We’ve only got four contestants left–Kini, Dom, Ken and Sam. That means next week is the Project Runway: All Stars finale, and probably not a moment to soon. certain the show seems to be running out of gimmicks. They’ve resorted to turning Alyssa into a walking LED billboard for the show. Now, I am a big fan of the flash and trash use of wearable tech on the runway. And if I thought for one minute that the designers were actually going to get to design clothing with LED embedded fabric, and could perhaps do something creative with it, I might be all over this challenge.
But I know Project Runway, and when they start bleating the word “technology” over and over, it’s a sign that we’re in for another Branded Challenge from their IT partners, to create their own print. The only good surprise is that it’s Nina Garcia who steps on stage to present the print challenge this week. (She’ll also be judging–and as we know, she has her favorites.) Except she’s joined by yet another flapping head, who is here to tell us that this challenge is also sponsored by phone cases! The winner of the challenge will have their print featured on a phone case as a bonus prize.
There’s $150 at Mood, with the admonishment that since this is a print heavy challenge, the idea is to buy a print that will complement your created print. Technology seems to have sped up in the print creation world. It used to be that the “make your own print” episode was a two-day challenge, purely due to the need for the print to go out to the wherever it would be made overnight and then shipped back the next morning. But as Alyssa leaves she and Nina say they will see the designers tomorrow.
Ken’s Prints/Prince reference is far more topical than he probably knew when it was taped a few months ago. Let’s skip the bullshit with Sam and his lack of experience with Nina Garcia, due to being an alum of Project Runway with training wheels, because lord I am sick of this shit. Let’s get to the “surprise” which is the arrival of the previous four winners of PR:AS, Mondo, Dmitry, SethAaron and AnthonyRyan, who are here to advise the Top Four, as well as remind us both that in four seasons a woman has never won this show, and that Georgina and Isaac are such terrible judges of fashion, they forced AnthonyRyan into a win he did not deserve, thereby creating the AnthonyRyan Rule we see today. They also bring the fabric that was magically created in a matter of hours.
- Dmitry’s advice to Ken is do something big with his design, because his print because it’s boring, unlike everyone else’s.
- AnthonyRyan talks about himself to Kini, because he is a terrible mentor and a narcissist.
- Seth Aaron tells Dom not to give a crap about the judge’s opinion.
- Mondo was Sam’s mentor on Under The Gunn, so Sam cries to him how hard the real version of the show is. Mondo tells him he’s failed to execute all season and he needs to actually execute if he plans to be in the finale.
Before leaving Seth Aaron reminds us all of Rule One: Don’t Bore Nina. Bless him. With the previous winners and their encouragement out of the way, it’s time for Zanna to come in and rip everyone to bits about how terrible they are.
- Kini: His print looks like something you find at Khols, and so is the top he made with it. Zanna warns him not to go gimmicky to make it interesting
- Sam: His print is digitized cartoon flowers. Zanna doesn’t hate it, but when he says he making yet another jumpsuit, and pulls out yet the same mesh he’s used in now three different challenges, she turns to stone.
- Ken: His print is dull, and Zanna is bored.
- Dom: Everyone keeps saying this is Dom’s challenge. Her print is good anyway. Her painted leather jacket is less good.
No one is even close to ready when the models show up, not even Kini. The models mostly stare at the outfits they might get to wear, and side eye a few of the prints these guys have designed and leave.
Day of Runway, and I am so over all the catty bitching and the snide comments. I have never wished so hard to go back to Project Runway: Junior where everyone loves everything everyone else did.
Let’s head to the runway and see if Nina can railroad Georgina and Isaac into decent decision-making.
Alyssa looks the best she ever has on this show in a rip-roaring red that fits her like a glove and flatters her figure. She must have been allowed to dress well since Nina Garcia is here. Georgina and Isaac are here to be schooled by Nina, and perhaps they’ll even learn something about taste level.
Kini: The shoulders on the jacket are a bit overdone, but the outfit is a statement piece, and elevate what was otherwise a print that was not worth looking at. Georgina and Isaac overpraise it. Nina pinpoints where he overdesigned, causing them to backtrack. Alyssa points out his print is the best for the back of a phone case, because otherwise we might forget that was part of the criteria. he does not win, but he’s in the finale.
Dom: I am not into that coat, but the maxidress in the pink is on point and exactly what we would expect from her. Nina loves Dom, clearly recognized this as her, and praises everything about it, even as she makes her remove the coat. Everyone else follows Nina’s lead, even as Isaac tries to sound like he’s not. Of course she wins, because there was no way Nina was going to allow anyone else to win.
Sam: What…..is…..that? I don’t know what’s worse–the dull jumpsuit out of the store-bought print, or the ugly jacket with the mesh nonsense that ruined his own print. They don’t even begin to go together. His only hope is that Nina has never seen his work before and might find it fresh. Alyssa says at least the print would look good on a phone case? Nina doesn’t hate the coat, causing Isaac to find a way to point out to her that this is the 100th time he’s used that mesh.
Ken: The best part of the outfit is her shoes. What a dull Khols-like dress. The blouse is dull and ill-fitting, the skirt is a bunch of nothing. Georgina doesn’t quite say she’s bored, but you can feel it in her words. Isaac calls it a “valiant effort” which is shade and a half. Nina says the store-bought is way better than his own print, which she says is “depressing.”
The judges deadlock over who should go home. To the surprise of absolutely no one, they trot out the Alexander McQueen challenge for the two bottom dwellers to remake their outfits in an hour right there on the runway. (You didn’t see this coming? I totally saw this coming. ) They don’t have to remake the one they just did–since the judges hate their prints, they each get a winning outfit and a losing outfit from earlier in the season to work with.
Ken: He gets his dress from the baroque challenge as his “winning” outfit and Mitchell’s losing dress from the same. Ken getting his own fabric choice from before is a huge boon, since he already knows how it sews and how the garment was made.
Sam: He gets Asha’s winning outfit from the fairytale challenge and Alexander’s losing look. Let’s be real, neither of those looks were great so he’s already at a disadvantage. And then there’s the fact that there’s not enough to make a jumpsuit and no mesh so….
For once, the Alexander McQueen challenge not only works, but does so in a way that makes the decision to do it every season make sense. I think part of the reason it’s never worked quite so well before is that the designers are usually far more evenly matched, whereas here, it clearly serves to demonstrate who is the superior designer both in ideas and ability to think on their feet. Ken was smart about how he uses the baroque fabrics, making sure to use finished edges where he can to make a highly polished looking result in the space of an hour. Sam….made a jumpsuit. With a shrug that looks like it was made out of remnants from a bin.
If there was anything that would reveal just how limited Sam is as a designer, both in skill set and ideas, this was it. He was pushed along to the finale in UTG when he should never have gotten there in the first place, and collapsed completely upon arrival. PR:AS forced him along in the same manner, mostly for the drama nonsense, as long as they could, but at least here we will be spared a repeat performance of a finale collapse. Sam is out.