The field has been cut almost in half on “Project Runway,” with nine designers left going into this week’s show out of the original 16. So who among them survived the latest episode, “Project Runway X Ashley Longshore”? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
This challenge was not for the faint-hearted — or at least not for the understated at heart. That’s because the designers had to collaborate with Ashley Longshore, a pop artist whom Christian Siriano compared to a “modern-day Andy Warhol.” She was also the artist in residence at New York Fashion Week, and the designers had to use her artwork for inspiration in designing this week’s looks.
Coming out of last week’s show, Chelsey Carter was sitting pretty. She won “There is Only One You,” where the designers had to create looks inspired by their personal backgrounds. She was actually the sixth different winner in a row, following victories by Brittany Allen (“Blast Off“), Marquise Foster (“Cats of the Urban Jungle“), Sergio Guadarrama (“Sleigh the Runway“), Victoria Cocieru (“The Ultimate Upcycle“) and Geoffrey Mac (“Sew 80’s“). The only three designers without a challenge win going into this episode were Dayoung Kim, Nancy Volpe-Beringer and Delvin McCray.
So was one of those three destined to exit this week? Maybe, but despite their past challenge wins Guadarrama and Foster were in the bottom twice in the last three challenges. There are few enough designers now that the judges may be running out of benefits of the doubt to give them on an off week. Reputation won’t save you forever. So who made the most of flamboyant pop art, and who (if anyone) did the judges send home? Follow along below starting at 9:00pm (times listed are Eastern).
9:00pm — Man, those pull-up bars in the “Runway” penthouse are getting a workout. Geoffrey in last week’s episode, and now Marquise.
9:01pm — — “This is going into a very different place than anticipated,” said Sergio about getting low scores from the judges twice in a row. “I’m a political designer. I’m not going to change that for anybody. Sometimes the judges are going to get it, sometimes it’s going to piss them off,” but who cares because “I’m living my truth.” Not surprisingly, he has written himself into a narrative where the judges were oppressing him for his politics. But of course what actually happened was that the judges told him they were down with his politics, it’s just that his dress sucked. But pretending to be some kind of “Runway” political dissident makes him look better in his own eyes. Owning up to bad looks would make him look a lot better in everyone else’s eyes, though.
9:03pm — A message comes to the penthouse. The designers are going to Bergdorf Goodman! Delvin has never been to Bergdorf before, which is thrilling for him. Not to brag, but I’ve shopped at the H&M that used to be across the street from Bergdorf, so clearly I’ve made it in the fashion world too.
9:08pm — They judges meet Ashley Longshore, and joining them as well is Linda Fargo, the fashion director for Bergdorf Goodman. Ashley has her artwork displayed at Bergdorf, and the challenge will be to create high-fashion looks using Ashley’s custom prints. She has never seen her art translated into apparel, so she’s excited to see what the designers make of it. Chelsey is thrilled. Nancy feels like the challenge is right up her alley. Chelsey picks her print first since she won the last challenge. She chooses who gets pick second, and she gives the nod to Brittany. Then Nancy (who picks the pink dildo print!), Marquise, Delvin, Victoria (she picks flowers, doesn’t like flowers, but likes the contrast), Dayoung, Geoffrey (takes him a while to figure out those are nipples), and finally Sergio. “Sergio gets chosen last, and I don’t think it needs to be explained,” says Delvin. Indeed it does not, Delvin.
9:09pm — It’s a two-day challenge, which is a welcome relief after last week’s one-day challenge. They’ll be shopping at Mood for other fabrics, but they’ll need to make sure Ashley’s print is the star of the show. Nancy is going to be making a dildo pant, which sounds crazy, but hey, that’s what was on Ashley’s print. And since she did so well mixing prints last week in the personal heritage challenge, I think she can make that work.
9:11pm — At Mood,, Victoria hides from Christian while shopping. She hates prints, so she doesn’t want to use it too much. It’s weird for me to imagine a designer who just hates prints outright. It would be like if a writer refused to ever use prepositions — kinda limiting, I think. Meanwhile, Geoffrey is “playing up the nipples.” Nipples and dildos on the runway!
9:14pm — “Move along,” says Delvin about Sergio giving Chelsey advice that sounds completely wrong to him. Delvin can be a little self-important sometimes, but I love him calling out Sergio on his BS. We need that in the workroom with Tyler Neasloney gone. Delvin absolutely has his number.
9:15pm — Nancy is making a coat and Ashley thinks it sounds “fun.” And she’s super excited by Geoffrey’s “nipples!” But then she’s worried about the “literalness of the nipples” as he explains his nipple sleeves. Me too. So “no more 3D nips, just quiet nips,” says Geoffrey. Good call.
9:17pm — Dayoung’s look is “badass” and “chic … I cannot wait to see this.” Delvin is inspired by his struggle with depression and is using the busy print to translate the chaos of a depressed mind, but Ashley is worried when hearing about his plans that he’s taking on too much work for himself. Ashley loves how structured Victoria’s idea is, but she worries Victoria isn’t going to use the print enough.
9:18pm — Before Ashley leaves, she tells the judges they can start grabbing whatever bedazzling materials and accessories they want. Rhinestones everywhere!
9:20pm — Ashley has left them another surprise: food and drinks right outside their workroom at the end of the day. Then they practice their own personal runway walks just for fun, and of course Victoria finishes in the top with that too.
9:24pm — Dayoung wakes up feeling cold, similar to the time she went to the emergency room a few weeks ago. She doesn’t want much breakfast, so it doesn’t sound like she has much of an appetite either.
9:25pm — I like what Brittany is doing with her 3D butterflies. She says she has always been a little extra, so this challenge definitely suits her.
9:26pm — Time to get the mentor’s point of view. He suggests that Dayoung do a very exaggerated sleeve on this coat, since she has done coats before. He’s also worried about Marquise’s white top under his coat since there’s no stretch in that fabric.
9:29pm — Christian thinks Brittany’s 3D butterflies are “divine.” But he’s worried about how oversized Nancy’s reversible coat is turning out; she’s sticking to her guns, though. And yes, he too thinks Victoria needs to incorporate the print more than she’s currently doing. But she’s still cranky about the existence of printed fabrics; she doesn’t want it to be too busy, and this is the wrong challenge for that mindset. Chelsey thinks Victoria is being too stubborn about the fabrics too, and she doesn’t understand how Victoria keeps getting top scores with the same silhouettes.
9:30pm — Dayoung’s energy is completely depleted, she insists she’s okay, but she is definitely not okay. Her stomach hurts, so she’s not eating enough. Geoffrey thinks she’s starting to look like “E.T. from that scene where he’s dying.” C’mon, Dayoung, ask for help!
9:35pm — The medics are finally on hand. They ask Dayoung how she’s feeling, and she says she’s mentally fine, but like her “well” or “fountain” hasn’t been maintained. Basically, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. But she keeps insisting that she’s okay because she doesn’t want to give up her dream of going to Fashion Week. But at this rate the epitaph on her grave will be “I’m fine.”
9:36pm — Christian is still concerned with the exposed seams on Victoria’s look — she’s got a funky chain thing she’s using, but Christian thinks she’s not using it well. She’s still thrown off by her print, but I still can’t understand how a fashion designer could be so categorically opposed to print.
9:36pm — Meanwhile, Sergio is making a looking to make a dress symbolizing transgender people’s struggle being their true selves. His dress doesn’t look bad so far, but his message isn’t coming through even a tiny little bit, and I think I understand why now. He has no idea how to actually symbolize complex political ideas in clothes, but saying his looks are political makes him and his work seem more important, and lets him deflect criticism (“They just don’t like my politics” instead of having to consider, “Maybe I didn’t do a good job”).
9:37pm — Christian loves the idea of Geoffrey’s look, but the execution looks like an “oven mitt.” It’s this big voluminous, marshmallow, potato thing. Could turn out great, but he definitely needs to refine that design and give it a better shape. I hope it comes together, because it could be really fun and weird.
9:40pm — Delvin’s look is “a little ‘Golden Girls’ pajamas,” says Christian. I think he’s right. It’s coming off old-fashioned, a lot like last week’s disastrous look. But just the few adjustments Christian suggests make it look a whole lot better right away. Fingers crossed. Full disclosure, though, I would totally wear “Golden Girls” pajamas. He keeps working on his look, though and there’s a lot of ruffles there. It could be kind of a hot mess if he doesn’t pull it together, but Ashley’s mood is infectious and he feels like it’s inspiring him in a new way, and I’m totally down with that. But Dayoung is still behind, and I don’t want her out just because she doesn’t have the energy to finish in time.
Morning of the Runway
9:45pm — Dayoung feels like she has a little more energy. she explains that she knows she has to eat throughout the day but feels like there’s never enough time. Girl, eat! Someone get Alan Gonzalez back into the workroom, not to design, just to pass her snacks throughout the challenges. She needs a self-care coach.
9:48pm — Christian’s back wearing a colorful print shirt that I 100% want to wear. Oh, and the models are back too. I guess that’s kinda important. Victoria is happy she’s finished, so she’s helping Dayoung finish hers, partly because Victoria actually likes Dayoung’s look more than she likes her own. Elsewhere, it looks like Delvin is doing away with his ruffle, and Sergio is preparing his transgender symbolism cocoon — oy. And Nancy is creating on a wine pocket, a phone pocket, and a dildo pocket in her coat. “Every coat needs a dildo pocket!” she and Christian say in unison. Bring it, Nancy! I wonder if they actually have dildos on the accessory wall because that would be the greatest runway reveal in the history of the show.
9:50pm — Marquise is struggling to fit his top onto his model. He’s self-taught, so he doesn’t have a lot of experience with darting. I think Geoffrey’s look is coming together better … maybe? But OMG, Dayoung’s look turned out pretty fantastic with Victoria’s help. And Sergio’s cocoon look isn’t bad either. I kinda hope he’s safe because I don’t want to hear him explain his politics to the judges again.
9:57pm — First up, kinda loving Brittany’s look — great use of the print, with a cool asymmetrical skirt. I kinda like Geoffrey’s too. It’s better after he defined his model’s waist. Not sure what the judges will think. Could come off as juvenile, but I think it works. Hmmm, I have mixed feelings about Delvin’s pantsuit. It’s kinda just a pantsuit but in that bold print. Looks good, but doesn’t feel innovative.
9:58pm — I like Marquise’s look too. I’m not sure if the judges will notice the problems he had with it, but I thought the jacket was great. Nancy’s look has a lot going on, maybe a little too voluminous, but god bless DD for selling that runway twirl and reveal with that reversible coat. Chelsey’s dress is good; the skirt looks a little crooked in a way that doesn’t feel as deliberate as others, but otherwise solid work.
9:59pm — Now for Victoria’s look. I don’t hate it. but it’s so similar to what she usually does, and the pants could be more flattering. Dayoung’s look is really gorgeous, though. I hope the judges like it, because after last week’s breakthrough, I feel like she’s starting to be on a roll. And we close with Sergio’s cocoon reveal. It’s actually a really nice dress. Good job, Sergio, now just shut up about it.
10:01pm — Dayoung, Victoria, Delvin, Marquise, Nancy, and Brittany are the best and worst of the challenge. That means Sergio, Geoffrey, and Chelsey are safe. Sergio looks like he’s moping about having a safe look. Geoffrey says “Safe is just fine,” and Chelsey agrees, “Safe is amazing.” Sergio is grimacing. To be fair though, it looks like this could just be selective editing of Sergio reaction shots just to make him look like a sore not-winner-or-loser.
DELVIN — Ashley loves what he diid with it: a simple design that expresses the “joy” of what he was doing. Elaine was happy to see him happy, she loved the color and print choice. Karlie admired the double lapel that was very Delvin; there were many “amazing details … You really nailed it.” Nina thought the model looks incredible, and that color and print are his friend. Brandon thinks tailoring is his strongest suit and he should stick to that.
VICTORIA — She’s actually on the bottom for this challenge. Ashley thinks it’s cool, but it’s “not your banger of a thing you have inside of you.” Nina is “disappointed” because Victoria didn’t try to work outside of her comfort zone. Brandon thought the hardware was too much. Elaine thought the styling was all over the place with the weird earring and chain-link belt.
DAYOUNG — Nina loved the look, and she loves it more knowing that it’s Dayoung’s. Her favorite part was the silhouette, and how it worked with the print. Karlie appreciated the more-is-more approach. But Brandon thinks the dress under the coat was more of an afterthought. She does give Victoria credit for helping her finish her look: “She’s my Wonder Woman,” Dayoung says. It wasn’t Brandon’s favorite, though he thought the garment was “beautiful.”
NANCY — Ashley loves Nancy’s enthusiasm. I love the judges’ reaction to the dildo pocket. But Ashley didn’t think the outfit really “fit right.” Elaine also thinks the model “is getting swallowed up in this fabric.” When the big coat comes off, though, Ashley loves the pants, and she thinks the whole look “became chic as hell.” Elaine also thinks it’s better without the jacket. “The pants flood my basement,” says Ashley, meaning exactly what you think she means. Can we keep Ashley forever? Do we even need other judges?
MARQUISE — Nina thinks the coat is a “tent,” and she wants to see it with the coat off, which is when he reveals the trouble with the darting. Brandon thinks “the darting is unfortunate. All I saw was two nipple darts and bees.” Nina doesn’t see Marquise’s personal style in the design because Ashley’s print is all there is. I’m a little surprised. Darting aside, I liked his look better than Delvin’s.
BRITTANY — Ashley loves how she celebrated the print: “You get me.” Elaine says it was her favorite look of the runway. Brandon thinks Brittany did an incredible job pleating the skirt by hand, though he might have liked it better in a chiffon, but it “looks absolutely beautiful.” Karlie says this was the most passionate she’s seen Brittany. “This is what a successful collaboration looks like,” says Nina. Sounds like we have a winner, and deservedly so.
10:16pm — I have a feeling Marquise is out. They liked Nancy’s look once she ditched the coat, and I’m pretty sure they’ll let Victoria off with a warning. That’s a shame because I kinda liked Marquise’s design.
10:19pm — Everyone loved Dayoung’s look, but she got one of Brandon’s lowest scores, so let’s replace Brandon with Ashley! Karlie thought Delvin was “executed to perfection,” but I still don’t quite see it. Well made, but nothing revolutionary. However, Brandon thought it was a great collaboration, and Nina says Delvin’s strength is great fabrics with pared-down elegant construction. But “it’s Brittany, bitch!” says Ashley, and I agree with that.
10:21pm — Elaine thought Victoria’s was the worst. Nina didn’t recognize it was even hers to which Brandon incredulously says, “Another bandage cutout top, you didn’t recognize it?” Okay, Brandon, you can stay because he’s totally right. Ashley thought it was “a bad waitress at a really cheesy restaurant at South Beach.” Elaine insists Marquise “wasn’t that bad,” to which Brandon offers her his glasses. I’m with Elaine on this one. It wasn’t terrible. But Nina thought the coat looked heavy, and Brandon thought the darting was “unforgivable.” Karlie didn’t think the bees were bad either. So it’s a fairly mixed decision with that look. Ashley thought Nancy had the worst look overall, which is weird because the only thing any of them really seemed to dislike was the coat. She’d better not be eliminated.
10:25pm — The winner is … Brittany! Well-deserved. I think the judges nailed it with this one. Delvin and Dayoung as safe too of course. This makes Brittany the first designer of the season to get two challenge wins.
10:28pm — Victoria is safe like I thought — let off with a warning after weeks of high scores. But she’s still upset after having landed in the bottom. So the eliminated designer is … Marquise. Very sad to see him go. Karlie tells him it wasn’t an easy decision since he’s “so incredibly talented.” This now makes Marquise the first designer to be eliminated after winning a challenge.
10:28pm — Again, no Siriano Save, which isn’t surprising. There hasn’t been a super controversial runway outcome this season yet.
10:30pm — Next week the designers have to make an editorial look with sheer fabrics, and once again Dayoung will have to be attended to by medics — they should let her bow out and bring her back next season. She clearly deserves to be on the show, and I hope she’s not struggling with some kind of chronic condition, but her body just doesn’t seem to be cooperating. And once again Victoria seems like she”ll be overwhelmed by the requirements of the challenge.
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