Do 'affordable' and 'high fashion' belong together?
Week after week the Project Runway judges have opinions about designs that are the exact opposite of 99 percent of fans (or at least 99 percent of fans who comment in these recaps). So after roughly three seasons and nine weeks of that, it’s nice to see some of that same opposition within the judges’ panel itself. If you missed it the 10 times Heidi said it, the judges just could not agree this week.
Just what was this highly debated runway? A JustFab challenge.
I’ve said it multiple times this season: JustFab (and its accessories wall) doesn’t scream “runway.” And the company’s own fashion director, Yuchin Mao, backs me up on this. She says that JustFab designs clothing that looks high fashion but is actually affordable. Aside from Kelly and maybe Ashley, I don’t think any of these designers want to have a clothing line that people associate with “affordable.” But nevertheless, they all seem very excited by this challenge.
They learn from Tim and Yuchin that they’re going to be assigned a style persona. (Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what the school theme had to do with anything.) The designers will then have $100 to design a look for that persona; and the winning look will be made and sold on JustFab. Most of the designers gasp at the $100 budget, but not Kelly. “My whole life is a budget,” she says while wearing a neon windbreaker. I kind of love her now?
As last week’s winner, Candice gets to pick her style persona first. She goes with Trendsetter. Then — twist: She gets to pick everyone else’s style personas as well. I was half-expecting the mean Candice from a few episodes back to return and put people with their opposite style out of spite. But I was happy to see she was actually very thoughtful with her choices:
Ashley — Girl Next Door
Swapnil — Bombshell
Kelly — Trendsetter
Laurie — Modern Classic
Merline — Femme Nouveau
Edmond — Bombshell
After sketching, the designers head to Mood (second week in a row!) and try to wisely spend their money. The trick for all of them is finding fabric that looks nicer than its price tag. Edmond thinks this means buying old lady fabric; and Ashley thinks it means buying hospital-gown print. Plus, both Ashley and Swapnil buy the wrong kinds of zippers. I’m blaming the fact that they’re not used to shopping in Mood — because they all fared better than this in the junkyard!
But it’s not until they’re back in the workroom under the eyes of Tim Gunn that they see some of these mistakes. His critiques this week are many: Merline has the idea to design a skirt over a dress, which is a kind of layering that’s new to me — and Tim. On top of that, Tim warns her to watch it with the white fabric because every stitch and seam she makes will be visible on the runway. But Tim’s biggest concern (aside from textile choices) is innovation. He tells Swapnil, Laurie, and Edmond that they’re doing silhouettes we’ve seen before. That’s the opposite of Kelly’s problem, though. She’s doing a contrasting jumpsuit-ish thing with a furry vest over the top. She says she knows it’s out there, but Tim stops her — he just gets it. Kelly seems like a strange designer for Tim to “get,” but I can see how he values her creativity and innovation more than the designers *cough* *cough* Swapnil *cough* *cough* who just try to skate by.
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Before Tim leaves the workroom, he tells the designers that there is one more sponsor component to the challenge. Each designer must create a label for their look using the Brother garment printer. Theirs logo will also be printed on T-shirts that each designer will wear for the runway show.
The logos take the designers about two seconds — which is good, so they can keep concentrating on their main looks. And at the eleventh hour, Laurie decides she needs more fabric to create a different top. Candice gives her some spare black organza. With it, Laurie creates ANOTHER sheer top. Surely she has a plan…right??
Nope. The morning of the runway, as the model is wearing a regular black bra, she asks Laurie if the judges will care that her ENTIRE bra is showing. Laurie’s response? “Oh, I didn’t think of that.” Sigh.
NEXT: A whole lot of looks that are not JustFab