“Project Runway” made a triumphant return for its 19th season by embracing the spirit of revival in New York City with a “colorful” premiere on October 14. Series judges Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth joined host and mentor Christian Siriano as well as 16 fresh designers who in week one competed in a two-team face off of monochromatic looks within “warm” and “cool” color palettes. Bones Jones led the warm team as the overall winner while Caycee Black was sent home from the cool team for her unfinished garment. This week the designers worked on their own to create a three-piece streetwear look with an impact, but one designer’s point of view had the most dramatic impact on the entire competition.
Below read our “Project Runway” recap of season 19, episode 2, titled “#Streetwear,” to find out what happened Thursday, October 21. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite designers on Bravo’s reality TV show, who has the best aesthetic, and who you think will ultimately be named the next big name in fashion.
The 15 designers remaining are: Octavio Aguilar, Darren Apolonio, Kenneth Barlis, Bones Jones, Coral Castillo, Meg Ferguson, Prajje Oscar Jean-Baptiste, Kristina Kharlashkina, Katie Kortman, Shantall Lacayo, Chasity Sereal, Sabrina Spanta, Aaron Michael Steach, Zayden, and Anna Zhou.
After the long hours of the team challenge to start off the competition, the designers were ready for some rest and news of an individual challenge. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite done yet for the night — Christian ushered them back to the runway to announce their next task with advice from TikTok influencer Wisdom Kaye: create an “impactful” streetwear look that includes three separate pieces. Wisdom advised them to focus on comfort and wearability, stressing that big proportions and loose fit tend to be key in streetwear.
The next morning the designers got to pick model cards, with male, female and non-binary options, and begin sketching their ideas for the look before heading to Mood to shop. Prajje was last to choose his model and because his plan was to create something that references his Haitian culture he was not happy to be left with a white male model. Still, he planned to create his work according to his vision and not his model, but Meg insisted on making the conversation larger than Prajje wanted by going on about cultural appropriation long after he had wished to shut the conversation down.
At Mood the designers were given $300 and 45 minutes to shop. Christian noticed that Kenneth was going for expensive fabrics and that Meg was turning back to muted colors like she did in the previous challenge. Meanwhile, Katie and Aaron used prints and varsity jackets as their inspirations, respectively. Later, during a check-in on the designers in the work space, Christian pushed Zayden to make sure his Chicago-inspired oversized bomber jacket idea didn’t look like something you can just buy at the store and made sure that Darren was planning on finishing his own garment this week, unlike in the season premiere he needed Bones to finish his garment for him.
With Coral, an evening wear designer, Christian advised that she use elements of evening wear that she’s comfortable with but infuse those into ways they’d work for street clothes. And in an effort to help Prajje out with his model concern, Christian asked Coral if she’d swap with him. Hesitantly Coral agreed to the swap, but the deal set the stage for a much more dramatic confrontation during model fittings later in the day.
Seeing Prajje make a swap for cultural reasons made Kenneth realize he’d prefer to work with an Asian model, so he asked Meg to swap with him. Because the request came after hours of pattern-making and planning with the measurements of her model, Meg insisted on seeing his model first. Once the models arrived, Meg insisted that the swap should happen for cultural reasons despite Kenneth telling her he’d understand if she sad no. But she was upset that he didn’t bring it up earlier in the process, cussed him out, and made it seem like she was doing him a favor. Her resentful attitude reignited tensions for Prajje about how she had made him uncomfortable earlier in the morning, so he called her fake, setting off a ricochet of arguments throughout the workroom. Realizing that no one was taking her side, Meg left in a panic and asked to speak with producers about potentially leaving the competition.
The next morning Meg was not in the work space when all of the other designers returned. Christian came by to explain that Meg chose to exit the competition. In her confessionals, Meg argued that the intensity of the show creates an atmosphere that was not healthy for her. Everyone felt bad that Meg decided to leave under such circumstances, but the general consensus was that she made a mistake in how she handled the situation and that it should be an educating moment for everyone, allies especially, in how to properly show support. Lovingly, Kenneth decided to turn the altercation into something meaningful by getting scraps from everyone else’s garments in order to create a patchwork effect in his own garment to show how they supported him.
On the morning of the runway presentation, Christian was worried that Aaron’s varsity jacket-inspired look was not interesting enough, but by this time there were not many options for Aaron to turn the look around. After all of the patchwork that Kenneth did, he was concerned that the color story was no longer working and Christian pointed out that he only had two pieces and needed a third, so he threw in a patchwork cap at the last minute. Finally, Christian convinced Kristina to look at her pieces and how the jacket she made was covering up a very strong shirt. To solve that issue, she ditched the jacket and left the shirt to be the focal point.
For the runway show, Wisdom joined Nina, Brandon and Elaine to judge this week’s looks. Their scores determined that Zayden, Aaron, Kristina, Prajje, Darren, Katie and Kenneth should remain on stage to hear critiques as the best and worst of the challenge while the rest of the designers were declared safe. With Zayden the judges appreciated his original ideas and the way his layers worked together but could also work on their own. They were also impressed with Aaron’s pants and reversible bomber jacket, with Elaine saying that it brought her back to the 90s in the best way possible. The meaning in Prajje’s Haitian art spoke to the judges in a positive way, and his expression was moving and intelligently made. Of Kristina’s look, Brandon said it was very sophisticated and applauded her for bringing so many ideas together in a way that made sense, and Wisdom said he wants the shirt for his own wardrobe.
However, they were not as happy with Darren’s rock star look that was a messy blend of too many ideas. Elsewhere, Brandon didn’t think Katie’s look was modern enough, and Nina thought the silhouette didn’t work and the overall proportions didn’t flatter her model. Kenneth was the third bottom look; he told the judges that he was proud of the story of his Tokyo streetwear look, but not proud of the way it turned out. After hearing what happened behind the scenes with Meg, the judges understood where his look was coming from even though it didn’t quite come together.
Admitting among the four of them that this was one of the toughest sets to choose a winner from, the judges ultimately went with story over style and named Prajje as this week’s winner. They were equally torn about those same elements in deciding which designer should be sent home. They wondered if Kenneth’s strong story should save him or if Katie and Darren’s sense of style was up to par with the rest of the competition. But at the end of the day the judges felt that with Meg leaving the competition already, no one else should have to leave as well. All three of the bottom looks were saved to design another day!
NEXT WEEK: Katie is under fire with Christian again for her costumey styling and Taraji P. Henson joins the panel as guest judge.
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