Last week on “Project Runway,” the designers were tasked with creating cocktail wear, but now it is time to take a design u-turn and see if the designers can do the opposite: streetwear. This is an especially ironic twist since last week’s eliminated designer was Tasha, the self-proclaimed “streetwear designer” who just couldn’t do cocktail. If she would have just stuck it out for one more week, she would have gotten a chance to prove herself. But alas, it was not meant to be, and now it’s time for the 10 remaining designers to show if they’ve got the know-how to make a woman chic in the Urban Jungle.
The episode begins with an out of left field montage of the designers riding the Universal Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster. Right as I am about to ask, “What is going on?” the episode rewinds to eight hours earlier. Heidi saunters onto the runway as the designers look on. Miss Klum asks a very tired group how they are feeling, and they muster a feigned, “Great!” She then announces that they are all taking a trip to Universal Orlando Resorts where Tim will meet them for their next challenge.
The designers have arrived in sunny Florida where the “best dressed man that Universal Studios Orlando has ever seen,” aka Tim Gunn, is there with Mike West, Director/Executive Producer of Universal Creative. Gunn announces that they are to experience the new Skull Island Reign of Kong ride and its jungle-like environment as their inspiration for the next challenge: to create a streetwear look for the Urban Jungle. Luckily, they did not have to design a theme park-inspired ensemble, but any way you look at it, this was quite a stretch to incorporate a Universal Studios ride into a “Project Runway” challenge! After sketching time by the pool, everyone heads back to NYC to begin working on their urban couture.
Post Mood, they are back in their workrooms. Tim checks in for his critiques. Cornelius is making drop crotch pants plus a top which Tim suggests he should do in yellow, since the judges seem to love that color. He tells Dexter to, “Be you… 1,000 percent,” as he surveys his kooky design. Brik is working with different prints (as is his wont) and I’m immediately worried. It’s looking slightly like a costume from “Zarkana.” Erin explains her foliage-inspired embroidery to Tim and he is concerned about her time management since she doesn’t have any garment completed. Nathalia, who is obsessed with telling anyone within a mile radius that she is a “streetwear designer,” shows Mr. Gunn her oversized, bat-inspired, dolman sleeve coat with black King Kong fur lining. He’s nonplussed, rhetorically asking her if “streetwear is what you do?” Luckily, she scraps the fur and realizes that maybe she needs to add more street and less jungle to her look.
It’s runway day and there are two guest judges: designer and “Project Runway: Fashion Startup “ investor Rebecca Minkoff and “Mr. Robot” actress Carly Chaikin. Time for the Urban Jungle fashion show: I liked Rik’s “Punk Chola.” If he ever had the money to have an ad for his line, she should be in it! Mah-Jing’s was sexy and pretty, but too fancy for streetwear. I loved Roberi’s paper bag-waist, belted culottes outfit. It was casual yet refined. I was shocked he wasn’t on the top.
Dexter’s khaki shorts and jacket were interesting for sure. While the short’s suffered from saggy crotch, they were pretty cool. The jacket’s circular shoulder detail was slightly cartoony and a bit Pierre Cardin/Jean-Charles de Castelbajac referential, but I appreciated its uniqueness. What got me really mad was when Heidi said that “it’s just not my taste” and, “I don’t know who this girl is and I don’t want to be this girl.” Well, Heidi, brace yourself: it’s NOT FOR YOU!
If there is something that gets me all riled up, it’s what I call the “Museum Ladies Syndrome.” Every single time I’ve been to a costume or fashion exhibition, there are always several ladies walking around, commenting on the couture, saying things like, “I would NEVER wear this!” or “I don’t like this. It’s not for me!” I always want to yell at them and say, “Trust me ladies, Monsieur Saint Laurent or Balenciaga probably didn’t have you in mind when they created this. That’s not the point. It’s not a department store window. It’s a couture fashion museum exhibition!” Anyhow, I feel Heidi fell into this trap when judging Dexter’s design and thank goodness Nina kind of checked her. Dexter didn’t design it for Heidi and she should be open minded enough to realize this. His client is a stylish “club kid” (probably just like him), and they would TOTALLY wear that outfit and consider it fab streetwear. Moving on…
Nathalia’s ensemble was modern and street chic, if your street was located in the super hip Marais or Meatpacking Districts! The exaggerated dolman sleeve coat was VERY in line with all the supersize styles coming off of the runways and her model looked like she could be the most followed Insta-style influencer ever. Do I wish she had some color? Yes! It was a bit all too beige for my taste. But otherwise, Miss “streetwear” can really do streetwear. Muy bien, Nathalia!
Laurence’s red and black bomber jacket with quilted sleeves was a must-have piece. Thank goodness she relaxed her razor-sharp shoulder silhouette and showed something softer yet still “Laurence edgy.” I disagreed with Nina on the drop crotch jodhpurs: I wasn’t a fan. I get the look but all I could focus on was on the “diaper crotch” and the “poopie back.” Side note: what drop crotch Kool-Aid did these designers drink this season? #WayTooManyDropCrotches.
Nathalia and Laurence’s designs were the obvious best. I would have sworn that Nathalia was going to win over Laurence for just the sheer fact that she’s been on the bottom lately. But in the end, it was Laurence’s super cool bomber jacket gal who got the judge’s top votes. Félicitations Laurence!
And now, the bottom: Erin, Cornelius and Brik were the least successful designs this week. Erin’s shorts and top outfit was a miss. She spent an entire day doing her embroidery detail and it turned out looking like a combination of moss and throw-up, as Heidi said. From far away, it did look as if her model had gotten sick from her Skull Island Reign of Kong ride. Brik’s multi-print top and pants were well-made but there was just too much going on. In addition, I wondered what street his gal was walking on with that outfit? But then there was Cornelius. His look was hip-hop cheap and in addition, Heidi was on-point when she called it a “school project.” It was made so poorly that I’m shocked he even graduated from fashion school. I was sure that he would be going home. My jaw dropped to the floor when he was deemed “in” and Brik, “out.” I’ve disagreed many times with the judges’ decisions but I almost always understood it. This time, I am at an (almost) complete loss. Cornelius should have gone home. Maybe the show needed to keep his cattiness for yet another week since there’s no one else who fills that character. Who knows? I don’t. For now. Check back with me next week to see how I feel and if I’ve gotten over it.