Fashion Has Its Obstacles
No "Project Runway" season would be complete without the obligatory "design something for [insert one of Heidi Klumʼs many business ventures here]" challenge. Itʼs that time again: this season itʼs for her activewear range for New Balance. Heidi tells them that she is looking for a fashion-driven athletic look for the line (so basically Stella McCartney for Adidas, Heidified). Per usual, part of the "prize" for the winning designer is that their look will be produced and sold in the collection; shame they donʼt see a penny of those profits (now that would be a little more of a prize)! Itʼs just another example of "Project Runway" making money off the designers who sign on to the show and get paid nothing to participate.
Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of this episode was seeing Tim in a referee outfit (with shorts)! I canʼt believe he agreed to wear it; whomever thought of that should get a raise. Why is he in a referee outfit, one asks? We find out the designers will have to go through an obstacle course in teams of two, decked out in HKNB apparel, and the winning team will receive an extra hour of work time (which is golden), along with first dibs on fabrics, all HKNB issued. After the obstacle course challenge, however, the designers will be competing solo. Dom and Justin win the race.
After theyʼve been awoken by the screech of Timʼs whistle at the crack of dawn, competed in the obstacle course and gotten sweaty, the designers return to the workroom around 3pm and are told they only have until 11:00 to produce their looks. As if that day isnʼt already exhausting, drama ensues. Helen (quite cleverly, in my opinion) asks Tim if it would be within the rules of the competition to use the HKNB pant on her form as a pattern/spec reference. Tim concedes. Her fellow competitors are curious about what she asked, and she does not want to share. On the one hand, when competing on Project Runway, the producers and Tim make it very clear that there should always be an "even playing ground," so really that information should have been shared by Tim. However, itʼs a competition and Helen thought of a strategy for a shortcut, and why should she share her idea?
Well, Ken is not having any of it. We see Kenʼs true colors and lack of anger management rear their ugly heads. He launches a totally unnecessary verbal assault on Helen, dropping F-bombs and B-bombs left and right. She is understandably shaken, but I do think she overreacted a bit in thinking her life was in danger. She goes to Papa Tim for refuge, he has a talk with the two of them, and Ken calls his Spiritual Mother (is this code for “shrink”? because that is what he really needs!). The result is a fake apology from Ken to Helen. Can someone get him some meds please? By the way, did anyone catch his “grandmother” reference to Karen back on the field? Rude! Moving on....
In general, many of the designers created very SAFE designs, that look innocuous enough...but innocuous isnʼt what HK wanted. This challenge seems relatively simple to most people, but itʼs sneaky. There is a fine line between "overworked" and "underwhelming" because spandex can go clubwear quickly, and there still needs to be a functionality in the clothes because they are for working out and being active.
The top scorers were:
KATE, who designed an interesting and wearable ensemble with great details like piping, thumb holes, zippered back vent, and mesh panels. I thought the proportions could have been better (i.e. slightly longer jacket to balance the pink blocks on the lower part of the legs), but could totally see this look in Lululemon.
HELEN, the winner, who made a hooded mesh jacket with drawcord and arched hemline, with cropped leggings which had panels of lime with a black mesh overlay. This is the look which I thought was the most "cool" and that I could see a woman in New York wearing when hitting the gym.
ALEXANDER, who made a sharp, sleek look that fit well but was nothing extraordinary. As Tim pointed out, he is a costume designer so it was an achievement for him to create a successful activewear look. My response to that is, "A lot of costumes utilize spandex!"
In the safe zone were:
BRADON's dynamic look, which I thought was a bit more interesting than Alexanderʼs. I liked the use of grey with black and the pop of lime piping.
DOM, whose look was rather forgettable. I thought she would do better and push the "urban" element which is in her wheelhouse.
JUSTIN's black+lime asymmetric zip jacket, sports bra, and short-shorts. I thought that again, this look was “fine”, but I did particularly like the cutout detail in the back of the bra and the fact that he made shorts when no one else did. They just needed another inch on the length.
JEREMY, who must have been a close contender for the bottom, made VERY purple outfit which would surely end up on the clearance rack at a discount store. It also lacked any sort of distinctive design elements.
Bottom of the barrel:
KEN's super generic tank and leggings, which was simply devoid of any personality except the layered straps on the back of the tank. Iʼm not so sure I agree with the criticism of the longer tank, however, because that proportion is on trend.
ALEXANDRIA went outside the box again and repeated her drop-crotch pant from last week. I may be in the minority (like Heidi) in liking me a drop-crotch, when itʼs DONE WELL. There was way too much volume in this pant; as Nina said itʼs not practical for any sport. However her jacket was smart and cool, with the mesh back. I felt the tank could have been better had those slashes been filled in with mesh.
KAREN, whom I somehow knew would be eliminated in this episode before it even started, began producing a train-wreck of a bra which looked like bad clubwear in lime and black, and based on Heidiʼs workroom critique, scratched it and went the complete opposite direction. The result was a sad, shapeless 2-piece ensemble, which might be found at your local Walmart. #Imgoinghome is right, Karen!