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Project Runway Season 11: Episode 4, “The Ultimate Hard and Soft”

Dream Team: Samantha Black's winning design.

Project Runway Season 11 redeemed itself last week, with an unconventional materials challenge that offered lots of drama and some spectacular design results.

In episode 4, “The Ultimate Hard and Soft,” each team had a budget of $2,500 to shop at a florist’s and at a hardware store. Each team had to create a cohesive six-look collection. The individual garments could use materials from the one store or both, as long as both hardware and flowers were represented in the collection.

The first order of business was rearranging the teams. The Dream Team was down to five members, while Team Keeping It Real was still at eight members. Tim Gunn told the Dream Team they could “steal” two members of Team Keeping It Real. They took Stanley Hudson (for his construction and organization skills) and Layana Aguilar (for her sexy, feminine approach to design and willingness to say something if she didn’t feel a design was working). Then there was a twist – Tim told Team Keeping It Real that they could steal one original Dream Team member. The choice was unanimous: They nabbed Michelle Franklin. 

The guest judges were Bette Midler and fashion blogger Leandra Medine. If you aren’t familiar with Leandra’s humourous fashion blog, it’s called The Man Repeller (ManRepeller.com). What is a man repeller? As Leandra defines it:



outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive mode that may result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.
Check out her blog if you get a chance!
On to the results:

The winner and the winning team

Upset! The Dream Team (albeit with new members) one their first challenge of the season. Stanley Hudson, great organizer that he is, gave the team a theme: 1950’s Christian Dior that gave Dream Team the edge with the judges for having a cohesive collection.
Samantha Black’s winning design:
Samantha Black's design.
Stanley Hudson’s design:
Stanley Hudson's design.
Tu Nakchat’s design:
Tu Nakchat's design.
Benjamin Mach’s design:
Benjamin Mach's design.
Layana Aguilar’s design:
Layana Aguilar's look.
Mat Arthur’s design:
Mat Arthur's design.

The loser and the losing team

Team Keeping It Real lost the challenge mainly because they didn’t work to have a cohesive collection. The individual pieces were excellent, but the colors and silhouettes didn’t work with each other.
Joseph Aaron Segal’s losing design was too shapeless for the judges:
Joseph Aaron Segal's design.
Daniel Esquivel’s design:
Daniel Esquivel's design.
Richard Hallmarq and Michelle Franklin’s design:
Patricia Michael’s design:
Patricia Michael's design.
Amanda Valentine’s design:
Amanda Valentine's design.
Katelyn Pankoke’s design:
Katelyn Pankoke's design.


What did you think?

Some of the designs on this episode were amazing, especially considering the materials!
Who do you think had the most innovative use of materials:
Mat, for his mop-cord top.
Benjamin, for his woven-rope bodice.
Richard and Michelle’s sculpted mini-blind bustier and skirt lattice.
Or, Samantha’s wire mesh and leaf sandwich skirt?
Did you enjoy the episode? What unconventional material, that Project Runway hasn’t featured yet, would you like to see the designers work with?

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  1. sews4fun | | #1

    Just wondering if who-ever-it-is that posts this blog is curious to know why commenters have dropped in significant numbers? There was a time when you had 25 and more commenters on this P.R. blog but now, you are lucky to get even two people to post.
    Do you think that maybe if you posted the blog a little sooner than ONE DAY before the next show comes on that you might have a bit more interest? I have to wonder if the intent is to let the blog die because it's not like the blog is profitable in any way to the site and that, after all is what the site is for. Still, it's a shame.

  2. Cherlyn | | #2

    I have been curious about the same thing. I missed the episode on Thursday of last week, so I spent part of my long week-end looking for the episode so I could view it. It wasn't anywhere! I remember when it could be viewed the following day, but not anymore.

    This blog is posted way too late. It needs to be sooner. It used to be the very next day after the show that the blog was up and running. It was interesting to read through the varying opinions.

    I would like to see these teams do a newspaper challenge. Project Runway hasn't done this challenge in awhile. I don't like the candy challenge. This one probably was interesting, but I cannot find where to view it. Maybe I can catch it tonight before the new episode.

  3. User avater
    SewReel | | #3

    Cherylyn: I too have missed an episode occasionally and the next day I have gone to the My Lifetime site and watched the episode there.

    I agree with both of you that this blog is posted too late! I used to come here the next day or Saturday to find the blog and comment. This is the firt time I have been here this season. I saw as many as 45 comments once, but not for a long time. I enjoy this blog because the comments are from people who sew clothes! Which is far different perspective than others who also follow the show. I live in an area where there are a lot of quilters, but I have yet to find a sewing buddy here (in 13 years) who enjoys fashion and sewing apparel:(

    How is everyone liking the "team season"? I know they are trying to change it up, but I preferred the old format better.

    I enjoyed the newspaper challenge a few years back too, but have they ever done a kitchen store or a toy store? Could be interesting.

    Have a wonderful day everyone:))

  4. User avater
    Soli | | #4

    I think that Samantha's dress looks pretty current, but I would have voted for Layana's to win. It was ethereal and looked like it belonged in an Annie Lebowitz editorial page. I also loved what Patricia and Katelyn produced, but understand why their team took second. I'm glad that Ben got out of his funk and got his entry done. I think he's capable of more, but you have to admit that weaving the bodice was pretty impressive. Not my favorite, but I never much cared for the innovative materials challenge. I wish they would do the newspaper version again (Los Angeles season).

  5. User avater
    smcfarland | | #5

    Dear Cherlyn and Sews4fun, Hi, I'm Sarah McFarland, a Threads editor, and I work on this weekly post. There's no intent to let the blog languish - it has just been that I don't have cable television, so I try to watch and post about the episode during the workday. It's proven difficult with obligations in the office, plus holidays and business trips for work. I see how important it is for you to have a more timely post about Project Runway, however, so I'm going to find a quicker solution for you and the other readers. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  6. sews4fun | | #6

    Dear Sarah
    Thank You for letting us know we have been heard, that's more than a lot of people would do.
    If you ever need any help posting the blog, let us know, you have all our email addresses, I'm sure Cherylyn would be happy to put in a word or two and I bet SewReel would do the same. If not, I apologize for speaking for them.
    As for me, I'm in the same boat as SewReel, all quilters where I live and very few garmet makers. Girls like us come to this blog just to know there are "others" lol.
    Anyway, Thank You again for getting back to us, we know you will do the best you can with the time you have.

  7. User avater
    Soli | | #7

    Sarah, my husband is a scenic artist, and he is able to write our cable/internet off on our taxes as a business expense. He often uses various shows for inspiration after talking to his clients, and there have been times when he's put tracing paper over the big screen to make a template off a show or movie because the client wants a certain image on their wall. Yes, you may have to pay the fees monthly, but if you have to watch a cable show as part of your job, the government considers it a legitimate business expense.

  8. user-2419330 | | #8

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