— Tim Gunn (@TimGunn) October 7, 2016
This week, Project Runway opened with the never-before-seen fabulousness of Tim Gunn in swimwear! Fittingly, our patron saint paired swim trunks with a long sleeve t-shirt embellished with a delicately-tucked pocket square. Tim donned this iconic look to welcome this week’s challenge where the contestants would design their own fabric and then use it to create a swimsuit and cover-up ensemble that would be added to Heidi Klum’s new swimwear collection.
Due to poor planning on our part, we invited our dads to be the guest judges this week. Let it be known that both men rightfully felt uncomfortable critiquing swimsuits and stuck mostly to commenting on the designers, their fabrics and the judges. Michael Antolin, dad of student Ana Antolin, refused to be interviewed unless he was formally introduced as “Michael Antolin, dad of student Ana Antolin.” This was his first time watching the show and maybe his last, as he declared, “I will not give up watching hockey for this.” He also gave us such gems as, “I spend as much time thinking about clothes and design as I think about warts,” and, “I’m on pins and needles — pun intended!”
Emily and her dad, Mark Friedlander, have been watching this show together on and off for years. Although he is a long-term admirer of Tim’s intellect, compassion and mentoring capabilities, Mark has a strong aversion to Tim’s style. While watching this week’s episode Mark exclaimed, “[Tim] doesn’t know how to dress – what he puts on is ugly and it has too many patterns! I expect more from him than a pinstripe suit, checkered shirt and tie that [doesn’t] match!”
What Mark did empathize with was the difficulty of this challenge for all of the designers. While swimsuits generally do not require a lot of fabric, fit and construction are almost always issues, whether it’s wedgies caused by what designer Alex describes as “hungry butt” or Erin’s “labia spillage.” Heidi worsened the already somber mood when she entered the workroom to give feedback. Everyone, dads included, agreed her critiques were overly harsh and sometimes just wrong. Designer Tasha created one of our favorite fabrics this episode inspired by Rastafarian patterns, but she was shut down when Heidi problematically compared it to “Chinese takeout.”
This week’s winner was Rik, who Michael Antolin referred to as “Goatee Man.” He created a harlequinesque black and white one piece that got Mark excited because it reminded him of Picasso paintings. Designer Sarah was sent home with a novelty print that just didn’t work and a boring swimsuit structure.
Two of our favorite looks were made by Brik and Dexter. Brik made the only swimsuit we really wanted to wear, featuring flattering boy-short cut bottoms and (obviously) a red brick pattern. Dexter made an edgy racerback top with a snake-eye print that was daring and bold. He, unfortunately, scrapped it after undeserved criticism from Heidi. We hope that next week more of the designers trust their instincts because when they do, the results are magical.