Project Runway review: From family history to fashion moments

PROJECT RUNWAY -- "There Is Only One You" Episode 1806 -- Pictured: (l-r) Fernando Garcia, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY -- "There Is Only One You" Episode 1806 -- Pictured: (l-r) Fernando Garcia, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

In this week’s Project Runway episode, the designers found inspiration from their personal heritage. Which designer made history look fashion forward?

With 10 designers left, Project Runway is looking to amp up the volume in this week’s fashion challenge. Although last week’s 80s inspired looks were filled with fun, this week’s challenge was far more personal. As the designers looked to make a deep, personal connection with their design, could that inspiration cause them to lose their focus?

As the competition becomes more focused, the designers who have often been “safe” are starting to lose that middle ground protection. While the classic Project Runway phrase always looms, one day you are in and the next you are out,” the real statement is designers cannot have a bad day on the runway. Unfortunately, mistakes will get a designer eliminated.

Looking at the theme for this episode, the designers really were left to their own imagination. Granted, the look was to channel their own personal heritage, but that theme is overreaching. From sportswear to gowns, they could create anything.

Although it seems counter-intuitive, more pigeonholed challenges can help the designers focus and can create more creative looks. The broad scope can create confusion, lack of direction and chaos on the runway.

Given that Project Runway always loves a twist or two, this episode had two little additions. First, it was just a one-day challenge. The limited time frame definitely left some designers frazzled.

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PROJECT RUNWAY — “There Is Only One You” Episode 1806 — Pictured: (l-r) Christian Siriano, Karlie Kloss — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Second, this episode was a flash sale. While Christian didn’t reveal this aspect till the end of challenge, that tidbit makes a difference in a designer’s look. The average person might not want a gown but she would want a fabulous pair of pants. Again, a more limited scope can be helpful for a designer.

Lastly, one aspect that really didn’t play out for this challenge is the styling. When the Karlie and Christian set the tone for the heritage inspired look, they mentioned the importance of make-up. After looking at the final runway, that aspect of styling was really overlooked.

After the runway, the Project Runway judges easily saw the bottom looks, but the top looks were controversial. For another week, the judges picked Victoria as a top look. This space inspired jumpsuit, asymmetrical look was confusing.

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PROJECT RUNWAY — “There Is Only One You” Episode 1806 — Pictured: Victoria Cocieru — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

While no one really understood the heritage inspiration, everyone did agree that the look fit the model like a glove. That expert tailoring deserved praise, but her looks are getting repetitive. Does anyone need to see another fabric tail?

Additionally, Victoria’s color choice was strange. That baby blue looked more like a Cinderella meets space odyssey and that combination is not Disney approved. Although not boring, this design was a missed opportunity.

Dayong’s look was a lovely interpretation of her Korean heritage. The reference was clear, but the interpretation was modern and wearable by any woman.

Overall, her look was polished and elegant. It looked expensive. While the look would have been better styled with a skinny pant, it deserved the judges’ praise.

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PROJECT RUNWAY — “There Is Only One You” Episode 1806 — Pictured: Chelsey Carter — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Lastly, Chelsey was hands down the best look. Drawing inspiration from the women educators in her family, the riff on a varsity jacket was impeccable. It had a huge impact on the runway.

Everyone saw the visual reference, but the sleeves added a new touch. The design was smart, it captured the challenge and it was a look that everyone would want to wear.

Clearly, Chelsey won this week’s Project Runway challenge. It was nice to see her finally winning a challenge.

As for the bottom looks, those three designs were quite obvious. Each of these Project Runway designers had major issues. All three of these looks would be on the don’t list.

Shavi had issues from the moment he returned to the workroom. While his heritage was poignant, his execution failed him. The poor choice of lining made the dress have a huge fit issue.

Additionally, Shavi was criticized for too basic a design. The dress has been done before (and better). His story deserved a better interpretation.

Sergio was more about making a political statement that impressing the judges with a look that made an impact. While his story is heartfelt and worthy of discussion, the dress was a huge miss. It looked like a bad Mexican costume with a mullet.

Even though the judges empathized with his passion, the dress was bad. From poor fabric choices to the mullet fringe, no one would want to wear this dress. It was a very sad moment, beyond Sergio’s tears.

Delvin was twisting in the wind the entire challenge. It was clear that he could not focus and his design was horribly muddled. It was a sign that he was not confident in his choices.

From the Dynasty inspired shoulder to the poor pink color choice, the whole look was a miss. Even though the writing element could have had a moment, all the other elements overpowered the possibility of something unique.

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PROJECT RUNWAY — “There Is Only One You” Episode 1806 — Pictured: Shavi Lewis — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

In the end, Shavi was the designer eliminated on this week’s Project Runway. From the poor fit to the basic dress, the judges wanted more from this talented designer.

Hopefully, the designers took notes during this week’s lesson in history. Next week’s episode asks them to turn up the volume and be bold. Which designer lives up to the challenge?

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What did you think of the Project Runway judges eliminating Shavi? Do you think that Victoria is the judges’ darling?