Season 15, Episode 10 Recap: Power Trip

It seems hard to believe that we are already at episode 10 of Season 15! And as this season moves along briskly, the designers continue to dwindle in numbers and with the conclusion of this week’s episode, we are left with a surprise total of only six designers! How did we get here? Sit back, relax and join me for a ride in the “Project Runway” helicopter!

The designers are in their humble abodes where they just happen to find a note from Heidi. The note reads, “For the next challenge, be sure to have your heads out of the clouds. After all, you can’t wing it and win it.” As they leave, everyone is taking wild guesses as to whether they will be A) hot air ballooning, or B) designing in a bird’s sanctuary and using feathers. As it turns out, it’s none of the above. They all gather in wonderment at a heliport as Tim and a special guest land down in their very own “Project Runway”-branded helicopter.

Tim introduces Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire. Anne tells the designers that the magazine celebrates powerful women and that they will be taking a helicopter ride across Manhattan to get an aerial view of the city and be inspired for their next challenge: to create an editorial look for a powerful woman. Anne stresses that an editorial look is NOT an “every day” design and Tim adds that they should think bold, high fashion and drama. Finally, the winner will get $25,000! Just kidding. They will get a photo spread in, you guessed it: Marie Claire magazine. Clearly, Marie Claire doesn’t have AARP’s money!

Following the helicopter ride, the designers head to Mood and subsequently to their workrooms. Tim comes in for his critiques and we find out more of what inspired their creations. Rik says that he is using the Statue of Liberty as a starting base for a dress he is making out of white stretch denim and voile. He’s splash painting the voile and while Tim thinks it’s stunning, I think it looks unattractive. For some reason, after the flyover, Mah-Jing was more inspired by Africa than NYC and is making a dress using denim and multicolored tweed. (What is up with all the denim this season?!)

Cornelius tells Tim that he saw a golf course while in flight and it touched a couture nerve in him. Roberi wants to make a parachute-like dress using a fuchsia and white print with a flowy cape-like back. He later questions his own design, saying it’s possibly too “spicy Latina.” Laurence’s skyline-influenced number looks interesting if for no reason other than the fact that someone finally saw the fabulous Manhattan skyline and thought to use it as an inspiration.

Dexter is using coated denim (here we go again with the denim!), and is making a jacket using the very similar exaggerated “Mickey Mouse” rounded shoulder details he had done before. (Uh oh!) Nathalia shows Tim her “Superwoman” navy jumpsuit and jacket and he’s not thrilled. This throws little Miss Nathalia for a loop and as she begins to spiral into the abyss, she turns to Rik, who has become “the new Jenni,” for constant advice and guidance.

Finally, there’s Erin. She’s making an oversized coat/vest (naturally) in a dusty rose color. Not sure if it’s the cocoon shape, encroaching front opening curved edges or that bland color, but the design is very questionable. In an honest moment of self-critique, even Erin realizes that the coat is a cross between a Band-Aid, labia (yikes!) and a piglet. She’s right on all counts. Just a side note: a sign of a good designer is one who allows that voice of self-critique to come through, so I give her points for that.

The rest of the workday is taken up with Erin scrapping her piglet coat, Dexter going full-Disney on his jacket, as well as Nathalia self-doubting, crying and ultimately saying, “I didn’t think this competition was going to be this difficult.” Really, GURL!? #OhKids #BlessHerHeart Last but not least, there is also lots of shade-throwing by many of the designers this week, as one after another thinks this is “Project Runway: The Fashion Police” edition.

Runway day is upon us and guest judges include Anne Fulenwider from Marie Claire as well as actress Camilla Belle. The designs come out and there are some sophisticated looks mixed in with some oh dear moments. To start, Roberi’s pink and white dress was more “Miss Venezuela” than Manhattan, and Laurence’s leather and printed dress was a tad bit too short and not editorially bold enough. Erin changed her original coat to a metallic tweed and poly reflective dress. Initially, I totally disliked this dress. I thought it was a bit prom and pageant. Most of the judges liked it, however, which left me confused and wondering if we were seeing the same dress. But…I started thinking that if I had seen this dress in a Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Haute Couture runway show, I would have been all, “Done and done!” So, while I was still not a big fan, I’ve come to second guess my initial complete distaste.

In terms of the good, my favorites were Mah-Jing and Cornelius. Incidentally, both were shift dress shapes which while quite basic in terms of silhouette, still give an air of strength. I was intrigued by Mah-Jing’s use of fabrication and his cutting. His model looked powerful and stylish. I agree with Heidi, however, that the outline of the bust detail was too high. I am sure he used the form’s breast placement for this, which is always too high in comparison to that of a real model. Cornelius pulled out a fabulously strong design this week and I commend him for it. I loved the seaming placement and especially the multicolored leather inset panels. This was an original design and deserved the win.

And now, the bad. Rik’s was a dyslexic mess–flowing draped gown in the front, tight denim “hoochie” in the back. And to add mess to mess, the splashy paint voile looked like many birds pooped on it. Maybe he was inspired by Captain Sully’s “Miracle on the Hudson”? Who knows. Marie Claire’s editor loved it so either I’m totally wrong or she needs a visit to her eye doctor. The worst though were Nathalia and Dexter. Nathalia’s jumpsuit was, as Zac said, very “’Star Trek’ meets Britney Spears.” And that side boob top construction was BAAAAD.

Dexter’s wasn’t any better. He decided to still make his been there, done that jacket but “gothed” it up using black denim and adding a lace dress underneath. I get that he was going for a Gareth Pugh-like moment, but this wasn’t the avant-garde challenge and even then, it wouldn’t be avant-garde enough! It always surprises me when I see designers like Dexter (Erin and Nathalia, for that matter) who can style themselves so hip and edgy, yet when they design, they sometimes fail in matching their own cool aesthetic. While both designers stood in front of Heidi as she made her cut, Nathalia’s was deemed the worst and she was sent home.

Normally, Heidi announces the saved designer first so, I immediately thought, “Uh oh! Could this be a double elimination?” Before I could finish my thought, Heidi confirmed it: Dexter was also out. Quicker than Heidi could say, “Fetch me my helicopter,” we go from eight designers to six. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

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