The remaining 15 designers on “Project Runway” weren’t expecting an unconventional-materials challenge this early in the competition. It brought out the best in some of them and the worst in others. Ultimately, Amanda Valentine, given a second chance on the show after competing in season 11, won the challenge – her first ever – while Carrie Sleutskaya left in angry protest. But did she really deserve to take the fall for a case of poor teamwork?
At the start of the episode, the designers woke up to learn that they would take in a matinee at the Village East Cinemas. There, Tim Gunn announced the week’s challenge: contestants would be broken up into teams of three and design cinema-inspired collections using materials from the movie theater.
Right away, it was clear Silver Team members Kristine Guico, Korina Emmerich, and Amanda were on the same wavelength, brainstorming ambitious sci-fi-inspired looks that utilized everything from transparent lettering to duct tape. Gunn initially doubted their ability to complete their ambitious projects, but judges raved about their original, cohesive designs.
The opposite was true for the Red Team, which included Hernan Lander, last week’s challenge winner Sandhya Garg, and Carrie. The trio of outsize personalities clashed throughout the challenge, though Sandhya always seemed to be the odd woman out. Most of her rivals were still scratching their heads over her victory in the first challenge, and Hernan and Carrie fought hard to rein her in when she tried to develop her own ideas. An overwhelmed Sandhya even sought Gunn’s advice after her teammates reduced her to tears.
After Gunn checked in on the group and noted their lack of cohesion, they fell in line behind Hernan, whom Gunn later described as “intractable” when explaining the Red Team debacle to judges. Hernan constructed a dress out of film stock, and Carrie and Sandhya created variations of the same theme, but Heidi Klum thought the dresses were virtually identical, and Zac Posen said the shapes were a mess. Nina Garcia told Sandhya she was lucky: as the winner of the previous challenge, she was immune from elimination, and her dress was the worst of all.
Because Sandhya was automatically safe, it was Carrie who got the axe, but she didn’t go quietly. She told the judges they were making a mistake, and she made no secret of her belief that Sandhya should have been sent home instead.
But did Sandhya deserve her wrath? No one understood her creative choices during the first challenge, but she won it anyway, and despite that, Carrie and Hernan remained unreceptive to her input.
Then again, perhaps all three members of the Red Team were victims of bad luck. While the Silver Team had the advantage of their instant rapport, Hernan, Carrie, and Sandhya may have been too incompatible to have had any hope of creating a cohesive collection in just one day. Were they doomed from the start?
What did you think of the judges’ decision? Do you agree with Carrie that Sandhya should have been sent home? Should Hernan have taken the blame? Or was Carrie really the weakest link?
More importantly, who do you think will go home next week? Make your predictions below.