Project Runway Season 16 Recap: Drama On The Go!
Project Runway picks up with last week’s cliffhanger, but that was only just the beginning of the drama trauma.
When we last left Project Runway, they were upping the drama quotient by having twins Shawn and Claire go up against in each other in a one hour head to head to determine which would go home. They did this in order to make them work singly for the first time in the entire competition. Usually they edit this to be at the end of the last episode. I thought it odd they were doing it this way, with outfits judging at the top of the episode. It turns out it’s because there will not be outfits. Shawn refuses to do it. She quits (concedes) rather than do it, forcing them to keep Claire. She even suggests that she’s been cheating this whole time, leaning on Claire’s ideas to handle to time pressure.
The rest of the contestants side eye Claire as she rejoins, wondering if she can make something without Shawn. The challenge that will give her that chance is one sponsored by, of all things, Dixie cups. What challenge are they bankrolling to spew a 15 second commercial for disposable drinkwear? A “Women on the Go” Challenge, natch!
These “Women on the Go” aren’t our models though, they are the Project Runway production crew’s friends and family. It’s the “dress non-model women” challenge. (Usually it’s call the “real women” challenge, but since the models are all shapes and sizes this season, the real difference here is that these guys aren’t trained to walk runways.)
Dixie cups is also bankrolling the creations of custom print fabrics for this challenge, stepping in for HP. That makes this a two day challenge by default, since the prints have to be made overnight. The winning outfit’s print will be reproduced on a line of Dixie cups, and win $25k to boot.
Most of the clients aren’t too fussy about what the designers will make for them, since they are aware via friends and family how this show works. That is except Claire, who has the executive producer’s BFF as a client, who is a show superfan, and hates prints. On a print challenge. Because she wasn’t in a bad headspace already.
Claire also starts trying to bounce ideas off the other contestants because she doesn’t know how to work without it. (At one point, she traps Michael and starts talking at him and Michael looks like he’s trying to find the trap door to fall through.)
Meanwhile, Margarita decides from the muslin that Claire is basically knocking off her shirtdress from last week. (The same way Shawn knocked off Deyonte earlier this year.) She tries to involve others in her drama, but they’re not having it. (At one point, she traps Ayana and starts talking at her and Ayana looks like she’s trying to find the trap door to fall through.)
Day two, and the prints arrive, along with Tim and the clients.
- Kentaro: Making an outfit for client to go to a wedding. Tim worries he’s not put enough of himself into the design, it’s just a slip dress. The client pipes up and agrees.
- Michael: The client likes wrap dresses, and his print is good. Tim worries it’s too basic and could be bought anywhere.
- Amy: She, the client and Tim love her shirt. The rest needs work.
- Ayana: She’s doing a dress over pants. Tim asks why, and encourages Ayana to show skin for once.
- Margarita: She *hated* how her print came out, so she dyed it. Tim cheers her on.
- Batani: She claims she’s forcing color into her client’s life. She’s made a grey shroud. The client hates it.
- Kenya: Her grandma client doesn’t want to look like one. Kenya says “peplum”. Tim says no.
- Claire: She has pants, one leg of which is printed, under a shirtdress. Tim hates the pants, calling them gimmicky. He also says he’s seen the top before…but from Claire, not Margarita. Ha!
Claire tries to get Margarita to be her Shawn, which is really uncomfortable, especially because Margarita won’t say “I think you’re copying me.” Claire then whines that no one is friends with her anymore now that Shawn’s gone. No sweetie, it’s just that you finally noticed.
Day of runway and Margarita hates her outfit. She no longer even has Claire to blame, because after redesigning, that outfit looks nothing like Margarita’s outfit last week. Not that it will stop the drama, will it?
Let’s head down to the runway.
Heidi is wearing a black dress that on anyone else would like like goth chic, but on Heidi looks like 80s throwback. Zac and Nina are here as always, with two guest judges. First up, we have Yolanda Hadid, mother of Gigi and Bella, and star of some new Lifetime show. The second is model Sophia Stallone, and daughter of Sylvester. The Tim Gunn Save™ is in effect this week.
Heidi begins to point out Margarita has the last immunity — which used to go away after the Top Ten, btw — and Margarita in response starts crying. She admits her dress “isn’t her best work” (before anyone has seen it!) and says thank god she is immune this week.
Let’s run down the outfits before this episode goes any further off the rails.
Amy: Waiter’s blacks with random print panels.
Brandon: That’s the best thing he’s made.
Kenya: What grandmas think is fashionable. This is a case of the client loving it so much that the judges let it pass into the top. Zac voted for it because tailoring, but he does at least calls out the peplum, as does Heidi.
Kentaro: Still simple, but more simply wow now. This is his first time really using color — not just on the show but ever. He says he feels like he grew at the designer. Zac loves it. Heidi thinks she’s drowning in the fabric. Zac and Nina tell Heidi she’s an idiot. Nina calls it stunning, and is proud to hear he grew.
Claire: Hands down the *best* thing the girl has turned out, even if it’s a bit basic. The printed pants are so effective. This is the first challenge without Shawn, and not having that albatross around her neck is such a boon. The judges are over the moon. Nina and Zac admit it’s basic, but let’s be real, they don’t care. They’re just so pleased, they give her the win anyway.
Margarita: An Ugly Box Dress. She apologizes to her client on the runway. The judges agree Margarita got lost. Zac does actually likes the print anyway. When the judges push her to say why she got distracted, all she says is “I wasn’t raised to throw people under the bus.” Well then.
Michael: That’s horrid. No, like embarrassingly bad. If he put that on one of the regular overweight model he’d be reamed. Zac is horrified. Nina says “Too ambitious, too much going on,” and without using the words, that this is a design for a thin model, not a regular human.
Batani: Where’s the print? A tiny corner under her arm? Heidi calls her out on where’s the print before Batani even defends it. Zac too — Batani is the queen of prints. Nina was like: “This is a print challenge.” What happened? She listened too much to her client, and didn’t do enough of herself. (Also? I think she hated the print.)
Margarita is obviously safe. But before we can find out if it’s Michael or Batani who goes home, Michael walks. He walks when they give Claire the win, and tells Tim backstage that it’s because he came to play fair, and this isn’t a fair game. Claire is cheating.
Well of course it’s not a fair game, Michael. It’s Project Runway. The show that literally engineered Anthony Ryan to win All Stars Season 2 even though he crashed and burned right before the finale. The show that tried to force Michelle out and then had to give up and let her stay when *all* their favorites crashed and burned. And that’s just the biggest ones that came at the end, so we remember. Reality competitions are inherently unfair. And if you think calling those unfairnesses out like this is going to land in your favor… I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.
Michael and his new bought bridge will find out if they get to stay next week.