If Project Runway were March Madness, the episode before the finale would be the play-in round. It’s nice to give those teams hope, but we all know the outcome: The teams who have been at the top will stay at the top. The teams who are already on the bottom will be out. And that’s mostly what happened in tonight’s episode.
The remaining five designers are asked to make 10-look collections with $10,000. They’ll all head home, where Tim will do home visits, and then they’ll return to New York to show at NYFW…or at least three of them will. Because that’s as many spots as Heidi will guarantee. To the home visits we go!
Tim stops in Salt Lake City to visit Ayana. He meets her mom, who is also named Ayana, and friend, Jax. She tells Tim the bad news: Her apartment was flooded so she’s further behind on her collection than she’d like. But Tim likes what he sees and tells her to work hard and work smart to get caught up.
Then Tim goes to see Kenya in Atlanta. Her collection is a “summertime dream,” and dream is an apt word because Tim says her color palette is a snoozefest. But who cares about the collection when you’ve got a family like Kenya’s? Tim meets her grandma Molly, her mom Renaye, and a few other family members — and they are a riot. I want them to get their own spin-off reality show. (Lifetime, make this happen.)
Next up is Kentaro in L.A. He chats with his family via FaceTime, but when Tim arrives, it’s straight down to business. Tim is confused by the message of the collection — he says it’s a hodgepodge of ideas — and even more confused by the message of the piano piece Kentaro composed for the collection: “I found a dead cat on the street, so after I buried the cat, I put my ear into the ground and this is the kind of sound I heard.”
I dare you to find me a better, weirder quote from the history of this show. Kentaro is just a gem. I’m so thankful for the light he’s brought to this season and honestly, season 16 as a whole has been a delight. But I digress…
Tim then goes to San Juan to meet up with Margarita, who is for some reason already crying. She shows Tim the print she created, which she worries is too kitschy, but Tim is assures her he’s crazy about it. He’s not so crazy about the crochet and golden rings she’s incorporating, though. He tells her to take her girl off the beach and put her on the NYC streets — which is a catchy phrase, but to certain designers could be very bad advice.
Anyway, then Tim goes back to California (there’s no way his actual travel schedule was this all over the place) to see Brandon. He meets Brandon’s girlfriend, Dina, who is adorable just like he is. She says he’s using too much skin, which worries Tim, but when Tim sees the collection, he says his worries are out the door. He’s crazy about it all and thinks Brandon is on a great course. (Recap continues on the next page with the results for who’s going to NYFW)
Once they’re all back in New York, Tim tells them that they will need to select two items to show the judges. Even though they’ve all been working on these collections for weeks, they still hem and haw about what things to show and every little detail until it’s go time.
On the runway, they’re greeted by the return of TV Heidi. In L.A., the host has to judge from afar — and do not worry, this doesn’t cause her to hold back in any way. Actually, none of the judges do. The critiques they have for the remaining five designers are straight to the point…
Zac cuts straight to the chase: He says that Kenya has fit issues. Her black dress was moving all over the place as the model walked the runway. Heidi says she can see how much work she put into the dress, but she’s not excited by the silhouettes. Nina says she likes how she made everything look so luxe, but there’s a problem with styling. She’s focused on too many things, and the cover-ups are hiding the great pieces underneath.
Ayana’s collection, on the other hand, gets more positive reviews. Heidi loves the color palette and the ease that the clothes have — she says they’re fresh and modern. Nina likes the juxtaposition of distressed and refined and is surprised by Ayana’s design aesthetic in this collection. Zac simply says he wants to see more.
And bringing it back down, Heidi tells Kentaro his white look is “questionable.” She loves the other look but doesn’t think these two present a cohesive collection. Nina says there’s a disconnect as well and she doesn’t like how he can get too conceptual. Zac says he can’t tell where Kentaro is going with the collection and that makes him nervous.
Nina sums up Brandon’s collection by saying it’s a female version of him “in clothes.” She’s in love with the look, the hair, the styling, and the attitude. Heidi loves it all, too. She does point out that Liris needs a simpler top, and Zac agrees. He says that she deserves a real “wow moment” on the runway, and he knows Brandon can deliver that.
Finally, Zac tells Margarita that she’s on the cusp of her custom print being hideous and “feeling right again.” Heidi agrees that it’s gutsy and loud, but she likes it. She likes the sparkle, she likes the bomber jacket, but she doesn’t want it to go too tropical or “Miami.” Nina says it feels like resortwear, which is okay, but Margarita needs to avoid putting in “everything and the kitchen sink.”
After Heidi asks each designer to describe why they should show at New York Fashion Week (at which point Kentaro, confusingly, says he’s not really ready) the judges deliberate. And the three four going to fashion week are…
Brandon. Ayana. Margarita. And Kentaro.
Which means that Kenya is out. I’m personally very sad. I thought her collection was elegant and fresh, and it’s unfortunate that her two-piece collection didn’t convey that to the judges. I was also surprised that they decided to have four collections at NYFW, considering there is one designer there who has never quite achieved the praise that the other three have. And I think you know who I’m talking about…
So what do you think of the final four collections? Are you surprised to see Kenya out? Surprised to see someone else in? Talk it out below, and I’ll see you back here next week for the finale.