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Project Runway: Junior “Finale Part 1”

We’ve reach the first half of our two-part finale, with all four of our contestants in attendance, thanks’ to Tim’s Save last week. In the true tradition of the finale (and unlike the supposedly next-level Project Runway All Stars, these kids will be getting to show at New York Fashion Week. Perhaps appropriately, their collections will be small-scale versions of what we see on Project Runway Proper. Only six looks, which they have four weeks to make at home, with a budget of $4000.

Here’s where I’m confused though: which NYFW did they show at exactly? Did these collections walk privately during Spring NYFW back in September, and the show managed to keep it completely under wraps? Because Project Runway is not scheduled to show at Fall NYFW in February, and besides, by then both finale episodes would have aired.  We do know from the “find a street person” episode a few weeks back this taped during the height of summer, so it’s very possible that this episode was taped at the end of July/beginning of August, and that “four weeks” meant they also showed September 11th, 2015. But then again the kids are talking about going to school while working on their collections. Unless they go to year-round schools (which usually start at the beginning of August.)


The depressing part is Tim won’t be doing home visits. “There just isn’t time,” he insists. So instead, in order to fill the 90 minute episode (and it is a 90 minute episode) they’ve hired back Amanda Valentine a second time this season, to introduce an “eyeglasses” factor for one of the finale looks. Yes it’s a sponsored eyeglasses accessory for one of their looks. Pretend to care.

In lieu of home visits, there are check ins via Skype, before bringing the designers back to New York so Tim can look over their progress. Seems like the meaning of “There just isn’t time” must be that “Tim is too busy taping Project Runway: All Stars to come visit, so you designers must come to him.” Their families come with as well to meet Tim so he can have the emotional family meetings that are the hallmark of these episodes.


  • Peytie: Tim is very impressed with the amount of work she’s accomplished. It’s very hippie. She boasts of having a talented sister who made her startlingly professional looking hand painted prints. (We meet the sister at the family meeting, who stunningly turns out to be two years younger.) She tries to slide by a fabric she used in one of the earlier challenges, but not only does Tim catch that, but he notes she using it in three of her six looks.
  • Maya: She doesn’t look ok. I don’t know if it’s the bad eye make up, I don’t know if she’s actually sick, but I’d be worried if I were her parents. Her looks are stunning though. I love her faux brocade stuff, even though Tim notes all of her construction issues. He also worries she has too many textiles, and she needs to streamline her choices.
  • Samantha: Unlike the others, she only has a few pieces finished, and a lot of drawings. The pieces she does have made are totally military. Tim compares an entire outfit of it to “the Michelin man,” which all but sends her into a panic.
  • Zachary: he as more pieces than Samantha, but his pieces are “roughed in” shall we say? Unlike the other three, he is once again going for more of an evening wear and mature feel to his looks. Tim points out he has too many fabrics–more than he does outfits. Tim frets it’s not cohesive and says not to show “the Zachary Pu-Pu Platter.” He also calls the finale outfit “prom,” which makes Zachary flinch.


As always, once everyone is back in New York, there is a pre-showing to the judges of a “capsule collection” so that the judges can guide the designers away from poor styling choices, and try to prevent any major train wrecks. The only designer this really hoses is Samantha who is badly behind as it is, and somehow didn’t realize that she wouldn’t have a couple of extra days to get ready before this traditional check in. Girl, you guys are the beta show in comparison to Project Runway proper. Of course you’re showing first and only have two hours to get ready.

Let’s see which pieces they show and how much work the judges give them to do.

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “Finale Part 1”

Project Runway: Junior “PreFinale Four”

We’re only one episode away from the Project Runway: Junior two part finale. It should be noted that we have four designers left, and one Tim Gunn Save still on the shelf. You do the math of the probable results for this evening. Whether there are three or four left after this, the finalists will be showing at New York Fashion Week, proving that Lifetime is perfectly capable of scheduling a season of Project Runway where New York Fashion Week doesn’t fall during Top Ten week, necessitating either anonymous runway shows, or worse, all ten remaining designers showing at NYFW, negating the exclusivity of that being part of making the finale.



For this challenge, we have a brand new Brand Sponsor–Rowena, who makes the irons the contestant use–necessitating the challenge to involve iron on aspect to this design. Otherwise there’s not really limits to this challenge other than the garment representing “who [the children] are as designers.” It’s a one day challenge, as always, but there is a trip to Full Sized Mood, with a $400 budget.

Perhaps it’s good they don’t actually have more than a day to make their designs, as we have at least one designer who is choking in the face of pressure. Let’s see if Tim can fix this.


  • Maya: It’s black and boning and gothy, but officey. Tim says “Wow.” He is impressed. (I am too.)
  • Peytie: She’s got a hippie-esque romper. At least she’s consistent.
  • Samantha: She’s trying to be Tom Browne with menswear fabrics to make women’s wear pieces. But hey, she’s not making pants.
  • Zachary: Our basketcase meltdown. He started out talking about eveningwear, but he’s questioned himself into a corner. Tim gently nudges him into what he wants to do, and tells him he’s got a really great wow factor going.

Tim is clearly attached to all four finalists,and tells them all he loves them before leaving. Good thing he’s still got that save.


Day of runway, and though all of them have tons of work to do, all of them are in pretty good shape. The iron on transfers are also really not terrible as I thought they were going to be. Mostly they’re being used to do black outlines along racer backs and pockets, and don’t feel obtrusive at all like I thought they might. if only all brand sponsors were so thoughtful in what they supply for mandatory use.

Let’s see which of these guys the judges send home, and if Tim saves whoever it is.

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “PreFinale Four”

Project Runway: Junior “Real Cheerleader Challenge”

We’re finally back this week with Project Runway: Junior, after a two-week holiday break, which is an eternity in TV time. It’s not an accident that this is now the fourth spin-off in a row of Project Runway, and that two of the three which were not successful sat in this very schedule block. Lifetime’s bizarrely old fashion notion that one puts their reality show on hiatus over the holiday break to run terrible holiday movies is one that belongs in the 1980s, not the 2010. How large will the drop off be in the ratings as viewers forget to return?

For those who do return, we are treated to the “Knicks City Dancers” which you’ve probably never heard of, but that’ s fine. They’re basketball cheerleaders, and they’re the clients the kids are designing for today. They’re not making performance outfits, they’re making them an outfit for their regular life. Think of this as  a “real woman challenge” except that the “real women” are pre-screened to already conform to certain height and weight beauty standards. No freaking out about having to design for a size 12 for these kids.


Once again there’s no trip to Mood this week. Instead they ave “Mini-Mood” for this one day challenge. I’m starting to wonder about the choice to rely on Mini-Mood to this extent. Is it to keep the kids from having too many choices? Is it so they don’t have to worry about budgeting? Is it to give the kids extra time, so they don’t lose an hour in NYC traffic? A combination of the above? It’s certainly a boon, because the clients are all walked through the fabric choices, which is not something Project Runway proper gets to do for these challenges. (Also, one of the girls asks for a New Years Eve outfit, which suggests this was taped in October/November.)

Let’s see what Tim has to say about these outfits.


  • Jaxson: His outfit is…bright. Like bordering on clowny bright. It doesn’t look as horrifically sewn as some of what we’ve seen from him so far. Still, Tim calls it janky, and makes him switch to a less cheap looking fabric.
  • Peytie: She’s making a dress for attending the wedding. She’s worried the fabric looks cheap. Tim agrees, but says that her silhouette is aces.
  • Bridget: She’s doing a day-to-night outfit. Tim worries that though he likes the kimono overlay, the outfit is underwhelming.
  • Samantha: She’s not making pants, but her day wear separates include denim and an olive-green military-ish style neoprene jacket.
  • Zachary: “A night out in Paris!” he exclaims. Tim is worried about his sewing on his big flowy pants.
  • Maya: Her client wanted pants for her NYE outfit. Tim thinks they are well-tailored. Maya worries they’re dull. Tim says it’s because the overall outfit is, not the pants themselves.
  • Zach: A Sunday Brunch outfit, which looks like matchy-match separates of a crop top and a skirt. Tim sighs that it’s fine.

With everyone getting a critique, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to show these guys starting over, and the fittings with the cheerleader crowd. Unlike most “real women” challenges, all the clients are very positive about their outfits, and if they’re not, their lack of positivity is kept off camera.

Let’s see how the judges react to these outfits.

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “Real Cheerleader Challenge”

Project Runway: Junior “Red Carpet Teamwork”

Is Project Runway still promoting Finding Neverland?  (Why, when Hamilton is the only show on Broadway anyone cares about?) Didn’t they just do that a few weeks back on the adult version? At least the adult version got Matthew Morrison, who the average television watcher would recognize. Instead the kids get Laura Michelle Kelly. Though I suppose one would say that the kids lucked out–the last challenge that acted as a commercial for Finding Neverland was completely ill-defined. This one is far more straight forward: its red carpet. (What does that have to do with Peter Pan? Does it matter?)

This our second team challenge of the season. Eight designers will be split into four teams, each of whom will make one outfit. The kids are refreshingly ok with this, and Peytie even seems worried that because she has immunity she might be seen as sending her teammate home if she doesn’t work extra hard. If only every team challenge were faced with such good humor. Perhaps we wouldn’t flinch at the button bag.


When we get back to the workroom, Tim reveals there’s not even a trip to Mood this week, because the challenge isn’t a one day challenge. It’s a half day challenge. But why? No idea, except that this was a really good excuse to bring in “assistants” for each team. If this were the adult version, those four assistants would be the four previously eliminated designers. Not here. Instead the assistants are designers from previous adult seasons. Samantha Black from Season 11, Amanda Valentine from Season 11/13, and Fabio and Sonjia from Season 10.

  • Maya&Peytie: Fabio
  • Bridget&Jaxson: Sonjia
  • Zach&Samantha: Samantha
  • Zachary&Matt: Amanada

Watching the kids freak out like the biggest celebrities in the world have just been assigned to their teams is adorable. The adults are mostly helpful, reminding the teams to focus, without trying to push in any one direction. Sonjia is a little alarmed at how dismissive Bridget is of Jaxson. (Considering I have no idea why Jaxson is still here, I’m not blaming Bridget all that much.) But if anything Sonjia works as a pad between the two of them and keeping any real drama from developing.


  • Team Samantha&Zach: They hit upon a cape, and the rest is mostly an afterthought. Noted that when Tim points this out, Samantha Black nods vigorously.
  • Team Zachary&Matt: The two of them are an editing trainwreck, adding extra red everywhere. Tim basically assigns Amanda to keep them from going overboard.
  • Team Maya&Peytie: I love their fabric choice for the top. The bottom is really flimsy. Tim calls it messy. He pushes them to change the skirt.
  • Team Bridget&Jaxson: Bridget looks like she wants to punch Jaxson as he presents the outfit and he clearly hates it. Tim tells them this is a bottom look, and they need to fix it now.


Back in miniMood, Sonjia takes charge and forces Bridget out of a sobbing breakdown and back to focus. She quietly picks up all the fabrics the girl liked in the beginning and steamrolls Jaxson into accepting it. The other team who have to head back to miniMood, Maya&Peytie are questioning themselves at every turn, which means Fabio has to step up and force them to just go with it. Not that they listen. Day of runway they change the entire skirt for a third time.

Thank heavens the adults are brought back for the runway morning to push the kids through. I have a feeling none of them would be finished otherwise. As they are dismissed when the kids head down to the runway, I hear Fabio ask Tim if there is booze.

Let’s see how the judges react to these things.

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “Red Carpet Teamwork”

Project Runway: Junior “You Go Girl”

This week, Project Runway: Junior has managed to score themselves a guest star at the level that Project Runway proper has not been able to do in many a moon. Michelle Obama, the most fashionable first lady of my lifetime, has graced the show with her presence (via television.) In exchange, the show has given over promotional time to one of her première charities “Let Girls Learn.” In return, the kid designers, who are making “girl-on-the-go” outfits this week, will be competing for the chance to design a backpack for the charity. This also is tied back to the Peace Corp, who send a representative in person to play up the organizations ties to Let Girls Learn.

So what the heck is “Girl-On-The-Go”? Well, from Tim Gunn’s wheel o’misfortune, it looks like that can mean anything from a sporty girl to a party girl to a working girl. With a spin of the wheel, each designer winds up with their inspiration.


  • Maya: Sporty
  • Zachary: Party
  • Jesse: School
  • Victoria: Party
  • Matt: School
  • Zach: Party
  • Samantha: Work
  • Peytie: Travel
  • Bridget: School
  • Jaxson: Sporty

I’m surprised how many designers wanted “party” for their theme, though I suppose that’s probably the easiest. This week is a double elimination (except for Bridget, who has immunity), so the designers are hoping for easy. Who can blame them? Everyone gets to go to Mood this week, with a $200 budget, and of course, only one day to do it.

With so much on the line, let’s see what awaits Tim during his walkthrough.


  • Peytie: Her fabric is a very faux African hippie design. She’s making something that looks like overalls out of it.
  • Zachary: The top is Teen Prom.The pants are Katherine Hepburn. The corset gets cut.
  • Maya: The collar is fun, the diagonal zipper is on trend. The overall effect is not wow though.
  • Jaxson: He asked himself what Sporty Spice would wear. The problem is, the answer is “not what you’re making.”
  • Jesse: It’s not a bad design, but the seams hurt. Tim points out the skirt makes it looks old.
  • Victoria: I swear, she’s wearing the same outfit she had on the dummy. Tim points out its the same thing she made last week as well.

The models arrive. Jaxson, having just started over, doesn’t have much for his to try on. Upon realizing that, he decides not to totally restart from scratch, for fear of a near meltdown on the day of the runway. (At least he’s learned his time management limits!) Everyone else at least has stuff for the models to try on, even if some of the results are questionable.

Day of runway, and even with not starting over, Jaxson is working until the last-minute. We should note last week’s bottom dwellers, Matt and Samantha, have gotten almost no camera time, which suggests whatever happens they are probably safe this week.

Let’s see what the judges have to say about that.

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “You Go Girl”

Project Runway: Junior “Typical Teamwork”

I’ve really been enjoying Project Runway: Junior. The plucky upstart children with sunny attitudes, the general lack of cruelty on the part of the producers, either in assignments or editing. But that old sense of dread came right back when Hannah David walked out with the button bag. This might be a kinder gentler ProjRun, but that doesn’t mean the show became Face Off over night when it comes to team challenges. Manufactured drama ahoy.

It turns out this is a “two teams of five,” challenge, which means they’ll be doing the usual “cohesive mini collections.” Tim has a blogger with him who is here to hawk Simplicity patterns, as well as help him introduce the challenge. Simplicity enters into it by supplying patterns that’s based on styles from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, the heyday decades of their brand, before cheap Chinese manufactured clothing made it so that moms didn’t sit at home and sew clothes for their family anymore. Nowadays it’s just for hobbyists. This is proved by today’s prize: that Simplicity will reproduce the winning look as a pattern for sale. The two teams pick a decade to be inspired by.


Team 1960s: Matt, Peytie, Jesse, Samantha, Maya
Team 1940s: Victoria, Zachary, Zach, Jaxson, Bridget

In a slightly interesting twist, everyone is not going to get to go to Mood–instead they have to pick two members to go shop for them, and communicate via phone with those who stay behind. (It turns out this is a terrible idea because Mood has terrible reception, especially on the bottom floor.) In order to make up for this, there is a mini-Mood set up just off the workroom. Noted that the kids are pretty blunt with each other, with Team Two telling Victoria she shouldn’t go to Mood because she has time management issues and needs the headstart. I cannot imagine team members saying that to each other in the adult version and it going over well.

As you would expect, one team has a bossy leader (Team 1960s, Samantha) who tells people what to do, and the other is more egalitarian. The edit makes it clear which of those teams is going to be in better shape, even before Tim’s walkthrough. I mean, when you’re in Mini Mood redesigning after the first two hours, it’s never a good sign, even if the members of Team One insist they feel much better now. Speaking of Tim….

team 1940s

  • Team 1940s: Most of his critique is subtly pushing team members to speak up if they don’t like something, but he does come down on the side of not believing in Bridget’s dress, and calls Jaxson’s look “Church Lady.”
  • Team 1960s: For this team, Tim doesn’t bother have anyone speak up. Instead he tears down all the looks, especially Samantha’s, and moreover, especially the fabrics that Samantha actually spent money on. He scolds them to surrender their egos.

Team 1960s starts over a third time–except Samantha, who refuses to listen to Tim. Because of this, she’s the only one with anything to try on their models. Team 1940s starts celebrating that they’re going to win by default at this rate, until Zachary reminds them that their team isn’t done yet either and get back to work.


Day of runway, Team 1940s is working together to help the ones who are behind, like Bridget and her dress that Tim was not pleased with. Team 1960s tries to pump each other up with positivity, and cries of “First Three Hour Collection in ProjRun history!”

Let’s head down to the runway and see if they can make that “First Winning Three Hour Collection in ProjRun History.”

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “Typical Teamwork”

Project Runway: Junior “It’s a Wash”

Our second episode of Project Runway: Junior continues to follow the formula of the parent show, with an unconventional challenge. Since the kids are younger and more gullible, they bring them to the car wash where they get their materials in a limo, so they’re thoroughly fooled going in. But because they’re also young, they handle the bait and switch well. No one insists they are real designers and that not being allowed to work with fabric is some how nonsensical. Those who do say “I’ve only ever worked with fabric,” say it in a way like they’re very inexperienced, not like this is somehow a thing Project Runway should respect.

Along with the far more positive attitude from the cast, I’m finding that PR: Junior works because we are functioning with lowered expectations. These are, after all, kids. Last week’s designs were nothing that would blow one away upon first glance. None of them are going to come along, and say, turn out an avante garde piece on par with Chris March and Christian Siriano in Season 4. But, let’s be frank–no one on Project Runway proper is going to either. This is partly a function of the format change as Lifetime and Weinstein tightened the purse strings, and the standard of two-day long challenges shrank down to one day challenges. The time to conceptualize and create on that level no longer exists. Not to mention that as the show ages, fades from the headlines, and is no longer being referred to by websites as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” it attracts more of the “reality show attention needer” type, and less of the “seriously talented” types. (American Idol has the same problem. The future Kelly Clarksons simply no longer show up.)


Still, the unconventional challenge, by virtue of being more of a crafting and creativity challenge, offers these kids a chance to show up their adult counterparts. Let’s see if anyone is headed in that direction as Tim checks in.

  • Jesse: He has a concept of keychains as fringe going on one shoulder. He also seems really surprised Tim likes it.
  • Bridget: She’s down on herself for not knowing how to work with the materials, but Tim points out her real issue is that she keeps changing her concept.
  • Peytie: She’s got a mop crop top. Tim is very concerned about time management.
  • Matt: His top is a bit janky, though the idea is solid. Tim points out he can solve his tube skirt (made of tubing, natch) problems by splitting them in half.
  • Zachary: I would never know his top was made of pinwheels, which is good. He doesn’t like his skirt, and neither do I, but Tim tells him to commit.
  • Samantha: She is semi cheating with car wash gloves. It looks like a Jim Henson creature.
  • Jaxson: He is trying to make shorts out of fringe.
  • Ysable: She’s trying to make a bra out of sponge. Tim is worried about her flag skirt.

And that’s all we have time for! Maya, Victoria and Zach, better luck next time. (Let’s hope getting skipped means there’s a next time.) The models come and go, volunteer to play with hot glue guns, and generally cheer on their designers.


Day of runway, and we definitely have discovered who has the time management issues. Jaxson is especially in a bad way, causing Maya, who is finished, to come over and help him. Matt seems to be building his tube skirt on his model with less than thirty minute to go. There’s a lot of hot gluing models into craft projects as Tim calls time.

Let’s see what the judges make of this.

Continue reading Project Runway: Junior “It’s a Wash”