Last week on Project Runway, Tim Gunn used his save to bring Char back. She proceeded to come back and make a completely pedestrian look, but at least she was safe I guess.

Product Placement

For this week’s challenge, the contestants are to push the boundaries of design for an avant-garde challenge. They’re to use a certain curved HD television (which I’m not getting paid to mention, so I won’t) to inspire them to be cutting edge and innovative.

And for an extra little twist, their models will walk down the runway in the rain this week. It will be a “rain-way” show, if you will. They’ll have to use waterproof textiles and they get two whole days for the challenge.

At Mood everyone is bumping into one another because they’re all shopping in the same section. They also struggle to carry their heavier materials out of the store. And Swatch is there. Yay Swatch! 

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Rain, Rain (Don’t) Go Away

The first thing Amanda thinks of when she thinks of rain is Cleopatra watching the Nile flood and her city drown. Of course she thinks that, she’s so quirky and zany and just soooo Amanda, remember? She plans on making hieroglyphic graphics on the dress, and Tim just cautions her to be careful of their placement (mostly to avoid putting big, red Egyptian eyeballs on the crotch of the dress).

At first, Alexander didn’t want to choose to do something as simple as a floral theme, but Tim encourages him to go with it in his critique. And Char is making something that has big and blocky details on the front.

Kini is really irritated that not only has he not won a challenge yet, but he was on the bottom last week. He’s designing an upside-down umbrella skirt that gets wider from bottom to waist. He also wants to make a huge over-sized hat so his model’s face doesn’t get wet.

Sean has big ideas for this challenge, too. He’s designing a white dress with a layer of mesh that will conceal powdered dye. His plan is for the dye to bleed when it gets wet in the rain. Tim thinks it’s a spectacular idea but it’s risky since he doesn’t know if it will work for sure. He’s worried because when he starts to put the dye in his garment, some of the color bleeds through. He’s hoping it still manages to have the desired effect on the runway.

Sandhya is making a neon-colored jumpsuit that is inspired by the colored lines on a dead air TV. Tim is a little concerned that it’s made of too many bold colors with little relief. She assures Tim that she’ll be breaking up the colors with a jacket. But her jacket is a little weird. It’s metallic pinwheels attached to a clear coat. Okay, it’s a lot weird. But it’s an avant-garde challenge so maybe it has a shot?

Emily is doing Emily for this challenge. Which means a rain coat cat suit that looks like armor. I don’t know what else to say. It looks bad ass.

Since she has immunity, Korina is taking this opportunity to experiment. Since she did so well on the last challenge, she’s taking inspiration from her home in the Northwest again. She’s making a dress that looks like a fabled Thunderbird — she even wants to give her wings. Tim thinks that it will be too literal and I think it looks like a stupid superhero. She decides to re-work it the next day by adding a bunch of metallic circles to it. I think it’s dumb, but again, it’s an avant-garde challenge. Who knows what the judges are going to like.

Poor Fade is feeling completely uninspired by this challenge. He has a plain gray dress with a “play” button in the middle to show Tim for his critique, which renders him completely speechless. Tim says it’s way too blank and Fade really needs to add to the volume to address the guidelines for this challenge.

The stress of the competition starts to get to Fade. He calls his husband and tells him he thinks he’ll be coming soon and then gets emotional. He manages to get his design to a place where he feels comfortable. But it still looks like a simple dress with nothing innovative or unique about it.

At the end of the first day, the designers take advantage of not being too stressed out to get some wine and snacks and enjoy each other’s company on the roof. They all notice that the competition’s getting stiffer and their numbers have already decreased by half. We’ve come so far! 

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Rock the Rain-Way

Joining Heidi, Zac and Nina this week on the judging panel is Masters of Sex star Caitlin Fitzgerald. Lucky for them, they have spots far enough away from the runway to stay dry.


Kini- Heidi thinks that his umbrella dress was a super clever idea that shows imagination. Nina thinks it’s sublime and loves the drama. Zac thinks that he’s very talented and he loved what he made tonight.

Sandhya- Heidi says that this look made her happy when she saw it on the runway and it was very clear that it was Sandhya who made it. Zac agrees that she has a strong signature, but sometimes he wishes the look underneath all of the creativity were a little more sophisticated.

Sean- Fortunately for Sean, his idea paid off and the dye bled into his dress on the rain-way just like he planned. Heidi loves the special moment he created and Caitlin thinks that it’s a piece that would definitely have people talking. Nina says she loves the way he thinks and how he used the elements to change the dress.


Korina- None of the judges are impressed with the look. Caitlin thinks the metallic circles would have looked so much better had they actually been metal not a such a flimsy material. Nina says it had potential but it looked unfinished. Zac says she’s lucky she had immunity.

Fade- No one really knows what to say about his look. Nina says the play button doesn’t make it feel modern, just gimmicky. Caitlin says there’s no playful connection to the rain. Zac says it’s boring and doesn’t feel electric in any way.

Emily- Zac doesn’t think Emily’s look was a success. He says it felt like a cliche fashion show and the sculpting and the shaping don’t feel impactful. Caitlin doesn’t think it’s a cohesive look and Nina thinks it’s dated. Heidi doesn’t hate it as much, but says we’ve seen too many versions of this before for it to be considered anything special.

While they’re waiting for the judges to decide, the designers commiserate about their critiques. Sandhya maintains that while other designers may be called out for being too referential in their looks, that’s never an issue for her. It may have been a little tactless (it definitely seemed to annoy her fellow competitors) for the most part it’s true. It can’t be said that she’s ever made something that wasn’t completely true to her own vision, whether people like what she makes or not.

In the end, the judges can’t decide who should win between Sean and Kini. So they settle on letting them both win this challenge.

Unfortunately Korina couldn’t be sent home this week (UGH). So it’s between Emily and Fade. And it’s really clear to see that Fade’s is the losing design. It’s too bad he wasn’t inspired by this challenge. I’ve liked a lot of what he’s made up until now.

Are you squeeing about next week’s American Girl challenge? I know I am! That’s one product I’m happy to endorse. 

Project Runway airs every Thursday at 9pm on Lifetime.

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(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV