After an unconventional team challenge on last week’s “Project Runway,” the remaining 14 designers pivoted back to working on their own this week in order to create a look inspired by dance, movement, and innovation in the spirit of the animated film “Leap!” Given the more traditional setup of the challenge, was Shawn Buitendorp able to rebound from her two trips into the bottom, and who came out with the winning look of the week? Read our recap below of season 16, episode 3, “A Leap of Innovation!” to find out.
The trip to Mood Fabrics served as the jumping-off point this week, with the designers selecting the textiles they’d use to create their looks inspired by dance. Margarita Alvarez, Kentaro Kameyama, and Kudzanai Karidza all drew inspiration from dances associated with their native cultures, while Batani-Khalfani used her own personality and experience as a dancer to dictate which direction she’d go in. Shortly after the start of the workday Deyonte Weather suffered a minor setback when his sewing machine needle went straight through one of his fingers, prompting immediate attention from the medical staff. Luckily they were able to patch him up and get him back to work without too much time lost, though it may have limited his ability to do detail work on his design.
During critiques with host and mentor Tim Gunn, Deyonte, Brandon Kee and Kenya Freeman were all propelled forward by positive feedback. Aaron Myers and Margarita prompted more reserved reactions from Tim, who seemed perplexed by their visions and ability to execute them in a fashionable way. Kudzanai’s African culture-inspired look overwhelmed Tim both in terms of color and ideas, but he was still proud of the risk he was taking and seemed excited that it would at the very least be something to “wake up” the judges.
In the final hours of working on their designs, time management became an issue for Deyonte, whose finger injury was slowing him down, and Kudzanai, whose design was proving more time-consuming than he’d anticipated. To help finish her own look, Margarita accepted help from Kentaro who, inspired by the innovative aspects of her design, returned to his own for last-minute tweaks.
On the runway, series judges Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen were joined by dancer and star of “Leap!” Maddie Ziegler. As winner of last week’s challenge, Ayana Ife was afforded immunity this week, though she didn’t need it because she scored in the middle of the pack and was declared safe, as was Shawn who successfully rebounded after back-to-back appearances in the bottom in the first two challenges. The six designers brought back for critiques from the judges were Kentaro, Deyonte, Kudzanai, Batani, Brandon and Margarita.
Batani’s flight and butterfly-inspired look was a top scorer, lauded for its vibrancy and drama. Margarita and Brandon were the other two best designs, both loved for their ability to be bold without the use of bright colors. On the other hand, two of the bottom looks — by Kentaro and Deyonte — were criticized for their over-simplicity; both presented dully in monochrome and without any innovative elements. The third, Kudzanai’s, was the opposite of dull, but in its ambition took on too many ideas with too much embellishment and too much color.
In the end, Brandon was rewarded for his effective execution of simplicity and named the clear winner of the challenge, marking his third straight placement in the top three and giving him immunity for the next challenge. Deyonte and Kudzanai fell into the bottom two of the week, but ultimately it was Kudzanai’s loud and overworked look that the judges liked the least, and he was eliminated, finishing in 14th place for the season.
Here are the answers to Gold Derby’s predictions event questions for “Project Runway” #16.03:
Who will be eliminated? Kudzanai Karidza
Who will be in bottom 2, but safe? Deyonte Weather
Who will win the challenge? Brandon Kee
Who will be challenge’s runner-up? Batani-Khalfani and Margarita Alvarez
Will Tim Gunn use his save? No
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