By Cjbomb, Guest Contributor
Hey everyone and welcome to the SIXTEENTH season of Project Runway. I CJ, and my favorite copilot Lovely Leslie will again be your recappers for this season. And what a season it seems like it is going to be. The previews alone are insane. There is a walk-off, mention of cheating and Tim uses the word unseemly. Eeek! My last post has each of the designers backgrounds, bios and design aesthetics, so please check it out!
The show begins as it always does with the individual designers walking to a designated location. Kenya, our girl from Atlanta, is first on screen. She is ready to murder the competition…but in a nice way. Aaron is just a dude in a dress making his way through the world. Ayana feels like a badass who has gained entry into an exclusive club. Margarita is just in tears so happy to be there.
The designated space is a huge empty warehouse with makeup mirrors and alcohol provided by Smirnoff. Twins Claire and Shawn enter holding hands. If you read my last post you know how I feel about these two. Leslie had to talk me off a ledge. I’m just going to say they get on my nerves and leave it at that…for now. Deyonte shows up despite the fact his wife is about to give birth any minute. She told him to go for it. The twins ask him what he does and he says luxury sportswear. They say, us too!! HAHAHAHAHA. No. I don’t care that they worked with Betsey Johnson, were in Teen Vogue and dressed Katy Perry. Leslie tells me to calm down. What? I’m calm. Leslie’s fave, Margarita. saunters in looking effortlessly latin chic. Kentaro says he got into fashion because he likes it. Good reason. Amy doesn’t think that it will be this hard. Oh Amy. Chacha just wants to make “cute fun happy clothes” in his chirpy voice. I tell Les that we better not be getting Erin, part two.
A huge bus pulls in and Heidi and Tim get out. Tears are shed as everyone realizes that this is really happening! Heidi looks beautiful. She tells Tim she can’t believe that this is their sweet sixteen. Tim, who is wearing an impeccable window pane suit, agrees and can’t believe it either. She tells them that their first challenge is about to begin RIGHT NOW. If you have ever watched the show and you become a contestant, start looking around immediately to see what you can rip off the walls to work with. BUT NO, Heidi tells them they are getting a red carpet challenge. Les and I are thrilled. Tim tells them they want to see who they are as designers. And then the models get off of the bus.
Ok, I have been critical of the producers dumb ass gimmicky choices for awhile now but this is awesome. The models range in size from 2 to 22. They are all stunning. The designers will be working with each of them at some point. Les and I agree that this is brilliant. Most of the designers do as well. Samantha loves that this is what is happening once she finally made it on the show. Margarita says that these women have “all the good stuff” i.e. boobs and butts. Amy thinks is is so cool. Santell is a bit freaked out, but challenged. Brandon is terrified. He has only made menswear and now he will have to design for multiple female shapes and sizes? He immediately starts to doubt himself. Tim tells them they have $300 to spend at Mood (YAY!) and one day (BOO!). The models pair off for their designers of the week so measurements can be taken. Chacha tells his model she has big hips like Kim Kardashian. Brandon’s model is stunning and curvy. Now he is really freaking out. Dude, pull it together. He will either crash and burn or rock it.
Kenya is doing an ambitious fishtail dress. Keep an eye on the time Kenya! Ayana wants to do something modest, but fitted and chic. I really don’t give a shit what the twins are talking about. Everyone else settles into sketching and Samantha points out that they can choose the red carpet that they are designing for.
The twins are talking about how they normally do things and in a feisty moment Aaron tells them not to be so stereotypical. Sentell explains he has only been doing this for two years because he went to an oracle at the end of his dance career and she told him this is what he should be doing. Um, ok. Amy is helping Brandon who is still freaking out. Chacha says he is having a hard time patterning, sewing and making things fit. This is pretty much what I would say if I made it on the show because I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. Kentaro thinks that Chachas sack dress with ruffles is happy, but might not make Nina and Zac happy. Chacha then tells everyone his model is fat. Sentell is like, seriously? No. Leslie loves him for speaking up. Everyone starts listing ways to describe plus size models. The one word not used? Fat. Ayna says she doesn’t care what you call it as long as a plus size model is not seen as a problem size model. My heart warms to Anya.
Tim tells Kenya her white mermaid Oscar dress has beautiful clean lines and is alluring. Leslie is worried about the fabric choice, but I amazed she has so much done. Tim is also very excited about Amy’s wrap skirt with cigarette pants. Leslie adores a cigarette pant and I am adoring Amy. Aaron is playing with the idea of a deconstructed tuxedo and is switching the top for the bottom and the bottom for the top.Tim says he was concerned, but now that Aaron is describing it he is crazy about it. Samantha describes her look as ultra feminine and badass and Tim concurs. He then asks Kentaro about his past and when he finds out he was a classical pianist, Tim exclaims that he too studied piano for twelve years! Of course he did. There is nothing he cannot do. Les tells me she loves that it’s “studied” versus “played”. He is worried about the “limpness” of Kentaro’s design, but Kentaro tells him it will be fine. Having seen Kentaro’s flowy gorgeous designs in the preview episode, Leslie and I are not worried either. Margarita is doing a palazzo pant with a cape that makes Leslie squeal. It seems to be going awesome! And then….Chacha. Tim is flummoxed. It’s a sack dress so far. With maybe some ruffles. It’s not often I see Tim annoyed. He looks annoyed. He tells him to commit to whatever he’s doing. This makes us think that even Tim Gunn has written him off.
And now the twins, who Leslie describes as overbearing and cumbersome. Amy imitates the twins enunciating words to the point of insanity and how pleased they are with themselves. I write: when nose rings meet pretensions. Tim Gunn can say “indeed” and sound normal, you guys on the other hand, indeed, cannot. And she keeps SAYING IT. Now Margarita is imitating her and we are both dying. We have decided that is our word for the season. Indeed. Tim is crazy about Kudzanai’s concept (go Atlanta!). Michael tells Tim he is crazy about tackiness and Tim tells him he’s achieved it. Aryana says that modesty doesn’t have to be boring and Tim agrees completely. He tells Sentell to watch the length of his capri pants. Batani has a whole lot of stuff on her dress. Tim tells her that he is worried her ambitions are in the embellishments instead of the design. Deyonte has used a very bold print and placed it perfectly on his elegant gown. Tim tells him he usually doesn’t like big prints but he loves this and Deyonte beams. Claire snarks that it doesn’t look like a Cannes red carpet dress and I yell at her to shut up. She made glitter leather jogging shorts. By the time Tim gets to Brandon I think Brandon is ready for a nervous breakdown. Tim thinks the shape of his top and skirt is basic and it’s execution needs to be impeccable. I am worried that Brandon is not long for this world, but Les thinks he’s going to surprise everyone. I hope so.
Ok, there is another new thing this season. The models talk into the mirror about how they feel about their designers and outfits. I can’t decide whether I like it or not. Les says “Mirror Selfies!’ All the models seem to be happy with their looks. At least the ones they are showing.
The next day everyone is doing the requisite freak out. It seems less than normal though, so I’m thinking these contestants actually did their homework for once. Except Chacha. Who is sewing ruffles on sack dress and complaining he didn’t get a critique to work with from Tim. The accessories wall is JCPenney. Really? Avon, ok. Next year I want Barneys and Chanel! A girl can dream…
At some point a middle aged woman has to accept that she needs support. Even Heidi. When Heidi walks out in a fabulous jumpsuit, all we can look at are her boobs. Leslie asks how many babies she breastfed. The word sag comes to mind. Olivia Munn is the guest judge. I’m kind of ambivalent about this.
I cannot believe Kenya made this dress in one day. The white looks stunning against the model’s skin and it fits like a glove. Leslie is reminded of when the whitest human being on the planet, AKA Gwyneth Paltrow, wore white on the red carpet.
Kudzanai’s red coat and leggings are super cool but I cannot imagine what red carpet she is on. Leslie thinks the creativity is definitely there, just not so much in this challenge.
I am still thinking Ayana needs a lesson in fabric as she made a slinky yet modest dress complete with Hijab and yet the size zero model looks like she has a belly. Leslie says it’s awful. I actually like the shape, but I think the fabric killed it. Shawn has made a flowy white top with leather silver jogging shorts. Les says it looks like she’s trying to design for an angel for the Victoria’s Secret show. I don’t even want to comment. Oh Batani. I love you and your look, but that dress does nothing for that gorgeous woman’s figure. Leslie says that she designed for her own figure which is rail thin. And who wants applique up your derriere?
Claire’s dress comes out and it’s pretty. Pretty and boring. I wrote ZZZZZZ. Perhaps she was going for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards. Leslie says this was pathetic and she could have done it. Brandon’s look comes out and WOW! The model is rocking it. It shows off her best parts and fabulous legs. She looks cool and I love the design of the top. Leslie says he did well but doesn’t know where she’s going. Chacha’s dress comes out and it looks like a Disney Princess dress gone wrong according to Leslie. I think Tim looks annoyed and sad at the same time.
We both think Amy is awesome. Yes the model is wearing a bikini top under an insane coat, but it is fabulous. Incredible construction, Leslie says. I’m getting a Rick Owens, Lady Gaga, Tilda Swinton vibe. It’s a good vibe. Sentell’s model comes out in her gold sheath with spiked shoulders and crooked seams and I write Comic- Con red carpet. Leslie writes Mockingjay. ( OMG AT MOCKING JAY! Um, sorry carry on…) Leslie thinks Kentaro’s black and white gown is a little lackluster and he should have pushed himself more. I think it’s beautiful. Deyonte has made a beautifully shaped gown with a large print. I did not think this was possible. His plus size model looks incredible in it. Les says she is going to a premiere in South Beach. This is what Michael Kors (how I miss him) would call “zazou” as in hitting perfectly in all the right places. A miracle with a large print.
We both adore Michael’s pants. The tailoring and bottoms are exquisite. Top is meh. Again, we wonder where these people are going? Aaron as well. Outfit so cool and quite innovative, but red carpet? Leslie doesn’t like it because she doesn’t think you should screw with a classic (the tux). Ok. I truly think this was Samantha’s challenge. And maybe this dress is beautiful close up. But on the runway? ZZZZZZZZ. Leslie wrote, snore. Vivienne would not approve. Last but not least, Margarita sends out her palazzo pants and cape. Flowy, pretty. Leslie likes it and thinks Heidi would look beautiful in it, but she needs to harness herself on some of the added colors.
My top three: Brandon, Amy and Kenya. Leslie’s top three Kenya, Amy and Michael. My bottom three: Chacha, Batani and Shawn. Leslie’s bottom three: Chacha, Batani and Ayana
Heidi says that the runway was fun and Nina uses the word superb. Zac is also blown away. I don’t know what Olivia thinks because she has major RBF. Everyone is called forward and they look like they are going to throw up. This is an PR educated crew who, with the exception of Chacha and the delusional sisters, knows it’s the kiss of death to be overconfident.
Top three: Kenya, Deyonte and BRANDON. Bottom three: Chacha (shocker) Batani and Shawn (Indeed).
Heidi thinks that Kenya’s Oscar mermaid dress was incredibly ambitious and well executed even if she didn’t love the fabric choice. Zac says that it is sleek and white hot. He later remarks he would hire someone that could do this to help him with a dress for the Oscars. Olivia likes the pockets.
Shawn was explains her outfit as “luxury streetwear” and tells the judges her model is going to the VMA’s or the Billboard Music Awards. Olivia loves it, but Heidi feels it is unbalanced even though she likes the top, Zac says it looks like a club kid and a bit “hookery”. Nina goes as far to paraphrase Carolina Herrera, saying you can’t be best dressed and not be wearing any clothes. She then says she looks like a C-list celebrity with a terrible stylist. Shawn overemphasized her response “I SEE.” And Zac’s face is EVERYTHING.
Heidi thinks that Chacha’s dress looks like a dance recital costume for a child. Zac thinks it looks like a unicorn and a clown had a baby. Nina points out that he only showed her back and he didn’t respect her figure (which he called large on the runway). If Chacha stays, I don’t know if I can watch the rest of this season.
Nina thinks that the placement of the flower on Deyonte’s dress was perfect. Zac is getting a Michelle Obama vibe. When Nina compliments him, I think Deyonte might have wet himself. They all agree the model looks like she feels great wearing it. Olivia hates the print but Heidi loves it.
Brandon came through. Nina asked him what he did and Brandon said he asked the model what she would like to show. Bam. Nina points out that he did what Chacha didn’t do. He highlighted the best parts of her curvy body and she says it looks strong and sexy. Olivia would love to wear it. Zac says it’s cool and sophisticated. Heidi loves it and says it’s athleisure at it’s best. I’m reminded of awesome Tieler for some reason.
When they asked Batani what she was trying to do and when she said “camouflage her midsection” I almost lunged at the screen. Nina again says she hates to compare designers, but Brandon celebrated his model’s figure and Batani attempted to hide hers. Zac hates it. Heidi hates it and is also pissed when she discovers holes on that hideous applique running down the butt.
I thought it would be Kenya or Brandon for the win, but Leslie and I are surprised when they give it to Deyonte. He is thrilled. You cannot help but be happy for him. To no one’s surprise Chacha is out. When he comes back into the waiting room Claire tells him in the most patronizing manner that he just needs to find the girl who loves what he does because she is out there. Chacha shoots back that he thought it was her, shutting her up and making everyone laugh. Suddenly I will miss him. This is INDEED going to be an interesting season. Do you agree?