Runway Roundup: Down to the (chicken) wire

Running around a warehouse dotted with fires in garbage cans for extra pizzaz, the designers were tasked with collecting unconventional industrial materials like metal scraps, wire and tiles in order to make avant-garde outfits for the runway this week. Avant-garde looks should introduce ideas to fashion that are new or unusual, as opposed to commercial garments that are wearable and on-trend. The line between avant-garde and costume is incredibly subjective and, some would argue, nonexistent. This confusion led designers like Mah-Jing Wong to exclaim, “Costume-y? Isn’t that the point when [a look is] avant-garde?”

Our biggest surprise of the episode happened off-screen when former guest judge, Jacob, returned to watch more “Project Runway” with us. He described the show as “lit” and was in awe of the works these talented individuals make from scratch in so little time. This week’s official guest judge is senior Sarah Lubiner, who has lived with Emily for most of college and really doesn’t want to talk to us about her thesis. Sarah has watched every single episode of “Project Runway” and “Project Runway All-Stars” (2012-present), quipping that despite all of its iterations, this show never disappoints, unlike other childhood favorites — we’re looking at you, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” (2016).

In typical fashion, designer Erin Robertson makes her own textile and explains the concept of her “paper doll” dress to host Tim Gunn using weird mouth sounds. And, as much as we hate to admit it, she comes through again in the last minutes of the challenge with a vibrant, youthful look. We would love to rock it, despite the fact that the wire would definitely leave some awkward-looking bruises on our chests.

Designer Roberi Parra is the new Nathalia JMag — his look isn’t bad, but it’s not super memorable either. He spends most of his time acting like a wayward philosophy major declaring how he wants his look to “obliterate the human face” and “disrupt the body.” Mah-Jing promises us a galaxy-inspired fairy princess but instead serves up something boring.

At this point, it is clear to us that Cornelius Ortiz has difficulty understanding how most women like to present themselves, and we are frustrated that his lack of creativity has translated into awkward silhouettes that are not intentionally unflattering. Originally, he plans to make a dress that unintentionally outlines a baby-bump shape over the model’s torso, but then he decides to wrap a few tubes around the body that protrude from the model’s crotch and backside — eeek.

Deep in our hearts, we were worried as the episode progressed because we knew Mah-Jing was going to be sent home. For whatever reason, this show has decided that they really like Cornelius, and in pushing for this designer to stay on, they got rid of the real underdog and one of our favorite personalities, Mah-Jing. We will miss his zipper necklace, incessant tears and the straight-up unapologetic heart he puts into all of his work. At least we can find solace in knowing that the judges seem to be as sad as we are to see him go.

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