Project Runway Season 16 Recap: Driving Unconventionally
If we’re within the group that all go to New York Fashion Week, then it must be time for Project Runway’s yearly car commercial.
You might think the change in attitude and latitude having reached the Top Six might be due to the loss of this season’s twin drama queens, but it’s not. All six of our designers have won the grand prize, to head to fashion week, and have done the math and spread the word amongst each other. It’s a relief in spirit as they head to do what is now a staple of Project Runway‘s later years: the Branded Expensive Toyota Car Commercial Challenge. This year, as it has done in previous years past, it’s also an unconventional material one. (It’s usually either that or a high-end Red Carpet challenge style look.)
This year it’s not ripping apart cars (though that was pretty hilarious. Instead, the cars are stuffed with safety equipment — orange cones, caution tape, hard hats, etc. There is no trip to Mood for anything supplemental. There’s lots of rope and caution tape taken by everyone since that’s the closest thing to fabric to be found. This, as usual, is a one day challenge. Tim reminds everyone that the point is to make the materials not look like their materials.
Kenya really hates this challenge, and also managed not to get nearly as many materials and everyone else. She’s going the seatbelt route and doesn’t have enough. Michael is playing with bungee cords BDSM, but “sophisticated”, and it’s already a bad idea. Ayana is quietly horrified because of course, she is. Kentaro grabbed himself some firehose, which is both the most brilliant way to cheat and get the fabric out of a pile of trash I think I’ve seen in several seasons.
With only six contestants left, we have more than one shown c doing the “emotional call to a family member” that usually spells doom. We can assume everyone seen calling will probably be in the bottom this week, yes?
Let’s see what Tim has to say about what’s happening in the workroom.
- Margarita: She’s taken advantage of the lack o humans in the room and spread her materials out everywhere to keep organized. She;s got a bright blue harness over something that looks to have red feather and black leather boobs. Tim doesn’t hate it.
- Ayana: She’s whipped a faux leather jacket out of god knows what and her Avante Garde art pattern across the chest is made of shattered warning light plastic. Her skirt is going to be plastic emergency fencing. I highly approve. Tim sees the potential.
- Kenya: She’s weaving seatbelts because that’s not been done before. Tim tells her to add color.
- Michael: His boring bungee cord sex doll outfit is going over woven harness belts. Tim looks even more dubious about this than he does about Kenya’s.
- Kentaro: Tim tells Kentaro he’s cheating by using the hose fabric. Tim says as it stands, the judges will tell him he cheated.
- Brandon: He’s made a circle skirt out of rubber, and a top out of one of those aluminum-foil looking emergency blankets. Tim is concerned about the latter, calling it “messy,” and worries aloud that Brandon is starting to crash and burn.
Michael debates scrapping the belt weaving, but then he’s got nothing to cover her boobs, so he’s kind of stuck. Kentaro is also unable to think past his hose fabric idea. Brandon soldiers on with his original idea, because he knows it will work, even if he can’t convince Tim. Ayana’s Avante Garding out in the corner freaks out the others and drives Margarita to start adding hard hats.
The models arrive and the shouts of laughter are priceless. They egg on the designers to go even crazier, which is really adorable, and one of the few times I really like the models.
Day of runway and Michael correctly identifies that he is in trouble. (His model is just thankful she’s not naked.) He also thinks Kentaro is too because both of them are stuck. Oddly he doesn’t seem to notice that Kenya has not only made the most boring black dress ever, but she’s made her model look like she has huge hips, which, even the model is like “Uh no.” (But nicely.) Some think Ayana will also be in trouble, but that’s just wishful thinking.
Let’s head down to the runway, and see what the judges think of all this.
Heidi is wearing a beige on beige, but since the miniskirt is leather beige and the top is low cut silken beige, it makes beige on beige look good. Zac and Nina are in residence as always. Today’s guest judge is hawking the return of Mr. Robot Season 3, but sadly it’s not noted fashionista Remi Malik. Instead, it’s Carly Chaikin. Heidi brings up the Tim Gunn Save™, giving hope to those who, well are already going to NWFW so who cares? Ok, maybe Michael cares, despite his earlier insistence the save shouldn’t be used.
Heidi demands to know why the Tim Gunn Save™ hasn’t been used yet as if it isn’t obvious he’s been made to wait to use it until after we cross the NYFW rubicon. Let’s ignore her failure to fake us out and get to the designs.
Brandon: It’s straight out of Grease, or 1950s diner chic. Zac adores it and likes that it forces Brandon to play with color. Nina loves the movement, which is also not typically something he does. Heidi is also on board.
Margarita: Flash without the trash. I really like the bodice, even if you can tell it’s a rigging harness. Nina says it’s superhero-esque. Zac says “teenage mutant ninja turtle,” and it’s only a partial compliment. Everyone loves the top, so much the guest judge says “she could be wearing a trash bag skirt, and I’d have voted for this.”
Kenya: It’s so stiff it’s like it’s wearing her. But Heidi likes it. She likes the hat, even if the zipper is broken. Zac likes that she painted the seatbelts, which is different. Nina calls it “drama without everything and the kitchen sink.”
Ayana: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. That is a stunner. The caution tape headwrap and the hardhat are the cherries on top. Speaking of everything and the kitchen sink, this is totally what Nina was talking about. Heidi is tickled to death. Zac “Hot! Bold! Big!” He’s not in love with the 1980s top, but otherwise superb. Nina says the outfit is on fire. This is totally the winner, and the judges correctly agree.
Kentaro: It’s got a Native American vibe. That doesn’t hide the fabric-ness of his fabric. The judges are so disappointed. Nina hates that it looks like a Native American costume. Heidi says it looks like a doll. The guest judge calls it right: the styling is what ruins this. Zac thinks he should have stuck with the fire hose and notes that the fiberglass fringe must be killing the model. (She admits it is.)
Michael: Trashy, flashy. You can tell what it’s made out of, at every level. When Heidi said “There’s nothing we don’t love” and Nina and Zac made faces, it was this outfit they were thinking of. Heidi is kind and says it just looks like he didn’t work as hard. The guest judge straight up says “tacky and cheap.” Real talk girl!
With four in the top, it’s down to Kentaro and Michael. Let’s be real: Kentaro’s is a styling issue and taking Tim’s notes in a bad direction, not a failure of actual creation. Whereas Michael’s is dull, boring, slutty and bad. There’s no question of who is leaving, it’s Michael. And no, Tim’s not saving him.
But not to worry, he’ll still show at Fashion Week. We’ll have his line up for judging soon.