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Project Runway Season 14: Just Not Fab

This week’s Heidi Mail has been hijacked by Tim to start off our classroom themed set in the workroom. Turns out this is the Just (Not) Fab Accessory Wall’s turn to have a branded challenge. Amusingly enough, the JustFab shill is terrible on camera, clearly reading the prompter the entire time. Even when she’s announcing that the winning piece will be sold on their website.

Candice, having won the challenge last week, gets to assign the sexist stereotypes for each designer to work with. Since there are only five tropes and seven designers a couple of wind up doubling up. Candice attempts to assign everyone what she thinks they would do well at, so she’s not seen as winning through sabotage.


To wit:

  • Candice: Trendsetter
  • Ashley: Girl-Next-Door
  • Swapnil: Bombshell
  • Kelly: Trendsetter
  • Laurie: Modern Classic
  • Merline: Femme Nouveau
  • Edmond: Bombshell

Since the plan is for the look to be affordable, the budget is only $100. But they are shopping at Mood, instead of working with fabrics that JustFab already buys cheaply in bulk, which suggests that whatever they design will probably look nothing like their original design when the website has to mass produce it.

Back in the workroom, the show has already started the idea of Trendsetter look versus Trendsetter look, and Bombshell vs Bombshell. The latter matchup looks to be the one they’re looking forward to the most since that pits Swapnil, who has yet to catch a break in this competition and Edmond, who is a clear frontrunner.


Let’s see what Tim has to say about all this.

  • Merline: She’s doing a skirt over a dress, because she can’t make up her mind. Tim scolds her for being complicated.
  • Swapnil: His dress is nearly finished, and it’s very 50-year-old lady who hasn’t accepted that she’s no longer 22.
  • Candice: I’m not a fan of peplums. And hers looks like what a 19th century French Maid would where in 2015 and mistake herself for classy.
  • Laurie: She’s still here? Tim seems to have the same response to her design.
  • Edmond: He didn’t want “bombshell,” so he’s not actually making a “bombshell” look.
  • Kelly: Did she skin Cookie Monster? What is that muppet fur on her station? Tim asks in horror if she is actually using it.
  • Ashley: And now, we return you to your regularly scheduled self-doubt meltdown, already in progress.

But there’s not time for that now! Because Tim is about to add a twist–creating a label for their “brand,” and after designing and producing it with a brand machine, will be silkscreened on a tee-shirt they will wear to the runway. (Will the label also be on the outfit? It doesn’t sound like it has to. So this is not really an addition to the challenge, as much as a distraction.)pr14-ep9-episode14

Day of runway and we’ve got Laurie having made a top out of leftover donated fabric from Candice, having screwed up the stuff she bought. Merline also doesn’t have a top, and is having her model sew for her. Swapnil on the other hand is finished, until he realized he totally screwed up the zipper and will have to sew his model into her outfit. Edmond had made a completely new outfit that looks like he stole Swapnil’s strap idea from the lingerie challenge a few weeks back.

Let’s see how badly the judges call the winners and losers of this challenge.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: Just Not Fab

Project Runway Season 14: Never Never Wear

This week, Project Runway is thrilled, honored and excited to shill for the Matthew Morrison Broadway show Finding Neverland. This is the inspiration for a challenge…. that doesn’t have anything to do with the show or the evening or anything as far as I can tell. It’s mostly just a five-minute ad for Broadway and Matthew Morrison and the multiple Peter Pan revivals happening right now.

Then the next day they’re at Mood with $250, and the only direction that they are somehow to be inspired by the show. Tim makes sure to point out that whatever they do here it shouldn’t be literal. (No Peter Pan costumes.) But otherwise, they can make anything they want. Freedom! Horrible, horrible freedom!

finding neverland

Since there’s not a lot of guidelines, we’ve got everything from an evening gown, to a Tinkerbell inspired outfit with “wings,” to Swapnil asking if his outfit looks like a shower curtain– HE WAS INSPIRED BY A SHOWER CURTAIN DAMN IT. Hilarious. Edmond realizes his “dream” inspiration is too crazy, and he has to bring it back down to like “fantasy” or something.

We’ll see what Tim thinks of all this.


  • Swapnil: His “dreamy look” is very pink and grey. The skirt is very chiffony, and the top is very suit. Tim advises combining them better.
  • Kelly: Since she has immunity, she’s risking her first evening gown look. It looks like something an 80-year-old wears to the theater.
  • Merline: She’s worried she’s too inside the box while everyone else is outside the box. Tim tells her to stop overthinking.
  • Ashley: Her ombre gown is just amazeballs, but Tim freaks out when she adds the tulle balls, saying that’s trying too hard.
  • Laurie: She’s been inspired by her toddler daughter, which somehow brings out what Tim calls “an old lady look.”
  • Lindsey: She’s also doing evening wear, but she’s also convinced she’s probably going to go home this week.
  • Edmond: This season’s speed demon has two full looks happening in tandem, that are somehow supposed to go together.
  • Candice: Somehow she watched “Peter Pan” and came away with “gothy dominatrix.”

The models arrive to dash the dreams of those who thought they made their pieces to perfectly fit them. The rest of the designers worry about their time management, especially Lindsey, who insists she should be further along. Everyone tells her not to worry, she sews like the wind. She seems doubtful. Ashley seems completely at a loss on how to execute her gown.

laurie working

Day of runway, and Kelly managed to make gloves, but hasn’t finished her dress. Ashley and Lindsey are horrifically behind–they clearly both needed this to be a two-day challenge for the designs they created. But that’s nothing on Laurie, which is seriously from a strip show, with pasties and everything. No one is interested in the Low Rent Make Up and Hair Salons, nor the Not-Fab Accessory Walls.

Let’s see what the judges think.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: Never Never Wear

Project Runway Season 14: Getting One’s Wires Crossed

Everything’s coming up Tim Gunn! Today is a beautiful day in the sewing room. Not just because Blake and his “I’m so stupid, aren’t I adorable?” attitude are gone. Not just because today is another hilarious unconventional materials challenge. But because even though we have at least four people left who have no business going to NYFW, guess what? Not all of these Top Ten finalists went to NYFW! Four of them will be telling us the truth when they cry to the camera that all they wanted was to get to present in the Gallery. And even though the six lines that did walk were anonymous, that was about as effective as the AnthonyRyan Rule™ will be going forward. For a game to guess whose line is whose, check out our sampler here.

And now, let’s get to those unconventional materials, and the cassette tape Heidi Mail. (Take that Tyra!) Tim Gunn has dragged the EIC of Marie Claire Magazine (and Nina Garcia’s boss!) Anne Fulenwider to the dump, along with our contestants, because the best place to shill for your also-ran-to-Vogue periodical is while surrounded by trash. To her credit, she make the idea of merging tech and fashion sound very fashion forward. Too bad the “tech” these guys have to work with is all the discarded stuff that no one is using anymore. Despite this being called a dumpster dive, and at least one germophobic freak out, these “dumpsters” were clearly empty and clean before the show carefully stashed very deliberate choices of old technology in them, including unbroken VCR tapes and vinyl records, and well coiled cables.pr14-ep7-episode3

Then it’s back to the lab for a lot of hammering, fretting about creating wearable outfits without using anything that can even fake being cloth. Meanwhile, Jake pulls Tim aside and has what I would consider one of the most moving breakdowns over a family emergency in fourteen seasons of this show. He is quitting the competition because of it too. What is this emergency? His dog is being put to sleep. His total devastation may mark the first time I have been that moved over a contestant’s personal sob story. And no, I will not even begin to snark about it. (Cuddles cats close in sadness.)

Let’s wipe our eyes and get to Tim’s walk through.


  • Lindsey: She insists she cannot think “unconventionally.” And yet her key print idea is actually genius.
  • Candice: Wire bodycon dress. How predictable. Tim insists it’s unexpected.
  • Ashley: Her Polaroid print is unexpected. I love it. So does Tim.
  • Kelly: Her armor idea isn’t bad, but I can’t help but hear “Danger Will Robinson!” when I look at it.
  • Edmond: He found the most fabric-y thing in the dumpster (mousepads) and is cheating like hell with them. Tim says it needs way more.
  • Merline: She is also doing a wire dress, but her shoulders are something out of a Star Trek alien villainess design. That’s not a compliment.  (Oh right! She has immunity. Carry on then!)
  • Joseph: He’s going to try and make something that’s not matronly. His muslin undergarment is totally matronly.
  • Laurie: She’s also cheating with mousepads, in a much less impressive way than Edmond.
  • Swapnil: Whoooooa. He’s doing a piece out of wires that looks totally out of an avante garde sculptural collection. Tim worries he might not have enough time, and warns him not to cheat with muslin.

Tim is very pleased with everything he sees, which is a first for this group. After an odd aside with Swapnil where he admits he’s been aiming for safe and not giving his all yet. That’s seriously something, considering he’s had several top looks so far. His idea is so good, but I can totally see that he doesn’t have enough done anywhere close. Joseph is trying to cheat with painted muslin, which isn’t going to fool anyone, despite what Tim suggests.pr14-ep7-episode8

Day of runway, and no one is in a good place in terms of time management, except Joseph, which should actually worry him the most. It’s a one day challenge, is anyone really surprised the good looks aren’t finished?  Let’s montage through the Name Dropping Hair Salon and the Product Displaying Makeup People, ignore the Not Really Fab Wall, sigh at all the panicking muslin painters (and Swapnil’s endless smoke breaks) and get to the judges. After all, with Jake leaving, what are the chances anyone will really go home?

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: Getting One’s Wires Crossed

Project Runway Season 14: NYFW Spring 2016 Sampler

Last Friday, Project Runway did their presentation at New York Fashion Week. But it was not the long and arduous show with 10 designers each showing ten looks for a ridiculous 100 look show, as I had feared. Instead Project Runway did the sensible thing–they walked the four finalists (because you know that it will somehow magically be four in the finale, even though the show still pretends it’s only going to be three until the last-minute reprieve) and two dummy collections.

I know! It’s like after five years from stealing the show from Bravo, Lifetime is actually learning that in order to make making it deep into the show actually *mean* something, they had to stop allowing every Bryce, Dick and Jeremy who happened to make the Top Ten walk some boring old clothes. Yes, that means that those who do walk don’t get their moment in the sun, as the six lines are kept anonymous, since with only six options to pick from, we’d guess pretty quickly which were the false lines. But like the current AnthonyRyan Rule™, there’s only so much they can do to keep this stuff anonymous. We’ve seen the work these guys put out, and we can probably guess pretty quickly whose stuff is whose. Much like you can guess that since this show happened on September 11th, the show would make sure to play up the patriotism.

Project Runway Judges Spring 2016

So once again, let us play the guessing game. One look for each of the six collections that walked is under the cut. You figure out who designed what, and which of our remaining Top Ten will be making the Top Six.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: NYFW Spring 2016 Sampler

Project Runway Season 14: All Night Long

The finish line is almost here. No, not the finale of Project Runway, but the invisible line of demarcation that separates those who are in for NYFW and those who are out. By the time you read this recap, chances are the 9:45am show for the Project Runway contestants who are left after tonight will have already happened at The Arc. Not that the show will acknowledge this. On-screen everyone still hopelessly pretends that it’s 2004, when the show first went on the air, that the fashion industry is this closed coterie of insulated insiders, and that we here on the internet have not seen the pictures from all ten lines that walked the show. Nevermind that Project Runway was one of the instrumental steps in blowing that coterie wide open, along with the web.

Any good will they might have gotten from that is blown by Lifetime’s insistence on having all ten contestants show means that they are one of the longest and most ungodly bad presentations of the calendar. Even The V-Files, which is a student/up-and-comers runway presentation, have the good sense to limit it to five. But, despite being the biggest let-anyone-in show in town, on-screen they will continue to lie to us for the next seven weeks that those who are eliminated aren’t going to show at Fashion Week.

heidi collection

So what will our poor designers be tortured with, on this day that really determines who shows in front of a crowd that is far less full of celebrities than it once was, and far more full of show alum, and friends of Georgina Chapman who are willing to have their arms twisted? In a word: Underwear. But because we can’t have a challenge without someone getting something out of it, this is the Heidi Klum Underwear challenge. Her shop has provided the already bought in bulk fabrics they want whatever design to come from. They’ve even attempted to take some of the major difficulties out of the picture, by giving the designers a bra base to work from, though Tim makes sure to say that cutting and pasting fabric and notions to it is not enough. Despite Joseph’s moronic question of “How hard can it be?” (honey, do you begin to understand the feats of engineering contained within the less than a yard of fabric we women wear every day, and which is responsible for making your ghastly old lady designs not look  wilted and ill-fitting every week?), they have the engineering already done for them. Except for Merline, who is actually trying recreate the bra from scratch, despite being told not to do that.

I don’t need to discuss Blake’s continuing “I’m so cute because I’m so dumb” schtick. I might have felt sorry for Lindsey and her trip to the hospital for a stitch, except she has been the worst so far. Let’s move on and see how Heer Klum really feels about these contestants when she has to speak to them one on one.


  • Kelly: Heidi thinks her time management sucks.
  • Edmond: He has immunity, so his Captain Tacky title can be worn with pride.
  • Joseph: He made an old lady bra! Of course he did.
  • Candice: Heidi: “Are you making a whip to go with it?”
  • Lindsey: No one cares she went to the hospital.
  • Laurie: Her hi-cuts get called “granny panties”
  • Blake: Heer Klum calls him “Princess Blakey.” Nuff said.
  • Merline: Heidi hints strongly she should have used the bra base.
  • Jake: He made a pedophile’s dream bra.
  • Ashley: She’s “dumbing down” plus size.  Heidi: “More boob? less bra.”
  • Swapnil: His strap idea is actually lovely. Too bad they are telling him to scrap it.

Pity the models this week, guys. Jake’s actually demands a panty that won’t leave her hanging out all over the place. Bless her soul. And then SURPRISE! The reason Heidi is worried that no one is further along is that there’s a second challenge arriving in ten minutes on the runway. They’re now adding a cover up to their workload. But the runway being turned into a slumber party isn’t inspiration. Instead of giving them a second day…they’re just giving them over night, and everyone is sleeping here instead of at their hotel. That’s not extra time. That’s just guaranteeing no one will sleep well.


At least Tim has the wardrobe and hair make him look like he slept over with the designers when he comes to wake them up. Too bad the judges probably won’t be nearly so accommodating.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: All Night Long

Project Runway Season 14: Painted Trainwreck

Paint ball guns. Teams. This is going to be absolutely awful isn’t it?  Not that I don’t love ridiculous sight of Heidi and Tim in white denim jump suits (Tim is wearing his with a bright red tie and matching pocket square, natch.) And Heidi’s German accented “I love you with that gun, Mr. Gunn” sounds like something out of a fabulous Bond themed parody. But the teams? With Blake getting to have first pick for his? To wit:

  • Team Blue: Blake, Swapnil, Joseph, Jake, Edmond, Merline
  • Team Red: Candice, Amanda, Kelly, Lindsey, Laurie, Ashley

Boys (and Merline) vs Girls. Meanwhile, we can start the countdown clock to Ashley’s PTSD meltdown for being picked last.


While we do that, now let’s waste time watching these people halfheartedly play paintball in order to capture fabric. The girls manage to grab a bunch of pinks and oranges. The boys manage to get their fabrics as well–with no help from Blake, who literally hides. These contestants are real winners aren’t they? Joseph, who has already established himself as a supercilious jerk with the design aesthetic of a 70-year-old now adds “sexist moron” to his outstanding personality resume.

Of course, the fabrics they captured aren’t *actually* their main fabrics. That’s their supplemental fabrics. They are supposed to use their suits which are paint splattered (except for Blake that is, who has no fabric either. Tim suggests perhaps he just won’t make anything.) But of course, the show can’t really force them to do that. So back at the workroom there’s a bunch of white denim and paint grenades in order to make more.


Don’t worry, the girls will make up for it by acting like idiots who’ve never worked cohesively before, which leads them to destroy all their fabric because they have no direction. And serious attitude issues to boot. Embarrassing. The boys on their side have everything together. Their textiles have direction, their designs have a theme. For once we don’t need to watch Tim’s walkthrough. All it does is emphasize the obvious.

After a random injection of the words “Sally Beauty Beauty Studio” several times in a row, as if that somehow makes this downmarket CVS brand more fancy, this painful episode limps to runway day. This marks the second unwatchable episode this season. Let’s skip the girls telling themselves it came together and the boys making strange last minute decisions, and head to the runway and see if we can be lucky enough to send all of them home.

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: Painted Trainwreck

Project Runway Season 14: Twisting and Branding

After last week’s horrific debacle of a team challenge, we’re all hoping this season of ProjRun will pick itself up, dust itself off and pull it together. Apparently to that, they send the designers to Long Island. Well, it’s a start. What are we doing on Long Island? Fittingly, the Product Displaying Make Up People branded challenge. Yes, the day when MaryKay gets everyone to say the brand name MaryKay over and over again, so that Long Island girls will consider themselves fashion forward for helping their pyramid scheming housewife friends make a sale or two of their Timewise Moisturizer.

The challenge brought forward by these less than creative (but solidly successful) Make Up brand is one that is less than creative, but sounds like it should be solidly successful. Take something that everyone agrees works in fashion, and “put your own spin on it,” which somehow ties back to being inspired by New York City. Hey, it could be much worse–they could have to be inspired by the otherwise bland and standard make up palettes. Also, we’re finally going to Mood! The designers have $250 to spend, and no clue how much anything is per yard. Swatch licks himself, unimpressed with any of it.

Swatch's opinion on this season
Swatch’s opinion on this season

Of course it’s a one day challenge, so there’s discussion of whether than means they have to cram all their design work into six hours or nine hours while still making time to be in an extended MaryKay commercial and Tim’s all important walk through.

We’ll skip the former and go straight to the latter, since I may not be allergic to Tim, but I am definitely allergic to recapping commercial interruptions in the middle of my program.


  • Candice: Her pleated jacket is interesting, especially knowing she’s also bought vegan leather. Oh right, she has immunity, so it doesn’t matter.
  • Lindsey: She claims to be contemplating everything. The pieces on her dummy look like they belong on Joan Holloway in Mad Men Season 1.
  • Gabrielle: She’s refused to do a stitch of work until Tim approves her design, which seems like poor time management. Tim doesn’t actually say one way or the other, which she takes as approval.
  • Swapnil: His little black dress is more like a little black shower pouf. Tim tells him not to add anything else.
  • Amanda: She had a meltdown because the judges have already marked her to go home early. Tim tells her to put last week behind her and move forward.
  • Edmond: He’s making two outfits because he doesn’t know what he wants to send down the runway. Tim tells him to do the jumpsuit.
  • Kelly: “I want it to be fun. I like fun.” Tim thinks her fun is compelling. I think I’d give it a pass.
  • Jake: Sequins and jersey numbers Tim tells him he’ll need to argue it out with Nina.
  • Joseph: “Mood has a scuba section? Who knew?” In 14 seasons, I’ve never heard anyone mention it either. Now I have.
  • Blake: He has imaginary clothes on his dummy, because who can time manage when they can’t tell time? Tim declares himself baffled.

With that, Tim wanders out the door, leaving us to only speculate what he said to Merline, Ashley and Laurie. Laurie tells her model not to have opinions or ask questions. Human clothes hangers are not allowed curiosity. Blake wonders if the judges like sideboob. His model clearly hates him, because she claims they love sideboob. Spoiler Alert: No One loves sideboob.


Day of Runway, and Gabrielle has a freak out because she doesn’t know how to thread a serger. (ProTip: you tie the new colors to the old colors and pull and that’s how you never have to thread it.) Blake is making stressed noises so that he will get camera time for being both weird and a moron, before he starts screaming for a medic because he got a drop of blood on his dress. At the Name Dropping Hair Salon, they look bummed out it’s not their turn to have their brand mentioned every five minutes.

Let’s go down to the runway, shall we?

Continue reading Project Runway Season 14: Twisting and Branding