Another week, and another step closer to the big show at Bryant Park! Will the mysteries of the Fashion Week spoilers be resolved? Will Maya and Mila ever leave the house without flat-ironing their hair into razor-sharp bangs? Will Seth Aaron finally fix his increasingly chipped off nail polish? Well, we won’t know unless we get this recap started, so let’s get down to it.
A hairy challenge.
As always, the morning of the next challenge brings a bit of reflection from our intrepid designers. Emilio says he has learned his lesson, which should be “never copy Wendy Pepper”. He’s sad that Jesse got the boot but he’s equally glad he got to see another challenge. Maya says she has started to see the humanity in the contestants as they’ve gotten to know each other and the cut-throat feeling has all but gone away. Mila echoes this sentiment, noting that if she were eliminated and Maya got to stay, she would be okay with the situation. Well, you should always want good things for your younger clones, right? Ben worries over being “safe” yet again; his time solidly in the middle is making him nervous. As they head to Parsons, the guys muse over what in the world “viscera” means. Tim keeps mentioning it, but they have no clue. I imagine Tim shaking his head in disgust as he watches that clip.
On the runway at Parsons, Heidi reiterates that Jay has immunity for this challenge; however, going forward there will be no more immunity. She sends them back to Atlas (really, why not just send a video message and eliminate all these set-ups) to meet Tim on the roof. Tim is there with Philip Carreon (which I heard as “Carry On!” at first), a stylist for Garnier. This is going to be a hairstyle challenge along with the garment. As for the actual garment challenge, the designers will chose one of the four natural elements—earth, air, fire, and water—as their inspiration for their pieces. Jay gets to select his element since he won the last challenge. He goes with air; Jonathan and Seth Aaron also draw air. Maya and Ben draw water; Mila and Emilio draw earth; and Anthony and Amy draw fire.
Back at Parsons, the designers set about sketching. Ben’s choice of water has him thinking of sea creatures; he naturally goes for a shark and decides to make a suit. Emilio’s model is a woman of color, so he wants to accentuate her skin and create a dress that is complementary. Maya’s take on water involves sirens of the sea while Jonathan wants to create his own textile out of layers of fabric to show the opacity of air and laughter.
At Mood, the designers spend their $150 and we get a bit more insight on what they’re doing. Jay’s take on air involves thinking of a tornado, with bold stripes and lots of movement. Anthony doesn’t think of red for fire but grey smoky tones because his pastor deliberately burned down his house. If there were ever a throw-away line I want to know more about, that was it. Seth Aaron’s take on air involves the New York City night and Amy’s vision of fire has her thinking of creating a structured garment in which the explosion is contained.
Back at Parsons, the designers only have until the end of the day and a couple of hours the next morning, the work is focused—so focused that even Anthony is quiet. Ben and Jonathan kvetch about being “safe” all of the time. Jonathan says (he says a lot this episode) that the last time he took a chance, he ended up in the bottom. He’s disappointed no one thinks of him as a legitimate threat.
After some product shilling by the Garnier team during hair consultations with the designers, Tim arrives to check on the progress. He reacts positively to Jonathan’s cutting away of fabrics to reveal different colors underneath. Seth Aaron’s inspiration of the night air and wind is true to his style. Tim takes a critical eye to Amy’s “contained chaos” dress, which will be a bowl full of hair across the chest. He advises her to distill the idea further. While visiting Ben, Tim notes that the judges do not always pick up Ben’s subtlety. The dark mineral textile Mila is working with gets approval from Tim; he only advises that the other pieces she will make harmonize with the vest. Maya explains her sea creature dress and Tim says he has confidence she can pull it off.
Tim departs and the models arrive for their first fitting, which goes well. Emilio is feeling back in the game and enjoying his work. Mila worries for Ben; a suit is a good idea but seeing the pants on the model shows he has no idea what is going on in the crotch area.
The designers furiously work to finish their garments before the end of the day, but panic has set in. Everyone is having time issues, and Jonathan vocalizes it by explaining everyone is scared of not finishing their looks. As they depart for the night, Ben says he got overly ambitious but since he used all his fabric cutting out his suit, he couldn’t start over if he wanted to. He gets the teary-eyed call home this week; he phones his husband whom he’s never been apart from for as long as he has on Project Runway. Ben misses his husband terribly, but is resigned to the fact that the experience is worth the pain of separation.
The elements of the earth add up to a whole lot of grey and black.
The morning of the show arrives, and Emilio is tired. It seems all the guys are tired and maybe even slept in their clothes. At Parsons, Amy is concerned about the neckline bowl structure of her dress standing up properly. Seth Aaron is still cutting the pants for his look with just two hours on the clock until the show starts. Ben is similarly in a time crunch; Jay, having completed his look, helps Ben out by sewing buttons and shark teeth on the cuffs of the suit jacket. Tim arrives and inquires how they are doing. Anthony, always handy with a spare ounce of sass, says, “How do we look?” Tim spots the “make it work moment” and sends in the models for fitting, hair, and makeup. Although it’s the Garnier challenge, there will be no extra time for hair prep.
Mila and Ben struggle to get their pants done on time. Amy’s model comes back from hair and makeup; they’ve added long, messy extensions to her model’s hair to have it fill in the “bowl” of the front of the look. Amy is worried about the top taking the right shape; Anthony thinks hair boobs are the wrong way to go, calling it a “Nair affair up there.” Finally Tim sends everyone out to the runway; last out is Amy’s model and he gives away a tiny look of horror. It’s very brief but worth a roll back on the DVR to catch.
On the runway, Heidi introduces the judges: Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and Roland Mouret, French fashion designer. The looks shown are:
Maya’s grey long sleeved short sheath dress with ruffles down arms and side of skirt and a cowl neckline in the back.
Jay’s: tornado dress of lowing grey and black fabric with a black and grey ribbon bust line and the same ribbons wrapped around his model’s hair. Thank the fashion gods he has immunity.
Ben’s grey suit of pants that look like they have a built in external jock strap, a light copper tank, and a grey bolero jacket, complete with shark tooth detail, that looks movement prohibitive.
Anthony’s long gown with black skirt slit up to there and a color blocked grey and black draped top.
Mila’s grey trousers, lighter grey/purple turtleneck, with a sparkly grey and black mineral look vest atop.
Jonathan’s light colored short dress, asymmetrical top that comes up off the shoulder on the right side to even be higher than the model’s head and is actually attached to her hair.
Amy’s black pants and black top that bowls out and holds hair-draped décolletage.
Emilio’s dark green dress with what appeared to be some shredding effect on the front of the skirt. The color is fabulous with his model’s skin tone, so that task was accomplished.
Seth Aaron’s incredibly constructed leather jacket that wrapped up in the back to signify the wind and black pants with a metallic denim that appeared as boots.
After the show, Heidi dismisses Anthony, Emilio, and Jay. The models return and the questioning begins. First up, Mila explains her inspiration of minerals of the earth. Michael finds it lacks ambition and wonders if her constant use of geometric design means she’s a one trick pony. Nina doesn’t see Mila in the design at all and Heidi only has interest for the vest. Seth Aaron then explains his inspiration in the beautiful night New York air. Heidi doesn’t immediately think of black leather and air together but finds the jacket astonishing for being made in one day. Michael and Nina like the look as a whole and his consistency.
Maya found her water inspiration in old Hollywood glamour. Michael loved the cowl in the back. Nina thinks it is a “perfectly beautiful dress” but…and there’s always a “but” after that phrase…it seems that Maya is drawing on inspiration from someone else all the time, and in this instance Nina Ricci. Roland cautions Maya to never say another designer inspired her. Amy then explains her “controlled chaos” design of capturing the hair explosion in the top of the look. Heidi says it looks like a cat in a baby swing and Nina thinks it’s just weird to have hair growing out of the chest. Michael gets the model to take the hair out and he sees a vast improvement. Nina doesn’t see that much of an improvement at all.
Ben then says his mind went to water wildlife, in particular sharks, for inspiration. Michael said that he had no idea what the garment was other than an ill-fitting suit, but now gets the shark teeth on the cuffs, though it is a bit much. The hair and makeup are the only things that convey the elegance of a shark. Heidi says that he should never make a suit if he doesn’t know how to and doesn’t get the underwear over pants look of the crotch. Michael sees the jockstrap effect as well. Heidi asks him if, after making some beautiful clothes in prior challenges, this look really represents him as a designer. Ben admits he bit off more than he could chew. Finally, Jonathan explains his look of air and laughter in his transparent, pale looks that are in his model’s skin tone. Nina loves that he thought of his model’s skin and Roland finds the draping amazing. Michael thinks the textile Jonathan created is wonderful and his model had the best hair and makeup. His model loves it as well; Jonathan notes that the pale understand the pale.
The judges then chat about the top and bottom contenders. Roland thought Maya’s design was the best but the other judges wonder if she really knows who she is yet. Seth Aaron made a beautiful jacket and he lets his clothes talk for him. Jonathan’s dress was perfection both in the color and in the romantic feel. On the other hand, Ben had no idea what he was doing, Amy had a weird mess and got stuck in her concept, and Mila was just intensely boring.
After the six under scrutiny are called out on the runway, Seth Aaron is dismissed as safe. Heidi then names Jonathan the winner for his laughter dress. Maya and Mila are both in as well, free to flat-iron together another day. The choice comes down to Ben and Amy. Ben’s suit was not meticulous but bizarre and jockstrappy. Amy’s look was “out there” but not in a good way as it had no elegance. After the required pregnant pause, Amy is safe and Ben has to bid adieu to the land of Project Runway.
Despite his departure, Ben is glad to have made the sacrifice of the time away from his husband. He, like those gone before him, pledges to still keep plugging along in the fashion world. Next week we may have some drama as another pairs challenge rolls around. And maybe then we’ll find out some answers to the questions at the top of this recap. (Remember, no MBFW discussion here…keep that in the spoiler thread, please!) I really just want Seth Aaron to fix that chipped polish.