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Project Runway NZ Recap: Business as usual

The week starts with five designers, Benjamin, Jess, Judy, Kerry and Peni, and by the end of the episode, four will still be standing, but only two, I believe, have a guaranteed place in the final.

While wondering why they’re at a heliport, Georgia lands in a helicopter wearing a red business suit with white sneakers.

Yes, white sneakers. The fashion trend that won’t go away.

With a budget of $400 and two and a half days, the designers will have to create a business suit. Andreas reminds them that tailoring is all about structure while Georgia tells them that the look doesn’t have to be literal. They can design their own aesthetic.

Except for Judy and Peni, the designers are enthusiastic about the challenge. Mainly Kerry, whose experience working for designer Karen Walker will come in handy.

In a rare moment of humility, Benjamin concedes he doesn’t have any tailoring experience. However, the person who does in the group - and who is likely to win the challenge, is Kerry, but he has no taste. And with that said, Benjamin’s back to his usual self.

More and more, Benjamin reminds me of Billy Zane’s character in “Titanic,” Cal; unapologetically entitled with a side of delusion.

The designers wait for the runway show to start.
The designers wait for the runway show to start. Source: Tom Hollow

For the first time, Georgia tags along with Andreas for feedback time at the workroom.

Peni, who not only struggled with the fabric choice but continues to strive in the workroom, is going retro with MC Hammer pants. Georgia suggests he uses the same colour on top and bottom.

Both Andreas and Georgia are excited by Benjamin’s military suede tailored jacket. They also like Jess’ imaginative take on a suit.

Jess is working on a structured design that will look as if the jacket has just been thrown on.

Judy's asymmetric coat seems challenging to Andreas, but Georgia likes the colour. Kerry’s old-fashioned cape shows promise, but they suggest he pays more attention to the pants.

Judy thinks her look came out better than expected.
Judy thinks her look came out better than expected. Source: Tom Hollow

On the day of the runway show, both Jess and Kerry have doubts about their looks. After the group makes fun of her design, likening it to an inflatable from a used-cars sale yard, Jess sees herself at the bottom.

And although Kerry is happy with his look, he’s convinced the judges will eat him alive.

Judy’s asymmetrical structured look gets lukewarm reviews from the judges. Georgia loves the green and use of the heavy leather. Benny points out a few construction issues but commends her for accomplishing a fierce, strong and confident look.

Guest judge fashion designer Paris Mitchell Temple loves the juxtaposition of fabrics, they’re fun and modern.

I’m not a big fan of Judy’s this week. The green is overwhelming, it reminds me of a guard from Emerald City in the merry old land of Oz.

Benjamin likes the masculine but feminine look of his design.
Benjamin likes the masculine but feminine look of his design. Source: Tom Hollow

Although Georgia loves Benjamin’s jacket, specifically the shoulders and big buckle, she doesn’t think it is the strongest look they’ve seen from the designer.

Benny likes the pinching in the waist which offers a gorgeous silhouette but agrees with Georgia. Benjamin usually pushes the envelope, but he hasn’t this time.

I’m not sure exactly what they mean by safe or not pushing the envelope. I think the design and execution are exquisite and as Sally-Ann puts it, the look is fun and tomboyish.

Jess loves her cool and quirky design.
Jess loves her cool and quirky design. Source: Tom Hollow

The judges unanimously love Jess’ design. Sally-Ann thinks it’s brave and fun. Paris loves the exposed décolletage and choice of bold colour.

Although the construction and finish are not extraordinary, Benny thinks the volume shapes and proportions are unique.

I love Jess’ interpretation of the business suit. Yes, there are a few issues with the execution, but she knows how to bring something never seen before to the runway. She’s definitely pushing the envelope.

Pani is happy and ecstatic with his look.
Pani is happy and ecstatic with his look. Source: Tom Hollow

Peni’s struggle throughout the episode shows on his design. Georgia loves the pants but believes the fabric choice lets it down. Benny commends him for the adventure and playfulness but thinks the look is stuck in the 80s.

Again, I believe Peni has given us something that only a woman who lives in his imagination would wear. The pants design is the only redeemable thing about his look. The cuffs are interesting.

From the moment Kerry’s design’s dramatic shadow appeared behind the screen, the judges were on board with his look. Georgia singles out the amazing tailoring. Sally-Ann is impressed with what he’s done in such a short time.

Kerry has designed with a strong, confident woman in mind.
Kerry has designed with a strong, confident woman in mind. Source: Tom Hollow

Benny is blown away. The woman who wears this design has the confidence to sit on a board, he says.

It’s superbly and impeccably constructed, but I agree with Paris, the cape makes it superhero-ish. It also seems old-fashioned. When I saw it coming down the runway, all I saw was Joan Collins walking into a room to address the board of Denver Carrington in the 80s night-time soap “Dynasty.”

Nevertheless, Kery's design is the perfect outfit for any woman to go into any male-dominated industry and show them that she means business.

In the end, Kerry wins the challenge, his second win. Jess comes in second and Benjamin, third.

Wow, Kerry and Jess were above Benjamin. I’m sure he felt what Billy Zane’s character felt when Rose decided to stay on board the Titanic with Jack, irritated, disappointed and powerless.

Judy and Peni await to hear their fate.
Judy and Peni await to hear their fate. Source: Tom Hollow

We find Judy and Peni holding hands at the bottom, but it’s time for Peni to walk. Judy is safe.

Of the four remaining, I believe Benjamin will go through to the final, his excellent work has been consistent, and he’s won two challenges.

Jess is the innovator in the group, and I’m sure her collection would be something special to see in the final runway. She’ll go through as well.

That leaves Judy and Kerry vying for the last spot. It will all depend on what their designs look like next week. It could be either.

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

By Luis Portillo - 1 NEWS producer


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