After the Runway – Season 16, Episode 1: ‘One Size Does Not Fit All’

Hey hey hey!! It’s FINALLY time to start these things up again, and it’s also time for Project Runway’s sweet 16! It feels like it has been AN ETERNITY AND A DAY since season 15.

I am SO glad to be doing this again, and also to be working once again with Michelle Überreste, ‘Project Runway: Under the Gunn’ alum. I’m still amazed humbled that she agrees to do this with me each season.

I am also SOOOO excited to mention that I have an addition to the collaboration this season! The amazing and wonderful Lu of Scouting Tall approached me late last season expressing interest in joining the collaboration to offer her “two cents” each week. I am THRILLED to welcome her! Be sure to check out her blog and follow her everywhere!

If you’re new here, or can’t remember because it’s been SO long (haha), this is how it works: each Monday (-ish), I, Michelle, and Lu, will offer up our opinions on the top 3 and bottom 3 looks from the previous Thursday night’s episode. Why on Mondays? That gives some time for folks to watch without spoiling things for them.

Update: I’ve got Michelle’s “two cents” in now as well! 🙂

Okay, let’s get into it!


Ah, premiere time! It’s been a LONG time coming, let me tell you! Right out of the gate, the designers have 1 day (and I SERIOUSLY hope that this season the designers aren’t given just 1-day challenges) to create a red carpet look that expresses who they are as a designer.

Let’s have a look at the top 3 creations this week.


My thoughts: For a menswear designer (yay!) who has no womenswear design experience, I had him pegged at the start of the episode as being in the bottom, and/or the first one out. I have to say that he absolutely knocked it out of the park with this look. It was so fresh and modern, and I LOVED the camo top. Once the model donned her sunnies, she was ready to slay the runway. I would have been perfectly content with this winning as well.
Lu’s thoughts: When Brandon’s name was called, I assumed he was at risk of going home. To say that I was surprised to see him in the top three was an understatement, as I thought there were several other middle-ranking looks that were superior to this. To his credit, I liked that he designed a bare-midriff look for a full figure model and I liked that you could tell that the model was feeling it.
Michelle’s thoughts: This look is definitely not up MY alley but I think it should have won. The mix of colors and the unique take on women’s wear was impressive. He made his model feel so confident. I felt that out of all the models, she had the most attitude and felt the best walking down that catwalk because of the clothes. She exuded so much cool. I feel Brandon has a lot of potential but I think there will probably be a few close calls for him down the road.


My thoughts: I am STILL in awe that Kenya was able to create this look in a day. Imagine what she could have accomplished with two, or even THREE days. I am always a sucker for more glamorous and ‘Old Hollywood’ looks, and this is what it felt like to me. This showed off the model’s curves, and the pockets gave it a touch of a more modern feel. LOVED it.
Lu’s thoughts: My first words about this dress were, “This looks like a wedding gown!” I didn’t notice that the bust of the corset “deflated” as the judges later recognized during the presentation/closer look portion, that is, until they called it out. I am always a fan of pockets on a dress, even if you don’t intend to tuck anything away in them. I wish I knew more about the fabric. Matte jersey maybe?
Michelle’s thoughts: I definitely thought this was a classic dress and perfect for the red carpet. It looked perfect from the runway, but up close the construction looked messy and it could be, in part, to her fabric choice. The judges mentioned it didn’t look stiff enough to support the shape of the dress. I think was a little bit of a safe design, though.

Deyonté – winner

My thoughts: The dress was really pretty, but what really made it was the giant watercolor floral print. How he managed to drape/make the dress so the pattern looked relatively continuous is a mystery to me. The pattern made it more modern looking. All of the top looks were great to me, so I would have been happy with any of them taking the top spot this week.
Lu’s thoughts: This was the most wearable look from not only the top and bottom three, but the entire show. Deyonté mentioned that he envisioned this at Cannes. I can envision a size run on the floor at Bloomingdales. I understand that it is not actually a gown but a top layered over a skirt. One would never be able to tell, as it laid seamlessly. Lilly Pulitzer aside, I do not love bold florals, but I can appreciate how this particular floral complimented the design of the dress and how both complimented the model.
Michelle’s thoughts: Of course this won. It’s flattering, the color looks great on the model. It was elegant, and the perfect example of working smart, not hard. This guy really thought about his girl, he was super strategic. However, i don’t really see anything innovative about it. I could see this on lots of actresses but I don’t feel as if it’s pushing the envelope. I wish the judges would have awarded the win to Brandon who was a little more creative.

Here’s how the bottom looks stacked up this week.


My thoughts: I did not hate this look as much as the judges seemed to. I really loved the top and the super long flowy sleeves. I didn’t like the sparkly shorts that much, though. They looked like boxer shorts. I would have loved to have seen it made into a skirt instead, perhaps just below the knees with a slit in the side. The shorts cheapened the look in my eyes.
Lu’s thoughts: I didn’t like that the sleeve and – Shawn called it a drape? – of the top dragged on the ground. The judges made reference to the athleisure trend in regards to Brandon’s look. The look of Shawn’s shorts were a strong allusion to 1970s athletic style, so as long as we are counting points for athleisure, we should not discount this. While I do not immediately see them on a red carpet, I can see the shorts released as part of Victoria’s Secret VSX line.
Michelle’s thoughts: Something about these twins definitely rubs me the wrong way. There is something too perfect and enunciated about both of them. It bothers me to watch them. I want to see real designers here, not characters playing to the camera. I think Shawn is a good example of the type of artist who makes a lot of noise but doesn’t really have the skill to back it up. Her look was weird. I don’t really know how else to describe it. The top was cool and could have been paired with a million different things and read much more expensive. I think the shorts in and of themselves were cool and hip hop but just weird with the top. The shoes and hair were not helping this look at all.


My thoughts: This dress was just ho-hum to me. The grey fabric certainly wouldn’t have stood out on any red carpet. This would have been more of a nice “fancy evening out” look. I was NOT a fan of the lace “tail” she gave the model, and tried to deny that it wasn’t covering anything, when it was covering up a hole on the back.
Lu’s thoughts: This was the least flattering look on the model. I did not like the appliques and I definitely did not like the location of the appliques in the rear. They reminded me of doileys that would be more at home in Grandma’s senior living apartment, rather than on a red carpet look. I did not like that the magenta trim did not appear to be symmetrical OR asymmetrical; I just could not figure out the design intent of the trim. I could not believe that Batani fibbed about covering up the hole in the rear with the appliques!
Michelle’s thoughts: Batani is too cool. I love her personal style and her vibe. However, I hated her design and I had absolutely no idea where she was coming from. First of all, gray for red carpet is not going to impress the judges. Not on any planet. The pink was a nice touch but the gown looked like a tent and the applique was unfortunate. Especially the tail. I feel like even with the materials she had, she could have made something much more tribal and flattering. At least the model looks pretty and happy. Although, I’m not sure why. This was definitely the loser in my book. I hope Batani can pull it out in upcoming challenges because she seems like a super creative designer and I want to see that.

ChaCha – Eliminated

My thoughts: Personally, I cannot fault the judges this week for sending ChaCha home. This looked like “clown couture” to me. The colors were so strange in the dress, I was not a fan of the shimmering pink ruffles, the sleeves were too long, and the dress was too short. It felt upside-down. These sort of aesthetics are simply lost on me.
Lu’s thoughts: I understand that Chacha is from Taipai. I wonder if there is something about this look that is lost in translation. He admits on his Project Runway bio that fitting is a weakness of his, and I believe him, as the body of this dress is like a sack. The fabric was super whimsical, like the fabric equivalent to a unicorn. Did anyone else notice the panel of lame in the back, though? I was surprised that the judges did not call that out during the presentation/closer look portion of the show. Chacha said that he envisioned this look at the VMAs. Unfortunately, I could see this showing up at the VMAs.
Michelle’s thoughts: I was so disappointed this kid went home. I didn’t care for his look at all, it was completely juvenile and crafty. However, I think he has a unique point of view and at least he had fun making a fun dress. I see SOMETHING there, a lot more than the boring gray dress that got to stay. I feel like if ChaCha could have stayed and really listened to his critiques, he could really be on to something here. I guess we’ll never know.

There you have it! What did you all think about last week’s episode? Did you agree or disagree with the judges?


4 thoughts on “After the Runway – Season 16, Episode 1: ‘One Size Does Not Fit All’

  1. Really loved both Kenya and Deonte’s look. I honestly couldn’t tell the issues Kenya has until camera zoomed and they were picked out. I will say, being a plus size woman, I’m a little upset how the judges were treating the curvy models. Asking them if they felt confident walking down the runway. Really!? Of course they feel confident thats why they are models. Give them a trash bag and they will work the crap out of it. Also they are getting paid to wear whatever the designer puts on them so who cares!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Batani would have been my vote to go home. I can not fathom how someone with such a cool, vibrant personal style made that dress! Ugly + adorned with doilies + lied about the flaw = three strikes and you’re out.

    This show has irritated me for about 10 seasons now and I always say I’m not going to watch the next season, but I find this cast interesting so I’m gonna stick with it … again. 🤥

    Liked by 1 person

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