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Project Runway Season 12, Episode 5: “YOU Choose Your Materials!”

Alexander Pope has to make it work. 

In the latest Project Runway episode, the designers had to deal with unconventional materials as well as team dynamics. For some teams, the collaborations created amazing designs – while on one unfortunate team, clashing personalities led to an unprecedented failure.

To begin the challenge, the designers met with Tim and a Lexus representative. The remaining 12 designers were split into four teams of three (I’ll number them for convenience). Each team drove off in a brand-new Lexus (not to keep though!) to their choice of two out of three material sources: A healthy foods store, a vintage wallpaper store, or a general store.

Team 1: Helen Castillo, Dom Streater, and Justin LeBlanc went to the food store and the wallpaper store.

Team 2: Karen Batt, Jeremy Brandick, and Kate Pankoke went to the general store and the food store.

Team 3: Sue Waller, Alexandria von Bromssen, and Ken Laurence went to the general store and the wallpaper store.

Team 4: Bradon McDonald, Miranda Levy, and Alexander Pope went to the wallpaper store and the general store.

The teams were tasked with creating mini-collections, one look from each designer. The designs did not have to reflect the Lexus cars, but it was a nice touch for the designers who managed it.

Nina, Heidi, and Zac were joined by fashion designer June Ambrose as guest judge.

The top team and the winning design

Team 2, Kate, Karen, and Jeremy most impressed the judges with their tasteful and imaginative use of unconventional materials. Kate used black rice as “beads” and shaved coconut became a lovely textured detail on Karen’s design. 

Jeremy Brandick won the challenge with a sleek white dress made from placemats and with glitter “racing” stripes:

Jeremy Brandick's design

Kate Pankoke’s design:

Kate Pankoke's design

Karen Batt’s design:

Karen Batt's design

The worst team and the losing designer

There was discord in Team 3 from the start. Ken, Alexandria, and Sue couldn’t seem to overlook their differences enough to help each other. None of them were particularily inventive about the challenge, prompting an outburst from Tim on his workroom visit. He was very irritated that Sue had designed with curtains from the general store. How unconventional is that? To make a dress from curtain fabric?!

Ken was bossy, Sue was lost, and Alexandria was surprisingly meek. The disfunction came through in the designs.

Sue Waller went home for her design, which, in a Project Runway first, was not ready when the designers and models left the workroom. The model actually finished sewing the shoulder strap in the bathroom before she went on the runway.

Sue’s losing design:

Sue Waller's design

Ken Laurence’s design:

Ken Laurence's design

Alexandria von Bromssen’s final design:

Alexandria Von Bromssen's design

The remaining teams

Team 1, Helen Castillo, Dom Streater, and Justin LeBlanc, did an unremarkable job. The judges didn’t comment besides declaring them safe. 

Helen Castillo’s design:

Helen Castillo's design

Justin LeBlanc’s design:

Justin LeBlanc's design

Dom Streater’s design:

Dom Streater's design

Team 4, Bradon McDonald, Miranda Levy, and Alexander Pope, did very well. The judges told them they were a very close second to Jeremy’s team.

Miranda Levy’s design: 

Miranda Levy's design

Bradon McDonald’s design:

Bradon McDonald's design

Alexander Pope’s design:

Alexander Pope's final design

What did you think?

What about Ken’s behavior? I started to wonder if Sandino was the biggest bully on the season. I was so surprised that Alexandria let him speak to her so derisively. 

Do you think Ken should have gone home instead of Sue?

Which design impressed you the most? 

Who do you think is next to go home?

Were you surprised at Tim’s chewing Ken, Alexandria, and Sue out in the workroom? What about in the hallway before the runway presentation. If you were one of the Project Runway designers, wouldn’t you have been furious that Sue’s garment wasn’t finished?


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  1. designer6905 | | #1

    I was not surprised at all at Tim's concern. A shower curtain is as good as going to Mood and buying fabric. And Ken is a beeeeeach! He's so high and mighty and turns out a placemat and duct tape disaster. I wish he went home instead of Sue. I was shocked that he called her old! My guess is that Alexandra might be in some trouble next. But I'm sincerely hoping that Ken leaves in a hurry. What a whining, rude, nasty human being.
    So happy to see Jeremy won and loved Bradon's dress. Such talented people.

  2. hazelspi | | #2

    Can't understand how Sue got on PR in the first place, not knowing how to use a sewing machine or how to draft a pattern. She could have done a little pre-show-entry cramming on some know-how. Where did she think she was going, to a food network show??? Get rid of Ken SOON, attitude's like that just spoil the whole show.

  3. Flanerie | | #3

    Too many divas. send them home, already.

    Ken... ugh, what can you say? I can't believe he said, "I don't design clothes for 35-year-old women..." Yeah, that's elderly. I guess when he hits my age (52) he'll just curl up into a ball and wear a grocery sack...

  4. user-1048221 | | #4

    Every design was ugly, I wouldn't be dead it it.
    I wear my own style 30's-40's neat, clean beautiful.
    Designers now don't have good taste.

  5. GMterrie | | #5

    Now that the most obviously untalented designers (I use that term quite loosely)have been sent home, now we're down to the personalities that could not possibly make it in the real fashion world.

    Ken has shown that he is another awful, distracting, and abrasive diva. If the preliminary contestant pickers were worth their weight in salt, they would inquire more into the skills of these "designers". Of course, if we viewers were doing the choosing, we might want too much from them, such as talent. Oh where are the Mondo's, Christian's, Santino's and Andre's of the world? These guys added TALENT and personality! Well, Andre didn't quite have it, yet he was such a nice person and so pleasant, that I'd want him in it, anyway.

    I really love this show, though. I get a chance to act as if I know exactly what is good...and laugh at myself because I don't have the guts to try out for the show.

  6. Ikebana152 | | #6

    AAAAGGHHHH! What a disaster!
    I agree with the judges that sent Sue home. She can't sew, or even drape and baste. (poor model!) But what is it with designers and their disdain for anyone who isn't 5'9", size 2 and under 25? Ken was just offensive. If you are an absolute genius (LaCroix or Galliano or McQueen) "maybe" that would be tolerated, but sexist, patronizing, misogyny from a truly mediocre talent - NEXT...

    I liked Jeremy's dress and was amazed that Bradon could produce that gown with the materials chosen. Talk about outside the box!

    If I had my way, Ken , followed by Helen would be "aufed" next. Ken for unprofessional behavior and passion aside - with the exception of the project with Kate - Helen's work has been pretty awful.

  7. Muppet | | #7

    Just looking at these I have to wonder why they are trying to see just how awful they can make women look. Most of the designs anymore are just plain ugly!! What a disaster!! My opinion.

  8. lackawannabb | | #8

    I think Ken should have been sent home. His attitude and treatment of the fellow designers brings the entire caliber of the show down. I am not sure how Sue got this far since she can't sew but than many designers can't. I think she should have been given a further chance to prove her skills. In a previous show a participant had just started sewing and ended up winning it all. I am very disappointed in the personalities of the participants; they all have so many neurotic attitudes it puts a bad light on the profession of designers and the many hard working people trying to make it. I think Project Runway is slipping more into a share personality problems show than a design/fashion show and it is not nearly as interesting because of that.

  9. smallchangepurses | | #9

    Ken should have been shown the door, as well as Sue. E-NUF with the hissy fit throwing! Lack of skill from Sue AND the entitled, rude and threatening behavior displayed by Ken was evident in both garments.
    SUAS.....(shut up and sew!)

  10. User avater
    lauriepie | | #10

    I'm in complete agreement with everything (above). Have to say though, Sue's leathers are amazing and I would absolutely wear one of her stylish jackets. But she's no Anya who always finished her garments and was [at least] able to do a little sewing.
    I would have been delighted to see Ken go home. I don't recall evidence of any great talent in his interview collection or in ANY of the challenges. I guess they thought that his homelessness, bad attitude and 3x trying out for the show would be of interest to the viewers. Not.

  11. User avater
    MissPat | | #11

    I agree with most of the comments so far. But as a whole, this season has been a major disappointment. From the first episode where they kept a designer who refused to follow the rules to currently keeping the nasty Ken. At least Sue's designs were interesting. Ken is just a walking, talking disaster. There must be a whole lot going on that we never get to see or know about.

  12. User avater
    krawz | | #12

    I agree with others that both Sue AND Ken should have been sent home. Of the winning team I really thought that Kate's design was the best. But overall I liked Bradon's design best and was surprised his team didn't win. I guess Alexander's design held them back. I think Kate and Bradon will be there at the end. They've both bveen doing brilliant work!

  13. Cherlyn | | #13

    I really thought Ken and Sue would both go home. They don't deserve to be there.
    I love Braden's dress more than Jeremy's dress. And I liked Kate's dress, but I really didn't care for Karen's. Sorry but that just looked patchy to me. Reminded me of quilting.
    I thknk Ken's number is up so he will be out next. I am curious as to what the news will be next week that Tim reveals. I hope it's not too sad.

    I am glad that Tim gets to see as much as he does because the judges need to know these things. These people want to be professional designers and act like spoiled brats! There is not room for whinning!

  14. sews4fun | | #14

    Hear that ladies?
    Ken doesn't design for anyone over 35, so, if that nasty little diva ever becomes a real designer, be sure not to buy anything he makes.

  15. frenchseams | | #15

    Ken must have had a really nasty childhood. His behavior might have worked in the 1930's, but today he is just another broken male. What a jerk! Can males like him be fixed or do we need to euthanize them?

  16. User avater
    Soli | | #16

    While I think that Jeremy seems to be a lovely person (especially in comparison with some of the other designers), I really don't believe that his dress was the best of everything that was shown. And I'm sorry, but how much difference is there between the sorts of textiles that are used for curtains and napkins (well, possibly the napkins seem to have been jaquards, but they were still traditional textiles). I thought that Bradon and Karen's dresses were the most innovative. The judging just seems to be all over the map. Do they want something innovative and couture level or do they just want bridge-worthy clothing?

  17. User avater
    Soli | | #17

    Oh, sorry, since we can't edit. Could really live without Ken's backbiting, bitchy diva behavior. He seems to be a victim of short guy syndrome - thinks he's got to be louder, tougher, and more threatening than the people who are taller than him. I hope he gets eliminated soon.

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