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Project Runway Season 11, Episode 9: “He Said, She Said”

Michelle Franklin's design. 

This week, things were back to “normal” on Project Runway. The models were models, the clothes stayed on, and the designs were made with cloth.

It was the Lord & Taylor challenge, and the remaining seven designers competed to create pretty, wearable spring clothes for women. The winning design was put into production and is available now at Lord & Taylor stores and at LordandTaylor.com.

Before the sewing began, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen, and Heidi Klum put the challengers into three new teams. I think they had fun deliberately mixing things up for maximum drama. For example, they kept Layana Aguilar and Richard Hallmarq on the same team, even though they had strong words on the runway in the last episode. 

The new teams were:

Michelle Franklin and Daniel Esquivel.

Stanley Hudson and Patricia Michaels.

Samantha Black, Richard Hallmarq, and Layana Aguilar.

The guest judges were fashion designer Rachel Roy and Bonnie Brooks, President of Lord & Taylor.

On to the spring designs…


The winning look and team

The challenge winner was Michelle Franklin. Michelle has been doing pretty well the entire run of the show, but this is her first win. She created a little shift dress in chartreuse silk and taupe leather.

Michelle Franklin's design.

Daniel Esquivel, Michelle’s teammate, created a very pink dress. It wasn’t very youthful or innovative. Poor Daniel seemed to snap during this challenge. He took a comment from Michelle the wrong way and was very affronted, even though Michelle tried to explain that she hadn’t exactly said what he claimed to have heard. They were big enough to make up before the runway show, and Michelle’s help did improve Daniel’s design. He just looked really tired. I’ve heard that they don’t get a lot of sleep.

Daniel Esquivel's design.

The OK team

Stanley Hudson’s look:

Stanley Hudson's design.

Patricia Michaels‘ look:

 Patricia Michael's design.

Stanley and Patricia had some friction, too. Patricia was very defensive when Stanley “interfered” with her designs, and thought he was too aggressive and controlling. Stanley didn’t back off, however, and his intentions were good. I think before the runway presentation he had won her over and they both learned from their collaboration.

The loser and the losing team

Samantha Black went home for her pieced dress with a layered pleated skirt and a heart cut-out on the back. A heart cut-out! For the Lord & Taylor challenge! Oh, Samantha. She meant to do something youthful, but it was too much, and the execution wasn’t good.

Samantha Black's design.

Richard Hallmarq created another pieced jersey dress. It was very much like the dress he created for the very first challenge. It’s a easy-to-wear design, but it seemed unfair that he got to play it safe and stay on, while Samantha took risks and was sent home for an ambitious design.

Richard Hallmarq's design.

Layana Aguilar’s look was a pretty and shapely maxi dress in a chiffon print with leather waistband and straps. The biggest strike against it seemed to be the print. Nina and Heidi reacted very negatively to the print Layana chose. Prints are so difficult and she selected it to try and mimic the colors of the Lord & Taylor rose emblem. Too bad it backfired.

Layana Aguilar's look.

What did you think?

Did you agree with the decision to send Samantha Black home, instead of Richard Hallmarq?

I think I was far more interested to see what Samantha would come up with next, but based on this episode’s garments alone, Samantha did deserve to get auf’d.

What do you want to make for spring? And in what color?

Would you wear hot pink? (Daniel says yes, Michelle says no.)

Do you think Richard will make it past the next challenge?


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  1. User avater
    Soli | | #1

    I do agree with the decision to auf Samantha. The dress was a horrible concept, and was badly made. The heart cut-out reminded me of Betsey Johnson Alley-Cat in the 70s. Maybe there was a sense of whimsy, but that's not exactly the L&T customer, and having worked in the junior department at Saks Fifth Avenue, high end junior still looks a lot better than what Samantha offered. I also didn't think too much of her overall taste or use of color, so I'm not sorry to see her gone. I think Richard's dress was the maxi that you see at every price point, in every fabric, from various resort wear collections. It was exceptionally well made, and IMO, that was the one factor that kept him in. I don't know that he's terribly innovative or interesting in his work. Not sure that he will be around much longer. I do wear hot pink, but only as an accent in scarves or jewelry. I haven't had a garment as bright as Daniel's dress since I was 21 in the 80s. Ironically, I thought that Daniel's dress was very 80s, with the power shoulder (albeit not as huge as 80s shoulders), bright color, and length. Although the tucks in the torso were very pretty and feminine, the dress was pretty old fashioned. I hate to kick someone when they're down, and I do root for the older contestants (generally) - I think Daniel's close to my age, and this is when it shows. His frame of reference is from the past. His tailoring is impeccable, and his suits have been fantastic, but again, there's nothing new or innovative about what he's doing. I didn't think much of Layana's dress, as it was another generic maxi. I wish she'd get auf'ed just so I don't have to listen to her denigrate the other contestants. Stanley's dress was alright, although it reminded me of classic Calvin Klein - nothing new. I think Patricia made a beautiful ensemble, but I can see how it would have been to expensive to produce at the requested price point, as well as too referential to the rose concept. I suppose Michelle's win was by default (I thought she won for the Duck tape challenge too). I hated the color, and the shift was just an update on the little A-line mini dresses that Mary Quant used to give us in the 60s. It was well made, though, so another reason for the win I suppose. I find it hard to believe that this is the best they can do in casting each subsequent season. My husband looked at me last night, when Heidi came on talking about casting the next season, and I told him I'm not putting myself through that pressure cooker (as if I don't have enough in my real life). Seems to me that they get so many people who are deluding themselves that they are so much more talented than they really are, and the ridiculous constraints make it difficult for the best people to shine through these days. So Samantha was in the top 7. That means she got to show a decoy collection, that I'm really not interested in seeing. To be truthful, I'm really not interested in seeing any of the collections on the final runway, but I watch out of loyalty to Tim Gunn.

    As for me, what am I sewing for spring? Not sure. I'm thinking of recycling fabric from some old garments that are out of style. I have a dusty rose velvet big shirt that I'm planning on turning into a gypsy bag, and I have some rayon from an ooooooollllld jumper that might make a cute mini sundress. I have to think about it. I may just look at the online catalogs for Anthropologie and Sundance before I decide what to draft for the rayon. We're going to a ball in early June, so I may need to make a new Regency ballgown, but I'm not sure if I want to spend the money on more silk...

  2. tpj69 | | #2

    I have watched all the PR competitions and enjoy the creativity that results from some very difficult restraints: time, materials and personalities. It is so very sad to watch the contestants spend so much more time and talent destroying each other than helping and sharing.

    I thought the team format would be an excellent idea because collaboration is the key to success in ANY field. The most successful people in life are those who spend their time creating partnerships and networks. I would assume that the fashion industry is no different.

    Is there a lesson to be learned?

  3. sews4fun | | #3

    I agree that Samanth should have gone home, that dress was just terrible. I don't know how she could have deluded herself into thinking it was fashion forward in any way. I liked Michelles dress and I feel that the color is a modern choice. Although she won the duct tape challenge, I didn't care for the "fabric" pattern on her dress although I agree that she had the winning look there also. I noticed when they showed it in Lord and Taylors window, the mannequin was barefoot and did not have a single accessory on it. There was no "backdrop" for the mannequin and I thought the window looked sad. When I did window displays, they had to be accessorised and backdropped to the max. I guess times change.
    I know this is television and it has to have some "drama" but I just hate the team challenge concept this year, I feel that good designers have been sent home and now, what is left is designers that are average, Michelle excluded. Why do I get the feeling that Layana and Richard will be paired up again? It seems like this show does it's very best to take any energy and creativity out of these designers and forces them into confrontation. Was it a "coincidence" that every sigle one of them were at odds with each other this last challenge? I think they were hoping for drama with Michelle and Patricia and when it didn't happen, they just gave up and began pairing them with other people. The fact that they give them so little time and even less rest is just disgusting. The only designer I have seen that can produce like that was Michael from previous seasons.
    Patricia suprised me this time, I expected another arts and crafts project and she actually put out something wearable. I wonder how many truly talented designers ( who actually have something to show the world ) are passed up in favor of larger than life personalities who have very little talent and even fewer sewing skills. Just think what a huge hit a "reality" show would be if it were actually about the designs and not the drama.

  4. Cherlyn | | #4

    I was glad Samantha was sent home. That dress was one of the ugliest desgns yet!

    I loved the winning look---the green is one of my favorite colors to wear. Most everyone went some shade of pink--not a Mothr's Day challnge. I think the rose gave most of the designers the wrong idea.

    Richard has no ideas, so he should be going home soon.
    I liked Patricia's and Stanley's designs. Their pinks were not so vivid. I did not like Daniel's pink ad his dress looked like the hem needed to be pressed!

    I didn't think Layana's fabric was allthat bad. I don't know why the judges gave her such a hard time about the floral.

  5. Moonbeams | | #5

    I am tired of Richard and his drama. His ego is ridiculous and I do think he should have been sent home. Why do they keep people like him?

    I sometimes like Patricia but she gets bogged down in her arts and crafts creations. Although she is creative, doing her thing with a 24-hour turn around, is unfair because she cannot help her partners.

    I usually don't wear pink because of my age. But if I did make a deep pink dress, it would have to have some black trim somewhere.

    I don't think Samantha would have gone with the heart had Tim not responded favorably to it when she told him about it.

    I think they'll keep Richard because he's catty and a drama queen and a troublemaker. They all like that.

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