TelevisionNovember 26, 2018

Project Runway Power Rankings, week nine: Pretty in bling


In the ninth episode of Project Runway New Zealand, the designers had to make eveningwear based on some sponsored jewellery. Henry Oliver ranks the results.

Two things:

Caitlin & Benjamin vs The Rest

The divide between team Caitlin and Benjamin and everyone else widened this episode. And I think I’m fine with it. The two ways to survive these shows seems to be to either have low-level friendships with everyone or find a buddy to help you through it who can help you too. And that’s the divide here. There’s only one strong friendship on the show and everyone else just kinda gets along okay enough, while resenting the two people who’ve bonded hard.

So who’s to blame? I kinda think no one. What I can’t decide is who are the cool kids and who are the geeks. I wanted to use some Mean Girls imagery in this post, but I can’t decide who’s who. Are Caitlin & Benjamin the popular kids excluding the others, or are they the ones who are being excluded because they’re too close?


The true star of Project Runway is Tim Gunn. Sure, Heidi is great too, but we only really see her at the start and end of every episode and her input is usually comedic or critical, which is great, but Tim Gunn is the show’s beating heart – he’s a mentor, a teacher, a consultant, a friend, a parent, a therapist, a shoulder to cry on.

Now, I’ve liked Andreas from the start, but it’s always bugged me that the edit has minimised his role. He gives the challenge, makes announcements, takes care of the business end of things, but his mentor role is small. A few suggestions, a couple of tweaks that could be made, a few comments at judging. Until this episode. Tonight, Andreas was allowed to be Andreas! Not only was he given more screentime (probably only 45 seconds more, but still), but he was also more critical, more to the point, more… Andreas! In the fabric shop, he pushed each designer to get out of their comfort zones, to stop repeating their past successes. He told it straight, but his eyes gave them shit. In the critique, he shot from the hip (“control your design self,” he told Judy). He expected more from them this episode and I loved it.

Free Andreas!

Anyway, there some sponsored jewellery and blah blah blah they had to make an eveningwear outfit to pair with the “bling” (Note to contestants, judges, hosts: please stop using that phrase in this context). So who shone and who faded?

6. Peni

Poor Peni! This was not his week. He never seemed to click into an idea and then he got a bad back which shut him down for long enough to get way behind, so he made a terrible dress really should have taken him out of the competition. I feel like I can’t overstate how much I disliked this dress. The colour combo, the asymmetric bust, the weird twisty bit. Just… the whole thing. This is what, on the original Project Runway, gets called a bad prom dress. But then…

Lucky Peni! This was his lucky week. They decided to kick Caitlin out. It was the first time I was genuinely surprised someone got kicked out. My jaw dropped. Literally.


5. Caitlin

Still… Even though I don’t think Caitlin deserved the boot, she did make the second worst thing. Not that it was terrible so much as it was boring and didn’t really meet the brief. This fringy jumpsuit is what I call Project Runwaycore. It’s like the most typical, dull thing that contestants made on the show. It looks like a bad version of a million things Sean Kelly made in the season of the original US version he won (that dude used soooo much fringe). Anyway, everyone was right about the fringe being too short. It barely moved and the proportions between the fringe bits and the non-fringe bits were just way off.

Still… shocked!

4. Kerry

It’s obvious now that Kerry gonna Kerry. The man who loves geometric shapes but hates working next to Benjamin is gonna make the same sort of thing every episode is gonna end up at the top of the bottom and is gonna complain endlessly about how the judges don’t get it at the start of the following episode.

Baseless prediction: Kerry will mediocre his way to the finale and come third. (Or, if there’re only two finalists, he will be out in the second to last episode.)

Still, Kerry is kinda funny. This episode he made the best cunnilingus joke of the season (“this is very familiar territory,” she said, kneeling under the skirt with his head in the dress form’s crotch). Oh, and it’s so funny that you can tell he hates the jewellery. Every time he talks about it he says it’s “quite nice”. LOL!

The dress? I like the bulbous skirting, but that’s it. The fabric is way off and the caging is either too much or not enough. And if you think I’m mean about Kerry, listen to what Benjamin had to say tonight: “I don’t like Kerry’s look. I don’t really like what Kerry ever does anyway. But that’s just a personal thing. I don’t like gimmicky things like that.”


3. Judy

Evening wear! Finally! No pressure Judy!

Remember when Judy wasn’t doing very well before she won two in a row? This reminded me of those episodes a bit. Like, it’s fine and the draping is nicely done, but she should have done a lot better. I liked the combination of movement and the structure, it just lacked any “wow factor”, y’know?

2. Benjamin

Benjamin’s grunge disco gown was pretty much flawless. Perfectly made, looks both expensive and cheap (in an ‘it takes a lot of money to look this cheap’ kinda way). I get why this didn’t win though. It was probably the best dress in real life, but not the best dress on a fashion design game show where you have to have some hook, some attention-grabbing twist to rise above the rest.


1. Jess

She did it! Ultra-competitive Jess, who every week says, “I want to win this week,” won this week! At the start, I said that Jess would be around for a long time, and she’s had her near-disasters but she’s held on for a win! And I’m happy for her. When she’s not making boring clothes (like last week), she’s making super cool clothes (remember that coat?). I love the puffiness, the volume, the wide strap, the perfect curve. I don’t care if the model can’t walk normally. Nothing about this is normal. As long as she can make it down and back without tripping, I’m fine with it.

If Jess gets some momentum, she could be in the last few around. Top two even (y’all know who I’d put my money on). This could get exciting!

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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