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Project Runway NZ Recap: An average red-carpet look

From the start, it’d seem something’s off this week. The energy is low, as if the rush of the first episodes has subsided, and the designers need a break.

Andreas meets the designers at a refuse transfer station. For this week’s assignment, they’ll have to design a unique print for a supermarket reusable shopping bag. The winning design will be reproduced in a limited-edition bag available to buy nationwide.

After the designers have spent some time putting on paper their ideas for the shopping bag, Andreas comes in with a twist. They also must create a red carpet look inspired by their design for the shopping bags, and it should include a sustainable concept as well.

Peni, Beau, Caitlin, Misty and Judy are happy to hear about this week's challenge.
Peni, Beau, Caitlin, Misty and Judy are happy to hear about this week's challenge. Source: Tom Hollow

Jess is excited about the challenge, and Beau claims red-carpet gowns are his forte.

With $250 they go to the Fabric Store where Kerry is determined to get colourful fabrics to experiment. After all, he’s safe this week and has nothing to lose.

Benjamin’s preferred silk crepe is too expensive, so he settles for a cheaper pink fabric.

Massey is going with a pinstripe fabric for a sporty punk look. It’s risky, but if executed well enough it may get him to the next round. I hope he knows what he’s doing. There’s nothing ‘red carpet-y’ about pinstripes.

Back in the workroom, Judy has spent her time creating flowers, but she’s still don’t know how she’ll use them.

Peni designs the Tongan inspired shapes that will part of his bag and red-carpet look.
Peni designs the Tongan inspired shapes that will part of his bag and red-carpet look. Source: Tom Hollow

The next morning Peni starts to cut shapes out in a piece of leather to create a Tongan inspired pattern for a jacket. I’m intrigued by it. Celebrity Cardi B’s style is his inspiration. That should be fun.

Andreas is impressed by Judy’s work, but wonders if the judges will think she’s turned the volume up; her design is not much different from her usual style.

Beau’s cream and white design is coming off a bit bridal for Andreas, but Beau plays it down and isn’t concerned.

Misty tells Andreas that she doesn’t think her choice of bright yellow is too risky. But, yellow, as we all know, is the devil’s second favourite colour. I don’t know what’s in her mind.

They leave the workroom after 9:00 PM which confuses me. They’ve arrived at the workroom at 6:00 AM for an eight-hour day. But if we go by the clock on the wall, they’ve been in there for fifteen hours. No wonder they look tired.

Jess' red-carpet look.
Jess' red-carpet look. Source: Tom Hollow

The next day, after the runway show, Jess, Kerry, Cami, Caitlin and Beth are safe. I'm surprised Jess didn’t make it to the top. Her flowy pantsuit with high neck sheer blouse over an algae bikini top was my favourite look of the week.

The Judges think Benjamin’s shopping bag is fun, playful and appealing to children. Georgia loves his red-carpet look and Benny thinks the back is fun. Both Sally-Ann and guest judge, Kiwi international model, Ashleigh Good, are not feeling the love for the fabric. Ashleigh would also prefer it if the gown were reverse with the flowers in front. I don’t think this was Benjamin’s week.

Sally-Ann likes the polished, elegant and well-constructed gown Judy has designed, but wonders if she has pushed herself with this creation. Judy tells her that she’s never done something like this before. She hasn’t used any patterns, only calculations and formulas to create a design in which no fabric was wasted. Benny thinks the choice of fabric is perfect. Ashleigh believes Judy’s matched the environmental message from her shopping bag. I think the dress looks dreamy.

Massey knows he’s missed the brief. He claims to have been inspired by Andy Warhol in the use of colour for the bag juxtapositioned with high corporate with a twist. Not sure what that means. Benny loves the idea of protest, but not like that. The graffiti in the back of the garment is too insular. Protest in fashion has to be in your face, this one is more like a whisper. I can’t believe someone who only two weeks ago gave us such a sophisticated streetwear look can now deliver this flop.

This week's designs with the lower scores.
This week's designs with the lower scores. Source: Tom Hollow

Peni’s Tongan elements in both his shopping bag and garment have caused a good impression on the judges. Sally-Ann thinks the top is cool and memorable, but the skirt is not that impressive. Ashleigh wouldn’t wear it but appreciates the look. In the end, I suppose it does look like something Cardi B would wear. Okurrrrr!

Beau describes his dress as a flower flourishing, but the ruffles running down his model’s arm look more like a wilting flower. Although the volume on top is elegant, the model looks uncomfortable according to Sally-Ann. Georgia is not loving the colour, and Benny thinks the model looks like a bride who has woken up with the wrong groom.

Although Misty’s sky father and earth mother themed shopping bag is my favourite, her look is not a winner, and she knows it. I fail to see how this 1980s Japanese-super-hero-inspired breastplate was ever going to work. The colour is all wrong, and the black line accents are out of place. Ashleigh would have preferred to see it shorter or longer, and Benny misses the drama on the bottom.

The looks with this week's highest scores.
The looks with this week's highest scores. Source: Tom Hollow

In the end, Judy timeless dress wins and Massey walks. In the green room, Jess is not pleased with the results, and she shouldn’t. She has been consistent with her designs, and she has yet to crack the top. Truth be told, this week all designs were very average and hadn’t it been for Massey’s and Misty’s obvious debacles, anyone could have walked.

I hope the designers take a break and re-energise before the next show.

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

Judges examine the designs before choosing the top and bottom looks.
Judges examine the designs before choosing the top and bottom looks. Source: Tom Hollow


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