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Is Project Runway's First Team Challenge Of The Season More Than The Sum Of Its Parts?

Season 15's first not-so-superhero team-up includes a preview of Fashion Startup, with teams pitching their collections for judges' cash bids. Does mo' money result in mo' design problems?

Our Players

Hello, I'm West Coast Editor Tara Ariano.
Hello, I'm East Coast Editor Sarah D. Bunting.

The Talk

Before we dig in on Season 15's first team challenge, I believe you have some addenda to Dylan's excellent coverage on last week's swimwear challenge that we should address. PROCEED.

Dylan covered the subject extremely well -- much much more stylishly, in fact, than that horseshit Little Cover-Up On The Prairie shmatte the judges couldn't stop praising. (Often while glancing at the camera and smirking, like, fuck you twice if this was all a big joke.) What a clown show last week's judging was. They corrected their mistake this week, though, sending Alex home for what felt like spurious reasons -- the dress didn't meet the brief as described in his pitch?

Lifetime

Lifetime

Alex got on my nads, but at least send him home on shite work. It's not like there wasn't any available, Nathalia.

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Lifetime

I agree that Alex's look was the worst on the losing team; I was shocked to learn it was metallic denim, because to me it looked like an entrant into a 3M duct tape dress contest (except those usually look better). But man, are Jenni and Brik lucky that the rest of their team kept them alive. That fur bib hooker sock was hideous. And why did they keep calling it "mauve"? THAT SHIT BEIGE.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I didn't hate the idea of that one; I liked the contrast of the neutral color and the sci-fi bib thing. Unfortunately the trashy length cancelled all that out, especially when their pitch was for a woman in tech; maybe she'd wear it over pants, but on its own, no. Still, I really liked the other looks -- and I liked the challenge overall. I feel like the show used to incorporate real-world fashion concerns better, so watching the teams pitch the judges on their mini-lines in order to get the budget for the materials felt like a return to form. At least until the flogging of the sponsor started. It's Mary Kay, not the Nobel Committee, jeez.

Well, yeah. It's makeup? If there isn't something that can complement literally any clothing you wear, what's the point? I actually found all the looks kind of safe this week, I guess because no one wanted to do anything too crazy and risk their chance at a $5000 payday. The print the losing team used was 100% Banana Republic from a few years ago when they were still doing the Janie Bryant Mad Men collections.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I can totally see it made into a Joan Hollway-esque knee-length shift with a portrait collar), and other than that it was well made given the now typically Draconian time restraints, what was so special about Laurence's jacket and plain skirt? We're all in on the "pop of colour" trick at this late date.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I also wondered what made that jacket so "obviously Laurence" to the judges. It's a collarless moto jacket; yes, it's something she would wear, and it looked well made given the time they had, but...and? Ditto Dexter's. I love him, but for a winning design, that looked first-drafty. The "texture pops" work better in theory than in practice, I think.

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Lifetime

And as glad as I am that the "bye, Mah-Jing" note I took based on the exposure he got early in the episode was wrong, that too was overpraised.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I agree -- again, it was fine, but it didn't seem like it was breaking any new ground. I can't believe we've gotten this far without your mentioning Erin's coat. That, to me, was "obviously Erin": she's really staking her claim on boxy shapes and embroidered details (though in this case I was worried that having them above the pocket would mean the wearer would always be worried about putting her hands or anything else in the pockets lest she be too rough and break off some of those sequins). And though at first I kind of side-eyed the idea of wearing a wool coat at work, then I remembered what it was like working in a high-rise office. ALWAYS TOO FUCKING COLD.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I really liked it! It made me think, which is a dumb non-thing to say, but it's true -- I had the same feeling you did about the sequins, but I also thought the sleeves were too flat, and then they grew on me; I thought the yellow was used too pointedly, but it was also so pretty; the more I looked at it, the more expensive and effortlessly chic it looked. As you remember from when you lived in northern cities, having a memorable coat that sets you apart from all the brown leaves on the tree is really important to some people. Like...me.

Let's backtrack for a second to the Fashion Startup backdoor pilot aspects at the top. Dear reader, in case you didn't know, next week Lifetime will premiere the spinoff Project Runway: Fashion Startup, which is basically Fashion Shark Tank. Our preview in this week's episode is that, once assembled, the teams had to come up with sketches for their collections and then pitch them to the judges to get their backing and determine their challenge budget. Alex claims to have this mastery of pitching and then shits the bed, getting his team only $800, while Dexter nails his pitch and walks away with a whopping $2200 for his -- that's, like, half what finalists get to make their whole Fashion Week collections! There was talk after that of how the bigger budget would just mean the judges would have higher expectations for the result, but then...the team with the bigger budget did win, so eh? I kind of expected a little producer fudging on that front to make it more of an underdog triumph or something.

And then the judges didn't really mention the higher budget at all -- but did clock the losing team for not sticking to the pitch, so while I hadn't even thought of that Shark Sequinned Tank backdoor-pilot aspect of it, you're totally right. And I am psyched for that show.

Then there was the meltdown the losers had on the runway. Nathalia comes out weepy before the critique's even begun, forcing Heidi to assure them that even though they lost, it was rully rully tough to make this judgment. But by the end everyone is crying. Guys, someone has to go. Just shoot it straight; it's not like you have to be worried they're going to come after you later when they're on the jury or something; this isn't Survivor!

Or, like, physically! My notes: "GMAFB with the Viking funeral." They...know they're not going to be actually killed after they clean up their spaces, right? (They...aren't, right?)

Some of them probably should be just to keep them from being inflicted on us again in an All Stars season.

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