Project Runway: Couch Couture
December 12, 2021 9:05 AM - Season 19, Episode 8 - Subscribe

This week the designers are challenged to solve one of fashion's eternal struggles; can comfortable really be chic? But, there's nothing comfortable about designing for a one day challenge with a surprise workroom visit from season 19 winner Geoffrey Mac and pop legend Cyndi Lauper.

This was a quarantine-inspired challenge, with the designers needing to elevate loungewear into an outfit that can go from couch to outside. It led to an interesting variety of interpretations of the brief. We also got to see some of the designers in photos taken during lockdown, including Bones in tiny panties and a durag, although (thankfully) not Prajje, who explained he couldn't be bothered to wear anything and so was naked for most of the time.

Mood revealed some bizarre fabric choices, with Coral going for sequins and Zayden in a panic grabbing a mish-mash of fabrics. Prajje kept with the naked theme and chose a pattern that had naked women on it. As it was a one-day challenge, he didn't think it would be possible to paint his own fabric, a choice that the judges criticised him for - unfairly, I thought, given the time constraints.

For reasons that weren't explained, last season's winner Geoffrey Mac and icon Cyndi Lauper turned up at the studio to offer support and motivation to the designers. Octavio in particular was delighted to meet Geoffrey, and everyone was thrilled (of course, why wouldn't they be?) to meet Cyndi.

Geoffrey had some great advice to give the designers, particularly Chasity over how she needed to nail her finish on the waistband of the white pants she was making. He was absolutely correct, as it was the focal point of the garment.

Christian had some concerns over some designers' choices, particular Coral's sequins, Octavio's choice of pink feathered stiletto pumps to pair with his giant silver sweatshirt, and he thought Aaron's beige palate looked like grandma was going to the beach.

For reasons I can't fathom, there are no pictures of the outfits on Bravo's website this week, so I can't link and so I'm relying on memory. Guest Judge was Maria Cornejo of the CFDA.

Octavio decided to make an oversize silver brocade sweatshirt with massive sleeves, which Mimi wore over sexy lingerie. The phrase 'taste level' sprung to mind. On the runway, when Mimi let the massive sleeves loose, Elaine and Nina said "Wow!" but Brandon's face was "WTF is that?" so I knew Octavio might be in trouble.

Shantall, saved last week by Christian, made a brightly-coloured jacket. She was safe.

Aaron's outfit was elegant and understated, and is something I would wear but I can see why the judges, despite ranking it in the top, might think it was a little frumpy. It was probably the most commercial of all the outfits.

Coral's model looked amazing in a fringed halter-top and pants, all in sequins - if she'd been on her way to a nightclub. It's hard to see how anyone would be able to find it comfortable as loungewear though.

Prajje's naked woman print fabric was turned into what looked like a pair of PJs, but with a bizarre snakeskin panel on the back. It wasn't terrible but he's done much better things and is clearly someone who needs as much time as possible to produce his best work. I didn't think it deserved to be in the bottom.

Zayden ... oh, darling Zayden, my sweetest favourite. His model was Dariana, curvaceous and zaftig, but the outfit he made for her - a jumpsuit in an unforgivingly rigid fabric, was horribly unflattering. I knew when he was making it that he'd be in trouble.

I can't really remember what Anna made - a grey nightdress and robe? I know she had to cover an unfinished seam with lace, and I recall she made something similar in a previous challenge.

Bones' model was wearing rollers in her hair, and she, too, was in pyjamas, this time pink silk. She and Bones were both safe. It's obvious the judges are the kind of people who go to Walmart in their PJs...

Kristina mixed many different floaty prints (again) and made an accessory of a matching coffee cup, which was playful and fit in with the brief of going from the couch to something outdoors. But it was a bit 'beachwear' for my taste.

Chasity's all-white look of a trailing coat, a crop-top and pants was a-maz-ing and her model's skin tone showed off the outfit to perfection. It was sublime, and she should have won. The judges preferred Kristina's look though, and she was the winner, although from now on there is no more immunity.

In the bottom were Prajje, Zayden, Octavio and Coral. I knew Prajje would be okay, because Elaine had, contrary to the other judges' opinions, loved his look.

Coral's look was so far away from the brief that I had no idea how she was going to survive. The judges rightly pointed out how uncomfortable sequins would be to lounge in.

Octavio argued with the judges and nothing he said was helpful to his cause. He was proud of the fact he'd made lingerie for the first time. But he did himself no favours whatsoever when he pointed out that he makes these sweatshirts all the time (so nothing new about them), and he tried (and failed) to defend the massive sleeves and the pink pumps.

Zayden also stood by his look, but it really wasn't good, despite the great little quilted bomber jacket.

Inexplicably, the judges saved Coral and (after last week's save) eliminated both Zayden and Octavio. I am heartbroken to see Zayden go, but I thought his outfit was really bad this week. Octavio, though, I'm not sorry. I didn't like his clothes.

It's clear the judges love Kristina, but there's a bit of one-way monkey about her mixed prints and floaty designs. Still, we've seen in previous seasons where judges seem to love everything one particular designer does (e.g. Erin, Amanda Valentine) and don't seem to apply a lot of critical thinking to that designer's clothes.

Next week it's the unconventional materials challenge, where the designers have to use whatever they can find in a bar to create their garments. Looks like fun!
posted by essexjan (8 comments total)
I enjoyed Octavio’s look this week - I resonate with the, “I’ve been stuck inside forever and now I want to look crazy” aesthetic. How they did a double elimination and kept Coral around is beyond me after that nightclub nightmare is beyond me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:37 AM on December 12, 2021

Octavio's choice of pink feathered stiletto pumps to pair with his giant silver sweatshirt

It was a literal "don't defend the shoe to me!" moment!

Loved Chasity's look but hated that I could tell it was polyester from the way it moved. It would've been even better in a luxer fabric. I assume that was just a budget issue, though. Too much fabric to do in either a crisp linen or a slinkier silk charmeuse on a few hundred bucks, especially leaving any margin for error. It still should've won.

I wasn't...against the giant shiny sweatshirt, but the lingerie and pump took it streetwalker.

Not sure what Cyndi Lauper was doing on the show this time, but she was super-sweet and gracious.
posted by praemunire at 11:16 AM on December 12, 2021

Apologies for the error in the header, I cut and pasted it from IMDB. Geoffrey was, of course, season 18 winner.
posted by essexjan at 12:10 PM on December 12, 2021

I think it's excellent to have larger size models. However. I believe it is simply unfair that all the designers don't get a similar-sized model for each challenge. I 100% believe Zayden went home due to problems he had envisioning something for and then fitting his model. I'm not sure what else to say about that, except it is weird that the models are randomly assigned based on who grabs what, and some designers will go the whole season with only fitting "easier" models.

I agree the judges really seem taken with Kristina, but for a one-day challenge, she made a lot of pieces that could be worn a variety of ways, and it was pretty impressive. I preferred Chasity's look and thought she would win. I've been surprised by Chasity the last couple weeks because early on she had at least one really bad look. Hope she makes it to the final. (Upon re-read, I agree with praemunire that maybe the look of the polyester kept her from the win.)

I wonder if Cyndi Lauper only had this week free and they had already booked the guest judge.

Prajje got lucky because that was boring fabric and a boring outfit.
posted by Glinn at 1:08 PM on December 12, 2021

Here's a review with some pictures.

Oh that naked woman print. Ugh. Please. No.

That pink feathered shoe. Ugh. Please. NO. What the hell was he thinking???? I kept thinking that silver sweatshirt thing belonged in space.

Coral, Coral, Coral. Sequins???? Am I remembering right? I think Christian said something to her in Mood.

I liked Chasity's the best.

I found Kristina's totally forgettable. So much that I forgot about her covered coffee cup (that I'd actually buy).
posted by kathrynm at 2:46 PM on December 12, 2021

I loved Kristina’s but I’m all about pattern mixing and I loved the 70s boho vibe plus she made a head to toe look (check the shoes). Chasity’s was stunning but I’m not sure she solved that issue with the waistband. Aaron, as soon as he started talking about cashmere, I knew it would be beige. Classic luxe but a tad boring. Interesting that all three top looks featured a bare midriff.

I wasn’t thrilled with the safes…Anna’s peignoir? Shantall ‘s knobby (?) buttons, Bones’s peach pajamas? and I knew Zayden was in trouble when I saw the ugly, ugly fabric he’d chosen. Coral completely misunderstood the challenge. And Octavio made a jiffy-pop top and when he realized he needed something more, he made panties and a garter belt. Like who lounges around in stockings? Prajje’s was just basic.

Me, I’d give the top three a break for the day and send the safes and the bottom four back to Mood for another go ‘round. This was such a lack luster challenge.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:47 PM on December 12, 2021

Interesting that all three top looks featured a bare midriff.

I couldn't help but think that after the pandemic a lot of people (rightly or wrongly) aren't really going to want to be showing off those midriffs.
posted by praemunire at 8:14 PM on December 12, 2021

I have such a crush on Geoffrey Mac.

Chasity's look was gorrrrgggeeeouusss and should have won, imo.
posted by the webmistress at 8:28 PM on December 12, 2021

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