Project Runway Season 18 episode 9 review: Tuxedo innovation

PROJECT RUNWAY -- "Suit Yourself" Episode 1809 -- Pictured: (l-r) Thom Browne, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY -- "Suit Yourself" Episode 1809 -- Pictured: (l-r) Thom Browne, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss -- (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Can Project Runway create some tuxedo innovation and prove that a sharp dressed man or woman is more than a tired, outdated look?

A red-carpet staple, the tuxedo has been around since the 1800s. On this week’s Project Runway, the designers were tasked with reinventing that classic. While a modern take on a tuxedo isn’t necessarily a new concept, these designers needed to blend expert tailoring, personal aesthetic and a chic, modern vibe to impress the judges. Which designers made the best dressed list and which ones had everyone wondering, what were they thinking?

Often, the tuxedo is a way to make a statement. Sure, it can be the boring, rental for a wedding or a prom, but it can be more. From Christian Siriano creating the fabulous Billy Porter look to Celine Dion and her backwards white tuxedo, a classic template does not have to be boring.

While innovative can be stunning, it does require a keen eye. Regarding a tuxedo, the look requires expert tailoring. A seam out of place or mis-portioned lapel can make the whole look seem off.

For this week’s Project Runway challenge, the designers had one element that needed to be included, satin. The difference between a tuxedo and a suit is the use of satin. Whether it is a panel down the leg or the trim of the lapel, it isn’t a tuxedo without satin.

But, nothing is ever that simple in the Project Runway world. Since a perfectly tailored look can be difficult, even in a two day challenge, the designers received help from the previously eliminated designers. And, the eliminated designers got to choose their partners. Those choices said a lot about who is and is not easy to work with.

Additionally, this week’s runway feature male, female and binary models. In a way, this challenge was as much about pushing a gender neutral concept as it was about the tuxedo.

Looking at the designs, some looks found the innovative, fresh take on a tuxedo and other designers stayed in their lane. In some ways, these looks were more forgettable than statement making. Given that there are only seven designers remaining, someone needs to take a risk.

Anyone who has been watching this season could have guessed that Victoria would be in the top this week. Even after last week’s stumble, the judges adore her point of view.

This week, Victoria had a strong look. While it wasn’t completely asymmetrical, it did have some of her classic elements.

Still, her look made her model feel and look confident. Karli even commented that the tuxedo-inspired gown looked like a fierce James Bond girl. While the cut-outs might have been a little much, it conveyed a sexy, strong woman.

Another top look was Geoffrey’s tuxedo jumpsuit. This design was probably the most innovative. It was a different concept and gave his model a cool, modern vibe.

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “Suit Yourself” Episode 1809 — Pictured: Geoffrey Mac — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

Although the bow tie was a poor choice, Geoffrey should be commended for taking a risk. His look hadn’t been done and made a statement. When Geoffrey stays on task, he can be a force on the runway.

The final top look came from Marquise. In a way, he had a huge comeback moment. Given that he was eliminated in episode 7, he proved that he deserves the spot on the runway.
The jacket was the most impressive part of his tuxedo. The model looked poised and almost regal. It was definitely a powerful jacket.

But, the pant and half skirt was a little unnerving. In a way, he needed to either go bolder or scale back. It was almost too indecisive.

In the end, the judges had to pick just one winner and that was Marquise. Maybe it was the model that secured him the win. No one could keep their eyes off that runway moment.

Project Runway
PROJECT RUNWAY — “Suit Yourself” Episode 1809 — Pictured: (l-r) Thom Browne, Elaine Welteroth, Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, Karlie Kloss — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

As for the bottom designers, there were many problems. Since Sergio had immunity, he was safe. Although his look was well executed, it was baffling that he didn’t understand that he copied that Celine Dion look. Plus, his social commentary is off putting.

The other three designers, Delvin, Brittany and Nancy had major issues. Delvin seemed to put every element into a single look. Double label, corset waist, asymmetrical and the kitchen sink. Doesn’t anyone remember that old saying, too many accessories can ruin a look. He should have taken more than one thing off.

Brittany was an absolute disaster. From the moment she started, everyone knew that Brittany was going to be on the bottom. From poor fabric choice to bad design decisions, this look was a nightmare.

Just because she is a flowy, print designer doesn’t mean that she should only do those looks. While she does need to push herself, she needed to choose wisely. This look was a walking nightmare.

PROJECT RUNWAY — “Suit Yourself” Episode 1809 — Pictured: Brittany Allen — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo)
PROJECT RUNWAY — “Suit Yourself” Episode 1809 — Pictured: Brittany Allen — (Photo by: Barbara Nitke/Bravo) /

From the shorts that verged on a satin diaper to the mis-proportioned jacket, the look made everyone feel uncomfortable. The look needed a black bar across the model’s face to hide his identity.

The last bottom look was Nancy’s over-sized, floral pants. If this look seemed familiar, it was. Nancy has made those pants over and over.

The biggest question is why is Nancy criticized for her pants yet Victoria is praised for the same look time and again. Sure, pants are pants, but isn’t repetition, repetition.

In the end, the judges had to send one designer home and everyone knew it was going to be Brittany. There was no redeeming quality in that tuxedo. Poor choices this late in the game cannot be overlooked.

But, there was a big twist at the end and if you haven’t watched the episode, here’s the spoiler. Brittany isn’t going home. Christian pulled out his Siriano Save and kept Brittany in the competition. It was a good time for the save and Brittany really did just lose her way in this tuxedo challenge.

Going into next week, it will be interesting to see if there will be a double elimination because of the save. Still, these designers better understand that there are no more safe days on the runway. The competition is too near the end to play it safe.

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What did you think of this week’s Project Runway episode? Was it the right time for Christian to use the Siriano Save?