‘Project Runway’ season 19 episode 3 recap: ‘If You Got It, Haunt It’ had spooky masquerade looks, but a few were just plain scary

On last week’s second episode of “Project Runway” season 19, a “#Streetwear” challenge threw the design studio into chaos when Meg Ferguson became openly hostile to Kenneth Barlis over his request to switch models with him for cultural representation reasons. The verbal altercation escalated and reverberated throughout the studio, culminating in Meg’s decision to voluntarily leave the competition. Series judges Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth, joined by host and mentor Christian Siriano this season, all agreed that after Meg’s exit none of the other designers should be eliminated.

Below read our “Project Runway” recap of season 19, episode 3, titled “If You Got It, Haunt It,” to find out what happened Thursday, October 28, when the designers had to sleep overnight in a haunted mansion for inspiration for a masquerade ball gown. 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 14 designers remaining are: Octavio Aguilar, Darren Apolonio, Kenneth Barlis, Bones JonesCoral Castillo, Prajje Oscar Jean-Baptiste, Kristina Kharlashkina, Katie Kortman, Shantall Lacayo, Chasity Sereal,  Sabrina Spanta, Aaron Michael Steach, Zayden, and Anna Zhou.

Following the emotional roller-coaster of the previous challenge’s events, the designers were thrown for another loop when Christian greeted them with a cutting of the lights and the laughter of an evil vampire. His gleeful “Happy Halloween” quickly changed the tone, and signaled a clue to their upcoming challenge. After a drive out of the city to the haunted Bartow-Pell Mansion, the designers learned that for their next design they would create a “hauntingly chic” gown and mask for a masquerade ball.

To prepare for the challenge and to get inspired, the designers stayed overnight in the mansion. But first, and likely in an effort to avoid another derailment like last week, they all discussed which models they’d like for this challenge and respectfully agreed upon the selections. In their tour through the house, the designers took inspiration from the children’s rooms, the fabric of gowns on display, the look of chandeliers, and the dark sadness of the service quarters in the attic.

The next morning the designers woke up on their cots and made their way to Mood where they were given 30 minutes and a hefty $500 to shop for fabric. Bones sifted through gold fabrics that would match his one selection that he was allowed to bring from home, which he says matched the carpet from the mansion. Aside from Bones, Christian was dismayed to learn that most of the designers were looking for black and red fabrics instead of thinking outside the box with other colors. Thankfully, Kenneth had the idea of doing something green and Chasity was incorporating white into her look.

Back in the studio space, the designers got to work on bringing their haunting visions to life. Zayden, identifying as part Creole, drew inspiration from the famous New Orleans voodoo figure Marie Laveau, pointing out that you don’t have to be spooky and scary in order to be “hauntingly chic.” Similarly, Chasity share the memory of her dad and his association of the month of October with him as her own inspiration, not only for this challenge but for her drive to succeed and dream in life as well.

During Christian’s check-in with the designers, Darren asked for advice on how to overcome his “flopping” in both of the previous challenges. Christian explained that Darren’s young age and lack of experience compared to the other designers does not mean he doesn’t belong on the show, but that he wasn’t bringing enough of his concept to the finished piece because he’s psyching himself out.

With Zayden, Christian had to warn against his chosen fabric because it’s the kind that utterly lacked stretched and thus was bound to show every crease and ripple, so making a figure-hugging gown is a big risk for him to take. The beginning of Katie’s design was reading as “sailor” to Christian and so he pushed her in the creepier direction of “dead doll.”

The next day during model fittings, Chasity realized that she was cutting it close on time, choosing to hand sew important parts of her garment at the last minute to correctly fit the model rather than using a machine. Zayden’s model fitting was also a concern for Christian, noticing that the tightness of the fabric he chose was preventing her from walking well. Elsewhere, Christian advised Anna against adding tulle to an already sleek silhouette and stressed to Kenneth that he really needs to shape up the pleats of his gown so that they’re even.

On the morning of the runway, Katie was already mentally preparing herself to be eliminated while Zayden was struggling to figure out a way for his model to be able to walk in the gown. She told him that she was unable to kick out the tulle at the bottom while walking because she didn’t have enough momentum. In looking around, some of the designers were worried for Bones because of his mix of fabrics, but Chasity was too worried about completing everything she needed to on her own intricate gown.

On the runway, the designers were greeted by the series judges and special guest judge Taraji P. Henson. As an avid watcher of the show, Taraji told the designers after their presentation that it was one of the best runways she’d seen. Based on their scores, the judges wanted to hear more from Anna, Bones, Kenneth, Chasity, Zayden and Octavio. The remaining designers were all safe, but Brandon and Taraji called out Katie as having one of their personal favorites despite it not placing highest of all the scores.

The first favorite of theirs was Anna’s sheer romantic gown and veil. Brandon said it’s the type of gown that Valentino would make and that the amount of fabric over the head was done expertly. They also really liked Octavio’s first ever ball gown creation, a heavily draped black dress that Elaine called architectural and Nina called a complete package. The final top look was Chasity’s that Taraji called “hot sex on a platter” and about  which she said she’s glad Chasity didn’t play it safe. Nina was also clearly moved by the beauty of the gown — this after the judges nearly eliminated Chasity at the end of the season premiere.

On the lower end of the scale, the judges did not like Zayden’s tight red voodoo dress. The judges would have liked to see the original version that had the black tulle underneath to flare the bottom out, and Brandon explained that her difficulty walking made them pay attention to all the flaws that the zero-stretch fabric showed. They also scored Kenneth in the bottom for his snake-inspired green dress that left Taraji confused and Elaine said was not a flattering silhouette. Bones was the third look in the bottom because Nina thought it gave more “showgirl” than “masquerade” and Brandon explained that the headpiece was too much in a gown that already had too many stories going on.

Nina announced that the winning designer showed “creativity, sophistication, and above all drama.” With that in mind, they chose Chasity as the victor and Taraji felt compelled to give her the note card where she wrote “OMG” and nothing else on it. When Taraji told Chasity that she “has a gift from God,” it meant something deeply powerful to Chasity because as she explained earlier her father called her “Lady Godiva,” which means God-given. From the lower end, Nina revealed the bad news that Kenneth’s “confusing and unfinished” look was the determining factor in their decision to send him home.

NEXT WEEK: The designers go from Halloween to Spring in a floral print challenge featuring guest judge Gigi Hadid.

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