Project Runway: If You Got It, Haunt It
October 29, 2021 9:43 AM - Season 19, Episode 3 - Subscribe

It's Halloween and Christian has a few tricks up his stylish sleeve. The designers are sent to sleep in a haunted mansion to find inspiration for their challenge. If they can survive the night, they'll have two days to create a hauntingly chic masquerade gown for a runway show with the one and only, award winning actress, Taraji P. Henson. Spoilers inside.

Well, the way this episode started, I didn't have high hopes. The night at the haunted house was ridiculous. Did they all just go to bed in the clothes they'd been wearing all day? Did they even have a toothbrush?

Anyway, the challenge itself was a good one and culminated in probably one of the best runway shows I've seen on PR in a very long while.

There was a very civilised pick of models, with all the pictures laid out and the designers choosing carefully and someone (Aaron?) asking if everyone was happy with their model. I wonder if they'd been told that the previous week's shenanigans cannot happen again.

Then, a trip to Mood and the surprising reveal that the designers were allowed to bring fabric from home to use (is this just a one-off? will they be allowed to use more of their own fabric? I need more information!). Naturally, being a Halloween challenge, people were going either for black or blood red. Kenneth chose green, but although his sketch showed an emerald green, he chose a dark, khaki/camo green which I thought would land him in trouble.

In the early episodes of PR where there are lots of designers it's easy to see way before the runway show who will be on the top or bottom, because the edit focuses mostly on those people, with an odd red herring (Katie) thrown in. I knew Zayden would probably be in the bottom as soon as Christian questioned his choice of fabric (a satin with no stretch) and that he was making a tightly-fitted dress which made it difficult for his model to walk. Don't these designers ever watch and learn from past seasons? We've seen countless times designers end up on the bottom for making something their model has to hobble in, or for poor construction coupled with a fabric that shows every tiny bump and wrinkle. Here we had both.

Katie was out of her comfort zone and I thought for sure she'd be in the bottom with that weird mish-mash of a 'scary doll' gown. Her model really sold it though and the judges liked it.

Darren appeared to show a little humility in asking Christian for guidance but didn't seem to really be listening to the response. Darren's dress wasn't ... bad, but I can't see who he is at all from this and the previous challenges.

The top three were Chastity, Octavio and Anna (who's not really been on my radar thus far). All three dresses were stunning in their own way - any of the three could have won and I'd have been happy. I loved Anna's Corpse Bride look which I thought met the brief better than the other two, but I was happy Chastity had the win. Her model looked stunning.

Bottom three were Zayden, Bones and Kenneth. I actually really liked Bones' dress, with that dramatic vinyl skirt (again, fabric he'd brought from home), but it definitely needed editing. Unsurprisingly, Zayden's poor choice of fabric coupled with a bad design inevitably landed him in the bottom. But ultimately, Kenneth's oversized, unattractive mess of a dress was the worst. It was the right decision - both Bones and Zayden have shown many more skills than Kenneth in the previous two challenges, so they deserved another chance. Kenneth was out of his depth but, as the judges said, he's very young and probably not ready for the competition.

Next week is a prints challenge inspired by flowers, which should be firmly in Katie's wheelhouse, but probably not so much Octavio or Anna ...
posted by essexjan (5 comments total)
Agree that the opening was silly, in a way that was I guess supposed to be fun but just ended up feeling cheesy and low-budget. Chasity (I believe that's how she spells it) certainly had the most imaginative and dramatic look, so a fair win even if I liked the Elvira-style dress better. I wish we could've heard a little more about how Chasity made the front and back "fans!"

Also agree on Bones obviously having way more creative potential than the other two on the bottom. An easy save.

I need Darren to stop talking and start making something people want to look at/wear. I cannot with all the millennial/Gen Z drama on this show, but at least some of the others who carry on a lot are making interesting work. And Katie's going to be an early out. She's in way over her head.
posted by praemunire at 10:47 AM on October 29, 2021

Yay Katie! A special call out from Brandon! Her aesthetic is so different from the rest of the designers in the way that Hester Sunshine (2nd place, S17) and Erin (Winner, S15) were but she’s not quite as experienced. I loved that she pivoted to “broken doll” when everyone else was doing “heavy drama”. I hope she makes it at least midway but I fear that next week’s challenge will bring on the PR curse when a designer boasts that the challenge is his/her forte and then they bomb out.

There was never a doubt that Kenneth was going home, luckily for Zayden. I don’t think fabric choice made that much of a difference. Once you design a skin-tight tube that goes past the knees, anyone is going to have trouble walking, even if it’s 4-way stretch spandex. His fit from the bust to the torso was quite bad as well.

Kudos to Chasity, that pleated fan shape added the right touch of drama to take a black lace dress to the next level The appliqués were beautifully placed. I loved Octavio’s as well. I can see the influence of Yves Saint Laurent’s hobble skirts for Dior in the late 50s and Poiret’s from the early 1900s. Note he had seam (drawstring, clever!) above the knee although the fabric bloused over it to make it look lower. The third top gown was well-constructed and like Brandon, I really liked the placement of the tulle on the bodice, but in the end it was a sheer corset and a sheer skirt which we’ve been seeing for the past decade or longer. The veil fabric “from home” and the styling is what gave it the drama.

I agree that this was one of the best runways in a long time. I also liked Shantall’s silver gown with the cutouts and Coral’s made from the fabric of her dead aunt. I wish the producers judging were more flexible, like top 6, bottom 2.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:49 PM on October 29, 2021

The designers are vastly more talented than the producers, who I'm sure cut the reaction when they discovered they were spending the night on cots. Noticed they had wine. And they are clearly not getting much drama, those folks are heads down worker bees. Again I wish there was more clips of them working. Although the actual method of head down focusing on straight seam after straight seam is visually hard to be dramatic.
posted by sammyo at 8:20 PM on October 30, 2021

A couple things I learned on Reddit, the camp out on cots at the haunted mansion was likely just a set up. They didn’t really sleep in their clothes overnight. And Katie was recruited when producers saw her Instagram of textile designs and they wanted someone who was not the usual fashion sophisticate/street wear/club clothes. She’d only sewn for herself so she bought patternmaking and draping textbooks to study. This lack of experience doesn’t bode well. OTOH Anya won her season and she could not sew at all.

I wonder how many others are recruited.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:58 AM on November 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

..the surprising reveal that the designers were allowed to bring fabric from home to use (is this just a one-off? will they be allowed to use more of their own fabric? I need more information!)
THIS. What the heck. But cool?

I thought both Chasity and Anna had slightly better looks than Octavio, but has he been in the top three x3 with no wins? It seems like there is always a designer this happens to at the beginning. I will be surprised if Octavio does not make the finals.

So happy for Chasity, especially because I was SO WORRIED when she said she was creating for her dad, that things would not go well and they would mine her for more drama. I also think she and Anna made extremely fancy lingerie (but I'm cool with it)!

I thought Katie did a great job with her broken doll idea. I don't generally love the textiles she mixes in her own outfits, but she pulled it out this week and I was very happy for her, and her reaction to the call out was a nice moment.
posted by Glinn at 8:09 AM on November 3, 2021

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