Project Runway: Fashion Is Back, Baby!
November 21, 2021 2:30 AM - Season 19, Episode 6 - Subscribe

For the first time ever, our designers will collaborate with some of New York City's most talented accessory designers who - like our designers - are all working to revitalize the fashion industry. Purses. Shoes. Gloves. Jewelry. Oh my. Taking inspiration from one another's work, each collaborating duo is challenged to create a coordinated one-of-a-kind look and new accessory. (imdb) (Contains spoilers)

The challenge begins with the designers each picking a box that holds an accessory - a piece of jewellery, a bag, a hat, shoes, etc. The focus was on small designers who are striving to survive during the pandemic. This resonated particularly with Shantall, who got very teary, thinking about the seamstresses (mostly single mothers) who she had to send home when the pandemic hit.

The pairings are:

Octavio with Rodney Patterson (headwear)
Bones and Ashaka (headwear)
Coral and Lynn Paik (headwear)
Kristina and Lauren Briner (shoes)
Katie and Rebecca Heykes (shoes)
Shantall and Aziza-Abdullah Nicola (jewellery)
Zayden and Akilah Stewart (handbags)
Aaron and Lorna Nixon (handbags)
Chasity and Andres Quintero Betancourt (handbags)
Anna and Sally Reardon (jewellery)
Prajje and Katie Sue Niklos (gloves)

Each contestant seems quite pleased with what they've got. Bones in particular is thrilled, as he has a hat with a fabulous fuchsia pink curled shape on top of it that he looks amazing in.

There's time to collaborate with the accessory designers to work out a concept and a design. Zayden is channelling his Native American heritage, Aaron is going full-on resortwear, Bones' hat reminds him of coral, so he wants to do a gown that looks like someone emerging from the sea with a coral-shaped hat to match. Katie has a vegan leather shoe designer as her partner and Katie wants literal clown shoes for her model. Prajje got gloves - and not just any gloves, but gloves that will wear you if you're not careful.

The designers get two shopping trips - one to Mood and one to a store that sells every kind of trim and embellishment you would ever need in your life. It looks fun and I want to go there.

At Mood Christian has strong opinions about people's fabric choices, particularly Kristina's neon green and Coral again choosing black. Taking his advice, Coral chooses scarlet lace. It turns out to be a different shade of red from the hat her designer has made so before the runway Coral decides to drape the lace over the hat, like a mantilla, effectively hiding it.

The designers get to see their accessories, and all seem thrilled with them. Octavio's hat is huge and reminds me a little of the one Beyonce wore in her Formation video. Bones is thrilled with his seafoam hat, but the outfit he is making is ruffle upon ruffle and doesn't look great. Christian says it looks like a muumuu and Bones is horrified, yet undeterred.

Christian also has some justified criticism for Katie who is using hideous fabric brought from home to make (yet again) a baggy dress with a huge ruffled bib yoke, a buttoned-up neckline and clown stripes. Daringly for her, the back is a V-shape, but Christian thinks she should go mini with the length. After trying this, Katie is uncomfortable. Here we get an insight into her imaginary client base - a woman who will be able to sit on the floor to play with her kids and not show her panties. Reluctantly, Katie goes with a hi-lo hemline which she's unable to execute properly as it looks uneven on the runway.

Anna's gown with a jewellery epaulette and back detail was stunning and I could see it on the red carpet. Shantalle, who also had jewellery, made a striking crimson satin gown (with pockets!) which highlighted the beautiful brooch at the front.

I was really surprised that Aaron wasn't in the bottom this week. I thought his idea of a swimsuit and cover-up was odd, the blue ruffled cover-up looked cheap to me and neither of his pieces went with the bag, which was a weird kind of strappy haversack thing. Chasity, too, didn't do well, in my opinion. I didn't think her crop top and pants fitted her model properly and if the cut-out on the front was meant to represent the eye detail on the bag, it was uneven and just didn't look great. I think luckily for both of them there were designers who were much worse this week.

Prajje channeled his grandmother, a lady who always dressed up for church in peplum suits, with hat and gloves. He chose a beautiful pale-blue fabric and kept his design simple to highlight the amazing gloves his collaborator made. It was all very 1940s, and his choice of a purple shoe was really smart. Kristina had gorgeous shoes, very plain booties with a neon green stripe. They looked great with the pants she made.

This week there were four designers in the top:

Octavio - with a billowing black & white polka dot outfit that complemented the huge hat - and his model also carried the hat box. But I agree with guest judge Stephen Kolb (of the CFDA) that it was a design that worked very specifically with that particular model.

Coral - the choice of red really highlighted Coral's signature macramé work and the judges loved it.

Prajje - his vintage-inspired look was a big hit, although Nina thought it was on the brink of being costume-y.

Kristina - whose choice of a neon brocade was exactly right. She made a jacket, top and pants which were gorgeous and which went perfectly with the chose her designer made. I agree with the judges that these pieces would have looked great on their own - I could see that jacket with a black t-shirt and pants and the pants with other tops, and I would totally wear all of those things, including the shoes. Given the limitations of the other top three designers' outfits, Kristina's was by far the best and she deserved to win.

In the bottom were:

Zayden - whose striped Native-inspired design wasn't well fitted, there were unhappy bodice gaps around the model's breasts, and the stripes didn't match up. He'd also gone overboard with earrings and necklace. To be fair, Zayden's mind was on other things, as he'd had a phone call during the challenge about a possible eviction due to unpaid rent. This was a reminder that for many of the designers they are on a knife-edge financially, and it also unhappily tied in with the overall theme of this challenge, the difficulties faced by small businesses during the pandemic. I was glad he survived.

Bones - who stood by his unflattering layered ruffle design. He had some beautiful fabric, particularly the sparkly sleeve that Elaine Welteroth loved, and he could have made something gorgeous. But he has such a misplaced sense of overblown confidence in his own ability that he wouldn't listen to Christian's concerns and it nearly got him sent home.

Katie - with her hideous clown dress that the model looked embarrassed to wear. At last - AT LAST - she was sent home. She was very upset and said that she really thought she'd made it to Fashion Week. And here is the nub of the delusion. Katie strikes me as being one of those people who's never come up against real criticism before. I'd lay money that she's taken the polite "that's nice" comments she's been given from friends and family about her clothes as high praise and a sign that she is an amazing new talent. Christian tried to be polite and told her there is "a customer" out there for her. It's hard to imagine who that customer might be, other than Katie herself, or perhaps the women who used to wear the very worse of Lularoe. Still, at least we are now left with the grown-ups in the room.

All the designs can be seen here.

Next week is a faux fur challenge and an actual car crash which, from the preview, looked horribly dramatic.
posted by essexjan (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It was Katie's time to go. Actually, it was her time to go in previous episodes. I also thought her stuff looked like clown costumes. And sitting on the floor playing with your kids in that thing? Ummmmm... no.
posted by kathrynm at 10:49 AM on November 21, 2021

What a fantastic recap, essexjan! Thank you for that. I actually liked Kristina's the least. Hated the color, hated the cuffs of the pants and how sloppy they looked, hated how it looked like she was wearing everything in her closet all at the same time, hated that sheer-ish gossamer tunic thing. I also hated the shoes. I was going to say that I did appreciate the minimalism of the design but that there...I dunno what it was but I disliked every bit of it. I liked the other three a lot. It was a shame that Coral's accessory designer got the color of her lace wrong, I think she could have won with a different look to the head. I loved the romance and throwback chic of Prajje's and thought it an excellent collab of designer and accessorist (? not sure if that's a word). I liked Octavio's as well, and could see it working on a different woman although his model has a walk from the gods. It wouldn't have been as dramatic without the giant hat box, that's for sure. I really liked Anna's dress and shoulder treatment although it wasn't a winning design.

Bye Katie!
posted by the webmistress at 1:52 PM on November 21, 2021

I thought Bones' was the worst and I disagree with some of the characterizations of Katie above, and if she had made a minidress I think she would have survived another week. But, I agree we've had enough ruffled clown collars. (Plus, I appreciate that the last time she listened to Christian it did not help her, so I can understand her hesitation.)

I didn't love Kristina's, either. That shirt tied to the waist under the jacket made the waist so bulky and awkward. Prajje's was a stunning look overall, but I don't think the dress was necessarily very original. I thought Octavio should have won, it was the complete package. (And he shouldn't get points off for having a stellar model.)
posted by Glinn at 2:17 PM on November 21, 2021

I didn't like Kristina's as well. The color was terrible. I thought it looked boxy.

I loved Coral's aside from the lace covering the hat. But I understood why she did it.

I don't think many did well at all. As soon as I saw Zayden's look, I knew someone would make a Coco Channel comment.
posted by kathrynm at 6:17 PM on November 21, 2021

Bones' heap of frills should have crawled back in the ocean. At least "maximum clown, maximum mom" is a point of view.

I liked the lime suit /gauze tunic getup a lot, and thought the shoes were good too. Though I, like Elaine, wanted to live in the world where giant hat lady was from, and of all the looks in the high bracket, that one seemed to have the accessory as the capstone to the greatest degree.
posted by Rinku at 8:07 PM on November 21, 2021

I liked this episode a lot. I liked that the challenge was coordinating with an accessory designer because they could then make a range of looks versus make an outfit suitable for X occasion.

When Mimi came out in Anna’s gown, I gasped. I’ve never gotten literal goosebumps before; that gown was the winner, no doubt about it…

So anyway, Kristina’s was all right. The color didn’t come across on my tv; it looked like mint green. She put a lot of work into it though as opposed to Octavio’s which was beautiful and dramatic, but his rather basic design relied on the fantastic hat and giant hatbox for effect so kudos for the styling. Loved Prajje’s as well, again his dress took a backseat to those incredible gloves but adding the turban was brilliant. Coral was the one who didn’t belong in the top. Sheer lace? Groundbreaking. Choosing red didn’t make it less of a cliché and macrame is as crafty as Bones’ mirror vest from last week.

Since they had so many in the top, they should’ve added Aaron and Chasity to the bottom. Aaron for that awful satin bedcover of a robe and Chasity for her sloppy, unflattering design. In fact, I didn’t even realize that Zayden’s model was plus size because his dress (with a few tweaks) really suited her so maybe he could’ve gotten a pass.

So Katie didn’t get her redemption arc. I got that completely wrong! She’s just too wedded to those floppy collars and balloon sleeves.The sad thing is, she got to use one of her prints but the design totally obscured it. [FYI, she went into production with that dress; you can buy it!]. Bones’ was a mess too. Ugly, heavy, bunched up, the opposite of water. Needed a double elimination here.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:47 PM on November 21, 2021

I'd lay money that she's taken the polite "that's nice" comments she's been given from friends and family about her clothes as high praise and a sign that she is an amazing new talent.

Her textiles are pretty successful on Instagram, I believe, but her problem isn't too much ego, it's too little context. Being of Midwestern extraction, I can see who her audience is, but I can't think of any way to characterize them that doesn't make me feel like I'm kicking a puppy, so. I said last week that I didn't enjoy watching her suffer, and...still don't. Poor lady. At least she's out of her misery now.

Kristina's was my favorite. Prajje did the right thing with those gloves, but then it didn't feel like much of a design on his part. Coral's underlayer was strange, giving an almost burlesque effect with the mock mantilla. And Octavio's look was a look, no doubt, but riiiiiight on the edge of costume.
posted by praemunire at 10:14 PM on November 21, 2021

I want that hat that Bones worked with; I even looked up the designer. Shame I have nowhere to wear a $500+ hat.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:32 PM on November 26, 2021

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