Last week “Project Runway” designers created looks with the flamboyant prints of pop artist Ashley Longshore, but this week’s challenge went to the opposite extreme. Instead of bold prints, the designers worked with sheer fabrics. So who stunned with see-through looks in “Sheer Genius,” and who did the judges see no more potential in? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
The season started with 16 designers and the field has been cut in half with only eight remaining. So who impressed the judges the most this time around? Last week Brittany Allen became the first designer to win two challenges, while Dayoung Kim and Delvin McCray also received high scores. However, Dayoung and Delvin are among the only three designers who haven’t won a single challenge yet (the other is Nancy Volpe-Beringer). And Dayoung has struggled with intermittent health challenges all season that have made it a struggle for her to even complete her designs. It’s only going to get more difficult from here.
Just ask Marquise Foster. He won the “Cats of the Urban Jungle” challenge but was eliminated anyway in “Longshore.” He was joined in the bottom three by Nancy and Victoria Cocieru, neither of whom had ever been at the bottom before that. Can Nancy and Victoria redeem themselves after their close brushes with elimination? And will mentor Christian Siriano ever use his save to overturn a judges’ decision? Follow along below starting at 9:00pm (times listed are Eastern).
9:02pm — Dayoung wakes up feeling like she ran a marathon. The competition is “wearing me down. I just wish I had a different body.” Well that doesn’t sound good. Victoria is recovering too from being at the bottom for the first time and feeling like none of her high scores even matter. Delvin thinks she has to “get over it,” but I can relate to that feeling like you’re only as good as the last thing you got wrong.
9:05pm — Time for the challenge: Karlie and Brandon are both there to introduce the designers’ task this week. Brandon realized “from a very early age that there’s nothing more important than making the woman feel good” in his designs. “That should always be your end goal.” But there’s a trend of sheer fabric being used to highlight women’s bodies, so the challenge is to “create an editorial look using sheer fabric.” “What is sheer?” Victoria asks. Not a good sign. Karlie is wearing a sheer outfit as she gives them the challenge, but it’s not especially revealing, and Brandon explains, “There is a way to be sexy that’s not so obvious. I’m ready to be wowed.”
9:06pm — The designers get to pick their own models. Brittany won the last challenge, so she gets to pick her own: Severine. The rest of the designers get to decide next in random order as decided by the dreaded button bag: Delvin picks Yuen, Geoffrey goes with Thijin (everyone else is super jealous, as they should be, because she’s a boss), Chelsey picks Jessica, Nancy picks DD (to redeem herself from her bottom look with DD last week), Sergio picks Nora, Victoria picks Asia, and Dayoung gets Stephanie by default. The designers will work directly with their models to make sure the models are comfortable with their looks, but this is a one-day challenge, and this will be the last time someone is awarded immunity for winning the challenge.
9:08pm — “I feel sick in my stomach,” says Dayoung as soon as it’s time to consult with models. The producer calls a medic to the cast lounge immediately. Geoffrey says, “I know she was really hungry earlier … It’s really intense. I am worried for her.” So am I. I can’t assume what her condition is, but it is concerning how her not eating has been a recurring observation when her health and energy levels drop dangerously low. Whatever is happening may be more than just the pressure of the competition.
9:11pm — “My body is telling me, you’ve done enough,” Dayoung explains. “At the end of the day, I’m a human before a designer.” So it’s official: Dayoung has decided to leave the competition to focus on her health. “We just want you to be okay,” says Brittany. “It makes me really sad, but I love you so much.” Everyone is sad to see her go, and it breaks my heart too. I hope she recovers, and if the show is renewed for another season and she’s up for it, I hope they invite her to return.
9:14pm — Geoffrey thinks bowing out was the right choice, and everyone is in shock. That leaves seven designers in the competition, but I wonder what this means for the challenge. Will there be an elimination? Will there still be immunity? Will Christian get a chance to use his save? The show must go on, so it’s time for the designers to consult with their models. Nancy is doing a “super prom fantasy” dress for DD, who never got to go to their prom, but she knows her finishings need to be spot on with unforgiving sheer fabric. Sergio learns that Nora is German and married into a Chinese family, so he’s going to use that story for his design and goodness I’m worried about how many cultures he’s thinking about appropriating in one look. But he’s confident he’s going to “take the gold for this one.” That’s true about every challenge, though, so …
9:15pm — Chelsey designs everyday looks, so she knows she needs to stretch herself for this editorial design. Geoffrey isn’t entirely sure what he’ll be doing; all his knows is the color palette from a pair of earrings he picked. Sounds like he’s got another panicky Mood adventure in his very near future.
9:16pm — Time for Mood, and a major twist: because Dayoung withdrew from the competition, someone else is coming back! And that designer is … commercial break, dammit!
9:20pm — The returning designer is Marquise! After that buildup, it wasn’t hard to guess they’d bring back the last designer who was eliminated. Hooray! I really liked Marquise, so hopefully he won’t just be eliminated all over again right away. That would be a huge bummer. But Christian makes it clear that this is not a Siriano Save, it’s strictly because of Dayoung’s withdrawal. Marquise will inherit Dayoung’s model, Stephanie, and he’ll consult with her after his shopping trip.
9:23pm — Victoria isn’t sure how transparent a fabric should be to be considered sheering. She’s making an asymmetrical shirt dress — which from her sketch looks like literally everything she has designed this season. Geoffrey’s idea seems to have come together. He’s still reeling from Dayoung’s departure after spending time trying to help her in recent weeks. Chelsey wants to stuff her look with orange feathers, but Christian advises her to have a plan B. Chelsey asks the cashier to pray for her. I have a feeling she’ll be fine, but it sounds like she’s building a Muppet.
9:24pm — Stephanie is fine with a sheer look as long as Marquise doesn’t show her butt. Marquise says he’s used to designing sheer looks with “titties all out.” So even without Alan Gonzalez in the competition, we might be getting “titties on the runway” again.
9:26pm — Another twist from Christian! … Nope, he was bluffing. That scamp was just messing with them. As for the designers’ looks in progress, Brittany’s design is “really pretty,” though she’s worried she doesn’t have time to make a pant. Christian loves the “volume” of Delvin’s skirt and he should start playing with fabric on the form for the top. Nancy’s look is “very beautiful” but needs “one other element,” though Delvin doesn’t understand what she’s doing at all.
9:27pm — Christian is worried Chelsey’s look is incompatible with itself: the sleeves don’t work with the top, and she might be trying to layer too much sheer on top of other sheer, which may defeat the purpose of the whole challenge if everything comes out opaque. But Chelsey is worried about making drastic changes on a one-day challenge.
9:32pm — Christian takes one look at Victoria’s sketch and he thinks it looks exactly like her previous looks with — you guessed it — a lot of straps. “You can’t keep doing this dress,” Christian tells her. She says it’s totally different, but he keeps it real with her: “You keep doing these half, high-low, one-side, one-sleeve, power-shoulder, long-sleeve things. You’ve done it in like five looks.” She thinks it’s nothing like her previous looks, but Christian doesn’t, he doesn’t think the judges will think so, and I don’t think so. But she’s overwhelmed with the criticism, and I actually really feel for her. Some people are high-achieving perfectionists out of perpetual self-doubt … so I’ve heard.
9:33pm — “I feel bad for her honestly,” says Sergio, but not in an actual feeling bad for her kind of way. He feels bad that other people have a hard time figuring out who they are in a high-pressure competition like this. So he’s not sympathizing with her so much as he is flattering himself. Again. Victoria seems okay again after that rough consultation, but he can’t promise a great look because “life is cruel.” I feel you, Victoria.
9:35pm — Chelsey is pivoting hard after that tough Christian critique, and I’m more worried for her than I’ve ever been before. She’s never been at the bottom before, but there’s a first time for everything. Meanwhile, Sergio is “on a different level” because no one else is designing anything as technically advanced as he is. The fact that Dayoung is gone and he’s still here seriously bugs me. Even if it’s great, no one need to be that stuck-up. Brittany is worried about imperfections with her sleeves, but maybe no one will notice. Well, that’s what Marquise thought with his darting last week, but we all know how that turned out.
9:37pm — Sounds like Geoffrey is going super sheer, and there may be pasties involved. Victoria’s look isn’t coming out very sheer at all. Christian is trying to give her advice, but she’s being stubborn about it. She says her poor English makes it hard to understand “sheer,” but not understanding the word and not understanding the concept are two different things.
9:39pm — Geoffrey is doing his fitting while smmoking outside in 100-degree weather. DD feels great in Nancy’s look. Chelsey is thrilled with what she has put together in one hour, but it looks a little unfinished. I hope all three of them do well, though. But “everything is wrong. I can’t do this,” says Victoria. She doesn’t have time to course-correct and doesn’t have enough fabric. She feels like it would be better to quit than land at the bottom again. Sometimes it feels safer to be invisible than to be disliked or criticized … so I’ve heard.
9:44pm — Brittany is pissed off at Victoria’s argument that she’s rather send herself home than have the judges eliminate her. As much as I sympathize with Victoria, I do agree with Brittany on this one. Dayoung almost killed herself to stay in the competition, Marquise came back after he was eliminated. It would be kinda disrespectful to them not to put something on the runway when you have the opportunity. Chelsey gives her a stern talking to that I think she needed. But she’s got her own look to worry about.
9:46pm — With 30 minutes left in the work day, Victoria decides that she “can’t give up” — so it looks like she wallowed for about the length of an “Irishman” — on a one-day challenge. She was inspired by her husband, who believed in her enough to support her when she wanted to open a store, and the store was a success. I’m glad she finally got there.
Morning of the Runway
9:49pm — Models are back, Victoria admits that she has started her dress almost from scratch. She is using scraps of fabric to create a woven top. Geoffrey is going to be showing a lot of breast, but this time not his own! Sergio is helping Nancy with some finishing touches. I’m surprised to hear how much she feels Sergio has been supportive of her. We haven’t seen much of that on camera I don’t think, but we have seen in weeks past that he’s not all bad. He has also been super supportive of Brittany in past weeks. It says a lot to me if Nancy likes him.
9:50pm — Victoria thanks Asia for her patience. “That’s it, I’m done,” she says because she’s pretty sure her dress is terrible, and … it’s not great.
9:55pm — Karlie is out in another great-looking sheer number, and she introduces the judges, including the guest judge, model and activist Paloma Elsesser.
9:57pm — Okay, credit where it’s due, Sergio’s look is pretty badass, elegant, great use of sheer fabric and fringe. I wouldn’t mind that being a top look. Brittany’s got a cute, flowing look too in all pink, and I’m loving those big sleeves. Marquise’s look is decent, not as good as the first two I don’t think. The way it uses the sheerness to show off his model doesn’t looks quite as flattering to me.
9:59pm — Geoffrey’s look is very Geoffrey. I dig it, and Thijin is selling the hell out of it, but the judges look … ambivalent. Chelsey’s look is kinda cute, but there’s not a lot of there there. And not just because of sheer fabric. The idea of it is underwhelming. Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse. Karlie thinks it looks like a pool cover — yikes. But I love Nancy’s prom dress look for DD. And Karlie loves the pockets on the ball gown.
10:00pm — Victoria’s look is next, and not it’s not great. There are interesting things about the asymmetric look and the fabric weaving, but one half of it does look like it was hastily patched together. Victoria is embarrassed, and Christian from backstage says it’s the “worst fabric ever,” but I’ve seen worse on the runway — maybe not on this runway, but other runways. Delvin closes things out with a nice look. Maybe a little too simple for an editorial challenge, but he made good use of that sheer fabric.
10:01pm — “It was clear to us that this was a one-day challenge,” says Karlie. “Some of you rose to the occasion, and some of you did not.” Ouch. Blunt right out of the gate. These could be some rough critiques.
10:04pm — Brittany and Delvin are safe. sounds about right for Delvin, but Brittany would have been one of my top looks this week. The other six are either top or bottom: Sergio, Marquise, Chelsey, Victoria, Nancy and Geoffrey. Brittany thinks the bottom three are Victoria, Chelsey and Marquise — and she doesn’t even hesitate. Damn, quick with that hot take. She’s salty today. The only one I’m sure she’s right about is Victoria.
CHELSEY — Brandon was worried about a nip-slip. Elaine thought the fabric choice was wrong because it had no “fluidity” on the runway. It was not editorial, but could have been if she cut the arms off. Paloma thought there was more Chelsey could have done than just a sheer mini trench. Not surprised that’s a bottom look.
NANCY — The judges get up close, and Karlie thinks it’s “so gorgeous.” Nina admires the “drama of the shoulder.” It’s “everything.” Nina could see it in Elle magazine. Paloma thinks it’s beautiful and looks expensive. Elaine is “really, really impressed,” and she’s glad to see DD’s body as opposed to last week’s oversized look. “This felt like you were taking me somewhere I wanted to be.” Brittany and Delvin seem annoyed that Nancy might win, but I think it would be well deserved.
MARQUISE — Brandon thinks it’s “beautiful,” and Brittany and Delvin are shocked he’s at the top. I’m a little surprised too, but not that surprised. Does this mean Geoffrey’s on the bottom? Paloma thought it was “beautiful” too and he “honored her body.” Nina loved that he made his own t-shirt with the fabric he had left over for the challenge. I didn’t even notice that, but I think that’s pretty cool. Nina loves his sense of style and wants to see more of that.
GEOFFREY — “I’m sorry, Geoffrey, but it is one of our bottom looks,” says Karlie, who’s pained to say that after Geoffrey says how the look was very him and exactly what he intended to create. Dammit, are they going to make Geoffrey cry? Karlie thinks it’s too sheer at the bust. Geoffrey thinks breasts are beautiful. “I also love breasts,” says Brandon, but thinks everything was “swimming” in the middle because the shoulder and waist were so structured and defined. Elaine likes the design more after Geoffrey explains who his customer is: a fearless woman, often on stage. I think it does look like something that could be worn on stage as a glam performance look.
SERGIO — He tells the story about cherry blossoms at night, and dammit it for being so good because he does not need another excuse to be full of himself. Brandon says, “head to toe she looks perfect … From Mars, you could see it’s a well-made garment.” Nina admires how strategically the fabric is placed to conceal how truly naked she is underneath. Paloma thinks the dress could be worn by every model on the show.
VICTORIA — She tells the judges how she struggled with her language barrier and almost quit the show. Brandon says, “This industry is not for babies.” The difference between a good designer and a great designer is persevering at difficult times. Nina doesn’t want to hear any more excuses. Paloma tells her to put her “big girl panties on and make lemons out of lemonade with your lemonade-colored dress.” But Elaine thought the color choice was actually refreshing. Nina says it does look like she made it in two-and-a-half hours, but she thinks it’s still “feminine and interesting. The lesson here is more important.” Don’t quit!
10:16pm — Yeesh, with Victoria, Chelsey and Geoffrey in the bottom … are they gonna send home Chelsey?! Victoria’s look is by far the worst of those, as much as I feel bad for her struggles with her self-esteem and looking bad in front of the judges.
10:17pm — They think Marquise had a lot of dimension, and Paloma loves a comeback story. But Brandon thought Nancy and Sergio were the top two. God help me, I agree. I’d give it to Nancy, though, since she has been so underrated this season. I have a hunch Sergio is getting it, though.
10:20pm — Brandon thinks Geoffrey’s look is well made enough to keep him out of the bottom two, while the others looked like they went through a “paper shredder.” Nina actually liked it and thought it was highly editorial. Whew! Still kinda shocking that Chelsey or Victoria is going home. This might be a good time for a Siriano Save either way. Nancy thinks so too.
10:25pm — The winning designer is … Sergio. Crap. I’m less mad that he won because that was a damn great dress and more mad than he’s getting the last immunity. “I’m back on top, where I should be,” he says, because of course. Even when his design is legitimately dynamite, the sense of entitlement just leaves such a sour taste in the mouth. And the judges thought Victoria lacked humility?
10:27pm — Geoffrey is safe. So the eliminated designer is … Chelsey! Holy shirtballs! I did not see that coming when this challenge started. After Chelsey had to talk Victoria into just completing the challenge while struggling with her own design, they send Chelsey home? Will Christian use his save? Chelsey deserves to be saved.
10:28pm — Christian is sending Chelsey to the workroom to clean up. No save? What the sheer?
10:30pm — Next week’s challenge is to reinvent the tuxedo, and the eliminated designers are coming back as helpers. “I’m back!” says Alan. Oh, I’ve missed you, Alan! And last season’s winner Sebastian Grey is visiting next week too. Exciting!
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