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Project Runway Throws A JustFab Challenge: Does It Live Up To Its Name, Or End Up JustDrab?

One designer gets the chance to have a look sold at an online retailer that happens to be a sponsor. Your editors discuss!

Our Players

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

The Talk

Before I get into the bullshit win that capped this episode, a couple of things. First of all, I like Laurence and think she's really chic and a good designer, and I didn't hate the jumpsuit she created, although I'd never wear it because: jumpsuit. Second of all, I kind of have no right to get mad when the show was indicating Laurence's win from the jump by having her talk about getting disowned by her father as a pregnant teen, which, WTF, Laurence's father. Third of all, the challenge brief -- design a look for the "JustFab woman," i.e., for any age or size -- was insanely broad, took forever for Tim Gunn and JustFab's CMO to spit out, and didn't require the designers to use the real women who converged on them at the park, so for it to have had ANY point, the winner, which is now being sold on the JustFab website, really had to follow the faint outlines provided.

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And it didn't. Because it's a drop-waist jumpsuit. You know who looks good in that shit? Laurence. END OF LIST.

That baggy sack of crap was one thing (I...guess I liked it better than you did), but seriously not ONE of the judges was going to ding her for that "feature" she put on the back? These people are usually tripping over each other to say something looks like a vagina, and a slit lined in red doesn't just pass without mention but WINS?

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Sarah. I can't.

It read as orange to me, so I was okay with it; it did provide visual interest. But the judges were all over the damn place this week. Nina liked that sack-of-turnips-waisted pant Alex made?

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Heidi thinks a dress without sleeves will sell better? They're not usually this far off from what those of us with a BMI above 4 will consider buying, but: woof. Not a relatable episode for the panel.

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Since you mentioned the sleeves on Erin's, let's talk about that. I was right there with you on her last week and agreed with her win. But that thing was a straight-up superhero costume. And are fast-fashion retail shoppers really looking for garments that have as many surprises as a child's pop-up book? I see that belt deal on a cheapo site, I'm assuming it's going to be the reason the dress disintegrates after two wears.

I liked it fine! I liked the yarny stitches at the neckline; I liked the color scheme. If it had pockets, I would wear it, although that was another judging note I found odd: neoprene is actually very forgiving, at least on me. Not sure why Erin got clocked for that. Then again, they enjoyed that ridiculous crop-top/bow combo from Alex, so maybe I should stop trying to make sense of their comments this week.

I bet we agree on Linda's sad grey situation being the losing look. I'm all for older women reinventing themselves with a later-in-life career change, but maybe Linda needs to reread her What Color Is Your Parachute? because fashion is...not hers.

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Yes, on that we concur. That jacket shmatte looked like something I'd have made out of an old curtain that strayed into the dress-up box somehow; I didn't hate the dress shape, but it was awfully simple. Still, I was a little surprised they sent her home over Brik...

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Yes, on that we concur. That jacket shmatte looked like something I'd have made out of an old curtain that strayed into the dress-up box somehow; I didn't hate the dress shape, but it was awfully simple. Still, I was a little surprised they sent her home over Brik...

...(but...only a little; her talking-head interview basically sealed her fate, just as Laurence's did).

Zac's face when it walked was a poem. He was NOT happy about Linda's model's butt in that thing.

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If it gave us nothing else, it gave us that. I wish Jenni had gotten some recognition, though -- besides a montage of designers imitating her laugh, that is. I liked that bazaar-clubwear profile.

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Oh, Sarah, that laaaaaaaaaugh. I admire her for going through life with it and not feeling sufficiently self-conscious about it to try to change it -- the only thing worse than a weird laugh is a fake laugh (Kendra Wilkinson) -- but...it's rough to listen to. In close quarters like the workroom, people maybe need to quit making jokes. As for her look: I could totally see the jacket being the most fashion-forward thing on JustFab, but those pants were a very risky choice given the challenge. The judges were divided on Kimber: where did you stand? I feel like they've been telling designers to knock it off with the boxy crop top/high-waisted bottom silhouette for at least three seasons now, but as such things go, I thought hers was fine. ...Okay, maybe I just liked the print.

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I loved the print and the lined pocket. The top turned out badly, but that was a construction issue, not a design/taste issue, and for the judges to tsk that that blouse is tough for the bigger-bosomed when 1) actually, the issue is for the bigger-bellied, and I am speaking as both; and 2) they have given maybe a hundredth of a fuck about that before like ever, including in this same episode? If the construction is the issue, say that. It still didn't look as cheap as Sarah's in the second place.

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Oof, yes. Sarah's looked like it walked to the runway straight out of Strawberry. And Sophia Petrillo would have pooh-poohed the print on that blouse. In terms of the good: I'm sad Mah-Jing didn't win for his denim semi-wrap dress. That model looked great AND the shape would work on a variety of body shapes. Robbed.

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I liked that, and I liked Cornelius's, which looked body-con but was actually structured enough to let different body types wear it. Pattern-mixing isn't as impressive as he thinks it is per se, but he did it well, and I do love a massive houndstooth.

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His design isn't good enough to excuse his stank attitude...

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...but on the other hand, Brik does seem like he's probably in over his head. Were there any looks you thought should be in the bottom that weren't? After her strong showing last week, Tasha let me down with that navy look she sent down. I'm surprised she thinks the average shopper wants a semi-circle detail right on her gut. Speaking for the gutted: we don't.

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I also clocked that one for looking trashy, plus the weird panel placement looked like, per my notes, floating underpants. Other than that, nothing terrible, though a few of the fabric choices looked cheap under the runway lights, especially Roberi's.

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Did you like Dexter's? I disagree with Tim; it shouldn't have been a dress.

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For a dress, it was a good-looking coat. It was so shapeless that I kept waiting for his model to unzip it and reveal whatever we were actually supposed to be interested in, but she never did.

Also, just as a general comment about challenges where the winner's design will be mass-produced for retail: it strikes me as very shady when the company's representative doesn't get to be on the judging panel. It's fine for the usual panelists to opine about what the customer may or may not want, but who knows that better than someone whose job it actually is to sell to those customers?

I agree with you in theory, but in practice, they tried that in the first season, and we wound up with Wendy Pepper in the S1 final.

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