Prints Of The City

Inspired by New York's bridges, the designers tackle the avant-garde challenge with 3D-printed fabrics, and stick the judges with a tough choice.

"The Runway's In 3D!" didn't need to run 90 minutes. My attention kept drifting away from the workroom, and then I'd snap back and wonder if I'd missed something, but I really hadn't. With only five designers left and the object of Tim's irrational ire removed, there just isn't a whole lot going on until we see the final looks.

The challenge -- incorporate a 3D-printed fabric into an avant-garde design inspired by the Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Queensboro Bridges -- is pretty good, and leads to relatively strong performances from everyone; I didn't love a couple of the designs and didn't agree with the auf, but final five made it hard to single out an obvious loser.

Guest judge Mel B and her fantastic accent bought Candice's dress off the model, Kelly notched another win, and Merline went home. Who crossed the river safely and who got stuck on the Q? To the rankings!

From first to worst:


Into it! The literalism works for me; it's intellectualized and sculptural, which seems to me like what the always-nebulously-define avant-garde challenge is about.


The fit is great, the construction of the "towers" is flawless, and I love that vintage pleather color; it's like a '70s TV detective's canvassing coat meets Leona Helmsley.

The judging

Nina seemed to struggle with pulling her own definition of avant-garde back to what's possible within the constraints of/the show's different take on the term, but she had good, insightful comments. And I just louuuve listening to Mel B pronounce things, plus she's happy to be there and honored her chair with a hot white mani.


It's gorgeous, I would wear it, but I don't know how avant-garde it is.


Heidi clocks her for using a familiar silhouette, referencing Kini's umbrella dress, but I think we've seen that shape as far back as Leanne in Season 5. I like it much better than Ashley's, but in this challenge of all challenges, for Merline to play it safe is fatal, and I understand why it got auf'd.

Posen faces

Nothing that notable, probably because he doesn't see anything that terrible.


I did like his comments to Merline about her sophisticated thought process not translating to the finished product. He's the Harry Connick of PR: he's fun and has fun, but at the same time takes his job as a judge seriously and doesn't talk down to the designers.


Cruella De Vil is avant-garde now? The fabric and fit are both fierce, but I don't like the way the bottom panels are attached; it's too harlequin. The 3D fabric feels like an afterthought.


And what's with the shiny butt panel? I don't hate it, but if Merline's going home for not meeting the challenge, this should get clocked harder.


Kinda busy, kinda costume, kinda overpraised.


It does give the model great boob, and he does know how to place design elements to flatter a woman's body; I'll grant the black could make the dress hard to read. It just felt a little amateurish and not that new.


The pants fit well, but I don't like the look at all.


The dots read too junior, I don't "get" the sheer paneling...what's the relationship to the inspiration? Taken as a whole, the look is incoherent, and the separate parts look a bit cheap in a rented-costume way. The poncho is much too long and is giving me Navajo Smurf Hunger Force. Pass.

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