Project Runway Recap: S14 E05

Tim looks like he wants to shoot himself with that paintball gun. Honestly, after this episode, I can’t blame him.

The Challenge: The designers are split into two teams and forced to shoot each other with paintballs. Except Blake, who runs and hides so he won’t get his outfit dirty.

The teams have to use their paint-splattered jumpsuits and some supplemental fabrics and paints as the materials for a cohesive six-look mini-collection. Even though the teams are given color identifiers – Red and Blue – we spend the whole episode listening to grown adults refer to them as the “Girls Team” and the “Boys + Merline Team.” Because the producers are so devoid of creativity that their attempt at fostering drama is just a tired old battle of the gender-normative sexes. I’m not sure what was worse – seeing the Red Team devolve into a middle school lunch table, or watching the show gleefully emphasize their dramatics while simultaneously judging the designers for it.

Guest Judges: Kelly Osbourne and Lisa Perry. Kelly got all high and mighty about the “bitchfest” happening on the runway, and the rest of the judges leaped to criticize the Red Team designers for turning on each other on the runway. What a fascinatingly bullshit take on a series of events that the JUDGES THEMSELVES created. Oh, I’m sorry, were the judges expecting silence when they flat-out asked each Red Team designer which of their teammates should go home? How exactly would Kelly or Heidi or Nina have responded to that question without a) avoiding it completely or b) throwing a teammate under the bus? That question has been used throughout reality TV competition for the SOLE PURPOSE of stirring up drama as the judges and audience joyfully watch contestants tear one another apart. The fact that the judges have the nerve to ask such a question, and then lecture the designers for, you know, ANSWERING IT, disturbs me to my core.

I have managed to still love Nina Garcia throughout this show’s epic levels of bullshit, but seeing her tweet garbage like “I wanted to say to ‘Auf wiedersehen’ to almost anyone on that team. Childish behavior” made me furious. How can it be childish to answer the question they were asked, but not childish to ask such a shit-stirring question in the first place? Go ahead and judge the Red Team for failing to work together – that’s more than acceptable. But judging them for playing the game that every reality show contestant and judge in history has played? That’s just the producers manufacturing faux outrage, and I can’t take much more of it.

Boys + Merline Team Blue Team: Blake, Edmond, Jake, Joseph, Merline, & Swapnil


Photo: Lifetime

I guess it’s a good thing Blake was such a fussy little baby that he had to keep his jumpsuit white – it allowed him to create this lovely ombre look. The silhouette isn’t amazingly original, or even particularly well-constructed, but this was overall a surprisingly strong collection. Even the weaker looks were brought up a level by the true cohesion between the designs.


Photo: Lifetime

This was a strong contender, though not my choice for the win. I think Edmond has strong construction skills and a good understanding of what works on a woman’s body, but I don’t find him as creative or original as the judges seem to. Again, what made this look great was the combination of different designers’ skills that went into it. There was no contest as to which team was on top – the Red Team lacked cohesion completely, while the Blue Team had a strong, unified concept right from the start.

Top 3

Photo: Lifetime

I’m not sure the cape works, but this little jumpsuit is all kinds of adorable.


Photo: Lifetime

Like everything Joseph makes, it’s a little too traditional to really push any boundaries. I liked that the 1950s had a strong influence on all of their looks, but this doesn’t look like a modern interpretation of a 50s look. It looks like a 60-year-old dress covered in paint.


Photo: Lifetime

Strange, thought-provoking, and architectural. Merline still needs to use a stronger editing eye on her garments, but she has more ideas than most of her competitors combined.

Top 3

Photo: Lifetime

The clear winner. Swapnil is extremely talented, with supreme construction skills and a thought-provoking aesthetic. I love this look from head to – well, top of the ankles.

Girls Team Red Team: Amanda, Ashley, Candice, Kelly, Laurie, & Lindsey


Photo: Lifetime

It’s about damn time Amanda went home. I don’t know how many more weeks I could have listened to her lament that the judges just don’t understand her when she’s NEVER DESIGNED ANYTHING INTERESTING. She made a tent, and deserved to go home for that – and for that alone. Was I humiliated watching her and the rest of the cast of Mean Girls: Except Not At All Funny turn on Ashley, simply because she’s more talented than they are? Yes. But show me a season of Project Runway, or any other reality competition show, where the contestants haven’t teamed up and tried to tear down a competitor who’s clearly ahead of the pack. The fact that it’s all of a sudden bothering the judges that reality TV is mean…  I just can’t suspend my disbelief enough to swallow their bullshit.


Photo: Lifetime

One of the better ones of the group, but that’s not saying much. Ashley was quick to criticize the rest of her group for lacking a concept, but the editing mostly showed her getting picked last, being pissed about that, and not bothering to stand up and say, “hello, fellow idiots, LET’S HAVE A CONCEPT” until it was way too late in the game. Someone on the team actually uttered the words, “I think it’s gonna make sense as it evolves,” which no winning team in the history of Project Runway has ever said. How many more thousands of seasons do we need before the contestants realize that you can’t add cohesion after the fact?

Bottom 3

Photo: Lifetime

Yes, this was an interesting concept with a terrible execution. Interesting that the judges would place such a thing in the bottom three, when something they themselves described as an interesting concept with a terrible execution actually WON the last challenge. I hated this dress, but I hate the judges’ inconsistency much more.

Bottom 3

Photo: Lifetime

Awful. I don’t love Kelly SO much that I can’t realize this was a train wreck.


Photo: Lifetime

Basic. All the Red Team looks were terrible individually, but when you saw them as a group, the result was far, far more awful than the sum of its parts.


Photo: Lifetime

Less terrible than the others, primarily because Lindsey can actually sew. But there’s nothing to write home about here, or anywhere else in this sad sack of a collection.

Judges’ Top 3: Edmond, Swapnil, Jake
Diva’s Top 3: Swapnil, Edmond, Merline
Judges’ Bottom 3: Kelly, Candice, Amanda
Diva’s Bottom 3: Candice, Kelly, Amanda

© Democracy Diva, 2015.
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5 responses to Project Runway Recap: S14 E05

  1. Shaylan

    Blake’s look reminded me a little bit like of a dress from the Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2015 collection (look 24/40 on

  2. SheriD

    I felt sorry for Ashley for a while, but then…she didn’t actually do much about it. She did say so at one point, but my thought was – someone has to be selected last. So – knowing that, why did it bother her so much? Was it due to Heidi pointing it out, thus making it much more obvious?

    Anyway, there is no question that the blue collection was the best in every single way.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I felt bad for Ashley too, but I felt she could have done more or acted sooner to lead her team back on the right track. The blue collection was just in a totally different league.

  3. SheriD

    So tell me, is the PR show during Fashion Week on Friday going to include all the designers? Or just the ones still left by Friday morning?

    • democracydiva – Author

      It’s generally all the designers still left in the competition. After ten years of this, the show still pretends that only the top 3 or 4 “make it to fashion week,” but almost every contestant will show a collection because of how the timing works out. They don’t reveal which collections are actually still in the running at the runway show – i.e., you can’t tell which are from finalists and which are “decoys,” at least in theory – but yeah, everybody still on the show at this point will get to show their collection.

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