Lifetime

Project Runway's Loved Ones Episode Is Only About The 8000th Thing To Make Us Cry This Week

Everyone loves their moms (and others, but mostly moms) in a very special challenge, but who does right by them? Your editors discuss!

Our Players

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

The Talk

As we write this, Tara, it is rather a dark day for progressives and their allies in the U.S., so I've tried hard to find little joys, and among the things I'm thankful delighted me today were egg sandwiches, cat videos on the internet, and Mah-Jing's mother's runway earrings, which were basically wires shaped into...her. Glorious. And maybe it's just my need for warrior women today but I really wish that look had won; she and it were so fierce.

Lifetime

Lifetime

The "loved ones" episode is always a tearjerker -- hell, even when the designers get regular-people strangers as client/models, the results can make me a little sniffly. When a woman who's never had the chance to wear a custom-made look stomps the runway and just feels every inch of herself, it's just undeniable how badass she feels in the moment and reminds us that while fashion can be frivolous, it can be powerful, too. So the fact that this episode was scheduled to air two nights after the first American presidential election with a woman at the top of a major-party ticket feels like it probably wasn't an accident, and given how things came out, seeing all the moms -- who've loved their weird kids into being adult artists and who now just want to do right by them just hours after the candidate for this particular community was routed...it was a real heartbreaker!

All that said...yeah, Mah-Jing's mom was a queen and that look should've won. Rik's mom looked delighted, and I appreciated the little surprises he gave to make her look pop (the waxed tweed, for instance), it was still a very safe design.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I get a little sniffly at any friends-and-family episode, even on, like, Survivor with contestants I hate, so I was right with you there -- and I'm with you on Rik's too. Very nicely made; some innovations; not worth the combined 50K they got from AARP for winning, and in fact I'd have put Roberi's dress ahead of Rik's too in terms of how likely I'd be to buy it or wear it. It wasn't the freshest design, but it was flattering, cut well, didn't try too hard, and that color on the skirt is everything.

Lifetime

Lifetime

Roberi, like Mah-Jing, impressed me by designing a look for a woman over fifty that didn't assume she wanted to look like Ruth Fisher from Six Feet Under all the time: Roberi's dress would look just as great on a curvy woman in her twenties as it did on his mom, and she looked thrilled to wear it. Jenni went even further along that spectrum, giving her mom kind of a rock edge...I guess? But the result just ended up looking like shapeless polar fleece separates you'd buy for a camping trip and neeeeeever wear otherwise. The right one to send home for sure.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I was gratified that the judges quickly moved away from hammering on Jenni's look for being too junior in favor of stressing how shittily it was made, because that t-shirt, what the H. I thought Jenni Sr. did a pretty good job of selling the look on the runway, but the fact is, those pants looked like two straw wrappers in a fight to the death. Nathalia had some proportion problems, but as you know, I'm always going to forgive a black-and-white look even when it's crap.

Lifetime

Lifetime

NATHALIA AND HER MOM, SARAH, OMG. Clutching hands on the runway during the critique before the judges even got to her because Nathalia knew she wasn't on top. Hugging while Nathalia started sobbing!

Lifetime

Lifetime

Normally I'm not a fan of the designers melting down like that on the runway -- it's reality TV and they want an emotional reaction, but it's also a professional situation -- but when you're standing there with your mom in an outfit you made her with your own two hands: I'll allow it. They're all exhausted. I GET IT.

What I don't get is how Dexter escaped the bottom three. Erin keeps getting dinged for using the same tricks over and over again, but at this point how many things has Dexter stuck some studs on?

Lifetime

Lifetime

I adored the haaaaail out of that sweater, actually, although I agree with you that it's one-trick-ponying -- as is his tendency to throw a micro-mini under that trick and think it's cute. To the contrary, it's rather trashy.

And not for nothing, but I thought Laurence should have gotten clocked for that half-assness she sent down, too. That your daughter can work it doesn't mean it wasn't the same old jacket shoulder, and the rest of it couldn't have been more of a snooze. Bad red for Laurence Jr.'s complexion too, IMO.

Lifetime

Lifetime

In continuing storylines: Cornelius didn't exactly dazzle me with his first post-Tim Gunn Save look -- the print did most of the work -- but it was competent, and there are still enough designers left that being in the middle is okay.

Lifetime

Lifetime

Erin sending down that tablecloth, and with another tea party coat over it? It's enough already.

Lifetime

Lifetime

I liked Cornelius's ideas but the yellow striping looked rumply and poorly done; fine with his safety, but I don't know how much further he has to go, and ditto Erin. I did think the background about her Utah upbringing was instructive, vis-a-vis what she was trying to do with her mom's look, but I also think she's not as adaptable as we thought she was early on. The previews don't make it look like she's capable of moving on from that cocoon silhouette, and if she doesn't, she's going to get auf'd.

This is petty, but since we're here: I was also forced to question Erin's taste level when we saw her wearing this in the workroom.

Lifetime

Lifetime

Even pettier: I question her taste level in show friends, Dexter. Dang, YOU "just go home," Hat Ballou.

Readers liked this episode
What did you think?

Discussion

Explore the Project Runway forum or add a comment below.