Project Runway must have gotten a two-for-one-special with Finding Neverland. We go back to Neverland for the challenge inspiration this week. If I were a Junior designer I’d be a little upset: The adults got to go to the show. The kids just got to go into a room with a fake stage. But nearly all of the kids had already seen the show anyway. (Seriously, who are these kids? How are they so versed in Broadway musicals when most of them don’t live in NYC?)
Hannah comes out on the fake stage and introduces Laura Michelle Kelly, the female lead of Finding Neverland. Zach yells out, “Do you play the mother? We love the scene where you die.” Thanks for the spoiler, Zach.
Once the designers get over their excitement for Laura Michelle and the show, they learn that the challenge is to design a red carpet look fit for a Broadway opening night. And the catch? It’s a team challenge. The button bag determines that Maya and Peytie; Bridget and Jaxson; Zach and Samantha; and Zachary and Matt will be working together in teams.
In the workroom, Tim has a few more details about the challenge: They will be getting their fabrics from Mini Mood instead of real Mood, oh, and they only have five hours. This seems a little insane to me — this would be hard for experienced designers, let alone new designers! But Tim has a little bit of magic up his sleeve. He’s bringing in reinforcements in the form of past Runway contestants. The kids absolutely lose their minds. This is seriously Beatles-level insanity.
I would say this must be great for the former contestants’ egos, but then Zach (who quickly is becoming the best with sound bites) says, “Oh, these are old people!” Hopefully he means “old” as in from past seasons not “old” as in OLD.
Tim assigns the past designers to each team: Samantha Black, from season 11, will be working with Zach and Samantha. Amanda Valentine, from seasons 11 and 13, will be helping Zachary and Matt. Fabio Costa, from season 10, will help Maya and Peytie. And Sonjia Williams, from season 10, is with Bridget and Jaxson.
With their adult help, the kids start working together on designs while also finding fabric in Mini Mood. Samantha wants to do a suit, and Zach thinks they can tie in his aesthetic with a cape. Matt and Zachary — probably the most ill-matched pair — are going to create a red dress with cutouts under the bustline. They want sexy but refined, and I am scared. Maya and Peytie come up with the concept of a boy-shorts romper with a sheer organza skirt over the top. Jaxson and Bridget are having the most difficult time coming together; they can’t decide on fabric colors.
But overall it’s so nice to see again how great these kids work together on team challenges. Usually when Tim comes for critiques during team challenges, he often has to use the time to play mediator. But that’s not the case here: He can really focus on the designs, which may or may not be good for the designers.
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Tim’s “dubious” about Samantha and Zach’s jumpsuit. He thinks it’s a little too boring if you take away the cape, so they push it up a notch. As for Matt and Zachary, Tim doesn’t give them very specific feedback. He’s clearly not a fan but just tells them to execute it carefully. Clearly he’s in a “let them figure this out for themselves” mood because he gives Maya and Peytie the silent treatment next. Maya realizes on her own that the white fabric needs to go, so they head back to Mini Mood.
The worst critique is Jaxson and Bridget’s; Tim isn’t a fan of their colors, and with only four looks on the runway, he tells them, these designers have nowhere to hide. Bridget is clearly holding back tears, but Tim doesn’t hold back his critique — and the designers do end up benefiting from it. After a mini-breakdown in Mini Mood, Bridget pulls it together (with more tough love from Sonjia), and they find a new fabric and silhouette they love.
Things go smoothly until the next day when the designers fit their models for the runway. Amanda realizes the model’s waist is shorter than they accounted for, so Matt and Zachary’s design doesn’t fit her quite right, but they own it and send her down the runway looking as best as possible.
NEXT: Bye adult designers, nice seeing you