Project Runway: Life is Full of Surprises
November 11, 2016 12:11 PM - Season 15, Episode 9 - Subscribe

A 'real women' challenge, in which the AARP as sponsor is awkwardly shoe-horned into the challenge. The designers have to make an outfit for a family member or friend about to embark on their 'next adventure' in life. The winner and their model win $25,000 each. Spoilers inside.

Final looks here.

Top : Roberi, Mah-Jing and Rik (winner)

Bottom: Erin, Nathalia and Jenni (eliminated)

I hated Roberi's look and thought the suit Cornelius made for his mother should have put him in the top 3. Although Rik's look was polished, it was safe and I think Mah-Jing should have taken the win for his ambitious, fabulous design. And who knew that he had the most bad-ass mother on the entire planet?

Erin showed she has a tiny bag of tricks that she's exhausted, and she's now starting to bore the judges. It's either baggy coat or appliqued lace. This week it was baggy coat AND appliqued lace.

But Nathalia's outfit was appalling, both in design and construction, and Jenni's was weird, although her mother valiantly defended it on the runway. I think Nathalia was very lucky to stay, particularly as her outfit was falling off her mother, it was so baggy. She still had pins in it too, that she lied about on the runway, pretending a single pin been left in by mistake when in fact numerous pins were the only things holding up the hem. Ultimately I think the judges saw more of a designer in Nathalia than Jenni though, which is what probably saved her.

I see Laurence didn't listen to my advice from last week and made yet another leather jacket. Although she was safe, we must be nearing the time when the judges also bore of her reworking of the same piece week in, week out.
posted by essexjan (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How many times is Erin going to come in 3rd worst? I'm just really tired of her. I was so happy for Mah Jing; it seemed like a successful and meaningful challenge for him, and I would have loved to see him win. And I have music by his mom - who knew??

Roberi's look escaped me. I loved the fabric on the skirt overlay, but i thought it was oddly constructed and I just couldn't figure out where you'd go wearing it.

Not sorry about Jenni going home, but I think Nathalia's look was worse. Her odd clutching at her mom like she was dying and sobbing really put me off, too. I don't think she's long for the show.

Next auf'd in my world would be her, Cornelius, and should-be-but-won't-be Erin.
posted by donnagirl at 2:10 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

First off, even though it was awkward the way they worked in the sponsor, I have to say I'm really impressed by how much AARP is willing to stand behind the designers on this show. Putting up $50,000 is a huge amount relatively speaking. As Mah Jing (I think) said, half of the winning prize money. And when you consider how cheap that vodka company was (a dinner at the restaurant) and how much more money it would have at its disposal compared to the AARP, I have to say well done retired people. (And that's not even taking into account all these companies that sell the designers' looks without offering them any sort of compensation whatsoever.)

I also didn't get the love for Roberi's look. Yes, the fit was good, and the construction looked immaculate, but to me the prints seemed to fight each other rather than work together.

I liked the idea behind Mah Jing's look but I think it was a bit too much. It overpowered his mother.

Rik really deserved the win, although I'm not too sure about how the white stitching looked on his mother's backside. I thought it came to a weird point and drew focus to an area I wouldn't be comfortable accenting.

I couldn't believe how badly Jenni's outfit looked. There wasn't one good thing about it. I liked the idea behind Nathalia's design, but her execution was way, way, way off. Erin's was hideous. Neither Erin nor Jenni bothered to listen to Tim, and while his opinion has been at odds with the judges a few times this season, I think both would have benefited if they'd paid him some attention this round.
posted by sardonyx at 7:44 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

The Real Woman Challenge and MOMS to make it even more stressful. The top three were okay, I thought they'd give it to Mah Jing just because his outfit was more dramatic. It was very bulky-looking though. Rik's was probably more impressive up close, he had a lot of dressmaker details. Roberi, two days to make that?

The safes, I rolled my eyes at Laurence's leather jacket even though I liked it. There wasn't enough room in the bottom for Cornelius' suit, I thought Dexter should've been in the top three with his green sweater dress (looks like he ignored Tim's advice and kept the boning), there was something interesting around the sleeve cuffs that they showed briefly.

Erin in the bottom again although they clearly want to keep her. This was just such a weird combination: the minimalist beige swing coat and the fussy scalloped lace underneath over baby blue. I think she gets an idea and obsessively develops it no matter how inappropriate for the challenge and no matter if Tim tries to dissuade her. The dress (sans the coat) might have worked on her regular model but it was just bizarre on her mother.

The bottom two, Jenni (finally learned her name!) and Nathalia were both bad designs, badly fitted and badly sewn so they both should've been sent auf but of the two, Nathalia's was incompetent vs Jenni's juvenile concept. I liked the fabric combo that Jenni used, and her trademark appliques on the sweater. If she'd ditched the varsity cuffs and the pajama band at the neck (also her trademark), skipped the sloppy tshirt hanging underneath and MADE A SHORT SKIRT instead of those ghastly hi waisted baggy capris, she'd have been safe.

I have no clue why they kept Nathalia instead. That was one of the worst outfits ever to walk the runway. There was nothing redeemable about it. They didn't even mention that the top wasn't finished. Even if the coat had fit and been hemmed, it was still stiff and boxy and cheap looking. This was not some incredible design that she ran out of time working on, it was dull and ugly and ten sizes too big.

One last thing, it was interesting that when Nathalia was crying on the runway, her mother had her arms around her. When Mah Jing was talking about how proud he was of his mother and he was crying, she just stood by his side and didn't even look at him.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:30 AM on November 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

My three favorite looks were Dexter, Laurence, and Mah-Jing. Roberi's dress was was stiff and unflattering and so cheap-looking. The judges were drunk. All of the comments about the flattering neckline and the universal appeal of it. I would not be caught dead in that, and also it would look atrocious on me. Another head-scratcher. Rik's dress was basically a Chanel two piece with white stitching on it. Yes it looked good on her, but it did not seem worthy of all of the praise heaped upon it. It was so basic. Like if someone handed Erin a Chanel jacket and dress and asked her to embellish it in 20 minutes, that is exactly what she would have done. Very nice sewing though, I have to say.

I liked Dexter's. I thought it was young and fun. I love how the sleeve length was exactly the same length as the hem. Mah-Jing's looked cheap, but it was a great, empowered design which was clearly loved by his mom.

Too bad they couldn't have sent all three bottoms home. They were all terrible, and Erin has squandered all of my early goodwill towards her by her attitude and refusal to hear anything Tim has to say. That whole ensemble was tragique. Cornelius's should also have been in the bottom. Too bad there was only room for three. Just.....horrible. Also, I'm thinking It would be pretty embarrassing for Tim, to dump Cornelius immediately into the bottom three the first week after the Tim Gunn save.

TWinbrook8, I noticed that too and it was sad. He did say there was a long period of time where they didn't speak to each other. I felt badly for him when they didn't interact on the runway (at least, that we saw on camera) although they did hug a few times in the workroom. I hope they get close again.
posted by the webmistress at 6:38 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

oh wow, webmistress, I missed that. That is sad.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:42 AM on November 12, 2016

1. Thank GOODNESS they didn't have to design for the loved ones of other contestants.

2. Totally behind Rik for the win. I thought it was a step above basic with the heart and stitching, it was perfect for his mom, and also very nicely made. Plus, did you see his clearly uncomfortable mom get pawed at by the clueless judges? (Except Nina, who stayed seated (I think).)

I'd call Mah-Jing a close second but the top of his outfit was a bit too bulky with material.

I agree they couldn't put Cornelius in the bottom immediately after the save. But I do not think he will be around much longer.

Loved Erin at the beginning so much. But then she was a mean girl. And then she made a very ugly coat and ugly weird lace dress.
posted by Glinn at 4:27 PM on November 12, 2016

Maybe I'm alone in this but I think this might have been one of the first "real woman" (argh) challenges on PR in a while where there were actually multiple cool looks for non-size-zero women! The producers seem to have chickened out about using non-model-proportioned women in recent seasons past. But I thought the top three were all really good and they were all quite different from one another as well.

The pawing of the moms and friends was SUPER uncomfortable. And I am actually really bummed and surprised to see Jenni go; I thought she had a lot of potential and her look tonight was at least interesting and had good ideas. Plus I'll miss her mildly catty voiceovers.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:56 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Since I might be the only one here who liked it I'll also defend Roberi's design a little. I really liked the length with the partly-see-through metallic fabric on the bottom, and I thought the proportions were great. I was really impressed by how the fabric choice and silhouette looked futuristic and sweet/romantic/easy at the same time. To me it looked like something you'd see at a cool art gallery opening.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:09 PM on November 12, 2016

It wasn't just the pawing that was uncomfortable to watch. Having to listen to the critiques of the clothing in front of the relatives and friends was also super awkward. I can't imagine any of the women in the bottom group felt good about that.
posted by sardonyx at 5:13 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think Rik deserved the win with a pretty much perfect outfit for his mom. It answered the challenge, created a realistic and professional outfit for his mom to wear, representing how she would be making steps up towards management in her career. And it fit her real body perfectly but didn't make her look uncomfortable. It was very appropriate in length and tightness. He had a story that made sense for every aspect, including the stitching and the heart.

It was so incredibly painful to see the designers in the bottom dressed down by the judges in front of their moms. I can't say I wouldn't be sobbing in my mom's arms like Natalia was.

I liked that Jenni's mom stood up for her daughter even though she probably knew it wasn't that great. I liked Jenni's weird sportswear and will miss her. She had a Look that was distinctly Jenni. Like neither Cornelius nor Mah-Jing have a recognizable design stance that I can see.
This early outfit from Jenni might be one of my favorite looks from the season.
posted by bobobox at 5:58 PM on November 12, 2016

This was a brilliant challenge idea. This season is better than previous seasons. Whatever they changed in the production process to give new ideas like this (and the pop-up shop, for example) a chance, it's working.
posted by amtho at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

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