Project Runway: Olympic Game Plan
February 22, 2020 8:12 AM - Season 18, Episode 11 - Subscribe

(From the Project Runway website) Designing for a client can be tough, especially when your client is a star athlete with high expectations. In this challenge, designers are paired up with a real athlete who will be competing to be in the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games. The designers need to make them their dream outfit for a victory night celebration, using all of their specialty skills to make the perfect proportions for their clients unique bodies, all while keeping their own point of view amongst a tough client challenge.

The runway looks.

Elle recap.

The look of horror on Victoria's face when the athletes came out on the runway and it dawned on her that she might get the woman in the wheelchair was priceless. But, with the luck that's been with her so far, she ended up with a woman who liked asymmetry, cut-outs and straps, ffs! How that piece of tat ended up in the top I don't know. It looked as if she'd found an old jersey dress and cut it to pieces.

Nancy absolutely deserved the win. She met the brief, and had the most challenging client to design for, and made her look like a million dollars.

Other than Nancy, I don't think anybody did a great job this week. This often happens with the 'non-fashion model' challenges, which always seem to throw some of the designers off their game. Geoffrey in particular really dropped the ball this week (no pun intended, given he was vocal about his dislike of sports!)

In previous seasons when this challenge has come up, the judges have been very critical of the designs whilst the women are in front of them, and it's often made for uncomfortable viewing. The women either love or hate their dress and if they love it, they don't want the likes of Nina sneering at how tacky or matronly it is. If they hate it, they feel loyal to their designer and don't want to throw them under the bus. So I was very glad to see that the judges didn't do that this time, but instead spoke kindly about the dresses until the models left the runway.

It was only right, given that everyone loved their outfit, that nobody got sent home. I really feared for Geoffrey, so I hope he's able to rock the avant-garde look next week. Of all the designers left, I think (hope) he's the one most likely to rise to the challenge.
posted by essexjan (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, they've really improved the way they handle the judging on these episodes. A lot.

Points to them for including Paralympians, and to Nancy for her enthusiastic embrace of the challenge.

I have to admit that if I were in this intense sort of competition and I had a colleague who was forever going on and never got the hint that I needed to sleep/eat/work/whatever, I'd probably get a little testy. But as villains go, she's no Wendy Pepper, that's for sure!
posted by praemunire at 11:25 AM on February 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm sure that's annoying, but Brittany's an adult and if she doesn't say "sorry, Nancy, I'd love to chat but I'm tired out and need to go to bed now" then that's on her.
posted by essexjan at 12:26 PM on February 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

It was priceless watching the athletes explain to fashion professionals how their industry had repeatedly failed them while the fashion types cooed back how inspiring they were.

Brittany is getting the true villain edit here - all her snaky asides are being used against her. How Victoria is cruising on that same damn dress is beyond me, rinse and repeat. Bless her heart for starting off with her athlete - "I'm an asymmetrical designer." Owning her one-way monkeydom!
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:06 PM on February 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

I thought this was the best non-model challenge Project Runway has ever done. None of the designers screwed up, everyone was pleased with their looks... I think it was totally correct that no one went home - for once, everyone fulfilled the brief.

And Nancy! The amount she thought about accessibility with her garment alone shows that she should be at this level.

Did anyone else think about Delvin when Marquise made Scout’s dress to highlight her prosthetic leg? He mentioned in the first episode that his futuristic garment would be worn at a hip bar where a hot lady would have a sexy metal leg.
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:09 PM on February 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

"Real Woman" is my least favorite of all the standard challenges. Too much depends on the woman, her shape, her attitude (they don't all want to be there), her self-confidence, her ideas about what is flattering or stylish, even her ability to walk a runway and sell the garment.

To have it this late in the season is risky when it means a talented designer could be sent home for something outside his/her control. This episode was the best result one could hope for, reasonable if not earth-shattering designs. Nancy rightly getting the win and as someone said, you saw the person, not the chair. I also liked Sergio's for the pale yellow (on my screen) color, the scoop back and cutout, and the elegant sweep of the skirt but he's going to talk his way *out* of FW if he doesn't keep his opinions to himself.

Geoffrey's looked a disaster at the fitting so to me, the runway version was a success just because he managed to get the waist in the correct place. I would've sent Marquise home. Having a slit in a gown is a very low bar but she also didn't want to look childish and that dress did look like a birthday party dress. The bodice was all wrong.

All the gushing over the honor of dressing these noble Olympians went on too long and felt patronizing. The athletes themselves seemed impressed to see Lindsey Vonn (although she didn't have much to contribute).
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:44 PM on February 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

I agree, essexjan, but I might feel more socially constrained brushing off a woman in her 60s than, say, someone Brittany's age. There's a guy in his 80s still at my job--very sweet, but a conversation with him can be a bit of a production and I don't always have the time. Sometimes when I see him coming, I flee.
posted by praemunire at 12:58 AM on February 23, 2020

All the gushing over the honor of dressing these noble Olympians went on too long and felt patronizing.

AGREED! Good grief, Karlie, put a sock in it already.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:08 PM on February 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Totally agree about the overly lengthy inspiration talk. AND allowing the athletes to leave before the criticism.

Victoria in the top again is really killing my impression of the judges. Very glad her athlete loved the dress, though I suspect just actually fitting was a real win for most of these models for whom off-the-rack is never going to fit. Meanwhile yes, the bodice on the dress Marquis made was a little girl bodice. His model did not have much of a bust, but she should have had a curvy neckline or something? The skirt was nice, though.

I was very worried for Geoffrey and the poor fit of his dress, and wasn't really clear what black stuff was on the iron? Would it just be threads and bits of black fabric? I didn't see the stain but might not have been paying attention at the right moment. VERY GLAD they made a point to say the stain did not affect the judging. I felt he or Marquis should have gone but maybe it was best so none of the athletes felt bad their designer left.

Nancy seriously deserved that win, and I wonder how any other designer would have handled the wheelchair. I admit I was worried someone was going to say something terrible or embarrassing but if so, they didn't include it.
posted by Glinn at 6:51 AM on February 24, 2020

> Victoria in the top again is really killing my impression of the judges. Very glad her athlete loved the dress, though I suspect just actually fitting was a real win for most of these models for whom off-the-rack is never going to fit. Meanwhile yes, the bodice on the dress Marquis made was a little girl bodice.

Agreed that these athletes are just so happy to have something that actually fits. And I was also so pleased at how they diplomatically handled the judging.

The bodice on Marquis's dress made me angry. As someone who used to be pretty flat-chested, that was a bullshit neckline and fabric for a very petite adult woman. It is not actually difficult to make someone look curvier, especially with a custom-designed gown. Corset her, my dude. WTF.

Victoria's dress was too goddamn short and she knew it and admitted it. And the fabric looked cheap (who pointed that out, Brandon?) And then afterward, her churlish little comment about it not being a competition if no-one goes home! From the woman who threw a temper tantrum wanting to quit instead of taking a chance on being eliminated? Egads, fuck off, lady.

Sergio's comments throughout just floored me. He doesn't think that women would spend a lot of money on a maternity dress? He doesn't think that it's appropriate to put pregnant women in form-fitting clothing and doesn't think it would be comfortable? Maybe he just doesn't believe in form fitting clothing for women at all? Dude, your strong opinions about women are just demonstrably wrong, His arrogance is starting to come off as kind of misogynistic, frankly. (Also, that was a basic day dress. Is anyone expected to follow the damn prompt any more?)
posted by desuetude at 3:04 PM on February 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

Also, I think that the chatty-Nancy/sleepy-Brittney thing was supposed to be sort of comic relief, but the edit felt manipulated to mock Nancy, what with the montage of other designers going to bed and all of Brittney's yawning. I guess it was supposed to mock Brittney too, like getting stuck listening to Nancy is payback for having snarked behind her back all season. But that's still a fundamentally mean-girl take. And if Brittney had stopped rolling her eyes for a minute and actually engaged in the conversation with Nancy, Nancy might have gotten the hint sooner. (I say as an enthusiastic chatterbox.)
posted by desuetude at 3:15 PM on February 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

There was also a quick shot of Nancy still in bed sleeping the next morning as the others were getting up and eating breakfast. They didn't show her again until the obligatory "leave apt and head to workroom" scene so the producers managed to imply that she was just plum wore out tryin' to keep up with all the young'uns.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:04 PM on February 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Does anyone else check here several times a day for new comments?
Anyway, I don't think I saw Heidi and Tim's new show mentioned. Looks like it will be for skilled designers out in the world at a higher level than the average PR contestant, more like "Next in Fashion". Through Amazon Prime, with Nicole Richie and Naomi Campbell, $1M prize
Making the Cut, People Article
Good Housekeeping article
posted by Glinn at 8:31 AM on February 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've met Tatyana McFadden a couple times and she is lovely and I loved this.
posted by gaspode at 7:01 PM on February 28, 2020

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