The “Project Runway” designers came in out of the cold in episode five, “High Fashion to High Street.” After last week’s unconventional materials challenge in the woods the dozen remaining contestants stepped up … to the streets. So who finished the challenge on easy street, and who was told to hit the bricks? Find out below in our live blog for all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
“High Street” introduced the designers to Dapper Dan, a Harlem fashion icon who brought together the worlds of sophisticated design and casual streetwear. And that was the challenge: to create their own interpretations of luxury streetwear. But that wasn’t the most difficult part. The designers also had an even bigger time crunch than usual: they only had until midnight that night to finish their looks.
Who rose to the occasion? When Bravo previewed the episode it looked like bad news for Sebastian Grey, who has been a fashion rock star all season, but whose look was shaping up like a “nightmare ‘Aladdin,'” according to Tessa Clark. Even Sebastian knew it wasn’t going well. So after winning “The Future is Here,” getting a high score in “All the Rage,” and even making a great dress out of leaves in “Survive in Style,” maybe streetwear will turn out to be his kryptonite.
Meanwhile, Kovid Kapoor and Sonia Kasparian were looking for redemption after landing in the bottom three last week. And it was even more dire for Kovid since he was in the bottom two, and it was his second time in that precarious position. But the last time he was nearly eliminated he rose to the occasion the following week, so maybe another close call was the motivation he needed to pull out another winner. Find out below what happened to him and the other designers starting at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).
8:02pm — The designers are back in the great indoors, and the designers are relieved to out of the woods and into a hot shower, but Kovid is left without his friend and roommate Afa, who was eliminated last week. Kovid didn’t think he would be eliminated so soon, and neither did we! Tessa thinks it’s time for a “sad challenge,” which might be right up Kovid’s alley right about now.
8:03pm — In comes a message from Karlie Kloss. There are vans waiting downstairs to take them to an undisclosed location — “Project Runway: Extraordinary Rendition Edition.”
8:04pm — Wow, I’m shocked that the designers figured out where they’re going just from the fact that they’re in Harlem. They’re visiting Dapper Dan, who “revolutionized hip-hop fashion,” as Hester points out. Venny is starstruck, but Sebastian is like, “What the f*ck is streetwear?” Um, not a good start.
8:06pm — The challenge is to design a look that reflects their take on luxury streetwear, and they’re clearly all coming from different experience levels. But wait, there’s more. No trip to Mood this week; the fabrics will be provided for them in the workroom. And they only have until midnight tonight to finish their designs. Dapper Dan won’t judge the runway show, but he’ll be back to check in on the designers.
8:09pm — Jamall feels inspired by the challenge because he already has experience in transforming and reimagining streetwear, while Hester is immediately excited by all the materials they have to work with, which is “extra AF.” Lela is inspired by her green, sustainable aesthetic, while Tessa is planning to make harem pants for the first time ever. Garo Sparo is going to include a corset in his design even though it’s not conventionally streetwear. Sounds interesting. He knows his own aesthetic very well.
8:11pm — Afa told Kovid to stay true to himself before he left, so that’s what Kovid is planning to do. Did I mention how mad I am that Afa was eliminated? Kovid will pay tribute to the Asian, black, and Latinx communities that accepted him when he came to the US. And Jamall is doing a dress with an Elizabethan collar … for a streetwear challenge? When I watch “Shakespeare in Love,” I don’t exactly get streetwear from it.
8:12pm — Sebastian doesn’t know what he’s doing, so he’s trying to take inspiration from his youth. Garo Sparo likes seeing Sebastian sweat for a change so maybe Garo can win a challenge for a change. “I think I’m going insane with this challenge,” says Sebastian. I wonder if this is one of those times where a designer stresses out and then their runway look turns out to be a surprise masterpiece … or maybe it will be a disaster.
8:15pm — Venny is a luxury sportswear designer, so he feels like this is his challenge, but that increases the pressure. His design is inspired by the sneakers he wanted but couldn’t afford when he was a kid. Bishme is creating for a “sexy, on-the-go” Baltimore lady inspired by places in his city where he lost friends to violence and prison. Both looks sound like very personal urban concepts, and I love that.
8:20pm — And in comes Christian Sirianno, who digs Renee’s idea of a streetwear version of a tuxedo. He teases Garo Sparo for his tweed, likes Tessa’s lining logo idea, and is a little skeptical Rakan’s idea of a Syrian farmer woman design — me too, Christian. Hester is making a “rococo boxing look,” and Christian is instantly hooked. But Christian isn’t so thrilled about Jamall’s design and “tea party dress” fabric. “Odd yes, interesting no” — I still don’t see any streetwear there.
8:25pm — Kovid is still down in the dumps about Afa’s elimination. Christian encourages him not to beat himself up and to maybe draw inspiration from the color blocking from his very first preview look.
8:26pm — Plot twist! This is a flash sale challenge, so the designers will need to take Instagram photos of their looks, and the winning look as chosen by fans will be sold online. So will the look chosen by the judges.
8:27pm — Rakan is worried that his look will make his model look like he “gave her a penis.” Oh boy — literally.
8:30pm — Jamall has a LOT of quilting he needs to do, and during model fittings Christian is still not convinced by it. Seems like Jamall is in serious trouble this week. Meanwhile, Bishme is worried his look looks like a fast food uniform. But then Christian scolds Rakan and Jamall for taking a snack break. Rakan hasn’t tried much of anything on his model yet. I can’t decide if Rakan is slacking off or if Christian is butting in too much. I guess we’ll find out when he’s done with his look.
8:35pm — Sebastian’s look is coming together, which is a generous way to describe what his look is doing. It looks like he stapled together some handkerchiefs. Rakan thinks it looks like the entire cast of “Aladdin.” Tessa calls it “nightmare ‘Aladdin.’ This is not good.” I’m with you, Tessa.
8:39pm — All the designers are starting to lose it. No time to eat, take a break, or go to the bathroom — so now it’s like “Project Runway: Amazon Warehouse Worker Edition.” Kovid is anxious. Garo Sparo is “pissed off” that he made the challenge so much harder on himself. Hester has a pink hood thing that looks like it could turn out kinda cool. And when they’re all done they go back to their penthouse for some celebratory wine … on empty stomachs. Sounds like a great idea.
8:40pm — I’m glad that we’re getting to know Bishme better this week. He had a rough upbringing and fashion got him through, so he’s inspired by Dapper Dan’s continued commitment to his community. He was excited just to be breathing Dapper Dan’s air. Okay, a little creepy, but still sweet.
8:47pm — The designers have two hours in the morning for finishing touches, and Dapper Dan is back to take a look at their work. He thinks Hester’s work is amazing, and Bishme has a great “electric blue” look. Jamall’s look is still concerning since he still has way too much to do and not enough time to do it. Dapper Dan says Renee’s look is “me all the way.” And he loves Sonia’s “sadomasochistic look” — what the heck is she making? We’ve hardly seen any of her work in progress, and now I’m dying to see what it is. Kovid’s look may not stand out enough, but Dan is excited about both Lela and Garo Sparo’s looks.
8:50pm — Time’s up! Five minutes until the judges come out and Dapper Dan is thrilled about everyone’s work. “It’s the biggest thing since Superman came out of the phone booth,” though I’m worried there are a couple of looks that would be better off left in the phone booth.
8:55pm — Joining Brandon Maxwell, Nina Garcia, Elaine Welteroth and Karlie Kloss is guest judge Brandice Daniel, the founder and president of Harlem’s Fashion Row and Dapper Dan’s personal choice to guest judge the competition.
8:57pm — I dig Hester’s pink boxer look; I think she has really come around this season. Rakan’s look is pretty cool too, though it doesn’t have as much runway impact. Sebastian … oh Sebastian. Karlie says it “feels like luxury streetwear for way too far in the future.” Venny’s look is hot, all black, but detailed and intricate and well fitted — kudos!
8:59pm — Sonia’s look is pretty good too, but I don’t get “sadomasochism” from it and now I’m a little disappointed. Lela’s look lacks visual impact for me; it looks a little like a bathrobe. I don’t hate Jamall’s look for as unfinished as it is. But Bishme’s look is pretty dynamite, especially the jacket. Garo Sparo rocked the runway with that hot corset, and Nina says it’s her favorite.
9:00pm — Kovid’s look is solid, though it too doesn’t make a huge runway impact. Renee ruled though with her street tuxedo. Tessa’s black look is pretty good too. But I have no idea what the judges will do after last week’s weird results.
9:04pm — Lela, Renee, Hester, Sonia, Sebastian and Tessa are all safe — whoa, wait, Sebastian is safe? I don’t want to see him eliminated given how great he has been all season, but the judges thought there were three looks that were worse than that? I’m bracing myself for another weird result for this challenge.
9:04pm — That leaves Kovid, Bishme, Garo Sparo, Jamall, Rakan and Venny as the highest and lowest scores.
VENNY — Elaine thinks the shape is “sophisticated,” and she could see women buying it. Brandice thinks he absolutely belongs on this stage. Nina feels it’s the authentic Venny has been, and his model looks comfortable. It’s the best look his model has ever walked. I agree, he had one of my favorite looks too.
RAKAN — Brandon thinks it’s like a “weird genie in a bottle.” Karlie thinks it needs pockets, and so does Brandon. Elaine doesn’t seen any luxury in his look. It’s “cheap” to her. Nina is disappointed that his look is “way too safe.” But I like it better than they did.
JAMALL — Brandice can’t think of any cool, young black woman who would wear it. Nina doesn’t see any streetwear in it either. Brandon feels the unfinished hems and seams were messy and confused. Jamall struggles with the question of who his client is and what his identity is.
GARO SPARO — Brandice thought it was one of her favorite looks, and it “speaks to the future” of streetwear. Elaine thinks it’s one of the best looks she’s seen from Garo.
BISHME — Karlie loves the logo and loves the silhouette of the jacket. Nina is “crazy about this look” because it’s streetwear that says something. Elaine thinks he paid homage to Dapper Dan’s legacy better than anyone else. And Brandon would die of cardiac arrest if he saw the look on the street — in a good way.
KOVID — Karlie feels Kovid’s inspirations all clashed with each other. Brandice doesn’t think the taste level was there. Nina feels the look is too “suburban.” Kovid is frustrated that he keeps giving the judges looks he’s proud of, but he’s not connecting with them. Brandon still thinks he missed the mark. But I still think it was better than Sebastian’s look. Just sayin’.
9:15pm — During judges’ deliberations, Venny’s look gets more high marks for his flattering silhouette and creative restraint. They’re amazed Garo Sparo made his look in 11 hours. And Bishme’s look could enter the marketplace immediately; his look is impeccable and they were impressed by his commitment to Baltimore.
9:18pm — Onto the bad looks: Rakan simply didn’t express any sense of streetwear. Jamall’s look is unlined, un-hemmed, nothing is finished. And Kovid’s look is “unfortunate” and “all clashes” with bad fabric choices, and maybe he needs time to grow as a designer. And yet, I’m still wondering how Sebastian was safe.
9:23pm — Venny is safe, but not in the top two. The winner of the challenge is … Bishme! That means Garo Sparo is the runner-up. Well deserved given how well he took streetwear and made it both personal and luxe.
9:25pm — Rakan had a low score, but he’s safe. So the designer going home is … Kovid. Poor Kovid. I was a little surprised he was in the bottom three, but once he was in the bottom three I’m not surprised he was eliminated. Three low scores out of five challenges was too much to come back from.
9:28pm — Kovid seems almost relieved now that he has officially gotten the boot. He has been on the edge of elimination so many times already, and now that it’s over and the pressure is off he’s back to his sense of gratitude, warmth, and lightness. I wish we could keep Kovid around in some capacity. Christian is a mentor, Marni Senofonte is a styling consultant, maybe Kovid could be the team cheerleader. The bringer of joy. Go live your best life, Kovid.
9:30pm — Next week’s show will be to create a powerful female video game character. As someone who appreciates cosplay, I can’t wait for that runway. It’s going to be amazing, or terrible, or some combination of both, and I am here for it.
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