Project Runway: We're Sleeping Wear?
September 8, 2017 7:38 PM - Season 16, Episode 4 - Subscribe

It’s the Heidi Klum Sleepwear Challenge and the designers are feeling on top of the world, literally. If a slumber party on the roof of the Empire State Building doesn’t bring them the inspiration they need to impress Heidi, nothing will!

They're doubling up on the challenges! Design a sleepwear garment inspired by the Empire State Building for Heidi's company for free *and* create a crappy textile for it. What happened to the marvelous tablets they used to have so they could produce digital prints? Now they get colored gel pens.
Demi Lovato joins as guest judge.

Nothing posted at TLo yet so here are final looks on Lifetime's website.

Top three: Michael, Twin Shawn, Kentaro; Michael wins
Bottom three: Aaron, Deyonte, Kenya; Deyonte goes home.

Michael's winning design for sale, $200.

Also, the PR finale was yesterday at NY FW, "anonymous" screencaps are probably out there.
posted by TWinbrook8 (10 comments total)
I honestly like the hand-created fabric designs better than the digital designs.

The tablet format and software encourages the creation of simple, crisp-lined repeating patterns, using the limited palette available to the special fabric printer. The designers don't get to hold it as they create it, can't really know how the colors are going to look printed out, and there's no texture to the figures. Also, the one kind of fabric they seem to be able to print on isn't very interesting. I'm all about texture, so this has bugged me for a long time.

This way you get more interesting colors and different kinds of designs -- for instance, getting exactly the right size to frame the top of the bodice, as in the winning look, would have been nearly impossible with the computer system they use. Plus the shimmer would have been impossible. Shawn's design, too, even though it was a repeating pattern, had at least one color I don't think I've seen from a printer.

The texture and weight and edges of the printed figures are much more interesting this way than from a computer printer.

Then, too, the types of fabric available are limited with a computer printer, which also constrains the designs.

I thought this set of garments was much more interesting and beautiful than what usually results from the make-a-pattern-on-fabric challenge. Much better.
posted by amtho at 12:02 AM on September 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

Michael's winning design for sale
posted by filthy light thief at 9:19 AM on September 9, 2017

I agree, Deyonte's model has not been properly/nicely dressed yet! It was time for him to go. Nice that he won that first challenge though.

I did like Shawn's. And it's about time! She probably should have gone home already but she did a nice print and a beautiful, if not entirely original, style. It did seem clear from this episode that the twins are basically using each other's strengths in each of their outfits. This is clearly not fair, as stated by Margarita, and I wonder if more of the same will be the meat of the "cheating" scandal.

You know, I've been thinking about how in the (distant?) past, the one-day challenges were the exception and now they are the rule. It makes it a completely different contest. One of your primary skills has to be a rapid work rate, and I think it's really too bad in many cases.

YIKES poor Kendra! It wasn't just lingerie, but they forced everyone to work with silk and this seemed to be her primary issue. So glad she squeaked by! I hope she makes the final.

As for the prints, I wondered if they might still do the digital prints? Maybe not. One day including making prints with wet media is just silly. Oh yeah, on silk. Ugh.
posted by Glinn at 9:31 AM on September 9, 2017

amtho! many good points about the print making!
posted by Glinn at 9:32 AM on September 9, 2017

Yes, amtho, you are totally right. My only thought about the tablets was that they can try and reject any number of designs before committing and this group seemed to be struggling more than usual with the actual hands-on dyeing/painting/stamping. It also annoys me that with such a limited time, they have to deal with drying the fabric with fans. (At least silk dries fairly fast.) I'd forgotten that the digital fabric was so limited and that WYS Isn't WYG wrt color.

Michael was smart because his design hit Heidi's points of "sexy" and "easy to mass produce". He'll be around for a while. I did not get the love for Kentaro's though. I thought the print was fiddley & ugly, the neon yellow/hot pink/med blue combo was garish and didn't make sense with the blue dip-dyed gradation and the triangle point edging on the bodice was collapsing.

I don't know what happened to Kenya. She did a boned mermaid gown for the first challenge, her sewing skills are top notch! It wasn't too worried because it was obvious Deyonte was going home. Not only was his garment awful, the patchy dye job just made it look like the color had run in the wash. In addition, the makeup on his model was amateurishly bad. Aaron, yeah, that was creepy. I didn't mind his fabric, it kinda looks like seersucker but seersucker is way down on the list of sexy fabrics. I don't see any design skills in him based on his output so far so he'll be gone soon.

Of the safes, Samantha turned in another meticulous garment. I think Batani is this season's Anya. I really liked Ayana's from what I could see of it. Maybe a bit overdesigned but I'm amazed at what she was able to accomplish compared with the bottom three. I would've put her in the top rather than Kentaro.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:36 AM on September 9, 2017

I'm looking at the winning design and I feel like I've seen it 10,000 times before on PR. Oh, wow, you were inspired by the ESB, how original!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:37 PM on September 9, 2017

I'm not sure what happened to my prior comment, but I'll blame being tired and/or little boys deciding it was time to wrestle.

Anyway, I was going to say I was bummed out that the winning look lost its side/hip patterns in the production version, as that made it look less impressive. I wonder how much of the final decision to crown a winner came down to productability -- My wife and I also liked Kentaro's, but he had more color and detail that would increase the cost to reproduce, I imagine.

ESB inspiration is well-played, but my wife pointed out that the Chrystler Building was showcased ... in season one. That's the problem with iconic buildings -- there's just not many of them, when you're looking around from the top of ESB. At least, in terms of designs that jump out at you in broad ways.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:00 PM on September 9, 2017

I agree that the production design is not nearly as interesting or beautiful as the original design. Those side images really accentuated the neck and made the nightgown have an overall form; now it's just a drapey thing with some printing around the neck that reminds me of something I had in college; the printing tried to capture the irregularity and shimmer of the original technique by giving it an irregular shape, but it looks like something from the 80s.

Maybe that's another disadvantage of the hand-decoration for a "your design will be reproduced" challenge - it's seldom going to be reproducible by mass market techniques. Although those side graphics could totally have been reproduced, just maybe not for as little cost.
posted by amtho at 3:16 PM on September 9, 2017

Mr. Freedom and I reeeeeealllllly wanted Aaron to go, if only for the crime of wearing see through bloomers shorts and a belt as a tie. Ugh. You really wanted to stop looking, but you couldn't, like a train wreck.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:58 PM on September 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've had the feeling since the beginning that Michael would shine once he found his feet in the sewing room. And so lovely to see Kentaro loosen up and enjoy himself. I loved what both of them did this week. I must say I'd be more likely to buy Kentaro's design but I can see why Michael pipped him to the post. Those scallops look too fiddly for mass production and nothing says Heidi quite like that silver stencil.

As for the twins, I'm starting to think they throw all their efforts each week into one design between them. It's a risky strategy and it can't last - one of them needs to go, and I predict that when that happens, the other won't be far behind. It was a cute jumpsuit though.

I think Kenya was just unlucky this week. She struggled with the brief and silk's a very challenging fabric. That said, I was surprised to see it go so wrong for her, because she's clearly got some sewing chops. Aaron, on the other hand, has some original ideas, but most of them are terrible and he's not much good at making things. And Deyonte had to go. I was surprised when he took the first week over Kenya and he's been mediocre ever since.

Honourable mention for Ayana of course. She has an amazing feel for layers of fabric in motion. Also, I'm liking Samantha for a sleeper and a wild card. I thought at the outset she'd be more cutesy goth than Rodarte, but she's got some good ideas and those pyjamas are delicious.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 5:30 AM on September 10, 2017

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