Project Runway recap: Haute Tech Couture
Season 14 gets a SECOND unconventional challenge.
If you’re feeling déjà vu, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Project Runway season 14 is indeed having a second unconventional challenge. The first time around didn’t offer too many crazy textiles for the designers to work with, but this one definitely made up for it. Now whether this season needed a second unconventional is debatable, but the results were undeniable: It was one of the best runways of the season so far.
It started with the designers waking up to boom boxes and cassette tapes in their living rooms. Now that Blake is gone, all of them are old enough to know what a cassette tape is, so they put it in and press play. The voice of Heidi Klum tells them that they will be diving into their next challenge. So they head out to an unknown location… which ends up being a very trendy-looking junkyard in Queens. Tim and Marie Claire editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider are there to greet them.
Anne explains that the designers are going to merge the world of technology and fashion. And in what are probably the most clear challenge instructions all season, Tim tells them that they will use this outdated technology to create a modern, fashionable look. Lindsey puts aside her germaphobia, and they all go after junk to fill up their shopping carts. Up for the taking are VHS tapes, computer and phone cables, floppy discs, Rolodexes, vinyl records, and more things we once thought cool.
Once their carts are full, they have to push them back to the workroom. (As some of you mentioned in the comments, the designers are no longer in Manhattan — so it’s not like they had to go THAT far.)
Back at the workroom, everyone is cutting, ripping, and tearing things apart. However, not everyone is enjoying themselves. Lindsey notices that Jake is quieter than usual; she chalks it up to him almost going home last week. But when Tim comes in to give instructions, we learn the real story: Jake pulls him aside and explains that his dog needs to be put down.
Jake gets emotional, Tim gets emotional, everyone who’s ever owned a dog or seen Marley & Me gets emotional. Jake tells Tim that he’s going to go home rather than stay and have a “lifetime of regret.” I’m going to hold all sarcasm here and leave it to y’all in the comments: Did Jake make the right choice?
Everyone says their goodbyes to Jake and gets back to work. As Tim does his critiques, he has lots of strong opinions as usual. He doesn’t like Laurie’s mousepad look, he says Joseph isn’t thinking of the materials first, and he calls Merline’s look “Big Bird-ish.” God bless him. He also tells Kelly that she’s created a new “paillette” with her metal tubing. He says it about 1,000 times, and she has no idea what it means, but she just nods her head in agreement. (Luckily for us, the Project Runway editors give us a chyron to tell us it’s shiny, decorative trimming.)
Tim tells the designers that this has the makings to be one of the best unconventional challenges in Runway history. Only runway day will tell — and it doesn’t take long for that to arrive since it’s yet another one-day challenge. The morning of, Swapnil is taking his time, making a micro-miniskirt because he ran out of time taking too many smoke breaks.
NEXT: A garbage runway (almost literally)
But with a muslin-painted skirt, Swapnil’s model makes it to the runway along with all the others. Once there, the designers are greeted by guest judges Paula Patton and Nina Garcia’s boss, Anne. Merline, Laurie, and Candice all make it through safely, and the rest receive the following critiques.
Edmond‘s dress reminded me a lot of one of Kini’s finale runway looks last season, but no one made note of that. Unlike Kini’s, Edmond’s dress was made with mousepads, keyboard keys, and other trash. Nina thinks it’s fashion-forward and sophisticated, and Paula says she would wear it. Edmond is such a fast designer he even had time to create a clutch accessory. We’re definitely going to see this guy in the finale, right?
Joseph focused so much on being sexy and not matronly that he forgot about using the materials in the best way. He used cords, but not to great effect. It wasn’t an innovative design — Nina calls it “safe” and Anne even says it causes the model to be bulky, which is never good. Paula is very sweet, though, and tries to give him a compliment by saying the color blocking is nice.
Swapnil is halfway in the bottom and halfway in the top. The judges love his design from the waist up, but from there it just gets messy. When asked about time, Swapnil doesn’t use it as an excuse — and he shouldn’t! He purposefully wasted it. The fact that he squandered his time and used the remainder to use muslin for the entire skirt was plain arrogant. Zac even says it should go back in the garbage. Ouch.
After collecting a ton of Polaroid pictures, Ashley found that she was able to “bust” them and create designs with the undeveloped film underneath. Placing that all together, she was able to create the most adorable print in the most adorable garbage dress you’ve ever seen. All the judges love it, but Nina especially can’t stop raving out it: She loves the cutout, the length, everything.
Although Kelly‘s dress looks like something from a ’60s Star Trek episode, it is very cool that she made it all from aluminum tubing. Heidi wants to wear it out on the town — even if she can’t sit down. Zac says something about Tinman’s girlfriend, but he means only the best. Nina says she feels like Kelly is listening to their critiques and editing down her style. Kelly has come a long way from the deli.
Whereas some designers used textiles in a way that made them difficult to decipher, Lindsey used all of hers (plastic CD cases, white keyboard keys) in very obvious ways. The judges aren’t happy about it. Zac says the top looks like bathroom tiles and the bottom looks like a shower curtain. And once that’s put out into the world, everyone sees that. (I can’t unsee that now.) Heidi even calls it “frumpy, dumpy” as Lindsey holds back tears on the runway. However, she’s able to skate through one more week because…
Most of you haven’t been happy with the judges’ picks so far this season. What do you think? Did they finally get it right this time?