Designers look to their pasts to design a futuristic Marie Clare look.

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Project Runway Recap

We have seen the future of fashion, and it is black, cowl-necked, and bleak.

But before we get into that runway, let’s take a little trip down the catwalk of memory lane: The year was 1994. Heidi was a wide-eyed 21-year-old just trying to make it in the big city. Nina was an assistant in a fashion department, where she unpacked garment bags and did coffee runs. Zac—the baby of the group—was a 14-year-old who dressed in really awesome T-shirts, vests, and medallions. It’s hard to imagine the Project Runway panel as anything but the styled-to-perfection titans that they are now, but it’s true: The ’90s were rough for all of us… except for Tim. He was entering his 12th year as a teacher at Parsons, because he was basically born this way.

On the runway, the ageless man introduced Anne Fulenwider, the editor-in-chief of (sponsor alert!) Marie Clare, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Together they introduced the episode’s challenge: Using their past, the designers must create a look that would run in a 2034 issue of the magazine.

To quote Kini, “We finally get to go to Mood!” And there’s a Swatch sighting. The only other thing we could ask for is to see actual futuristic outfits IN A FUTURISTIC CHALLENGE. These designers took their $200 budgets and created a plethora of black, muted, Katniss Everdeen-esque looks—without the fire. As Mitchell says, “They think the past is so dark, and the future is going to be so dark. That’s sad.”

In the workroom, the designers were working on the following: a refurbished industrial dress from Sandhya, a Sea World chic bubble dress from Mitchell, a one-sided lapel Wall Street getup from Angela, an Ewok hoodie from Emily Payne, a blanket dress from Alexander, etc. When Tim came to do his critiques, his feedback was fairly even keel. Things were going okay for all the designers until the models came and Alexander had to scrap his design. We all know what this means. Poor Alexander.

NEXT: Started from the bottom…

The middle road includes Hernan’s “day-to-night” dress (which basically meant pulling a Janet Jackson to rip off the front, which then turned into a train. It’s almost innovative, but it was just… well, using Hernan’s own words: “It’s showing a lot of boobies—why?”); Amanda’s bell bottoms; and Mitchell’s wet suit pantsuit. Char, Fäde, Samantha, Korina (what is she wearing?), and Kini are also safe.

Did the judges get together before the runway show and decide to ALL have clever one-liners for each outfit? Angela’s gets “future stewardess dress” who you’d be afraid to ride with. “Obi-Wan Kenobi’s manicurist.” “Houston we have a problem.” Even though she’s in the bottom, it’s not all bad—guest judge Amanda De Cadenet thinks she has a future selling ideas to rebranding airlines.

Sandhya’s dress was the only ray of color that came down the runway. Yes, it was bizarre and jetpack-like, but it was the only one that really felt futuristic. She had a strong vision of the future that incorporated her personal style. The judges loved it, and she’s back on top.

Emily’s look was definitely a hit with the judges, which put her in the top, but she learned a valuable lesson: Don’t tell a Marie Clare editor that your design inspiration came from an Ewok.

Alexander’s critique rivaled Angela’s in color commentary; they felt it was “maternity mom,” “potato sack,” “Flinstones,” “Planet of the Apes.” These judges really know how to kick a guy when he’s down, but it’s no surprise he’s on the bottom.

According to the judges, Christine’s look was intelligent, chic, and fashion-forward. Tim wasn’t sure about the cutout jacket in the workroom, but the overall look came out polished and more futuristic than all the tunics and cowl-necks we saw going down the runway, so she comes out on top.

And Sean. So sorry you’re in the bottom. “Mary Poppins goes shopping at Prada” may do it for Zac, but the rest of the judges aren’t feeling that wrinkly fabric.

Winner: Sandhya, as if her fellow contestants didn’t hate her enough already…

Out: Angela

As Tim points out, Project Runway just isn’t a place for all designers to grow; even if they are good designers, they might not succeed because of this environment. But maybe if you don’t like hearing criticism and are sensitive, you shouldn’t sign up for the show? Just a thought…

Best line: “Alexander should be worried because his look is bobo. It looks like some silly old carpet that this post-apocalyptic woman would find in a trash can and be like, ‘Oh, guess what? I have a new dress.'”—Mitchell

Final thought: What does bobo mean?

Follow me on Twitter: @realdalener

Episode Recaps

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Project Runway

Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.

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