Nancy Volpe-Beringer knows more than anyone that it’s better late than never. The 64-year-old designer is the oldest contestant in “Project Runway” history, and then in “Olympic Game Plan,” after 11 weeks of waiting, she finally won a design challenge. And even though she hasn’t gotten much love from the judges or her fellow designers for her overall aesthetic, she currently has fewer low scores than anyone else in the competition. But is that enough to get her into the finale?
Volpe-Beringer has landed at the bottom of the judges’ scores only twice — in “Project Runway X Ashley Longshore” and “Suit Yourself” — and in both cases she was in the bottom two and narrowly escaped elimination. But those were her only missteps. Besides those results, she was safe five times and received three other high scores: in “The Ultimate Upcycle” (she was the runner-up), “Sheer Genius” (she was the runner-up) and “Live and Let Tie Dye” (she was in the top three).
As far as I’m concerned, she hasn’t made a single look this season that wasn’t at least presentable, though you could argue that her designs are more ready-to-wear than her edgier competitors. And that’s the part that may trip her up heading into episode 12 when the judges decide which four designers move on to the Fashion Week finale. They won’t be deciding who has made the fewest mistakes, per se, they’ll be deciding who they want to see a full collection from. And other designers this season like Victoria Cocieru and Geoffrey Mac have bigger, bolder design aesthetics.
But the avant garde challenge is next, so it could be the opportunity Volpe-Beringer needs to show the judges she can go big, or else she might go home.
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