Project Runway: Unprecedented Integrity



By CJ Bomb

Hello everyone and welcome to Project Runway week four. My parents are safe and sound back home with minimal damage done. I hope everyone fared as well and if not, again, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I have to say, in light of this election, last week’s natural disaster and all the shit going down in the world, when Heidi announced that it was a team challenge my heart sunk. I‘m kind of done with negativity in general for now. That being said, I am now writing this with tears streaming down my face. Why you ask? Well read on…..

As I said it is the first team challenge of the season. Mary Kay has asked for two teams of six designers to design a mini collection and present their ideas to potential investors. Each of these investors has $1000 to divide up as they see fit between the teams. This is a new idea and I have to say I like it. I like that they have to present something cohesive up front and receive feedback instead of just hitting Mood and letting all design hell break loose. MJ is worried as he points out that everyone is talented, but that there are a LOT of egos. Always the problem in a team challenge.

Rik gets to pick first as he won last week and he chooses Alex. The dreaded button bag comes out and the teams are as follows: Team Unity: Alex, Rik, Roberi, Cornelius, Nathalia and Mah-Jing. Team Button Bag: Laurence, Erin, Dexter, Tasha, Jenni and Brik

They begin coming up with ideas and on team Unity (nice idea, sucky name) and Alex quickly takes the lead. They want to do a line for the “Empowered Working Woman”. Alex points out that this is one of the fastest growing demographics in the country and having been in this industry the longest he is ready to pitch to the investors. They are cool with it. Everyone agrees to a muted color palette of navy and black with only MJ having reservations regarding the lack of excitement in the designated choices. No one really wants to hear what MJ has to say and I have a terrible foreshadowing that MJ is going to get thrown under the bus. So does he, as he points out that four of these designers are roommates and two are best friends.

Team Unity

Team Unity

Over at Team Button Bag (sucky name, period) everyone is just throwing ideas out into the wind and talking about what they as individuals can make until my man Dex pipes up and grabs the reins. He speaks like he was born to pitch and points out how they need to solidify their concept, refine their palette and nail down their specific client. Everyone shuts up and stares. Tasha says what everyone is thinking, You talk like this and you “look how you look?” Who are you? Dex is now unofficially in charge and pitching. The man handled snakes, he can handle pitching investors.

The investors are….THE JUDGES! This is even better because the designers will get direction from the beginning from the people who determine who stays and goes. A Project Runway first! Alex pitches Team Unity’s collection and the judges don’t seem too excited. Nina points out that it is a saturated market. She asks how theirs will be different. Alex says that the finishes and details will make their collection not boring and unique. Team BB presents and sweet Tasha looks like a deer in headlights. Dex does a great job talking about the untapped demographic they are aiming to hit, fashion forward females in the tech industry. That certainly does sound like an untapped market. He explains that each designer’s unique background will contribute to a cohesive collection that will be both fun, yet serious and badass. Sign me up Dex!


I don’t know if that made much sense and I have a bad feeling it is about to become a train wreck but at least it sounds interesting! It definitely sounds a lot more interesting than Team Unity. Empowered working woman? Unless you are giving me a jetpack and a shield for deflecting man-splaining, I don’t know how “empowered” I’m going to get wearing something I could buy at Theory or Ann Taylor. The judges divide up their money and Team BB gets $2200 and Team U gets a measly $800. Alex is flummoxed by this decision and even Team BB is a bit shocked. Brik points out that because they have the resources the judges are going to expect a lot.

Over on TU they have decided to make their collection more interesting by using a very ugly print in each look. Everyone is working well together but poor MJ is getting the loser edit. They can’t pronounce his name and Cornelius calls him “what’s his name.” Project Middle School. MJ responds by being helpful and repeatedly asking everyone their opinion so that they are cool with his garment. Maturity? Wow. Well done, MJ. The team warms to him and starts treating him with respect.

Team Button Bag has become Team Bouton because it sounds better in Laurence speak. Let’s be honest, everything sounds better when Laurence says it. They have a bright yellow fabric and are using it throughout the collection. Color. Thank you lord. Laurence talks about how she is making a leather jacket. She was so proud when she got her first leather jacket years ago and laughs looking back now, saying in retrospect was hideous. I had that same leather jacket Laurence. I was trying to look like Kelly McGillis in Top Gun. I did not succeed. Everyone seems to be getting along well and helping each other out.



Tim’s critique

Tim tells TU that their clothes need to look modern and luxe because their color palette it so muted. MJ silently says “I told you so.” Alex is designing a silver tube dress. What empowered working woman doesn’t need one of those? Tim seems to be telling them to jazz it up, but they are responding by over-designing their looks. Have I also mentioned how much I hate the print they are using? Eighties, and not in a good way. But again, everyone working together well with respect. Am I in an alternate reality TV world?

Team Bouton proudly reveals their new name and Tim still thinks it is terrible. He thinks the collection is disjointed and one of the pieces is not for the girl they are designing for, it’s for her mother, or grandmother. Everyone promises him that they will shed the extraneous and make it all cohesive. He tells them to keep an eye on all the moving parts. Cornelius says it’s hot mess and it looks like someone “threw up.” Dude, have you seen your print? Team Unity has a LOT of disparaging things to say about TB. Statements like this frequently come back to bite you in the ass on this show. On Project Runway, confidence GOOD, cockiness BAD. Remember that future contestants.

RELATED: Tim Gunn Critiques Plus Sized Ready To Wear Options

The models come in and Team Unity is basically done. I could care less about most of it with the exception of MJ who has made a very cool top. Team Bouton has a lot to do and seems very disorganized. Laurence has made a jacket I want to reach through the TV and grab and wear every day. I would sleep in it. Brik and Jenni on the other hand, have made a dress that looks like it was designed by Kanye West. This is NOT a compliment. KANYE! IF YOU ARE READING THIS, PLEASE JUST STOP! It’s way too short, bland and it looks like pantyhose.  Erin has made an Erin coat. Dex is all over the place helping. “I’m not made of magic!” he says. Yes you are Dex!

The Runway

Heidi actually looks pretty this week. Seriously, what’s going on? Our guest judge is Sabrina Carpenter. That’s all I’m going to write about that.

Team Unity Cornelius and Rik: Black skirt, asymmetrical top, cropped jacket. Not bad, but not great. MJ: Cool cropped pant and a top I want to wear out with Laurence’s jacket. Nat and Roberi: Cocoon coat she dialed back from it’s original volume with his (ugly) printed pajama pants and a weird top. It’s not Roberi’s finest look. Rik: Silver tube dress, wonky in the back and I see every weird wrinkle.

Team Bouton Dexter: Love his embellished suit. Jenni and Brik: a flesh-colored mini-dress too short for even Heidi? Not good. Laurence and Tasha: I want this jacket. I don’t care who I have to kill to get it. It looks awesome against the bright yellow skirt Tasha made. Erin: Funky embellished mixed fabric coat. Statement piece. Whether or not you love this collection, it was at least interesting which is why I choose them for the winners and Laurence for the individual win.

Team Button Bag

Team Button Bag

Judges Critique

WINNERS Team Bouton: the judges love everything except the Kanye dress. I was right, even Heidi thought it was too short. They thought the rest of the collection was fashion forward and fun. They loved that they used a bright color and thought the embellishments made the pieces special and unique. All the designers compliment each other and talk about how much they loved working together.

LOSERS Team Unity: the judges are confused by the direction the collection took as it in no way resembled their original pitch. Nina is at a loss. The fabric is for evening and the looks make no sense. Zak wanted the impact of some color and Heidi generously tells them it wasn’t bad, and they should be proud they managed to do so much with so little. Even though no one wants to talk at first, the stunned designers manage to say that they tried to redirect based on the feedback from the original pitch. Nina tells them they over-thought it.

Here is the part I hate on the team challenges. Everyone is always asked on the winning team who should get the individual recognition and someone always says me. Everyone on the losing team has to say who should go home. Most of the time some poor soul gets thrown under the bus and there is much anger and many tears (see Mean Girls episode, season 14).

Now TT might deservedly edit the heck out of me, but I’m just going to say this. My faith in humanity was a bit restored tonight. BOTH teams worked well together and helped each other out. A Project Runway first. There were no divas. The winning teammates each picked someone other than themselves to win, INCLUDING Erin who rightly picked Dex for being the de-facto leader. He wins and is crying while thanking them all. Each team member is receiving $5000 from Mary Kay and Dex will be featured in a spread in Mary Kay magazine.

Now, here is where I lost it. When Heidi asks the losing team members who should go home, almost every single one of them tells the judges that if it is their design that brought the team down, then they themselves deserve to be sent home. Cornelius, Nat, Roberi and Alex each took responsibility in a way I have never ever seen on this show. It was mature and gracious and just awesome. Everyone is crying, including me. Alex being the de-facto leader, is picked to go home. Tim comes out and says he has never seen anything this classy in the history of the show. Alex interrupts Tim and tells him that he tried out for season four and made it all the way to Tim. Tim told him he was almost there but needed to go back to school. It inspired Alex, who had dropped out of high school, to go back and get multiple graduate degrees and start a successful business. He was able to change his life and he is forever grateful. Now everyone is sobbing and my 14-year-old comes downstairs to ask why I am screaming “Save him Tim!!!” at the TV. Alas, Tim keeps his save, but Alex leaves with a level of integrity rarely, if ever, seen in the world of reality TV. And I am spent.

Did you watch? Did you cry? Tell us what you think!


Filed under Entertainment News, Project Runway

42 responses to “Project Runway: Unprecedented Integrity

  1. tamaratattles

    So I am back on my emotional crazy train to Crazy town and watched this episode when I made it out of bed today while working on the Drag Race Finale Recap and moderating comments. Who knew I was so emotionally invested in this show.

    First of all THE WRONG TEAM WON. The only thing worth wearing from this collection is the leather jacket. But what really ruined it was Erin and her gluing on tacky “embellishments” on to everything. Tacky. Tacky. Tacky. The judges praised the hell out of the tacky glued on messes. It was as if the judges were parents and the designers were kids who had all taken their first pee pee in the potty.

    I loved Team Unity’s pants. I could not personally wear them for several reasons one of which is I hate flood pants. I thought the incorporation of the dark print onto one pant leg was very well done.

    That said, the judges seemed to make up their mind based on the pitch and Alex drove me nuts. The nonsensical words that came out of his mouth” High primary yellow?” And his women’s empowerment nonsense. If you crap pitch is going to be women’s empowerment, that drivel always sounds better from a woman.

    Both team were shocked by the judges decision.

    But Dexter somehow made things alright with his emotion reaction to winning. And Tasha cried over the $5,000 because she was raised with nothing.

    But what got me the most when Dexter crying and saying “I feel like someone released a million butterflies in my heart.”

    • cjbomb

      Me too Dex, me too.

    • pam

      oh jesus, i’m disagreeing with tt while tipsy…lol lord help me! ok, the problem with alex’s team was that is was the sale pitch…it was for the working class. lol that entire mess was for party time, not working class. I loved loved loved everything team bouton did except for the jersey dress. if their sale’s pitch was different, it could have cost them a team member.

    • I agree, the wrong team won. I’m beginning to question the Judges “Taste”. What next, having Big Bird as a judge because he will add a splash of color to the panel?

  2. PeachyKeen

    Great recap!. I missed watching this week. WIll catch up next week. I don’t care that I know the outcome. I love the process of their creativity.

  3. Katherine 2.0

    I’m with you, CJ. I watched this today and immediately came here looking for your recap because I wanted to applaud these people, and was hoping you saw it the same way. Their attitude and loyalty, and just plain class was inspiring. Especially now.
    This episode scrubbed my brain of some of the buildup of negativity we’ve all been immersed in lately!
    I am going to bask in this nice feeling for a while today.

    • Sue

      I was kind of hoping that Tim would use his “save” last nite

      • Margarett

        I was surprised that he didn’t use his save, Sue. I was expecting it and, when it didn’t happen I was seriously disappointed.

        I don’t think I have ever criticized Tim Gunn. Doing so feels a bit like heresy. But you blew it this time, Tim. I saw you defending them during the up close critique…not enough.

        Another great recap, C.J.. I agree about the jacket by Laurence. In fact, if she doesn’t win it all I will be disappointed. I even liked her swim suit and coverup. I loved the way she positioned the print on the coverup.

        Sorry that got long.

      • Catalina

        Me too. Maybe he will surprise us next week and say he used it. Hope so

  4. Nina Houghton

    I was wiping away a constant stream of tears. There is no way ANYONE should have gone home from that challenge. I can never remember a Project Runway where the teams worked so well together and produced such gorgeous garments. I really thought the judges would say that they had decided not to send anyone home. When that didn’t happen, I just knew Tim was going to use his save, and was shocked when he didn’t. Someone asked me later how the episode was, and I just said, “Great, until the end. Then it was sad – just so so sad, I can’t even talk about it.”

    • tamaratattles

      Does Tim even have a save this season? Because if he does, it’s so bizarre he didn’t use it. I can live without Alex’s fashion, but his selflessness Should have got him the save. OTOH, Tim using the save this early in the season would have been unprecedented, I think.

      • Cjbomb

        He does have a save but he usually holds on to it until we are about halfway through.

      • raynidaze

        I think Tim will use his save and we’ll see Alex on the next episode. IIRC, when Tim has used his save in previous seasons we see don’t see it until the next episode, with no hints of it or sneak peeks before then. Somehow PR manages to keep it a secret. At least I’m hoping it turns out that way.

      • Espi

        I was reading through the comments first to see if anyone mentioned this… I agree.

        I would not be surpised to see Alex appear before the announcement of the next chllenge.

        The save would be on character and overall talent however becuase I do think that based on the pitch, Alex’s dress was not appropriate for the working woman… and that material did not forgive the bulging in the butt. So its a toss up. I agree with the judges. Alex is just a great contestant and the appeal to ethos was insane this go around with incredible character by the whole cast. I am sad to see anyone go at this point.

        I too was crying up a storm. .Everyone’s work ethic and collaboration was so refreshing.


        Editing along the way did tell us who the loser was. When a contestent is shown saying “dont worry, we’re going to win,” its usually the team that loses. The fray and composure of the two teams was also highlighted a lot to sway the audience… the signs were all there. Ugh. I blame TT for opening my eyes to reality tv editing. Ha!

        One last thing… it would have been awkward for Tim to use the save after Alex’s speech to him in a brown nosing gets rewarded kinda of way. Not saying Alex’s words werent genuine but I thought it was great for Tim to let the contestant go with the tone of the episode: Alex is now a true hero!

    • Virgoan

      I believe there is a change Tim will save Alex. In the past, he has surprised the designers by saving the previous evictee at the start of the next challenge. That means this could still happen, I think.

  5. I am just so glad to be enjoying Project Runway again. I like all of the designers and really don’t want to see any of them leave and how refreshing is it that they all get along? Also – I think the clothes are good. It has seemed the last couple of seasons that there just weren’t any interesting designers out there who hadn’t already done PR. I’m glad I didn’t give up on the show all together.

  6. Piraña Trainer par excellence

    I agree that the wrong team won. The judges even said that Team Unity probably would have won if their pitch had matched their collection. Team Boo-tawn’s embellished numbers looked very Walmartique. Ouch. I love the color yellow, but this particular yellow was obnoxious, and better suited to a plastic child’s beach pail. The leather jacket was well done, but one item does not a winning collection make.

  7. Happy gal

    I know that the judges have even let a designer stay in the past saying they felt there was more to see from that one person and not send anyone home on one challange and two the next week and I felt like this was going to happen right up until when Heidi said Alex was out

    Then I thought for sure Tim would his save

    I am disappointed all around because I thought the wrong team won as well.

  8. Kiyoshigirl

    I wasn’t impressed with either of the collections, but like most viewers this week, I was very impressed with the contestants. Even though Alex showed integrity by taking the fall for his team, his leadership did fail because he missed seeing the disastrous collection being created right in front of his eyes. His dress was atrocious, and in no way could be worn by a woman going to work anywhere other than a night club or casino. His whiny voice drove me crazy, so for that alone I’m glad he’s gone. He could seriously benefit from some voice lessons with Tim Gunn.

    Another great recap CJ!

  9. cheychey

    I personally liked the clothes on team unity except the ugly print pants. Also thought to myself when the metallic dress came down loved it from the front but it puckered weirdly above the butt so not a good fit. But I also agreed with the judges completely that where I liked them a lot none of them said workplace to me except as TT said maybe MJ’s with the leather jacket from the other team. I would rock that out also. Team button looked to much like bumble bee’s for my taste. Would have chosen a different yellow especially for the coat. I don’t think any woman wants to be seen for miles away in a big oversized bright yellow coat. Loved the jacket and denim suit.

    • PeachyKeen

      While I have not watched the show yet.. I did see photos of their collections. Yellow is a difficult color for a lot of women to wear. Did like your comment about bumble bees. I don’t know when the show was filmed.. but yellow in fall is a bit off.

  10. darcyfenix

    This episode warmed my heart, especially Dex. Oh how I love Dex. I’m still smiling about the butterfly comment :)
    I thought both collections were kind of lacking. I hated Alex’s ugly garbage-bag dress so I guess he deserved the elimination but man was it hard to eliminate this week.

    PS: Project Runway, stop hiring judges who aren’t even out of high school yet. Please. Last year was Bella Thorne judging a lingerie challenge which was creepy. Seeing child actors judging adults just doesn’t work.

    • amisteree

      I adore Dexter, too, darcyfenix. He’s full of surprises. It’s like P.R. has learned a thing or two from Project Runway Junior, bc everyone is competitive AND supportive. It’s not mutually exclusive. I agree with you 100% about the child judges, what’s the deal? Is it an attempt to hook a younger audience ? Nothing else makes sense. Last week the young boy model was doing his best but it was so awkward. He seemed to just follow their lead, repeating what the other judges said.

      • cjbomb

        I think they are trying to reach a younger demographic as these whippersnappers have huge social media followings, but it doesn’t to much for the credibility of the show from a high fashion perspective. Like me getting my monthly issue of W and Kanye is on the freaking cover. YOU HEAR ME KANYE?!? ENOUGH WITH THE PATHETIC ATTEMPT AT HIGH END FASHION DESIGN. Sorry, I’m trying to stop doing that.

      • amisteree

        cjbomb, LOL!!!!! Don’t stop! And thanks for writing such great Project Runway recaps.

  11. Pitypat

    The button team seemed like the underdog team and I was shocked when they received the bulk of the money. It was like watching that movie Dodge Ball. They were all a class act and it was nice. Loved the recap, thanks.

  12. Spaghetti Kitten

    The recap and TT’s 1st comment captured most of my feelings. Alex was my guy since the audition, but was kinda tired of his superiority complex and fuddy duddy’ness. I had the feeling he was trying out to be Tim Gunn’s replacement. I agree he might be back next episode. Hated his dress. I didnt really like either collection, but oddly enough, just loving this Season still. The pitch thing was kinda cool. I’m over Erin. The Big Bird coat and artsy craftsy glue ons were laughable.

  13. alp

    Thank you for this recap!

    Like everyone else, I was so very impressed throughout this episode at how well everyone on each team got along Like you CJ, I feared MJ would be thrown to the wolves if his team lost — although that would have been difficult to do after Heidi stated his outfit was the only one she liked!

    I was worried about Team Button Bag from the beginning, Team Unity appeared so poised and polished from the get-go, while the button bag team appeared disjointed and confused.

    I will say based on each teams pitch, I thought Button Bag met their goal, the clothing they made was definitely appropriate for work (well with the exception of that dress — my thought was “my gawd, you can see her vagina!). While not a fan of the color, I did like Erin’s coat, although I also did not like the appliqués at all; personally I stay away from anything with appliqués as they make cleaning more difficult.

    As everyone here has stated, this season is a breath of fresh air, the contestants are talented and caring, even Lady Cornelius from the Land of Shade is behaving better. Perhaps, as stated above, these contestants have learned from our PR Junior friends. With this said this was the most heart wrenching episode to date, the graciousness each contestant showed on the both teams was truly special. I was definitely a sobbing mess.

    Thank you again for the recap

  14. alp

    One other thing I kind of wondered is this — while we know the initial judging is blind, as the weeks progress the judges definitely have a feel for who has created each look; Nina said as much tonight when commenting on Laurence’s leather jacket. AND, Heide admitted to being shocked that MJ designed the vest she loved.

    So, with that said, I do wonder two things:
    1. How much does familiarity with a designer effect scoring
    2. In the case of tonight, the judges knew the team by the color pallet, because they disliked Unity’s pitch, were they predisposed to not liking the designs?

    Just wondering.

    • Pitypat

      I don’t understand when they say it is a blind judging for the individual challenges. They only have look at the faces of the designers to see the huge smiles and the other designers speaking to them..

      • My thoughts exactly. Sometimes other designers even pat or touch them when commenting.

      • alp

        I used to wonder about the “blind” runways as well, but I believe there are two runways — the first is in front of the judges only and the second is in front of the designers. (I think I actually read that here on this site, but I could have dreamt it…)

  15. Why oh why didn’t Tim use his save on Alex? I guess there are a lot of contestants left and Tim wants to be sure it’s used properly, but I kept half-expecting him to say, “Wait a minute! You’re not going home!” Still, once I got over it, I had to admit that Alex’s dress was horrendous.

  16. Lawstangel

    That yellow concoction/collection was a mess! All those embellishments seemed like an arts and crafts project to me. I must be very unfashionable…..I even hated their drawings and was wondering why they go all the money. They were very nice and respectful. Team Unity? $800 for four looks was a lot to pull off. Except for the dress I liked Unity’s collection. I’ve worked in offices all my working life, I have never seen anyone wear that embellished suit, coat or any of the rest of it. The only look I liked was the jacket/pencil skirt. From a personal point of view they were all very nice. I was touched by their humility. I think the judges dislike Roberi and he is my fav right now. Bummer.

  17. Limerent

    Like many others here, I loved the “sportsmanship” the teams demonstrated. I liked Team Bouton’s pieces more than the other team’s. I liked the coat, though I wouldn’t wear a loud color like that, myself.

    The only negative for me is Nathalia’s emerging habit of being catty towards Erin’s pieces (in this episode and in one other previous episode), it makes her look quite envious.

  18. pam

    Roberi stole my heart…I hated his outfit thought but he chose himself to be voted off…ahhhh….made my heart break. alex should have went and he did….justice served…lol love you tt…little tipsy..

  19. fivecatsownme

    I love this season’s Project Runway. It is so refreshing to see people playing nice and acting like grown ups.
    I hope Jenni learns that mauve does not show well unless it is lingerie, and even then it is considered an old lady color. The judges hate mauve.
    Making a strapless dress takes less skill than to make one with sleeves or even a sleeveless bodice. Strapless dresses are a pain to wear and require uncomfortable undergarments. I like yellow, but not yellow and mauve.

  20. Spaghetti Kitten

    Just found out Alex is only 30! Dear Lord! Judging more by his schtick than looks, Dear Lord I was thinking late 40’s, lol!!

  21. Spaghetti Kitten

    Excuse me Dear Lord, you understand I’m medicated, I know.

  22. He could still use the save. When Tim saved Char, she was brought back in the work room at sketching time I believe and Tim have her a rundown on the challenge.

  23. Carolyn

    Bring back Alex what a great guy. I do agree the wrong team win.

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