After the Runway – Season 16, Episode 11: ‘Warrior Fashion’

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!


Sadly, we are starting to wind down towards the season finale. There are only FIVE designers remaining! Just a handful of episodes left until Fashion Week, and a winner is chosen.

This week, the designers are taken to a boxing ring inside a gymnasium, and greeted by Tim, an Avon lady, and a group of women who share their stories of surviving breast cancer. Tim gives them their challenge: to create a high-fashion editorial look inspired by these warrior women. They each receive a one-on-one boxing training sesh, and $250 to spend on this TWO-DAY challenge.

Who was on top this week? Let’s have a look.



My thoughts: I absolutely LOVED this look from Ayana. Over the weeks, I’ve becoming a bigger and bigger fan of her more conservative design aesthetic. This look to me said ‘contained chaos’, which is what Margarita was trying to achieve. Perfect.
Michelle’s thoughts: I have a strange attraction to this look. I hate the fabric she used for the top and I hate the buttons. It looks really over the top and busy, but somehow it works! I love the pants and the little suspender skirt and the way she used the print. I would have liked the pants to be skinnier. The top is really inventive but I would never pick this out in a store and say I liked it, I think simply because of the fabric and trim choices. Somehow it works with the pant, though. She has paid a lot of attention to details and I am a little bit excited because I feel so many designs shown on the show have been really basic as of late. Ayana brings a new perspective.
Lu’s thoughts: Ayana was the clear winner. I knew this when we were watching Day 2 in the workroom. That body suit had better be manufactured and come in tall. The ruffles and the collar and the buttons – I died. I am less of a fan of the pants and the skirt; it is the fabric that I don’t dig. I did, however, love the suspenders and the pockets on the skirt.



My thoughts: This should have been the clear winner. The color was phenomenal. I really loved the armor-like plating of the top of the dress, and her model Liris looked AMAZING in it. This look screamed ‘high-fashion warrior’.
Michelle’s thoughts: This was the clear winner of this challenge. The dress was wearable, yet editorial with lots of interest from the waist up. She added the texture which elevates the quality of the garment. The color is stunning on any skin tone, and it’s flattering on many different body types. She hit the nail on the head and mastered every one of the criteria. As the cherry on top, Liris voiced that this was her favorite outfit she had modeled on the show thus far. Score!
Lu’s thoughts: Kenya’s thoughts on the petals of the dress symbolizing what we as women carry on our shoulders every day? This thought alone spoke to me. She nailed a look for her (full-figured) model. I love the color blue that she went with, not only because it was so flattering on her model, but it is iconoclastic when it comes to traditional female colors.

Brandon – winner


My thoughts: This was definitely not my choice for the winning look. Brandon certainly has a definitive point of view, and he does not stray from the path one iota. The looks each week are too similar, and are very repetitive. This was certainly nothing new from him.
Michelle’s thoughts: I do quite like this look except for the bonnet. It is trite, and it DOES look like every other garment he’s made on the show, but I do like this aesthetic. I just wish he would push himself further into new silhouettes or treatments or even colors or prints. As a designer, you can’t show the same collection twice. Where can he go from here? His looks are very sophisticated yet limiting. I feel there is more potential there and he’s not living up to it. I do love the layering and even the color palette and I always love the buckles and straps that are so prevalent in his work. I don’t love a drop crotch or a baby bonnet. I wish it was more of a hood without the long straps.
Lu’s thoughts: We got another Brandon ensemble. I like the contrast of a masculine fit against the “millenial pink”. I was a bigger fan of the look once the hood was taken off her head. All this time, we have been getting on Brandon for serving up the same aesthetic week after week. I had the revelation though, what incentive does he have to deviate from what he does? If the judges loved everything you were serving up, would you change the formula?

Who was on the bottom?



My thoughts: I didn’t even notice how similar Kentaro’s look was to Brandon’s until Nina had mentioned it. It was one of those “a-ha!” moments. This was quite a depressing piece, coming from Kentaro. It was very simple. I really did like the Japanese hints, but black wasn’t the best color choice for this challenge. When doing a look to inspire a warrior, black doesn’t come to mind as a color that inspires.
Michelle’s thoughts: He went back to his old ways and layered black on black. A huge no no on Project Runway. I like the weird little tulle top he added on top, it gave it a weirdly simple structure, but I wish he would have layered it on top of a contrasting color so you could see the gathering and shape of it. Also, the little priest strap was not helping the look at all. The styling was totally on point, the makeup and hair were amazing! I wish he would have played a little but more to the model’s shape, the look is really boxy and totally covering up her beautiful curves. Overall, I think it was a fail because he didn’t consider and complement the model’s body. This is a really important skill in design if you want to be successful.
Lu’s thoughts: I am really disappointed that the initial look was not realized on the runway. While I think this look would have passed in the beginning, or even up to the top eight, it just isn’t good enough for the top five. Can we talk about the color black real quick? I don’t care if the judges don’t like it; the typical woman loves black. It is a staple in every women’s wardrobe. The judges need to not come down so hard on it.

Margarita – eliminated, but not really (saved)


My thoughts: Margarita really had an emotional attachment to this challenge, and her sketches showed it. It felt like the end result ultimately suffered from such emotion. I REALLY loved her ‘contained chaos’ sketch, and had she made the top of the dress as crazy and voluminous as the drawing, it would have look a LOT better. I would have also liked to have seen the bottom more traditional and fitted, to showcase the ‘containment’ part. This was definitely the worst of the five, but I’m glad Tim saved her.
Michelle’s thoughts: I actually like the photo of this design better than I did when I saw it on the runway. There is some beautiful draping going on in the skirt portion and it did move beautifully. I wish she would have gone for a more unexpected color scheme, maybe using purple instead of red or something less gaudy than the gold with red. She does have this sort of Puerto Rican Superhero vibe aesthetic going on in many of her garments but I think its too straight forward and literal many times and I wish it was just a tiny bit more intricate. Alone, it’s a pretty cool concept but I find myself wanting it to be just a little more elevated and more intuitive than literal. I think she has tons of potential, though and I didn’t dislike this look as much as the judges seemed to. I wish the corset had been more elaborate and elongated, it might have helped.
Lu’s thoughts: Yes, Margarita’s look is very literal. I have a completely different perspective regarding it that the judges; the tailoring is not nearly as bad as they called out. I liked that it was more of a formal take on warrior women. I loved that she was so humble enough to not see the Tim Gunn saving coming her way.

There you have it! What did you all think about the challenge this week?


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