The designers must use their 'personal journeys' as inspiration

By Dalene Rovenstine
January 22, 2016 at 06:32 AM EST
Barbara Nitke/Lifetime
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We need to talk about the Tim Gunn Save. For two seasons in a row (season 14 and now Junior), his “save” has been used to bring the last eliminated designer to the finale. Doesn’t it take the power out of the “save” when it really just means “making the final 3 a final 4”? Now don’t get me wrong: I’m happy that we’ll be getting to see Zachary in the finale. What I am saying is, Tim Gunn, maybe you could use your save a little earlier next season? Give us a little surprise?

Anyway, I’ll move on to recapping this episode.

Hannah tells the remaining designers that their challenge is to use themselves as an inspiration. “Be your own muse,” she says. She tells them to use their “personal journeys” to create a unique design.

If anyone was questioning “Can you have a personal journey when you’re 14?,” Maya quickly answers that question. When they’re sketching, she says that she wants to show how strong and powerful you can be at any age. And like a rib cage that protects your organs, her coat will feature boning and even a spine on the back. It sounds…different, but I’m going to trust Maya on this one.

Peytie is using her middle school years as inspiration. She says she didn’t have many friends, but she started expressing herself in clothes and opening up. In that vein, she’s making a “dull” romper with a printed dress over the top with a fringe belt. Again, it sounds a little strange, but Peytie hasn’t really had a missed step yet.

Zachary wants to create a ball gown, something mature and elegant because he’s an old soul. No surprises there. And Samantha wants to create something that embodies her desire to always be a leader. She works on a dress with a long coat.

The one twist on the challenge is they have to add iron-on transfer materials to their looks. It’s a way they can get creative and make a custom textile. I would make fun of this awkward Rowenta sponsorship, but since there haven’t been too many product placements on the Junior version of this show I’ll let it go.

The designers get $400 and 30 minutes at Mood and then get back to the workroom to work for a day. Yeah, they’re only getting one day — and some of these designers have big ideas. Tim says, “Calibrate your ambitions accordingly,” but Zachary didn’t get the memo. He hems and haws about what to do. He scraps three different bodices and two different skirts. He’d decided to work with chiffon for the first time, but the new fabric just isn’t speaking to him. Nothing is speaking to him.

Luckily Tim comes for critiques and gives Zachary advice: Work on the potential wow factor. Well, okay. That’s all he needs to kick him into gear.

Tim walks up to Maya for her critique and says, “May I begin by saying this: Wow.” That’ll give a girl an ego boost! She shows him the boning coat/vest/thing, and he says she should spend her time working on the fit of her garment underneath.

Then he turns to Peytie, who tells Tim about her inspiration. She said when she was in middle school a lot of girls wore a shirt that said, “You can’t sit with us.” She said she didn’t want to wear that shirt, but she did want to fit in. So she went home, made a shirt that said, “You can sit with us,” and wore it to school the next day. Peytie is my hero. Seriously, this small story right here is why I think we should have many more seasons of Project Runway Junior. These teens have the best attitudes and no egos.

Anyway, Tim gives a critique to Samantha — he tells her to shorten her coat so as not to cover up her dress — and then he leaves them so they can do model fittings. A few things have to be fixed (Peytie’s shorts, Samantha’s belt), but Zachary is clearly in the most trouble.

NEXT: My Muse, My Model

The next day they only have a couple hours and all of them have a lot of work left, the designers finish. Tim even walks in and says “everyone is still working!?” when he calls time. Somehow, though, all four manage to send finished looks down the runway.

As Maya‘s model lifts her arms behind the Project Runway sign, before even coming out on the runway, both Aya and Kelly say, “Wow.” They have the same response when they see the outfit on the runway, as well. Aya loves how there is a great push and pull between hard and soft in her look. They’re all astounded by how well her cage piece is made and the thought behind her look, but Christian does wish the dress underneath was made with a different fabric.

Although Aya thinks Zachary had the best application of the iron-on transfer (he used it on the sheer back), the judges struggle with the rest of his look. There are fit issues with the top, and the skirt doesn’t have the kind of movement Zachary was hoping for — and all the judges notice that, as well. Christian said it would have been better to swap the crinkle chiffon and pleated satin fabrics that he used in the skirt. But Hannah does like that it’s mature, yet youthful at the same time.

Samantha finally did a dress like the judges asked! Christian loves the silhouette and that it’s wearable and “casual cool.” She still showcases her menswear aesthetic, yet with a “feminine” take (according to the judges). Hannah isn’t quite on board with the other judges, though. She does love the coat but wishes the dress were a bit more feminine.

Christian says that Peytie‘s girl is very apparent in this look, and he’s into it. He doesn’t love the shortness of the dress underneath, but when Peytie tells him it’s a romper, he’s more on board. Aya loves that it’s happy and full of spirit — something they don’t often see on the runway. Kelly is impressed and in love with the fringe belt.

In: Maya, Peytie, and Samantha

Out: Zachary

Hannah says goodbye to Zachary through tears. Aya and Kelly start crying, as well. And they all go up and hug him. (If you didn’t tear up a little bit here, you should really take a look at your life.) Zachary goes back to the waiting room, where Tim comes in and is crying, too. He starts telling Zachary how talented he is and that this challenge was just a misstep. Long story short: He’s using his Tim Gunn Save and our finale is going to have four designers.

I’m happy that Zachary is moving on but confused why they went through the whole charade of sending him home? Maybe Tim really did decide on the save at the last minute? What do you guys think? Are you happy with the final 4? Sound off below, or tell me on Twitter @realdalener

Episode Recaps

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