Aug 22, 2014

What Did We Learn From Project Runway This Week? Season 13, Episode 5

Project Runway needs to plan its airdates a little better because going into this week's challenge — which was to design a dress for Heidi to wear at the Creative Arts Emmys — I already knew the winner. After all, the Creative Arts Emmys took place last Sunday, so there was no suspense if you had already seen her red carpet look:

Thanks, Lifetime

Of course this week's episode was not about suspense. It was about how stressful it is to shop at Mood — and how nobody should have to design and sew a red carpet gown in a single day. Seriously, don't hate the player, hate the game.

I suspect most of you feel the same way: I would rather the challenges on Project Runway be designed to encourage success — not force an an ill-fitting fug fest due to arbitrary time restrictions. But that's what we got this week on Project Runway. By my count, there were only four dresses that were red carpet-worthy. In order below, Fade, Sean, Kini and Sandyha:

In addition to the lowest scoring gowns, which we will get into in more detail when we talk lessons, there were a couple other dresses I thought were so bad it begs discussing:

Emily's dress (far left) is so short, and yet it had a slit. A slit! In a miniskirt! A slit!! You could catch an STI if you sat down in this thing! How did they not call her out on that? It's also rumpled and so sad. Like a stewardess on Blade Runner Air. Meanwhile, Alexander's dress (center) with its many stitched-down folds was so stiff it looked like it was made from an emergency rescue blanket. Next!

Amanda, of course, was actually in the top 3 with this Cleopatra costume. And in this small picture I admit it actually looks better than I thought it did up close. Still: stripes? On the red carpet? I believe there was actually rickrack in her design:

Rickrack! Moving on.

Lesson 1: Mood can make you or break you

Now, I don't sew for clients so I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty certain that if you were custom-making a special event gown you would OK your fabric first before purchasing, cutting and sewing, right?

Of course, the designers on Project Runway don't have that luxury and instead have to shop on a hunch and a hope — and all in just 30 minutes at Mood. I've said it before and I will say it again: I've shopped Mood many times, but I don't believe I've ever made it in and out in under 30 minutes. It would take me that much time to choose a plain white shirting at Mood. There are just that many choices — and that many distractions. I completely sympathize with the designers who couldn't find the right fabrics.

Still, if your client hates your green fabric and you are given a second chance at fabric shopping, would you buy MORE green fabric like Korina did? Because truly, the two fabrics were not all that different:

That choice made in the harried aisles of Mood was the design world equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot (stabbing yourself with your own scissors?). But somehow she still dodged a bullet, thanks to Kristine and Mitchell's red looks:

Droopy, ill-proportioned, and committing multiple crimes against cleavage, there's not much to learn from these two dresses — other than the fact that a single day is just not enough time to create a red carpet-ready gown. I felt really bad for both designers.

Sandyha, meanwhile, made the most of her second trip to the fabric store by hustling her way around the workroom to gather the remaining Mood money from those few designers who were happy with their initial purchases. She ended up spending a whopping $432 dollars — most of it on a $120/yard black lace, which she overlaid on yellow to great effect.

Of course, the other designers were sour grapes about Sandhya's sneaky dealings, but all's fair in fashion and fabric shopping. I was most surprised that the others neglected to shake down their fellow designers for extra

Lesson 2:  Fringe is in?

How many challenges have been won on a fringe dress this season on Project Runway? This many:

Make it stop.

What did you learn this week watching Project Runway? Who was your fave? And will you be sewing fringe this Fall?


  1. I learned that I am a Char fan. She doesn't get much air time, probably because she has been safe in all of the challenges so far. I hope she stays a long time because I like her designs and her attitude. Also, I know that Kristine's dress wasn't that good, but I was really hoping she would stay over Korina. I feel like Kristine's was the lesser of the two evils.

    1. I love Char too. I'm hoping she and Kini make it to the end.

    2. I la-la-la-love char and can't wait for them to spend more time on her. Her designs are full of happy colors, They are beautiful, and she has a wonderful personality. (and can I admit I love that she is from Detroit?)

    3. I like Char! But her dress looked like a contender for DDs prom dress! Not enough ummph for Heidi IMO.

    4. I agree that her dress this week was not the greatest, but she's been so solid this season. I love her attitude too.

  2. Thank you for the photo of Heidi in the dress. She certainly was having fun in it! Yes, I noticed fringed has been quite popular on Project Runway this season….but no, I will not be sewing any fringe…too impractical for commuting.

  3. Love your recap. I started watching the episode last night and have not gotten to the runway part yet. I've already seen the winner all over, so I don't mind watching backward. I think I would have chosen Fade's gown. It think it was the most unique. I really did not care for Sean's that much. If you google "car wash" and look at images, you can see the exact color combination and look on the second row!

    1. Bahaha! Total car wash, especially in the picture of Heidi spinning.

  4. I was actually ok with Sean being the winner of this challenge, although I really loved Kini's dress too. I think Fade's dress was awesome, but probably more appropriate for a different awards event, maybe something like the People's Choice Awards? Sandyha's dress... well, the fabric is pretty, but I don't think the design was very innovative. I mean, she played by the rules, so go her, but comparing what she did to what everyone else did with half as much money... the other three (Fade, Sean, Kini) were all more interesting.

    As for the bottom designers, I think they made the right call, though, really, you get to go back to Mood and you get almost the same color? Why?

    Amanda, in the top again? What am I not understanding here? I mean, I didn't think her dress was totally heinous, but I also didn't see it being it the top 3. At all.

    And, yes, we are totally learning that fringe is the IN thing this season. Good job to Sean for figuring that out before it was too late.

    1. so weird that Korina couldn't see that the fabrics were BAD for Heidi AND so similar!!

  5. LOL glad I was out of the loop enough to not know that Sean’s won  His and Kini’s were both great, I thought for this particular challenge where Heidi wanted ‘unexpected’ he deserved to win. Kini’s was awesome but not as edgy.
    WHY wasn’t Fade’s in the top?? SO cool, that movement and use of the pattern.
    I actually really liked amanda’s from last week. Not like tops in the world or anything, but I thought it was neat. But this week? Terrrrible. Terrible on its own and also terrible for Heidi. I wasn’t sure what to make of the Amanda conspiracy theories from last week, but now I’m a believer—she should’ve been in the vast time crunch induced bottom. I didn’t really mind the front of Alexander’s. I don't know how they chose the eliminations, they were all three so bad. i didn't really want to see any of those designers go home.
    Also, Korina’s tattoos are cool and I continue to love Zac dropping sewing lingo 
    Why did the designers care about Sandyha using the extra money? They all had the chance to. I mean sure it’s annoying, but it’s not anything out of place. Weird.

    1. I like Korina's tattoos too. Secretly coveting them all season...

  6. Why does Kini never win? The guy has talent (obviously) yet the judges seem to have "favorites".

    1. He is clearly one of the best. Not sure why he keeps getting robbed. Maybe low expectations for Mitchell so it was an "over delivery" vs Kini being bery skilled? Meh.

    2. Goddamn Amanda, that´s why. They have to make room for her in the top three.

    3. Kini and Fade keep getting over looked for the come back girl...ICK. I didn't like her the first time around and now I'm edging toward the "H" word.

  7. So I was in line at Shop Rite on Monday evening and my phone let me know about Heidi's dress, and I was like, really? The guy who's in the bottom made her dress? What does that mean??? Did he win something? I agree, definitely poor timing.

    For the second time this season, Zac has said something about how it takes time to make a good garment, and that always gets me riled up...why give them 1 day when it takes longer than that to make a garment? Even Zac says so!!

    I'm surprised too that the other designers weren't asking for $$. And that could have been even more dramatic--the ones who weren't going could have, in the words of Tim Gunn, caucused and decided who should get their money or how much or whatever....

    How could Fade not be in the top 3? He was the winner to me.

    No fringe for me.

  8. I have noticed that the time constraints seem to be getting tighter each season. It would be really nice to see what they could with just a pinch more time. If it were me competing(which would be completely crazy) I would have to shop for fabric first and then do the sketching and planning what to do with it. I hope there is a fringe ban imposed next week.

  9. "committing multiple crimes against cleavage"


  10. I don't have cable so I can't watch the show anymore, or so I thought. I live in the Dark Ages apparently and didn't even realize that the episodes are available online! Still, I enjoyed this recap. Felt like I was there watching.

  11. I figure they keep Amanda on because she has a brother in some famous band. When I saw the winning dress in advance I didn't understand why he won. Until I saw the competition. I liked Kini's the best but Sean's was a nice color. Personally I wouldn't have given Sandyha any of my money but then I'm a mean biyatch.

  12. LOL!!!!!!!
    1. I agree - I already knew the winner so the suspense was gone. The dress is a lot of fun.
    2. I really liked Kini's dress,
    3. The "Cleopatra" dress wasn't too bad but I would wear it more casually - definitely not at the Creative Emmy's
    4. I agree with everything else. Who buys more of the same fabric that elicited a sour face from the client??? The short much sadness on this runway...

  13. Such is the nature of TV competition shows. I felt the same about the time constraint on the Great British Sewing Bee. Unreal. Wish we get the Project Runway series here in the UK. For a city that claims to be Fashion Capital of the World London & UK public in gneral seem to show little interest in proper fashion creativity on screen. All we get are fringe upcycle / retro shows aimed at absolute beginners. Yawn. UK version of PR flopped obviously. It was gone in 2 seasons.

  14. Kini has had some of the tops looks every week, I wish they would acknowledge that.
    The designers need more time. Remember back in the earlier season.....2 day challenges and the a add on with another day!!!!! The designs that Christian Siriano and Seth Aaron came up die for. Also love Chris from season 4. Those designs couldn't have been done in todays show.


  15. Oo thank you for including the Emmy's picture of Heidi! I hadn't watched that so after watching this episode I was curious what she ended up looking in it. I was in love with Kini's dress, Sandyha's dress too but heck for $400 that SHOULD be the case. They both were lovely though.
    And I'm going to say a negative on the fringe, ha not my forte though I do think Sean did an excellent job and I'm a total sucker for his accent so I'm going to cheer him on until the day I die. haha

    PS I totally realize I'm late to the party with this episode but I guess that's what you get when you're behind on your Xfinity subscriptions! haha, I'm so tempted to read your latest recaps but I'm going to refrain, at least until I see the episodes of course. I'm so glad you're doing these by the way, I've been wanting someone to talk Project Runway with.



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