For the first time this season on “Project Runway,” it didn’t appear that the eliminated contestant was sad to be sent home. In fact, the usually effervescent Fade Zu Grau spent the entire challenge down in the dumps, brought low by a lack of design inspiration and by homesickness, which we saw when a phone conversation with his husband reduced him to tears.
Perhaps Fade should have tapped into his tearful feelings and applied them to this week’s avant garde design challenge: the “Rainway.” The designers had two days instead of one to create a look that would be worn on a specially designed runway with sprinklers overhead dousing the models with rain. Seeming defeated from the very start, he created a simple dress with circuit-board detailing and a play button applied to the front. The judges might have wished for a stop button.
The problem wasn’t that Fade’s design was ugly or over-the-top. Quite the opposite. Like Samantha Plasencia last week, he was sent home because of how timid his look was, and lacking his usual sense of playfulness and verve – especially deadly for an avant garde challenge. But losing means a sooner-than-expected reunion with his husband, whom Fade had told on the phone, “I’ll be home soon.”
True to the avant garde challenge, the judges’ choice of winner was also unusual and unexpected. They were so divided they picked two champs: Kini Zamora was favored by Heidi Klum and guest judge Caitlin FitzGerald (“Masters of Sex“) for his inverted-umbrella dress, while Sean Kelly, who has now won more challenges than anyone else this season, was backed by Nina Garcia and Zac Posen for a white dressed transformed by running dyes.
Kini was thrilled to have finally won a challenge, especially after Sean arguably stole a victory from him during their rock-wedding collaboration. But they won’t have immunity next week. Korina Emmerich, who won last week’s challenge, was the last designer to enjoy immunity, and she was glad to have it, because her lightning-inspired look left her in the bottom three this week.
Did the judges eliminate the right contestant? And do you think Fade was relieved to leave? Discuss this week’s episode in our forums, and predict below who will win this season.