Project Runway: The Housewives
January 9, 2022 8:38 AM - Season 19, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Bravo's Real Housewives of Potomac, Orange County and New York City bring their signature attitudes to the catwalk for a client challenge like no other. Emotions run high as each designer is paired with a Housewife to make them the ultimate reunion show look. Pop culture icon and the man who turned the housewives into a phenomenon, Andy Cohen, will be the guest judge. (Contains spoilers)

I was really excited about this episode, being a fan of both PJ and RH. I used to watch a number of the RH iterations, but now I only watch NYC, so, other than Shannon Beador, who was in the last season of OC that I watched, I had no idea who the other non-NYC housewives were.

It was obvious once Christian announced the challenge which of the designers watched RH. The non-American designers - Kristina, Shantall, Coral and Anna - were utterly baffled at the excitement shown by Bones, Chasity and Aaron.

The Housewives were:

Leah - NYC - designer Coral
Luann - NYC - Shantall
Shannon - OC - Bones
Gina - OC - Anna
Karen (aka The Grande Dame) - Potomac - Chasity (HW superfan)
Gizelle - Potomac - Aaron
Dr Wendy - Potomac - Kristina

The budget was $700 and it was a two-day challenge. The designers met with the HWs, who had strong opinions about what they liked and wanted. The designers who didn't watch the show were the ones who struggled in this challenge - with one notable exception.

The outfits were meant to be for the reunion shows, and Gina specifically explained to Anna that for the OC franchise they have to wear a knee-length dress. Anna ... seemed to understand.

Shannon has struggled with her weight over the years on RHOC and has some confidence issues. She didn't want to show much skin, or her arms, or her shape (and she said she'd be wearing two pairs of Spanx), she didn't want feathers, didn't want black... Bones said he'd make her look gorgeous. He was genuinely thrilled at the challenge and he and Chasity were positively giddy with excitement whenever their HWs were around.

Chasity had someone who was known as The Grande Dame and who, frankly, scared the shit out of me. Her main rival in the show, it seems, is Dr Wendy, who, we were, told has not only four degrees but new tits and butt which she wanted to show off. The type of outfit she was describing to Kristina was clearly something outside Kristina's comfort zone. More on this later ...

Aaron and Gizelle got on like a house on fire, and he decided to make her a Barbie pink outfit. He was comfortable with the challenge, because he understood that the HWs are caricatures and so he could get away with crossing the line into something that veered towards costume.

If ever there was a week when Christian needed to be at Mood, this was it, but he wasn't able to go with the designers, and, boy, it showed.

Coral's brief from Leah was that she wanted a Disney Princess gown in emerald green. Coral chose a nude heavy lace fabric that looked like - well, wouldn't you know - macramé! When she started making the dress, I knew Leah would love it, but it was wrong for a reunion show as it was too pale. It was a lovely dress and in a jewel colour with a bit of added sparkle it would have been amazing. I can see Leah wearing it, but not at a reunion show.

Shantall had the easiest client in Luann - a former model, about 5ft11 tall with an amazing figure, she'd look good dressed in a potato sack. Luann has a cabaret show where she wears sparkly gowns from Jovani (JOVANI!!- sorry, you have to watch RHONYC to get this), so Shantall was smart to give her something different, and wanted to make something that showed Luann's feminine side, as well as her strength. But she made a strange outfit that had a bodice that was lingerie on the left side and a blazer on the right, with a long skirt with a split on the right, which was trimmed with the lace. TBH, it reminded me of this, but Luann said she loved and and totally sold it on the runway.

Anna and Kristina really struggled with the challenge. Both designers wanted to please their clients, yet didn't want to lose their own style. As a result, they got lost along the way.

Anna made a structured top with big shoulders in a stiff, silver brocade fabric. The fit was bad, Gina looked uncomfortable in it, and it was badly styled. I knew Anna was in big trouble, and although Christian tried to help with some useful critique about how she needed to think about the client, Anna decided to disregard this.

Kristina chose a dark pink lurex fabric for Dr Wendy, but intended to cover up the jumpsuit she'd made with about four yards of chiffon. This did not go down well, either with Christian or the client. Dr Wendy hated the pants - although to be fair, at the consultation, she told Kristina she could do what she wanted, so that was on her. Kristina had a meltdown and had to go outside for a cry, accompanied by Anna and her client, Gina (who was more horrified that Kristina was smoking than her being upset about her design.) Eventually there was a compromise with the scarf being removable on the runway. But the bustier top didn't fit Dr Wendy's giant boobs and I was waiting for a nip slip.

Aaron's client was thrilled with her Barbie pink dress, which had one giant, dramatic sleeve which she swished about to show it off on the runway. But her top didn't seem to fit properly either. Throughout this season the designers all seem to have had a problem making properly fitting tops for large-breasted models. The cups on both Aaron's and Kristina's outfits were far too small and pointy. Note to designers: if you have a client who has big, round breasts, she needs big, round cups to hold them.

Bones made a dress that met Shannon's instructions - black, A-line, high-necked. But it didn't feel right for him, so he ditched it and made another black dress, but one with some sparkle, draping into the waist, and sleeves with a sort of lacy feathered fabric. Of all the HWs, I think Bones had the most challenging client to dress. Shannon is only about 5ft 4in tall, short-waisted and curvy. Bones made her look gorgeous, and it was obvious she loved it and felt beautiful in it. I was really pleased for Bones, because Shannon is one of the craziest HWs ever, so it could all have gone badly for him if she'd hated it.

Chasity also made a black dress for Karen, which was ... fine. She looked rather like the owner of the fanciest saloon in town in an old-timey Western movie.

Guest judge was - who else - Andy Cohen, the man who created the HW shows. Coral and Bones were safe. In the top were Aaron and Shantall. Brandon said he'd given Shantall's outfit one of the highest scores ever on PR. WTF? I felt sure this was going to be Aaron's week (at last) but it was two wins in a row for Shantall.

In the bottom were Anna, Kristina and Chasity. Dr Wendy - in true HW style - denied saying she'd told Kristina she could make a pant if she wanted to. The judges thought Chasity's dress wasn't innovative, but she was safe. Ultimately, Anna went home, and it was the right decision. Anna has seemed lost since Octavio left, and the challenges were becoming increasingly difficult for her. This week in particular, she said this was the first time every she'd had to design for a specific client - and her lack of experience in this area really showed.

There are photos of the outfits here, but apparently the only photo released by Bravo of The Grande Dame's outfit is of the back.

Next week the designers have to collaborate with a stylist. It wasn't clear enough to me from the preview what they have to do, but a glimpse of something on the runway looks like a trainwreck is on the way.
posted by essexjan (14 comments total)
Sorry, I made an error in the original post. Shannon did tell Bones she wanted a black dress, but in an A-line, plain design.
posted by essexjan at 10:33 AM on January 9, 2022

Shannon was my favorite, she was hilarious. And Bones did a really good job for her. Yay!

Why did Dr. Wendy agree that pants were fine in the initial interview!? Just say you want a gown, dang! I did think Kristina's crying was an overreaction because at least from what they showed, Dr. Wendy wasn't particularly mean or yelling at her. But, it's all very stressful and time-crunched and maybe understandable. The color Kristina picked was bad, though I thought the pants fit well.

Nina really wanted Chasity to go home. Especially with that comment about Kristina and Ana doing such great work in previous challenges. But Brandon was right, it's a competition and each week is its own thing. Chasity's was not innovative but it was better than the bottom two.

I was talking with a friend about this episode and the HW. I said, I didn't realize there were "nice" ones. I really didn't. She told me Gina is the nicest of all. What a complete bummer than Ana did such a weird and terrible design for her. The right person went home.
posted by Glinn at 11:35 AM on January 9, 2022

Gina scolding the designers for smoking was my favorite part. When you do a client challenge, bring in other reality stars, they’re extra entertainment!

I thought Kristina should’ve been the one to go; I didn’t hate Anna’s look.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2022

Aaron's irritation with not winning is getting really grating. He clearly knows how to make a garment, but he tends to go very, very safe. It's not "Project Sewing," dude.

I thought Anna's was pretty bad. She's been off since before Octavio was eliminated, honestly. She's obviously talented, but seems to have run out of steam.

For Kristina, I just wanted them to roll tape and show that whats-her-face absofuckinglutely did not clarify that she wanted a gown, she said "whatever you think you do best" and I guess assumed that Kristina would magically glean the right vibe despite not being familiar with Real Housewives? I would also have gotten upset in her shoes, not only at the disapproval but at the catty workroom chatter amongst the other RH ladies.

I am very much not a fan of that kind of reality show, and didn't think it was really fair for this to be the client challenge so late in the competition PLUS having the RH producer being one of the judges. He was judging based on what fit the personalities of his stars best while he stirred the pot more (as noted by the others.) Gross.
posted by desuetude at 7:35 PM on January 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I found this episode to be grotesque, about a bunch of grotesque people; I keep thinking this show has hit the nadir but they keep finding ways to sink lower. I have to agree with desuetude too, that it's really unfair to have a judge making decisions on personalities of people he knows.

Also, jesus, what was with all the fucking shrieking during the show. Ugh.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:00 PM on January 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

The RH franchise is about the only thing that makes me viscerally understand what some feminists dislike about drag. The episode played up all those aspects of the show (and I loathe smug chickenshit Andy Cohen), so.

The cigarette moment did crack me up, though.
posted by praemunire at 11:22 PM on January 9, 2022

This would've, btw, been an excellent time for Bones to use some of that forthrightness of his to tell the housewives making audibly catty remarks in the workroom to cram it.
posted by praemunire at 11:26 PM on January 9, 2022

I was half expecting the exchange after the runway show to go like this:

"Thanks, Karen."

"Grande Dame."

"Yeah, no, I'm not calling you that."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:46 AM on January 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I was really worried about this episode--I don't watch the Housewives and I thought this was going to be really terrible--but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The whole Dr. Wendy thing was the worst part--she straight-up lied, ugh. I was hoping Bones would win, because Shannon looked so great and so happy in that dress.

I was sorry to see Anna go. I think her issues started with the bus accident. I'm not sure she truly recovered from that and it seemed like she was clinging to Octavio for security and then he left and she was really lost. She has an interesting style but that outfit she made was really terrible. I personally would have sent Kristina home.
posted by ceejaytee at 6:09 AM on January 10, 2022

Having a hard time believing the winner wasn't somehow orchestrated prior to sewing. Maybe it's because I think Andy Cohen is trash and nothing he touches is authentic.

Dr. Wendy needed to be checked. She said pants were ok. She wanted her tits out and they were literally on a shelf jutting out to the audience with some fabric over the nipples -- not sure how much more they could have been shown off without it being camp.

And in the real world both clients and designers have more agency than these designers do, and I am getting a little tired of the judges and their platitudes about how they need to work with clients and learn to blah blah blah. No real client would choose a designer with a style they didn't like and then demand something different. I would have booted Dr. Wendy as a client after I learned she lied in a consult and then had me spend hours mocking up pants only to have her deny she said that. I'm sure the tears are a result of being frustrated, feeling powerless, and having some rich asshole who is desperate for more attention cut you down and question your talent, knowing at the end you might lose an opportunity because someone already famous needs more attention. There is zero posibility that Andy Cohen didn't work with producers to manufacture drama, but I guess just the presence of HWs means the manufactured drama is coming.
posted by archimago at 12:30 PM on January 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

I don’t watch Housewives, so didn’t realize quite how much personality they have. They clearly called on Christian to mediate during the fittings, so that he could negotiate with the designers and calm the housewives down. Fun show and I’m not sad to see Anna go - the outfit was terrible. I couldn’t even see the waist because Gina held the clutch over it the entire runway.
posted by Sukey Says at 8:02 PM on January 10, 2022

I was unhappy with that Dr. Wendy moment with the runway judges, but I also think that the whole episode was a setup to produce new conflict. I mean, these RH ladies were explicitly brought on to act like entitled, impossible divas. In fact, Project Runway probably expected more drama and had to reach and stretch for what they got. I am less mad at Dr Wendy specifically and more mad that the show pulled this stunt at the designers' expense.
posted by desuetude at 9:13 PM on January 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

archimago and desuetude said everything I wanted to say. This episode was on a Lifetime level of pandering.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:36 AM on January 11, 2022

This was... not my favorite episode. I had anticipated more drama. I'm glad I didn't get it.

Anna's look was bad. But I really thought Kristina's was worse. The color choice and the material choice were horrendous. Reminded me of my 90s homecoming dress. I didn't think the construction was that great either. At least Anna had a glimmer of an idea.
posted by kathrynm at 11:09 AM on January 15, 2022

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