Project Runway review: Which designer showed his true colors?

PROJECT RUNWAY -- "She's Sew Unusual" Episode 1805 -- Pictured: (l-r) Cyndi Lauper, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY -- "She's Sew Unusual" Episode 1805 -- Pictured: (l-r) Cyndi Lauper, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Project Runway asked the designers to bridge the gap between pop and punk. While Cyndi Lauper be a fashion iconic, a few designers showed their true colors on the runway.

A great comeback is always a reason to celebrate. On this week’s Project Runway, the designers found inspiration from a legend and a legendary decade. Did the pressure of designing for Cyndi Lauper really bring out the designer’s true colors?

While Project Runway is only five episodes into this season, the designers have tackled some heavy hitting tasks. Beyond the classic unconventional materials challenge, the first episode pair challenge and last week’s upcycled challenge seemed to see the designers’ competitive streaks become slightly savage.

Although confidence can be a good thing in any competition, ego can lead to the ultimate downfall. Even with the 80s being a decade of excess, being overly confident in a bad look could cause backlash from the judges. 80s neon might be bright, but judges shade can snuff out any hope.

This week’s Project Runway challenge had several twists and turns to keep everyone excited. First, it was a team challenge. Everyone knows that team challenges are never what they seem. While the perfectly coiffed team seems like the potential winner, the chaos of the other team might pull out a victory.

Looking at the teams, the two collections were so far different it almost looked like two separate challenges. Although everyone can have a style take on the 80s, these looks didn’t look like the same decade. From circus stripes to punk chic, there didn’t seem to be a common thread.

In addition to the team aspect, the designers had to create their own accessories. While the designers really didn’t seem to take advantage of this aspect, the challenge seems to continue to highlight an important Project Runway theme.

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “She’s Sew Unusual” Episode 1805 — Pictured: Christian Siriano — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

The designers are presenting a look, not just a design. The styling of the whole look is vital to impressing the judges. If these designers do not see the whole picture, their time on Project Runway will be short lived.

With the two teams creating an 80s, Cyndi Lauper-inspired capsule collection, it was curious that the teams didn’t name themselves or their collection. In some ways, putting a name to the team or the looks could have helped some cohesion. Similar fabrics or color story doesn’t equal cohesion.

While Team Chaos might have started in a frantic manner, the final collection definitely had the right balance of pop and punk. Although the common thread among the looks was difficult to spot, the designs themselves were superior to the other team.

In a way, Team Chaos showed that the 80s inspired looks were exactly what the 80s represented, celebrating yourself on the runway. From adding embellishment to balancing the hard edge, each of these looks had a modern twist on the 80s excessive-ness.

Needless to say, Team Chaos was the winner. The top three looks were Brittany, Victoria and Geoffrey. Given that Brittany interned at Betsy Johnson, it was slightly disappointing that her look was so badly finished. From a distance, her look was smart, but up close it was a nightmare. Why did the show share this fact is the garment wasn’t on point?

Another disappointing aspect to this week’s runway was the judges’ choice of Victoria as a top look. Yes, she has a particular aesthetic; it is clear. Unfortunately, she has shown that same look for five episodes straight.

At what point do the judges say, we want to see more? An asymmetrical dress with a cut-out was refreshing on episode 2, but now it has become repetitive. What more can Victoria do?

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “She’s Sew Unusual” Episode 1805 — Pictured: (l-r) Victoria Cocieru, Geoffrey Mac — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Geoffrey really pushed himself this week. Although he seems to have difficulty staying on task early in a challenge, he can produce some amazing looks when he narrows his focus. This particular look was a lovely example.

Equally important, Geoffrey presented a fully styled look. From the studded belt to the choker, it was a head to toe ensemble that embodied the challenge. Needless to say, Geoffrey won this week’s Project Runway episode.

The bottom team, team stripes, seemed perplexed by the decision. While everyone seemed to work well together and had a similar color story, the looks seemed almost like a bad costume of the 80s. The stripes had a slight circus, prison feel. No one wants to feel trapped in a bad 80s flashback.

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “She’s Sew Unusual” Episode 1805 — Pictured: Sergio Guadarrama — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

While every designer can have a bad look, being humble on the runway is a great virtue. That concept was completely foreign to Sergio. His look was very misguided and his rebuttal to the judges was a poor choice.

Through criticism, a designer can grow. If he cannot accept the flaws, he will alienate himself and it could lead to his downfall. Arrogance is never a saving virtue.

Overall, his look did not connect. From too many ruffles to strange pants to odd styling choices, it was a look that Cyndi would never wear nor should anyone who wants to stay off the “what were they thinking” list.

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “She’s Sew Unusual” Episode 1805 — Pictured: Marquise Foster — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Marquis missed a big portion of the challenge, the modern vibe. This look had no modern take on 80s fashion. In a way, the whole look lacked ideas.

Equally concerning was his styling. The lace ankle wraps looked like a bad 80s costume. Couple that idea with the horrible white shorts and this look should be put in the back of the closet.

Lastly, Melanie was a bottom look that was just lacking direction. While she couldn’t necessarily wrap her head around an 80s inspiration, the whole look lacked a moment.

The biggest takeaway from the judges’ critique was that they haven’t remembered one of her looks. Everyone can gasp over a bad look, but at least it was remembered. In some ways, being unnoticed can be even worse.

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “She’s Sew Unusual” Episode 1805 — Pictured: Melanie Trygg — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Overall, her look was flat. It was clear that she was stuck in her head and slightly afraid. In a Project Runway competition, the designers have to swing for the fences otherwise they fall flat. Melanie definitely fell flat in this challenge.

The designer sent home on this Project Runway episode was Melanie. Maybe if she had pushed herself more, she would have made a bigger impact on the judges.

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What did you think of this 80s inspired Project Runway episode? Are you ready to bring back your safety pin necklace and studded belt?