Project Runway Season 16 Recap: ‘Tis A Silly Place
Project Runway’s Avante Garde week starts off with a bang and crashes into a soft, silly landing.
We pick up in the same place as Michael’s hissy fit last week, which goes exactly as bad as we assumed it would. Michael’s claim to Claire’s cheating: “She measures her own clothes and patterns off of them.” I can see where some would see this as akin to Keith and the pattern books back so many seasons ago on BRAVO. But according to the Project Runway rules, patterning off one’s own clothes in the workroom is not cheating. Oddly enough, guest judge Yolanda Hadid is the steely voice of reason, backing up the Zac and Nina. Michael is not a judge. He is a contestant. He has no right to act this way, and no say in the way the show is judged. Though she doesn’t say it aloud, the message is clear: shut your mouth, keep your eyes focused on your own work. No one is impressed with this dramatic nonsense. This is unacceptable behavior.
The show continues. Claire won, Batani is out.
Michael continues to claim that Claire (and Shawn before she left) were cheating because they were not measuring stuff in the workroom, it was at home, in the hotel apartments. Now that is against the rules, not because of the actual measuring, but because it is working outside of the time designated, giving the contestant an unfair advantage. Tim looks alarmed but says they need to prove it. Michael responds by getting Claire to start talking in the Green Room, and keeps her talking until she admits, on camera, she did exactly what he claimed: “It was only a tank top!” “It was four measurements!” “It was just the crotch of some pants!”
Tim then enters, having the confession on tape. Claire storms out, her win rescinded. No one gets $25k, and Dixie gets to pick whatever pattern they like to put on their cup. Hilariously, they pick Brandon, who wasn’t even in the top three. (Proof, in case we needed it, that there should have been a Dixie rep on the panel last week, and all this sh*t could have been avoided.)
Batani is back in.
So with 300 words on that nonsense, let’s get to this week’s challenge. It’s Avante Garde week, and the contestants walk into the horrifying set up of some branded children’s toys called “Shopkins” and eight small prepubescent girls — one for each of them. They each have one of these Bratz knock-off dolls, which will be the inspiration for the Avante Garde look (in adult form, thank heavens), and the winner gets $5k and a doll created that’s based on the winning design. The designers have been preassigned which kid’s doll they get.
Margarita: Pineapple Lily
Kentaro: Rainbow Kate
Amy: Sara Sushi
There are 30 minutes to “consult” with small children who know everything about these idiot things –for some, it helps, for others, it’s a total waste of time. Then it’s off to Mood with a $300 budget.
Let’s skip the Make It Work sing along and get to Tim’s critique.
- Batani: Tim says “Thank god Batani is back.” This is not a knock on the earlier events, but that she has color and prints on her station. She is making a butterfly, natch.
- Kentaro: He says he’s trying to create feeling instead of structure. Feeling doesn’t hold up my boobs, son.
- Margarita: She says her kid was obsessed with glitter. Sequins stitched to packing foam it is. Tim is impressed.
- Kenya: She’s making a strapless pineapple. Tim’s eyes widen. Kenya says it’s ’cause she’s extra like that.
- Ayana: She’s totally lost in mermaid ruffles and layers and layers of fabric and chicken wire. Tim says “Start editing right now.”
- Michael: “Disco party.” (He had the kid who came with drawings of jumpsuits.) Tim worries there’s no place to hide with it.
- Amy: She’s making a coat. Again. Tim calls it a mishmash.
- Brandon: He has a chocolate based character, so he bought bright green and it making some weird 60s looking sundress. He’ll probably win.
In the workroom, the models come and go, some of them staring in horror and woe. Michael’s jumpsuit looks to be see thru. Ayana’s chicken wire dress looks circa 1845. And Brandon is panicking because he screwed up his shapeless look. Kentaro tells him to add a skirt because it’s not like his looks have some sort of structural design to them anyway.
Day of runway, and when Tim walks in, everyone is honest that none of them are good right now. I mean, they’re doing Avante Garde in 10 hours. Of course, no one is good. But they’re all in a really good mood since Claire and Shawn are gone, so six of one, half dozen of the other?
Let’s go to the runway.
Since it’s an Avante Garde challenge, Heidi is wearing the most simple little black dress in existence. She makes jokes about Batani’s luck of the draw and all the drama of less than an hour ago. Zac seems to be wearing the same suit as last week and gets a random cookbook shout out. Our guest judge this week is Kate Upton, who doesn’t even have a cookbook to shill. Nothing mentioned about the Tim Gunn Save this week, and Heidi pulls “one or more of you” will be eliminated. Let us side-eye.
Kentaro: His Rainbow Kate is having a white wedding.
Kenya: Her Jessicake is a stunner, even though it’s not Avante Garde as much as it’s better peplums for a new day.
Brandon: His Cocolette is mint chocolate maybe? Extra straps don’t save this. (It’s not Avante Garde.) The judges approve of his lack of chocolate. Zac says it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but the judges are going to love Brandon until the end.
Margarita: Her Pineapple Lily is having a white and silver wedding. Heidi calls it a cloud, but a flattering cloud. Zac calls it sensual and loves the draping. Nina calls it a 360 explosion.
Ayana: Bubbleisha: Umbrellalicious! (This *is* Avante Garde.) Heidi is bow away she did this in a day. “Go big or go home.” Zac says “Surrealist Bo-Peep.” Nina loves the bow.
Michael: His Popette is wearing the jumpsuit version of an outfit I saw at the MOMA exhibit last weekend. it’s supposed to be a melting disco ball. Nina calls it SciFi. Kate Upton claims she would dance in it. Heidi tells the disco ball to twirl. Zac calls it high fashion. He wins. (I would have given it to Ayana.)
Batani: Her Peppa-Mint is butterfly scrunched. Heidi hates it and calls it scraps and unfinished. Nina assumed she ran out of time and is startled to discover she was wrong. Zac calls it “Laundry day.”
Amy: Sara Sushi: Boring. (Why are there no fish?) The judges are bored, and say that against everything else, it wasn’t risky or interesting. Zac and Nina think she boxed herself in by insisting to stick to the streamlined look. (Zac suggests maybe she’s just not a “one day challenge” gal.)
Heidi, it turns out, is upset that the elimination of Batani last week didn’t stick, and leads the judges to eliminate her immediately again. That seems slightly shocking, that they would keep Amy’s dull look over Batani? No, Amy is out as well. That’s three contestants in 90 minutes, taking us to our Top Six, who all showed at Fashion Week. Now that we know who they are, let’s hit the guessing game of who’s line is whose.