Nobody wants to make swimwear
Credit: Barbara Nitke

There are certain challenges that strike fear in the heart of every Project Runway designer, and the swimsuit challenge is definitely among them. When Heidi announces they’ll be working on a swimsuit and cover-up for her collection, the designers do not look pleased. Tim even feels the need to check on Cornelius, who looks shell-shocked. He says he’s never done swimwear — but none of the designers have aside from maybe Roberi.

In addition to the swimsuit and cover-up, they also must create their own print and textile. Heading straight to the workroom, they all work on their textiles with some sponsor whose name I didn’t write down (sorry, sponsor). Dexter wants a snake print; Brik is, fittingly, using bricks; Roberi uses macaw bird feathers; Jenni is doing a purple mandala; Tasha wants Rasta colors and shapes; Rik is doing a black-and-white check; and Sarah is using an image of a retro girl lying on a beach towel made into stripes.

Not so sure about that last one. Let’s have Sarah explain this more: She’s designing for a girl who is going to a pool party who isn’t swimming but is “hanging out by the smoked meats.” I really would like to know what kind of pool parties Sarah goes to.

With their prints designed, they go to Mood, where they have $100 to spend in supplemental fabrics and supplies. Tim informs them it’s Swatch’s birthday — and Roberi says, “You deserve a meat-filled cake” to the pup. What is with the meat obsession this episode?

The designers are all struggling as they get to work, which is apparently unusual for Cornelius (“I rarely struggle”). By the time Tim and Heidi come for critique, a few people look like they want to throw in the towel. And by the time “Hurricane Heidi” (thank you, Alex) comes through, they really feel defeated.

Heidi’s critiques aren’t as tough as we’ve seen them in season’s past, but she doesn’t necessarily hold back either. She is “really scared” by Dexter’s snake eye swim-top; she tells Sarah her whole look is thrown together; and she tells Jenni she’s not “plugged in.” On the other hand, she gives Rik a “wowza” on his print and she’s really into Roberi’s prints.

It’s not hard to tell the few she’s a fan of, but there are so many people having issues, it’s really hard to tell who is going to be the bottom three. And the next morning, the situation hasn’t gotten any better. People all across the room are having fit issues with their models. There are a lot of “hungry butts” walking around (thank you, again, Alex).

Poor Tasha is sewing up until the minute Tim calls time, but somehow she and everyone else get their models clothed and out the door. Now let’s see if they can keep covered as they walk down the runway…

NEXT: “No one wants the drama of a labia on the runway”

On the runway, The Incredible Hulk Heidi Klum introduces the designers to their guest judge: Lucky Blue Smith. If you are an uncool old person like myself, you probably had to Google him to learn he’s an 18-year-old model whom Instagram loves. Essentially, we have a beautiful child judging the looks this week — I’m not sure what he can really contribute, but he seems very sweet.

Heidi calls Laurence, Cornelius, Nathalia, Brik, Mah-Jing, Dexter, and Erin safe, which leaves the remaining six for critiques.


Roberi explains his macaw inspiration in creating the feather print, which the judges are all fans of. Nina thinks the scale should have been a bit larger on the feathers, but it’s a small complaint. She loves the shape of the bathing suit, and so does Heidi, who thinks the suit could easily fit into her line. Zac, on the other hand, loves the shape of the cover-up and Lucky Blue likes how it’s simple and not too loud to accent the suit.


During critiques, Heidi thought Tasha’s print looked like a Chinese takeout menu, and now Nina thinks it looks like a Japanese restaurant menu. Not the Rasta look she was going for — and unfortunately the judges have other issues. Nina thinks the cover-up looks like a tablecloth; Zac says the whole look is boring; and Heidi says it’s not sophisticated. (Full disclosure: I love Tasha so much I’m willing to look past these missteps.)


Rik wanted versatility with the cover-up — which was a snap-off pant (but not that kind) — and in his print, and as Zac says, he nailed it. “It’s print-tastic,” are his actual words. Heidi and Lucky Blue agree the print is strong, and Nina loves the whole head-to-toe look.


Remember how Heidi said Jenni wasn’t “plugged in?” Well, Jenni didn’t let that faze her. After the critique with Tim and Heidi, she only had two hours, so she wanted to send something completed down the runway instead of something thrown together. She stands by that decision and her look, but the judges do not. Nina says the print reminds her of a yoga mat. Zac says it’s “Miss Piggy meets the Golden Girls.” And Heidi says it’s straight-up old lady.


Apparently Heidi gave the designers a dossier for her line, and Alex paid close attention to it. He wanted to create a print that could easily fit into her collection. He used a blue floral-on-stripe print that created an almost Greek look. Heidi says the cover-up is her favorite of the show. It “sings and sells the look,” she says. Nina and Zac love it, and Lucky Blue tells us about his three sisters, who would definitely wear this… or something.


And then we have Sarah. As Nina points out, the illustration on her print isn’t the problem, but the pattern she tried to create out of it doesn’t work, and the swimsuit design she made with the print really doesn’t work. Nina says the whole look is something a six-year-old would purchase. Zac goes so far to say the swimsuit bottoms look like boys’ underwear, which is never a good sign.

Winner: Rik, whose look is now available on Heidi Klum Intimates.

Out: Sarah

It’s unfortunate we never really got to see Sarah’s work, but I think the judges made the best decision this week. Can we all agree on one thing? NO MORE SWIMSUIT CHALLENGES.

Leave your thoughts on the episode below, or find me on Twitter @realdalener.

Episode Recaps

Project Runway

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

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