Project Runway NZ Recap: The art of making art

The Avant Garde challenge is here, and the designers must create a look inspired by the Holden Astra. Andreas urges them to look for innovation and to push creativity to the edge.

Georgia and Benny examine Jess’ Avant-Garde design.
Georgia and Benny examine Jess’ Avant-Garde design. Source: Tom Hollow

Fashion designer Tania Carson, an ambassador for the carmaker, encourages them to be bold and to get inspiration from the sculptural forms and lines of the car.

While Peni loves art, Caitlin says she’s awful with it. Jess just wants to wow the judges, and Benjamin thinks this is the challenge where people will show their real potential.

Kerry is very confident, he’s won the Fieldays Ag Art Wear competition before. Judy is impressed. She entered that one too but didn’t win.

Andreas and Tania Carson introduce the designers to the Holden Astra.
Andreas and Tania Carson introduce the designers to the Holden Astra. Source: Tom Hollow

After spending $300 on materials, the designers go to the workroom where they’ll spend the next two and half days creating their look.

Judy finds her initial design boring and wants to step out of her boundaries. Beau is conflicted over his designs, Cami is creating an abstract wheel shape – whatever that is, while Peni is after a surprise element.

The next day when Andreas comes for feedback, he’s impressed by Jess’ powerful and sleek design. I hope she’s on the top this week.

After Andreas suggests to Caitlin to add more surprise to her usual silhouette, she breaks down and flees the workroom in tears. She’s tired, and the pressure is getting to her.

Peni, who has followed Caitlin, tells her with soothing kindness that she’s fine and doing great, and convinces her to go back to the workroom.

This week’s Beau’s silhouette is very similar to the previous one and Andreas reminds him that the judges thought the model looked uncomfortable then. Later on, he decides to make the skirt wider with lots of ruffles and vibrant colours. I’m intrigued.

On runway day, Caitlin, who’s still struggling, just wants to have something for the model to wear, and Peni laments not having come up with a surprise element.

Caitlin is worried about her Avant-Garde look.
Caitlin is worried about her Avant-Garde look. Source: Tom Hollow

After the anonymous runway show, Georgia asks Benjamin, Peni, Caitlin, Jess, Judy and Beau to remain on the runway. The rest are safe.

I would have loved to see Beth on the top. Her design was very innovative for someone who claimed all she did was 1950s shapes. So far, she’s been flying under the radar, but she’s finally starting to show us the ‘unicorn’s poop’ she promised in episode one.

Beth’s Avant-Garde design.
Beth’s Avant-Garde design. Source: Tom Hollow

As for the rest of the safe designers, I’m happy to see Misty back in form, but I wasn’t impressed by Kerry’s. He’d better up his game, or he will start landing on the bottom soon.

This was the challenge where I was sure Benjamin would do well. His play with scales and proportions has produced a winning look.

The judges like it and guest judge Tania Carson deems it well designed and modern and likens it Japanese Avant-Garde designer Yohji Yamamoto’s style. Benny loves the drama and Georgia loves the oversized hat. I like it, it looks very ‘bag lady winter chic.’

Peni is not happy with his look. Although he wanted to go clean and simplistic, the judges aren’t impressed. Benny thinks it’s an unsexy bondage outfit.

Sally finds it flat, and Georgia and Tania think it’s unfinished and unresolved. I can see his intention, but I can’t see cohesion. The little hat makes me think more Art Deco than Avant Garde.

Caitlin’s look is a miss for the judges. Benny thinks there are a lot of ideas not coming together harmoniously. Georgia deems it cheap looking. Sally-Ann finds it unrefined and too ‘pretty.’ I find it too literal.

Caitlin’s, Peni’s and Beau’s Avant Garde looks.
Caitlin’s, Peni’s and Beau’s Avant Garde looks. Source: Tom Hollow

Caitlin has recreated a seatbelt over the right shoulder, and it would appear the skirt was made with silver sunshade windshields. She was not kidding when she said she was awful with art.

Jess’s look is a winner with the judges. She explains she’s tried to represent what the car would look as a person with sexy and clean lines. Sally-Ann thinks it’s well cut and flattering and likes how the gloves complement the look.

Tania believes it’s a great design. I’m happy to see Jess on the top. Week after week she has been giving us consistency in her designs.

Judy’s inspiration came from the car’s interior, and that was enough to wow the judges. Benny is trying to figure how it was put together, the placement of the shapes is impressive.

Sally-Ann thinks it looks expensive and can see it at the Met Gala in New York. Georgia loves the fishtail and believes the gown is very flattering. Judy has given us one of the best designs ever created in any edition of the Project Runway franchise. This young woman is the real deal.

Although Beau’s top has drama, the bottom lets it down. Tania struggles with the juxtaposition of the top and the skirt, and Georgia thinks is not very Avant-Garde, it is more ‘red carpet-y.’

Jess’, Benjamin’s and Judy’s winning designs.
Jess’, Benjamin’s and Judy’s winning designs. Source: Tomo Hollow

I like this one, the colour palette is exciting, the orange and red top is sumptuous, but the skirt has sent the design miles away from Avant-Garde.

In the end, Judy is the victor, and Beau walks. Going by design it should have been Caitlin, but I guess since Beau had already been twice on the bottom, it was his time to walk.

* Project Runway is on TVNZ 2 at 7.30pm on Mondays and on TVNZ OnDemand

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