Project Runway: Sink or Swim
October 7, 2016 8:39 PM - Season 15, Episode 5 - Subscribe

I am Brik. I love bricks.

In the Heidi Klum Swimwear challenge, the designers create their own fabric to use in designing a stylish swimsuit. The winner will have their design sold as part of Heidi’s swimwear line! But the contestants lack of swimsuit experience makes for a harder challenge than expected. Model Lucky Blue Smith is this week’s guest judge.

Full episode

Final looks


Judges liked:
Everything about Roberi's look: the macaw feather print, shape suit and expensive looking wrap
Alex's sweet, feminine blue flowery print and cover up
Rik's geometric one-piece and skirt (winner)

Judges did not like:
Anything about Tasha's teeny Rasta bikini and too-simple cover up
Jenni's mismatched pink flowery look
Sarah's "child's underwear bathing suit" sent her home - nice illustration but didn't belong on a woman's bathing suit, as per Nina, and the cut of the briefs was too underwear-like.
posted by bleep (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't understand why Roberi didn't win - the judges liked every single thing about his piece. Plus it's more original. I hope they're just setting him up as a dark horse for the final win. I feel like Rik's design is already on sale at Macy's right now.

Glad Tasha didn't get sent home although she very well could have.

They called Sarah's design too juvenile, but I felt like it was juvenile in a way that's very in right now. Her design would have been gangbusters on Modcloth. Maybe it wasn't right for Heidi's line but the judges came off a little out of touch to me.

Whereas Jenni's design was actually very juvenile, and in a way that's not in style anywhere.

I don't know what a male model should have to say about women's bathing suits. I thought that was a weird choice for this episode.

I personally didn't really like any of the bathing suits; they were supposed to be "wearable" but they were all incredibly skimpy, just like every other bathing suit for sale. This is another way the judges seemed out of touch to me.
posted by bleep at 8:45 PM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you try out for PR, wouldn't you have practiced making a swimsuit? I assume there's not a lot of time between try outs and filming but really?! Then again, I suspect one contestant was playing it up and did know enough. And there's a dossier. Always hate this one.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 9:15 PM on October 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry, but Tasha needed to go home for that. I mean I actually kind of liked her print, but the fit and design of that suit was atrocious. I could actually see women wearing Sarah's print for fun, and it seemed like it fit the best out of the bottom three. Jenn's was a bad colour and a bad print, but I'll give her credit for at least trying to do something innovative with the pants, even if it didn't work.

I don't get what was so new and revolutionary about the cut of Roberi's suit. I mean I loved the print--it was absolutely the best of the bunch and Nina was wrong to criticize the scale--but that style of suit (bikini with a linked piece up the torso) is nothing new. (I know there are better/more similar examples out there, but it's late and my Google skills are below par). Not only that, it felt like an X-Man costume to me.

I hated Alex's Little House on the Prairie smock, but I've seen enough of that style on the fashion blogs that I guess I can say it's on trend. I don't know what the print looked like up close, but I felt it was really lacking from a distance.

I guess Rik deserved to win, but boy oh boy, there is absolutely no material covering the model's bottom from the back.

I have no idea who or what that guest judge was but he needed not to be there at all.

Speaking of no idea, I have no clue what Heidi was thinking when she decided a) that's a wearable outfit and b) that's the outfit suitable for hosting the swimsuit challenge. Also, (and I'm mostly just curious here) what did people think of her swimsuits? I can't say I was too impressed.
posted by sardonyx at 11:00 PM on October 7, 2016

I totally agreed with the top 3 this week, unlike most episodes.

To me, Tasha's was clearly the worst but I am also glad she didn't get sent home. I think Sara suffered from being middle-of-the-pack so far and Heidi not even really knowing who she is. Jenni and Tasha have at least made some memorable looks so far and Sarah has been very...meh.

Overall, I am more excited about some of the designers this season than in the previous few seasons, so I'm hopeful we will get to see some interesting things in the future.
posted by tryniti at 5:49 AM on October 8, 2016

what did people think of her swimsuits

They were meh to ok...certainly nothing fashion-forward or memorable. Very much like her underwear. Everything she "designs" (or, has someone else design and put an HK on, most likely) is all about teh sexy, but there is no innovation or design that isn't already out there everywhere. Her taste is really borderline tacky. From what I've heard, she is a joke in the fashion industry. But she's getting it while she can and I can't fault her for that.

I disliked Tasha's look so much. It was insulting, really. So ill-conceived, and those off-center beads on string between two tiny sad boob I think most everyone relied way too much on how clever they thought their prints were, and everyone just designed a basic bikini, whereas it seemed the judges wanted to see something innovative. I actually thought Brik's was adorable, even though the top was too small.

I disliked everything about Alex's. That hausfrau gown. The really boring, basic suit where he didn't even get the blue trim even. It was so low-end. I did love that he got the print from his tattoo.

Rik really benefited from the print he designed. There was certainly nothing at all unusual about the swimsuit! It was as basic as they come. The placement of that horizontal bar right where a belt should be is what got him the win, imo.

Feathers are so 2012 Etsy. I mean...I don't understand this show anymore. Or rather, the judging. I wish they would get judges who aren't so set in their ways. Hopefully that doesn't come across as ageist, since I probably have at least ten years on any of them (I don't know how old any of them are tho). They just all seem firmly rooted in the early 2000s in their style. Also, I myself designed that exact shape of swimsuit. On a sketchpad in my bedroom. When I was 12.

It was very nice to see a male judge, but I don't think this was the challenge for it - he didn't really have anything of importance to add (at least that we saw on camera). Admittedly though...what is there to say? There are only so many ways to make a swimsuit.

I would be sooooo intimidated as a guest judge on the show. I wonder how often the guest judge has a completely differing opinion but is scared to come out and say it. I know I would be.
posted by the webmistress at 6:42 AM on October 8, 2016

I really got the impression the guest judge was afraid to speak and offer an opinion until he heard what everybody else said so he could echo their thoughts. I really don't believe he had a thought in his head about swimwear or fashion design, despite what they said about him being a "designer."
posted by sardonyx at 9:02 AM on October 8, 2016

Holy shit, my mouth was literally agape when they praised Alex's disaster. That cover-up was the most hideous thing I've ever seen on this show. And then he paired that "sweet" napkin print with hot orange heels? I'm no fashion expert, but absolutely nothing about that look made sense.
posted by MsVader at 9:26 AM on October 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I agree, sardonyx - I think that's why I mentioned feeling intimidated myself. It was like I could relate to the smell of the fear wafting off of him ;P

Yep I thought for sure Alex was in the bottom three when they came back out with their models. Heidi and Nina are terrified of anything that might come across as matronly and I felt his nightgown-ish coverup was just that, although they chose to see it as more Free People boho.
posted by the webmistress at 10:49 AM on October 8, 2016

I don't know what a male model should have to say about women's bathing suits. I thought that was a weird choice for this episode.

I found that so weird!

I LOVED Rik's - would wear it in a heartbeat although light and dark patterns on a swimsuit tend to leave me tanned in patterns underneath it . . .

I really liked Brik's boy-short bottoms! Hooray for covering the whole butt.

I hated Alex's and was SURE he would be in the bottom for that frumpy prairie dress coverup and weird-ass blue piping. I am really glad he didn't win.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:30 PM on October 8, 2016

I think Tasha's suit was the worst. It fit so terribly! Her cover-up was nice but it was a bathing suit challenge. Sarah's cover-up was pretty bad, but her suit was well-made. I thought it was cute. The print is really a matter of taste and maybe it read too young but I thought it was sweet and it had some thought behind it.

I thought Jenni's was well made and the top was really nice! She should have abandoned that lavender skirt thing but I'm glad she didn't get the boot.

Have to agree that I did not understand the love for Alex's cover-up. Nina would wear it ALL THE TIME, she claims. I am skeptical. And his suit was bland.

Loved Roberi's print but not the suit shape. Erin's had a cool vibe but may not appeal to the wider audience Heidi is trying to reach with her line. Laurence's was kinda cool but the bullseye print was too sparse.
posted by Glinn at 4:21 PM on October 8, 2016

BTW Rik's look is now up for sale. None of these looks would have won any challenge. Heidi said to one of the contestants (Cornelius?) "Have you ever seen a woman's boobs?" But looking at these swimsuits, they're all designed for ladies with tiny, perky boobs with a neat center part who also want that much of their boobs exposed all the time. They're also extremely basic. I think I might just start skipping the whole judgement part of the episode and just watch the sewing & designing.
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on October 8, 2016

Holy crap! I can't believe the price of that swimsuit. I know it's been a while since I bought swimwear and when I did I got it an of Off 5th (I think) so it wasn't full retail, but that's about US$80 than I would have guessed, especially as there really doesn't seem to be any interior construction whatsoever.
posted by sardonyx at 10:49 PM on October 8, 2016

I thought that if Jenni had made a bottom with that same criss-cross sportiness above the brief part as she did below the brief, she might have escaped being in the bottom 3, even with the failed pants (which, hello slits and magnets would have been much better than a diaper-remove-style). But you had 3 pieces that sorta went together from a 90% off rack.

I was surprised so many people went for skimpy and no one did a cutout boob hole or some other way to show skin.

Overall, though, it was a very meh episode, as episodes that tie into Heidi's line tend to be.
posted by julen at 11:22 PM on October 8, 2016

If you try out for PR, wouldn't you have practiced making a swimsuit?

Yeah, seriously. They know there'll be a swimsuit and/or lingerie challenge, so you'd think they'd buy a few thrift shop bras and swimsuits, take them apart to see how they're made and practice making them.

Tasha's suit was an abomination, but I'm glad she stayed because I like her personality. Jenni at least tried something different. Sarah's print was odd.

But Alex - WTF judges? That was hideous. Who'd wear a nightie on the beach? And his print was too pale to show up too. No-one would wear that.

I liked Dexter's outfit, and it looked great on his model. I liked Brik's too, although the coverup didn't match. And thank goodness Erin wasn't in the top again.

Roberi had the strangest model. It was like this was her first ever modelling gig. She looked terrified and her walk was awful. I don't think she did his outfit justice and maybe a model with more pizazz would have sold that top spot to the judges. Having said that, I didn't particularly like his suit.

But Rik's was great. His print was matched really well. I did worry that the triangle at the crotch might be critiqued for looking like pubes, but it also looked like a little triangle bikini, so in this challenge he got away with it. His look was by far the best head-to-toe look, and I could see lots of women buying that outfit (although - eep! - I just saw the prices on Heidi's website...)
posted by essexjan at 11:58 PM on October 8, 2016

Finally got around to watching this... rats, they paired my favorite challenge, Design A Print, with one of Heidi's abominable industry challenges. Once again everyone had a style book from Heidi that we never see so it's hard to judge how each design fits in with her line.

Rik nailed it, that print was flattering, dramatic and sellable... who doesn't like black & white? The placement of the pattern, I'm not sure how he did that, I didn't see a repeat, so he must have made it actual size and therefore already knew what he wanted to happen at the waist. Very smart.

I liked Alex's boho coverup but not the suit underneath. What bothered me was it looked like his fabric printed out two different shades of blue (one for the suit and one for the coverup) which makes me think they had the choice of printing it in different fabrics. The suit had blue trim and the coverup had periwinkle trim, they both matched their garment but it bugged me as an ensemble. But that's something you can't predict with such a short timeline and he was smart to buy trims in different shades.

Roberi's was fine except I laughed when the judges raved over his coverup because it is SO not original. I agree, his model was terrible. Usually I don't pay attention to the models but she was so... lackluster. Has she been on before? I wonder if she was hauled out to substitute for someone.

I also liked/wish we got to see more of Dexter's snake suit (I liked his original design better, with the giant snake eye on the chest, it looked like a superhero costume), Erin's back lace up, and Mah-Jing's denim suit.

I think Cornelius should've been in the bottom and that he or Tasha should've gone home. They both did the barest minimum. I don't understand why her suit kept getting smaller and smaller when others had a ton of fabric enough to make large floaty coverups. The designer who did the lavender mandala print... yea, didn't really work out BUT she sewed a well fitting, somewhat interesting garment. I know it's not Project Seamstress but when the other two could barely cover their models' tits, did ugly prints, and had coverups that were basically just a couple yards of black fabric shows they didn't come prepared.

Anyway, everyone was so freaked out about making a swimsuit for Heidi that the textile design part of the challenge was lost.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:36 PM on October 12, 2016

Yes! So sad they wasted the print design challenge on this.
posted by Glinn at 4:52 PM on October 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

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