This week's challenge had several dimensions to it (no pun intended. Just kidding, totally intended.) The designers were to draw inspiration from iconic New York City bridges to create an Avant-Garde look. In addition, they got the opportunity to incorporate 3D printed pieces into their design, and the winner of the challenge would win a Cube 3D printer!
The only designer who has used 3D printing in the past on Project Runway is Justin LeBlanc, who has created multiple collections of 3D printed pieces over the years. It was really exciting to see other designers expand their horizons to this new medium, and I'm glad PR jumped on the 3D bandwagon.
This phase of Project Runway is always SO HARD to judge because literally everyone is good. Even the designs on the bottom are pretty great, and since there are only five designers left I'm just going to comment on all of them, rating them from my most favorite to least favorite.
1. Edmond Newton
Edmond's look fit all the criteria of the challenge. Avant-Garde is all about creating something new that we haven't seen before, and this look accomplished that. He played upon the "x" shapes in the bridge in the bodice and in his 3D printed pieces, he incorporated a sculptural shape into the skirt while maintaining clean lines, and he even created a printed textile within the mesh he used. It's nothing like anything he's made before, but it still has Edmond written all over it. Literally written all over it, because he put his name into his 3D printed pieces! Just genius.
2. Candice Cuoco
I won't lie, I was a little worried about this in the work room; after Candice's street walker moment from last week, a red satin gown could have gone really cheap, really fast. But it didn't!! It was BEAUTIFUL!! I don't know if I've ever seen a more well-made gown on this show. The only real inspiration from the bridges was the repeated triangle shape, and it was a pretty wearable gown which didn't exactly fit the Avant-Garde challenge, so I get why she didn't win. That said, her use of the 3D printing was probably the best of the bunch, and guest judge Mel B chose her gown to wear to an event, so at the end of the day, she really was a winner!
3. Kelly Dempsey
While I was disappointed with Kelly's use of the 3D printing and I was concerned with her fabric choice, she really did pull out a great look here. She went very literal in representing the sturdy shape of the bridge and the cable ties that hold it all together, and it turned out way better than I expected. Her styling was impeccable, and while it wouldn't have been my top choice for the win, I can see what the judges saw in it. Definitely one of the best looks she's made all season.
4. Ashley Nell Tipton
I understand where the judges were coming from when they said this was two looks that didn't go together, and I think Ashley's original design before Tim's critique was a little better. She struggled with the 3D printing aspect of it and in the end it wasn't the most successful. For Ashley, though, this was a very dramatic and "out-there" look. She is a ready-to-wear designer by nature and I liked her interpretation of what Avant-Garde means to her.
5. Merline Labissiere
This is not a bad dress by any means, and it was nice to see a more refined version of Merline. Unfortunately, it wasn't Avant-Garde, it wasn't identifiably inspired by the bridges, and her use of the 3D printing use wasn't that great. For a designer that has a background in architecture, this could have been a great challenge for her, and she just didn't work to her best potential. I understand why she went home.
So congratulations, Kelly!
I thought it was pretty hilarious that she pointed out that she doesn't even have a 2D printer, so the 3D printer was a major win for her. If she makes it to fashion week, I'll be interested in seeing if she incorporates more 3D work into her designs!
All photos from mylifetime.com