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Project Runway Canada: Something Old, Something New Challenge

February 27, 2009

Iman judges the Something Old, Something New challenge wearing the same dress she wears on the PRC official website

Iman judges the Something Old, Something New challenge wearing the same dress she wears on the PRC official website

Project Runway Canada Episode 5

This week’s fifth episode of Project Runway Canada proved to be a tricky challenge for our team of designers as we saw some of the most appaling designs to date take a spin on the runway and the usual mediocre stuff from the mid-range designers. The drama factor is high: one designer gets a group smack down and another outs the group’s negativity to the judges. Oh boy oh boy!

There is also a lot of buzz about the final decision of who went home this week (if you still haven’t seen the episode, watch it on Blogging Project Runway or if you’re in Canada, Global TV’s site also features all the videos.) Many viewers agree that there is a serious lack of accountability from certain floundering designers. Wouldn’t we have a have a word or two for them!

The Challenge: Something Old, Something New

Episode 5 begins with the designers’ near giddiness from learning that this isn’t a team challenge. But Iman loves a twist and within seconds she dropped the bomb that the designers are working without their models and meeting Brian at a party for more info.

The designers are off to the trendy Bymarket neighbourhood in Ottawa where they meet Brian and are each handed one large white box. In come the new models for this challenge: mom-like women in “all shapes and sizes. I was a little worried,” Sunny confesses off-cam.

Divorcees are the models for this Something Old, Something New challenge

Divorcees are models for this Something Old, Something New challenge

Yes, in fact the look on most of the designers’ faces is priceless at the idea of designing for women over the age of 18.

So you're not a size 0 designer?

So you're size 0 designer? Designers get real.

Off camera, Sunny explains that he’s a size 0 designer. I’m shocked- does he really expect all his customers to be size 0? Isn’t that a narrow target customer? Does anyone else think that this is limiting?

Celebrating individuality and a new direction in life

Brian exclaims that the women are divorced and  need a new outfit using the contents of the white boxes as their fabric: you guessed it, their old wedding dress.  Kim says that she’s divorced too- hm, interesting personal detail that some will want to dig up. There’s a short clip with her describing her brief 3-year marriage and we get the impression that she’s going to have an edge with this challenge because of her personal connection to her client.

Out of each box comes one dated wedding dress after another with a picture of the bride wearing it on her wedding day. dresses


Designers are paired randomly according to the bride’s dress contained in their white box. Noteworthy pairings: Kim is working with the high-profile Debbie, the city of Ottawa’s mayor’s ex-wife. Baylor strikes the jackpot with his divorcee: she was married in a beautiful sari which gives him a yards upon yards of lovley fabric- unlike the other designers’ white satin gowns. Baylor says off-cam that he’s welcoming the challenge of working with a normal-figured woman. What a breath of Febreze!

In the Work Room

The designers start off by examining their fabric- the only happy ones seem to be Baylor and Jason. Baylor has endless length of great fabric and Jason also has a lot to work with and his client appears to be young and hip.

Baylor wins the wedding dress lottery with this gorgeous sari

Baylor works with a shimmery sari

Adejoké and Jeff are overwhelmed that their divorcees are demanding and have clear ideas as to what they want, while Kim is worried that she has barely any fabric to work with. So many excuses!

Brian appears for his design consultation with the designers and essentially tells everyone the same thing: make it sexy! Jason gets a warning that the expectations are high for him to deliver quality craftsmanship with this challenge. We totally agree- so far, Jason’s work has been hit or miss and we need to see more quality on the runway. Brian also tells Jeff to up the sex-appeal factor of his design (“They’re divorced!”) and even cautions Baylor that he’ll get “booted off” the show if he doesn’t deliver a sexy number.

In come the divorcees for a fitting with the designers.

Looking at what everyone is doing, it appears that Jeff hasn’t done much to change the original dress while Jessica is having fun working with her easy-going divorcee who wants to show some skin. Other designers are feeling the pressure: we know from previous episodes that Genevieve thinks that she’s better than everyone else. Genevieve speaks off camera and says that Jeff’s dress “looks like a knock-off,” and that she’s done really well in this competition and this is her time to win.

Genevieve is heavy-handed with the Jeff bashing

Genevieve is heavy-handed with the Jeff design-bashing

Jeff, about Genevieve, off-camera: “I know she felt that she’s better than I am. I know she feels that she’s better than a lot of people here… Maybe everybody here. But… Babe, get real.”

Jeff, about Genevieve: "Babe, get real."

Jeff, about Genevieve: "Babe, get real."

Kim joins in the Jeff design bashing by out-rightly asking him if he’s just altering the dress. Tensions are rising! I’m really disliking this general attitude in the group to single out Jeff and attack his work.

"I thought it would be more fun than remaking a dress out of a.. dress"

"I thought it would be more fun than remaking a dress out of a.. dress"

The models appear for a final fitting and Jeff’s model tells him that she expected something more than “remaking a dress out of a.. dress.” Hm… We agree but by now I’m rooting for him because he’s getting a lot of flack. I really can’t wait to see what he’s actually made compared with the original.

Jason delivers the goods with this coat

Jason delivers the goods with this coat

Jason, on the other hand, is transforming the dress into a fabulous coat. His model is a single mom and he’s touched by her personal story since he was also raised in a single-mom household. Jason goes for the sentimental heart-strings by adding to the coat’s lining the mom’s son’s name on the left inside of the coat (so that it will be close to her heart): “It’ll hopefully make her cry.” Uh- never mind her- we’re already in tears! Don’t we just love Jason right now? What a comeback from his leaopard-print transformation stunt on Episode 1! We really like the new mushy Jason and we adore his white coat.

The Runway Show

Episode 5 Guest Judge is Canadian wedding dress designer Justina McCaffrey.

Iman appears for the runway show wearing the dress from the Global TV show advertisement! Stunning! We love this Something Old, Something New Challenge: Iman’s gorgeous dress is ‘old’ because we’ve all seen it on the Global TV website, but ‘new’ because it’s on this episode. Brilliant!

Adejoké’s dress: Too much like a little girl’s.

Adejoké's design

Adejoké's design

Sunny’s two-piece outfit: Sleek and sophisticated. Think sexy nurse.

Sunny's design

Sunny's design

Genevieve’s outfit: Odd. Weird front flap = very unflattering. (What’s with those boots-?)

Genevieve's design

Genevieve's design

Baylor’s dress: Generally ill-fitting and too snug, short, and awkward. Looks strangely shorter at the back than at the front. He later explains that his model may have sat down back stage and caused the dress to ride up (Rita asks him to pull it down and it won’t budge. Oops.) Hm, we’re not sure what happened there but we definitely saw Iman frowning when she was writing down her score.

Baylor's design

Baylor's design

Jessica’s dress: Boring and not very age appropriate. Also from the little girls’ discount rack.

Jessica's design

Jessica's design

Jeff’s dress: Surprisingly very nice on his model and she looked sexier than everyone else (except perhaps for Sunny’s sexy nurse outfit.)

Jeff's work in progress: a surprisingly nice finish

Jeff's work in progress: a surprisingly nice finish

Kim’s design: A weird fairy costume that had ridiculous blue sheer fabric coming out of every opening and heavy lace applique for capped sleeves. What was Kim thinking? The mayor’s ex-wife looks foolish in that potato-sack getup. Kim calls it “a grandma dress”; not even close, actually- show me one grandmother who would wear that thing.

Kim's design: I'm with Rita- unable to score this horrific thing

Kim's design: I'm with Rita- unable to score this horrific thing

Jason’s design: The lovely classic coat with broad collar. The hem is unfortunately cut to the shape of Jason’s signature short at the front, long at the back silhouette. Jason- do something we haven’t seen before- that short/long gimmick is making me doubt your creative potential.

Jason's design

Jason's design

The Judging

Middle-of-the road designers safe from elimination: Genevieve and……… Jeff! Kim is shaking her head. I’m beginning to really dislike her.

Jessica’s design gets first lashings: Shawn calls the look appropriate for the divorcee while Rita and Justina say that it’s too short. Iman asks the wearer she would wear it day and evening and she says yes and loves the length.

Rita likes Adejoké’s design and Iman says it’s “perfect for her”. I’m wondering where the real judges went- that dress is awful!

No punches are held back when it’s Baylor’s turn. He gets criticized for having made a dress that doesn’t fit his model properly. We can’t help but agree with Justina; from the profile you can really see that this dress is not flattering. “Who’s sari now?” Haha- Iman, you’re killing us… Yes, we all get your pun and yes, we’re sure Baylor is very sorry.

Sunny gets Justina’s praise for being one of the few designers who has “confident seams” (this must be an industry term-?) and Iman’s love affair with his work continues as she calls his design “très chic.” Clearly Sunny is adored and the judges love blowing kisses at him via challenge wins.

Next up is Kim attempting to describe how she managed to create a sack of hideousness.

Rita says that she just couldn’t grade it.

Shawn sighs: “It’s a bit of a mess… It’s all a bit ad hoc.”

Iman to Kim: “Give me a compelling reason: why should you stay?”

Kim gets emotional as she tries to explain her creation

Kim gets emotional as she tries to explain her creation

Kim to Iman: “I think I’m an amazing designer with avant-garde fashion forward ideas that a lot of people don’t have and can’t execute and I feel like I can. I feel like I have more to show and more to make and more to give and I feel like it’s the wrong time.”

Kim regains her composure and just as the designers are about to be dismissed for the sequestered judging, she asks to speak. The other designers look alarmed and extremely uncomfortable about Kim’s request but Iman grants her the opportunity. Kim says that the group figured that Jeff and her would be in the bottom two because, as she sees it, Jeff basically just took the old wedding dress and hemmed it. Iman tells her that she disagrees with her because she saw the picture of the original dress. Iman firmly repeats that she disagrees with her and asks, “Anything else, Kim?” Kim: “Uh, no.”

I’m always surprised when a member of the group stands out and claims to speak on behalf of the group only to swing the axe down on a peer. In this case I must say that the group deserves to be shamed- they are all participating in criticizing Jeff’s work- privately and not so privately.

Dismissed and backstage in the waiting room, Kim turns to Jeff and says, “You’re one f–kng lucky guy, eh there Jeff?”


The whole team sides up against Jeff and bashes his design. Other than Kim, joining in the communal beating is Baylor and Jason. Shame on all of you- this behaviour is very low. This group of designers fails most when it reveals a tremendous lack of senstivity. I see no difference here than a gang of crows picking at a targeted member: if we were watching animals we would be horrified by this picture.

Meanwhile, the judges debate about Kim. Rita is ready to give Kim the PR send-off for lashing out at another designer but Iman resists, saying that she has a gut feeling about Kim from what they saw from her- especially from the YSL challenge.

Iman: “She had me.”

Rita and Shawn counter with “Does she have you now?”

Good question. She doesn’t have anyone now and I must say that the sweater outfit she produced for YSL was not even that impressive. She didn’t have me. I just didn’t like that design. Did anyone?

Kim's design for the YSL Refashioning challenge

Kim's design for the YSL Refashioning challenge

Iman wants to give Kim another chance. I just don’t know and I’m counting on Rita and Shawn here for their judgement. Does anyone out there really want to see more of Kim’s work? Maybe we would want more from Kim- without the drama?

Images courtesy of Global TV’s Project Runway Canada website.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jordana permalink
    March 1, 2009 11:12 am

    I WAS NOT happy with the judge’s final opinion in this episode. I think they need to get rid of the people who use glue and keep the innovative designers. Kim’s YSL sweater dress thing from last week was just awful. How did she make the cut to even be on this show? I have yet to be wowed by her ‘talent’ or attitude. Sunny’s outfit – oh my I just love it! I want it – in black too! He’s my fave so far. He’s consistent and creative.

  2. sage permalink
    March 5, 2009 12:17 pm

    @Does anyone out there really want to see more of Kim’s work- or her?

    errrr … NO. Holy Hot Mess, revisiting that rag: it is soooooo much worse than Baylor’s.

    This week’s episode didn’t interest me enough to keep from falling asleep before they’d even left the fabric store. Looking forward to your recap and fingers crossed that Kim is now gone. What an appealing personality. blerg

  3. March 5, 2009 12:58 pm

    Thanks so much for your comments!
    @ Jordana & Sage: I was also very disappointed that Baylor left- I think everyone feels that this was a very bad call. I hope that he will somehow return to the competition later on.. but I somehow doubt it.
    @ Sage: Thanks for confirming my own feelings- this season is a bit of a slow show. The nasty drama from Kim and Genevieve’s pesonalities makes me feel like all the air got sucked out of my living room when they’re on- and they’re not even good designers-! Unreal.

    Did I mention that I’ll be at Toronto Fashion Week this month during the taping of the final 3!? I’m psyched :)
    – Johanne

  4. sage permalink
    March 7, 2009 7:04 am

    :) Bring back lots of scoop, and teasers!

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