After the Runway – Season 16, Episode 9: ‘A Little Avant Garde’

Hey everybody! Time for another recap! Are you all caught up and ready??

If you’re new here, this is how it works: each week, ‘Project Runway: Under the Gunn’ contestant Michelle Überreste, tall style blogger Lu of ‘Scouting Tall’, and I will offer up our opinions on the top 3 and bottom 3 looks from the previous Thursday night’s episode. Why the following week? We don’t want to spoil things for the folks who watch late!

Okay, let’s get into it!


Ahhhhh, it’s probably the most loved and hated challenge of them all this past week: the avant garde challenge. These challenges are probably my most favorite ones of each season, alongside the unconventional materials challenges.

Before we were even treated to this week’s challenge, the drama of the previous week spilled over into this past week’s episode. Twin #2 was accused of cheating, which she concedes to. Tim has no choice but to strip her of her win from the last challenge, and send her home instead. Tim was not having it, and sent her packing. Duh, duh, DUNNNNNNNNNNNN.

And now, on to the challenge. This week’s avant garde challenge is brought to you by … Shopkins?

Sure, why not.

Each designer is paired up with a child and a Shopkins doll to create an avant garde look. Those children have some very creative imaginations!

This week, there were four top looks, and only two bottom ones. Let’s have a look at the top looks.



My thoughts: I’ll be honest. When I saw Ayana working on this in the workroom, I was rather worried about how it would turn out. Such a garish pink, black and white polka dots, and yellow? Madness. When it came down the runway, I was smitten.
Michelle’s thoughts: I absolutely hate it, it is disgustingly cute, but I think it should have won the challenge. Although I have a great deal of personal distaste for this look, I can easily see the hard work and creative
power that was infused into it. It would be perfect for a Shopkins doll. It was the most avante garde look on the runway. Even though this is a crazy look, everything makes sense from the oversized bow, to the polka dot leggings. It was masterfully constructed and really original. I am so proud of Ayana for taking such risks, it really paid off this time. She is proving to the world that “modest fashion” does not have to be boring!
Lu’s thoughts: The look is exactly what I picture when I think “avant garde.” The silouette is insane. I cannot believe this was done in one day. When the look was coming down the runway, did anyone else notice that all of the observers had just the biggest grins on their faces? Ayanna wanted to get on the judges’ radars this week. Mission accomplished.



My thoughts: Brandon’s look, for me, didn’t really seem to be anything special, and felt like every other piece he creates and sends down the runway. I wasn’t much of a fan of the mint green color he chose for the look either. It didn’t really look very avant garde, either. I would have picked this as being safe.
Michelle’s thoughts: I normally love Brandon’s creations and his modern, sophisticated style, but I really did not care his look this time around. It looks like an asylum Halloween costume mixed with a bad fairy character, that hair style is horrendous! It just looks like someone made a cheap knockoff costume version of that Brandon normally does. And where is the chocolate aspect? Wasn’t the Shopkins character all about chocolate? Huge miss, I placed it in the bottom 3.
Lu’s thoughts: This does not read avant garde or particularly speak to the Shopkins inspiration. The green color reminds me of a 1970s avocado green refrigerator and the silhouette does not particularly read avant garde to me. We have seen the back straps on his past looks. It is a Brandon look, but certainly not his best one. I won’t name names but there was a look in the middle two that I think soared over Brandon’s look (cough, Kenya, cough).



My thoughts: I really loved how Margarita’s look turned out. The model looked like a billowy cloud with wisps of wind trailing behind.
Michelle’s thoughts: I would have placed her in the middle. I love how ethereal this look is. It’s serious but still has some whimsy about it. I wish
her character would have been some type of cupcake because that’s what her dress reminded me of. With all of the frosting and glitter, what more could a girl ask for? I think this was somewhere between fashion and avant garde, like it hasn’t quite been elevated to that point yet. I wish there was even MORE drama but given the time constraint, she did a pretty good job.
Lu’s thoughts: I was not sure whether the judges were going to love or hate this look. I love the mix of monochrom fabrics. I didn’t notice it until Zac pointed it out during the up-close section, but that vertical fan-shaped draping on the right side of the model was gorgeous.

Michael – winner


My thoughts: When Michael set out to create his vision of a melting disco ball, I just couldn’t see how that would look. After seeing this, I totally get it. If he had more time, I think I would have loved to see the parts that bulged out, bulge out even more, to give it more of a disco ball effect. A well-deserved win.
Michelle’s thoughts: I loved this look, personally I love futuristic, alien-esque showy looks. I think it could have used a tiny bit of tweaking, for
example, the pants would have been more high fashion had they been longer, and even exaggerated the bells a bit more. I would have loved for the shoulder piece to have a bit more height as well. However, for a short one day challenge, he accomplished a great deal. This was super creative and this type of design is not easy to construct or to balance correctly without looking like she is growing some sparkly tumors.
Lu’s thoughts: I thought Michael was just going to make a streamlined jumpsuit, but then he unleashed several structural appendices. Melted disco ball indeed! I audibly gasped when I saw the model wearing the finished product in the workroom. Then I immediately tweeted the following “Holy. S**t. Michael is a mad genius. #projectrunway”. I have nothing bad to say about this look.

This week, both of the bottom two looks were eliminated. Let’s have a look.

Amy – Eliminated


My thoughts: This did not seem to me to be very avant garde at all. It felt too basic to me, and the lighter fabric seemingly just hanging off the side was confusing. I couldn’t fault the judges for sending Amy home for this.
Michelle’s thoughts: I don’t even know what to say about this. I love Amy, and I’m glad she made it this far but there is nothing avant garde about this look, and nothing even attractive in my opinion. The model really worked it, but there was not much to work with. The hankerchief fabric was just
tacked on and in no way adds to the outfit. The collar was the only possible interesting element to the outfit and even that did not look well constructed. The color was dark and overall not impressive.
Lu’s thoughts: The look felt “safe”, albeit the easiest to wear from this runway show. My favorite part of this look was the collar, probably because it was the voluminous, noteworthy portion of the look. If you are going to design an avant garde look, I understand that a designer should have a go big or go home mindset. I don’t think we have seen the best of Amy, so I was disappointed to see her go home.

Batani – Also Eliminated


My thoughts: Poor Batani. This was such a hot mess. I didn’t really seem any rhyme or reason to it. It was just a mish-mosh of fabric swatches.
Michelle’s thoughts: Unfortunately, Batani went home for the second time in a row! I felt so bad for her but she seemed to handle it with such grace, I think attitude is key. I love Batani’s aesthetic, she is a master at mixing prints, textures and bright colors and fashioning them into fun, vibrant looks. I loved how this dress started out in the workroom, unfortunately by the time it hit the runway it was a hot mess. I can see she was trying to make something organic but she was trying too hard to force the avant garde aspect of the challenge. It just looks like a huge blanket wadded up around the model. However, I am a huge fan of Batani and will be following her work. I think she could grow into a really exciting designer!
Lu’s thoughts: I liked the two prints with the solid blue. The black skirt beneath all of the layers looks like a pair a Spanx and the back cutout was not flattering on the model. Nina commented that it looks like Batani ran out of time. I think Batani ran out of fabric.

There you have it, folks! What did you think about the judges choices? Let us know!


2 thoughts on “After the Runway – Season 16, Episode 9: ‘A Little Avant Garde’

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