Sponsored challenges on Project Runway can often feel gimmicky and gross (looking at you, American Girl doll challenge), but other times they can bring out a type of creativity we don’t usually see. Luckily, tonight’s Transitions lenses-inspired challenge was the latter kind. Yes, hearing Tim wax poetic about how he can go inside and outside with his glasses is cringe-worthy, but the blacklight runway forced the designers to think in a completely new way. And it led to some pretty interesting designs.
The challenge, as Heidi tells the designers, is to create a next-level versatile design — instead of a day-to-night look, they must create a daytime lighting to blacklight lighting look. They have $200 at Mood and 24 hours to create it, and the workroom is stocked with ultraviolet-sensitive materials and a blacklight-lit room. Basically, the designers could have a rave if they wanted.
But they get to work instead. Erin wants to have a sweet dress during the day and a “sex bomb” at night. Kimber is focusing on the color of her fabrics and finds a floral pattern with lots of colors that pop. Dexter is going for a “Stevie Knicks Meets the White Queen From Narnia” look, and Mah-Jing is inspired by his fiancée.
Speaking of Mah-Jing’s family, it’s Father’s Day, so he takes a moment to FaceTime his 4-year-old daughter. The sight of her makes him burst into tears. It’s sweet — but there’s no time for tears in fashion…and Tim’s back to do critiques.
He loves Erin’s concept even though he doesn’t understand her bare-bra approach: “I’m not a nipple guy,” Tim says to the shock of no one. Cornelius, meanwhile, is in the corner saying he doesn’t like Erin’s look. Cornelius has a lot to say about everyone’s looks — sometimes straight to their faces. But he doesn’t want to be rude, so he always says, “No shade, but…” No shade, Cornelius, but you need to keep your thoughts to yourself.
Anyway, with Kimber being in the bottom last week, she’s very open to Tim’s advice. When he tells her he hates her large expanses of white, she scraps her dress and starts over. Mah-Jing also has to start from scratch. He was focusing on making a wedding dress for his fiancée (which Nathalia wisely points out is kind of bad luck), but when Tim mentions the word “costume-y,” Mah-Jing switches thought processes completely.
Speaking of Nathalia, she’s working on a brightly colored jacket and was going to put neon-yellow leggings with it, but her classy mentor talks her out of it. She says Tim is introducing her to “this whole world of sophistication.” The changes she makes don’t quite take her into “sophisticated” territory, though — as Cornelius points out, she’s basically designing Zenon’s signature outfit. And zedis lapedis! He’s right.
During and after Tim’s critiques, both Jenni and Cornelius start getting a lot of screen time — which means they’re either going to be in the top or bottom. Tim thought both of them were going too safe, so they blow up their looks in big ways. Jenni decides to create an overcoat made out of your grandma’s plastic couch cover and Cornelius elects to put giant neon emojis all over his white dress. No risk, no reward, right?
NEXT: Project Runway: Turn Off the Dark
Heidi kicks off the runway by introducing Jaime King, this week’s guest judge who will always be her Hart of Dixie character to me. (Seriously, I was surprised Jaime had such blunt comments for the designers and didn’t try to Southern sugarcoat it like Lemon Breeland would.)
Brik (!!), Tasha, Nathalia, Sara, Dexter, Roberi, Alex, and Laurence are all safe — which means Jenni, Kimber, Cornelius, Mah-Jing, Erin, and a person named Rik who I SWEAR JUST JOINED THE SHOW are up for critiques.
Jenni wanted to create a fun and casual look for summer, and I don’t think it can get any more casual than this. It’s over the top and ridiculous, but also pretty great. Heidi is obsessed with the look from head to toe. Jaime loves the hand-painted flowers she delicately created. Zac says it feels fresh, and then Jenni mentions this was actually her fourth design for the challenge, and the judges are even more impressed.
The judges like Kimber‘s dress in the daylight but don’t think it pops enough in the blacklight. She disagrees. She says it’s “glowing,” that even Stevie Wonder could see it glowing — which is slightly offensive, but also has me concerned Kimber must not see that well because her dress is clearly not glowing that brightly. The only positive feedback she gets is when Jaime appreciates how Kimber is staying true to herself, but even she wants her to try to push it a bit more.
Cornelius took a risk on his emoji dress, and it pays off with the judges. Nina loves the element of surprise; she says going from the stark-white dress to the brightly colored emoji print is a “phenomenal transformation.” The only downside, as Zac points out, is there’s a very bizarre dart in a…problematic area. (It seems like there’s a glasses holder on the front of her dress, which intrigues me, but no one ever explained. Was it a mistake? Intentional? I have questions.)
There is a person on this show named Rik. Who knew? Sadly, his first time in front of the judges doesn’t go well. He was inspired by his raver days, but everyone else just sees stripper. And the fact that you can see her butt cheeks in the back doesn’t help. Jaime is almost offended by this dress, and Heidi hates how it turns into a Christmas tree in the dark. But Zac points out that it’s well made, which does count for something.
If I were a betting person, I would be putting all my money on Erin right now. She continues to impress with this sweet-to-naughty look. Heidi thinks it’s fashion-forward and a wow piece. Heidi loves the fabric and then is blown away when Erin says she actually created the print. Zac says Erin truly knows sophistication (no lessons from Tim Gunn needed) and is in touch with “today.” Jaime says it’s “perfection.”
It was Father’s Day and he should have been having a great day, but poor Mah-Jing had it rough. His wedding look was shot down by Tim and then his second look was nearly destroyed when he used the wrong kind of ultraviolet-sensitive paint. It created pink streaks in the daytime light and he had to just go with it. But the judges don’t even mind that — it’s the blacklight “forensic disaster” they really take issue with. Heidi says it looks like hotel sheets someone’s taken a blacklight to and now I can’t get that image out of my mind.
Winner (of this episode, but probably the whole thing): Erin.
In the end, it comes down to Mah-Jing and Kimber getting sent home. Mah-Jing knew his work wasn’t up to par; Kimber stood by hers and didn’t see their problems with it. That concerned the judges, so…
What did you think of this week’s runway? Do you agree Erin is probably going to take it all? I mean, is it even fair to the other contestants at this point? And, by the way, what happened to the Tim Gunn save? Throw your thoughts below or talk to me on Twitter @realdalener.