I love an unconventional material challenge as much as the next Project Runway fan, but it’s also nice to get back to what the designers are really good at. Well, what most of them are good at, that is…

We start with all of the designers feeling bad for Kerry because they think Sandhya should have gone home. Too bad she had immunity, which as unfair as it may be, is part of the game.

Happy Anniversary

On the runway, Tim tells them that it’s Marie Claire magazine’s 20th anniversary. All of the judges talk about what they were up to in 1994. Heidi was just starting off as a model in NYC and Nina had just gotten a job as an office assistant at Marie Claire. Meanwhile Tim (who looked exactly the same) was a teacher and Associate Dean at Parsons, and Zac (who was only 14) was just discovering fashion. Awww.

Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, Anne Fulenwider, talks to them about how fashion is cyclical. She says she was into grunge in 1994 — to Tim’s horror — and that it’s making a comeback now.

The challenge for this week is for the designers to take an inspiration from their past and create a look for the future. More specifically, what they think fashion will be like in 20 years from now. They have one day for the challenge and they get to make their first visit to Mood! 

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Blast From the Past

When they get back to the work room, the wall is completely covered with pictures of all the designers from 1994. Alexander’s picture is of him as a baby, because he was, well, a baby. Emily and Fade, on the other hand, have some seriously fashion-forward/embarrassing pictures of them as young adults.

Sandhya is trying to move on from last week and she accepts that not many people in the work room like her. But she’s on a mission to do her best and resolves not to care what anyone thinks. She decides on making a semi-fitted shift dress with an embellished seam. In the process, she tells Tim about an idea to use a safety pin stripe/fringe and he tries to discourage her.

Samantha thinks the future is a cold and dark place so she’s making a dark turtleneck that reflects that. Char is making a pantsuit for the future woman who has broken all of the rules and restrictions of fashion.

While everyone is making dark looks for the future, Mitchell wants to make something bright and fun that represents global warming… because that’s so much more optimistic? He’s making a wet-suit-like jumpsuit made of neoprene. He originally wants to make a short, voluminous skirt, but Tim talks him out of it saying that it would cheapen the look by making it look like a tu-tu.

Kristine is inspired by the movie Clueless (who isn’t?). She’s doing a crop top and a high-waisted skirt with an army green jacket. She also wants to give the jacket floating straps, but Tim doesn’t see her vision. He tells her no matter what, just be confident with what you’re showing the judges.

Before becoming a designer, Angela worked on Wall Street. How this bundle of nerves managed that, we may never know. She’s making an updated blazer with a one-sided lapel. Shock of all shocks, she’s picked out muted nude colors. Another shock: she’s running around like a crazy person before the runway show. Her fellow designers find her negative energy and constant scurrying distracting.

Emily is re-creating something she made in the ’90s. She calls it an “Ewok hoodie,” and she wants her model to be able to detach it and use it as a purse on the runway. Tim suggests that her jumpsuit and cape are strong looks on their own and that transformation idea is too gimmicky. She decides to scrap it.

Sean thinks the future is going to be cluttered, so people will seek cleaner and simpler fashion to eliminate the clutter via clothing. He’s making a minimalist dress and a jacket in a dour navy color. He finishes his look with some time leftover so he decides to make a dress. But the only fabric he has left is his Mood bag, so he uses that.

Amanda is glad to have an advantage over her fellow designers. Not just because she has immunity, but that she’s here to win. She’s making a weird bra top with a sheer shirt over it and bell bottoms. That’s right. Bell bottoms. Oof.

Alexander takes inspiration from his mother, who raised him as a single parent. He wants to make a dress for a warrior woman so he chooses chunky knit for the skirt and leather for the top. The top looks well constructed and interesting, but the leather is puckering quite badly. When he tries it on his model, it gives her a “uniboob” and he knows he can’t send her down the runway looking like that. He decides to scrap the whole thing at the last minute and make a leather harness top with the knit skirt. He’s worried that he won’t be able to complete is look in time for the runway show. 

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The Future is Now

The guest judges this week are Marie Claire editor Anne Fulenwider and British photographer Amanda de Cadenet. Amanda seems like she’s trying extra hard to be snotty to the designers, therefore I will pretty much ignore her. You can save your try-hard snark for your after show, Amanda. At least then I can change the channel before you start talking.

Before the judges dismiss the safe designers, Heidi calls out Amanda. She tells her that her look was no good, and she’s very lucky she had immunity tonight. None of the judges liked her look. Girl. What did you expect them to say about your bell bottoms?


Sandhya– Nina thinks her look is just beautiful and likes the choice of color. It’s strange because when I saw it, I thought, “I might like that if it weren’t that pale pink.” More evidence that I have no idea what the judges are thinking this season. While Zac and Anne also loved her play of metallics and textures, Heidi didn’t love it as much, though she said it was memorable.

Emily– Heidi thinks the look is stunning and Anne just loves the coat. She thinks the model looks like a superhero. Zac thinks the simplicity is refreshing, but Nina feels like she’s seen the same jumpsuit a hundred times.

Kristine– Nina wants to wear the look right off the runway. She likes the army green contrasted with the pure white, but she warns Kristine about her accessorizing and styling. This is Heidi’s favorite look because she loves that it’s short and super sexy. Zac thinks it may not be as futuristic as the challenge calls for.


Angela– Zac thinks that her model looks like a stewardess from the future. He appreciates her ideas, but the clean tailoring required of that look takes time. Anne says she’s always looking for a modern take on a suit, but this is just too boring. Heidi says it’s messy, unfinished, and the color is sad.

Alexander– None of the judges have kind things to say about Alexander’s look. Heidi says it looks like an old rag or blanket. Zac calls it a maternity potato sack. They are relieved to hear that this wasn’t his original vision.

Sean– Heidi especially is disappointed in Sean. She looks like she got caught in the rain. The dress is so wrinkly, and the crooked hem is just unacceptable. Zac likes the hat, but Heidi says it would have been better if he ran out time so the hat would never have been made. Zac says his model looks like Mary Poppins went shopping at Prada. 

And the Winner Is…

The judges name Sandhya the winner of the challenge. Look, I’m rooting for Sandhya. I think she’s sweet and charming as all get-out with a really unique perspective. But I cannot get on board for either one of her winning looks. One thing I can agree with the judges about is that her looks are certainly different from everyone else’s. I guess that’s saying something.

And Angela is sent packing, which is really the best for everyone. Tim sums it up nicely when he he asks her to clean up her work space; she’s a talented person, but this is not an environment that she can thrive in.

Next week: looks brought to you by Red Robin. Because sponsors! 

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(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV