We are halfway through New Zealand’s first season of Project Runway. In this week’s episode, a creative brief sees some designers sprint for the print while others draw blanks.
We’re at the stage where we know these designers all have talent to some degree. Some have shown it since day one, and others have really grappled at translating it into their final runway designs. If class favourite Peni wants to dodge elimination, this is the week he needs to pull something magical out of the bag.
Another mainstream contender coming into her own is 23-year-old retail assistant Jess. Having finally secured a spot in the top three, we start to see a bit of cockiness, and you know what? She wears it well. Pointing out that Judy’s winning streak, though amazing, has run its course and there’s likely little more she can bring to the table without talent, to which of course Jess confirms she has plenty. Then there was the comment about the Holden Astra being nice to drive… “I can’t wait to own it”.
Mentor AUT University senior lecturer Andreas Mikellis briefs the designers on their next challenge.
To kick this week off, designers are taken deep into the dairy flats where they meet Andreas, surrounded by trees clad in the Resene wallpaper collection.
Create a high-end fashion look inspired by one of the Resene wallpapers in relationship to the context of it.
1 ½ days and $150 to spend, the race is on for the designers to land their desired wallpaper. No, like I mean a like an actual running race. The designers sprint to their favourite wallpapers and of course, Caitlin and Jess end up fighting over the same one. Nothing like a bit of girl-on-girl crime and tree hugging to keep the audience entertained.
Jess and Caitlin fight for their desired wallpaper. An instant reply by the cameraman proves Caitlin was there first.
Kerry lands himself a tropical print featuring a lemur and exotic plants; Misty a monochrome palette with an assortment of black lines intersecting; and Benjamin, a vivid neon graffiti wall. The list goes on.
What the judges are looking for this week is not so much a literal interpretation but more so its vibe. “What does it feel like? What is it suggesting? It can be directly taken from the actual design and be recreated on to fabric, but the wallpaper must influence the design, ” explains Andreas.
During the challenge
At The Fabric Store, Beth reveals she “doesn’t know WTF high fashion is”. I’m baffled. How does one watch Project Runway, much less ~enter~ Project Runway without understanding high fashion, and, furthermore she describes herself as Not. Very. Fashionable. Awkward.
But as time goes on, it looks as though Beth’s throwaway comments are to conceal her massive drop in confidence in wake of this challenge. Sounds to me like self-sabotage is making a return after a three-week hiatus. Even when Andreas comes to offer his advice, you can tell Beth has already resigned nodding in silence.
When Judy sent a ghetto catastrophy down the runway for the streetwear challenge, she didn’t go home. When Caitlin sent an outer-space-jellyfish down the runway for avant-garde week, she didn’t go home. Let’s just hope Beth gets away with her one “off” week too.
After a relatively uneventful day in the workroom prior, Judy arrives on game day with a new design ready to start again. I repeat, start again. There’s tears and two hours to create an outfit. Why? Not because she’s worried whether or not she goes home (does she know she has immunity?), but because she wants to make something she loves and she’s proud of. And that my friends, is the demise of the millennial mindset.
This is the thing with these shows; they’re given these briefs that require them to think outside the box and push their craft, but when it takes them into a realm so distant from their unique aesthetic, it’s a hard line to toe, much less showcase who they are as a designer.
Fast-forward through needles breaking, Gee Gee creating some bomb ombre lip colours in the Maybelline makeup station and Schwarzkopf stylists lacquering layers of hair into topknots, it’s time to start the show.
But wait, is that sombre piano I hear? Turns out it’s Beth’s birthday today. Oh god. What a sh*t show if her design sees her walk home ON HER BIRTHDAY. Surely, not.
The judging panel from left to right: Marc Moore, Benny Castles, Sally-Ann Mullin and Georgia Fowler.
Judging this week’s wallpaper runway challenge is Fashion Quarterly magazine editor Sally-Ann Mullin, WORLD director and designer Benny Castles, supermodel and host Georgia Fowler and guest judge designer and founder of Stolen Girlfriends Club, Marc Moore.
Scroll for the final runway looks below from week six:
Kerry, Camille, and Misty descend backstage with middle-of-the-run scores that instantly qualify them to compete in next week’s challenge.
Top three: Benjamin, Jess and Peni
Winner, winner, Benjamin-graffiti dinner. Followed closely by Jess and her Granny Hot display and Peni’s Teletubby stretch-and-grow. As much as I love Peni, and the judges, actually, I just don’t see Peni’s design as a top three contender. If anything, I think he and Caitlin should have switched places.
Bottom three: Caitlin, Beth and Judy
Caitlin is called first, and she abruptly leaves the stage to meet her fellow designers. Given that Judy is immune, Beth walks… on her BIRTHDAY. Is that fair? No. Is this a game? Technically, yes. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This was Judy’s opportunity to push herself and sell her aesthetic in a big way irrespective of the brief, and instead, she used it to send down a Tip Top Tropical Snow reimagined as a dress down the runway. She knows it too.
“I still see this as an experience where I have won,” says Beth.
“I was so proud to have been able to produce things I would have never normally done.”
Beth, please. We’re already so sad you’re going please don’t make us like you any more with your sweet, sweet, ability to take this twist of fate on the chin. It’s not over for you yet. Just you wait. When Fashion Qaurterly needs to get their costumes sorted for the Christmas party, you’ll be our first call.
Watch Project Runway New Zealand on TVNZ 2 every Monday at 7:30 pm from October 1, 2018, or watch it on demand.