Yowsa! Gorgeous male models in the work room and Swatch the Mood mascot finally getting the cameo we have been longing for on episode 9 of “Project Runway’s” return on Bravo. This week, the final eight designers were tasked with what was probably the most fun challenge so far on Season 17 — making outlandish performance costumes fit for Sir Elton John circa ’70s and ’80s, whose life is the basis of the upcoming movie “Rocketman.”
As Gold Derby senior editor Daniel Montgomery notes, “First of all, I love the menswear challenges. Not just because of male models, but because it’s fun to watch the show and imagine myself in the clothes. I suppose I could wear one of those long ball gowns and really channel my inner Billy Porter at the Oscars, but menswear challenges are still more up my alley.”
After declaring Swatch Watch over, Daniel and fellow senior editor Susan Wloszczyna get down to the nitty gritty of who was eliminated. “Lela Orr was sent home, which as they announced the bottom three, I’m not surprised by. When everything was coming down the runway, on first look, I couldn’t really tell how good they were because they were all insane. And some of the insane I liked better than others. This was probably my favorite runway of the season.”
“That’s because this was a real (concept),” Susan suggests. “You could define it. You had the costumes from the movie right there. If you didn’t do what that was, pretty much you were on the wrong path — and not on the Yellow Brick Road.”
That is a reference both to John’s song “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” as well as the opening of the episode. “Like they have these Yellow Brick Road stickers on the pavement. They can’t even afford a whole Yellow Brick Road thing.” Given that the designers got a major wad of cash to spend on fabric and bling — $700 — perhaps cost-cutting measures had to be pursued.
As for poor Lela, neither Daniel or Susan disagreed with the choice — even though that means only two women, Tessa Clark and Hester Sunshine, are left standing. Susan especially objected to her model’s none-too-flattering peek-a-boo chaps. “My big problem with it coming down the runway was it was kind of underwhelming,” Daniels observes.
Click on the video above to hear Daniel and Susan’s thoughts on the top design by Garo Sparo, who got his first win, how the return of the eight eliminated designers caused some drama as they acted as assistants (we are talking about you, Sonia Kasparian) and how Cavanagh Baker, whose elimination on the premiere episode was a hotly debated topic, redeemed herself by helping Sebastian Grey — who was not wise in the ways of Elton John — at least make a safe look. And they question Jamall Osterholm‘s rather Muppet-y costume being in the top three.
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