Last time, on the 10th episode of “Project Runway” season 19, Shantall Lacayo became the season’s first back-to-back winner with her elegant reunion dress creation for Real Housewife of New York Luann de Lesseps. The win was her third overall, making her the winningest designer of the season, eclipsing Chasity Sereal and Kristina Kharlashkina‘s two wins each. Aaron Michael Steach and Coral Castillo are the only designers without a challenge win yet, despite Aaron placing in the high end six times so far. Bones Jones won the season’s first challenge, but has placed mostly “safe” for the remainder of the time.
Below, read our “Project Runway” recap of season 19, episode 11, titled “Haute Hair,” to find out how the final six managed collaborations with up-and-coming stylists on Thursday, January 13. 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 crowned the next big name in fashion.
The six designers remaining were: Bones Jones, Coral Castillo, Kristina Kharlashkina, Shantall Lacayo, Chasity Sereal, and Aaron Michael Steach.
Following Anna Zhou‘s elimination, Christian Siriano paid an immediate visit to the remaining designers to set them on the course for their next challenge (out of three remaining this season). They joined Elaine Welteroth on the catwalk to meet their models and up-and-coming hairstylists that would be the inspiration and collaborators for their next design. Elaine and Christian explained that they’d be working with the stylists to create a complete runway look inspired by the hair design already present on their accompanying model. Elaine emphasized that the final look should represent both the designers’ and stylists’ strengths.
To pair the designers with a stylist and hair design, Christian picked buttons from a bag, bringing together Coral with Arkeeshia’s “creative pony” look, Shantall with Oluchi’s “Bantu knots” look, Aaron with Ariana’s “long braids” look, Kristina with Aishat’s “chic and sleek” look, Bones with Kopper’s “creative buns” look, and Chasity with Agnes and Davanay’s “twists” look. All of the stylists were Black women to elevate and celebrate up-and-coming Black stylists through the “Future Stylist Fund” and other career opportunities. The first step in the collab was for the designers and stylists to meet each other and discuss what direction they wanted to go in before heading to Mood for fabric purchasing.
Back in the studio to begin designing, Coral expressed the goal of showing the judges that she can do more than just dresses so she started work on a jacket using leather. Shantall was also eyeing a leather outfit, which Christian gave her crap for at Mood as she pulled white leather fabrics. Chasity envisioned a maxi dress with long sleeves using prints that would match the crown the hairstylists would design and Bones felt inspired by the concept of a “messy bun” to match with a draped and tucked evening gown. Aaron was coached by Christian into choosing vinyls for the trench raincoat he wanted to create, but this was a daunting task for someone that had never made a wearable raincoat before. During check-ins, Christian was uncharacteristically supportive of the direction that each of the designers was going down.
When it was time for model fittings, Kristina ran into the hiccup of her model not having a bra for a garment she had already made without a built-in bra. She had to rework the vision for the look to avoid it looking too much like pajamas. Shantall encountered more than a hiccup when the back of her leather pants split completely during the fitting, forcing her to use up whatever extra fabric she had (not much) to make the correction. But she worried that the repair would take time away from the finishes of the garment, which could leave it looking unfinished and sloppy on the runway. By the end of the day, all the designers were hoping for a “miracle” to complete their designs in the single-day time allotment.
Ahead of the runway presentation the next morning, Kristina had mostly figured out her fit issue by creating a small top for her model that gave the look a sexier vibe. Aaron had second-guessed the neoprene jumpsuit he had made so he started work on a new pair of pants, but after quickly fitting them on his model decided that the jumpsuit was still the way to go. Unfortunately, all the back and forth meant he was stuck with a poorly constructed jumpsuit that he was not very happy with. And after seeing her model with the final hairstyle and garment together, Coral was not convinced that the collaboration produced two styles that worked well together.
At the catwalk the designers said hello to series judges Elaine, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell and this week’s guest judge Precious Lee. During the runway presentation, Shantall, Bones, Kristina and Chasity were all beaming with pride over their designs, but Coral was dismayed by the lack of cohesion between the hair and garment and Aaron was embarrassed by the quality of his creation. Based on the judges’ scores, on the top for the week were Kristina and Chasity. Nina thought that the stripes on Kristina’s look worked well with the finger waves in the hair, though Brandon was let down by the “bathing suit top.” However, Brandon applauded Chasity for committing to her African queen idea and running with it; both he and Nina called it an “impressive” embrace of the challenge that created a true moment.
Shantall got more mixed reviews. She was told her vision and design all worked, and Precious picked up on the concept of making something for a music artist. Elaine said it was cohesive from head to toe, but there were some criticisms across the board for her jacket. Bones was also in the middle: Elaine was in full support of the transforming red gown she called “art,” but Nina and Brandon thought that he didn’t quite achieve his vision all the way, and Precious thought the collaboration between him and his stylist on the bun could have been better.
Discussed on the bottom were the designs of Coral and Aaron. Brandon thought that what Coral achieved in the time was impressive, but though he liked the outfit and the hair separately he didn’t understand them together. Elaine took issue with a few elements in her look and Nina used Coral as an example of how easily a look can be brought down when the hair and makeup don’t work together. Then Elaine gave Aaron the hard truth that the jumpsuit under his raincoat was “tragic” and Brandon said he attempted too much. Elaine’s issue was that what he chose to put on the runway did not sell what was otherwise a really strong trench.
During further deliberations, the judges agreed that in the clear middle were Bones and Shantall so they were instantly declared safe. From the top, Elaine announced that both Kristina and Chasity met the challenge, but it was Chasity, whose look embodied “Black girl magic,” that was the judges’ clear winner. Then, on the bottom, both Aaron and Coral failed to bring all elements of their collaborations together cohesively, but the poor styling and construction in Aaron’s look were the “tragic misstep” that sent him home on his 40th birthday!
NEXT TIME: The designers step on set for a photo shoot for which they’ve created editorial looks to be worn by model Coco Rocha.
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