Last week’s episode of Project Runway featuring drama filled departures by Andrea and Kooan gave way to a more temperate climate this week. While there were no melt-downs to send designers packing, they were very expressive about the prospect of working in teams for the challenge.
The Challenge: Marie Claire magazine recently launched Marie Claire @ Work. Nina Garcia explained that this branch of the magazine was created “to showcase the strong, powerful and sophisticated women that embody fashion in the workplace.” To that end, the designers were challenged to create a fashion capsule collection that is editorial but will also work in the real world. Each team was instructed to direct their own photo shoot, which will be displayed on the runway and will be factored into the judging.
Memories of not wanting to be picked last in gym class came back as Nathan and Sonjia were asked to pick designers for their teams, Team 6 (Sonjia, Melissa, Dmitry, Elena, Alicia and Raul) and Team 5 (Nathan, Christopher, Fabio, Ven and Gunnar). Unfortunately, it was Raul who was picked last.
Each team went back to the design room to plan and vet out who would do what before going to Mood. Team 5 opted for a “Fall into Color” theme centered around bright hues of fuchsia, purple and turquoise. Christopher pulled some bags and shoes from the Lord & Taylor Accessory Wall as part of the inspiration. Team 6 was centered on graphic prints and pop color against sleek blacks.
Back in the design room, Team 6 went for it with color. A standout was Melissa’s bright blue cotton sateen drape dress with and her classic asymmetrical zipper detailing. Raul stuck to his ruffles and Elena stuck to her big shoulders, while Dmitry opted for a color block binded dress. Accessories filled the gap when Elena was concerned that her black look was “boring”. Melissa cited that they could grab a pair of bright blue shoes or a clutch to balance. With the right accessories, plain won’t surface.
Team 5 built their collection around printed silk. The idea was to keep the collection light and flowing; Nathan’s wrap around pants and drape top were an example of this. Sonjia remarked that the pink and purple printed fabric looked like resort wear. When Tim went to review the team’s progress, he was concerned that almost all the materials they chose were silk and the hero print was looking “clownish” and the fuchsia silk was saying “Ole” and looking “Bull Fighter”. It was their only option to “Make it Work”.
The photo shoots and runway show pulled together nicely. As the final looks went down the runway, there was a big divide between how Team 5 and Team 6 chose to accessorize their looks. Team 5, with their bright printed silks, opted for more muted accompaniments like nude pumps and demure black clutch bags. The simplicity of the accessories let the prints do their own thing without competing. Team 6 played up their solid hues that ranged from blue down to greys and blacks with shoes and bags in bright blues and purples. The muted materials in black and grey were paired with color popping accessories. Sonjia paired her look with a long statement necklace and snake skin clutch, giving off lady-like splendor.
Time to be judged. Heidi felt that Team 5’s collection had a softer touch for the modern businesswoman and she favored it. The one downfall of the collection, she noted, was Gunnar’s top that looked like “floating soufflé boobs”. While the printed silk caused Tim concern earlier, Michael Kors felt like they created a collection that could cater to a woman in her 20’s up to her 60’s; citing that they made an old lady pattern look cooler. From the consistent construction of the pieces, Nina said it was clear that they worked well as a team.
Nina was an instant fan of Team 6’s collection. She felt it contained “modern editorial touches that photographed incredibly.” She admitted that pants are a large part of her wardrobe and felt their ability to craft both skinny and wide leg pants was key. There was a debate whether some of the more sexy pieces like Dmitry’s color block binded dress would be appropriate for a woman who works as a lawyer or in finance. Melissa’s blue drape dress was a judge favorite and deemed office appropriate for a range of careers. Elena’s big shoulder obsession was noted to be going to new heights, which was considered a new low by the judges.
The Final Decision: Team 6 won and their designs will be featured in a spread in Marie Claire @ Work and Melissa was named winner of the challenge. The final two facing elimination row were Gunnar and Raul. This week, Raul was sent home…again. On departure Heidi said, “I get to kiss you twice goodbye” and Tim said, “Few things pain me as much as telling a designer to go to the workroom to clean up their space twice.” Raul’s leaving was more bitter than sweet as he told Elena that he hates her before going. With that, we’ll be waiting by for next week’s episode. ;