The designers get 'cautious' with their second unconventional challenge
Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

The drama of season 16 is behind us and we're down to the top six — let's focus on good designs without any gimmicks, shall we?

Spoke too soon…it's time for the season's second unconventional challenge. "Why? Why? Give me some fabric," pleads Brandon. But there's no fabric for this challenge, not even supplemental fabric from Mood. Instead, the designers must use safety items stuffed into three Lexuses (Lexi?). The materials include caution tape, orange netting, knee pads, reflectors, rubber boats, tubing, a rope ladder, harnesses, ear plugs, and more.

After scrambling to rip it all from the car in three minutes, the designers head back to the workroom to get cracking. They only have until 11 p.m. that evening to make it work. Last week Michael said he thought Brandon was running out of ideas, and this week Margarita says she thinks that Brandon is a "one-trick pony." You would have thought these two would have learned their lesson, but…no.

Anyway, Kenya is struggling with her design right off the bat because of a supplies shortage. She wants to use black seat belts but doesn't have enough and the rest of the room isn't sharing. Ayana says the vibe is tenser than usual, with people not wanting to help give a fellow designer a leg up.

When Tim comes for critiques, Michael basically only has rope to show. He's doing something bondage-inspired with all the bungee cords…but in a "sophisticated way." This seems like an oxymoron to me, but I am not a fashion designer, so what do I know?

Tim's biggest concern is reserved for Kentaro, who is using fire hose fabric as fabric, which Tim says isn't transformational enough. This just seems to perplex Kentaro even more than usual.

For the other designers, Tim gives bits of advice that the designers seem to ignore. I guess we're at the part of the season where the designers feel confident in their own decisions (although I'm not sure they should be?).

The morning of the runway show, the final six are all scrambling to finish, but the designer in probably the worst shape is Kenya, who had a zipper rip out at the last minute. It wouldn't be a season of Project Runway without a last-minute zipper break! (Recap continued on page 2)

On the runway, Heidi introduces the designers to guest judge Carly Chaikin, star of Mr. Robot and Project Sammy's Way. Since we're down to six, all the designers stay for critiques, which Heidi starts out with praise: She says they all did an amazing job, and there's nothing the judges didn't like. Zac and Nina do not agree.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Although he struggled with the challenge, Brandon pulled out a look that the judges love. Zac says it's spectacular work and he's glad the challenge forced him to play with color and texture. Nina loves seeing him play with movement and appreciates that he's sticking with his street aesthetic. Heidi loves that it's flirty yet hard at the same time.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Nina starts off Michael's critique by saying it's not one of her favorite looks. And it just goes downhill from there. Carly says, bluntly, that it's hooker-ish, tacky, and cheap. Heidi appreciates that his model looks sexy, but she says compared with everyone else, it doesn't look like he worked as hard. Zac says that he likes the blue color, and "that's about it."

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Even with her seatbelt shortage and broken zipper, Kenya ended up in the top. Heidi loves the detail and how she worked with the seatbelts and made them the highlight. Zac likes how she painted over the seatbelts to add dimension, and Nina says she likes how the dress has drama without including "everything and the kitchen sink." Carly felt it was classic, simple, and great.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Ayana wanted to pull out all the stops and take a risk, and she certainly did. Heidi says her look is fantastic and so over the top, but she loves it. Zac says it's "hot, bold, and big." He does point out that the top feels a bit outdated, but he still says it's superb work overall. And Carly says that she loves how the subtle pop of blue at the top tied the whole thing together.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Margarita is the only designer to make note of the Lexus car as inspiration, saying she wanted to do something chic. Nina gets a superhero vibe, in a good way, and loves the use of the reflectors and straps. Carly is a huge fan of the helmet shoulders, saying she could have just had a trash bag with them and she would have loved it. Zac says this was a high for him because she created dimension and it's graphic; however, he does say that he still doesn't have a sense of Margarita's style — and come to think of it, neither do I.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Kentaro got a bit lost in this challenge and ended up with a (to quote Liris) Pocahontas about to play football. Nina isn't a fan of it and feels he lacked vision. Heidi says it's too stiff, and Carly says it doesn't feel like fashion. Zac says he thinks he was on the right path, but he overloaded it and made it kitsch.

Winner: Ayana

Out: Michael

What did you think of this week's challenge? Are you ready for the designers to just focus on great design sans gimmicks? Well, don't hold your breath because it looks like next week is wrestling themed. Oh, Project Runway, how you toy with us.

Episode Recaps

Project Runway

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

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