First, the good news about Last week’s “Project Runway” fifth episode of the season. ’80s icon Cyndi Lauper was an inspired choice as a guest judge and was quite invested in the outcome of the challenge as she got out of her chair to take a closer look at the sewing quality in several outfits. Lauper also was quite forthright about whether the two teams of designers were to make a cohesive runway collection that captured the punk-pop spirit of the decade’s fashions when she rose to the top of the music charts.
But as Gold Derby senior editors Daniel Montgomery and Susan Wloszczyna discuss in the video recap above, most of the designers weren’t — as Lauper’s biggest hit says — having much fun. “Let’s just get to the elimination. Melanie Trygg was sent home after weeks of technically being a contestant on the show. She seemed like a very, very lovely nice human being but we really didn’t get to know her that well in the workroom and we really didn’t get to know her as a designer. Her looks were all pretty different from each other. They never really, at least to me and the judges, distinguished her as a designer with a specific voice.
Susan notes last season there was a contestant who was a minimalist as well — Tessa Clark. But she seemed to adapt better than Melanie. “I guess that means you can’t step outside minimalism? I can’t believe everything she makes is just very plain and simple.” Susan notes that one of her previous designs that flashed by on screen was fairly fancy. Yes, some of the designers are in their 20s and probably weren’t aware of the fashion scene back then. “But they must have seen maybe some kind of archival footage or something.” And, as Daniel notes, “There are at least a dozen sitcoms these days about the ’80s.”
“The Tessa example is a good example. but it goes to show Tessa was able to go pretty far. She was top 5. Even though she was a minimalist designer with that aesthetic, she still adapted herself to most of the challenges. Some better than others. I remember the Elton John challenge — that is one where Tessa struggled because she doesn’t do big dramatic designs. It thought Tessa did better with that challenge than Melanie did with this one.”
Susan also notes the Melanie used strips of fabric that looked like something you would find in a carwash. Daniel, being nice, says, “I thought it gave it a little visual interest.” He also notes that when Melanie left and the judges deliberated, at least Lauper waited until she was gone before saying, “I wouldn’t wear that if I was dead.”
Oh, let’s not leave Mr. Full of Himself Sergio Guadarrama out of the conversation since he got his first low score of the season for his look. “He was the self-appointed team captain for his group and they used a bunch of black and white stripes, some pink,” notes Daniel, “and they were so cohesive, they were getting along well, they thought they were going to win the challenge easily. I sort of had a feeling midway through the challenge that we were in for a misdirect. That team was so confident and the other team was such a mess in terms of working together, I’m like they’re going to flip this around.”
Sure enough, the chaotic team was the winner and Brittany Allen, Victoria Cocieru and Geoffrey Mac were all on the top. Daniel and Susan discuss how happy they were that Geoffrey won since he has been lacking in confidence previously, how glad they were that Sergio finally got dinged for not adhering to the challenge requirements and how insulting to he was to Lauper by telling her, “I design more sophisticated clothes for women over 40” — which is who she is.
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