Project Runway Blog
Season 13, Episode 5: Dress Heidi
Heidi Klum has been stomping runways and gliding down red carpets for long enough now that she knows what she likes to wear while doing it. That makes her both the ideal client for aspiring designers and a bit of a nightmare, because while she's game for a lot of variety -- lots of color, different prints, and necklines and hemlines of various heights have all clothed her at one time or another -- she's also very particular. A look either says HEIDI KLUM! or it doesn't. And it's time for our Season 13 designers to take a crack at impressing her.
Challenge: Design a red-carpet look for Heidi to wear to the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Parameters: One day to work, $250 to spend, plus one consultation with Heidi. Amanda has immunity.
(The Creative Arts Emmy Awards were held this past Sunday, which means that you might've been spoiled about the winner of this challenge a few days in advance. Hopefully it didn't ruin your viewing experience!)
What this challenge really boils down to is fabric choice. (And pleasing Heidi, obviously, but that's a huge chunk of "Project Runway" to begin with.) The gang heads off to Mood without the benefit of speaking with Heidi first about what she wants, which doesn't leave them a lot of room to change direction should Heidi dislike their initial design. That this turns out to be the case is not a surprise. During her first walkthrough, Heidi gives calm, flat "Not gonna happen" critiques to Korina, Kristine, Mitchell, and Sandhya, all related in some way to the materials they chose. After a bit more time passes, Tim and Heidi enter the workroom again, this time with a life raft, sort of: Because Heidi's gotta wear one of these looks, she wants the designers to have the opportunity to start over and make better decisions. She gives them the option of going back to Mood with an extra $100 a piece. They'd lose valuable workroom time, but gain a second chance to make something Heidi-worthy -- a second chance some of them desperately need.
Char, Sandhya, Mitchell, Samantha, Korina, and Kristine take the money and the second Mood trip. Sandhya takes the opportunity to ask her fellow designers for any money they won't be using, once again proving that she's tackling her time on the show with some measure of strategic thinking. She walks out of Mood with an armful of hella expensive fabric. Mitchell whines about Sandhya using extra cash to "selfishly" support herself but I am agog, frankly, that none of the other designers thought to do it. It's a COMPETITION show, y'all. If you're not doing everything you can to stack the deck in your favor, are you really even competing?
Unfortunately, having Heidi thumbs-down their initial plan really throws off Korina, Mitchell, and Kristine, who look creatively blocked and very, very tired. They scramble to throw together something, anything, that might catch Heidi's eye.
Our guest judge is Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, who despite a career spent in athleticwear has walked her fair share of red carpets. Let's talk runway:
Sean: Sean's plan to give his fringe a haircut worked well, as they judges are totally delighted by the playful movement and elegance of this look. Nina likes that the bareness of the back nicely balances out the heaviness of the fringe in front, and the ombre effect at the bottom gets high marks. Sean gets the win, as we all already knew. Nice to see someone break into Amanda and Sandhya's winners' circle!
Kini: Heidi loves the drama of the open back, and Lindsey points out that while it can be difficult to create an open-back dress that still hugs the torso properly, Kini's dress shows no gaping or puckering. Zac gave Kini his highest score and has lots of good things to say about the fabrication. Kini is safe.
Amanda: Zac says the trim gives him an allergic reaction, and Nina seems less than thrilled with it too, but the whole panel agrees that the piece is unique and would allow Heidi to really stand out on the runway (though Lindsey isn't convinced that it would photograph well). For a top-three finisher, the response to this look is surprisingly tepid, but it does move Amanda to the next round.
Korina: Nina seems most annoyed by the ho-hum predictability of the design, while Zac calls out the mess of the back of the dress: "I can't tell what's intentional and what's not." He thinks that the details Korina chose to add were not well thought out. Heidi reiterates that she's no hater of the color green, but that she can't get behind the dour, drab shade Korina chose. She's safe, though.
Mitchell: Mitchell dubs this one the Hot Mess Express as it walks the runway, which is accurate. "I think a lot of things went wrong with your dress," Heidi sighs. From design to fit, construction to color -- Nina compares it to a Christmas ornament -- Mitchell's look is panned. "I can't see [Heidi] wearing this," Nina admits. "No one should be wearing this!" Heidi replies. Mitchell's out.
Kristine: Zac and Nina offer compliments on the side paneling, but that's the only thing going for this look, which is universally panned for being inappropriate for a runway and terribly put together. Zac flat-out says that the dress is unwearable and unacceptable. Because "Runway" is a fickle beast, Kristine is also out.
Kind of a bummer of an ending there, no? Mitchell and Kristine both saw the writing on the wall. It's never fun to watch designers get eliminated on looks they know are awful, especially after watching them struggle to put them together, and it's even worse after seeing them do quality work in the past. But you're only as strong as your last look, and these looks were weak. Onward and upward we go, with just ten designers left. Do you think Sean's look was better than Kini's? Did Mitchell and Kristine both deserve elimination over Korina? Have you started to root for anyone in particular? Let me know in the comments!
(Red carpet photo credit: David Livingston/Getty Images)