Project Runway Season 11 - Episode 10

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This week took the designers to the Guggenheim Museum. The building itself is an amazing piece of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Add in a wonderful selection of artwork, and I can't imagine a better place to find inspiration. Heidi Klum had already told them, "In this next challenge you are going to be able to push the boundaries in a way that will show us just how creative you are," so no one was surprised to learn this was the HP + intel Challenge.  They are to work in teams of 2 to design ONE textile inspired by the museum's artwork. The final fabric must be used to create 2 looks - one wearable art, the other commercial ready-to-wear - and they can divide up the work any way they like.

Tim Gunn lets them know the judges have again chosen pairs to reflect who they would like to see work together - Michelle/Stanley (wow what a strong pair), Daniel/Layana (sure to clash) and Patricia/Richard (they are just too far apart as designers for this to work well). The museum is closed, so the designers have full freedom to explore without interruption. All take time to research on the computers provided and then wander in pairs to snap photos, sketch and discuss concepts. Back in the studio they have to work quickly to create the team print which is then sent to Dyenamix for production. It's no surprise that 1 designer on each team takes most of the responsibility for the print's final look.

As their custom textile will not arrive until the next day, they are offered 1 hour to design (which surprisingly had very little drama); a table full of random supplies to carefully look over that will help them with their art piece including paint, wire, glue, several colours of bubble wrap and more; and a trip to Mood Fabrics where they have a budget of $200 to purchase supplemental fabric and supplies. Teams seemed to have no problem agreeing on a print concept which surprised me - but when it came to the garments, 2 of the teams struggled to find common ground. Rachel Roy again fills in for Zac Posen and guest judge this week is fashion designer Tracy Reese.

Stanley (winner) and Michelle -

Stanley and Michelle found themselves inspired by the same works of art and decided to create the art piece together. They chose to play with madness - "a dark woman on the brink of insanity" - so Michelle drew disturbing faces for the fabric design! Stanley was drawn to the bubble wrap  as a construction material and used it to create the art dress - Michelle created the art overcoat and hand painted it. The simpler commercial piece offered the same a-line silhouette and colour palette.  I love the underskirt of yellow peaking out as well as keeping the design simple so that the print could hold centre stage.

Both designers worked on the Art Piece - Michelle put in more time on the Ready-to-wear.
I personally would have given Michelle the win because she had a larger role in the inspiration, drew all the faces seen on the textile, sewed and hand-painted the art overcoat and did a larger portion of the work on the ready-to-wear. There is a lot more of her in all aspects of these 2 looks. However, Stanley was given the win. Judges comments include - this look is perfection, it's about spiraling out of control but that's not what you see when it comes down the runway, it's yin and the yang, the language is really together, love the hand drawing on the overcoat's train, inspiring and editorial, and I just love the whole thing.

Daniel and Layana - 

This team had a rough time mostly due to Layana's strong opinions and Daniel's decision to try to make the pairing work by just letting her take the lead and have her way in most areas. She has been a bit self-absorbed throughout this show and it really came to a head here. When Layana struggles, he tries to encourage her. But in the end, she blames him for all her woes. Damned if you do - damned if you don't. She decides that she will create an art piece inspired by the twisting shadows and shapes of a wire sculpture and Daniel will create the ready-to-wear look that somehow ties in. As she has strong opinions about the textile, he lets her design it and just says great. The fact he practically had to beg to get just 1 slim yard of the textile they created for his piece was unforgivable. He had no choice but to incorporate - it was a part of the challenge. Why should she take it all? 

Layanna - Daniel
The judges were in agreement on their runway presentation. They loved Daniel's look calling it sleek, modern and sexy. I would have questioned him on the fact he again created a jacket, but they seemed oblivious. No one cared for Layana's art piece. They felt was a hodge-podge of every idea she had thrown together and that looked like a period piece. As the Guggenheim is dedicated to modern art - they felt it didn't make sense. Other than the palette and bit of common fabric, there is little to tie these 2 together.

Patricia and Richard (sent home) - 

Patricia and Richard were also a disaster in terms of partnership. Their aesthetics are just too far apart and the way Patricia designs by instinct. She can't communicate where she is going to anyone else where the process will end up. This challenge should have been Patricia's shining moment. She easily created a great print that was a collage of stylized eagle feathers with lots of triangles and and added hand painting as well, but struggled to find her way when it came to producing an actual silhouette. This gave Richard nothing to work with conceptually. She became upset that Richard was not designing, but Richard felt he had no idea where to go as he didn't have a clear vision of what she was producing. As he was inspired by the museum's architecture, he finally pulled together a structured look he hoped would keep him in the show. 

Patricia - Richard (sent Home)
The judges were in agreement here. Richard's look did not work on any level - no surprise as he was working in a vacuum. I think it would have been better if he hadn't bubbled the skirt - just pleated it and let it flair out. Patricia had some mixed reviews.  Heidi thought the look was fresh, but Nina absolutely hated it.  I think the concept was there, but it didn't come together - just layers of interesting fabric. The idea ended up just a fuzzy hint of a great artistic statement. I do feel Richard was the right choice to go home in terms of his work the last few weeks, but they could just as easily sent Layana home for her hot mess. 

To view larger images of these garments go to Rate The Runway.