Project Runway: A "Little" Avant Garde
October 13, 2017 5:29 AM - Season 16, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The cheating accusations are resolved. The designers work on a Shopkins-inspired challenge with superfan clients.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Brandon gets the $25k, right? Even though he technically wasn't the "winner"?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:29 AM on October 13, 2017

Also, I call huge bullshit on "I just measured a tanktop and the crotch of some pants".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:34 AM on October 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just saw the runway and the first discussion, was a smidge surprised that the giant bow was popular, but I have generally low opinion of the judges. It must have been funny in the workroom.
posted by sammyo at 7:08 AM on October 13, 2017

I was surprised by who went home. (we're doing spoilers-okay here, right?) I did think the two looks were clearly the bottom two, but I didn't think that both of them would go home. :-/ I wonder if this is setting up a "Tim Gunn Save" in an upcoming episode.

And, for the love of all that is holy I am SO GLAD the twins are gone. Shawn collapsing under her own incompetence and Claire being called out for cheating was a very schadenfreude-y way for me to see them both go. See ya!
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:40 AM on October 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Pics of the final looks

I really wish they would allow one more day for the avant garde challenge....geez. Half of the garments weren't even hemmed. I thought both Batani's and Amy's were just total hot messes, and I don't think either of them is that inspiring design-wise, to be honest.

Ayana's was hilarious, I can't hate. She really listened to what the superfan said, and it was an inspired interpretation of a little girl's comments. I was a challenge based on a doll. I thought that Brandon's design was sad. I mean...drab, no joy. His designs all seem like that. Sterile.

Uh I can't even pretend that I want anyone but Kentaro to win right at this point. I pretty much love every single thing he comes up with and would love to have a closet full of his clothes. He has such a strong point of view. I still cannot see either Kenya's or Ayana's points of view (other than Kenya loves peplums!), but am still rooting for both, and am so hoping they both make it to fashion week so we can see their collections.
posted by the webmistress at 8:44 AM on October 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

Oh also, it's weird that Heidi, who is forever critiquing designs based on how much skin they show and how tight they are, keeps praising Brandon's strange, androgynous, padded, layered, asymmetrical uniforms. I find it really hypocritical and it happens every week. She judges everyone else on whether or not they brought the sexy, and how much they outline the body, but for some reason his body-skimming, unisex designs are immune to those criticisms.
posted by the webmistress at 9:01 AM on October 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Heidi’s only criteria for judging is, would I wear it, Y/N? She leans toward sexy but can do “cool” as well, which is where Brandon fits in. If you’re not cool, you better be sexy, hence her harping.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:42 AM on October 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I too find their fauning over everything Brandon does to be weird & surprising every week.
posted by bleep at 12:28 PM on October 13, 2017

Also I didn't like how last week Kentaro was the clear winner but "Oh well, we're really looking for something that will look good on a paper cup" so it went to Brandon even though he wasn't even in the top. This week Michael won even though that weird alien snake growing out of the model's spine has nothing to do with the client. I think just cause they wanted to give him a win.
posted by bleep at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ayana was robbed, I think! I thought hers was so wonderfully Dr. Seuss, and Michael's just looked... bulbous to me. I was actually shocked that it was in the top, even though I like Michael generally.

I think Kenya does have a strong POV (whimsical, layered tailoring, basically). I can't decide whether I like it or not. I actually also enjoy Brandon's stuff in general, though I think this week his garment was kind of overpraised and giving him the backdoor win when he was just safe last week was super weird. But mostly I'm watching the show to watch Kentaro sew fabulous things and be hilarious, like the sauna exchange: "Yes, Santa! Happy merry Christmas, Kenya!" *flings trimmings*
posted by en forme de poire at 12:36 PM on October 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, I never thought PR would surprise me twice in one show. It really seemed like the CHEATING! SCANDAL! would wither in the face of reality show machinations... that stupid woman guest judge... and it was weird how it was edited (Michael going back to the runway, Michael backstage again, Tim's voice over) so I was shocked that they took Claire's win away and bounced her out and then made a point of alluding to how pleasant the workroom was since the twins were gone. Since the rules have never been made clear, it's hard to evaluate Claire's transgression. I would've auf'd her for her uninspiring designs and over-articulation.

So another muddled-focus challenge: avant garde based on a plastic doll with kids as a muse. Last season's Erin would've nailed this. I thought Ayana's ruffled puffball was more of a costume although it was styled perfectly. The bit of yellow tank top (?) at the back puzzled me; that looked like a mistake.

I liked both Kentaro's (how??? did he do the creases (?) in the puff skirt and Margarita's cloud, loved her mix of fabric, esp the micropleated white. I was worried that the judges would think it was too bridal.

I wish Kenya had used a combination of fabrics, liked the diamond print for the bodice but needed another b/w print for the skirt. The too-high position of the peplum didn't flatter her model's figure.

I knew Michael would win but I was surprised (again) that Amy was sent home as well as past-due Batani. Batani's designs have never looked as good as what she wears herself. Amy has been treading water for the whole competition but I thought she would outlast the rest of the middles: Kenya, Batani, Ayana and Margarita, just because she's obviously skilled. She really fell down in this challenge but I hoped that being in the bottom was a wake up call for her.

Also in the No Explanations Dept, Batani had chicken wire. Exactly what aisle at Mood is chicken wire to be found? I think I saw bubble wrap on Brandon's table.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:26 PM on October 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think the twins have got by in life (probably) by having parents who've never, ever criticised them in any way, shape or form. They've grown up thinking that everything they do is wonderful, and that they're special and different. I'm really glad the cheating was exposed. It was obviously more than just looking at a garment to work out how it's constructed. Measurements so that you can make your pattern, that's a whole different ball game.

I too find their fauning over everything Brandon does to be weird & surprising every week.
posted by bleep

Remember Erin last year with her baggy coat/dresses with pockets? Even when she was churning out the same thing week after week, inexplicably the judges pissed their pants with joy every time.

I loved Michael's look and it was impeccably made, but I think Ayana should've won for completely nailing the brief and making something that would be so cute as a doll.

I, too, hope that Tim Gunn will use his save on one of this week's auf'd designers.
posted by essexjan at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

In NO WAY did Brandon's look have anything to do with his Shopkins superfan design, nor was it avant garde or even original when compared to his other looks. His looks and personality seem to be more important than his design capabilities - much like Erin, thank you for pointing that out. Both white, cute, young, quiet, with an "aw-shucks who, me?" air about them.
posted by lyssabee at 1:47 PM on October 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

I assumed that when they told Dixie that they had to disqualify the winner, they let Dixie pick the pattern instead of the judges (to make up for their sponsorship of a "tainted" win), and that's why Brandon won.

Kentaro is just delightfully charming. He's on a real Mondo trajectory.

Brandon's garment really made him look like a one trick pony - it featured all of his usual things: shapeless form, multi-strapped, random straps hanging loose down the back, mid-hued colors. No stretching, nothing new, nothing different. He has no other ideas, it seems.

I hated Ayana's dress, but she should have won. It was daring and over the top, funky and fascinating, and smartly constructed. Also, her model walked the hell out of it. Michael's outfit was beautifully sewn and interesting but much better from the front than from the side. From the side, there was too much of an intestine-ready-to-blow profile. Still, those two were the most avant garde garments. By far. Margarita's was prety good, but she would have benefited from another day to focus it.

Kenya's days are numbered. She's a good designer, but isn't stretching herself and she doesn't design for Heidi, so ...

I don't think Claire really understood that she did something wrong. I mean, she talked the talk, but I think she gave herself an internal exception ("It's not really cheating...") and doesn't think herself really, actually guilty. I think she expected to slapped on the hand maybe, but not this. They didn't show us the moment where she realized she screwed herself - she was indignant and the poor poor heroine (in her own eyes) all the way to the green room, but when Tim came in, she was emotionally walling herself off with monotone answers and walking the last mile to a fate foisted on her that she could not control.
posted by julen at 2:11 PM on October 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Brandon's garment really made him look like a one trick pony

The correct Project Runway terminology is "one-way monkey"© Dmitry Sholokhov
posted by essexjan at 2:16 PM on October 13, 2017 [7 favorites]

I think the twins have got by in life (probably) by having parents who've never, ever criticised them in any way, shape or form. They've grown up thinking that everything they do is wonderful, and that they're special and different.

They are different from other people, and in a way that leaves them alienated, but we're all different somehow. They're socially awkward, the don't seem to wallow, publicly, in whatever insecurity they do feel; maybe they're actually not insecure the same way others are, and maybe they don't spend time beating themselves up for the same things that other designers are insecure about. Assigning this story to them is not fair; it's like saying a kid with food sensitivities is just doing it to get attention.

Besides, you are special and different; there's no need to be snippy if you think others know that about themselves.
posted by amtho at 4:05 PM on October 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I thought the rule was clear. The designers have a set, limited, and, most importantly, equal, time in which to work on their designs. You obviously can't control what they're thinking when they're out of the workroom, but anything that would represent a physical act in the process of design is out. So, no measuring tapes, no paper, no pens (that must be weird), probably no scissors or needle and thread, either. What Claire did clearly violated that restriction, and in a way that gave her an unfair (if not huge) advantage over other designers.

I'm sure the twins exceeded the producers' wildest dreams in terms of obnoxiousness and then really satisfying self-destruction.
posted by praemunire at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

(I think that, had she just brought the tank top to the workroom and measured it there, she would've escaped. It would've just made her technical limitations more obvious to the judges, which wouldn't have helped with their perception of her skills and originality.)
posted by praemunire at 5:35 PM on October 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I know it's all done for the drama, but the reaction of the judges when the contestants were complaining -- suck it up, focus on yourself, etc. -- really bothered me. Not one of them seemed to want to understand the situation that caused all of the designers to rebel. They just wanted to come off as better, more evolved or enlightened beings of wisdom (or some such garbage).

Maybe it's just because I don't have kids (or interact regularly with anybody who has kids that age) but has anybody ever heard of these dolls? They seemed so tacky, right down to their name. I really have a hard time believing these things are popular.

Based on the brief I think the pink bow outfit should have won -- it kept the colour and design aesthetic that the doll sponsor was looking for and was the one that could most easily be turned into a doll.

I still have to question how or why a commercial design challenge should be mated to an avant garde design challenge. They seem like they should be working at odds with one another. I don't know what the producers are thinking (well except for the "stuff as many paying sponsors into each episode as possible, no matter how well they mesh with our audience or purpose or demographics).
posted by sardonyx at 5:53 PM on October 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Shopkins are currently popular with my 6-year-old niece, for what that’s worth.

They do make for a bizarre kick off point for an avant-garde challenge, though. And giving them only one day is insulting. Sigh.

But at least they saved $25k.
posted by rewil at 6:09 PM on October 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

According to Dixie Cup's twitter (they're really milking the PR thing) they did award Brandon the win, and did pay him $25K. So they got to choose the winner based solely on the print design.

So....why even design a garment? Just have them design a textile. I mean....Kentaro was the clear design winner anyway. They effed this one up. What a waste.
posted by the webmistress at 8:08 PM on October 13, 2017

At least from what we saw, though, the designers in that moment were complaining, essentially, that Claire's designs weren't original enough. From the judges' point of view, that's saying that the judges don't know what they're talking about. Note how Tim Gunn's initial reaction to Michael's stalk-off and complaints that Claire shouldn't have won was to say, basically, "Well, that's your opinion," implying that Michael was entitled to that opinion but it didn't somehow magically overrule the judges' own judgment and excuse Michael's strop. Assuming a reasonably accurate edit (big assumption, perhaps), I thought that was the right response--Michael looked like a big whiny baby quitting because he just didn't agree with the judges' aesthetic opinion and somehow thought his was superior. But once the other contestants finally managed to work themselves around to mentioning the tape measure, he took it very seriously and Claire's dismissal resulted.
posted by praemunire at 8:51 PM on October 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

So they auf'd three people this week (but it translates to two for production schedule purposes). Ordinarily I would think that Tim Gunn would save Amy because she is a more solid designer in theory; she hasn't excited the judges though, hasn't been in the top three, hasn't made an emotional connection with the viewers, and saving one person when two have been eliminated makes the remaining loser more... losier.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:14 AM on October 14, 2017

I am super impressed by Batani's game face.
posted by bq at 8:14 AM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I must admit that Brandon's hotness totally eludes me, but I didn't hate this week, other than being a little too familiar. I think Alana was robbed, because she did such a great and weird job with a childish inspiration. Even with making Avon makeup look weird.

Howwwwwww is there another unconventional materials challenge?
posted by carbide at 10:05 AM on October 14, 2017

Shopkins, gah! At one point I really wanted Tim to stop saying, "your Shoppy" (Shoppie?). And I really like cute crap like that! But Shopkins with a kid giving notes about an avant-garde design in a 1-day challenge? Terrible crossover jam-too-many-things-together bad.

That much said. Agree Brandon should not have been in the top, for reasons mentioned already including: not avant-garde, nothing to do with the kid or the doll. Not much different than his previous work.

Ayana was robbed. I don't really like pink, especially this pink, but it made me laugh. It was joyous and fun and ridiculous. And as many have said, seemingly most appropriate for the challenge! Ugh why are the judges so bad. O_o

Michael gets mad props for the construction of that skin tight catsuit portion of his thing. Good on him for trying avant-garde but I did not enjoy the shape or placement of the supposedly melting metal. Also thought Margarita's was just very messy.
posted by Glinn at 2:10 PM on October 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Increasingly I feel like the twins were cast just to fulfill every possible negative Millennial stereotype: only interested in each other, ambitious without the skill to back it up, expecting to be able to bend the rules, etc.

I feel like there's also something weird going on there psychologically, though. Someone on the subreddit for PR said they reminded them of Laganja Estranja originally and I kind of see that, particularly given that Amy apparently spilled in an interview that the twins only talked in that weird affected way when the cameras were on them (!). But Laganja is at least a sympathetic character because she actually is an incredibly talented, athletic dancer! Also, people with that phenotype of superficial confidence and emotional vulnerability tend to come from family situations that are not super awesome (as we indeed saw), and Laganja made significant changes since appearing on the show. I think the twins similarly decided to play characters - and the weird affectations may come from a place of insecurity since they are apparently from a small-town Midwestern community college and are trying to break into a super urban and cosmopolitan industry - but they're less sympathetic to me because they don't seem to have any self awareness, and because Laganja may have been a mess but she never cheated at anything. But maybe they'll manage to humanize themselves at the reunion. Idk.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:02 PM on October 14, 2017

Oh, yeah, to me Margarita's model looked like she fell in gravel. That glitter was the wrong shade or something.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:03 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Amy apparently spilled in an interview that the twins only talked in that weird affected way when the cameras were on them

If you listen to them when they were in the apartments or snatches of conversation in the workroom, they don't talk that way either. Someone must have taught them that pronouncing every syllable in a super clipped-off fashion is how you speak formally. Perhaps they had speech therapy growing up, or really anal parents - I used to babysit for a little girl whose mother constantly corrected her whenever she didn't pronounce it "kit-ten". Kid was 2.5 years old.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:01 PM on October 14, 2017

When I was younger, I think I tended to speak that way when I was nervous or even just self-conscious. For me, I think it came from spending a lot more time reading as a kid (things like Dickens, Austen, the Brontes, etc. -- where people do say things like "indeed") than interacting with other humans. If I'd had another human to share those read speech patterns with, who knows how I'd have ended up. Still, to this day, when I get overly emotional, my vocabulary takes weird turns.
posted by amtho at 7:28 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm surprised they actually booted someone, and I'm proud of Tim for resisting the "we're going to miss you so much, you are so talented" talk. Ice cold, but in a good way.
posted by likeatoaster at 6:58 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was surprised that almost all the superfans were paired with a designer of their same race/ethnicity. I found it an odd choice. Also, that first segment dragged on and on. Batani's first departure was really overshadowded by Michael's apology to Clare. It sure is a more enjoyable show already without the twins.
posted by terooot at 3:32 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I feel bad for the twins. I feel sure the editing was not kind to them, and I'm 100% sure they've received a volley of personal vitriol from random internet strangers.
posted by bq at 9:12 PM on October 17, 2017

Former "Project Runway" finalist Mychael Knight died Tuesday morning in a Georgia hospital (from TMZ). Complications from IBS apparently.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:06 AM on October 18, 2017

That was so sad. Mychael had a lot of talent and such a charming personality, and he was way too young (39).

posted by en forme de poire at 12:11 AM on October 21, 2017

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