Cast Blog: #PROJECTRUNWAY

Rings Of Glory

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Kenley Blogs Episodes 510-514

On The Road

The Real Winner

The Final Showdown

Leanne Speaks!

Finale, Part 2

What's Next

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Love Is In The Hair!

History Repeating Itself

Garden Of Locks

Nature Calls

Rock 'n' Runway

Rock Steady

Rock N' Runway

Suede: Rockin' Out

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Take A Bow

Transformation

Joe: Straight Talk

Working Girl

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Best Of The Best?

Written In The Stars

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What's Your Sign?

I Saw The Sign

A Designer's Dream

Fashion Inside Out

Stella: Lovin' The Leatha

Double 0 Fashion

No Leatha, Mo' Problems

Making The Most Of It

The Fashion That Drives You

A Softer Edge

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Show Some Love

It's All An Illusion

Daniel: Oy Gevalt!

Good Queen Fun

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Joe: All Aboard!

RuPaul: A Drag Race

Rings Of Glory

The challenge was to design for the Olympics -what happened?

I take the designers on a field trip to the Armory Track and Field Training Center in Washington Heights in the upper reaches of Manhattan. It contains the largest indoor track in the world and is the center for Olympic training for track and field events. There, we meet U.S. Olympian Apolo Ohno who presents the designers with their challenge: Create a womenswear look for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics. An additional highlight of our field trip is our visit to the National Track and Field Museum, which contains a rich resource of materials to help inform their designs. (But did some of the designers interpret the museum's historical images a little too literally?) The designers have 30 minutes to sketch in the museum. Then, we're off to MOOD with a budget of $150. And the designers have until the end of the day to complete their design.

Appropriately, and still thrilling, Apolo is our guest judge!

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Korto WINS! She created an extremely sophisticated look: a white cotton/linen blend pant, a stretch satin camisole, and a white leather vest with red shoulder insets and a black mandarin collar. There was an unexpected aspect to the all-white look, and the construction and fit were perfection. Furthermore, you could easily see how this look could successfully morph into menswear, which is not an unimportant element in this challenge. Congratulations, Korto!

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Jennifer is OUT. Oh, I reflect upon our museum visit and Jennifer's demise all makes sense to me: She saw the historical images (some of them being adorable dresses that looked like they were going to a garden party) and she saw the "Nike" refrain (the flying foot of the Greek goddess who personifies victory) and became entranced. Jennifer designed a gold and white striped high-waisted skirt (with an odd "purse" on the back, I'll add) and paired it with a navy shrunken jacket with the museum's Nike symbol appliqued in sequins on each lapel. Yes, it was a touch of Schiaparelli, but the whole look was too girly and too child-like. Jennifer, we'll miss your intellect and your good humor, really!

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Blayne began with a white jacket with Sgt. Pepper detailing. (He didn't know the iconic Beatles reference! I am an olde farte!) I feared that there were too many "Members Only" allusions in the jacket's design, so I was relieved that he modified it into a one-shouldered top. This was paired with a white skinny pant. I found his look to be fairly lackluster and even anemic, as though he was merely flirting with his intentions. But, his design was more athletic looking than most others. Holla, Blayne!

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Daniel finds it difficult to step away from his comfort zone. Yes, he possesses a sophisticated, high-end point of view, but does than exclude everything other than cocktail dresses. His blue dress with red satin piping (although whether the dress was blue or purple is debatable), was lovely, but hardly innovative and head-scratchingly odd for the Olympics. If her were designing uniforms for Olympic Air, then I'd be a believer.

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Jerell, oh Jerell! Did he listen to the content of the challenge? I'm still reeling over the look that he created: a high-waisted skirt in vertical stripes with a horizontally striped waistband; a pink top with ruffled cap sleeves; and red, white and blue polka-dot bib kerchief, black leggings(!), and this all topped off with a wide-brimmed hat. In another context, this look could be fun and sexy, but for the Olympics? Preposterous!

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Joe embraced an all white palette. He designed a skort (a combination of skirt and short) with a wide cuff and a jacket with red, white and blue stripe details. The stripes were rather painterly (i.e. random) in their placement, but the red trim on the collar, cuffs and hem helped give the jacket some definition. And he spelled out "U.S.A." on the skort. The look was nothing if not patriotic, but it was also nothing if not dull ... Keith created a white, sleeveless tunic-like top that descended into a blue-and-white print mini bubble skirt. The tunic had a high, exaggerated collar that was further accentuated with a billowing red and blue scarf. I thought his model looked like an ice skater. Isn't this the Summer Olympics?

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Kelli designed a look that is more sweet than sophisticated. She used a small-scale red and white print for the top with a white embossed bib insert and sleeve detail. This was paired with a navy skirt with odd extension that look like oversized pockets, especially for their being piped in white. The look was '40s reto with absolutely no semblance of modernity. Was it the influence of the museum, again?

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Kenley entered into this challenge with immunity, so she could have napped through it and still been safe. She created a cocktail dress with a white satin cap-sleeved top with a modified bateau neckline (irreparably stained by model's makeup during the fitting) and a high-waisted large-scale purple and white plaid skirt on the bias with a non-bias waistband. In the paraphrased words of Lucy Ricardo, "Kenley, if that's the look you want, then you sure have a good one!"

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Leanne, what happened? She designed another all-white look, this one with a cuffed short and a sleeveless top with a dramatic stand-up collar in layers of red, white and blue. The collar looked haphazard and lacked polish. And with all that was happening with this look, did she really need the button placket of the top to be off-center? This look was reto-modern, like an episode of "The Jetsons." Leanne, I'm just glad that you're still here.

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Stella, oh Stella. How is it that you continue to persist? Black stretch satin Capri pants and vest? Dark red, silver, and blue leather chevrons and waistband? An exposed midriff? Biker Olympics? Enough said.

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Suede has even me speaking in the third person! His design was another head-scratcher: a navy ballerina skirt with red and white ribbon detail at the hem, paired with a white halter-top. The look brought to mind a majorette or a cheerleader, but an Olympian? Tim is very confused, very confuse, indeed.

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Terri designed the most classic American look of the group. It was successful, it was stunning, it was appropriate, and it was ambitious. She created a menswear tailored jacket with a wide lapel over a horizontal striped strapless top, accessorized with an ascot-like scarf. Below, she had a beautifully fitting white pant with a tuxedo stripe on the right leg, only. I swooned. So as happy as I am for Korto, why didn't Terry win?

History Repeating Itself

Feeling the pressure and sympathizing with the designers.

I feel like last night's episode was the definition of "pressure" -- my stomach is still in knots! Though I have mixed feelings about the designs that the designers sent down the runway, I should mention that I do think the right designers are still here. I know that some think that Kenley should've gone home last week or that Jerell has had more than his chance (remember the Olympic challenge? Eesh...) but I do think that this group all has their own personal points of view and have done a very good job at bringing that to each challenge. I also think that this challenge in particular, though an extremely high-pressure one considering what's at stake, was perfectly positioned on the competition, as designers at this stage of the game really want to be set loose to flex their creativity. That being said, I do think that none of them hit this one out of the park; no doubt they're extremely exhausted having gone through weeks and weeks of emotional, physical, and creative challenges.

Ahhh, does everyone remember past seasons where the "runway deciding challenge" is always the one with the most misses? Season 1 left them all with problems, Season 2 --though I ended up winning the challenge -- I still regret doing so with an admittedly safe dress for Iman. Season 3 and 4 were no different, with no one really sweeping the win with the best work they could produce. I can only speak from personal experience when saying that at this point, you are really scraping your brain for ideas, after weeks and weeks of essentially solitary confinement, continually trying to produce your best work without a friend's encouragement or the comfort of your own studio, knowing that every word or tear that escapes will be judged on national television, and going without needed stimuli such as a colorful magazine, a captivating movie, or even a relaxing walk in the park. I empathize with the designers who no doubt are thinking that every decision they make will determine their future...which it does.

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Jerell
Jerell's work thus far has been relatively consistent, though I noticed about halfway through the competition a bit more of a confident stride in his work. Even when it went wrong, Jerell never shied away from what he loves: unexpected fabric combinations, embellishment, and glitz. For this challenge I think overall that the dress reflects the inspiration with its organic shape and romantic color story; it embodies the physical elements of his picture, but also the feeling of it (which is much harder to do). I agree with the judges that the finishing brings this look down, and with a little more time he could've really finessed the draping and the bodice fit (which he's had issue with before - Saturn challenge). It also bothered me that the model had to hold the fabric back, both on the runway and in the photo, for the dress to stay open ... a few simple stitches would've solved that. That being said, I do think he did a very good job at designing an evening gown that was both modern, yet romantic, as well as one that embraced his personal point of view. Congratulations Jerell!

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Kenley
I feel like Kenley has the mentality of a caged animal that still has a wild, fighting spirit; good intentions but truly a bad method of expressing them. Put her nasty attitude aside, her dress just didn't do it for me. I feel that the "scales" concept was a decent one, albeit completely off the challenge parameters, and if it had completed in a lighter hand with more interesting design details the judges would have probably overlooked that misstep. When Kenley chose that fabric, I too was excited as it really did reflect her inspiration picture - it had a gorgeous ombre color story, an interesting surface texture, and a nice hand. That being said, imagine if Kenley had completely softened the silhouette and design? What a completely different feel the dress would've had! When the fabric is already tough and sexy on its own there's no need to do a design that is so blatantly so (especially when it's strayed so far from her usual style). The dress as is was just too expected and certainly doesn't make me want to see more. Was it a good dress? Not really in my eyes. The model had a great body, which gave the dress life, but the simple design of the top half, and the overly clunky, almost costume-like petals just gave the design a really flat look -- there was just no life to it.

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Korto
In all honesty, I don't know why Korto got the s**t end of the stick last night; I don't think this dress looks that bad. Yes the color has some bad connotations to the '80s, and the fabrication does nothing to young it up, but overall I do think it reflects her inspiration and has some very interesting design elements to it. The seaming does amazing things to the models body, and unlike other designers out there (both those who are professional, and those who are on Project Runway) Korto doesn't force the natural curves of a women's body, she embraces them. I really admire how she continually makes clothing that is flattering, interesting, and yet, still "Korto." I think the biggest flaw of this design was the fabric choices. I think that if she had done the dress in something more slinky and sexy, like silk jersey, it would've been more fluid and youthful -- both things that this design could've used. Overall though, good job.

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Leanne
It's a good thing Leanne switched models when she did, because this lavender color looks AMAZING against Tia's skin -- she's got that JLo glow! Though there were the obvious fit issues and that random piece of fabric hanging like a dead fish on the back of the dress, my biggest concern is how blatantly placed all of the pleating detailing is. I feel that with more time Leanne could've really made the pleating a bit softer and subdued, making it a bit more gradual of a transition between the hard and the soft elements of the dress. As is, they simply appear to be "stuck on" which I think cheapens the look a bit, but with a little more variety in size and shape, I think the pleating could've segued into the rest of the dress more fluidly. However overall, I think the shape is great, the movement was sexy and eye-catching and her attention to detail was unparalleled with the other designer's work on this challenge.