Greeting the designers at the start of Thursday night’s episode of “Project Runway” were their models, who for the first time this season also served as their clients for the challenge. Having worked with different designers each week, the challenge offered the models the opportunity to take the driver’s seat for once, advising the designers on which direction their creations should head in. So which model-designer partnerships were a success and which collaborations flopped, sending one designer home? Read our recap below of season 16, episode 6, “Models Off Duty,” to find out.
In the spirit of giving the models more authority, host Tim Gunn asked them to each choose the designer they’d like to work with. The first designer chosen was a surprised Samantha Rei, while the last to be picked was twin Claire Buitendorp. The aim of this week’s design would be to take direction from their model clients to create a streetwear look that the model would wear on their day off and post a selfie of themselves in on social media. Indeed, those selfies were provided to the judges as supplemental materials during the week’s runway presentation to help determine who is in and who is out.
Margarita Alvarez began the challenge feeling confident, having been paired with Christina Palavra who she felt a stylistic kinship with. Similarly, Kentaro Kameyama and his client Meisha Brooks bonded over their shared love of Japanese culture and later received a positive critique from Tim in the workroom. Kenya Freeman‘s critique didn’t go as well; her early work for Sanita Anderson worried Tim, prompting him to ask, “Is it even fashion?”
The codependency of the twins Claire and Shawn Buitendorp continued to frustrate the rest of the cast in the workroom this week. According to Kenya, Shawn can’t make a decision on her own garment without first consulting Claire, who Kenya thinks could be a really great designer if she weren’t constantly distracted by having to help her sister. With only two hours left in the challenge, Claire was working on pants for Shawn’s look despite the fact that her own garment was unfinished.
Joining series judges Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen to score this week’s challenge was Georgina Chapman and country singer Kelsea Ballerini. The six designs chosen for a closer look by the judges came from Shawn, Samantha, Margarita, Claire, Kentaro and Kenya. Claire’s look disappointed for its lack of color and for hiding the model’s body in its bagginess, while Shawn’s impressed for its day-to-night versatility and for looking expensive. Zac and Georgina loved the personality and color in Kenya’s look, and Heidi called Kentaro’s design the “coolest by far.” That left Margarita and Samantha as the other two bottom looks along with Claire’s, singled out for adhering too closely to what their clients wanted rather than producing something fashion-forward.
During the up-close looks at the garments, Tim stopped the critique of Claire’s look to address the issue of how Claire had chosen to spend her time during the workday. He explained that Claire decided to help Shawn create the perfect tuxedo pant bottom for her look rather than spend the time on her own outfit that at this point had ended up in the low end of scores. Heidi clarified that the designers are allowed to help one another, but that didn’t stop the judges from feeling frustrated with Claire’s decision.
In the end, the shared work of the twins didn’t play a part in the week’s elimination because both were declared safe. Instead, Kentaro came out on top for his innovative and truly street-styled look. With Margarita and Samantha left as the bottom two, the judges decided that Margarita has more potential moving forward and eliminated Samantha, who they felt had become one-note.
Here are the answers to Gold Derby’s predictions event questions for “Project Runway” #16.06:
Who will be eliminated? Samantha Rei
Who will be in bottom 2, but safe? Margarita Alvarez
Who will win the challenge? Kentaro Kameyama
Who will be challenge’s runner-up? Shawn Buitendorp and Kenya Freeman
Will Tim Gunn use his save? No
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