It must be rough to be a model. Even on your day off, you have to worry about what you’re wearing. Even if you’re wearing a sweatshirt, you have to wear a high-fashion one with peplum shorts. After all, you have to Instagram every moment of your life when you’re a model.
If you couldn’t tell from the title, “Models Off Duty,” this episode is all about the models. They are the clients for this challenge. The designers meet Tim atop a Brooklyn rooftop where he’s brunching with the models. He tells them the details — they have to create a street style look that the models can post on social media — and then lets the models pick their own designer.
It’s just like a school playground as the designers get picked off one by one. Jazzmine selects Samantha; Meisha picks her Japanese buddy Kentaro; Sanita chooses Kenya; and Christina pairs up with Margarita.
Claire and Shawn are totally not bothered at all that no one is picking them.
Colleen picks Brandon; Liris chooses Michael; Marsha grabs Amy; and Monique asks for Batani.
Claire and Shawn are totally fine, who cares!? Not Shawn, who breathes a big sigh of relief when Janine picks her. Lena selects Ayana, and finally Sian is left with Claire.
Claire is totally fine with being last (just in case my sarcasm doesn’t read: Claire is totally not fine with being last).
The designer-model pairs “hit the streets” and talk about style and design ideas. After taking selfies together (this episode is trying way too hard to be 2013 hip), the designers head off to Mood to buy their supplies.
Once back in the workroom, the twins are already annoying their fellow contestants. Claire keeps saying how she wants to focus on her own work, but Shawn is constantly asking her for help, and she continually gives it to her without complaint. And when Shawn asks Claire to jump, she just asks how high. It’s always “one more question.” And it’s starting to get old with everyone around them: Batani rolls her eyes behind their back, and both Kenya and Margarita talk about it in their confessionals. However, not a single designer confronts them about their workroom shenanigans. This really is a great group of nice people. (Season 16 #forthewin! #modelsoffduty! #hashtags!)
A few hours later, Tim brings in the models. He meets with each designer-model pair to give critiques: He talks Claire out of incorporating wording onto her sweatshirt; he helps Michael and Liris decide on a color option; and he warns Kenya of her green fabric selection. Tim is worried the emerald color will make Sanita look like a “long green bean.” It really concerns Kenya and she’s not sure she trusts herself to move forward.
But move forward she does…until 1 a.m. when all the designers call it a night. (Recap continued on page 2, indeed)
By the next morning, Kenya is scrambling to finish her green look; Claire and Shawn finish what at this point can only be called their collective looks; Liris isn’t pleased with what Michael did and gives him very specific edits that he has to rush to finish before the runway.
They all make it down to the runway without major disaster, and Heidi introduces them to this week’s two guest judges: country singer Kelsea Ballerini and Project Runway All Stars judge Georgina Chapman.
After the models walk down the catwalk, Heidi asks Shawn, Margarita, Kentaro, Samantha, Claire, and Kenya to stay behind for critiques. Safe for another week, the other designers head back to the waiting room.
Claire explains that Sian wanted to dress down, so she created this oversize sweatshirt and tailored short. Nina likes the idea of sportswear, but this look is missing a pop of color. Nina says in the Instagram image, it’s just a blob of black. Zac says that social media is the public’s form of editorial, and here it’s not making a fashion statement. Heidi says the look does nothing for the model’s figure. Kelsea tries to keep it positive (in most of her critiques) and says she likes the top.
Shawn says that Janine is feminine, elegant, and refined — with an urban flair. She also hints at the fact that she created a look very similar to what she and the model were wearing the day before, but the judges don’t seem to care about that. Zac says it looks slick and goes from day to night well. Heidi says it’s “fantastic” and photographs well. Nina says it’s feminine and pretty. Kelsea thinks the bows up the back are classy and sexy, and Georgina even likes it. (Philosophical question: Is a win for one twin a win for them both?)
Kenya ignored Tim’s warning and went full force with Sanita’s green trousers and vest. Zac says it’s “Debbie Harry meets Peter Pan meets 101 Dalmatians” — and he loves it. Georgina says there’s an ease and confidence to the look; Kelsea says it’s stunning; and Nina says it’s mysterious. Heidi loves the green and the petals; although she isn’t a fan of the print, she says prints are always a personal choice.
Heidi asks Kentaro if he thinks he’s in the top or the bottom. He hesitates and decides top and Heidi slowly says…“You…are…right!” She loves the melding of Kentaro and Meisha’s styles, and she says it’s the coolest look “by far.” Georgina likes the dangerous edge; Nina says it’s haphazard in a way that works; and Zac is in love with the draping.
Jazzmine specifically picked Samantha because of her personal style, and she wanted something grunge and glam. That’s what Samantha gave her, but the judges feel it’s derivative. Georgina says it’s verging on costume; Zac says it’s not fresh; and Nina once again tells Samantha she likes her personal look better than her designed look. Heidi and Kelsea point out that the dress is better without the vest, but that’s not much consolation.
Margarita’s model, Christina, told her that her style inspiration was Aaliyah. Margarita went hardcore Miami Aaliyah and, in a departure from the entire day before, suddenly starts saying how it was all Christina’s idea and she just wanted to please her model. (Later, we get a little confessional time with the models and Christina didn’t like how Margarita made her seem like a diva.) Zac says even if this is what Christina likes, there’s a fit issue with the pants in the crotch area and it’s unforgivable. Heidi says it feels cheesy, and Georgina says there’s nothing that speaks to Margarita’s voice.
Samantha had a strong sense of style, but I’m not sure that style was every going to fit with what the judges are looking for in Project Runway. Even so, she was so nice — like so many of the designers this season — so it was hard to see her go.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you excited for next week’s pairs episode? (If a pair loses, do they both go home?? Asking for…no reason.) Until then, I’ll be watching the scene of Kentaro asking if saying “African look” is racist on repeat.