by Sonjia Williams

Hey guys! Welcome to another episode of “As the Project RunwayWorld Turns,” Season 11 edition by yours truly Sonjia. So to start things off, Ben is gone and Richard moves in with Daniel, Stanley and Tu and Amanda is seen as weak by the other designers, despite a great look in the Miranda Lambert challenge. Surprisingly, the team dynamics have been pretty good so far. Even the teams that have been in the bottom still have had a positive experience with their teammate. So now that we’re all caught up, let’s fast forward to the challenge. Heidi comes on the runway with a duck as the clue for the next challenge. Everyone is looking so confused (Tu is terrified) and they head back to the workroom to meet Tim and a guest to learn more about the challenge. They get to the workroom, and see Duck Tape everywhere. The challenge is create a prom dress out of Duck Tape.  To make matters worse, the designers’ looks will be judged by high schoolers, which will determine 20%  of their overall score during judging. I love the unconventional challenges because its the chance for designers to push themselves in ways they would have never thought of.

They are told that they will be working in teams of 2 and Stanley gets to pick first since he won the last challenge. Richard was so sure that he would get picked by Stanley because they worked so well in the past, but in a turn of events Stanley picks Layana. Kate chooses to stay with Tu and Richard picks Daniel. Michelle picks Amanda, which leaves Patricia and Samantha to be pairs together which Samantha doesn’t seem too excited about. I would want to work with Michelle because she has a great work ethic and ideas. So the teams get started and Richard and Daniel take all the gold tape, and everyone else thinks its unfair. They are looking for every advantage they can get. Layana is unsure about the pink and black zebra accents that Stanley picked so she changed it to black and white. Kate is bossing Tu around, and completely disregarding all of his ideas. Kate demands a long dress, since that is her idea of a prom dress. I used to hate designing prom dresses! Teenagers are so picky and they change their mind frequently. I think a good prom look is a dress that stands out from everyone else and expresses someone’s personality.

Tim comes into the workroom to check in on everyone and he is really worried about Samantha and Patricia. The don’t seem to be working as a team at all and they need to get on the same page with what they want this dress to look like. Tim thinks Richard and Daniel may have a wow moment, and Kate and Tu really aren’t working to their potential. Model fittings happen and the looks seem to be coming together. The all work quickly to get the dresses done because they have to present the dresses to the high school kids-less than a day after receiving the challenge.

Times up and it’s off to the first part of judging, which is with high schoolers. The dresses come down the runway aka the gym floor and the kids seem to have mixed reviews on the dresses. The designers join the models on the gym floor so that the students can get a closer look at the dresses and cars their vote on their favorite dress. As they surround the dresses, the students ask the designers any questions they had about the dresses. But after a few minutes past Michelle and Amanda no longer have anyone surrounding their model and are starting to worry how well their dress was perceived.

So it’s a new day and time for the real judging. The designers are back in the workroom  and are making last minute changes to their dresses based on the feedback from the high school students, as their models are in hair and makeup. This is also a great chance for the designers to create a complete look with the Lord & Taylor Accessory Wall. There are great options for a prom look- jewelry, clutches and amazing heels. Now it’s down to the runway to see what the judges think of their looks, featuring guest judge Chris Benz. The best way to describe judging is a roller coaster of emotions. You’re standing in front of a panel of judges that will either praise you or pick you apart. It’s really hard and sometimes you don’t know whether they will love or hate your designs. The Project Runway judging feedback has helped me to step back and look at my designs in a different way. Heidi reveals that Samantha and Patricia got the most votes by the high schoolers. This surprised a lot of designers, since they all had harsh words for the futuristic looks. The judges decide to talk to all the teams about their looks and have amazing things to say about Layana and Stanley; Samantha and Patricia; and Michelle and Amanda. Nina felt that Samantha and Patricia’s look was channeling Katy Perry, which is appropriate for a Duck Tape challenge. Meanwhile, Michelle and Amanda were successfully channeling Gwen Stefani with their custom print. Unfortunately the judges had horrible things to say to Richard and Daniel, and Kate and Tu, who all created outdated looks. They thought that Richard and Daniels dress looked like it was trapped in the 80′s and didn’t look like anything a teenager would want to wear.  Kate and Tu’s dress was matronly and boring and looked like Tu didn’t input his design aesthetic at all. Michelle wins the challenge and Tu is out!

But wait… In a turn of events, Kate is also out! I was definitely not expecting that- 2 designers out in 1 challenge! I guess you never know what the judges are going to say…

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