Project Runway Recap: S13 E12

It’s the last challenge before the finale, and I am underwhelmed. 

Previously: Korina was a judgmental brat, even by reality TV standards.

The Challenge: Tim drags the designers out of their beds and up to the roof, where a Lexus marketing exec tells them they’ll be getting inspiration from the streets of New York while being driven around in Lexuses. It sounds kind of difficult to stop and take pictures of things from a moving vehicle, but I guess bullshit sponsorships are more important than challenges that actually make sense. Anyway, the designers have two days to create a street style look. Then, of course, Tim introduces the twist: they have to make a second look, completely unrelated to street style, out of a bunch of previously-eliminated looks. After they choose outfits from the button bag, those eliminated designers come in and are – surprise! – paired with the people recreating their eliminated looks to be their bitches sewing assistants. Of course, this results in Korina having to work on the garment she was eliminated for YESTERDAY… with Char.

Now, although I found Korina’s behavior in the last episode disgusting, she actually stepped up and did the right thing (after a lot of eye-rolling, grimacing, and crossed-arms). She admitted that she was too emotional from yesterday’s elimination to be able to give Char the kind of help that was required, and asked to leave. That’s a lot better than staying and sabotaging Char. And since the producers apparently had Alexander ready to pop out of a closet in case this happened, Char actually got the help she needed from someone who didn’t try to throw her under a bus the day before. Of course, the editing was uber-dramatic, and we were forced to watch Korina take off her microphone, pick up her purse, and make her way through the labyrinthian set to leave. Because that’s what happens when these episodes are 90 minutes long.

Guest Judge: Shay Mitchell from Pretty Little Liars, because apparently that counts as a celebrity? You’d think that for a street style challenge, they could have gotten a popular street style blogger or a Miranda Kerr type starlet, but the days of getting even B-list guest judges seem to be far behind us.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Overall, this was a pretty awful runway show. Part of that is the producers’ fault – it’s much more interesting to watch two designs that are actually related to each other walk down the runway consecutively, and two days to make two garments that are wow-able and pre-finale-worthy is just a joke. But, let’s be honest, this isn’t the greatest batch of designers this show has ever seen. Or if it is, the show hasn’t given them the ability to show what they can really do. Either way, this made for a confusing snoozefest of a runway show.

That being said, Amanda’s look was my favorite. It’s a look that’s all about the movement, so I don’t like it nearly as much in photos as I did on television. But it was creative and interesting and looked like something a Brooklyn street style blogger would wear.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Amanda remade Fäde’s eliminated look from Episode 8. I can’t get too worked up about it, but I thought it was at least a little bit cool, if not particularly innovative or well-made. The most bullshit part of this challenge was how late in the game they introduced the twist. When you give the designers two days for the last challenge before the finale, they’re going to plan on doing something innovative or complicated or time-consuming. That’s a GOOD thing – that’s what results in something that maybe, in some universe, could actually be on a real runway. But once the twist was introduced, if the designers wanted their first look to be even remotely decent, they basically were forced to ignore the second look completely. That’s why none of the designers showed two looks that were both actually successful, and it’s the producers who are to blame for that.

Bottom 2

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Char is an adorable, warm, funny person who I have enjoyed watching this season. But she’s not a very talented designer. She makes clothes that can already been found in most malls in America, and that’s not a terrible thing, but it means she shouldn’t make it to the finale of a show called Project Runway, no matter how far from grace the program has fallen. As Tom and Lorenzo said, getting the Tim Gunn Save essentially means you have immunity for the rest of the season. And that’s bullshit, particularly when Tim doles out the Save based on personality instead of skill. This was the better of Char’s two looks, but it wasn’t good. I’d have eliminated her for this.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

The only crime worse than making a basic black dress for the pre-finale runway show is making one as ill-constructed as this. This just had all kinds of unfortunate, unflattering, unintentional draping over the tummy. And nothing about it was interesting.


The judges have had it out for Emily since the beginning, but not for the right reasons. Her idea of alternative fashion has often been presented as pretty dated, but the judges seem to hate her for being “sad” or “dark.” Because in their crack-induced views, only happy fashion is allowed! Anyway, I don’t think this hoodie was as “mega” as Emily thought it was, but I think the face-print on that shirt is unbelievably cool. I actually gasped when I saw it in the workroom. It was a little pajama-esque, sure, but don’t pretend that hasn’t been a trend over the last couple of years. Again, I don’t love it, but it was a hell of a lot more innovative than Char’s work.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

The judges were right – you can’t see Emily’s point of view anywhere in this remake of Samantha’s Episode 7 gown. But you couldn’t see Char’s point of view in her second look either, and that was a way hotter mess than this.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

Tim was spot-on when he asked Kini, “Can’t you just go to Michael Kors and buy this coat already?” Yes, and about a billion other high fashion shops, because Michael Kors is not as original as this show wants us to believe. The completely unoriginal trench coat was the only thing about this look that even remotely worked. The blouse and skirt underneath it are terrible. Unflattering, awkward, and overworked.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This is a really nice gown. I’m not such a bitch that I won’t admit that Kini made Mitchell’s Episode 5 gown look of a hell of a lot better. But I just hate that Kini’s speed-sewing alone is enough to get him to the finale, when he’s never showed anything original, and most of his garments are overworked as hell.

Top 3

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

I honestly didn’t understand this look, or why it led to Sean being called a “genius.” I actually don’t think the judges were wrong when they said this could be on a Paris runway, but wasn’t this a street style challenge? And more specifically, a New York City street style challenge? This read about as far from street style as possible to me. An all-white look with a skirt that goes below the knees is going to get filthy if worn on the streets of New York. And it really bothered me that no one mentioned that, because all the finalists were pre-selected ages ago, so we just have to pretend that they’re all perfect. Don’t get me wrong – I think the clinical sharpness of this look was interesting, even if I didn’t think it was nearly as impressive as the judges. But it had fuck-all to do with the challenge.

Photos: Lifetime

Photos: Lifetime

This was terrible, and you can only tell Sean’s work is Sean’s when he puts eleven thousand pounds of fringe on it. That’s a bad sign. I know Sandhya’s Episode 9 look left him only small bits of horrific pink fabric to work with, but still. We really didn’t need to end up HERE.

Judges’ Top 3: Kini, Sean, Amanda
Diva’s Top 3: Amanda, Sean, Kini
Judges’ Bottom 2: Char, Emily
Diva’s Bottom 2: Emily, Char

Next timeThe designers go to Rome – ROME! – so I can’t even be mad that Lifetime is still stretching the finale into two 90-minute episodes in S13 E13 – Finale Part 1.

© Democracy Diva, 2014.
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16 responses to Project Runway Recap: S13 E12

  1. Amen to all of this.
    I actually didn’t watch it. But judging by the photos, Emily made for the first time something which spoke to me (I would have paired the top with simple part of pants, though), Char’s second look didn’t even fit the challenge (how is it a rework when she only uses a tiny bit of the original fabric?) and simply shouldn’t be in the final.

    I might watch the actual runways (and only them) in two weeks. But otherwise, this show has exhausted me too much.

    Any chance that you’ll discuss the decoy collections as lead up to the final? I really can’t wait to read what you think about them.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Yes, I will definitely recap the decoys sometime in the next few weeks. And don’t worry, you didn’t miss ANYTHING by skipping this episode. It was exhausting.

  2. Kitty

    Don’t you miss Michael Koors? He would’ve taken one look at Char’s “pleasure me” pocket and called it like he saw it! She made sure her model put her hand “right there” the entire time. I laughed out loud when I saw that. Who cares how unflattering her purple skirt was, it’s comic relief was hilarious!

    – needless drama
    – dubious celebs
    – bullshit
    – pleasure me pockets
    – desperately in need of humor

  3. Stef

    In Char’s defense–unlike Justin, at least she presented one or two great, if not good looks prior to the season finale (ie: the first challenge and the child challenge being the two that come to mind). Oh, and having seen her finale collection..she did a good job, probably one of my favorites of all the collections alongside Sandhya and Fade.

    Although, I do have to agree that I am very underwhelmed with this final 4..I can’t honestly say I am rooting for any of them based on their designs…both Kini and Sean’s designs are generally boring, Char’s hit and miss and Amanda’s clothes for the most part don’t suit my taste, though at least she has an interesting POV.

    • democracydiva – Author

      It’s been a long time since we’ve had a final four with someone I’m truly and completely passionate about (which is probably why I can’t remember most of the contestants from the last few seasons, despite blogging about them on a weekly basis). I hated that Amanda was named a front-runner from the beginning, but sadly, the talent is so lacking that she probably is the best one left in this group.

  4. Lawdiva

    I have been reading your blog for a long time. I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that I love this blog!!! It is not a dry recap… Yawn!!! I’ve never added comments, but I’ve always found this blog to be very thought provoking while keeping it fun!! I just thought I’d let you know that I appreciate your hard work. Love it:)

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thank you so, so much! I love when longtime readers come out of the woodwork to comment. Your comments are so very much appreciated! ❤

  5. Lawdiva

    i thought the designers in Season Five, especially Terry, understood Street chic a lot better. I was hoping to see more of what we saw during the Bright Lights Big City Challenge in Season Five. I thought Amanda’s second look and Char’s first look were the only two looks that met the parameters of the challenge. I could see Amanda’s second look at a fun rave or at a hip music festival. One of my fellow commentators ( on another site) said that when she thinks of street chic, she thinks of bold and bright. I agree with that. I think Kini is talented, and he can sew like his life depends on it, but he has yet to do anything that hasn’t been done several times before. Unfortunately, since the show moved to Lifetime (and this is the worst season yet) the designers have pumped out commercial as opposed to high fashion garments. I miss the days of garments so out there that cell phone towers had to be constructed to create them ( Chris and Christian’s avant garde dress), and the days of head of lettuce ( the drag queen challenge). I, too, thought Amanda’s first look was the best one on that runway, but I do not think it was street chic.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Couldn’t agree more. The switch from Bravo to Lifetime was the beginning of the long, slow demise of Project Runway, and every season has gotten worse. More contrived, less inspired, more obsessed with corporate sponsors than actual fashion. You could combine the creativity of the designers from the past four seasons and STILL not meet the level of talent displayed by Chris and Christian’s avant garde dress. I’ve long since given up on the idea that we’ll ever see something as creative and beautiful as Daniel Vosovic’s garden party dress, or Andre (I think it was Andre)’s slinky gown inspired by dirty gutter water.

      • MoHub

        Yep. The gutter-water gown was Andrae’s, and Jay—as guest judge—was obviously dying to give him the win, but the regular judges were all about Daniel V.

  6. This episode was so lackluster it took me this long to actually feel like commenting on it 😦 I’m just glad Sean is in the finals for the reason you already know. Apart from that, as soon as I saw his sketch for Sandhya’s “devil baby” outfit I shouted “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, NOT F********** FRINGE AGAIN!”. I love homeboy and his accent, but he needs a freaking intervention.

    There is no way in hell Emily deserved the boot instead of Char. Her big mistake for me was using that print for the pants too, which made it look like jimjammies indeed, but even so it had more skill and design than any of Char’s entries. That top with black leather leggings would be awesome… but it probably wouldn’t save her anyway, since it’s not on the script.

    • democracydiva – Author

      You definitely nailed it with that “it’s not on the script” comment. Everything on this show is predetermined, and that’s part of what makes it so damn exhausting.

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