Project Runway: Are You Fur Real?
December 4, 2021 3:39 AM - Season 19, Episode 7 - Subscribe

It's the avant garde challenge. Working in pairs, the designers must create innovative avant garde looks highlighting one of the most trendy and complicated of materials, faux fur. Billy Porter, the icon of modern avant garde fashion, will be the guest judge. (imdb) Spoilers inside.

We had a break for Thanksgiving but now the designers are back, in a pairs challenge, and oh, the draaah-maaah!

A portent of things to come was hinted at in the opening scene at the designers' townhouse, where Aaron (who I'm liking less and less) and Bones were arguing about ... something, not sure what. Zayden (who I'm liking more and more) was making his bed immaculately, next to the bed of his (unknown) room-made whose bed was an unmade mess.

At the workroom, Kristina, as last week's winner, got to choose her partner and picked Shantall. Christian chose large buttons from a box to pair the other designers up and, guess what? Aaron and Bones were picked, and they both looked less than happy about it.

The remaining pairs were:

- Chasity and Prajje
- Zayden and Coral
- Octavio and Anna (surely favourites in an avante-garde challenge)

One team would win, one would lose, and one designer from the winning/losing teams would be the winner or be auf'd.

After picking the faux fur they were going to use from rolls in the workroom - some looked like actual fur, some was like teddy bear fur - the designers headed off to Mood.

It was on the way back from Mood that the car crash we saw in the preview last time happened. It wasn't as dramatic as it seemed - the van hit some scaffolding and a window was smashed, the glass going all over Anna, who was slightly cut. Christian very generously on the one hand gave the designers the rest of the day off because they were so stressed but then on the other hand added to their stress by telling them that this meant they'd only have one day for the challenge.

One would have thought Octavio and Anna had this challenge in the bag, but the bag in question turned out to be a garbage bag. Their first outfit, until it was destroyed in the critique by Christian, was a huge, puffy trash bag-style skirt, a tiger fur top, giant puffy sleeves and huge fake tiger fangs that Anna wanted to use somewhere. It was horrendous. What were they thinking? After the critique, they scrapped it and made a bustier dress with puffy sleeves and a mish-mash of a skirt. It was also terrible but toned-down terrible compared with the first monstrosity.

I'll just say here that Anna didn't seem herself after the crash, and what immediately came to mind for me was The Office, when Dwight crashed his car and had a concussion.

Chasity was concerned that Prajje had spent all his money at Mood on paint, and he set to work creating a Pollock-style panel of fabric. Chasity was making the fur part of the dress, in a pale pink fabric. It had structured pillars from which the skirt made of Prajje's fabric flowed. They amended it slightly after Christian's critique, but their concept remained solid.

Zayden and Coral worked well together. He and Coral made a red fur garment, with Coral's trademark straps and macrame. In a heartfelt TH, Coral talked about how hard her mother had worked as a seamstress and that she'd urged Coral not to get into the garment business. This led to Coral coming up with the concept of a cage for the model's head, which really elevated their garment into the avant-garde.

Kristina and Shantall made a gigantic patchwork coat with an attached pink quilted dress inside. Christian was appalled but Kristina said she wasn't changing anything. Christian pointed out she had immunity and was potentially putting Shantall at risk but she was undeterred. She eventually changed the dress to a crop-top and skirt that were still attached to the coat, but it still looked like a reversible bedspread where you'd have the fur side up for your sexy times and the pink quilted side up for when your grandma came to visit. Their concept was confused - they said the coat was a coccoon which revealed a flower (?) when the coat was opened up.

But their outfit led to a hilarious scene where Prajje puts on the coat and goes full-on Eddie Murphy, saying "I come to Queens to find my bride". Yet, despite this, Kristina and Shantall didn't take the hint that there might be a problem with it.

Aaron and Bones' inspiration was "what if a Dothraki had a million dollars". Um... They designed a flowing gown with a huge fur collar, and it was this collar that led to an argument that turned very nasty, with Aaron as the instigator. Bones, naturally, was worried that the collar wouldn't stand up; Aaron was insistent that, if the shoulders were fitted properly, it would stand up by itself (even I could tell that it wouldn't). Aaron wanted to introduce some structure - they hadn't bought any boning and so he found paint stirrers. Aaron was furious and went outside to complain about it to Prajje, while Bones in a TH said he felt he wasn't being listened to.

Aaron left the workroom before the end of the day, and back at the house, the designers found that some R&R had been laid on for them. I don't know if Aaron had too much to drink, but he kicked off at Bones, telling him that he didn't know what he was doing and saying horrible things about previous outfits Bones had made. Bones didn't want to get into it, Anna tried to act as peacemaker, but Aaron was just awful, rude and disrespectful. Bones was chastitised by Anna for swearing, and, rightfully, pointed out that Aaron had sworn first and that, as a white man, Aaron was being given allowances for losing his temper whilst he (Bones) was the one called out. Aaron then had a hissy fit about Bones using "white privilege".

Zayden said in a TH that he and Coral are both introverts. Zayden told us he'd switched from a business major to fashion, but sometimes lacked the confidence to believe in himself. He had a video call with his mum, who validated him and made me want to hug him through the screen.

Next morning Aaron asked Bones if he had a hair-dryer (presumably so they could use it to soften the structuring for the collar). With complete justification, Bones said that the first thing Aaron said to him shouldn't be "do you have a hairdryer" and that he didn't want to continue the conversation. I am 100% on Bones' side here, Aaron was just awful.

In the studio there was a sort of rapprochement between them, but it was Bones who led with the apology, when it should have been Aaron. Bones had to educate Aaron that, as a black man, the privilege of (over)reacting first is that of a white man, because if a black man does that, it often doesn't end well. Still, they started to work together, and made a toggled corset to tie their outfit together.

There was no Brandon this week, he was at his brother's wedding. Instead Esteban Cortazar was a stand-in, and Billy Porter was the guest judge. Elaine was wearing a satellite dish on her head.

The runway show began with Chasity and Prajee's outfit and Mimi killed it with an incredible runway performance. Nothing could beat that.

Zayden and Coral's outfit looked great, and the cage was such a good idea, but maybe the dress was a little too wearable for an avant-garde challenge.

Next was Kristina and Shantall's hideous bedspread. It was well-sewn but just horrible.

Anna was disappointed by her outfit, and (correctly) said that the judges would expect more from her. This was such a missed opportunity for her and Octavio to show their talents in what should have been "their" challenge.

Aaron and Bones' Dothraki dress looked a little costumey but the model carried it off - and Bones was exactly right that the collar needed to be supported.

The top three were:

Coral and Zayden
Chasity and Prajje
Aaron and Bones

The main criticism about Chasity and Prajje's outfit was that it looked as if the model couldn't walk in it. But Mimi gave a little demo that she could walk very well in it, and the runway was a performance. After that, there could only be one winner, and deservedly so it was Chasity, as she'd designed and made the fur part of the dress and that was the main part of the challenge.

Kristina and Shantall were shocked to find themselves in the bottom. I thought Anna and Octavio's outfit was far worse in terms of execution, but despite the judges' Flintstones references, they got a pass on this. Octavio and Anna made excuses about how they'd only had a couple of hours to make their dress and they were saved. Shantall was out, but Christian used his Siriano Save on her to keep her in the competition, I'm sure because Kristina is the one who should have gone, but for her immunity.

So, this week Aaron has gone waaay down in my estimation, and Zayden has gone up. I'm also loving Chasity and would like to see her in the finale. I thought Bones conducted himself with dignity in the face of atrocious behaviour, and Aaron should be thoroughly ashamed of how he treated him.

Next time Cindy Lauper and last season's winner Geoffrey Mac are in the workroom, but I'm not entirely sure what the challenge is meant to be. We shall see ...

This week's runway looks are here, but (wtf, Bravo), only head and shoulders.
posted by essexjan (7 comments total)
I don’t think anyone was surprised by the Chasity/Prajje win as the outfit was featured in the opening credits every week and Mimi did such a spectacular walk wearing it. I liked that they chose the bright colored faux fur vs the more realistic ones which ended up in typical coat-like designs. I didn’t think Prajje’s spatter paint added any value; I would’ve preferred to see the fur continue and then flare out with the aid of lots of horsehair braid at the hem.

Judges’ criticizing an avant-garde look because it isn’t walkable is about as stupid as producers giving one day to create the avant-garde looks. I think the Siriano Save was a predictable outcome for that reason.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:13 AM on December 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Aaron was way out of bounds (I too think he'd had too much to drink, but that doesn't excuse it). I was glad to see Bones push back hard (honestly he would've been justified in pushing back harder), but also conclude with professionalism about the work, which many of these drama-loving millennials otherwise seem to be lacking. I'd certainly rather have Bones on a working team with me than Aaron. You might need to spend a little more time explicitly processing stuff, but his points are generally reasonable and he's certainly committed to getting shit done.

I find Chasity more charming every week.

The looks: Chasity and Prajje's look recalled the silhouette of 18th-cent. French dresses with the exaggerated hips, only distributed over 360 degrees. I just could not get over the pink fur. It's not their fault. But I feel like I would have loved this look in a different fabric; I'm just of an age where furry pillars suggest, I don't know, sketchy 70s clubs.

However, it met the brief. The other ones just weren't avant-garde enough. Avant-garde doesn't just mean "one wildly exaggerated element." I also thought it was weird that they kept referring to avant-garde as a subtype of couture. Fifty years ago, the trash bags might well have been avant-garde!

I did enjoy the Dothraki princess, with her near-Elizabethan fur collar. (Still shaking my head over Aaron's thinking it would work with no internal support, though!)
posted by praemunire at 8:29 AM on December 4, 2021

Thanks for posting this--we had a massive power outage here and I missed the whole episode, and the only way I can see it is if I pay, I'm not sure I want to see Aaron being a complete dick, though, anyway.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 4:01 PM on December 4, 2021

It's on YouTube, kitten kaboodle.
posted by essexjan at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2021

I saw that Siriano Save coming from a runway/mile away.

Aaron was an ass and totally took out his own frustration on Bones. And I presume that Bones is responsible for the interesting cutouts in their design, which is what really made it. Bones may present himself with a lot of prima donna talk at times, but when it comes down to it he's a good and pragmatic team player.

Seeing Zayden and Coral bond was really sweet. I didn't think their design was actually avant garde, but it was good.

Octavio's ideas bore me more each week. I feel like he has enough talent to have sailed through the early challenges fairly impressively, and is now kinda phoning it in for the publicity.
posted by desuetude at 9:36 PM on December 8, 2021

I saw that Siriano Save coming from a runway/mile away.

I looked at the time remaining when they reached the workroom and saw there was 1:49 left and said, yep.

Bones may present himself with a lot of prima donna talk at times, but when it comes down to it he's a good and pragmatic team player.

posted by praemunire at 9:03 AM on December 9, 2021

Agree Aaron was an ass though in this Elle recap of the episode, there is a screenshot of his IG post where he talks about a traumatic car accident when he was six and he thinks he may have been more affected by what happened in the van.

I forgot about the save and was pleasantly surprised when it happened. I sure hope Shantall does well next week because I fear they would not send her home directly after a save even if maybe she is the right choice to go. In fact, I think everyone who was saved by Tim or Christian has ended up in the finals (but I could be wrong about that).

The Fabio hair was not my favorite hairstyle for Bones.
posted by Glinn at 10:38 AM on December 9, 2021

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