Better late than never,right?! So, let’s talk Project Runway, An Unconventional Launch Party. The designers arrive to eat, drink, and be merry at a meet-and-greet launch party, and those of us who are die-hard fans KNOW that this relaxed situation is suspect. In walk Heidi and Tim (oh, how do I love a pinstripe!), Jenni laughs (!!!), Heidi laughs, and the first challenge of season 15 is announced: use the party as inspiration AND as the materials for an Unconventional Challenge. Given five minutes to, as Alex so accurately described it, “run like hell and try to grab as much crap as [they] can get,” the designers trashed the room while Heidi ate from the chocolate fountain and Tim appeared scared that HE was going to be jammed into one of the designers’ baskets. The designers head to the workroom and Heidi and Tim cork a bottle of champaign, EACH, and raise their bottles to the commencement of season 15.
Bottom three designs:
Roberi Parra: “I don’t feel my fingers, but I’m great!” Thank you, Heidi and Zac! I agree that we have not seen this dress before. It made sense, it had movement despite the fact it was quite sculptural, it was thought-out and constructed well. This did not deserve the bottom. I cannot wait to see more from Roberi.
Brik Allen: Brik enlightens us on human evolution and our search for water, hence the attraction to shiny things and his attraction to glitter because, “Who doesn’t love glitter?” I’m with you, Brik, I love glitter. But I do not love the pants. Tim calls them “a real wow moment” if he glitters them up more…maybe they’re more “wow” in person. Other than being covered in glitter, they were fit-and-flare pants. The top, however, was awesome. I loved the treatment of the lids on the shoulders, the velcro from the back of the hats for the closure on the back of the top, and the tone-on-tone texture along the bust. There were two very different looks going on here, three if you count the hair. I’m very glad Brik was not eliminated, however, because I want to see how his aesthetic develops.
Ian Hargrove: Ian “dreads” the unconventional challenge because “fashion designers don’t hot glue shit together. Like, they just don’t.” Though I agree that designers don’t glue their clothes, this is Project Runway: How does this surprise you? He sends simple shift dress embellished with Polaroids to which he was “emotionally attached” and pillow tassels down the runway. This piece didn’t do anything for me. It’s too simple and looked like a walking ad for a craft store. This look received the “auf” deservedly. Had he been receptive to Tim’s critique, he might have stayed because the dress needed something more. But Ian stayed true to his aesthetic and what he does, and in the pressure-cooker that is PR, that has to be hard to do. Best of luck to you!
In the middle:
Alex Snyder: I’m torn on this piece. I like the color palate, but it feels a little rainbow-esque. Tim describes Alex’s shapes as “extremely elegant.” There is an elegance to it, but the placemats look like placemats. Overall, I was not wowed but I also didn’t have an extreme reaction. I’m excited to see what he does with fabric. As a competitor, Alex has stood out in this episode. Definitely racking up some good karma by helping other designers.
Cornelius Ortiz: “Stunning,” according to Tim, though Jenni’s suggestion that it looks like “toenail clippings” is quite a powerful image that has yet to leave me. His treatment in cutting and placing the plates was very thoughtful, but it felt expected with the flowers along the top.
Jenni Riccetti: Jenni’s “fine arts painting project” doesn’t wow Tim, and he agrees that she should add the boas she grabbed because it’s another textile. So she bangs out a jacket. She references Picasso, Pollock, and Warhol. Not so much. The whole thing was okay. It feels Big Bird, and not in a “magically muppet-y” way. It will be nice to see something from a conventional challenge.
Kimber Richardson: Meh. Eh. I was surprised this didn’t end up in the bottom. The doilies were obviously doilies, and the top could have used Brik’s glitter treatment. There’s a Christmas vibe here, too, that isn’t working, as well as the stiffness in the skirt. Kimber’s designs didn’t wow me in the audition, either, so we’ll have to see how the cards fall.
Laurence Basse: Laurence was cautioned by Tim that using necklaces as necklaces in an unconventional challenge would be risky. There was also not much risk in using totebags. I still loved it. The shape of the shoulders was really cool and the belt made of matchsticks was awesome. It wasn’t in the top because it was a little too expected, but it was a great dress I’d love to wear. Laurence is another one of my favorites, and I cannot wait to see what else she has in store!
Linda Marcus: It’s a homecoming dress. I kept wanting to push the things on her hips down because they look like pocket flaps that are sticking up. It was whatever.
Mah-Jing Wong: Another favorite of mine! Loved his audition and can’t wait to see more. While the idea of this dress is interesting, the execution was a bit lacking. With more time to really play with the paper, I think Mah-Jing would have had an amazing moment on the runway.
Nathalia JMag: You have to have respect for someone who will reference “Bride of Tinman” when describing her own work. The shape of both the skirt and the neckline are very fun, but now that she’s done the furry arms for this “Who are you as a designer” challenge and that we’ve seen them in the audition, can we be done with them? Nathalia’s hand with the doilies definitely made them a lot less obvious than they were in Kimber’s look.
Rik Villa: The back was significantly more interesting than the front; the treatment of the Polaroids on the skirt was more dimensional. The front seemed a little too collage-y and the top felt too heavy. The back, however, I really liked a lot, and I can’t wait to see more from Rik.
Sarah Donofrio: Sarah’s design was cute. The top, in particular, looked like it had some movement, but I wish the front had more shape. The multi-colored skirt gave the look a little more depth, but I feel like we’ve seen it. When it came down the runway, I had a flashback to Seth Aaron’s comment in the audition about her work being commercial.
Top three designs:
Dexter Simmons: Dexter starts with an umbrella for a skirt…I’m channeling Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada: “Groundbreaking.” By the time Tim comes for his critique, Dexter has added a pillow with holes for a top to accompany his umbrella skirt–again, not exciting. Tim tells him he will regret having that outfit walk. After talking with Alan (who, by the way, is such an awesome competitor!), Dexter goes in a different direction Changing his textile was such a great decision–I absolutely loved this design! He made that rug work, and it was awesome. The proportions were on, the volume rocked, and the styling really gave it a cold-weather tribal party vibe. I want to find a reason to wear that outfit. It was the winner in my book.
Tasha Henderson: One of my favorites right out of the gate. Tasha made me laugh with her “fashion fart” comment–her personality is so fun and genuine. Her girl who doesn’t love to wear heels is me, and she gives an urban aesthetic a chic look. Struggling with how to create the texture on the pants, “bossman” Tim suggests recutting the drop crotch pants and using just one material, and she agrees. And then proceeds to panic. The result: I want to be this girl and wear this outfit. Love the drop crotch, love the colors, love the texture. The shoes were perfect, and the Tim & Heidi bag needs to be on sale.
Erin Robertson: Erin, who looks like Madonna as Jeannine from the original Ghostbusters, tells us her 2 crazy : 1 chill ratio for color, texture, and structure. And, as Roberi said, “I want to eat your straps.” That dress was so WOW–the pattern and texture created with the gum balls and wigs is awesome. Her ratio produced a very editorial piece. Zac nailed it with “magically Muppet-y.” Personally, I hate that color, but that’s because I’m an example of the pale-skinned redhead that Ian talked about. But give it to me in black and I’m sold. This look received the win and though I agree because, just WOW!, I would have given it to Dexter.
This season is off to a really exciting start! If this challenge is just a hint at what’s to come, this could be one of the more fashionably exciting seasons. There is a lot of talent, and there are some big personalities, so let’s hope the drama doesn’t get out of control. I haven’t been this excited to see what’s going to happen in a season for quite some time! See you next week!