In the tenth episode of Project Runway New Zealand, the designers had to make a suit. Henry Oliver ranks the results.
There are three acts to a competition reality TV show. The first act is when they cut the people who can maybe do the thing in real life but can’t under the constraints of a TV competition, the people who make a dumb obvious mistake, and the people who should never have been cast in the first place. The second act is the whittling down of the people who are good but not up to it and the people who just run out of steam (make no mistake these things are gruelling. Making people work long hours under tough conditions is cheaper than taking longer to shoot the show and has the added bonus of increasing drama and tears). And the third act is a couple of episodes before the final when the top show themselves and compete for the prize.
This episode felt like the end of act two. Peni is the last of the contestants that were behind the group that has consistently been at the top and the gap was pretty evident tonight. And you can’t hate him for it. Tailoring is super hard. And even harder under strict time constraints. And sure, this week, the contestants got the most money they’ve ever had ($400!) and more time too (2.5 days!), and, for the most part, it showed with a diverse group of mostly well-made, mostly well-thought-out outfits (oh, and half of them seemed to have gotten haircuts since the last episode).
Oh no, Peni. There’s so much I don’t like about this look, I don’t know where to start.
First, someone had to go ’80s I guess, but the influence Peni had was too from that much-suited decade and ended up being more of a parody than a tribute. The pockets and buttons made me cringe inside. The three-quarter pant/jodper things were harsh to the eye (maybe something Misty could have pulled off better?) The shoulder section was a mess, with unthought-through lapels and odd proportions abound. And the tailoring was just off. Or not even there.
I feel bad being so harsh, but this is the business end of the show and this was well below the rest of the competition. It was Peni’s time. He should have gone home last week and seemed relieved to be out. He looked done. All that said, I love Peni and think he’s got the best shot at a TV job outside the show. Get that guy a segment of Breakfast or something ASAP.
I’m torn about this one. I want to like it, but I’m struggling. There are aspects of it I’m into. I think the concept is cool. The fabric is bold and risky, and the overall shape of it is great (especially the pants). BUT, I’m surprised she got away with so much. The construction is way off and puckers the shiny, shiny material in odd, often unflattering places (the pleats in the middle of each leg do not work for me). I also think the top is under-done, the lapels are too small, the shape a little too constrained. I mean, this whole look is so much, I don’t know why she didn’t push it further. I still think she’s one of the strongest competitors though and I hope she turns it up in the next couple of episodes.
Judy, the gown-maker with no tailoring experience, did pretty well. I love that she went for the green, a bold and difficult choice. And the leather is cool – I agree with the judge who said there should have been more of it. I like the use of the tech fabric too. There is a little bit of that high-end, super-expensive Nike stuff that it makes for the fashion workout market. And the warrior vibe plays into that too.
This week was pure, unadulterated Kerry, on camera and on the catwalk. His suit was, unexpectedly, the best made and, I think, the best thing he’s done on this show. He showed a restraint where he usually shows off. Usually, you can take something away from Kerry’s looks and make them instantly better, but this episode he played to all his strengths and made something that was just so Kerry (and so Karen Walker). And I know I can be a bit of a dick about Kerry on here, but I am seriously impressed with how he can just whip something like this up in a couple of days. Take a close look at some of the details here (the pockets, the lapels). It’s legit.
I’ll leave the last word to Kerry himself: “I’ve really blown myself away this week”
Benjamin lost his best buddy and his model on the same day. And he was bummed. He basically pouted throughout the whole episode (“My only friend is gone. It’s dumb. I’m stuck here with these people.”).
Still, he loved his look. It was his favourite of the competition. But the judges wanted something more. I know, I know, this is becoming a stan account, but still, I think that Benjamin got graded down this week, purely due to the judges’ expectations.
I mean, I think this is great. Super well-made, super fitted, super stylish. I dunno… was it too understated? A bit boring? Not for me, but I can be a bit boring about these things (see: Jess, above) and a subtle black suede might not make the best television, but when it came down the runway, it was the only outfit I thought looked totally, IRL, cool. It looks like what the Kinks would’ve worn if the Kinks wore more feminine clothes and lived in a warmer climate. And that’s a good thing.
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.