Project Runway Junior recap: A Very Special Guest
The First Lady stops by (virtually) to explain this week's challenge.
Our “Very Special Guest” was a guest via video screen for approximately 30 seconds in the whole episode, but it’s still pretty cool for these kids. Michelle Obama talked directly to them about their challenge. They’ll be creating a fashionable look for the modern girl on the go. As an advocate for adolescent girls around the world, FLOTUS talks about her work with Let Girls Learn. The winner of this challenge will get to take part in this organization in a special way: He or she will design a backpack for Lands’ End with proceeds going to support this global awareness for girls’ education.
So with that overly complicated explanation out of the way, let’s get on to the challenge. Each designer spins a wheel to decide if they will be designing for School, Travel, Sporty, Party, or Work. Most of the designers are fluid enough that they’ll have no problems with the categories they received…except poor Jaxson. He receives Sporty. He only designs gowns and couture. This should be interesting.
Before the designers can get to work, they have to say happy birthday to Maya. She just turned the big 1-4. And Tim Gunn wishes her happy birthday, so she’ll never be able to top this one. She peaked at 14. Sorry, Maya, but happy birthday.
During Mood shopping, there are already a few problems arising: Jesse doesn’t have a clear vision, so he’s just grabbing random fabrics. Jaxson is worried he’s going to costumey, so to combat that he’s asking himself, “What would Sporty Spice wear?” That may not be the best way to get around being costumey.
Victoria is also having problems — and Zachary calls her out in the workroom for making the same top as before. It’s a little catty, but somehow he gets away with it. And it’s somewhat beneficial because it causes Victoria to think. She is a little insecure and doesn’t want the judges to think she’s one note. When Tim comes for critiques he basically designs a whole new look for her, which isn’t exactly fair. As Zachary says, “She’s a seamstress” at this point, not a designer. But I can see that Tim really cares for these young designers and wants to teach them.
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But Tim brings more than just design ideas with him, though. He also brings a former Peace Corps volunteer into the workroom. I have no idea what purpose she serves, but I’m a little upset with the Project Runway Junior producers. I’m a former Peace Corps volunteer, and no one asked me to visit the workroom! And I would have loved to because I need to become friends with Maya. I know she’s 14 and I’m a grown woman and it’s weird, but I don’t care. You guys, she’s so cool!
You know who’s also cool? Matt. He sees Jaxson’s silver romper and says, “It looks like he was designing for Neil Armstrong’s drag persona.” I mean are these lines written for these kids?? I was not this witty as a teenager — or now. Anyway, enough about me, let’s get to the runway show!
NEXT: Double elimination
We’ve been through four episodes of Project Runway Junior, but this was the first runway show that truly looked like a teen runway. Yes, there were lots of phenomenal looks, but there were more than a few rough ones. So it was only fitting that this week would be the double elimination.
And lucky for them, both Samantha and Matt, who dodged elimination last week are safe, along with Bridget and Zach. The rest received critiques from the judges:
Zachary received Party, and he, of course, envisioned a high-end party. Although it’s a touch dramatic for my taste, this dress is definitely high end. Christian loves the color combination; Kelly sees a sophisticated woman wearing it; and Aya loves how he played with proportions. Zachary knows how to do high end better than many of the adult designers we’ve seen in the past.
Remember when we talked about how Jaxson would struggle with the Sporty category? Well, here we are. His metallic jumpsuit and mesh jacket is flat-out confusing to the judges. Aya says it feels too much like a costume than fashion. Hannah tries to throw him some support, though; she says she understands what he was trying to go for, but he missed the mark.
Although Jesse has received more backstory than the other designers (his two dads adopted him from Cambodia), we haven’t seen much about his design backstory. Aya says they’ve been waiting to see what he can do, but this still isn’t it: “This is clothing, and we want you to make fashion.” He went too literal with the School theme. As Kelly puts it, he made an actual school uniform. But he is a great tailor, and he does get credit for that.
Peytie lucked out with the Travel category — it fits her design aesthetic perfectly. As she says, her printed “fancy apron” and shorts could work in Bali with flats or in New York with heels. Her Bohemian vibe shows through, but it’s still incredibly fashionable. Christian applauds her for the fabric choice, which looks like something she bought in an international market, and Hannah wants to wear it right now.
Like Jesse, Victoria got the School theme. However, she went the opposite of literal and designed a look that wouldn’t even be allowed in most schools. Even with Tim’s design eye, she somehow created a tasteless shorts and leather-tank combo. In addition to all the judges thinking the look is inappropriate for her theme, Christian is underwhelmed, and Kelly just wants to see Victoria step out of her comfort zone.
And then there’s my future best friend Maya. She got the Sporty category, which she wasn’t thrilled about, but she knocked it out of the park with leggings, a sports bra, and an asymmetrical zippered jacket. I want to go buy this look right now. Aya does, too. Kelly goes so far as to say that it looks like Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang, and Lululemon had a baby. Christian doesn’t even like athletic wear, but he likes this.
Also out: Victoria
What did you think of the winner and double elimination? Were you as excited to see the First Lady on video as these young designers were? Are you going to buy the Lands’ End backpack? (It looked a little too Peytie for my taste.) Share your comments below or on Twitter @realdalener. And see you here next week when we go back to Neverland.