Project Runway NZ Recap: Not all bling shines

Episode nine marks the start of the real competition. No one is safe anymore and the previous week’s winner goes in without a safety net.

I knew that Benjamin, Judy and Caitlin were shoo-ins to get to the final six, and Kerry was going to make it based on his ability to construct garments flawlessly.

I’m relieved to see Jess joined the group. But I’m surprised Peni has made it this far. Although he has good ideas, I don’t think he designs for a real woman.

The six remaining designers.
The six remaining designers. Source: Tom Hollow

For this week’s challenge, Andreas and Georgia come to the runway to tell the designers that they will have to create an elegant eveningwear look inspired by the Pascoes jewellery worn by the six remaining models.

The designers have chosen the piece of jewellery that inspired them the most. A few intrigued me.

Jess, who was at the bottom last week, goes with pearls. They say pearls bring tears. I’m hoping if they come this week they’ll be tears of joy. She will end up designing a garment with a lot of shadow and light.

Judy has chosen an amethyst with gold setting. She’s feeling the pressure to deliver since eveningwear is her thing.

Kerry has gone with a diamond in a gold cage. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll create. He’ knows that he will have to show the judges that he’s worth it.

Kerry works on the cage for his gown.
Kerry works on the cage for his gown. Source: Tom Hollow

Caitlin is aware of people speculating that she’s won two challenges because of Benjamin’s help, and not because of her talent.

This is a topic that the other designers can’t let go. In particular Kerry, who’s already had a little speech about the subject at the top of the show, and Judy who thinks it’s childish that Benjamin and Caitlin stay on their own ignoring the rest of the group.

I don’t see the problem with collaboration between designers. It’s not against the rules.

While choosing fabrics, Andreas encourages the designers to give the judges something unexpected, and to Judy, specifically to give them something new.

Andreas asks Caitlin to reconsider the use of white since she’s done it in the previous week. "If Andreas says something, do it!" Caitlin says on camera, but later on, we’ll find her doing a white jumpsuit with fringes. She doesn’t do evening wear, so she’s decided to go with something she likes and would wear. Good luck with that.

Guest judge Ladi6 examines the designs.
Guest judge Ladi6 examines the designs. Source: Tom Hollow

Andreas quickly nixes Peni’s mermaid dress. Thank you, Andreas. Peni will end up using two shades of blue to create an asymmetric top and a flowy skirt.

Benjamin, who at this point is safe to say is the one to beat this season, is doing an entire black sequins dress. He loves it when the light hits them.

During Andrea’s feedback, we find Judy and Kerry working with similar concepts – a sort of cage on top of a gown. But while Andreas finds Judy’s a bit costumey, he gives Kerry a pass. I like both ideas. I think they got something going on.

After the anonymous runway show, the six designers remain on the stage. Everyone gets feedback from now until the end.

Kerry wishes he could have done more work on his design.
Kerry wishes he could have done more work on his design. Source: Tom Hollow

This week’s guest judge Ladi6 loves Kerry’s nod to nostalgia look and likens it to Beyonce’s style. Georgia thinks it’s too much. She compares it to a Victoria’s Secret wing, and Georgia knows about that.

Benny doesn’t think the cage at the top matches the dress under it, and once it is removed, Sally-Ann agrees with him. She believes the fabric works on its own, but when paired with the cage, they both compete.

I liked Kerry’s design, the cocoon at the bottom is very interesting.

Peni is worried he'll go home with this garment.
Peni is worried he'll go home with this garment. Source: Tom Hollow

Georgia has seen Peni’s ball gown "so many times". Sally-Ann loves the fabric, and although she’s not afraid of asymmetry, she doesn’t think it works with a classic look or in the breast area.

Although Benny commends Peni for trying softness and elegance, he finds the look messy.

When I see Peni’s design, all I see is a young drag queen making her first dress with blankets and bed sheets. It is an uninspired design, and I’m surprised at how poorly it has been constructed.

Caitlin is proud of her look this week.
Caitlin is proud of her look this week. Source: Tom Hollow

Caitlin’s design is the disappointment of the week for the judges. Georgia doesn’t think the fabric is working. Sally-Ann believes it could have been sexier. Ladi6 wanted to see more tassel, and Benny thinks white doesn’t work.

I’m afraid Caitlin lost it big time with this challenge. Frankly, it looks like the copy of a copy of a dress by Kiwi designer Sean Kelly who mastered the use of tassel when he won season 13 of Project Runway in America.

Jess loves her garment this week.
Jess loves her garment this week. Source: Tom Hollow

Jess’ look is a triumph, and it’s clearly the look to beat this week. Georgia is in love with the dress. Sally-Ann thinks it looks expensive and special. They both would love to wear it. Benny is marvelled with the construction of the asymmetric shoulder.

Although the judges like Benjamin’s look, they’re not crazy about it. Sally-Ann is unchallenged by it. Ladi6 doesn’t like sequins but loves the dress on the model, and Benny thinks it’s safe.

I’m with Ladi6 on this one. I don’t like sequins. They remind me of beauty pageants in the 1980s. Also, going with all black was too safe for Benjamin.

Benjamin loves the way the light hits the sequins.
Benjamin loves the way the light hits the sequins. Source: Tom Hollow

Judy’s garment is well received. Ladi6 thinks that on its own it’s great and whimsical, but adding the cage makes it super modern. Sally-Ann thinks it’s immaculate, but Georgia wonders if it’s boring.

Benny, who’s made fun of designs before, removes the cage and wears it over his head. Come on, man. To quote the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw, "don’t mock the clothes".

Judy is without a doubt the queen of the evening gown.
Judy is without a doubt the queen of the evening gown. Source: Tom Hollow

The clear winner this week is Jess, who’s also won a $2000 gift card from Pascoe.

Caitlin and Peni find themselves at the bottom. Although both designs are hideous, at least Peni tried to elevate his look to match the sapphire setting that inspired his garment. Caitlin walks.

It’ll be interesting to see how Benjamin behaves next week with his sidekick gone. Maybe Kerry will finally relax.

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

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