAPS. Over the BUTT. You know, like you’d put on a baby in diapers. And there are SO MANY OTHER THINGS WRONG WITH THIS. Sandhya designed an outfit too immature for a toddler, and insisted that this was exactly what she envisioned and thinks tween girls would want to wear. But the little peplum flappy ruffles are hideous, the sleeves are an embarrassment, the top doesn’t even come close to fitting her, AND IT HAD SNAPS OVER THE BUTT. Yes, I know I already said that like eleven times, but I still can’t even believe Sandhya thought that was a good idea. I don’t care how over-tired or emotionally drained or sick of being edited to look like the season’s villain you are. Every idea she had was a truly, truly terrible one, so I’m not remotely sad to see her go. She impressed me a few times earlier in the season, but honestly, the way the show portrayed her was so uncomfortable and horrible to watch that I can’t even pretend I’ll miss her. And those butt-snaps alone were worthy of the auf.
Sean should thank his lucky stars that Sandhya’s brain went to butt-snaps, because this was atrocious. Dreary, boring, and HE CAN’T EVEN MAKE A PEACE SIGN PROPERLY. Get your shit together, Sean. Don’t rely on your earlier wins to carry you through the rest of the season.
Judges’ Top 3: Kini, Char, Korina
Diva’s Top 3: Char, Kini, Amanda
Judges’ Bottom 3: Sean, Emily, Sandhya
Diva’s Bottom 3: Emily, Sean, Sandhya
Next time: The designers have to convince total strangers to undergo makeovers, which sounds awkward and uncomfortable for everyone, in S13 E10 – Find Your Muse.