On last week’s third episode of “Project Runway” season 19, night descended in the studio as the designers created glamorous masquerade gowns for a “hauntingly chic” runway. Chasity Sereal came out on top in the challenge, lavishly praised by guest judge Taraji P. Henson for what she called “hot sex on a platter.” Kenneth Barlis didn’t fare so well, confusing the judges with a snake-inspired “Batman costume,” according to Nina Garcia.
Below read our “Project Runway” recap of season 19, episode 4, titled “Flower Power,” to find out what happened Thursday, November 4, when Gigi Hadid joined the judges’ panel to assess how groundbreaking the designers were with their unique floral print creations. 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 13 designers remaining are: Octavio Aguilar, Darren Apolonio, Bones Jones, Coral Castillo, Prajje Oscar Jean-Baptiste, Kristina Kharlashkina, Katie Kortman, Shantall Lacayo, Chasity Sereal, Sabrina Spanta, Aaron Michael Steach, Zayden Skipper, and Anna Zhou.
To present the designers with their next challenge, Elaine Welteroth greeted them in the freshly flower-adorned studio alongside floral artist Lewis Miller. In his art of the “flower flash” installations, Lewis seeks to create an emotional response in people. With that in mind,, Elaine asked them to make a high-fashion look that embraces floral prints using their own newly created textile print. And instead of sending them to Mood, Elaine told them that they’d have supplemental fabrics available to them already in the workroom, but emphasizing that their own prints should make up the core of their designs.
The excitement in the studio was immediately apparent, as most of the designers either have an existing fascination with flowers or were already comfortable with print-making. Quirky designer Katie was especially interested in the challenge because of the social media following she’s amassed because of the prints she’s designed herself and posted online. But unlike at home, the designers had to work with graphic artists via voice or video call to create their prints, creating an unsettling feeling for someone like Katie who was used to realizing her own vision.
In the spirit of excitement over the challenge, we saw a lot of different ideas unfold during the design phase. Sabrina envisioned a print with attention to its placement on the body, needing the florals to lay on the hips and bust of the body perfectly so it would reflect her feminist message. Her concept was inspired by the suppression of women in Afghanistan and the escape she made from the war-torn country. Chasity sought to create another print with her print by cutting the floral textile into strips for a lattice design on the top. Darren’s take was to make “SpongeBob” fashion with a graffiti-floral print that left some of the other designers wondering if his age and lack of experience could be holding him back or maybe giving him a fresh perspective.
The next morning the designers received their textiles and while some were happy with the result, others were not. Katie was on the disappointed end, finding the colors of the print to be more in the pastel range and less bold than she wanted. Aaron was excited by his because he didn’t want it to be so loud that it would overtake the design. Shantall was the only designer that went with a wholly cool-toned, checkered print, which she knew was a risk but also an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
During her visit with Christian, Sabrina explained her idea of reimagining the burka, which is traditionally blue, by creating a predominantly pink jumpsuit with the floral elements strategically placed on the female body parts. Christian loved the concept, but advised her to make it tasteful and elegant so that it would become a celebratory moment. Kristina’s vision was inspired by the robes that Chasity and Darren wear around the apartments all the time, an aesthetic she finds stylish and cool, but Christian wanted more depth from her. In his last few check-ins, Christian warned Katie about how her layering comes off as clownish at times, Shantall about the lack of floral presence in her current design, and Prajje about his “couchy” print that he should paint over.
After a night of self-doubt about her design, Katie returned to the studio the morning of the runway presentation still frustrated by the state of her garment. As she snipped and trimmed parts of her look, Anna was confidently putting the finishing touches on her more artistic vision and Chasity was once again taking it down to the wire to finish up in the time she had left. Despite spending much of the previous day painting pieces to add to his dress, Prajje made a last minute decision to remove a painted bow and other elements that Christian had already praised. Prajje preferred to keep it more simple.
At the runway show, the designers were surprised to see Gigi sitting among the judges as this week’s guest. She sat alongside series regulars Nina, Elaine and Brandon Maxwell as she told the group that she loves flowers in fashion because of the joy they bring and how their essence can be explored in so many ways. Based on the judges’ scores, Brandon asked Kristina, Sabrina, Darren, Shantall, Prajje and Katie to remain on stage, and sent the others backstage to safety.
In their critiques, the judges first spoke to Kristina about her red and pink print robe-inspired look with trousers. Brandon called it an “all-purpose at home” look that was also fresh and modern, and Gigi thought it would be a huge moment on the red carpet. They also loved Shantall’s checkered print suit with petal-shaped sleeves. Gigi appreciated that she did something totally different than everyone else, noting the beautiful tailoring on the pants. Nina said it was a risk that paid off and Brandon liked that she went the extra mile. Prajje’s blue gown was their third top scorer and once he explained that he edited out a train and a bow the judges said that the silhouette was perfect as-is. Nina’s only critique was that he was heavy-handed in the hair and makeup, but Brandon strongly disagreed.
Among the looks the judges didn’t like as much, first was Darren’s pink and orange SpongeBob-inspired abstract design. Nina said the print and silhouette were something she’s already seen before, and Elaine struggled to understand what point of view he’s coming from because his ideas aren’t translating into the end-product. They were not a fan of Sabrina’s bodysuit and burka either, even if Gigi called it one of her favorite prints on the stage. Their main concern was the decision to have the skirt over the bodysuit and when they asked Sabrina to remove it, Gigi exclaimed “Yes! Yes!” because it was a much more powerful statement given the story behind it. Katie’s collared dress was also in the bottom and Katie did not disagree with them. Elaine pointed out that the assignment was to be high-end, and her look was decidedly not. Gigi said that she almost liked it, and she didn’t hate it, but Katie’s decision to take Christian’s advice too literally was her ultimate downfall.
After more in-depth deliberation, the judges thought that all of the top looks were “joyful and original floral prints,” but Shantall was unanimously agreed to be the winner for having the most unique and modern take on the floral concept. In the bottom, the judges thought they were all confusing and in need of editing, but Darren’s inability to show them anything new meant that it was his time to go.
NEXT WEEK: Jonny Weir and Tara Lipinski ask the designers for new Winter Olympics looks in a challenge that finds the designers working in pairs.
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