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

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August 08, 2014 at 03:37 AM EDT

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… 

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