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Project Runway – Nuts and Bolts

You would never guess this winning garment was made of garbage bags.

If last week’s show was the most thought provoking and novel, this week’s was typical Project Runway. The challenge, delivered by Michael Kors, was to create a garment and an accessory from materials found at the hardware store. While it’s always interesting to see what the designers will come up with when given odd materials to work with, I felt like I had seen this before. But, in the end, the innovation of the designers did not dissappoint.

The array of materials the designers chose was astounding and worrisome at the same time: copper flashing, sandpaper, paint tray liners, trash bags, chains, screen and sticky mesh were among the choices.

Emilio noted right off the bat that “this is not what he does”. And, it quickly became clear that his statement was foreboding as he ended up over budget and leaving the store without half the cord and washers he planned on using. As his “stripper outfit” of pink cord macrame and washers came together, it was clear he was going to be in the bottom, if not going home.

Emilio Sosa


Another concern was Amy. When I first heard Amy say she was working with sandpaper, I wondered who would ever want to wear a dress made of sandpaper? But, she pulled it off beautifully mixing the colors and the textures and cut into different shapes to create a gorgeous fan-like bodice.

Amy Sarabi

Before the runway, I wasn’t sure there would be much to get excited about. But, I was happily proven wrong. My first moment of joy was when guest judge Isabel Toledo was announced! She was joined by Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and another guest judge, jewelry designer Stephen Webster.

Ben, Amy, and Seth Aaron (who had immunity) were the safeties this week. Little attention was paid to Ben’s copper dress and Jonathan’s C3PO/Veronica Lake mash-up was just so-so. However, I loved Amy’s design and the texture she created with the sandpaper.

Ben Chmura

Jonathan Peters

Seth Aaron Henderson

Among the top 3, the judges praised Mila’s color-blocked (again) design in black and white which she made from paint tray liners and her cuff bracelet with text, was touted as the wittiest. I was underwhelmed, but I might just be getting bored with her aesthetic.

Mila Hermanovski


Jay’s ensemble was unbelievable. I wasn’t sure he was going to pull off trying to make leather out of garbage bags, especially when his model didn’t fit into the pants on the first try, but when his garment went down the runway, my jaw literally dropped open. The pants fit well, the shaping of the top was stunning and the color added by the blue painter’s tape, topped with the braided belt was exquisite. You would never guess it was made of garbage bags. The judges loved it, and he was chosen as the winner.

Jay Nicolas Sario


Also a favorite was Maya’s look. Her key necklace was amazing, and the judges agreed that hers was the best accessory of the evening. Her woven jacket of Venetian blind cord, and simple dress made of screen set a modern, spare backdrop to her necklace, which was just the right touch.

Maya Luz

In the bottom were Anthony, Jesse, and Emilio. The judges weren’t impressed with Anthony’s design saying that he missed the idea of the challenge because he tried to make the hard fabrics look too soft. Michael called it a bad prom dress. I agreed that it wasn’t innovative, but it was chic and pretty.

Anthony Williams

Jesse LeNoir

In the end it came down to Jesse and Emilio. Tim said early on that Jesse’s painted copper flashing dress was looking “so school project, school play” and on the runway his dress garnered some of the harshest comments of the season. They called it “Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz”, “Hershey Kiss”, and a “dirty vacuum bag” to name a few. His hairpiece was the most redeeming part of the look, yet he was sent home in a somewhat shocking moment, over Emilio.

Emilio’s barely there bikini was a mess, but, I think he was clever to recognize his situation, decide to make a bathing suit and just go with it. When in front of the judges he could have blamed his design on not having enough of a budget to get what he needed, but he stuck with his decision to the end, and gave her an overall cohesive, if not messy, look.

It’s sometimes tough to tell how the judges come to their decisions, but I think this time they were looking at the overall vision and were just not impressed with Jesse’s “lack of artistry”.

What did you think? Were the garments as tortured as Anthony proclaimed? Did you agree with the judges? Should Jesse have gone home?


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  1. User avater
    IggyJingles | | #1

    I agreed with sending Jesse home, and I think the judges looked at his body of work and saw that this dress was heading in the mundane silhouette of much of his work. Perhaps if Emilio's realization of his macrame idea had been better it would have looked less messy and more wow. He did stretch the truth some at judging. His original idea was a dress after all. The person who actually said the words "I didn't want to make a dress like everyone else" was our winner. I think they saw this garment as an aberration from Emilio.
    Often I think the judges must be seeing something a little different than shows on film. I also quite liked Anthony's dress - I thought it was pretty. I liked that he made mesh look like organza. Perhaps not top three, but not bottom three either.
    I don't think Seth Aaron's bodice and skirt looked good on camera, especially from the front. It looked too like aluminum foil for my taste, but I did like the strapping on the back. I would have been more interested if he done some kind of surface treatment - like an age wash (there's got to be stuff in the hardware store for that!) or heat effect to texturize and enhance the rock and roll feeling.
    A simple, barely altered cuff the most "witty"? I was expecting them to express disappointment at the weakness of the accessory. I thought she should have come third rather than second for that reason, but at least she took up the challenge of not using a fabric-like base material.
    The only problem with plastic pants is the sweat. They looked like leather, but I doubt they would breath like it.
    I have to wonder what Ping would have made of this challenge.

  2. sews4fun | | #2

    I think this week was a bust. Emilio should have been sent home. Period. His less than truthful "I didnt want to make a dress like everyone else" was believed by no one except that guest judge. Amy got hosed, Mila was her usual color block self but her outfit was okay. You know, the rope and washers spoke of a nautical theme to me. If I had come to the realization that I was running out of material and time, I would have used muslin which is allowed and made a tank top and shorts or a casual skirt. I would have taken some of that pink string ( which should have been navy) and wrapped half of the washers in that. I would have taken the rope and untwisted it ( all rope is two or three ply ) which would give me at least twice the amount I started with. I would have then made a macrame overlay for at least the tank top tied together with the pink and silver washers. I might have taken two washers and used them as grommets to thread narrow shoulder seams through. I might have used the washers as grommets to line the hem of the shorts and threaded the rope through them as a trim. I didnt even see an accessory on Emilios "outfit" but I would have taken some of the washers and made a chunky bracelet or belt. It wouldnt have won but it would have at least been a bit more respectable than what he threw at the judges. Amy's outfit should have placed, it was innovative and a lovely piece of work. The hersheys kiss was gaudy and some of that other stuff with all the tin looked like baked potatos. I think the only reason Emilio was kept is because he keeps drama on the show. He is the only one tearing everybody elses stuff apart right now so they need him to keep it interesting.

  3. User avater
    runwaygal | | #3

    For us an audience trying to come up with why the judges choose what they choose seems lacking. I think we just don't get enough of the real show to make great decisions.
    This is TV at it's best and they show what they want. They can bias any way they want. Judging is also a very tricky thing to do. What you like may not be what others like or expect. I have also noted a discrepency in understanding the true challenge during these. Did this challenge actually want something every woman could or would wear as opposed to something extreme with style. Even on the real runway there are the clothes real people would wear and the "costumey" outfits for show. I try to keep in mind while I watch that just being picked for the show these people have great possiblilities. I really think the judges critique on a lot of points not just the outfit at hand. We see time and money restraints hindering all of them. I am sure these factors are taken into effect by the judges. This whole show impresses me as to how they work so hard under so much time restraints and pressure. I love to sew but I need time to mentally design before I get started. I would have a hard time putting together a look on paper in 20 minutes and then only 30 minutes to shop a fabulous store for all fabric and notions needed. I commmend all these for there work.

  4. Skymom | | #4

    What I missed was more discussion of the accessories designed by the "safe" designers who were in neither the top nor the bottom three. I couldn't really tell what Amy made, though I thought her dress was adorable and perfect on her model.

    Mila's outfit was cute enough, but if that's not costumey, I don't know what is. Maya's was fine--it looked nicely made, and her necklace really was my favorite piece of the whole show, but what's with this stand-up collar/ruffle fetish she has? Does she own only one pattern piece? It seems as if everything she's designed all season has included that element in some form. It's her answer to Mila's color-blocking, I guess.

    For the most part, I didn't love any of the hammered metal garments, and sympathized with the other designers who had to work through all the noise involved in creating those pieces. Jonathan's passed with nary a comment, but I think it's one of his most successful pieces all season. Even if the overall silhouette wasn't innovative at all (which was probably a blessing in this case), he developed an interesting art deco surface design that intrigued me.

    As for choosing between Jesse and Emilio--I think Emilio's look was far worse, but his body of work throughout the season has been stronger. I actually can't remember one thing that Jesse has designed, so it probably was time for him to go. Emilio's arrogance might trip him up down the line, though. But even if he was forced to limit his look to a bathing suit, due to the shortage of materials, did it have to look like such a mess? The only thing that worked was that his model really did look just like an animated Barbie doll, and that was creepily fascinating.

    Three cheers for Isabel Toledo, who worked hard to give each designer the benefit of the doubt.

  5. cirone | | #5

    i feel like the judges like mila too much and amy too little, and this week was no different. i loved the texture, shape, and style of amy's dress. and while the movement in mila's skirt was interesting, i was less than impressed by the overall look (more black and white colorblocking?!?) and the stiff collar.

    it would be nice for some 2-day challenges to come back. i feel like in these one day challenges, the designers have to resort to things they are familiar with to pull it off. perhaps that's why a lot of the designers seem to put out similar things challenge after challenge.

  6. User avater
    Soli | | #6

    I think that Maya should have won. Her material was much more difficult to handle than Jay's trash bags, even if he did back the plastic with muslin. It was still a thin, pliable material that could go easily through the machine, and even though his braided belt looked nice, Maya's necklace was really outstanding and not as easy to fabricate as Jay's braided belt. I don't know why Emilio didn't get sent home - where's Christian to call him out on the hot mess he sent down the runway?

  7. fiberann | | #7

    I agree that Emilio's was the worst, but it was time for Jesse to go. Only Emilio's model pulled it off for him by looking self-assured even though nearly naked--and then he dumps her for the next round. But she will be better off with Amy anyway. Tim Gunn, on his blog, remarks that Emilio has had an angel on his shoulder the last two times. But I think his angel may fly off pretty soon. Jay has had two wins, but both were in the "unconventional material" category. He can think outside the box with materials, but I don't think it necessarily means he's a better designer. I was liking Mila, but now think she is pretty narrow in her aesthetic--how many color-blocked 60s outfits can you take?

    The shows are obviously pretty cropped to show what they want and to try to make things more exciting. To see more of the judging and the "safe" designs you have to go to the web channel--sometimes worth the effort and sometimes not. I don't have a tv, so usually watch online and check out some of the footage that didn't make it into the show.

    Sews4fun: love your idea!

  8. sews4fun | | #8

    Fiberann, you are making me blush! But, while I'm blushing, I'm headed over to that web channel, I didnt know about that. thanks for the tip!

  9. User avater
    Kate_W | | #9

    Emilio is a poor sport. His outfit made Ping's model-behind-showing outfit look Victorian.

    Jesse did alot of work to be sent home ahead of a string and washer "swimsuit".

    My favorites were Maya's followed closely by Amy. Then Jay. For the record, I can't imagine making an outfit from materials I picked up at the hardware store ... kudos to the designers who ponied up to the challenge.

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