Hear these models roar
Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Last week, after seeing the boxing ring in the episode promo, I made a crack about how this week would be yet another gimmicky challenge. And then the show went and made it an episode about warrior women cancer survivors. Way to make me feel like garbage, show.

But at least I wasn’t alone — the designers themselves were nervous about the challenge when they saw the boxing gloves in their apartments. “Am I going to be making wrestling shorts?” Kenya worries.

Once they get to the gym and see Tim in the ring IN SWEATS, they’re very confused. But an Avon lady is there to explain: She says that Avon is all about improving women’s lives — they support women who can’t afford breast cancer care and fund cancer research. Then the women who are standing around the ring start telling their stories of fighting breast cancer. Talk about a tearjerker of an episode!

Tim then explains that these fighters are the inspiration for this challenge. The designers will have $250 and two days to create a high fashion editorial look inspired by warrior women. The Avon lady says the makeup for this challenge will be very important, which I took as a sign there would be an additional reward, but it literally meant nothing.

The designers get to do a quick boxing boot camp (“I have nothing against boxing, but I don’t like to hit people,” Kentaro says) before sketching and shopping at Mood. In the workroom, Kenya immediately begins to struggle. While the other designers are cutting out patterns, she’s staring at a wall while drinking a can of Coke label-less soda. They all sketch and work and Day 1 wraps up before you know it.

On Day 2, Brandon and Kentaro realize they inadvertently created a similar look (hoodies with turtlenecks). Kenya says they may actually be brothers, which I don’t doubt.

Kenya has her own issues, though. She’s still struggling with coming up with an idea, and after what seems like hours of doing nothing, she lands on the idea of a woman with strong shoulders in the power pose.

When Tim comes around for critiques, she doesn’t have much done, but he likes where she’s headed. He says the same for most of the designers, although he is worried Kentaro has too many ideas and that Brandon isn’t pushing it enough. It seems like Tim is about to say something negative about Margarita’s Wonder Woman look, but he, oddly, thinks it’s “fantastic.”

The models come for fittings a bit later, and Kentaro learns that he made the top too small. It takes a long time to get the thing over Jazzmine’s head, and even once it’s on it doesn’t fit right. So once she leaves, he scraps the sweater and decides to make something new — fast: “I make my dress like quicker than Cup of Noodle,” he says. (Recap continues on page 2)

The next day on the runway, Heidi introduces guest judge Rachel Brosnahan, star of the upcoming Amy Sherman-Palladino project The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She and the other judges watch all the looks walk the runway and then give their critiques to the remaining five.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Even though Kenya’s look doesn’t seem as “high fashion” as the others, the judges love it. Heidi says this is the first time someone got a look for Liris 100 percent right. Liris even says this was the moment she has been waiting for. Nina appreciates that Kenya didn’t use high jinks to communicate power because there’s power in the silhouette, the color, and the tailoring. Rachel says it’s stunning and she wants to wear it. And Zac says this is the look he’s been waiting for Kenya to deliver — and I have to agree.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Brandon wanted to create a nomadic warrior and somewhere along the way he added in a ninja-esque vibe. Heidi says it’s definitely out there, but she appreciates that he created something new. She’s not a fan of the baby bonnet, and neither is Nina — who says she loves the juxtaposition of the millennial pink with the sport-street attitude — but Zac and Rachel love the bonnet. Zac says he knocked it out of the park and is even on board with the “poopy pants” (™Project Runway).

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Margarita was greatly affected by the warrior women’s stories because her grandmother had cancer. She knows the chaos a disease like that can bring, so she wanted to bottle that up into a dress and contain it. Once she hears the story, Rachel says she can see it in the dress. But Zac and Nina say her dress does the opposite of contain chaos — if anything it just makes it seem stuffed inside. Nina feels like the look is too much of a costume, and Zac says it feels more like club attire than armor.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Kentaro used the inspiration of a Japanese samurai, and the judges do not like his take on warrior. Rachel wishes she could see more of the model’s body or shape. Nina says it is too bland for editorial — plus, she’s worried that Kentaro is reverting back to his early-season design style. Zac is worried that Kentaro is losing his eye for editing. Then Nina notes that his look is oddly similar to Brandon’s, but Kentaro says they had drawn their sketches separately and just think too much alike.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Ayana wanted to do something different from her usual, and it’s definitely different. Zac calls it “wacky, but great.” He says that it’s definitely editorial, even if it doesn’t feel as “empowered” as the rest. Rachel says it’s beautifully tailored, Heidi points out how the look proves you can be powerful without showing skin, and Nina says she’s loved watching Ayana’s evolution.

Winner: Brandon

Out: Margarita, who’s not really out.

“You’re not going anywhere,” Tim tells her while handing out his Tim Gunn save at the very last minute. They all group hug, and I just fall more in love with this season’s designers every episode.

What did you think of this week’s challenge? Were you happy with the win and the save? Share your comments below.

Episode Recaps

Project Runway

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

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