Project Runway Season 16: Kenya’s NYFW Collection
Our second decoy collection for Project Runway’s NYFW Spring 2018 show was the closest the TV’s show’s come to admitting dummy collections exist.
Project Runway has featured decoy collections during New York Fashion Week to hide who the finalists are since the show’s popularity first took off. From Kara Janx in Season 2 to Mychael Knight in Season 3 to our latest editions, every single season has had at least one dummy collection to keep the audience from figuring out the winners. Bravo kept it to one or two at most, while there were entire years during the early Lifetime run where the entire Top Ten had collections walk the runway.
And yet, the program has always pretended like this is not the case. And for the audience at home who are not that into NYFW, and who aren’t twitter nerds, and fashion geeks, this pretense still remains. I’ve met loads of people who have no idea that, say, Swapnil and Meline showed in New York in Season 14. After all, the last we saw of Swapnil, Tim was doing everything he can not to pull a Tyra and scream “We were all rooting for you! How dare you?” How many viewers would believe that a week or two later, he gets a call from the producers telling him he gets a budget to make a decoy collection and he’s going to NYFW after all?
For that, I have to commend Project Runway. This season they finally got close to admitting that they give a budget, time and a slot in their NYFW presentation, not just to the finalists, but to the entire Top Six? (Since 2014 that is. From 2009-2013 it was given to at least the Top 8, if not more.) And by showing that Kenya had a budget and a collection they made it even harder to pretend decoy collections don’t happen. (Seriously, Lifetime is going to spend $10,000 and then not have her show those clothes on the runway? That’s beyond nonsensical. Anyone who actually believes that doesn’t understand how money works.)
Kenya was afforded something extra though, something that no other decoy collection has gotten prior to now: judges feedback. There won’t be extra Mood money for her, and she won’t get any more advice from Tim (at least on camera.) But the issue with most dummy collections is that Nina and Zac can’t tell the contestants how badly their styling choices are working against them. Kenya lucked into at least having that5.
So did it make a difference? Let’s look at all of her outfits.
If anything, what it looks like is that Kenya decided to walk back the advice she had gotten from Tim in favor of some of what the judges said. Tim was pushing her to mix and match her pieces to make them bolder. Kenya reassembled them to be less mix and match, in favor of Nina’s emphasis on clean lines.
That means a lot of matchy-match two-piece outfits, that might have more life, and less “flatness” had they been paired with something that wasn’t the same color/fabric.
At least the cover-ups didn’t go away-away. Zac liked them, and so did I.
This was one she considered showing but didn’t ultimately put in front of the judges. I’m not sure it would have made a difference.
This needed to be traded out with other pieces. The sloppy shirt and the tinsel skirt together are too much.
I wish she’d shown this. I don’t know if it would have made a diference, but it’s one of the best pieces in the collection.
I think the problem with this cover up is that it just doesn’t work, period, no matter what it’s over.
She did take this dress in to fit the model like a glove, and it helps with the matronly aspect.
These were reassmebled back into what they were in the workroom. I still think the beaded jacket is the best part.
This final outfit is trying a little too hard. I really like the jacket, but here it matches the dress so much it looks to be all of one piece.
Still, one of the better dummy collections, and a damn sight better than Michael’s offerings. Perhaps from here on out the judges will consider keeping the final cut here at the halfway mark of the finale, so that at least one dummy collection gets feedback. It would improve the final runway show all around.